She-Hulk Ep 8 w/ Cody Ziglar, HOTD Ep 7 & Ask the Maester w/ History of Westeros + LOTR: The Rings of Power Ep 7 | Crooked Media
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October 07, 2022
X-Ray Vision
She-Hulk Ep 8 w/ Cody Ziglar, HOTD Ep 7 & Ask the Maester w/ History of Westeros + LOTR: The Rings of Power Ep 7

In This Episode

On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion, Rosie Knight, Cody Ziglar ribbit and rip it! In the Previously On (4:31) Jason and Rosie are joined by Cody Ziglar for She-Hulk episode 8 to discuss how Zig handled writing fight scenes between iconic Marvel characters, what the deal with the Sokovia Accords is, and how long he thinks a certain Hell’s Kitchen resident has been fighting crime in the MCU. In the Airlock (29:27) Jason and Rosie dive deep (deeep) into Rings of Power to recap and unpack episode seven, probing how and when we might see the rings forged, Elrond and Durin’s friendship, and the Stranger’s identity. In the Hive Mind (1:00:19), Jason is joined by Aziz – half of the expert duo behind the fantastic History of Westeros podcast and youtube channel – to recap episode seven of House of the Dragon and discuss eyes lost, dragons gained, and a guardsman’s demise. In Ask the Maester (1:48:14), Jason and Aziz answer listener questions about House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones, including dragon family trees, history as an imperfect source, sabotaging dragons, and more.


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Jason Concepcion Warning. This podcast contains spoilers folks for She-Hulk Episode eight for House of the Dragon Episode seven and for Rings of Power, also episode seven. So be warned. Watch that stuff before you come here. Hello. My name is Jason Concepcion. Welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast where we’re diving deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture. In this episode, we’re going to be talking about She-Hulk episode eight with that episode’s writer, the wonderful Cody Zig Ziglar in the airlock. We’re going to be talking about Lord of the Rings, Rings of Power episode seven Big Bad Balrog is here. And the Hive Mind, we’re going to be talking about House of the Dragon episode seven with my good friend Aziz from the History of Westeros Podcast, one of the best to ever do it. And of course, he’s going to be helping us with Ask the Maester this episode. If you want to jump around, check out the show notes for timestamps. And joining me today from New York City, Comic-Con, the big city I’m walking here. It’s the great comics expert, the number one Godzilla writer. It’s Rosie Knight, Rosie. How are you?


Rosie Knight I am very good. I also just realized I’m not wearing headphones, so I’m going to put headphones on.


Jason Concepcion I’m recording here.


Rosie Knight Now that I got my headphones from Matt Murdock in Hell’s Kitchen, he was holding on to them for me.


Jason Concepcion He doesn’t need them.


Rosie Knight He doesn’t need them. He’s got extra good hearing, as we like to say. No, I’m good. I’m so happy to be here. It’s going to be so fun.


Jason Concepcion Well, let’s dive into it. There’s so much. First up, She-Hulk episode eight. And joining us now to discuss She-Hulk episode eight, Ribbt and Rip It, is the writer of that very episode, the wonderful, the all knowing Cody Zig Ziglar. Cody how are you, man? Great episode.


Cody Ziglar Thank you, brother. I’m good. I am as. As you have both seen. I just woofed down half of a chopped cheese because I literally walked over here to this recording from Comic-Con. I have indeed been walking here and I got like a chopped cheese. So, like, I mean, I’m like, I’m really leaning into my Hell’s Kitchen days, so, like.


Rosie Knight I love that.


Jason Concepcion Well, lots to unpack in this episode. But first, let me set the stage by reading this this tweet by TelevisedWhore that was tweeted on September 29th, and that was later, quote, tweeted by a head writer of She-Hulk, Jessica Gao. Here is the tweet. Kevin Feige, please, I will literally suck your dick if it means Daredevil will finally show up in hashtag She-Hulk. There are only two episodes left and I’ve seen zero Charlie Cox To reiterate, I will perform oral sex on you, Kevin, in order to see more Daredevil. This is not a joke. And the tweet by Jessica Gao. Time to collect. So Matt Murdock makes his triumphant MCU debut as Daredevil. Talk to us about writing this episode.


Cody Ziglar Man, dude, it’s I mean, I’ve been saying this all day, but the word is surreal. It’s so crazy. You know, three years ago, it’s been like we wrote this stuff, but I’m sure Gao can attest to it. But I think the reason I was given this episode is because one day we were discussing, you know, like, hey, who can we use? They’re like, well, you know, contractually we can use Daredevil because like some Netflix thing or whatever.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Cody Ziglar So like we were talking about like how how does how does Daredevil’s Powers work within the confines of the MCU? You’re like the TV shows, like a little bit more grounded, like can we how can we comic book it? And they were like really going back and forth. They’re like, All right, so he can hear back how well can he hear? I just happened to have the panel and Mark Wade’s Our Daredevil of the trade paperback. And I pulled it out to the exact page where he he’s if you see where he’s walking through the streets of New York with a body and he’s like, you see, like his powers going off and stuff and like, this is how his power works. And they all were like hush. And they were like, calm down, put the comic book away. And then they’re like, All right. I think we think we think Zig has to write the Daredevil episode. So I think that’s how I somehow fanboyed my way into writing for Daredevil.


Rosie Knight That is incredible. And I am pretty sure that when we spoke to GAO, she was like, you know, Cody would always be pulling out a comic book. So I’m pretty sure you are absolutely correct. The best thing about this, I think, is like, one, you just you have Matt down on Pat like.


Cody Ziglar Thank you.


Rosie Knight It’s so much fun. I was saying this before we started recording, but like a lot of the Netflix Daredevil is like Matt is so hot and he’s getting beaten up and he’s got Catholic guilt and he’s like, so sexy and broken. But comic book Matt is kind of like Dwarfy and like at the time, right? So it was kind of fun.


Jason Concepcion Much quippier than, much quicker than I think people realize.


Rosie Knight Yeah, he’s like, quippy, he’s silly. He’s he’s kind of an old hat being a superhero and all of that really comes across here. So could you talk about kind of getting to build and introduce that rapport between him and Jen, because that’s such a big comic book thing.


Cody Ziglar Yeah. You know, again, like, I mean, I’m sure like everyone here, like we love the the Netflix Daredevil series.


Rosie Knight Of course.


Cody Ziglar And like the really the way we’re going into it, the way that I sort of pitched it, was that that be the scene where they’re at the bar where he’s talking about both worlds like Jen can do this, and Jen can do that. Like that was pretty much my pitch for the episode was that like this is truthfully like Jen Jennifer’s or She-Hulk, like I guess at first like superhero outing like she’s never done.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Cody Ziglar Superhero shit. So, like, classic comic like you have a team up in like it makes perfect sense to bring Matt like they have a relationship in the comics, like, and there are very few other lawyer superheroes within the Marvel world that like you want to play together. And also like, you know, their dynamic in the comics is super fun. Like, like Zeb would always reference the are the panel in this She-Hulk comic where they’re all like on the Golden Gate Bridge.


Rosie Knight Yeah. Yeah. The Charles Saul stuff.


Cody Ziglar Yeah, yeah, he just busted out like a squat in mid-air, like, yeah, that’s the fun dynamic of the relationship. So like, we really wanted to bring that into it. Gao was very, very, very she was very kind. Let me pretty much run wild with it. And I like that was like our friend. This is supposed to be like our oh She-Hulk has transitioned into like a superhero like obviously still learning with like this the proper mentor to have and like best there’s definitely the energy we went into when like writing this episode like I was like writing a team up is always been the dream, but with like Tatiana and Charlie Cox is like, that was a fucking dream, dude.


Jason Concepcion I know. I just came away being like, I can we need, we need much more of this, whether this is a series or something. I love, I love that mentorship and I love the way, you know, as, as Matt gives a dissertation on the difference between goons and haters. You know, something he’s very familiar with these, he’s waded through their houses and bars. Plenty of both varieties.


Cody Ziglar Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And then, you know, they’re talking about how, how they’re going to approach this particular problem of, of invading the lily pad. And Jen’s like, don’t just let me do my thing. And I love the way it. Yeah, that Matt’s like, what thing? You’ve never done this. Don’t do this. And then it’s it that dynamic is so perfectly distilled from the comics. How much of that like just like did you was that a collaboration also between the actors? Like how much of that just like emerged from this kind of like the process of just doing it and seeing them do it?


Cody Ziglar I think from what I mean, I, Gao was on, I remember she was texting you when she was shooting that episode. She was like, fucking Tat and Charlie, you have like, you’re just like Sparky because like, they have such a good chemistry. So like a lot of that I think was also like rewritten on the day by Gao because, you know, you see them working together and she was like, yeah, like the, I think the first scene they shot. But she was texting me about the, the bar scene which like the first like flirty scene.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Cody Ziglar Yeah. In the episode. And she was like, yeah, they, they have such good chemistry. I think people are really going to dig. It’s like I think she really leaned into it and like the fact that we got like the first walk of shame of the MCU was really like.


Jason Concepcion That was so funny.


Rosie Knight In the comics.


Jason Concepcion It was so funny.


Rosie Knight So good.


Jason Concepcion I think it’s funny is anytime someone gets smacked in the head with a titanium stick.


Cody Ziglar Yeah.


Jason Concepcion There is nothing funnier in Marvel Comics than getting knocked out by a stick.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Cody Ziglar Truly, it’s like, here’s some little CTE for you. Bow.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, yeah, yeah.


Rosie Knight But so yeah. And the the funnest thing about this episode is like especially in the lead up, you guys really got to play with the fact that like it’s not just Matt, you know, in his first long form written after that, like very funny, you know, Cameo and Spider-Man. But you also got to play with this idea that there’s, like, this other character everyone wants to see. And it’s like. So could you talk a little bit about like bringing in Leapfrog and having, like, Eugene be Leapfrog instead of his dad? Or at least it’d be more of a legacy thing and just kind of generally the fun that you had bringing in this like trashy rich kid super villain.


Cody Ziglar I got Leapfrog was 100% the pitch from Zeb Wells for some reason. He was a huge Leapfrog. He was a huge Frog Man stan.


Rosie Knight Incredible.


Rosie Knight He would not shut up about like you saw his episode before like that.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Cody Ziglar He loves like F-list characters. So he was really, really gunning for Leapfrog. You were like, Yeah, this is a dorky character we could put in. And I think we really liked the idea of like, you know, it’s L.A. based. So, like, does it make more sense to have, like, him be like, oh, he’s like a L.A. rich kid. So.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Cody Ziglar So like, you know, the idea, like, his dad is like on the level, but like, Eugene is just like a snotty rich kid that has millions of dollars and like he likes to cosplay as Tony Stark on the weekend. He’s a dipshit. And like, you know, the idea that he’s like surround himself with a bunch of goons who are just like, yes-men who like hanging out with him in his leep. And like, that’s very much the energy that we wanted to bring for Leapfrog, but that’s how we thought we could bring it, like a nice, fun update to him and make it like a little bit LA, more L.A. specific.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Something that I’ve really been amazed at is the way this show has predicted the conversation around the show whether it’s.


Rosie Knight Incredible.


Jason Concepcion Like it’s incredible, whether it’s the honestly and sadly predictable reaction of like the toxic, the the toxic fan base, or in this episode the way it seemed to predict the Nicky is the bad guy theory that has been floating around. That is a theory that has emerged of late, that it’s that it’s Nicky who is the leader of the bad guys.


Cody Ziglar Oh wow.


Jason Concepcion That’s.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion That has been going around.


Cody Ziglar Oh, wow.


Jason Concepcion That. And so there is that moment where, you know, post the hook up with Matt, Jen’s breaking the fourth wall being like why is the episode still going? That it’s still going. Is there’s like some big twist that’s going to happen? Then Nikki like jumps out. But.


Cody Ziglar Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And there’s, like, even the kind of, like, ominous, diegetic music. Like, oh, here it is. But then she has, you know, her makeup gear and she’s getting gin ready for the gala. Like, Are you surprised at how well, like, you’re just finding out about the Nikki’s the bad guys here? Yeah, but I was like, holy shit. They even predicted that people would point out that Nikki is a bad guy. Like, yeah. How much of that was has surprised you that.


Cody Ziglar I didn’t even know that because I didn’t know that Nikki was a bad guy was the thing that was around. But, you know, I think that that that scene was added by Gao. Like, so, like, I think it’s really a testament to how fucking on the pulse Jessica is. And also like.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Cody Ziglar She’s been writing forever. Like, you guys are interviewed like she’s been writing forever. Like, truly like half. I think her first two years writing, she wrote like 30 scripts, which is unheard of for a writer. So like she just knows that shit, like the back of her hand in and out and like, I think she also like she’s a huge MCU fan. So I think she also knows how the fans would react to things, particularly when you have me and Deb and Jackie, Gail in the room yelling about MCU theories. And, you know, it’s like I think the call was definitely coming inside the house for some of that. But like, I think, I mean, the gathering touch on it, but like the like the Intelligencia side of it, like, oh, that’s it. Those dudes are just so easy to predict.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Cody Ziglar They really have had one song they’ve been singing for like 15, 20 years, whether it’s like, you know, Oh, they made six of nine as a lady. GROSS Or whether it’s a, you know, it’s like, oh, what? Captain Marvel’s a woman now? Get out here. So, it’s like, like so easy it so easy to predict and like to the point where, like, their insults mean nothing because it’s just like.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Cody Ziglar It’s just like, you know, chatter in the background, but like, all that stuff is so easy. And also like it was really funny that, you know, they would just literally take some of the tweets that they said when the show was first announced and put them into the show, I personally love that a lot.


Rosie Knight Yeah. Yeah. Jessica was saying, like for sure that one of the funniest things was it just shows how like absolutely irrelevant it is because you could guess it three years before and it just never evolved like you were just making and to see. So kind of, I guess something I found really interesting is like when we see the intelligentsia kind of agents or whoever they are today, the guys they had a very like, you know, the the misrepresentative use of the anonymous kind of the mask that became known as an annonymous that was obviously V for vendetta. So could you talk a little bit about like introducing like members of the intelligentsia for the first time and kind of put in a face to that.


