‘Game of Thrones’ Recap: The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Season 4, Episode 2: The Lion and the Rose

Season Four is racing forward at breakneck speed: A bit of karmic balance was restored. We caught up with Team Stannis and the Lord of Light, and Brann got a mystical vision from a tree.  We celebrated the best wedding ever to take place in Westeros — bridges made from a giant lion’s maw, a pie full of pigeons, oh, and Joffrey the Shit’s face exploded with poison. The future looks rough for Tyrion, but let’s just enjoy this brief, happy moment, shall we? These joyous occasions are so rare in Westeros. LDR is away this week so the ever witty Jonathan White — pop culture expert and publisher of The Cleaver Quarterly — steps in to chat with us about poison, creating a GoT superteam, and Bronn.

Totals this episode:
Deaths: 2
Nudity: 1/2 (pantsless acrobat at the wedding)
New horrors: the complete glee we felt witnessing a well-deserved death

Kadi Hughes: The Purple Rain Wedding.

Jonathan White: The perils of purple drank. Joffrey is an absolute cretin.

KH: Did you think that it was a satisfying death for Joffrey? I did like how they really ramped up how terrible he was. It was a greatest hits of the worst little shit in Westeros — slashing the book of knowledge with Valerian steel, pouring the wine on Tyrion, the dwarf play.

JW: Launching money at people with more physical prowess than he has ever shown before. Same with the sword. He’s been rubbish at being “manly” throughout but on his big day with the lovely Margaeryhe comes strong. And then dies. A lot. Top makeup by the way. Hats off to the makeup department.

KH: He looked like a jellyfish.

JW: He looked like a cartoon rabbit with myxomatosis. Jack Gleeson (who plays Joffrey) is meant to be lovely.

KH: And a poet!

JW: But he’s not. He is an evil boy king who deserves everything he got.

KH: I like to think of GoT as a documentary.

JW: We all should. None of those people exist outside of the TV.

KH: Can we sidetrack about Dorne for a moment? Because I don’t really understand what they are all about. Just hanging out in the desert and having pan-sexual orgies? They are not part of the Seven Kingdoms.

JW: Burning Man but with Spanish exchange students. Dorne seems boss.

KH: That is my personal idea of hell. Send me to the White Walkers over that trash.

JW: I politely disagree. There is a man with gout who SPOILER ALERT loves watching kids in the swimming pool. He sounds like a Bond villain. Lots of strong wine and stronger women and the Martells are obviously named after the cognac.

KH: I do like Ellaria Sand and the Sand sisters. Very good exchange between Oberyn/Ellaria and the Lannisters.

JW: I think there should be more sands and fewer snows, a prequel where it’s summer and there is no winter coming at all. A brief aside: This episode seemed to be written by GRRM — the Red Viper and Ellaria Sand came in and stared at un upturned vagina.

KH: He does write the perviest scenes. That was a great exchange for the way they dismissed Tyrion. Though, in all honesty, if you are going to have an orgy in Westeros, Tyrion should be top of the invite list.

JW: Tyrion had the hardest time of it in this episode, no love at all.

KH: I think this season will be hard for him in general.

JW: I think things might look up at the end.

KH: Pretending you haven’t read the books, who do you think poisoned Joffrey?  A lot of red herrings and possibilities thrown about.

JW: There were some Murder She Wrote red herrings in there.

KH: We need Jessica Fletcher!! Poison is a woman’s work.

JW: But there’s a few fey men in King’s Landing.

KH: My money is on Cersei.

JW: Cersei might hate Tyrion enough to frame him.

KH: Her (inbred) son was a monster, she is set to marry the Knight of the Flowers, she is powerless…until she kills Joffrey. With him gone and the little Lannister being underage, she is Queen Regent again.

JW: A great conspiracy theory; I am willing to back it.

KH: I am glad Shae is gone. I am all for porn stars going mainstream but I found that character tedious. But that scene when Tyrion sent her away was straight up Harry and the Hendersons.

JW: Sasha Grey in Entourage — which I know you hate — made a better case for mainstreamification.

KH: Entourage should fill its pockets with rocks and walk into the sea.

JW:  Or fight Bronn by the sea. MORE BRONN.

KH: Bronn is a joy to behold in every scene.

JW: He’s the same man in Ripper Street. Jerome Flynn is doing it all.

