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  1. Meanwhile, Arya in Season 7 is strutting around dressed like Ned, wearing her hair like Ned, telling anecdotes about Ned, and quoting Ned, while Sansa is outfitted in a sartorial mishmash of all her non-Stark influences According to Michele Clapton, Bran is the only Stark in S7 whose costumes don't echo those of other Starks. In her episode 7.03 commentary, she says that Sansa's costumes are a combination of elements from both Ned and Cat's clothing and from her own experiences. I don't see any shippiness; since the end of S6 Tyrion has seemed like one of the many men "to love [Daenerys]." Nonetheless I've always enjoyed Sansa and Tyrion's dynamic, and their reunion is one I'm really looking forward to in S8. I think she's the most vulnerable of the remaining Starks, and if another Stark must die before the series ends, it's got to be her. But, for some time now I've thought that Sansa would survive because there are so many elements of life, rebirth and Spring in her narrative -- flowers, fertility, literally rebuilding Winterfell from the snow. Her favorite story is of Florian and Jonquil, two characters named after flowers, one of whom is named after the flower that marks the arrival of Spring. Maybe I'm grasping at weeds (ha!), but I just don't see the story telling us that Sansa is meant to die in the Winter. I think it would be poor storytelling. For several seasons, we've watched Jon and Dany, for example, learn, fail, try again, and succeed in their unexpected journeys towards ruling one group of people or another. I think that if Arya's destination in the story were to rule, we would have seen her learn to do so. IMO, Bran has spent more time learning to rule than Arya has. And we've seen that he was good at being Lord of Winterfell, which is one of the many reasons why I would find it so sad if his story ends as a medieval computer of sorts. What was the point of his early seasons arc, and of giving him the most famous name of the North, the name of heroes and legends of not just the North but of the Stark family, the name of the founder of the Stark family, if he's to leave his home and family behind to commune with birds & trees for the rest of his days? I haven't seen much speculation about Bran's endgame here or elsewhere, but I'm taking hope in his statement to Meera that his memories of being Brandon Stark are obscured but not lost forever.
  2. S07.E07: The Dragon And The Wolf

