Game Of Owns: Young Griff

Episode 355 – Young Griff
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Game of Owns 2016 Holiday Special. Jaime and Tyrion Lannister guide our combined reading into anger and terror while the song of ice and fire mercilessly plays onward.


A Dance With Dragons: Tyrion V
A Feast For Crows: Jaime II
From our A FEAST WITH DRAGONS reading order.

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19 responses

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    1. I have no shortage of issues with A Dance with Dragons in general, Tyrion’s dark, meandering, and truncated storyline more specifically, and the introduction of the Young Griff/fAegon storyline in particular. I placed that ‘f’ there quite deliberately – I like to believe that the alleged Aegon is a Blackfyre because it would add an extra layer of moral and political complexity to the intricate game that Varys and Ilyrio are playing. Such subterfuge would create an interesting moral complication for Young Griff – a character who I currently find to be terribly bland – to confront when and if he ever discovers it. If Aegon is truly yet another lost trueborn heir of Rhaegar Targaryen – raised in secret and only revealed this late in the game – then my interest in him and anything he may do in future novels plunges to essentially zero.

      This specific chapter, however, in which the Shy Maid passes through the Sorrows of Chroyane and is attacked by the stone men, is unequivocally one of my favorite chapters in the entire series. It’s rich, thrilling, atmospheric, deeply unsettling, and all-in-all gorgeously rendered. All of GRRM’s greatest strengths as a writer are on display here, and it’s a wonder to behold.

      Ultimately, I think that the show made the correct decision to cut these characters and most of this storyline. I believe that doing so removed several unnecessary narrative complications and, more importantly, it allowed Tyrion to reach Dany faster, with my sense of investment in him as a key protagonist intact (ending ADWD without Tyrion meeting Dany is one of my greatest issues with the book, and the next Tyrion chapter – Tyrion VI – features a scene from which my regard for book-Tyrion has never truly recovered).

      But I must admit I was thrilled that what I consider the best part of that arc – and one of the best sequences in the entire book – made it to screen and was brought to life in a similarly evocative scene (transposing the Stone Men to the ruins of Valyria was a brilliant adaptive choice). I thought the entire sequence was gorgeously-executed there as well, albeit on a much smaller scale.

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    2. Jared: I like to believe that the alleged Aegon is a Blackfyre because it would add an extra layer of moral and political complexity to the intricate game that Varys and Ilyrio are playing. ….. If Aegon is truly yet another lost trueborn heir of Rhaegar Targaryen – raised in secret and only revealed this late in the game – then my interest in him and anything he may do in future novels plunges to essentially zero.

      Aegon is not there to be a character of interest. He needs to be a foil for one of the protagonists. Neither Varys nor Ilyrio are protagonists, so it will not be either of those two. What would make most sense is if Aegon is a foil for Daeny. However, Aegon provides Daeny with a major Damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-do-not dilemma if and only if he’s Nephew Aegon. The reason why she set out to reclaim the throne was because of moral codes: upholding family honor and primogeniture. Since then, Daeny has gained goals about what she would like to see done that are (for this world) very egalitarian. However, despite all of this, Daeny dreads all of this: as Book!Daeny admits to herself, part of the reason why she procrastinates is because the years spent trying to muster the strength to retake Westeros have drained her.

      Nephew Aegon creates a huge dilemma. By the rules of primogeniture, his claim takes precedence over hers. However, although Aegon seems like a major improvement over Aerys, Joffery or Robert, there is no way that he will be as adamant about improving the rights of the lower classes. After all, although he was raised to treat them well, he’s never undergone Daeny’s experience of being sold and bought like meat.

      Aegon Blackfyre is a pointless and arbitrary plot excursion that would not add anything to the story and probably detract from it. There is no dilemma for Daeny: Aegon Blackfyre is her heir (assuming that the line has remained legitimate), not her predecessor. And, of course, it would be a major plot lapsus: there is only a tiny probability that a distant cousin of Rhaegar’s would look so much like him that Tyrion would recognize the similarity through a disguise; however, it is a high probability that a son of Rhaegar’s would look that similar.

      My suspicion is that they will give this “foil” role to Jon on TV: Sam or someone will learn that Lyanna & Rhaegar legally married, and when that “1” is put together with the “1” of Jon being Lyanna & Rhaegar’s son (from Bran or Howland Reed), they will get the the legitimate nephew that supercedes Daeny the royal progression. The big difference will be that whereas almost nobody is going to care about some tertiary character like Book!Aegon for that character itself (save perhaps a few hardcore fans), the vast majority of viewers are going to care about what this means for Jon himself.

