For years, 'Game of Thrones' fans may have been wrong WHY Ned Stark made that promise

It's even more tragic than we thought.
Game of Thrones - ToJ Promise
Credit: HBO

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON SIX FINALE OF GAME OF THRONES INSIDE:

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Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale 'The Winds of Winter' Review | She Said/She Said

Game of Thrones Season 6 Finale 'The Winds of Winter' Review | She Said/She Said
Credit: HBO

Warning: spoilers for the Game of Thrones season 6 finale "The Winds of Winter" follow...

Game of Thrones delivered a finale packed with moments that paid-off highly anticipated set-ups and gave us entirely unforeseen shocks. What was remarkable was that, often, even when we'd seen an event coming creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were able to deliver a sense of both suspense and awe. We may have known that certain progressions were imminent, but the how was a revelation.

Tommen's fate was pretty much written on the wall last week, but the dark poetic justice of his dive from a high window "for love" was not lost on us. Margaery seemed to be the quintessential survivor, but even she could not defeat the High Sparrow's arrogance. Even as he lectured on the pitfalls of hubris, he died by his own in that inferno. Okay, it was Cersei and the terrifying children of the corn who pulled it off, but he wrote his own death warrant when he manipulated her son into abandoning trial by combat.

There was a great deal of that thematic symmetry in this episode. Cersei's "confession" was in all likelihood the most honest one ever delivered and had the liberating effect that the Sparrows claim their forced confessions will. It was raw, and honest, and so very ugly, but there was also a certain beauty in her total clarity. Her devotion to vengeance. 

As to that, the cycle of revenge continued to go round and round as the Queen of Thorns now looks to align with Dorne (which her presence sort of made interesting, finally) in order to seek her own. What's remarkable is that, as always, no one seems to learn from others' mistakes. The desire to grab power and reap vengeance hasn't lead anyone on this series anywhere good...And yet round and round the bloodshed goes. In that way, this is one of the most fundamentally grounded in the truth of human nature shows on television -- even with the addition of Dragons and ice zombies.

Cersei sitting in her dark attire on that cold and lonely Iron Throne sort of said it all. When you play the Game of Thrones, you win or you die...And yet even when you win, you lose. It brings no joy, no happiness, and is accompanied by far too much pain to be worth it. 

That hasn't stopped Dany from riding her dragons forward, though! She's willing to leave everything, even a man willing to be her silent partner and mistress (mister?) behind, to satisfy her ambition. And as a viewer, even though you know she's making a mistake, you can't help but say YASSSS to the coming fiery confrontation. 

Cersei is now the mad Queen, we can only hope that Tyrion is the balance Dany needs to keep from going the same way.

Side note: Did you notice that Dany and Sansa are now also in dark dresses?

For book readers, this was a big one, as R+L=J was FINALLY confirmed. Yet I have to wonder if that's clear to show watchers who don't scour the internet for clues. They never really said WHO that baby's father is. Though we all know, would you if you weren't already well-versed in that theory? What is notable is that Jon Snow didn't need legitimacy to get support, so just imagine how big his power base will be when the people discover that he has Targaryen blood. Let's not forget that one of the main reasons Robert was given the throne is that he too has some dragon's blood from a Targaryen grandmother. 

Meanwhile, Arya is putting the lessons she's learned into practice and will likely pave the way by eliminating several of her families' enemies. One by one. Or will she join Sansa and Jon on their quest to take back everything the Lannister's stole from them?

One thing is clear, Jon is now in Littlefinger's crosshairs. And as we've discussed previously, the Iron Throne is now an open seat as far as the realm is concerned. Cersei has no real claim. She is no longer Queen Mother, and people will be vying for anyone to take her place. The long-missing Gendry is the only real Baratheon left on the show as Robert's surviving bastard. However, Jon Snow and Dany are far more likely to have the backing of armies and the masses. They both, in fact, have a far more direct claim. Of course, Melisandre isn't dead. We have to wonder if she'll run into Gendry and what that may mean. Will she want his blood to help Jon from afar? Or has she learned her lesson about pointless sacrifices and misunderstanding the Lord of Light? As she said, he's keeping her around for a reason...

We will see if chaos is a ladder, or a pit, or both...

Here, Donna Dickens and Roth Cornet dive deep into the big reveals that the Game of Thrones season 6 finale delivered: what was surprising, what we had predicted, and where it is going from here...

Take a look in the player above or below and chat with us here or on Twitter.

Roth: @RothCornet

Donna: @DonnaDickens

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Season finale review: 'Silicon Valley' tries to take advantage of 'The Uptick'

Can Richard and Erlich save Pied Piper?
<p>Silicon Valley</p>

Silicon Valley

Credit: HBO

A review of tonight's Silicon Valley finale coming up just as soon as I know 400 Satanists in Boston...

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'Game of Thrones' Live Blog - 'The Winds of Winter' are howling

Who will survive the night?
GoT liveblog - Winds of Winter
Credit: HBO

Social media is dark and full of terrors spoilers. To avoid spoiling the fun for fans on the west coast and those who have to wait to beg, borrow, or steal an HBO Go password, this season I’m confining my stream-of-consciousness thoughts to this liveblog. Follow along or flee in fear. Here there be spoilers! Catch up on Episode Nine, 'Battle of the Bastards,' over here.

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This Game of Thrones fan theory is part of the problem

This Game of Thrones fan theory is part of the problem
Credit: HBO

Warning: spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 9, "Battle of the Bastards," follow...

Let's be honest, much of the pleasure of being a part of the Game of Thrones fan community is the opportunity to theorize en masse. Someone will start a thread and others pick it up and, in a way, it's like creating an enormous lore-centric Mad Lib together.