Cody Ziglar Yeah, I’m trying to read how it came up in the room. I feel like it would have had to be a Peter pitch from me, Zeb, or Jackie. But they were looking for like, you know, evil organizations that like, could be a little bit more approachable that wasn’t like that, that the Syndicate of Evil or whatever they were like.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Cody Ziglar These are just like obviously just like nerds that think they’re so if they think they’re really smart, you know, you guys can go on any subreddit or forge and and see.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Cody Ziglar How these how these people operate. So I wanted to take you something like that and also like make it a little bit more, more I guess as grounded as it can be in a world full of like gods and stuff like that. So if you were to take that out of the show and put it in like fucking SVU, it would be a real thing where you could very easily see that, that, that, that, that, that 1 to 1. And also that’s the scary part. Like, that’s the that’s the thing that Gao would talk about the rooms like it’s scary when like you could walk down the street and any of these dudes could be taking pictures of you and send it to like their website because that’s what these dudes do. Like, you know, any, like they’re like, you know, even lower level paparazzi only they’re, they’re explicitly for the idea of like revenge porn, which is pretty much how this episode ends. And, and like, you know, it’s I was just watching a doc on what was that website? Is Anyone Up? I just watch the doc. So yeah for those you know that that was a website when we were young that was around like that was before there were revenge porn laws, like they would just have as site a were people were just like not only like upload revenge porn, but they would fully steal pictures from people. And I put in like, I like very much reality.


Rosie Knight Put names of women that they wanted people to get revenge porn or photos of like.


Cody Ziglar They’re there where they work their Facebooks and stuff and like the idea that that could happen to someone who is impenetrable like that. I think that was like the emotionally. And so I hate to make it really scary and then really, really approachable for like things like a lot of I think women deal with when they date people like that sort of yeah. I think to me that to be me like the scary things about the, the arc of the whole series. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion When you are approaching an episode like this and there’s significant action scenes in it, you know, we get, you know, people have been like complaining that there is not like a daredevil hallway scene, kind of action scene in MCU TV and the Disney plus offerings of of Marvel’s Fares. How do you how do you approach that in the script? Is it just like and then She-Hulk and Daredevil fight and then She-Hulk and Daredevil take out goods.


Rosie Knight And then Daredevil jumps down the side of a cool car.


Jason Concepcion Or is it more. Yeah, or is it more detail than that? Like, how does that work in in that writing process?


Cody Ziglar I had to look at the script, but I think for like I think with their first fight scene, it was like Jen or She-Hulk punches that Daredevil and he like dodges aerobatically. I think that’s like sort of like the loosest to lose, like for what I lose at action lines I had for it. But like for the hallway scene, I think, this was also like a Zeb pitch, was that like it was supposed to be one reference to like the the hallway scenes and all the Netflix shows and like, I can’t remember what it said exactly, but I was like, Daredevil prepares to fight out a bunch of goons in a hallway scene. I like Netflix, and then, like, Jen just comes in, like, takes it all out. Like, you know, how do you how do you really top that? But like, I was definitely like I remember pretty I think I remember pretty well putting in like, really, like, really wanted to nail like the acrobatics of Daredevil because like, yeah, for me, like when I’m sure you guys relate to like whenever you’d see those panels of like Daredevil or Captain America or Spiderman, any like acrobatic character where they would have like the ghost images of them, like off the wall, like flipping off a thing. Like those are always my favorite, favorite moments and like, oh yeah, yeah. Like, like for me personally, like seeing like Spiderman two where like Peter like flies to like the little thin railing. And my instinct like that to me is the coolest shit on the planet. Like I love seeing that. Like that to me is like, that’s like that’s the coolest part. Like Super Powers is being like that acrobatic and that inverse, like being able to see like, you know, it’s crazy that you get to write something in like you see fucking daredevil dodger, I hope ground pound by flipping it, you know.


Rosie Knight Yeah. I’m going to say that scene when we first see him and he’s like going he like jumps down the side of the like parking lot. That is exactly what I thought of was those ghost images where you can almost see him on each different level, you know.


Cody Ziglar Cause it’s like 20% more like, didn’t really feel like it’s like 20% more than like a guy who’s really good at parkour could do that. Like, there’s street level guys.


Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s like, it’s, it’s just you could almost believe you could see it, but, you know, it’s just a little bit more graceful than it would have been. I think I’m a stupid question here because there is a moment and I’m sure like this definitely feels like something that you might not have just casually thrown in. But I that’s my favorite thing about these shows is they throw in these moments that will just blow up my brain like the Falcon and the Winter Soldier moment, where it Sam’s like none of us get paid. And it’s just like fucking ruined my head for like, two weeks. And I’m like writing these insane articles about the economics. So the moment in this, which I was very Matt just casually, he’s like, Oh, you know, the Sokovia Accords have been repealed. Can you just talk about that, please?


Jason Concepcion Oh yeah. We must say that that was such a small drop, but I was like, wait, what? The y peraled it?


Cody Ziglar That’s that’s a Jessica ad.


Rosie Knight Love that.


Cody Ziglar They were shooting because I think I gave her what I originally had in there, but I think it was something like, um, I think it might have been like a really dense, like a lawyer talk because we had like an actual lawyer in the episode and like that’s when I got out really all the lawyer talk about like I think I’m assuming she had some conversation. She’s like, I just like repeal this thing because like we haven’t really talked about it like a fucking decade and also like it really comes up a lot of the stuff like that was that was a Gao ad. Also the Wolverine clause that Nicky Dustin was also a really fun Gao ad. Like I remember, I got like I remember reading like the production script to be like, Oh fuck, I wish I would have thought of that. But.


Rosie Knight No, I love that. And it’s kind of it makes something that we talk about a lot is like, how do you set up the MCU for like the X-Men and all that kind of stuff and actually like. Resetting things so that like more grounded versions of things like the Mutant Registration Act and stuff are now in the past, like the Sokovia laws have been repealed. It opens up the space to do something that’s a lot more textural as we move into like introducing more mutants and more characters, something that She-Hulk has done a lot of, by the way.


Cody Ziglar Yeah, I mean, I really I mean, obviously I’m biased, but like one thing that I really have enjoyed about the show, because again, I’ve been almost three years removed from it outside of seeing like being on set a couple of days or like or seeing like, you know, like PS2 graphics, like tipos, Tatiana.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Cody Ziglar Like that’s, I’ve been pretty removed from like seeing like one of the things that I really do about the show is that like it does feel like a comic book as far as like, oh yeah, these characters are going to show up. Like, you need to hear the fucking backstory of how Porcupine got his powers, right?


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Cody Ziglar How, like, you know, Man Bull was created out of, like, a throwaway line that you would see. Like, you’re right, like. Like that. And, like, I really like that that is added that sort of like, you know, texture, but also like, oh, this how big the universe is. Big to them.


Rosie Knight It feels like a comic book.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, it really does.


Cody Ziglar Like your neighbor can have superpowers, but, like, he still works out like a janitor. Like he doesn’t have, like, for, like for like crusading. He’s just a dude that, like, yeah, he can, like, shoot, he can control rats. Like, that’s his power. Like, he doesn’t use it for good or for evil. Like, so, like, I’m really excited for like some of the future shows and movies and stuff that like sort of explore that. We’re like, Yeah, like you could have the guy in your building that has powers as ice powers. Like, his name’s Johnny. He just, like, goes to work like every other. So, like, I really, really enjoyed that show. But again, I’m also very biased so.


Rosie Knight Not. It’s the most


Cody Ziglar I’m acknowledging that.


Rosie Knight It is the most comic book he kind of representation of the way that in those in those universes those characters do just exist and that’s something that we kind of really loved about it.


Jason Concepcion It’s like the walk of shame. Like, I love that we are in a place in the MCU now where it’s just like there’s just a superhero walking around in the daytime and everybody’s like, Oh yeah.They might sneak a selfie. But that’s it, you know, it’s it’s really, really normal. The other thing I liked and it was a subtle thing was and I wonder if you could talk about it was. Matt being kind of surprised that Jen hasn’t heard of Daredevil, letting us know, letting us know that he’s been at this, he’s been doing this. And like, sure. You know, Jen has not been the most, other than the fact that her cousin is Hulk, has not been the most like plugged into like superhero culture. So any idea how long Matt’s been been going about his Daredevil business?


Cody Ziglar We have been talking about we didn’t plan on a solid date, but it has been a while because we are an early runner in the room was like, how big is Hell’s Kitchen really? Like, I’m here right now. I was like you know, it’s 15, is like ten, 15 blocks. It’s not like a huge area that he’s covering. So like, you know, it’s not like he’s like anyone outside of like New York area. We’re like, really know who he was like, yeah, like, yeah. We never allowed him a hard day, but like, he’s been doing it for like a while. Like he’s a seasoned pro. Like, the whole idea is that like, if there is like people that have been doing it from the jump in my mind, like, I don’t know if this is true or not don’t how Feige sees it, Kevin Feige, but like I was like, oh he’s like one of the OG guys. I imagine he got his powers like, like before. Like, you know Captain America was doing his thing like before people knew what superpowers like. I mean, I guess guys sports but like before like the Avengers were like big thing like you would have like, oh there’s that there’s a Daredevil of Hell’s Kitchen save me from getting mugged. Like I think like right but it maybe he didn’t have the branding just yet. Like, I think he was very much like he’s been doing stuff for a while now.


Rosie Knight I think that you actually did such a great job. We were actually talking about it before we came. That moment where Matt is giving Jen the advice in the bar that tells you that story of what you just said. Yeah, like that’s exactly how it felt. And I was saying, like, I would love to see Matt take on that role in future shows or movies where he kind of gets to be that for everyone. He can kind of cranky and a bit like, Well, I’ve done this before rolling my eyes. But he can also be giving good advice. Like Jen should be out there being a superhero as well as a lawyer. Matt has done a very good job of that, even though he’s constantly breaking the law and he’s a little hypocrite. Like still, he has made a career, you know, and I so I guess that kind of leads to another really cool thing. What was it like for you? This is the first episode where She-Hulk gets the iconic suit. So like, what was it like for you to get to write that in and then get to like finally see it in the purple and white that Luke made for her? Like, this is, like you said, her first superhero outing. So it’s the first She-Hulk suit in the MCU.


Cody Ziglar I mean, like, all of it was all of it was very crazy. All of it was, was, was like the dream come true. But like being like this is like in the room where like this is going to be like her like suiting up moment because up into that up until that point episode like she’s obviously she’s been caught between two wars and just like being a lawyer and being super or being She-Hulk lawyer and like being Jane. But also the idea of like slowly been being pushed up against like the idea of the superhero shit. So like the superhero stuff, but also like getting like, you know, being able to like finally see him. Like, I remember Jessica like, was like showing me like something like the prelim, like, Pre-editted stuff, but I was like, Oh, it’s crazy. They’re like, that’s the suit. Like, I remember, yeah, playing Marvel’s Ked Com 3, like that’s the suit.


Jason Concepcion That’s it.


Rosie Knight Same video games, baby.


Cody Ziglar Maybe. Yeah. Like where is the bus going to come up and hit and hit up Daredevil or shoot to level three or whatever. Like it was, it was really cool and like I’m, I can’t, I cannot thank Gao enough for like letting me like giving me this opportunity. Like it was like my first episode of like actual, like, you know, scripted TV, like, not storyboards and animated stuff and like getting like for me anyway, I was like, I was like, oh shit. I’m the guy that has to introduce Daredevil. Like, I hope I don’t fuck it up.


Rosie Knight You did it. You smashed it. You smashed it.


Cody Ziglar Thank you. But it was, it was. It was really cool and really surreal and like, I cannot thank Gao enough for, like, giving me the opportunity to, like, take my two toys and bash them in the sand, the sandbox, like, I’d be wanting to forever. Like, for me, like, the end goal was always like wanting to write for Marvel. Like I want to get to that point, like having the first job be like I only get to write for She-Hulk, but you get to write She-Hulk and Daredevil. It was like, Oh wow. Well, like, I guess I could just like, quit now. I don’t have to write anything. You. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Well, Zig, congratulations. We can’t wait to watch.


Cody Ziglar Thank you.


Jason Concepcion The finale. Have a great time in New York.


Cody Ziglar Thank you.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. And see you soon.


Cody Ziglar Yeah.


Jason Concepcion And please take a picture of you. You two meeting in public.


Cody Ziglar Oh, yeah. Let’s do it.


Rosie Knight Well, we will. Yeah, that’s the goal now. That’s the way.


Cody Ziglar Yeah.


Jason Concepcion All right. Up next, rings of power.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>


Jason Concepcion We’re stepping out of the airlock and into, into the place that, you know, into the Southlands. Hashtag Mordor. Hashtag Mount Doom. Hashtag Theo to jail. To talk about one of The Rings,Rings of Power. The Eye, directed by a Charlotte Brandstrom, written by Jason Cahill, the Southlands. Folks, it’s a mess.


Rosie Knight Hot mess.


Jason Concepcion Hot mess. Ashy, very bad. It’s never coming back from this. We know for a fact.


Rosie Knight Smoggiest place you’ve ever been. Everyone is covered, as Seoul pointed out, with a thin layer of paprika. It’s there. Things are going bad. Everyone’s dusty.


Jason Concepcion The survivors, dusty as they are emerging from the destruction wrought by the creation of Mount Doom. It’s all Theo’s fault. Moving on from that, Galadriel finds Theo and helps him out of the dust. Everyone else is kind of like slowly straggling to their feet. Muriel is rallying survivors, including Isildur and Vilandil. But then a building falls on them. The building is on fire and that’s bad. Across the way, our Harfoot friends come to a scene of carnage which is created by debris that was thrown clear from the newly created Mount Doom. Sadoc gets the stranger to try and heal a tree, but the results are kind of scary for the Harfoots, and Nori almost gets crushed. And then the Harfoots basically are like, is the stranger good? We don’t think so. Over at Khazad-dum and by the way, I could spend 50 years with Elrond and Durin.


