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So, in the finale of Game of Thrones season 1, Pycelle is seen sleeping with Ros. After she leaves, he jumps up and is much more agile and full of vigour than his demeanour shows. He then goes back to acting like a feeble old man. After that, absolutely no mention is made of this. All the way up until recently, Pycelle has not shown any form of anything really.

What was the point? I know and we know that the show deviates from the books, but the creators still keep the main points, so things that happen should mean something right? So what was the point of this? Even with Margery, she was clearly plotting something.

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    Perhaps there was some vague plan, but the character clean-up in the finale of S6 has wiped out all of that. From now on it's a lean path to the ending in approximately a little more than a dozen episodes spread over two seasons.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 10:57
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    @BCdotWEB i realise that. but in the process of cleaning up as you say, so many plot points were lost. even from before, Gendry and a couple others just left with some important to semi-important plot points that could've played out. this particular one was right in the beginning of the show, on the finale. surely something had to come of it? Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 11:00
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    Looks like someone committed the sin of hitting 'downvote' and 'close as opinion-based' because they didn't know what the answer was so assumed there wasn't one... Oh dear Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 12:48
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    @NicholasAysen Lots of characters in the show have their plans disrupted by untimely deaths or imprisonments. It doesn't seem like plot points being abandoned so much as the more realistic idea that not everyone's plans will work out. A non-traditional approach to television, but it works here, I think. Enough is shown that you can usually work out what a character or group was planning, but that doesn't mean that it will come to fruition Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 13:38
  • @LogicianWithAHat you're right there. reminds me a bit of the Wire, in the sense that people came and went with seasons, that had me scratching my head "where did they come from". GOT does keep the focus on the main, while any optional and secondary characters have their stories cut very short and abrupt. that being said, hopefully going forward, they answer some more questions and not kill loose plots too quickly in hope of delivering the ultimate end point. i just feel this past season's last 2 episodes were a bit more for the fans, with the exception of Margery Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 8:26

1 Answer 1

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Congratulations! It looks like you spotted a clue towards a plot twist originally planned to be revealed in Season 3, that was ultimately dropped.


Pycelle was originally imagined by the showrunners (possibly by author GRRM too, it's unconfirmed as far as I know) as a meek careerist toady, someone who maintains his comfortable high-status position by being useful and loyal to those with power and by avoiding letting himself be seen as a threat.

Part of that, as they saw it while writing at least the first 3 seasons, was that he deliberately acted more physically feeble than he really was, in a conscious attempt to appear harmless. They filmed a (later deleted) scene as part of filming Season 3, where Tywin calls Pycelle out on his act.

As soon as he realises he's been found out, Pycelle stands up straight, drops the stammer from his voice, and admits (rather awkwardly...) that his mannerisms were a phony ploy. It's an extreme transformation - he looks like a different man, suddenly almost as healthy and sturdy as Barristan.

This scene never made the cut. I don't think they explicitly state why, but given that in Season 6...

...he doesn't particularly stand up straight and fight even when being murdered to death by children.

Maybe he lasts a little longer than you might expect for someone so seemingly frail, but he's quickly overwhelmed.

...it appears they changed their minds, or at least decided to tone down the contrast between how weak and frail he acts compared to how robust he really is.

So it appears they'd anticipated this "big reveal" throughout the writing and filming of the first three seasons, peppering in various clues (some YouTube commenters also mention scenes in Season 2 after he's challenged by Tyrion, where he struggles vigorously, or briefly drops the stammer). Then, after filming this scene and reviewing it, for whatever reason, they changed their minds and dropped it.


I'm not aware of any interviews where the writers discuss why this was dropped. Maybe they didn't like how the transformation looked compared to how they'd envisioned it; or maybe they felt that, compared to all the major "this changes everything!" moments in Season 3, revealing the character we all knew as a slimy, duplicitous toady to actually be a phony slimy, duplicitous toady wasn't quite the "wow" moment they'd hoped it would be.

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    Did we watch the same scene in season 6? He's considerably more capable than he'd appear, though he does get overwhelmed almost immediately able. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 13:03
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    Maybe he actually did deteriorate in the intervening time. It happens. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 14:47
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    He may have just been shocked and that's why he didn't react much while he was being "murdered to death" Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 15:02
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    @CaptainMan being murdered to death is pretty shocking. It can even be fatal. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 16:29
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    @user568458 Fatal? I don't know about that, sounds off [citation needed]
    – Shane
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 18:13

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