    I never presented an argument that Jon is not KiTN or that he does not have the right to make decisions unilaterally. He is (or he was), and he does. I do however understand Sansa's frustration even though I don't necessarily find it helpful or productive that she's complaining about Jon's decision making style, yet again, under the current circumstances. But hey, the girl's only human. Soliloquy? Ah, hyperbole...the refuge of those without a good or interesting rebuttal ;) I'm not making that comparison at all. The sentence he says to Jon before the one I paraphrased is, "I'm glad you bent the knee to my Queen." My point was that both Tyrion and Sansa had a similar reaction to the news that Jon had bent to the knee to Dany: why wasn't I consulted before it happened? If, as you say, she wanted to depose Jon and install herself as Queen in that scene, and all that was standing between her and this goal was Arya, why didn't she have Arya executed? She's supposedly contemplating one act of betrayal and treachery, why not contemplate & initiate another betrayal in service of the first? Or, are you saying that Sansa's designs on Jon's throne came from Littlefinger & once he was killed, he took those ideas with him? No, I don't think the last scene between Sansa and Littlefinger was about Sansa's desire/struggle to be QitN at all. I'm sticking to my interpretation that none of Sansa's actions this season speaks to a desire to depose Jon, and almost all of them speaks to a desire to support his reign & agenda. I also don't believe that either Stark sister would have actually killed the other or was really in danger of doing so. If Cersei who is far more cold-blooded than either girl couldn't execute Jaime, there's no way one of the Starks was going to end the season as a kinslayer IMO. Littlefinger wouldn't have called Bran "Lord Stark" or been surprised by his quoting "Chaos is a ladder" or been declaring "none of you knows the truth. None of you was there" during his abbreviated "trial" if Sansa had told him about Bran's powers and new status. I also think that if Littlefinger had known about Bran's powers, he would have tried very hard to create a rift between Bran and Sansa the way that he tried to do with Arya and Sansa once he saw what Arya was capable of. So no, Sansa was not telling him everything. Sansa doesn't inadvertently let him know about the presence of the letter either. At a stretch Maester Woken does; Littlefinger stores his words away for future reference as is his wont. Royce has been suspicious of Littlefinger in every interaction that we've seen between the two men. I don't see Littlefinger successfully manipulating him at this point in the story. I think that the point of that montage was to indicate that Littlefinger was leading Arya along, allowing her to see and hear whatever he wanted her to see and hear. As for Brienne, well, if the S7 script outlines are anything to go by (and I'm not entirely convinced they are), Sansa sent her away to keep her from becoming Littlefinger's pawn. She was outwitting him, not falling for his trap. Maybe Sansa's motivations will be made clear next season if the two women reunite; who knows. She's not kidding, I agree. But she learns, however slowly, painfully, tragically. And I love that. I love that she is completely ordinary among many extraordinary characters and is completely aware of her shortcomings. I've only heard the showrunners speak about their take on Sansa once, in the interview they did with Sophie and Maisie earlier this year. And I found myself agreeing with their take on her -- she seems like a real person, believable because she's flawed in very human, recognizable ways. Throughout the series, she is forced to make hard decisions & gets it wrong sometimes & lives with the often awful consequences of those decisions. And in the process, she learns; that is why I have trouble believing that she was trusted Littlefinger at all this season. As she told him in Moles Town, the physical pain she lives with is a daily reminder of what her trust in him cost her. The story doesn't support that assessment IMO. We have both Tyrion and Jon state this season that Sansa is no dummy. When the season started and Jon left his kingdom in his sister's (untested, possibly resentful, possibly disloyal) hands, I knew that she wouldn't muck it up and make him regret the decision. I knew she'd wouldn't betray the trust he'd placed in her not because of who she is but because of who he is. Jon Snow is not going to be proven so epically wrong at this point in the story.
  3. S07.E07: The Dragon And The Wolf

    What did Tyrion pledge to her? I honestly cannot remember, and I have watched that scene several times because it is a gem of scene. I've wondered for some time why the show refuses to get rid of Cersei sooner rather than later, but that scene answered my question. Lena Heady and Peter Dinklage facing off against one another at any point in the series, but especially at this critical juncture, is worth more Cersei. Wow. (The scene also made me wish we could visit the Stark sisters twenty years from now for a conversation. In my fantasy both sisters are alive and have partook of a buffet of life's offerings rather than the many helpings of tragedy that they currently know. I assume that theirs will be a softer and less bitter reunion, but I love the idea of siblings of a certain age whose relationship has always been prickly taking the full measure of one another and what life has done to them. As much as I enjoyed the last scene between Arya and Sansa, it seemed oddly weightless compared to the emotionally jam-packed Tyrion and Cersei scene.) Tyrion has so accurately pegged his sister in previous seasons, "Cersei is very good at using honest emotions for dishonest purposes," I'm surprised that he did not realize or at least suspect what was happening in their private encounter. Perhaps he was blinded by guilt for the loss of people both of them loved; I don't know. It seems to me that nearly everything Sansa has done since Jon left Winterfell has been in service of his agenda, which is preparing for and defeating the Army of the Dead. Littlefinger says to her early in the season, "The Northerners are only focused on the threat to the north" and she responds, "As they should be." I haven't seen her insinuate or express that her interest is in replacing Jon despite Littlefinger's overtures, "Command suits you." "Jon was made King. He can be un-made King." So I don't have any basis to conclude that Sansa would not be "a queen who recognizes that it's not important who rules over what, but that dealing with he army of the dead is what is most important." Even after she received the raven from Jon announcing that he had bent the knee to Dany, (yikes was that a cold, business-like, Stannis-like letter. Not one mention of the return of his long-lost possibly dead siblings) it seemed that she was bothered as Tyrion was when the same decision was sprung on him, "I would have said that it was a good idea if you had bothered to ask my opinion beforehand." (I'm paraphrasing. I don't remember the exact words used.) To your second point, was she really letting Littlefinger know everything? What really did she let him know & how did/could he use any of it for his gain/Jon's defeat? Noticeably and IMO admirably, she kept from him the one critical piece of information that Lord "Knowledge is power" Baelish really could have used, which is that Bran returned home with the ability to know everything that ever was or is occurring. I think that Sansa meant it when she told Jon, "only a fool would trust Littlefinger," and the time since then was her trying to figure out a way to defeat him without sacrificing what he brings to the table. In large part due to what Bran knew and Littlefinger didn't know, she was finally able to do just that this episode.
  4. S06.E09: Christmas Day