Rosie Knight They are the best. And as we learned this week, which we kind of had already had hints of in like episode five, basically their friendship, shall we say, love. Their love.


Jason Concepcion It’s it’s beautiful.


Rosie Knight It is beautiful. It’s so well brought together by these two actors, Robert Aramayo and Owain Smith. But also it changes the path of Middle-Earth and the world. Their love and Durin, especially Durin the Fourth’s love for Elrond. That is the reason that so many things occur. And also, yeah, we’re going to talk about if I could, I could just watch a whole season of just them.


Jason Concepcion The impact is from this episode and their relationship, as you noted, is far reaching and will reach thousands of years into the future. Elrond is making his pitch to Big Daddy Durin, King Durin the Third, and is like, Hey, listen, we need the mithril. Here’s the deal. Access to the mithril in exchange for 500 years of game, grain and timber and the rest of the Lord’s Dwarven Lord’s language sounds pretty good, but the answer is a hard no. Durin the Fourth is distraught because that is his great friend. But Big Daddy Durin is like no, the fate of the Elves was decided many years ago by minds, much wiser than our own. And we’re out. Disa, meanwhile, is furious, and it’s a very sad day. Elrond takes it really well, all things considered.


Rosie Knight He’s a chill guy. He’s actually very respectful. He was like, You know what? We did what we could, our best.


Jason Concepcion We could and will. Let’s see what happens next. You know, we had a great. We had a very, very good run of immortality. And and now, you know, we don’t say we don’t say goodbye. We say farewell.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Durin is in despair, as we noted. Like weeping, absolutely heartbroken when Elrond leaves. Durin, just like heartsick, throws the chunk of mithril across the table that lands on the leaf that Elrond had showed to Durin as proof that the tree is is dying. And then all of a sudden the leaf still, you know, turns from black to alive, fall colored kind of yellow, orange. And Durin is like, That’s it. We have to mine the mithril. And he goes after Elrond. Galadriel and Theo spy  some Orcs and they hide from them.  Theo is like, I’m ready for revenge. I want to fight these orcs and Galadriel. I love Galadriel. Height of hypocrisy right here gives him a lecture on not letting the evil of your foe infect your own heart.


Rosie Knight I know.


Jason Concepcion Galadriel, babe.


Rosie Knight Look in the mirror. I wonder if, like, I wonder if she’s, like, feeling shamed because Adar basically said to her last time, like, you are the corrupted elf. So I wonder if she’s finally learning some lessons. But also like you can’t just you can’t just like inspirational poster away the 2000 years of letting that shit into your heaert babe.


Jason Concepcion Right like a also Theo is not aware the Galadriel only an episode ago was like I want to do the biggest genocide ever on orcs and I want to do it while Adar, you are still alive, so you can watch me. You can watch me do it.


Rosie Knight Honestly, like these two are perfect pair because there are many crimes and it makes a lot of sense that Galadriel is the one who’s like, Theo, don’t hold this in your heart, man.


Jason Concepcion It’s don’t let that anger.


Rosie Knight It’s okay. Like, you didn’t really do anything wrong that worry about it.


Jason Concepcion Don’t let that anger get to you don’t the have the weight of that shamed you got to put it down because you’ll be carrying it for a long time. And by the way, here’s a sword.


Rosie Knight Yeah, here’s a sword, Theo. You know, another sword. You just had one magical sword that didn’t go very well. But you know what? Here’s another one, babe.


Jason Concepcion Kind of a kind of a mixed message. No. To be like, hey, don’t let don’t let the evil of our foe infect you. Don’t let this vengeance, you know, pollute your heart. Here’s a sword also like let’s kill him too. But let’s do it with a good heart. It’s a Galadriel. It all kind of also fits with the kind of broader theory which we will talk about that honors that Halbrand, possibly as Sauron, possibly working to yet again corrupt more people, including Galadriel is succeeding.


Rosie Knight Yes.


Jason Concepcion Is absolutely succeeding if that is indeed what he’s doing.


Rosie Knight Yeah. And also we’ll talk about this, but like whether or not it’s intentional because I think it leans into something that you spoke about, that’s kind of the message of the show throughout. So, yes, really exciting stuff.


Jason Concepcion Meanwhile, Elendil can’t find Isildur and he’s growing very worried about it and is quite concerned that he might have passed. And then when he encounters, Muriel realizes that, oh, it looks like Isildur did buy it when that when that burning building fell on everyone and also he realizes that Muriel’s blind now, because of the injuries she incurred in the explosion and also the the falling house.  Sadoc gives the stranger his drawing of stars and then is like, get out of here, thanks for everything, but get out of here. But as the stranger leaves, you see that there is a blossom blooming in the tree that he was working on, which lets you know that maybe the stranger is good, is kind of doing things. Nori bids the stranger a warm farewell, also gives him an apple. And it’s it’s really sad. You can sense the stranger trying to come to terms with everything that is happening and his own inability to speak. And it is it’s it’s wrenching stuff. Durin and Elrond get caught mining the mithril. And it turns out there’s a lot of mithril.


Rosie Knight Oh, my God. They find we all thought the vein, the famed vein of mithril.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight We all thought they’d probably already found it because these guys were already risking their lives to to find the mithril. But no, actually, a little bit of rock falls out of the wall, and they find the famed vein of mithril that we all know, which is a rich vein, more, as Durin says, more than we ever could have imagined.


Jason Concepcion Yes, there is someone there is someone stirring right now at the bottom of that very cavern. The end result of this is Elrond gets banned from Khazad-dun, probably for life and Durin gets stripped of perhaps his future inheritance. Nori wakes up to find that the stranger, whatever the stranger did, worked. The trees are healed. There is copious fruit growing on the trees now. And while but later, while drawing water, Poppy comes across a footprint. There are strangers in the land. Everybody goes into hiding. And they watch three very strange figures dressed all in white, but looking very, very ominous. Go to the trees. Clearly they are on the trail of the stranger, and the leader points in the direction in which they believe the stranger traveled, Nori goes to head them off. Very courageous Harfoot, Nori. But the beings are too powerful. And even as Largo tries to come to defend her, they they like, absorb the torch that they are being confronted with this this, the leader of these beings. And then through some sort of magic, sets all the Harfoot dwellings a light. And it is very scary. At the Numenorian Survivors camp, Theo sees the wreckage of everything that he has done. He sees people with, like.


Rosie Knight Consequences of his actions.


Jason Concepcion It’s like they’re they’re like all blown apart, severely injured. But thank God he reunites with his mother, Bronwyn, who, by the way, almost died also because of the things that he died.


Rosie Knight Yeah, BRONWYN  and Erondil. Good news, they’re both fine. Everyone was like, Oh, did they all die? No, they’re actually fine. Don’t worry about it.


Jason Concepcion Elendil is, like, desperate to return to Numenor. He’s like, we never should’ve came here. This is all such a huge mistake. Muriel promises Galadriel that the vengeance of Numenor and the support of Numenor is hers in this struggle to come. Elendil, meanwhile, is heartbroken because he’s pretty sure that Isildur is dead. Isildur is not dead.


Rosie Knight Honestly, would probably be better for everyone if Isildur is dead. Not going to lie.


Jason Concepcion It would be better. Long term. It would be better if Isildur was dead. But we know that Isildur has many things to do.


Rosie Knight He’s got many things to do.


Jason Concepcion That’s right. The Harfoots, at Nori’s urging, resolves to follow the stranger to warn him of the danger that is on his trail. Brownwyn tells Galadriel that Habrand is king and also he’s here and also he’s alive. He’s been badly wounded. He is in need of Elvish medical care. Very, very, very, very convenient. Gal and Halbrand ride off and the people cheer him as their king, which feels ominous, even though it was presented as very, very inspiring.


Rosie Knight And yeah, and it doesn’t bode well for Galadriel because at this point, if he is Sauron, which does feel very likely, yeah, she’s about to take him straight to the elves where he’s going to be like, Hey, how about we forge some rings?


Jason Concepcion And he’ll be like, I’ve got an idea. Here’s a crazy pitch here. Let’s, let’s forge the rings of power and find out what they say.


Rosie Knight Cool mithril, my.


Jason Concepcion Celebrimbor law is going to be like, Oh, good.


Rosie Knight He’s like, I didn’t know what to do with it until right now.


Jason Concepcion Disa convinces Durin to go against his father since one day this kingdom will be theirs. And of course, the mithril and what to do with it will be his decision. Meanwhile, far below, a Balrog has awakened.


Rosie Knight Okay. But no, I just need to specify something here because this is a huge moment in Canon. So we all know this is what Saurmon says, like I’m paraphrasing, but he basically says like the dwarves were greedy. They were mining too much mithril. And they woke up the Balrog.


Jason Concepcion No, we see that that’s not the case. What? We can’t trust Saurmon ?


Rosie Knight I know. Shocking. Durin the third, in a little petty moment that the dwarves are greedy and that they mine too much. And yeah, this is a great bit of contextual change where what we actually see is Durin the third who didn’t want to mine, he throws this dead leaf into the mines and the leaf is what wakes the Balrog. So really it was him all along I truly I’m taking it. Durin the fourth was right. Durin the third now woke the Balrog also this means the Balrog awoke much earlier than we thought. So very shocking behavior. And then the most shocking moment of all, apart from two people who had guessed this already.


Jason Concepcion And of course, the Balrog will eventually lead to the extinction of sort of Khaza dum unfortunately. After this, Adar is acclaimed as the Lord of the Southlands, and they’re like, What do you think? We’re going to keep calling it the Southlands, what do we name it? And he thinks about it for a second. And we understand that this place is about to be called Mordor. Oh, okay. Want to quickly shout out a listener, Tea and then coffee, who reached out to us on Instagram and said.


Rosie Knight This is so good.


Jason Concepcion Once you and Rosie said that, it made sense how careless Halbrand was about his companions who died at sea in episode two and how vicious he was toward assailants in Numenor. Also, I’m feeling that the stranger is Gandalf. We have seen wizards die and come back into human form with amnesia and a need to rediscover themselves. Also, the fact that he was saved, nursed, loved by a Harfoot foot would explain Gandalf’s unique love of and connection with hobbits. This is something that you have written about also at various places.


Rosie Knight Yes, I love this idea. I from the earliest day this was my thought when I first saw him. He’s tall, he’s wearing gray. He’s kind of angry and cranky. But also he does nature magic. But they they do a really good job of playing with the idea that he could also be Sauron. You know, we saw the evil magic of the ice and this kind of different things. But I love this and this lesson. I just did such a great job of of describing. I mean, the Harfoot connection is really when you’re watching those scenes, you can just see Ian McKellen, Gandalf with the hobbits in the movies and kind of why he cares so much and why he loves to be with them. I really I love this theory. I think it would be quite lovely if it came to pass and I think that the Harfoots have been one of my favorite part of the season along with During and Elrond. So I think that could be really cool and that’s like a lot of journey they could still go on. But something that’s really interesting why I think a lot of Tolkien readers didn’t necessarily immediately jump to that conclusion. Generally it’s thought that the the Wizards, they didn’t come until the third age. So this would be a little bit of a timeline shift, but they’re doing that a lot in the show and I think they’re.


Jason Concepcion Doing that in general. Yeah.


Rosie Knight So I would love if he was Gandalf, and I think the thing that would be really cool is to see it’s shown us the way that even the good, you know, inverted commas wizards, they have the potential. Their power comes from the same place. They have the potential to use both sides of magic, you know, kind of like the now defunct Gray Jedi. So I think it’s really cool and I love this one. I’m so glad that they they sent us that because it just made me so happy. And I think Halbrand-Sauron going into the finale is feels so likely


Jason Concepcion Feels it feels so. Okay, let’s list. You just wrote about the the top suspects to be Sauron. Let’s rank that, let’s talk about the Sauron suspects and also talk about these three mysterious figures who are now on the trail of the stranger.


Rosie Knight Yes. So let’s talk about them. I obviously I do think Halbrand, I think Halbrand is our most likely suspect


Jason Concepcion I it feels so much more likely now.


Rosie Knight Also as well. Like, you know what? I just think that it it would be so brilliantly tragic. To to have it be that Galadriel was so consumed by her own kind of fear that she ended up bringing Sauron to the elves, to Mordor. She brought Sauron to a space where he was able to create Mordor, if that’s what happened. Also, something that I really loved that you spoke about was that the kind of thesis of the show was the first line of the show, which is, you know, nothing begins as evil, I think is the kind of the general jist. So there’s also this really sad version of it where Halbrand isn’t yet become Sauron, you know, who this is the early days.


Jason Concepcion I like that, too.


Rosie Knight And I think that that’s something just very. That could, again, add to the kind of tragedy of this story. So, yeah, the three new characters, I think the main one that everyone from the trailer was the dweller who is the hooded one with the shaved white head who we see this week burn the Harfoot’s cabin. A lot of people thought that was Sauron, especially in the Anatar Guise. Seems unlikely. Now they have two travelers that they travel with and the nomad and the ascetic, I believe, or the Aestyc, I’m sure Saul will be able to tell me which one. But basically I think from what I’ve read, they are more than likely there’s two resounding theories. One is that they are like a cult of Melkor or like a cult of dark magic talking about those a lot. So or there is this sect called the Blue Wizards who are sent to basically stop Sauron. So if they are a reimagining of the blue wizards, then being sent after the stranger actually brings us to our next top contender, which is that the stranger actually is Sauron.


Jason Concepcion It again. It’s the kind of straightest line.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion If you really want it, you know, it lines up with what Adar has told us that he struck down Sauron. Perhaps he’s telling the truth. It certainly feels like he’s sincere. And. And whatever you think of him, he seems sincere in his dedication to the orcs as his children. And that that would line up. Right. The strangers appearance, not knowing who he was. The ominous powers.