KH: Of course Bronn is macking all these ladies.

JW: Other men’s ladies and they are screamers. I think he was macking some ladies at the Purple Wedding based on the screams.

KH: I did not like Ser Dontos popping up at the end by Sansa and trying to whisk her away.

JW: He casts a sad figure. He is a ninny.

KH: So of course Sansa will trust him. That girl has the worst judgment. Arya got all the smarts. Sansa, all the ginger.

JW: Arya is my favorite. Arya and the Hound could be a kids’ show.

KH: Teaching you moral lessons and cautionary tales.

JW: “If someone takes your sword what do you do? Did someone say stick them with the pointy end? You got it, kids!” Though you never know what will happen with Sansa. The showrunners deserve mad credit for swerving much of the books.

KH: The books,  in my opinion, need a strong edit and that is what the showrunners do.

JW: Agreed. I would go so far as to say that all books in this genre need a strong edit — or an author’s mum kicking them out of the garage and making them get a job.

KH: Except for the original Dragonlance series. Those books are perfection. Let’s talk about Stannis. This is another plot line I can’t really get behind.

JW: Stannis is a miseryguts and rightly so. His wife is a loon and intent on burning everyone. His pal Melisandre has stopped having smoke babies and is intent on burning everyone. His kid is half concrete and looks like someone being Ben from Fantastic Four on Halloween.

KH: He looks constantly constipated. EACH SOME LEAFY GREENS. The Onion Knight is is worth rooting for but it’s an uphill battle caring about the rest of them.

JW: Onion Knight is a true hero, starting back from when he launched a water-based rendition of Stomp! on the Blackwater.

KH: When watching this show, I always want the great characters to find each other and team up — Arya, Tyrion, Dany, Onion Knight, Bronn — like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen but with more direwolves.

JW: Just get all the best together like the Defenders of the Earth. Melisandre could be great but … she’s a bit of a downer.

KH: She’s a zealot and zealots are dull.

JW: She needs a Gendry to make her warm up again.

 KH: Where is Gendry? On the lam or is he dead?

JW:  No idea and I have just completed the books. GRRM is a bit like going to a massive party with a cokehead. You meet people he claims are important and never hear of them again.

KH: What is Team Stannis doing? Are they heading North? Just hanging out and lighting things up? Never mind. I really don’t care. Let’s talk about Brann and the creepfest twins.


KH: Really?! He’s kind of a wet blanket. He has magical powers, but just sulks about.

JW: His storyline is so slow but I reckon there is going to be a payoff. He’s magic and has no legs. He needs some dinner and the frogfaced friends are not helping.

KH: At least he uses his direwolf and had that crazy tree vision. The littlest Stark and Osha are no longer with them. Where do we think they are?

JW: They are elsewhere and now that Reek has decided to tell Ramsay that they aren’t dead …

KH: Right…Ramsay is on a spree. However, there is too much time spent on that storyline.

JW: Iwan Rheon is stealing the show! I do like the cuts from Reek to sausages.

KH: Every.single.time. So next week — will we see Littlefinger in the Vale? More cannibal Wildlings?

JW: Those Thenns need to not bother. Boo. Hiss. I predict Daario will be back and little and less will happen on the road to Meereen. Ser Jorah will be all upset.

KH: Pouting and crying in the desert.

JW: I am very willing for the TV show to just start a massive diversion. There is so much pouting and crying everywhere.

KH: But that is Jon Snow’s only skill!

JW: It’s about time we had some more war.

KH: War and winter are coming. Don’t worry.

JW: Everyone has been all over the “war is over” vibe.

KH: Do you think we’ll get to go to Dorne?

JW: I want to go to Dorne. It’s going to be MMFMMFMFMFMFMFMFMFMFMFMF all over the show. The show has been off to a great a frantic start. Keep that up and drop in some nudity. Man can not live by blood alone.

Tune in next week for more musings on the latest episode of Game of Thrones. The show airs Sunday nights at 9 on HBO.

Image of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) and Margaery Tyrell (Natalie Dormer) courtesy of HBO.



Lit Links: Top 10 International Novels, CIA and Doctor Zhivago, The Wisdom of Adrian Mole

The Male vs. Female Perspective
The London Book Fair is in full swing and a lot of debate on gendered writing has been swirling around.  “Although the majority of readers are women, many publishers are more interested in reaching male readers,” writes Susan Harris for Words Without Borders. “Because publishers assume that women will read anyone, but men will read only other men, they tend to choose work by male writers—the
 message being, of course, that male experience is universal, while the female perspective is niche.”