Sansa Stark has had one of the most significant character arcs of this season, so it's natural for fans to focus on what's next for her. Some feel that she may be primed to take the place of a certain character from the books, becoming the show's version of Lady Stoneheart. Others, our own Donna Dickens included, are now seeing a path that leads to a marriage between Sansa and Jon Snow in order for them to fully hold the North. And there are those who believe that Sansa is now primed to join with the devil she knows, Littlefinger, to aim for the Iron Throne itself.

I find one current piece of speculation troubling, though. It's the idea that Sansa is pregnant. Now, it's certainly possible that she is. The bastard-monster-demon Ramsay Bolton raped her, repeatedly. However, this particular notion unsettles me because the "evidence" that some are citing entirely misses the point of her character's development this season.

Last year, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss received a fair bit of criticism for the way the series choose to portray Sansa's rape, as well as the depiction of sexual assault throughout the series' run.

The central issue with Sansa's storyline is that is was told, in cinematic language, from Theon's perspective. In fact, the going argument among some of the viewership for why it worked is that it was about Theon's development. Well, that's just the issue. The sexual assault of a major character on a series like this should not focus on the person who witnessed it and what it means for them. It is about the victim and how it alters their life.

The show, by removing Sansa's point of view, essentially robbed her of agency as a character. It took away her voice. It treated her as if she were a nothing more than a device to highlight what was happening for the males around her. 

Not good.

Game of Thrones has spent much of season 6 course-correcting and answering some of the creative criticisms levied against them. And it's been a joy to watch. 

So, when the audience takes the following statement to mean that Sansa is pregnant, it feels like we're egregiously failing.

“I can still feel what he did, in my body, standing here, right now.”

That is what Sansa told Littlefinger about Ramsay when she -- very rightly -- annihilated her former mentor's attempts to align with her. It does not mean that we should interpret that to mean that she has Ramsay's baby inside her, though. Which some seem to feel is the only way to what -- prove? -- that she has experienced a trauma that will haunt her for the rest of her days?

No, it means that the horror she experienced now lives within her. It's like a phantom that is always with her. That rears up more violently at times, but is always like a hum in the background. She has freaking PTSD, for the love of Mike.

To dismiss that as somehow not explanation enough is, frankly, appalling. Her life, her soul, her sense of self have been brutalized and irrevocably changed. That's it. THAT'S the point. That's what happened. If she were pregnant, she'd likely find some moon tea. But she's not. 

Nor does Ramsay saying, "you can't kill me, I'm a part of you now" indicate that he somehow got a psychic email that he's successfully impregnated her. It means that what he did to her changed her. And of course it did. Among other things, what she has gone through during course of this series is what shaped her into the kind of woman who can order a man to be devoured by his own dogs. So yes, he's a part of her now.

But not literally. 

Taking it as such undervalues the metaphor and what the series' creators are communicating about the consequences of the kind of assault/s Sansa has suffered. So let's not do that. I certainly hope the show has not.

Edit: As Alex Zalben points out on Twitter, she also informed Ramsay that his line would now disappear. So no, she's not carrying it forward.

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Why Tony Hale stopped watching 'Game of Thrones' after the very first episode

Why Tony Hale stopped watching 'Game of Thrones' after the very first episode
Credit: AP Photo

Tony Hale stopped watching Game of Thrones after the very first episode, and I support his reason: he doesn't like seeing little kids get thrown out of windows.

Appearing on a segment of The Wrap's "Wrapid Fire" series, the Veep star opened up about his aversion to the HBO fantasy series when host Stuart Brazell asked him what his favorite character was:

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George R.R. Martin asks Stephen King the one question we've all wondered

George R.R. Martin asks Stephen King the one question we've all wondered
Credit: Andy Atkins/YouTube

George R.R. Martin has been roundly (and unfairly) criticized by Game of Thrones fans for taking his sweet time with the sixth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire, a situation that has resulted in the HBO fantasy drama actually moving ahead of its inspiration’s plotline. The fact is, Martin has been a slower writer than his fans would like for quite a long time now; fifth installment A Dance with Dragons, for example, took a full five years for the author to complete. Game of Thrones' enormous popularity only makes the demand on his output more pronounced. 

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Peter Capaldi gives 6-year-old advice on getting a job on 'Doctor Who'

Step 1: Look grumpy.
Peter Capaldi gives 6-year-old advice on getting a job on 'Doctor Who'
Credit: BBC

Peter Capaldi's Doctor is a lovable curmudgeon. Luckily the Doctor Who star in real life is just plain lovable as a new video of him giving job advice to a young fan proves. Did I mention the little fan is wearing a fez?

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'Star Wars' actor takes over as Vixen on The CW’s 'Legends of Tomorrow'

This is gonna be great.
'Star Wars' actor takes over as Vixen on The CW’s 'Legends of Tomorrow'
Credit: Disney/Lucasfilm

Megalyn E.K. plays DC Comics' Vixen on The CW's animated Seed series and brought the character to live-action last season in primetime on Arrow but Legends of Tomorrow needed a specific workaround to use the character and just found a new actor to play her. She's a CW alum and she was also in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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Beyond 'Veep': The greatest big sitcom ensembles of all time

From 'Cheers' to Selina Meyer, the big casts where every member truly counted.
Beyond 'Veep': The greatest big sitcom ensembles of all time

Among the reasons Veep has stayed so vital at its advanced sitcom age is its big and talented and versatile cast. Between the 10 regulars and all the recurring players, the show never runs out of amusing combinations of people to put in a room together to see what will happen.

The fun of watching that group made me think back to other sitcoms with particularly large — at least 7 regular castmembers for the bulk of the run — ensembles, which I talk about in the video embedded at the top and bottom of this post.

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