Rosie Knight And the fact that he has, the crater looked very much like the Eye of Sauron, like there was. And also then you would have if we’re talking about kind of emotional gut punches, while I do think Halbrand will be the biggest one, because it would be this betrayal of Galadriel betraying herself, the truth is that in reality. The Stranger would also be very painful because of his connection to the prophets and how the hobbits helped him, which would lead to this terrible kind of era for the for Middle-Earth and the people who have to live under Sauron. So either way, I think it’s very interesting, I guess, and there is still a chance that like the dweller is actually Anatar and or there’s even a chance that Sauron is someone we haven’t met yet. But I think at this point, they’ve done such a good job seeding these characters. That could be I would be surprised if in the finale they don’t reveal that it’s one of them. What how are you going to feel if they don’t tell us who Sauron is in the finale?


Jason Concepcion I will be. I’ll be. Absolutely. You know, cliffhangers are huge. You need a cliffhanger. And I feel as if it’s almost a lot that we will understand which one of these characters is Sauron by the end of this.


Rosie Knight Like an Orc will like sneak into the elven castle and be like. I’m so glad you’ve returned, Lord Sauron.


Jason Concepcion Right. And then a slow turn in the slow turn. Oh my god. I do. I will say that. Gosh, I mean, both of these both of our main suspects are are really good. The Halbrand part of it is interesting. You know what you were talking about, about does he even know that he’s Sauron? I think that that that makes it so much more like emotionally devastating. Because, you know, when when Galadriel is talking to that son of a bitch, Theo.


Rosie Knight Oh, my God.


Jason Concepcion About.


Rosie Knight Saul did just say, what if Theo is Sauron? Now, I had actually had that thought, you know.


Jason Concepcion Who has, who has done more damage this season?


Rosie Knight Who is the one? Who touched the sword and all this drama? Like, maybe this is young Sauron.


Jason Concepcion That everybody trusts him now. Did you forgive him for everything?


Rosie Knight He’s very people manipulate, you know, he could just show up. He’d be like, I know, Galadriel, I have this sword. You know what I was thinking about? These rings might be useful to, like, stop this happening again.


Jason Concepcion But but when Galadriel is talking to him again about that, about, you know, about vengeance, about what a toxic brew vengeance is it it speaks to the fact that this felt like a very human, and she’s elf, but a very relatable in a human way moment. She understands. And this is a thing that I think everybody does. You understand very well what you’re doing wrong in your life with the kind of like toxic loops that you get caught in are, at the same time you’re doing it like she is very, very accurately laying out the path not to follow.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion While she is walking very aggressively that path of vengeance. And it has been for hundreds of years, for a very long time. And that is just so sad because she’s walking almost with her eyes open, into the trap. If it indeed is that.


Rosie Knight Exactly.


Jason Concepcion That that that potentially Sauron has laid for her.


Rosie Knight Yeah I do. I think that that narratively like we’re both storytellers as well as people who love to read and experience other people’s stories. To me, narratively, the absolute heartbreak of every step of the way, her being the one she took, she forced Sauron to go back to the Southlands, where he said he would never go. She forced Sauron to leave Numenor, where he was happy to be. She’s now teamed up with him to take him to the elven safe hold to get him medical care, and at every point she has forced them into joining her quest potentially against him. I just think that is and they did a great job at the beginning. I feel like the first couple of episodes I loved the way they represented Galadriel, but I was like, I hope she’s not just like a random, like, badass, you know? But you actually get to learn that this is all of her skill and love for her people. And everything has kind of been consumed by this unbelievable thirst for vengeance. And so to see that potentially lead to the downfall of her people via Sauron because she was the one who befriended Sauron because she was so desperate to kill him, is just that narratively is too tasty.


Jason Concepcion It would be if it is indeed that it’s too good. Not to mention when when you know, when he walks out of the end of the medical tent and is acclaimed by the survivors of the southlands, these people who had, you know, a not insignificant portion of the population of the Southlands had joined his cause. Right? But these are the people who resisted that. If indeed he is Sauron and is seducing everyone around him, Galadriel, and including these people who resisted the evil of Adar, that is so fucking diabolical.


Rosie Knight So diabolical. Especially because these motherfuckers were the ones who had layed. They, they sided with Morgoth, you know, and that’s why they’ve been kind of blacklisted, like exiled, kind of watched over for so, so long. It is so diabolical, like you said. It’s so malevolent and diabolical if he managed. And I do think the moment that I truly I had been a Halbrand cynic about the idea of him being Sauron.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Rosie Knight That moment when he was outside and they were like, This is your king. And he was like, Oh yeah, I guess I am. And everyone was just like, sick. I was like, okay, that’s a real Sauron move. Like, he would just be like, Yeah, I’d love to be king.


Jason Concepcion There’s another thing about that, too, and I was wondering why that moment resonated with me in such a weird way. The way he takes a beat and says and kind of looks away and then looks up and says, I am.


Rosie Knight Yeah.


Jason Concepcion It’s a little ominous. And I realized, I don’t know if this is on purpose or what you’re now I’m just seeing ghosts, but it’s a lot like the way Isildur, after cutting off Sauron’s ring, grasps it right.


Rosie Knight And he’s like.


Jason Concepcion And then Elrond is, you know, is Isildur, destroy it. And he thinks about it for a second.


Rosie Knight And he’s like, Nah.


Jason Concepcion And then he looks up in almost the same way and says, No. And here is Halbrand saying yes, like it’s the opposite answer, but it felt weighty in that very, very same way. And and man, if it’s him, it’s amazing. I know. It’ll be amazing if it’s him.


Rosie Knight I’m ready. I’m ready. I’m ready for the finale.


Jason Concepcion Okay. Up next, we’re leaving Middle-Earth for Westeros to talk about episode seven of House of the Dragon.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>


Jason Concepcion This week in the Hive Mind, where we bring on experts. To discuss their work and more. X-ray Vision is thrilled to welcome Aziz, one of the pair behind the History of Westeros podcast and the YouTube channel. Help us unpack everything from House of the Dragon Episode seven, Driftmark. So we open up on Driftmark. Funeral of Laena Velaryon, the Family. The whole royal family is there. They’re there to pay their respects. Ser Vaemond Velaryon is intoning the right’s in high valerian and we see we get to see some cool backstory and how the how the valerian family in particular does their funeral rites. Any any interesting things pop out to you in this in this opening scene, Aziz?


Aziz Well, we got to acknowledge the rudeness of it and the poetry of that. It’s pretty moving. And then it gets pointed. It goes from this very well-written sort of traditional feeling, Velerian Funerary Right, and then it starts getting into politics.


Jason Concepcion And Vaemond, Vaemond, quite, quite aggressively makes some digs, I think pretty clearly at Jace and Luke and Joffrey, who they’re who their father might be implying essentially that they aren’t full Velaryons is the Velaryon blood runs thick and the implication being that, you know, Jace, Luke and Joff are not of that. Really interesting fascinating response from Daemon, who just laughs.


Aziz Yeah, I saw a really interesting interpretation of that that he was trying to it was a good thing. Like he was drawing attention away from everyone staring at Luke and Jace, and he took it to focus on himself instead, which, you know, as a guy who likes attention, it’s kind of a selfish it’s like a tool in his arsenal already, but that there’s a way to look at it, that he was actually being unselfish there. But I’m not sure we’ll have to ask the character.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, I read it. I think you’re right. I also read it, as you know, Daemon has been itching for a confrontation for many years, you know, with Otto in particular, but of any kind. And it strikes me as in this episode in which so much of the of the texture of the episode is characters looking at each other warily across the across a crowded room or surveying the energy in a room and wondering what’s about to happen. It strikes me that Daemon what Daemon wants to happen is he wants to see people fight and he wants to be involved in it. And if this is how it happens, that’ll be great. I think. I think that’s perhaps what with a giggle would be.


Aziz Fighting at a funeral. Why not?


Jason Concepcion Rhaenyra goes up to Jace and says, You know, you’ve got to pay your respects to Baela and Rhaena. And he says well, you know that. Shouldn’t we be at Harrenhal paying our respects to, to Harwin Strong who is a good friend to us? Just a very, very great friend. And took such an interest in our lives. And Rhaenyra very wisely says, you know, we can’t you know, we can’t do that. That would not be appropriate. Jace goes over and does it makes a good showing of paying his respects while Queen Alicent and King Viserys are watching everything very, very warily. As we said, Prince Aegon and Aemmond watch their sister, Princess Helaena, play with spiders. And she’s speaking about dragons. And we know certainly from things that happened later on in this episode that we should just pay attention to everything that she says. She says something to the effect of dragons of flesh breathing dragons thread. Did you read anything in particular into this?


Aziz Well, there’s a couple of things I think that we can maybe get from it. One, she says, hand turns loom, spool of green hand turns loom, spool black. I wonder if that’s a reference to the changing of the hand of the king. And they’re on their relative allegiances. And as well, we get later in the episode, two very noticeable stitchings of flesh thread in the flesh as the eye is torn out or cut. And then as Rhaenyra’s arm is slashed open. And it’s very graphic. We see both of the stitchings. Well, we don’t see the stitching of the eye when it happens, but we see it afterwards in plain sight many times. And then we see actually see Rhaenyra getting stitched up. And it’s it’s not pleasant, but I think it connects very strongly to what Helaena was saying. So it’s not like some big, major prediction, like claiming the dragon was, that was pretty major. But I think it’s telling us this character could see the future. And yeah, in metaphor at least.


Jason Concepcion I wonder if at any point. You know, Alicent or Aegon, Aegon does not seem to be a particularly present person. He drinks heroically throughout this episode and then he’s not there for the shit going down. But Aemmond is a sharp character. Otto certainly very sharp. I do wonder. And of course, Viserys is primed to think about prophecy. It has a very a very close relationship with dreams and prophecy. I wonder if at any point somebody notices these things that Helaena says. It says, Oh, whoa, whoa, what’s this? We need to pay attention to this.


Aziz I was hoping that Viserys would. I mean, he’s the one.


Jason Concepcion I was hoping he would.


Aziz He likes to talk about dreams, right? Yeah. So far, nothing.


Jason Concepcion Ser Criston Cole notices that Lord Larys Strong has just been openly staring at Alicent for the entire party. Alicent says it’s only a look of pride, Ser Criston. And, of course, Larys’s the new Lord of Herranhal. Which raises an interesting question. Jace says, You know, why couldn’t we be at Harrenhal to pay our respects to Harwin Strong and the late Lord Lionel? Why is why is Larys here? Should Larys be there?


Aziz Yeah, we were wondering about that, too.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz It was Jace being a little more euphemistic, like they’re not literally having the funerals at the same time, or he’s just because he’s mad that they’re not going to that one whenever it was or is going to be.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz So, yeah, that is a little a little confusing. It’s not a difficult thing to explain, but it’s not. It is also a little bit it begs the question for sure. But you’re right. I mean, that dude really is staring at Alicent.


Jason Concepcion They’re just flat out staring.


Aziz There is some Littlefinger- Sansa- Caitlyn vibes going on there for sure.


Jason Concepcion You know, it’s interesting, we talked about this when I came on, I guess, on your podcast over the over the weekend. And it’s something we’ve talked about on this show quite a bit is, you know, in the books, the the various fictional historians are always debating what’s the what are the motivations of Larys? Well, what does Larys want? You know,now, I think if you if you take that out of it for me at least just looking at some of the things Larys does without spoiling, you know, future events it seems to me that he’s a pretty unambiguous supporter of the Greens. But. I’m wondering if you what do you sense as a motivation for him. You mentioned Littlefinger Sansa. It does feel like that like. Right. Like there is some sort of an attraction or something.


Aziz Yeah. Like it’s presented much differently than Littlefinger, but I think it may amount to a similar human emotion, which is that he lives in a society where with his foot, and what that does for his station, even though he’s highborn, it pushes him to the fringes of society. And that can breed envy or feeling like you aren’t treated as an equal and should be, you know, like puts a chip on your shoulder potentially. And that’s why it’s similar energy to Littlefinger, because he was actually much lower born then than Larys Strong is, but doesn’t have this doesn’t have, you know, a disfigured foot.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz But he still wants to be worthy of this ideal woman that he thinks he deserves. In fact, I think it’s that level of obsession, and I’m not sure if Larys is that strong, but I think for the first time we get the vibe that it might be with that comment from Criston, who points out that he’s just staring at her so much. And of course Criston’s probably got a little crush of his own going on there, so he’s particularly sensitive to it as well. So you got to like balance all these different obsessions. Alicent’s just gotta try to keep them all like, all right, you all just remember who’s in charge here.


Jason Concepcion Yes. I should note this is an audio medium, but you are wearing a Alicent shirt with the Hightower showing green flame atop of it. The banner is being called. Here we get some really interesting small conversations. Corlys is speaking to Luke about his future birthright of of Driftmark and Luke, in a very wrenching scene, says, you know, I don’t want it. That that would mean everybody’s dead. I really don’t want it. And you and you realize the intense pressure that is being put on these young people. We see Viserys and his brother Daemon. And this kind of like attempt at a reproachment, at which point, you know, Daemon, really strongly, really emotionally is like, no, I don’t. I don’t want a place at your court. I don’t need anything from you. It seems like he’s going to say something else, but then he walks away and as he’s walking away, Otto Hightower tries to pay his respects for the you know, for Daemon losing his his wife, Laena. And Daemon calls Otto a leach.


Aziz Right to his face.


Jason Concepcion Straight to his face is like, you know the interesting thing about leeches is no matter how fat they get, they just keep on keep on sucking. And Rhaenyra again, who is who is, you know, has fled King’s Landing in recent years for Dragonstone because of these kind of tensions that are just under the surface, has been watching everything warily. And she begins to sense trouble and so sends her boys to bed. But also sensing an opportunity. Here’s Daemon walking off alone, and there’s clearly something that Rhaenyra wants to talk to Daemon about. King also goes to bed. Here’s an interesting moment. I wonder what you think of this. So the Lord Commander Westerling, as he’s taking the king to bed, says now, do you want me to watch the Queen? I read this as Westerling clearly knows that Criston Cole and the queen her close and he’s thinking you know what maybe too close for for the job.