      And they will all live unhappily ever after….. 😀

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    3. Wimsey,

      GRRM should have had Jon play that role in the books as well.

      And I agree that YG is a pointless and arbitrary plot excursion that won’t add anything to the story.

      He will be one of the reasons why GRRM won’t finish the books.

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    4. mau: And I agree that YG is a pointless and arbitrary plot excursion that won’t add anything to the story.

      He will be one of the reasons why GRRM won’t finish the books.

      I have very mixed thoughts and feelings about YG. I was one of those people who (years and years ago) argued that Rhaegar’s son was alive still. A toddler or infant would be easy to replace with another one: unless you know a toddler well, then he/she will look very much like dozens of others of toddlers. (If you go to a daycare/creche with 24 2-year olds, then it basically looks like 5 or 6 kids replicated 2-3 times replicated and wearing different clothes! Well, except for your kid: how other people mix your little darling up with other kids is astounding….) And given that: 1) it had to be obvious that Aerys was a threat to his family given his lunacy; and, 2) it had to be equally obvious that Robert’s forces were going to win after the Trident, it seemed utterly implausible to me that Ellia and others would not plot to save Rhaegar’s son.

      Yes, I got to do the “fist pump” of “Boo! Yah! I called that one…. *looks at calendar*…. 12 years ago! Errr… um, who was I supposed to tell that I’m awesome and they are not, again?” But, then it became: err…. now what? And you are absolutely correct: he could have accomplished much the same thing by making it so that Jon had to be recognized as legitimate. Given that this still might happen in the books, why duplicate it? I had assumed something simpler would arise, but it seems that GRRM has been using one character per plot device of late. That might be “realistic”: but it’s not good storytelling.

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    5. Wimsey,

      I agree. He is just diminishing Jon’s reveal with YG. And he is diminishing Dany’s invasion.

      It is almost laughable how GRRM is stealing their thunder with that character.

      And I dont see how show version of the story is in any way less interestimg without him. I would even say it is much better to have war between Cersei and Dany, than Dany and YG.

      There is so much history between characters on Dany and Cersei’s sides. So much personal investment.

      YG is just a plot for the sake of plot. Bland and boring.

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    6. Raging debate over on Game of Thrones Wiki about whether we should still consider Young Griff a spoiler or not.

      After the Jon revelations in the finale re Rhaegar, some think it’s not spoilers anymore.

      So far, I still do, even if the chances of it being in the TV show are self-admittedly zero — I think its only purpose would be to spoil the book storyline, and doesn’t really “inform” TV watchers reading the wiki.

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    7. I actually don’t mind YG stealing Dany and Jon’s thunder – and I like them both . I don’t think that he’s real at all. And while I think the readers are supposed to pick up on it, I don’t think that when the second Dance is over, Dany or Westeros will know for sure whether he was real or not. I wondered why GRRM would introduce a character that immediately sets out to achieve the things and be the things that fans have been waiting to see from two main characters. So, I wondered – maybe I’m giving George too much credit but I don’t think so – if YG was intro’ed to specifically subvert expectations both within and out of the story. Dany going for the throne and when her real purpose lies elsewhere; Jon’s parentage mattering less for political reasons (more for metaphysical reasons) and his own choices and his own -ugh I hate this word but – merit leading him down a path rather than him being Rhaegar’s son and being acclaimed by virtue of lineage. I think cutting YG out of the show was the right choice though.

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    8. The Dragon Demands: After the Jon revelations in the finale re Rhaegar, some think it’s not spoilers anymore.

      There are people who insist that Aerys might be the father. However, there is zero indication that Rhaegar took Lyanna to Kings Landing.

      The Dragon Demands: I think its only purpose would be to spoil the book storyline,

      heh, that is hardly a purpose! The show obviously is not going to deliberately “spoil” anything from the books. Of course, GRRM had promised them that the series would be done by now.

      And, of course, just as with Stannis’ death, Jon’s revival, and a host of other things, those fans betting on Aegon Blackfyre would just insist that it’s going to be different in the book! 😀

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    9. Jared,

      I would actually like it if YG’s identity remained ambiguous, as in we never find out if he was truly Rhaegar’s son or a fake. It would emphasise the “power resides where men believe it to reside” aspect.

      YG as a character does not matter. What matters is how Dany will react to his claim. It would be interesting if she would not be able to say for sure whether he is real and the question would be whether she chooses to believe him or not.