The CIA and Doctor Zhivago
Declassified documents were released this week detailing how CIA operatives printed and circulated copies of the banned book to sew seeds of dissent in the USSR and the Eastern Bloc.

The Legend of Vera Nabokov
Vladimir Nabokov wrote some of the most brilliant books of the 20th century, but his wife, Vera, made that possible by taking care of every other aspect of his life. The Atlantic looks at the importance of a a supportive spouse for writers—and why this may be hindering gender parity in literature.

The Wisdom of Adrian Mole
The sad news of the passing of British novelist and playwright Sue Townsend prompted The Telegraph to revisit her brilliant Adrian Mole series and select some of the best quotes. To wit: “I was racked with sexuality but it wore off when I helped my father put manure on our rose bed.” We’ve all been there.

Top Ten International Novels 
The 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award nominees were announced this  week. Five novels in translation made the cut, making the award truly international. Nominees includeAbsolution by Patrick Flanery, The Garden of Evening Mist by Tan Twan Eng, and A Death in the Family: My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard.

Read this Magazine: The Cleaver Quarterly
Our pals at The Cleaver Quarterly, a Chinese food magazine, aim “to tell you everything you wanted to know but never knew to ask about Chinese food.” From longform journalism to gorgeous photos and illustrations, this new print gem is the bastard child of Lucky Peach and your favorite Chinese takeout.  Check out their Kickstarter to get involved.

Check back each Friday for new Lit Links, a roundup of some of the best literature news from across the interweb.

‘Game of Thrones’ Recap, S4 Ep. 1: Odd Couples

Season 4, Episode 1: Two Swords
After nine months—and a very painful 30 minutes waiting for HBO Go to work—we were back in Westeros. Season four of Game of Thrones was off to a rollicking start with a record-breaking 6.6 million viewers (not counting everyone who will watch it in reruns this week or who are torrenting it in China as we speak). While we are all—as a nation, nay, a species—still processing the trauma of the Red Wedding, we were ready to get back into the fray with dragons, light incest, and deadly political scheming.
Totals this episode:
Deaths: 5
Nudity: 4 women, 0 men
New horrors: cannibalism

Kadi Hughes: Where should be start?

Laura Dannen Redman: With me humming the theme song…daaaa daaaa dadada daaaaa. (Ed. note: Goats singing the theme song is even better.)

 Can we talk about how well this show does odd couples?
LDR Yes, please. 

 Tyrion and Bronn, Jamie and Brienne, Arya and the Hound. They are all so amazing and endearing. These relationships are almost sweet—which I can’t believe I am saying about anything in the GoT universe.
LDR Arya and Tywin Lannister.

 Arya and everyone is amazing because she is the best character.

 And a smart little actress. 
KH: Agreed. The friendships are such a contrast to the sexual relationships on the show. For most of those, I can’t get invested, because they are either a) gross or b)  going to end in brutal-and-bloody-stabbing-in-your-pregnant-stomach death.
LDR Interesting point: The sex is overrated, the friendships the crux of the story.

KH: BFFs rule Westeros, I guess.
LDR : It’s all about alliances, and they’re constantly changing.

 Let’s talk about Arya and the Hound. The end scene was the strongest in a strong episode, I think. Arya is transitioning nicely from plucky teenage girl to sociopathic badass and I approve.

 Under the tutelage of the Hound, is she going to learn courage or ruthlessness?  She’s stopped repeating her death poem/death lullaby. Now she’s just living out the nightmare—and stabbing bad guys in the throat with the pointy end of the stick.
KH Before she could fit nicely into the whole YA genre of female heroines, like Katniss from The Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent, but when she slowly runs that sword through Polliver—super graceful and nonplussed—and then recites his own evil deathwish back to him….THAT SHIT WAS FUCKING COLD AND AWESOME.

 It was like something out of No Country for Old Men or The Professional. Ice in her veins, and the perfect line for every murder.

 She has the potential to become the most terrifying character.
It’s interesting comparing her to Sansa, who also has ice in her veins.
LDR She does. Sansa is in a tough spot.  Her father, mother, brothers (three that she knows of) and sister are all presumably dead. She’s married to a Lannister, and not the hot blond one.