Aziz Yeah. I think that might have been implied. I think Westerling is more proper. He’s more like old school knight, I guess you could say. And he also hews more traditionally to the tenets of the job. You’ll notice that when when things really break down in the in the dagger scene later, he yells, stated, You know, stick to the king like people are going all over the place. That’s why people are wanting why the King’s Guard didn’t intervene. Well, their first job is to protect the king. Ser Harald stays with him, even though all sorts of other stuff is happening. So I think it’s kind of similar energy here. He’s yeah, the they’re supposed to protect the king and his family, but they’re also supposed to protect them from themselves. And so if Alicent were to do something with Cole, which it’s not Rhaenyra and Cole, it’s not the same kind of situation, but he doesn’t know that. Westerling does that. He’s just like, let’s not take any chances. So yeah, I think that he’s being a good kingsguard there. It’s as much as he can do. All he can do is ask. It’s not like you can just.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz Make the call himself. So, but as a really great way to communicate that subtly to the audience as well that that he knows. And so if he knows or suspects then we’re supposed to as well confirms that maybe suspicious people already had.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz There’s a couple of people that are, that see Allison as maybe more than their queen. Um, and especially Viserys, as maybe they see Viserys is on his way out and they’re like, well, yeah, I don’t want to have someone even closer when he’s gone. And that’s going to be soon. So yeah, there’s, there’s some interesting Yeah. Things going on.


Jason Concepcion Certainly of WESTERLING has those concerns then people are talking about it in the castle. Ladies in waiting various courtiers. This would be a thing that people would be talking about.


Aziz Yeah, you’re right. Gossip for sure.


Jason Concepcion What’s the deal with Criston Cole and Alicent? It you know, what’s you know, what’s the deal with Criston Cole and the queen? That would be something people would talk about. We see that Aegon loves to drink. Not a not a great display from the boy who would like to be king and certainly whose family would like him to be elevated to king. It’s not a great showing. Meanwhile, his brother Aemmond is roused by the Vhagar’s Dragon Song and stalks off somewhere to go seek the dragon out. That night in Driftmark’s Hall, Rhaenys and Corlys have have a really interesting argument in which, you know, essentially. Rhaenys says you know that that Laenor and Rhaenyra’s sons, air quotes, are not Laenor’s. You know that. We can we’re alone. We can talk about it. So what I what what I would like you to do is to declare here while everybody’s here. Declare that Driftmark will go to the girls. And they have a big argument about it. You can see that, Corlys, much like Viserys, knows that this is true. But just has decided that that the boys are Laenor’s. He’s just decided that he’s going to act like that. He’s completely committed to it, even though he does know the truth. And he essentially says, you know, the history does not, it doesn’t care about blood, it cares about names. I would argue that he’s probably right. What did you think about this?


Aziz I really like the framing of this debate because they both have opinions that reflect where they came from. He’s a Velaryon who was not the first born, and he talks very early on in the show about how he made his own way in the world. To him, merit matters more, like what you have, what you’ve gained, what you’ve earned, matters more. Doesn’t matter where you came from as much. Now, of course, he’s still super highborn, but compared to a Targaryen he’s not. Meanwhile Rhaenys, she comes from a family where your actual blood does matter because of dragons and stuff like that. So they actually do really care about that. So they were both raised in these traditions or at least developed these attitudes somewhat on their own with the backing of the tradition they came from. So I thought that was really neat that they fall out a bit on those particular differences and how well that was set up. I do think that Corlys’s point is pretty strong. It’s the same as Viserys’. Look, yeah, right, it’s weird to deny the obvious here, but to not deny it is civil war. And we’ve already saw before the scene that Corlys is clearly on this track because he was talking to Luke and saying, you know, this is going to be yours one day. He didn’t seem to put any have any doubt like he wasn’t he wasn’t insulting like his brother or this isn’t is insulting because Rhaenys is saying this behind closed doors, but she clearly has. She was also just kind of shunning Jace there. She came over to hug her granddaughters and kind of just like didn’t kind of gave him a cold shoulder. So that was that was pretty rough. Not as blatant as the eulogy, but very, very noticeable. Very as far as the kid goes. Yeah, it hits him just as hard, I think.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, I agree with that. And you know, to Corlys’ point, I think, history remembers the feats that were performed by a particular person. The history that surrounded that person, not necessarily what their what their bloodline is. You know, for people like us in this story, like we care who Aegon the Conqueror’s father was, it’s about this stuff, right? But mostly people don’t like. Mostly people don’t. And I think in the realm I think Corlys has something of a point. Nobody’s really going to care. They’re going to care what they do. These rumors will be around, of course, but they will care about what Jace does.


Aziz Yeah.


Jason Concepcion When he reaches that, they’ll care about what Rhaenyra does when they ascend to the throne. Elsewhere, Rhaenyra and Daemon go for a little walk. She is very open with Daemon about her relationship with Laenor and that it was, you know, a political marriage, but that they’ve made the best of it. They tried to have kids, didn’t work out. She admits that she had a relationship with with Lord Harwin Strong and that they were in love. It’s very clear from that this conversation that they care deeply for each other. She wonders about the curse of Harrenhal, whether it’s true.


Aziz So do we all.


Jason Concepcion So do we all. And Daemon, Daemon, you know, thinks this is all nonsense. You know, it’s a ghost story, of course. Cerrado and the queen with. We’d love for you to believe that her animal is cursed. And then she she says I don’t think Alicent would actually just flat out murder somebody. Would she do that now? She would not. She would not at this stage order a flat out murder. But but clearly, people around here would. What do you think about that? Is Harrenhal cursed? I think it’s just like a string of bad luck things.


Aziz Yeah, I don’t think no first. But I think it’s pretty neat to think about the way the way it’s built implies that, like the types of things said about it, like the big fires and the huge shadows. I mean, it’s a giant place. Like, you take a huge room with a giant fireplace. It’s going to cast giant shadows. Right?


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz And in such a huge place, like, how can you keep track of everything that’s happening so, like, a little. Look, we look around these castles. There’s, like, stuff on the ground all over the place. Flammable stuff everywhere. I mean, in a castle that’s so big, I can imagine a fire starting, and no one notices it for an hour because the place is so huge, and it’s like you smell smoke. Yeah. Where is that coming from? And they. They actually smell it. It takes them another hour to find where it’s actually happening. So, yeah, but, but I love that, that it’s the core of something George R.R. Martin loves to do is imply the possibility of supernatural and not closing the door on it, but also giving you a pretty rational explanation or a series of rational explanations.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz So, so in-world people are going to tend to believe it’s cursed. So we have to kind of accept that a lot of them actually believe that, even regardless of what we think. And yeah, but there’s a great take that you had there because Larys is exactly, he predicted that people would interpret it this way and that would provide a great smokescreen. Hey, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Right. That works.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz And it he was right. I mean, Guy thought it through. Evil Man got his way.


Jason Concepcion Rhaenyra is. As the conversation continues, Rhaenyra says how mad she is at Daemon for essentially abandoning her. And you get it right because Laenor was an ally and a good one. And they have some they have a wonderful moment later on in this episode before the big shocking reveal. But she could have really used some backup in King’s Landing during those early years and really didn’t have anything Viserys was, you know, you get the feeling that Viserys kind of named her heir and then stood back and was like, okay, go ahead. Clearly, Criston Cole is against her. Was she was not able to make any other inroads with any other members of the Kingsguard. So whatever Harwin Strong’s relationship with members of the city watch, it didn’t seem like that was transferable to Rhaenyra. And so you kind of understand how she feels in this moment. And then they get together and this feels feels like it’s a long time coming. And certainly, Daemon, you get the sense that. Daemon, who we’ve seen just kind of do things for the thrill of doing them, seems actually quite, quite hesitant because in my read on it is that he’s got legitimate feelings for Riviera.


Aziz I agree. Yeah, I think they have always had feelings for each other, even when they were younger and even when it was, you know, not age appropriate, although I don’t know if they recognize it that way in this world. But but we certainly see it that way.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz And his own reaction, you know, he couldn’t he had his dysfunction. That sort of implies he knew it was wrong behind the scenes. He said that that was a big issue for him. Even though he wanted it, he knew it was wrong. So now it’s it’s not wrong anymore from that perspective. And they can’t deny the attraction. There’s that for very first scene in the very first episode where they meet. First time we see him, he gives her the necklace. It’s definitely a little more than family going on in that moment. The way it’s framed, we’re supposed to see a little more than just, Hey, you’re my uncle. You know, we’re like, there’s a lot more going on here. And yeah, so it comes to a comes to fruition here. And all of a sudden there’s no mention of his name having any trouble with his dysfunction here. That seems to be long in the past, but it’s really interesting how the two sides align on on this their ideals and the way they frame their, their own goals as a faction for example, the Greens are more about ideals, even though they don’t necessarily adhere to the ideals. That’s their marketing.


Jason Concepcion The image of, it’s the image of the ideals this nobility and sacrifice and honor. And yes, we’re committing murders behind the scenes. But it’s all because it’s important to believe in honor and duty and sacrifice, yadda, yadda, yadda.


Aziz Yeah, that’s what they’re pushing. We know that they’re hypocrites about some of it. And meanwhile, the Blacks, you know, they’re not they’re by no means perfect either. But they’re she’s openly saying, hey, I need you because you’re because you’re capable of depravity. It’s pretty genius because she’s like, Laenor comes around, she thinks of Laenor as decent and honorable, and she’s like, Yeah, but that’s not what I need right now. I need underhanded, and I need that dirty. I need a killer.


Jason Concepcion I need the bad guy. Yeah, I need the bad guy. I need the I need the guy who will commit murders without any evidence being able to be linked back to the person who committed the murders. But for people to suspect that this person is capable of committing these murders and certainly, Daemon, as we’ve seen, his ability to move throughout the Red Keep on unseen is his ability to move throughout the city unseen, despite being a very famous person. He is someone who various powerful figures are very concerned about. Otto certainly has always been worried about what Daemon is capable of. So it’s an interesting it’s an interesting team up. And also, I think what was cool about it is even though this, you know, various figures have suspected Daemon of wanting to seize power for himself and, you know, certainly, you know, his petulance at not being named heir early on is certainly easy to read that way. But Daemon, you get you get the very, very strong sense that Daemon is is quite happy to be the king consort in this relationship. He just wants to be close to his family and to defend it and to kill the enemies of his family. He’s not he’s not interested in the day to day managerial things associated with ruling a realm.


Aziz Yeah, I thought it was really brilliant the way they framed it. Viserys says, Hey, come home. You know, we got everything you need. He’s like, I don’t need anything. You know, that was the wrong way to talk to that man. But then when Rhaenyra approaches him, she’s like, I need you. That was the that was the correct.


Jason Concepcion That was the way to do it. That was the way to approach it.


Aziz And it worked perfectly. So she and that’s partly because they’re more alike. Like, yeah, it came out in a different way earlier in episode four, maybe when Viserys and Daemon were talking about their parents and he’s like, Oh, your mom liked you best. Mom liked you best, right? And it was because they were more similar. And she was if you look at the histories, their mother was like kind of wilder and aggressive and an outspoken. Not at all like Viserys, but but quite a bit like Daemon. Yeah. So it fits there. They know each other better because they’re more alike.


Jason Concepcion Meanwhile, across the beach, Aemmond, Aemmond, soon to be one-eyed,  claims. Vhagar. Huge, huge win for the Greens. Baela and Rhaena are shocked. For some reason, they wake up Jace. Which, why are you waking up, Jace?


Aziz Why not wake up an adult?


Jason Concepcion And go wake up? You know what I mean? Go get Corlys.


Aziz Go get the King’s Guard.


Jason Concepcion Rhaenys.


Aziz Get someone. Yeah


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Guardsman. Yeah.


Aziz Good idea. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Don’t get Jace. What’s James going to do? But anyway, they wake up Jace and Luke, they all go to confront Aemmond. Aemmond is completely unapologetic. Honestly. It’s a dick move. But as he should, he should not feel like bad about this. Like I. I agree with him in that if you were going to claim Vhagar, Baela, then you should have claimed the dragon. You should have just done it. A fight breaks out after Aemmond makes an unkind reference back to the pig that was foisted upon him by his brother Aegon and of course, Jace and Luke as a kind of practical joke. And in this fight, as this fight comes to a close, first of all, you get this really ominous moment where it seems as if Aemmond is going to crush Luke’s fucking skull with a rock like he might do it. And I think the only thing that stays, you know, kin slaying, it’s a thing that I think book reader people who haven’t read the books might not. It might be hard to grasp, but kin slaying is such a strong taboo in this world. You just wouldn’t. You just wouldn’t do it. People ask all the time, well, why? Why wouldn’t why wouldn’t Daemon do this, that and the other to kind of push Viserys out of the way. And it’s like to do that publicly in a way where your hand handed, you just wouldn’t do it. It wouldn’t be done it. Even if there is an element of hatred between brothers or family members, it’s just not done and it’s certainly not done in a public way. And so we get this moment where Aemmond, it seems like Aemmond might actually kill Luke and then Jace gets free, some sand gets thrown into Aemmond’s eye, and next thing you know, Luke has cut out Aemmond’s eye. It was kind of kind of shitty to bring a knife to a regular kid fight. But this is clearly one of the greatest failures of the kingsguard maybe in its history. So like it’s certainly to this point in its history, Ser, Ser, Westerling comes up. Ser Harold and he is aghast. Remember? And people will recall in episode one when Rhaenyra has just landed Syrax and she’s back in the Dragon Pit and and Ser Harold is like it says something to the effect of, well, I’m glad that you’re back because if you didn’t, if something had happened, that’s my head on a spike. Certainly in this moment, Ser Harold is thinking fuck like this. I could get. Yeah, this is where I mean, where is the kingsguard? This is a question that is about to be asked. Because the king is super pissed. It is an immense failure by the King’s Guard. Criston Cole, who you have to you have to point out is getting has been a little. Has forgotten himself a little bit in recent days. Snaps at the King says while the King’s Guard has never been, he’s never had to defend princes from princes. I’m not so sure that that’s the case. But talking back to the king like this is is pretty shocking, right? Maester. tells.


