Warning: This is an article written from the perspective of a book reader. There will be speculation about Episode 510 and spoilers from the end of A Dance With Dragons. Unsullied, considered yourself warned.
If you’ve been paying attention this season, or heck, even if you haven’t, it’s probably been difficult to miss the not-so-subtle foreshadowing the producers have plastered over every just about every darn scene Olly is in. Every time Jon Snow even mentions the word “wildling”—to say nothing of when he trots out new wildling leader Tormund Giantsbane—Olly fixes him with a withering glare.
This all started in Season 4, when Olly’s village was raided by the wildling group heading for Mole’s Town and Castle Black. Olly’s parents were slaughtered and, if the Magnar of Thenn can be believed, eaten. More importantly, Olly was shown watching Ygritte blast a few of his fellow villages with arrows, a scene that would setup his ultimate revenge in Episode 409, “The Watchers on the Wall,” when he killed Ygritte in kind.
Fast Forward to Season 5. Olly has been made Jon Snow’s personal steward. Now, this is a departure from the books, as Edd Tollet is Jon’s steward until Jon sends him to repair and garrison Long Barrow, one of the many dilapidated castles along the Wall. Once Tollet leaves, Jon replaces him with a boy from Oldtown named Satin. This choice angers officers of the Night’s Watch like Lord Steward Bowen Marsh and First Builder Othell Yarwyck, because Satin was raised in a brothel and trained to be a whore.
It has widely been speculated that Olly is Satin’s replacement on the show (a theory to which I subscribe), and although Olly was not trained as a prostitute, he does draw the attention of Bowen Marsh in Season 5. In “Kill the Boy,” First Steward Marsh brings up the destruction of Olly’s village and the slaughter of his family as a means to rouse the other men of the Night’s Watch to go against Lord Commander Jon Snow’s plan to save the wildlings at Hardhome. Earlier in the season, when Jon was elected the 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Marsh is seen standing with Ser Alliser Thorne, not applauding or cheering Jon’s appointment.
This is where I believe the Ides of Marsh was set into motion.
The Ides of Marsh is a play on words taken from the Ides of March, which refers to the date (March 15) on which Julies Caesar was assassinated. In
, Bowen Marsh in the leader of the Night’s Watchmen who attempt an assassination of Jon Snow. Hence, March turns into Marsh—super clever, I know. Now, not many show-only fans even know who Bowen Marsh is, because he has never been prominently featured on the program, and yet he has still made his presence known.
have not been subtle in their approach to Olly’s hatred of all things wildling, and they’ve even gone so far as to show a defiant Olly speaking to Jon in his chambers about the Lord Commander’s plans to allow the wildlings to travel south of the Wall. This is where the art of subtlety has been abandoned. When you combine Olly’s obstinate behavior with his constant stink eye and the show’s insistence of reminding us that his village was razed by wildlings, it becomes pretty clear that he’s going to be a member of the Jon Snow assassination squad. (Although it is worth noting that, in the books, Satin has nothing to do with the plot to murder Jon Snow, so Benioff and Weiss could be trying to use Olly to throw us off the scent.)
The show has foreshadowed the Ides of Marsh scene in other ways. For example, Jon gave Alliser Thorne temporary command of the Wall in “The Gift.” Before Jon left for Hardhome, Thorne made his disapproval of Jon’s plan plain. Later in that episode, Thorne tells Sam that he is losing all his friends—more foreshadowing.
This is how I believe Jon’s final scene is Season 5 will play out, based on the text from
: Jon will be crossing the yard of Castle Black. The wildlings he’s saved from Hardhome will be milling about, and perhaps Tormund will be in the picture. A scuffle will draw Jon’s attention, perhaps a fight between a wildling and a man of the Night’s Watch. As Jon begins to call for his men to break it up, he will see Olly lunge at him with a knife that barely grazes his throat. Jon will disarm him, and Olly will back away with his hands raised in surrender, and that’s when Bowen Marsh will appear, tears in his eyes, plunging a dagger into Jon’s stomach….but that won’t be the end, as the last person Jon sees will be Ser Alliser Thorne, who silently steps up to Jon, brings him close to whisper in his ear “For the Watch,” and drives his dagger home. Jon will fall to the ground, his vision blurring, and his last words will be “Ghost.”
, slashed at his throat, the word turned into a grunt. Jon twisted from the knife, just enough so it barely grazed his skin. He cut me. When he put his hand to the side of his neck, blood welled between his fingers. “Why?”
slashed at him again. This time Jon caught his wrist and bent his arm back until he dropped the dagger. The gangling steward backed away, his hands upraised as if to say, Not me, it was not me. Men were screaming. Jon reached for Longclaw, but his fingers had grown stiff and clumsy. Somehow he could not seem to get the sword free of its scabbard.
Then Bowen Marsh stood there before him, tears running down his cheeks. “For the Watch.” He punched Jon in the belly. When he pulled his hand away, the dagger stayed where he had buried it.