 But he’s the best one!
LDR: I’d rather be married to Tyrion, as well.
KH: She just feels constantly trapped.
LDR Bird in a cage (all those little bird allusions from earlier seasons). And now Joffrey is threatening to serve the head of her brother to her on a plate at his wedding feast. BUT in walks disgraced and drunk Ser Dontos.

It’s nice that she gets that act of kindness, but I want her to stay away from him. He’s an idiot and idiots will only get her in trouble.

 True.  She’s still a bit naïve and drawn to kindness…though, ironically, she isn’t drawn to Tyrion’s kindness. The Sansa-Dontos duo is going to be one of the less interesting pairings this season. I want more of Prince Oberyn and Ellaria Sand of Dorne.

 Excellent entrance from those two, and props to Oberyn for wearing a robe dress and making it look tough.

 I wish he had a long mustache to twirl—that would seem right in character. “The Lannisters aren’t the only ones who pay their debts.” Muahaha. Twirl ‘stache.

 Badass. I did like his scene with Tyrion. I think there’s some mutual respect between that pair of second sons.
LDR:  Right. And they share a love of brothels. Though it’s interesting that the sexual stakes are different this season. First, Lannister incest. Then the outing of Renly and Ser Loras. Now bisexual Oberyn.

 GoT is so insane, so sensational, that we as viewers don’t even register incest as being gross anymore. The scene with Jamie and Cersei talking about their relationship did not creep me out at all, where as in the first episode, when they were macking it, it was very shocking. In any other show, if a brother was trying to have sex with his sister, that would be the main event. Something with huge ramifications.

 You know, you’re right. Why doesn’t their relationship bother us anymore? 

 They are each other’s refuge, I think.

 Why do they get a free pass? Is it because Jamie is a more sympathetic character now that he’s been broken? Missing a hand and all?

 When you see how terrible that family and that world is, you want them to have some sort of respite.

 Like Flowers in the Attic? That shit bothered me.

 Flowers in the Attic is traumatizing. All the characters on GoT are sympathetic in a way, even Cersei. I understand why she does what she does—I don’t agree with it—but I understand it.
LDR:  True. Cersei nearly breaking down during the siege was very much a GoT show direction, not part of the books. She’s more vulnerable on the show.

 Or do we no longer care about the incest issue because we are thirsting for more sensationalist things? Bisexual orgies and cannibalism?

 The cannibalism! I almost forgot! See, how bad is that? The Thenns (wildlings) are cannibals who like to roast up a good forearm! Are we numb?

 By the series end, what will they have to do to shock us?
LDR: Sex with dragons.
KH:  Not to get too Rust Cohle on this, but whatever horror they show, we will be responsible for.
LDR:  Oooh. 

 So if it is sex with dragons, we are complicit.
LDR: Can’t we blame George RR Martin a little? And HBO?
KH:  Sure, but HBO is only making them because we’re watching —and crashing their platform. Switching gears, what do we think about Dany’s latest liberation march?
LDR: I still somehow think she’s the most balanced of the leaders: noble and ruthless, firm and fair.

 I liked seeing the bigger dragons, but my no. 1 complaint now and forever about this show is that if there are going to be mythological beasts in this universe, USE THEM MORE.

 Oh totally. 

 There was an article comparing Dany’s philosophy to George W Bush’s foreign policy, pointing out that they align on most things.
LDR:  Shock and awe?

 The Dany storyline drags a bit for me.

 It’s going to ramp up once Daario, aka Nashville,  becomes a love interest.
KH:  I hope so. I like the recast. The dude from Nashville is better looking.

 And she likes strong men…speaking of strong men: Jon Snow.
KH: Jon Snow. I know he is your future ex-husband but he just doesn’t do it for me. Stop pouting, cut your hair.
LDR:  I work with what we have in the absence of Robb Stark/
Richard Madden.

 I did like the small scene when he mourns the death of Robb (my future ex-husband). 

 I appreciate the need for the scene where he confronts the Night Watch elders about being a traitor…but in the grand scheme of Westeros wrongdoing, he seems so clean.