Aziz Wrong answer.


Jason Concepcion Wrong answer. Maester tells Alice that Aemmond’s, certainly the eye is lost. She slaps Aegon for not being around, which, again, what was Aegon supposed to? What  was Aegon supposed to do? This is a kingsguard issue.


Aziz Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Corlys arrives. Then Rhaenyra. Yeah. Don’t blame her for this one. Corlys arrives and Rhaenyra arrives. And Daemon, who again, you get the sense from Daemon that he’s like, Oh, good, it’s happening. This is what good the fighting is going to start. Great. This is what we’ve been waiting for. We’ve been waiting years for this. Finally, it’s going to happen. Otto certainly is looking around like, okay, depending on how this was going to go, this is either very, very good for me or very bad. And then the king demands to know, okay, what happened here? Princess Rhaenyra tells the King that Aemmond called Jace and Luke bastards and Joffrey, who wasn’t there but the three boys bastards. Now Rhaenyra, in what I consider to be basically the first shot in the war says, I want Aemmond to question sharply. Basically, I want you to torture. I want you to say to the to the king’s.Justice, go ahead and torture my son to find out where he got these treasonous ideas. Now, I don’t know if Viserys, there’s almost there’s no chance of Viserys would ever agree to that, but it’s quite a move. Isn’t it, to sit to say, I want you to I want you to torture a prince of the blood and find out where he heard this.


Aziz Yeah, it is. It’s it’s a she mostly is under control in this scene. But that I think going too far, though it may have you may could see it as a negotiating tactic. She knows that they’re going to be some sort of reckoning for what her son has did. So maybe she’s trying to say, well, look at how wrong this is. We could maybe compromise somewhere on all this. So she may have been trying to throw that out as a shield for Luke. And that’s a really important part of this. Yeah, for sure. And I think that what’s so interesting about this is the kids are all fighting and we’re all supposed to recognize that kids aren’t supposed to fight like that. They’re not supposed to beat each other that hard and grab each other by the neck and especially not cut out eyes. And but it’s all based on what they’re taught. These kids are totally behaving the way their parents have taught them to take an insult about their parentage. It’s supposed to be that serious according to what they’re taught. So this all goes to maybe the point of how it’s foreshadowing what these kids will do when they’re adults. I mean, they’re all picking up what these kids should be fighting over toys, and they’re fighting over the literally the largest dragon in the world. So if that isn’t ominous, I don’t yeah, I don’t know what else would be.


Jason Concepcion And you could feel the you could feel the moment, especially when when Rhaenyra brings potential treason into it. You could feel the moment kind of on a knife edge. Otto kind of comes to his tippy toes. Everybody starts looking around because it feels like that moment where if Viserys is in the right mood and he hears the wrong thing, maybe he decides to actually follow through with his long threatened punishment of pulling out some tongues, which he’s he’s never been that type of person, but maybe he does it for once. Maybe we realize that Otto has been putting these kind of treasonous ideas into the minds of his grandchildren. Maybe we find out that that Alicent has been involved in it. And so it’s a very dangerous moment for the Greens. Viserys however, is just like. All right, that’s enough. Everybody go to bed. You know that. It’s it’s not a good look for the king. And I think it’s very indicative of how little, how weak Viserys is right now, both in terms of how how he exercises his kingly authority and how everybody is just waiting for him to die. They are waiting like a starter’s pistol. They’re all at the at at the line, and they’re waiting for him to pass away. And that will be the starter’s pistol. And then they will start running because Viserys says like three or four times, everybody go to bed. This interminable infighting must cease. All of you. Everybody stop. Okay, that’s enough. And and when you have if you’re thinking that you have, say that three and four times there is a problem, everything. It seems as if, okay, Viserys has basically ordered this to to cease and to be squashed and okay, we’re moving on. But no, Alicent is furious that we’re just going to walk away from this issue. Her son is lost his eye. He’s been. He was set upon by four other children. This is insane. She wants blood. She wants an eye for an eye. She asks the king. An eye for an eye. That would be fair. The king is absolutely shocked that this would even be asked. He says, Look, you for, you need to not let your emotions get the better of you. What are you doing? Then she does something, which I think is clearly an overreach, and that’s understating it, she says to Criston Cole, Bring me the eye of Lucaerys Velaryon. Here again, Ser Harold Westerling looks at Cole like.


Aziz What are you gonna do?


Jason Concepcion He’s not sure if he’s going to do it. And Cole, to his credit, I guess, says, you know, I am sworn to you, but as your protector. But he says it extremely hesitatingly. You know, you get the feeling that if everybody was not here, certainly I’ll cut the kids eye out. No problem. I’ve been waiting to do this.


Aziz Maybe. It was a clever answer. Yeah. And I really appreciate that. Again, like you said, Harold’s look over at him. Like what? How is he going to react? Even he doesn’t know what he’s going to do. And I think he kind of approved of that answer. It was very diplomatic. But Alicent just won’t let it go because from her perspective, it is. Yeah, it’s from from everyone’s perspective, even it should be from hers as well that taking her husband’s grandchild’s eye out as a response is not rational or reasonable. Even if he did commit that crime, which he did, but he wasn’t punished at all. Like there was nothing.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz Luke got away completely with it. And you know, I’m not taking sides at all here because I think, like I said, I think it’s the parents are at fault here for the for what these kids did is the way they were raised, trying to put blame it on anyone, blame it on the parents, including Alicent, including Rhaenyra, all of them like and Viserys as well. Because like you said, they’re just waiting for him to die or they know that’s the it’s like the weather vane. It’s like, well, eventually points a certain direction. The only thing keeping them from fighting is him still being alive. And they can all see how flimsy that is. What was Lionel Strong said this flimsy shield is the only thing keeping that. It’s like, yeah, and that flimsy shield is getting flimsier by the day. This guy is not going to live old age like Otto said. So it’s really frustrating from like if you’re a subject of Viserys like, yeah, if it’s theirs, you’ve got the right idea. If they preventing war yeah. Prevent civil war that’s that is the most important thing. But he doesn’t do anything other than demand it. He’s like, don’t fight. Like how about you do something to prevent fighting? But then it wouldn’t be as interesting, I guess.


Jason Concepcion It would not be as interesting. But, you know, that’s I keep thinking about this, you know, if Viserys would have followed through with, you know, pulling a couple of tongues out, maybe throwing a couple people in the dungeon, you know, maybe.


Aziz Overriding the yeah, yeah, the marriage thing. Like, no, he’s like, no, we’re doing this marriage. We’re marrying Helaena to Jace. I don’t care what you think, you know.


Jason Concepcion I don’t care what you think. Yeah, like that was a great deal. What happened to that? That was there’s a dragon egg thrown in, like, that’s a  sweet deal, and the king was for it. And that just kind of went away, and the king was happy to let it slip away. So Criston Cole refuses the Queen’s call, so the Queen snatches Aegon’s dagger out of Viserys’ hilt and crosses the room. Rhaenyra steps in front of her son, grabs the Queen’s wrist, and they have this showdown. You mentioned it where it where Ser Harold has to say, stay with the king, because the king’s guard, they’ve had a rough night. But here’s a moment where you’re just not sure what to do. The queen has a knife. She’s coming at the crown heir. There’s various princes of the blood all around. What do we do? We stay with the king. And then Daemon comes in and body blocks Ser Cole, makes sure that he can’t come to the rescue of the queen. And Daemon, you could sense the enjoyment that he got out of that. And then Rhaenyra says, exhausting, wasn’t it hiding beneath the cloak of your own righteousness. But now they see you as you are. Alicent. wrenches her hand out of Rhaenyra’s grip, and cuts Rhaenyra’s arm in the process. Everyone freezes. This seems to bring everybody to to to, you know, back to sobriety. You know, I think everybody’s blood had gone up. And now now that blood has actually been drawn. And it’s the and it’s royal blood of the of the king’s heir. This is a very serious thing. And this could go depending on the ruler. It could go a lot of different, very, very serious ways. But it’s Viserys so he essentially is going to let it go. But still, everybody kind of comes to their senses. And then Aemmond puts the period on it. Do not mourn me, Mother. It was a fair exchange. I may have lost an eye, but I gained a dragon. He’s absolutely right. He’s gained the biggest, baddest dragon in the land. The king for the millionth time says these proceedings are at an end. And everybody goes. This is finally.


Aziz His go to move. We’re done. We’re over it. Stop it.


Jason Concepcion That’s it. Enough. Go to bed.


Aziz He hits the eject button.


Jason Concepcion Otto later on, Queen Alicent is beside herself. She let her self get, you know, way, way too emotional. She has been throughout this series the kind of picture of dignity. And you mentioned the way how important this image of honor and dignity and sacrifice is to her. And certainly that’s what she’s always looking to present. She’s from the time she was a child, been groomed to be the perfect lady, the perfect royal lady, and now the perfect queen. And she’s trying to be that. And here she is failed. But Otto is shockingly, psyched. He’s like, great. That was. That was awesome. I’ve been waiting to see if you had that in you. Of course, Otto has long been preaching that there’s a war coming, and now he sees that his daughter is a fighter. And not only that, they won Vhagar to their side. He says, you know, with with that rogue Aemmond has done winning Vhagar to our side, the boy was right it’s worth a thousand times the price he paid. Rogue seemed a wonderful little wink at the books. Did it not?


Aziz Totally, totally rogue Prince. Especially because Daemon and Aemmond have increasingly more and more in common with each other. And we’ll see more of that later, I suppose. But yeah, there’s that vibe. They’re both the second born. They got this chip on their shoulder. They now they both have dragons. Yeah. Especially particularly notable dragons. Yeah. I love that they’re big. They’ve been very good of that. For some reason, Otto is is frequently the vehicle for these knights. Odd of all characters. Like he’s the one who dropped that line of signs and portents and he, he there was at least a couple other ones. Oh yeah. He’s, he said we’d pay this price a thousand times over the thousand eyes in one line. So. Yeah. And he’s right though. I mean they got Vhagar. He’s got it’s right on.


Jason Concepcion He’s right.


Aziz He’s looking ahead. He’s like, yeah, you screwed up by losing your temper. So that’s a loss. But we gained Vhagar and we gained, in his mind, we gained you.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz Fully committed. Whereas you weren’t before. So that’s two wins and one loss in his mind. And to his to his bottom line. People looking at her as mad or wrong won’t matter if they win, if they’re if they’re if she’s queen at the end, when they defeat the Blacks, it won’t matter that they said this about her. So to him, she’s right that she screwed up. But he’s in the scheme of things, these other factors are much bigger. And it’s interesting to look at it from his perspective because at first his reaction is a little surprising. He’s like, Actually, daughter, we came out pretty well here. You’re like, Wait, what? And then why is it? You’re like, Okay, actually a kind of see where you’re coming from. Don’t fully agree, but I get it.


Jason Concepcion Laenor returns from being drunk with Qarl somewhere, and he finds his his wife getting stitched up. He’s like, What happened? What happened? I should have been there, he says. And Rhaenyra very cutting, says, those should be our house words. And they have a heart to heart. They have a really warm heart to heart, actually, where they talk very openly about their relationship, what it was built on, this attempt to, in Laenor’s words, pursue happiness, but also uphold the responsibilities placed on them by the realm. And then clearly those two things can’t coexist all the time. And Laeonor says, I’m going to rededicate myself to supporting you, to being a father to Jace, Luke and Joffrey, to to making sure that you are the best ruler that you can be, that you ascend to the throne. And in a really wrenching moment, he says, you know, he’s they’re talking about their inability to produce an heir for his children. And he says, I hate the gods for making me as they did. And Rhaenyra very generously, he’s like, no, I don’t agree with that. You you’re an honorable man with a good heart. That is a vanishingly rare thing in this realm. Which is true.


Aziz Yeah. No doubt.


Jason Concepcion And it seems as if at the end of this conversation that Laeonor is going to put aside Qarl and just be the very image and substance of the future king consort. Meanwhile, Alicent is taking the king back to the to the royal flagship. She is on her best behavior and she’s like do you want some wine? Are you cold? Can I tuck you in? I’m so sorry about what happened. He’s like, I don’t want to talk about this shit anymore. Yeah, yeah.


Aziz Otto called that. He’s like, Oh, he’ll just forgive you.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, he’ll forget about it. Yeah, well, see, what can I do? You’ll forget about it.


Aziz She’s like, Well, that was that was easy.


Jason Concepcion Meanwhile, Rhaenyra and and Daemon now have have met up again as the royal party is is leaving Driftmark. They begin talking about. You know, the fire in the sea and these various ideas that animate House Targaryen. Meanwhile, on the ship Larys comes to the Queen is like, Listen, if you ever need that eye, I got you. I’ll get that. I’ll get that eye for you. And you can see that Alicent is extremely wary of of now Lord Larys. But also she says, okay, not now, but maybe later. Like let’s keep let’s put a pin in that for now. But maybe I will maybe I will need you. That’s feels like it’s going to be very important in days to come. And then Rhaenyra and Daemon cement their alliance according to the the the ancient Valyrian marriage rights. These are I think clearly like a dragon rider rights in order to keep the blood pure. And what a monumental weekend on Driftmark. Folks, we go from a funeral to a wedding. Corlys and Rhaenys, there’s no way that they’re going to be happy about this but this is what happened.


Aziz Yeah, that is what happened. They still have their family on on that side. I really wonder about this tightrope walk of we want people to think we did it, but I don’t know if they want those people to think they did it. That’s their kid, right? Or maybe it’s possible they let them in on the secret. But I don’t know.