    Isn't that the main reason why Edith decided to "reclaim" Marigold from the Schroeders? IIRC, she wanted Marigold one day to be able to inherit the fortune, property, and magazine that Michael had left to Edith. And speaking of a substantial inheritance, I wonder who Rosamund will choose as her heir(s). She's got quite a lot of money and a gorgeous townhouse in an ultra-posh part of London that has to end up with someone(s) else someday. I thought it was oddly sweet and kind of hilarious that Henry calls Edith "Edie." I like him, and I like Mary when she's interacting with him. His generally irreverent nature is endearing. So glad that Lord Merton and Isobel finally married. It is so obvious that he adores her, and I find him very handsome too. Since he handed everything over to Larry on his way out, does that mean that he and Isobel are living on whatever inheritance she received from Matthew's father? I found the "passing of the baton" moment between Violet and Cora incredibly touching and frankly long overdue. I have to admire Cora's forbearance; I don't think that I would have suffered Violet's insistence on remaining the queen bee of Downton as sanguinely as Cora has done for 30-plus years.
  5. Who's got questions?

    We'll never know. At any rate, these suggestions would have served Edith better in the eyes of the audience than the storyline we got, I imagine.
  6. Who's got questions?

    I had forgotten that was the official story. It would have made more sense and spared a lot of heartache for everyone involved, IMO, to have Isobel raise Marigold as her ward and make Edith the very-involved godmother. A few years ago I watched the Keira Knightley movie The Duchess, which was the story of the first wife of the 5th Duke of Devonshire. While married, she became pregnant by future Prime Minister Charles Grey, and the child, Eliza Courtney, was raised by Grey's parents. It wasn't ideal but at least she grew up within the same social circle as her parents and went on to have a life of relative privilege. Her story was the one in the back of my mind when the Marigold storyline was being played out. Thanks to everyone who responded to my questions!
  7. Who's got questions?

    I'm fascinated by Marigold's storyline. Downton Abbey is far removed from reality in many ways, but her story seems the most fantastical to me. What was/would be the real life fate at that time of someone like Marigold, the illegitimate daughter of an unmarried female aristocrat? It struck me as really odd that Edith would place her daughter with the Drewes whose social and financial status are so far removed from that of the Crawleys in an era when such things really mattered. And what is Marigold's last name? Schroeder? Drewe? Crawley?
  8. S05.E08: Rasputin

    So how do Olivia & Fitz come back from this?? How do they go on to make jam and possibly babies in Vermont after Fitz has effectively become her jailer? They've wronged each other in many ways that we've seen, but somehow this one seems the most egregious in my eyes. It seems, dare I say it, abusive. I've been enjoying paying attention to the color of Olivia's outfits this season. I especially loved in this ep that Olivia wore a white coat to visit the defector in the hospital & give him a chance to gain asylum. But underneath it was the mostly black and grey outfit that she wore for her tete-a-tete in the Oval with Jake. And the preview shows her wearing red at a White House cocktail party. Might as well be a scarlet A.
  9. S05.E06: Get Out Of Jail, Free

    LOL. Unfortunately, it's never been insinuated & certainly never been stated in the show that Fitz is not good at his job. IMO we the viewers have to suspend major disbelief about what Fitz is capable of and what his administration has achieved. This might be belong in the Olivia thread, but I'll just say that I don't think she would stick around for so long if Fitz were the dud that I, for example, think he is. I'm sure she believes she bet on (and helped rig an election for) the right horse.
  10. S05.E06: Get Out Of Jail, Free