 Agreed. I also liked how Old Man Targaryen on the Night’s Watch council was so flippant about the rules. Those elders are so out of touch with reality.
LDR:  Old Man Targyeran is up there with the Hound in terms of accidental comedy.
KH:  Old Man T was like, “Shut up, fools. No one cares about your bullshit. Let’s get to work!”
LDR:  “Build me a ramp so I don’t have to keep going up and down these damn stairs!”
KH: While watching this episode—mainly because they were harping on poor Jamie so much about his age—I realized I don’t have a good sense of Westeros physics. Do the humans have human lifespans? The seasons are doing their own thing so do humans age differently?
LDR: I always assumed they did, but if the seasons don’t match up—maybe he’s 40 in dog years?
KH:  It has crossed my mind that with our seven-month winter this year, maybe we are moving toward Westeros seasonal time? But I digress. Do they have the same diseases as we do? Tyrion must have herpes, right?
LDR:  One would think so. I’m betting there was a plague of some kind.
KH: It was also useful looking at that map of Westeros because I had no idea where Dorne was.

LDR: Dorne is this desert land where everyone’s tan and eats spicy foods, per the book. The 
New Mexico of Westeros.
KH:  So is Oberyn Walter White and his lover is the Jesse Pinkman of Dorne?
LDR: Oh man, does he have a dirty deal with the proprietor of Ye Old El Pollo Loco?

 How else would he finance his trip to King’s Landing? So next week…
LDR: Next week, we’ll probably see Stannis and Melisandre.

We will probably catch up with Bran and Hodor and the creepfest twins.
LDR:  And revisit Theon/Reek.
KH:  Stannis and Melisandre, being boring, despite having demon gods on their side. Theon…enough. I don’t care. The torture porn was at Mel Gibson levels last year. I am spent.

 I truly forget what happens to his character.

 Isn’t he just a eunuch slave? Crawling about? I would rather a five-minute interlude of direwolves loping across a plain.

KH: Do you think that Joffrey’s wedding will be next week?

LDR:  I think they’ll hold out for mid-late season now. 
Will there be as many intensely gruesome violent scenes each episode?
KH:  I think so.

 I had to cover my eyes. The cast kept saying in pre-seasn interviews, “Things get dark.”  How black are our souls going to get? 

 I  had to palate cleanse before bed with some 30 Rock reruns.

Oh, me too! Parks and Rec.
KH: I think it is safe to say, everyone is going to die and it is going to be terrible/amazing.  Hopefully in the end there will just be dragons and direwolves, frolicking in the sunset.
LDR:  Probably crossbreeding.
 KH:  YES! DIREGONS. I think that should be the name of our new intramural softball team or something.

Tune in next week for more musings on the latest episode of Game of Thrones. The show airs Sunday nights at 9 on HBO.

Image of Prince Oberyn (Pedro Pascal) and Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma) courtesy HBO.

Lit Links: Faulkner in Hollywood, Jargon Wars, Breaking Bad Memoir

William Faulkner’s Hollywood Odyssey
What happens when the greatest Southern writer tries to make it in Tinseltown? Movies stars, true love, and a lot of bourbon.

Mark Twain and the American Voice
How does a nation find its voice? When did American novels become American, and not just imitations of British ones?  This excellent article in The New Yorker looks at how America learned to hear itself talk (spoiler: Mark Twain taught us).

Are We Losing the War Against Jargon?
OMG. IMHO this is SRSLY NP. FWIW the Telegraph RBTL.
(ed. note: I am so old and uncool that just typing those abbreviations exhausted me.)

Flash Fiction Fridays
“Celery green sage green celedon. Ceylon. Iced tea sweet tea cubed coned shaved syrup. Sno-cone. Home.” This week’s installment of Tin House‘s flash fiction feature (under 1,000 words) is a real gem from Caitlin Corrigan.

The One Who Knocks: A Memoir
Bryan Cranston lands a book deal to write a memoir about his time on Breaking Bad. We’re huge BB fans but is this really necessary? Perhaps it’s time to let Walter White rest in peace.

Check back each Friday for new Lit Links, a roundup of some of the best literature news from across the interweb.

Lit Links: China’s Dan Brown, ‘The Road’ as a Children’s Book

The Chinese Novel Everyone Should Read
The Economist reviews Decoded by Mai Jia, who has been referred to as China’s Dan Brown, just way more literary.

 Life’s Too Short to Read a Bad Book
The Millions gets Little, Brown editor Allie Sommers to talk about what, exactly, editors do, and why it’s okay to put down a book before you finish it.