Jason Concepcion I wonder, you know, like I just want to shout out for a moment. I did this on the official pod, but also I just want to because we’ll never talk about this red shirt, Valyrian guardsman again, but but R.I.P. him. He was just trying to do his job. He had just, you know, punched in, you know, regular all night just doing the rounds at Driftmark, making sure everything was safe and sound and he gets his fucking neck snapped and thrown into a fire as a fake body in order to cover for the fake murder of of Laenor Velaryon, who of course we see rowing away to Essos with Qarl. He pulls down his hood and his head is shaved. And I got to tell you, this was my jaw dropped when I saw this. I obviously the books are I did not see it coming. Obviously, the books are fictional history. So the historians get stuff wrong, right. You know, if people are sneaky enough, there’s going to be things that the historians never get and. But this is not one of the things that I would have expected to happen.


Aziz No. Same here. Totally, totally caught off guard by this one. It was it was surprising for a lot of reasons. But yeah, I do feel for that guard. I mean, what are they going to think about him after? Because he’s missing?


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Where where is he?


Aziz They’re like he’s he’s ran off with Qarl. He’s part of the part of the one. He was one of the murderers.


Jason Concepcion Oh, perfect.


Aziz Yeah. Yeah. And then they yell. He yells, How could you let this happen? It’s like, well, there was a guard that was killed. I guess that’s part of what happened. The guy who would have noticed was sort of accounted for by the murderers there. Yeah, very surprising. And you wonder whether they’re whether he’s truly gone. Is this riding off into the moonrise?


Jason Concepcion Right.


Aziz Or is he going to be killed off screen so they can manage other things? Or it’s also kind of funny, ironic, given what Luke said. It’s like for me to become Lord of Driftmark, everyone has to die, is like, Well, actually, here’s one way to write that, but you’re going to have to think he’s dead. So you’re still suffering the same way. So I know the kids weren’t let in on the secret, that’s for sure.


Jason Concepcion Well, I’m so excited to have you here, because. You know, you’re always ,your podcast, History of Westeros, is always the one I turn to when I just want, wanted like super, super, super nerd out on book lore and stuff.


Aziz Thanks.


Jason Concepcion And so it’s delightful to have you here to get into the Q&A with Ask the Maester.


Jason Concepcion <A.D.>


Jason Concepcion And to celebrate, we’re going back to the Citadel to answer your questions. Help Today by Aziz from the History of Westeros Podcast. Very excited. Let’s start with, I think, something that’s going to be present in a lot of people’s minds. It certainly was, it was a question that I started heavily researching as soon as I watched this episode, Jon asks and many people asked. So with Laenor out of the picture, but alive, I’m wondering about his bond with Sea Smoke. Is Sea Smoke, quote unquote, available now for a person to bond with? This is a great question and not a lot of evidence for what happens when a dragon rider leaves but doesn’t die. What happens to the bond? Any thoughts on this?


Aziz Yeah, you’re right. We have no prior examples of this in the books, so it is uncharted territory. I imagine the show is going to make a call since they don’t have anything from George to fall back on unless they asked George and they and he gave them an answer. But I mean, even a loyal dog will eventually move on. It might take years, but I’ve always felt like that’s the best metaphor because I think the skin change your bond is a little too supernatural, even though dragons sometimes seem to know things that are not directly communicated like where to breathe their fire when they say Drakarys. Like this, there’s always options, but they always seem to know what’s intended of them. What’s a lot of dogs do as well. They seem to vibe with their owners really well. So I think that maybe it’s just that I think after enough time passes it will fade. But maybe like Sea Smoke goes and tries to find him or something.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz Well, I don’t knowanother, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting that we might get some dialog about it. Maybe we’ll get a footnote, maybe we’ll actually get some scenes. It’s really, um. I wonder. I don’t know that they have decided already. I wonder if they were waiting to see the reaction to this, too.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, that’s another. That’s another part of it. Well, I’m trying to think of how to talk about this in a way that’s non spoilery, but people having enough people to ride the Dragons will be an issue at some point. You can imagine, right? Because obviously, you know, the bloodlines are going to be important in this bloodline. The people with the Targaryen bloodlines. It’s rare. I do wonder if, to your point, we don’t see Laenor again, under a different name or something like that, riding Sea Smoke once again.


Aziz Yeah. I wonder about that, too. That’s that could be a way they pivot if they want to do something like that. It would be sneaky like he shaved his head.


Jason Concepcion Right.


Aziz So it looks different. And a lot of people won’t know what he looked like anyway.


Jason Concepcion But he’s just a natural son of Corlys Velaryon and some tavern lady somewhere. And we found him and oh yeah, he’ll do this. But that then comes the question of okay, but like Rhaenys and Corlys and various other people would be like, Hey, wait a second, aren’t you Laenor? You’re my son. So I don’t I don’t know how that necessarily would work, but it. But you feel like there is an opening for that. It seems like if they wanted to go that way.


Aziz Yeah, they could kind of pull back on the nice ending aspect of it by having him be killed offscreen and that just resolves all these problems.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz But if they want to do like a time jump and then just have it kind of work itself out, I think that would be acceptable to the audience to say that enough time has passed.


Jason Concepcion Enough time has passed, and or.


Aziz They could just add a different dragon, you know, like they could just have that dragon not get used again if they want. You know, there’s there’s options.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Edgar asks, how does hopping on a dragon first give you more right to it than the person who is next in line for it? So in other words, Aemmond cutting line to to grab this dragon away from Baela, is that it? What is the in terms of the rules, does this break any particular rule?


Aziz I think is like one of those unwritten rules like we hear about in sports where they’re not official rules, there’s no actual penalties. It’s just a jerk thing to do.


Jason Concepcion So don’t steal, don’t steal a dragon from a girl whose mother just died. And by the way, it was the mother’s dragon. Yeah, yeah.


Aziz Yeah, right. Yeah. So I think it was a jerk move for sure. But there aren’t any rules about it. There’s no it’s all based, rooted in tradition. And even that there isn’t a lot of definition there. Like the Targaryens have always been kind of a smaller family. This is the first time they’ve had it during their history as kings. Who knows what happened back on Valyria? But here they this is the kind of person that they’d like two very distinct large branches. They had that same problem early on with Maegor and Aenys being kind of two different branches, but it never got to this level because Maegor had no kids, so there were like two full factions with children.


Jason Concepcion He tried, but he did not.


Aziz Yeah, he sure did. But so so this is all very kind of uncharted territory. They don’t have defined rules on who has first dibs on dragons and things like that. Yeah. So Aemmond kind of exploited an area of a gray area, I suppose. And.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz I think he expected to get away with it more without losing an eye. But as he himself put it, he would still have taken the trade, even knowing that, I suppose.


Jason Concepcion One, one of our really most avid listeners, Sam, has sent like a bunch of really long emails that have analyzed the potential path that the Aegon prophecy took in order to get all the way, if indeed it did get all the way to to Rhaegar, which I believe it did.


Aziz Mm hmm.


Jason Concepcion And he sent another really long email about dragons and it asking, essentially, is it possible to create a family tree of dragons? Knowing what we know now, we’re starting to see more dragons come in. We saw it. Surely, I’m guessing Sunfire and Stream Fire. And then of course Vhagar, in this episode. Understanding that these some of these dragons are laying eggs. Do you think it’s possible to create a family tree of dragons based on what we know right now?


Aziz Hmm. We can get part of the way there. There’s there would be very large gaps in it. For example, one of the one of the popular theories out there is the dragon egg stolen by Alicent farm and ended up being the ones that became Danny’s three.


Jason Concepcion I think we all I think. I think I just want it to be true.


Aziz Yeah.


Jason Concepcion I just want to be true.


Aziz But we don’t even know which three. Who laid those three eggs? Because it’s just. Those are just three eggs and there’s lots of eggs. And as Bay as Laena said to Rhaena, who was trying to catch her egg in Pentos, she’s like half of these don’t hatch. And apparently some of them can hatch much later than expected. There’s strange circumstances. So we couldn’t do a tree, but we could make a lot of connections, like we could draw a lot of lines between some dragons. For example, it’s pretty likely Vhagar is the mother of a lot of the younger dragons, like Vermithor or and maybe Silver Wing, Quicksilver, some of those because there’s not a lot of other possibilities. It can’t be malaria because Blair is pretty never laid eggs. Could have been more Miraxes, but Miraxes wasn’t around very long.


Jason Concepcion Yep.


Aziz So, yeah, there’s very a lot of guesswork. There would be a lot of estimation. A lot of probablys, but I would love to see it as complete as it could be. Given what we know, I don’t think I’m not sure if such a resource exists. It might, actually. But, you know, people have thought about it before, but I’m not sure it’s ever been made into a visual like sort of a family tree style thing. That would be a fun thing to have, even if it would be incomplete.


Jason Concepcion I do wonder, as we start to see more dragons come in and I would imagine more dragon eggs being harvested, whether we get more information about who’s laying these eggs, which dragons came from, which brood, which clutch of eggs, etc.. I’m hopeful that we’ll get some information on that. You mentioned Miraxes, which, you know, leads to the question of like how do you kill a dragon? Which leads to listener Jay who asks, Are there examples of dragon riding family sabotaging a rival’s Dragon? Basically saying, okay, Vhagar has slipped out of the grasp of the Blacks. Is there something that they could do? Is there. Is there a way to harm a dragon that’s not overt?


Aziz That’s a very good question. I’m not aware of of that. I think the standard practice of a lot of Valyrians if they were having this type of war, I think it would be more likely that they would murder the rider. I think that would probably be easier to pull off and then maybe even steal the dragon like you make it a riderless dragon and then take it. That would be a much bigger gain, you know, to actually take the dragon rather than just disable it. But I do wonder if there are certain substances, like is there any poison that would work on a dragon that is in entirely uncharted territory as well? If they ever did a TV show set in Valyria, they would have to make these decisions. But there is nothing in the lore I know of that points to that sort of thing, like sabotaging actual dragons. I would I think it would more be aimed at the rider sabotaging the saddle like you do. Like you don’t kill the horse, you kill.


Jason Concepcion Right.


Aziz You mess with the rider. Usually that’s how it goes there as well. So I mean, dragons are different than horses because there are a lot it’s a lot easier to replace a horse. But yeah, they’re just also just really hard to harm.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, there are certain plots that we know about. We know that when Aegon was in the midst of his conquest and Touryn Stark was coming down from the North potentially to put up some more resistance, even though a lot of the South had already fallen, he had sent Brandon Snow potentially to go over. There was a plan that was being hatched to send Brandon Snow like under cover of night into the King’s camp to probably kill the riders. But it’s usually framed as like do something to the dragons. But I think you’re right. Probably the easiest thing to do is like assassinate Aegon if you get in there. But of course we don’t that never came to be and Touryn knelt. And then there are now there are it’s heavily implied in the books that the Citadel had something to do with the extinction of dragons. Now dragons are going to take a major hit just because of warfare. And we’re going to see that happen. But. In feast, the mysterious arch-maester Marwin basically tells Sam, Hey, who do you think killed the dragon’s last time? That was us. We did that, you know. Now, this could be Citadel PR, right? This could be. Maybe he’s overselling the the role that the Citadel played. We also know that the Citadel very potentially has a couple of books that would tell you how to harm a dragon. Potentially. There is a scene in Dance of Dragons where Tyrion is, you know, he’s wondering if he’s going to find like a library and volunteers that will have books on dragons. And he’s thinking like, Oh. Septin Barth’s dragons, worms and and wyverns. Maybe I’ll run into a copy of that now. Ceptin Barth. It was one of the most learned men in history, but like a lot of his books got burned by Baelonr, the Blessed. And then. And then Tyrion thinks about a book called Blood and Fire, a.k.a. The Death of the Dragons, which supposedly exists in the Citadel in a fragmentary state. All of we don’t know what’s in those books, but clearly by the titles you would assume that they are studies of dragons, how they breed their life cycle, etc.. All of which is to say, I think we can very, very safely assume that maesters have been studying dragons for a very long time. And that to study them would have to include the question of What can we do about a dragon? Is there anything we can do? Can we kill them in any way? Can we poison the eggs? What can we do? And maybe that’s an open question, too, because, of course, the Dragons did die out. Though they did survive the coming years that we are about to watch on this show. So it’s an open question. I do wonder if this is just Citadel, Citadel propaganda or what.


Aziz Yeah, there’s I think there’s some element of propaganda to it. But as much as I’m a little skeptical of what they could do to adult dragons, I think there’s plenty they could do to the to the babies and to the eggs. Like, that seems a lot more like their much more fragile state there. And there was an unusual number of hatchlings that came out but didn’t develop. They got they shrank or didn’t grow very much. And that was kind of unusual. It’s it’s tempting to believe the forces of magic were at work there, and it has something to do with that. On the other hand, that kind of feels a little bit like the Harronhal’s curse explanation. Well, is that really what’s going on? You know, maybe that’s a great it’s a cover story. So there’s definitely room. And you and the Maesters would have motivation for it, not just from their own power, not just to rise their level up to the value of the citadel as compared to other institutions. But because they saw what happened, like as a humanitarian thing is like, look what these dragons did to the realm.


Jason Concepcion It was terrible. Yeah.


Aziz Yeah. So they’re like, let’s never have that happen again. Like, if it’s like. It would be like if it’s like an anti-nuclear war kind of thing, like let us never have nuclear war again. After we had one, we saw how bad it was. Let’s never do that again. And if there’s people in the world that who are close to the devices that say, no, we’re not going to we’re never going to do this and we’re going to sabotage these devices rather than use them. The Dragons are maybe the closest equivalent to that in this world, and the Maesters do have that access for the most part, and they could pull this off whether they did or not. It’s a great theory, great mystery. I’m definitely open to it, but it’s also pretty well hidden. They’re not dummies, so they.


Jason Concepcion They’re not dummies


Aziz That they did it. They did cover their tracks somewhat well. It’s like the Daemon thing. We suspect they did it and they’re probably happy with that. But without strict proof, what are you going to do?