    But hasn't all of their previous delaying rested on the fear that going public and/or divorcing Mellie would adversely affect Fitz's presidency and legacy. I recall a lot of blathering on about Fitz's potential for greatness, etc. It wasn't until the beginning of the season and the conversation with Not Princess Diana that the show introduced the idea of Liv possibly losing her identity if she marries Fitz. That's how I recall it anyway.
  11. S05.E06: Get Out Of Jail, Free

    As outlandish as this show is, until this episode, I never felt that Olivia/Fitz was contrived in any way or at least in any way that took me out of the show. But Olivia's hesitation at getting married to Fitz rang completely false and unearned to me. As much as Mellie and Fitz have complained about the White House being a very high-end jail, it's never seemed like Olivia was bothered by the idea of a public life with Fitz. After all, she's wanted to stand in the sun with him for years. So, the whole thing "OMG I'm losing my identity and my power base if I marry the POTUS" didn't sit well with me at all. I'm not a shipper on this show, but I realize that a happy ending is inevitable for these two. Let's get there, shall we. On the other hand, Mellie and Fitz's fight and current mutual enmity struck me as very real. As tedious as their push-pull and repetitive arguments are getting, it seems like a natural ending to a relationship that has spanned decades, spawned children, made history, been beautiful, been ugly. I don't know how this relationship will be once the dust settles & the blood dries, but I would like to see them forge a delicate peace. This relationship intrigues me; Fitz/Mellie are so deliciously messed up & I find their dynamic compelling. I can't believe Papa Pope is on the loose; what a colossally stupid mistake on Mellie's part. On a show level, this is like the George/Izzy relationship or the Izzy/Dead Denny relationship on Greys: Shonda just digging in her heels as viewers complain vociferously about a storyline.
  12. Mellie Grant: Her Hair is Done!

    I never understood why Fitz and Mellie had a fake how-we-met story. What's scandalous about saying that his father and her boss were good friends who decided to play matchmaker, and they succeeded. What's wrong with that story?
  13. S05.E04: Dog-Whistle Politics

    I truly wonder what Fitz's thought process was..."I am the President of the United States. I want to do the Right Thing, which means that I uphold the Constitution, which means that I serve the American people, all of which can only mean -- Eureka!-- I must take Olivia out on a very public date." What??
  14. S05.E03: Paris Is Burning

    I agree that there is no moral compass on this show despite all the jibber jabber about White Hats. But, I do feel a twinge of sympathy for Mellie because, from where I'm sitting, she hasn't had a win or someone to make her feel like a winner in...ever. Even Cyrus had James; go figure. So I'd like to see Mellie triumph in love or ambition one of these days. But then again, I'm the kid who sympathized with Tom the self-destructive cat rather than Jerry the clever mouse while watching my morning cartoons ;) The Grant family have a house that has been theirs for generations?! Didn't Fitz tell us that Grandpa Grant was a dock worker and that Big Jerry was the source of the family wealth? And anyway, won't the house stay in the Grant family as the only heirs that Mellie will have are her children by Fitz?
  15. S05.E03: Paris Is Burning

    Poor Mellie. There is not one person in the world who is loyal to her, which I think is very strange. Why wouldnt she have assembled a team of advisors in all the time she's been in the public eye? She needs to lick her wounds, regroup and behave like the leader she wants to be. (She just got sworn in as VA's newest Senator, and she's going to be on the national ticket in 18 months. Really?? Only in Shondaland.) I'm glad that Mellie treated Olivia mostly indifferently. I long for the day when she treats Fitz that way. More than anything she needs to get over him. Fitz, on the other hand, is completely in Liv's thrall. If I didn't loathe him so much I'd laugh. I hope he is the laughingstock of the world right now; I bet the other world leaders are rolling their eyes at Fitz and counting him out. He and his White House have come to a halt because of a mistress. This is like that S Carolina governor who went off the grid, literally, for "love." Historic second term - ha! Only in Shondaland!