Dark Novels Reimagined as Children’s Books
Why not tuck your kids in with a bedtime reading of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road?

Go Midwest, Young Writer
Flavorwire posits that the Midwest is the new Brooklyn and that we should all pay attention to Rust Belt fiction.

Famous Writers Who Hated Writing
Quote James Joyce: “Writing in English is the most ingenious torture ever devised for sins committed in previous lives.” See what nine other famous scribes have to say in this roundup on the Huffington Post.

Check back each Friday for new Lit Links, a roundup of some of the best literature news from across the interweb.

Is HIMYM’s Mother Dead? Do We Care?

After nine seasons and countless bro tips, the final episode of the hit CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother airs March 31 — and I cannot wait for it to end. 

For so long, I loved how the show explored the relationships of five twentysomethings — Ted, his best friend Marshall, Marshall’s wife Lily, Ted’s ex-girlfriend Robin, and the legend-wait for it-dary Barney — working, living and loving in New York City. Even the structure of the show was interesting: each episode told in flashback by Ted (and narrated by Bob Saget – way to stay in the game, Bob!), as he regaled his teenage children with the story of how he met their mother.

The promise of meeting the titular Mother kept viewers coming back…for eight long years. She was finally introduced at the end of season 8, after multiple yellow umbrellas as red herrings. Sure, it wasn’t a character we’d ever seen before, but we still felt catharsis the moment actress Cristin Milioti appeared onscreen. Now that the Mother was out of the bag, what would the show runners do with her storyline?

So far, remarkably little. The entire final season takes place in the two days prior to Barney and Robin’s wedding — the longest wedding weekend ever — with only a hint of Mother and her backstory until a few weeks ago. What started as a low-level fanboy rumble morphed into a full-fledged earthquake after a cryptic scene in Episode 19, set in 2024 between Ted and the Mother, made it seem as though the Mother was dying. DOES THAT MEAN SHE’S BEEN DEAD THIS WHOLE TIME? I’d never even considered the possibility, and who would want to? Hapless Ted finally meets the woman of his dreams, and she doesn’t stick around for the long haul? But there he is in Episode 19, crying at the dinner table when the Mother foreshadows, casually, that no mom should miss her daughter’s wedding.

When I bombarded my friends with this theory, there was collective shock, anger, and disappointment. “I’ve been watching this g-d show all season only to find out the Mother is dead?!” To confirm my suspicions, I took to the Internet.

The evidence:
1. The Mother is never referred to in the present tense. In any episode. Ever.
2. Savvy viewers also speculated that this scene from season eight points to the fact that the Mother has kicked the bucket.
3. Jason Segel, who plays Marshall, speculated back in 2010 that the Mother was dead. He plays a lawyer on the show, so he obviously knows what he’s talking about.

Here’s the thing: If a title character dies on a TV show, and we barely know her, does anyone care? I know the whole conceit of HIMYM is for Ted to actually meet the Mother, but to be honest, it’s never been  part of the show that I enjoyed. Ted is my least favorite character. I’ve watched and loved the show for the friendships. The alcohol-glazed photos of the opening credits sum it up: five friends, in a bar, having a blast together. Over the years, there’s been a goat fight, the discovery of Robin’s prior life as a teen Canadian pop singer, and the greatest running joke on any sitcom (I said it): the Slap bet. Bring on the sob story, HIMYM, I don’t care. I’ll be watching for that last slap.

The penultimate episode of How I Met Your Mother airs tonight at 8pm on CBS. The series finale airs March 31.

It’s Westeros Madness!

Since I missed the entry for the Billion Dollar Bracket Challenge, I’m going to play Westeros Madness instead. Thanks to westerosmadness.tumblr.com, we can pit Tyrion Lannister (no. 1 seed, naturally) against his father, Tywin (no. 8, though no underdog here) in a true Game of Thrones. And I bet no. 5-seed Samwell Tarly won’t be able to talk his way past the bracket’s scrappiest grandma, no. 4-seed Olenna Tyrell. What about the battle of the would-be queens, Margaery Tyrell (no. 4) v. Sansa Stark (no. 5)?  Margaery’s devious, but Sansa has enough suppressed angst to take down a dragon.

Speaking of dragons: Why is Drogon only a no. 5 seed?! Let’s discuss.

The new season of Game of Thrones premieres April 6 on HBO. March Madness is going on now, I guess.