Jason Concepcion Kevin asks a really interesting question. Since Fire Blood is more of a historical text from not 100% accurate and biased sources. How do you interpret differences from the book versus the show? For example, you mentioned that in the books Criston Cole kills Joffrey at a tournament, whereas in the show The Murder happens at during the wedding, or what was the party before the wedding that turned into the wedding? Do you interpret this as an inaccurate historical source in the book, or is or is this a rewrite in the show? It’s an interesting question, an interesting way to think about it. I wonder what you think. So for instance, Laenor, or do you feel like this is they got it wrong? Or is it a show rewrite?


Aziz I think there’s very little you can’t write off as just differences in the sources, having read as much like real world history as I have.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz For especially for ancient sources, it’s different when you’re reading stuff about what happened in like the seventies. But even that when you’re talking about like government secrets, like we still don’t know fully what happened in like, I don’t know, Watergate, for example, or like Chernobyl, for example. Let’s stick with the nuclear example. Yeah, but there’s we know a lot about it, but there’s still certain things that that were missing. So the farther back you go, the more that fog of history enters the picture. Like I’ve read texts about ancient wars where there’s significant divergence is stuff that that is much bigger than what we’re seeing here, much bigger than whether this guy was knifed at a fair or whether he maybe escaped, which the history books wouldn’t probably know anyway. Like it’s I think like the history books aren’t going to know if Larys Strong is as good as he seems to be covering his tracks. How is the history going to reflect that? How would a history like how you need a narrow someone looking behind the curtain to possibly have these answers, you’d have to see inside their head. So to me, there’s plenty of room for that. So I prefer, but ultimately that comes down to what you want. So given that wide open nature of it, I think if you want to view it as separate canons, you should. But I enjoy it more, seeing it as a different interpretation, because that was the energy you we’re given from fire and blood and it just.


Jason Concepcion Right.


Aziz It’s we’re continuing that. I’ll just add another source to the pile, which is reflective of how real history works. So I prefer that angle. But I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way to do it. That’s just my my my vibe.


Jason Concepcion I think for me, I agree with you. I think for me, the my general rule of thumb is anything having to do with dates or changed ages or people aging up and down or things like the Great Council 101, coming down to Rhaenys and Viserys, not Rhaenys and Laenor. Things like that are adaptations. You know, you want to make it more easier to digest the story on a more dramatic. It certainly is more dramatic if it comes down to Viserys and Rhaenys in the finals rather than, you know, Rhaenys and a six year old child or however old he was at the time, because then it feels like she really was done an injustice in that moment, you you could really feel it. Whereas, you know, the other way you could also say, well, the realm is choosing if it’s Viserys versus Laenor that realm is also choosing like to to not do a, you know, a regency which is just chaotic and can be a big deal and no one wants to deal with that. So I think for a rule of thumb, I think when it’s when we’re aging up characters or aging them down, but mostly aging them up as we’ve seen with Rhaenyra, Alicent and Baela and Rhaena and the kids, that is an adaptation. But when it’s stuff like Laenor stuff that is a complete surprise from the books and feels like it slipped into that kind of that hole where historians can’t see into that feels like a reveal, that is additive to the to the books. That’s just the way I think about it. But I agree. It’s kind of what you want.


Aziz Yeah, it is a different view. Like you’re hearing dialog of people that you would never have been able to hear under historical circumstances. Right. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Right.


Aziz I like that take. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Here’s an interesting one. A reader asks, Did dragons cause the doom?


Aziz Hmm. Oh, I don’t think they cause the doom. I think the Valyrian control over volcanoes got to be, too deep. Think of, like, the dwarves going to deep into Moria and unleashing the bounty, that kind of thing. Because it’s hinted at in the world of ice and fire that the Valyrian sorcerers were kind of drawing energy from the volcanoes, which Viserys hints at directly, not hints at. He’s flat out says it. Yeah, in episode two or three. And so if they’re drawing their energy from that, well, I think they just they draw too much or they got a got out of control. One suggestion is that there was assassinations back and forth, sort of in line with what we’re talking about with the Dragon Rider stuff where they rather than targeting the dragons, they target the individuals. So if you have sorcerers that are kind of keeping it in check and keeping those volcanoes the way they need to be to not blow up and they start murdering these sorcerers, they meaning, oh, there’s a lot of possibilities who they could be. They could be the faceless men. They could be learned houses. They could be both. Either way, it’s not like they have some bottom line gauge to make sure you don’t let don’t let it go below this level or it’s all going to blow. So whatever happened, I think it was about losing control of the volcano’s, in pursuit of dragonic power indirectly led to this, but not the dragons didn’t directly lead to it. It hink


Jason Concepcion You know, I think the descriptions of the doom such that they are talking about, you know, the 14 flames kind of exploding as one and lava and explosions throughout the land kind of leads you to believe that whatever the cause, the volcanoes were directly involved in what ever happened.


Aziz Yeah, they’re the big one.


Jason Concepcion Gina, CorporateMark, and some others asked: younger Alicent made such a big deal over Rhaenyra allegedly hooking up with Daemon. Allegedly. Fast forward 15 ish years, and she’s willingly forcing her son to marry her sister. What is this hypocrisy? What gives?


Aziz Well, I think that Alicent has changed. For one thing, she was a she was young. She was a little more naive. I’m a better person in a lot of ways. But she’s been told over and over by her father and now congratulated when she finally bursts with this kind of energy of, my kids are going to die if I don’t win the Game of Thrones. It’s very much Cersei to Ned. This is a Game of Thrones. You win or you die. There’s no middle ground. She’s convinced of that now, for better or worse, for right or wrong, does it really matter whether she’s right or wrong? This is what she’s acting on. And in order to win, she’s got to sacrifice her morals. A lot of that. And that’s a recurring theme with Game of Thrones. Power corrupts. Right. That’s that’s a real world thing, too, of course. Which means you sacrifice your values. You sacrifice the things that matter to you, their ideals, in order to uphold this thing that’s quote unquote more important, which arguably it is. If your children’s survival depends on it, then you would be willing to make sacrifices even of your own values to keep them alive. So I sort of sympathize with that. I don’t sympathize with Alicent in a lot of ways, but this is like trying to put myself in her shoes. Try to understand why she’s so paranoid and angry and mad. I sort of get it right. But a lot of it is is her own fathers pressing this on her, telling her over and over for 15 years that, look, you do this or your kids are going to die do this, your kids are going to die, do this, your kids are going to die. And yeah, so that and that’s what she’s had to sacrifice her own things that she held to be virtues in order to stay alive for her kids. For her kids to stay alive, its not necessarily for herself.


Jason Concepcion I think that there’s also something of, one, blocking Rhaenyra who had attempted to broker a kind of like peace marriage pact by marrying Jace to Helaena. And here’s a way to, one, to stop her doing that. You get the sense that in that moment, certainly when Rhaenyra proposes that deal at the small council meeting again, which was a very generous deal, Alicent sees it as weakness, not as a general, not as like a genuine attempt to reach out. And I think you could see in that you can see how in that moment Alicent would be like, Well, whatever Rhaenyra wants, I want the opposite thing. So therefore, let’s do this. And I think there’s also something to it, you mentioned it, like how it’s been drilled into her the present danger for her children should rhaenyra take the throne. They’re constantly under threat. And I think here is a way to show that Aegon is legitimately a Targaryen. What does a Targaryen do? They marry their siblings. They marry their siblings. It’s just what they do. So here’s a way to say he’s Aegon, he’s Aegon just like Aegon the Conqueror. And just like Aegon the Conqueror married his sister and that’s what Targaryens do. He’s a legitimate Targaryen so that one day should the time come, you know, if maybe he’s going to ascend the throne, we can point to all these symbols of Targaryen legitimacy and say, that’s the real article, not this brown haired guy over here.


Aziz Yeah, I totally agree.


Jason Concepcion Last question from Zachary. This is interesting one. What’s the significance of Larys’s fireflies sigils? And and which we saw both on the on the lapels of his various hench people and then also on his staff?


Aziz Yeah, well, I think the to start I think they wanted to have some sort of identifier to make sure we knew those were his men. And but why the firefly specifically? Well, there’s a couple of things, symbolic meanings here that are somewhat relevant. I think mostly it was just an artistic choice, but the some of the symbolism behind fireflies definitely applies. One is that it’s they are symbols of death and rebirth, which in his case, he’s there’s a fire and he becomes the lord of Harrenhal. Like.


Jason Concepcion Crazy how that happens, right?


Aziz Also fireflies do. What color do they glow? Green. Green. And he made a big deal out of the the the fire of the Hightower being green and it’s the green. So I think that might have been part of their thinking. And then there’s there’s they’re also a symbol of of crossing over like the some some traditions hold that fireflies have the souls of the living. They like their vessels to going to the next life. So there’s a lot of just kind of cool superstitions behind them, but I’m guessing there’s a little more to it that might be revealed later because.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, I think so too.


Aziz The stuff I said is pretty cool, but it’s also kind of vague, except for maybe the green thing. Right. Like that’s. And he did set fire to he did kill his own family with fire. So I guess there is that like that part of flies.


Jason Concepcion Has there ever been, House Strong their sigil is the three colorful lines I think is blue, red and green in like a hand or a fist.


Aziz Yeah. Like the Trident.


Jason Concepcion Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And has there, do you recall any another example of a notable member of an esteemed house who used a symbol, not the sigil of their house? I guess Littlefinger kind of.


Aziz Littlefinger is is kind of the example. His house isn’t as famous, so he’s not, you know, but also the, um, but I guess that is one of the best examples. Yeah, yeah. There, there. There’s probably a few others of modifications, but this is a more off beat than you usually see. Usually see a twist on the existing sigil like they add to it. There’s usually the blue, red and green is still represented somehow. But there’s yeah, that’s not a firefly on blue, red and green. This is a totally, completely different thing which is which is kind of Littlefinger, like you said, because Littlefinger’s family sigil is the titan of Braavos’ head and his is a mockingbird which that completely unrelated. So maybe they’re kind of go for that energy. I mean, there’s a lot we’ve already pointed out like five or six different parallels to Littlefinger in this one. But but it’s also there’s also a lot of Qiburn and Varice in there too.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz He’s sort of I mean, he’s sort of an amalgam of all of the three big spymasters we’ve seen with also some of his own flavoring, Firefly flavoring.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. Well Aziz, thank you so much for joining us on this special edition of Ask the Maester. Where can people find your pod?


Aziz Well, thanks so much for having me. This is a blast. I appreciate getting to answer a different set of questions from from a different audience. It’s a lot of fun. Really good questions, y’all. We are over at History of Westeros podcast. You can find us on YouTube under that name or on any podcast platform. We’ve been at this for about ten years.


Jason Concepcion Yeah.


Aziz Getting deep into the nerdy detail, that’s our specialty. We’ve got a ton of episodes on historical topics throughout Westeros, some related to this, some not so much. And of course, we’re covering the show as well and any future shows.


Jason Concepcion I was just thinking about how has it really. It’s I think I’ve been listening to you guys for like eight or nine years, maybe ten years.


Aziz I think I think that’s right. Because you messaged us a long time ago. I think it was that long ago. Yeah.


Jason Concepcion Yeah. I was just such a fan of, of what y’all do. I think you are the best that do it. And have been again for anybody interested in this stuff season ish. I have been doing this a long time, continuously, nonstop. I’ve been doing this. So, again, thank you so much for joining us. And of course, don’t miss the new HBO original series, House of the Dragon out now streaming on HBO Max Sundays at nine. And send your questions. We’d love to hear from you. Send your questions to Huge thank you to Aziz from History of Westeros to great friend Cody Ziglar and of course, to Rosie Knight. Rosie, what do you have to plug? Plug, plug, plug.


Rosie Knight Hello? Yes, it’s me, I you can find me Rosie Marx on Instagram or letterbox if you are listening to this on Friday. Sadly, you missed my first two panels at New York Comic-Con, but you can come and see me tonight. If you are at the convention, I’ll be doing a panel about the new VHS movie. I am a big VHS franchise fan. It’s VHS 99, and that will be at 7:15 in the Convention Center. I’m sure you can google that. I think the panel is called VHS Goes to Hell, so should be very fun. Some of the directors will be there. One of the directors made a movie called Tragedy Girls, which I loved, so that should be really cool and it’s nice. I love doing super hero stuff, but I also love doing horror stuff, so it’ll be fun.


Jason Concepcion Folks catch the next episode on October 14th. Subscribe to the show on YouTube and follow us on Twitter  @XRVPod and check out the Discord to meet and hang out with tons of other listeners. Rosie and I are there. We’re responding to people, and we love to to take in the conversations. Remember, if you have questions about House of the Dragon, send them to And we love your five star reviews. We love them. We love them. We got to have them. Here’s one from Galandriel? Jason, Rosie you’re the best. Thank you so much.


Rosie Knight We appreciate that.


Jason Concepcion I love hearing people talk about the things I love with so much joy and excitement. I always learn something new and look forward to the new episode. Thank you so much Galandriel. We really appreciate it. X-ray Vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin. The show is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Our editing and sound design is by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot provide video production support. Alex Reliford handles Social Media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for our theme music. See you next time.


Rosie Knight Bye.


Jason Concepcion Hey, Mike, this is Histof from Maureen. I want to talk about Vhagar today. Listen, Mike, I think people who know me, you’ve heard me on this show, they know I’m a rules guy. I’m a stickler for the rules. Right. You know, the unwritten rules as well. You know, but I’m going to surprise you, I think. Mike. Yes. BAela she called next on Vhagar but I got I got to say I think that kid, Aemmond, is right. If you want to claim the dragon, you got to claim the dragon. Mike can’t let a dragon like that just sit there. I’m not saying it wasn’t a dick move, but. But what are you going to do? Vhagar’s Vhagar. It’s an historic dragon, Mike is the oldest dragon around that dragon was flying around with it with with Balaerion, The Black Dread, that that dragon was was conquering Westeros. And you can’t let a dragon like that just sit around. Once you, once you find it, you got to bond with it, you get it. And once it’s opened, you got to make sure you close the deal. Mike So Ayman did what he had to do. It was a dick move from the kid, but, you know, but he did it also. How Brandi saw on Mike. I pick my answer off the air, Mike. Thank you.