Jon fell to his knees. He found the dagger’s hilt and wrenched it free. In the cold night air the wound was smoking. “Ghost,” he whispered. Pain washed over him. Stick them with the pointy end. When the third dagger
took him between the shoulder blades, he gave a grunt and fell face-first into the snow. He never felt the fourth knife
Hi, my name is Razor, and I’m a nervous book purist.
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I’m watching it with people who have no knowledge of the books, and they suspect nothing.
“it becomes pretty clear that he’s going to be a member of the Jon Snow assassination squad”…well, yeah, to people that are aware there’s going to be an assassination squad. Unsullied are, at best, maybe thinking “that creepy kid is going to try something”, but not totally sure what.
The question is: is this the end of his character arc? We have no other POV at the Wall in the show…
The show doesn’t need a PoV character, unlike the books. But I suspect that we will begin by seeing events at the Wall through Ghost’s eyes when we return there. I am hoping that we will thus get to see what Melisandre truly looks like, since she has heretofore not had any need to expend the magical energy needed to make her glamour work on animals as well as people.
You don’t think putting “The ides of March” in the title is too much blatant foreshadowing?
I’d bet money that the majority of Unsullied will not see this coming, at ALL. Yes, it’s obvious the little kid is pissed at Jon, but no way will they think that Jon’s character will (possibly) die.
Maybe you should re-read ADWD and revisit the idea of not-so-subtle foreshadowing, bro.
I believe Olly is the one that is going to cry not Marsh or probably Dolorous Edd. He was not happy about going to Hardhome and make peace with the wildings either. The only one that supports Jon is Sam and he will be on his way to Oldtown. I really want to know what happens with Jon, finally. But I fear that will be a cliffhanger for next season. I think Ghost will kill Marsh and/or Thorne. I want to know if Jon dies and is reborn, proving all that he is the prince that was promised. I would be surprised if he does not make it somehow.
The most important question: Do you think we will see what happens with Jon this season or it will be a cliffhanger???? It will be really disappointing if we only see him die and not be reborn.
Ya I think the title of this article with a picture of Jon is doing a pretty good job at foreshadowing for non readers.
I think it would be more dramatic if Olly is the one who delivers the killing (?) blow. Thorne is the one who only grazes him.
Tormund will not be in the picture. Tormund will fall by the hand of Night King (next episode “Hardhome”)
To avoid confusion, the actor pictured above (Brian Fortune) is now playing First Builder Othell Yarwyck
Michael Condron was cast this season as Bowen Marsh http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Bowen_Marsh
this is such a blatant spoiler. Do you honestly think an unsullied who looks at the homepage and sees a picture of jon snow, the ides of march, and a reference to subtlety isnt going to make the connection?
Come on, i would expect better from a well noted website like this…..
Nobody I know that hasn’t read the books has a clue what is coming – I long for the time when I can watch this show and be completely surprised. I envy the unsullied. Roll on Season 6.
I would recommend to watch Game of Thrones with unsullied, casual viewers regularly. Then you would delete this article together with your other Razor’s Rant articles and never complain about the show again.
It’s only “not subtle” to people that already know what’s going to happen. Of course the kid who’s family was killed by wildings is not going to like Jon befriending them, I don’t think any unsullied watching are surprised by that. It’s not like they would automatically assume they will attempt to assassinate him.
Don’t forget the finale’s title is ‘Mother’s Mercy’ and not the one many on here (and elsewhere) hoped it be.
How many times have you heard it said? The books are the books. The show is the show. Different vehicles on a journey from the same beginnings to the same conclusion (or so we’ve been told). They take different routes which do cross and run together, then veer off.
Leave the books alone. Allow the show to tell its tale. Options open.
People who have book knowledge feel like things are predictable because they know what will happen. People can see that there’s friction between the Nights Watch but as with all people who had no knowledge of what’s to come, including book readers before they read the book, there’s always that feeling in GOT that anything can happen. Also, Bowen Marsh doesn’t need to have a big role in this show and I trust D&D to adapt that anyway they want. They are mega fans of the books who are being as faithful as possible while making the show as best as possible. Adapting books 4 and 5 super accurately would make this season the worst by far especially among people who haven’t read the books. These rants are stupid, the book isn’t bible. Books and shows are 2 completely different mediums. Book purists are too blind and short sighted to see that what they want would make for a very, VERY boring season.
You are engaging in a strawman. No one, “purist” or otherwise, believes that any book can be adapted straight to the screen. Razor is simply making the argument that this season’s foreshadowing with respect to Jon Snow has been ham-handed. I tend to agree. Several of the unsullied I know have picked up on it and now expect Jon to die. I would say, however, that Cersei’s foreshadowing was much worse. Literally every unsullied review I read after the “High Sparrow” episode immediately predicted her downfall and its basic layout, some even headlining with it.
Good foreshadowing turns WTF moments into OMG moments. You should feel like you
D&D definitely lean towards over-foreshadowing, and this is a valid point to criticize which has nothing to do with “purity”.
Chad Brick on Razor’s Rant: The Ides of Marsh and the Art of Subtlety
itwillhappen on Game of Thrones Season 6 Casting Rumors and Speculation
itwillhappen on Book-Reader’s Recap—Game of Thrones, Episode 507—The Gift
When the show diverges from the books. It's a Problem.