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    10. Honestly, I think fAegon would answer some of my questions in the books. For example, what would it take for people to believe in Jon’s parentage? I think fAegon might offer some clues. It would also be interesting to see how Dany reacts to fAegon (I think he’s essential for her character development). Who knows how Dany will change in TWOW. Maybe his inclusion will have to make her think if she wants the throne for herself or give it up to someone she doesn’t know for the sake of family. The human heart in conflict with itself and all that…

      I too think he’s fake (‘beware the mummer’s dragon’) and Dany will discover this (‘slayer or lies’). So it will be interesting when Jon’s identity is revealed. If fAegon, who looks like a Targ, is fake then how would she react to Jon, who doesn’t look like a Targ? It doesn’t seem likely that she would believe Jon and that can cause some conflict between them at first.

      I think this quote by Tyrion is pretty telling:

      “She has crossed the grasslands and the red waste, survived assassins and conspiracies and fell sorceries, grieved for a brother and a husband and a son, trod the cities of the slavers to dust beneath her dainty sandaled feet. Now, how do you suppose this queen will react when you turn up with your begging bowl in hand and say, ‘Good morrow to you, Auntie. I am your nephew, Aegon, returned from the dead. I’ve been hiding on a poleboat all my life, but now I’ve washed the blue dye from my hair and I’d like a dragon, please … and oh, did I mention, my claim to the Iron Throne is stronger than your own?’ “

      You can replace Aegon with Jon (or whatever his Targaryen name is) and replace the poleboat with The Wall and you have the same situation, but both could elicit some interesting responses from Dany; I don’t know what we can replace the blue dye with, but you get my point.

      I also think it’s likely that the Tyrells might eventually join fAegon with the Martells and the Reach will be divided, so the sides will be more balanced (Team Cersei vs Team fAegon vs Team Dany).

      show speculation (putting this in spoiler tags just in case)

      Team Dany vs Team Cersei looks so unbalanced and for the sake of drama and suspense the show will have to give Team Cersei some victories and I don’t know how they can pull it off without making Team Dany look incompetent. Because, really, how do you even lose when you have all those armies and ridiculously giant dragons?

      But at the same time, I agree that fAegon would have diminished Jon’s reveal. But he would have made certain plot points and character motivations more clear. So I’m torn on whether he should have been included or not.

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    11. Flayed Potatoes,

      I don’t see how things are more balanced with YG and I also don’t see how will Dany look more competent with him. Every player from the books is in the show, exepet him.

      He is a character who is created for the sake of drama and suspense and everyone knows that he will fail.

      True war is with the WW. This story only needs to show futility of human war, before WW invasion. And the show will do just that.

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    12. mau,

      I never said Dany would look more competent with him. I said that with the giant army and the amount of allies Dany has, if they don’t defeat Cersei immediately there’s a chance they might come across as incompetent. Some of the allies she has on the show are supposed to go with Young Griff. That’s why it’s more balanced because you won’t have 2 sides where one is overpowered and the other is hanging on by the thread. You’ll most likely have Team Cersei vs. Team fAegon vs. Team Dany, with Euron messing up things some more.

      He’s not created just for drama and suspense. He’s going to help develop main characters like Dany and his campaign will most likely set the stage for her invasion.

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    13. Flayed Potatoes: Honestly, I think fAegon would answer some of my questions in the books. For example, what would it take for people to believe in Jon’s parentage? I think fAegon might offer some clues.

      The big difference is that Aegon looks an awful lot like Rhaegar, and there still are a lot of people who remember Rhaegar. Jon, on the other hand, takes after his mother.

      Flayed Potatoes: I too think he’s fake (‘beware the mummer’s dragon’) and Dany will discover this (‘slayer or lies’).

      I expect this to be ironic. It’s not that he’s a fake dragon: it’s that he is Varys’ dragon, and Varys was a mummer. At any rate, it is a huge lapsus if Aegon is a fake: how can he possibly look so much like Rhaegar that Tyrion is able to recognize him? The “Tyrion might not remember what Rhaegar looks like” argument is very implausible: the probability of Aegon happening to look like what Tyrion misremembers Aegon looking like is vanishingly small. And, no, not all Valyrians look alike: Tyrion did not sit there and think “I’m surrounded by Targaryens!” when in cities full of Valyrians.

      Flayed Potatoes:I think this quote by Tyrion is pretty telling:

      It is, and it does set up exactly the sort of dilemma for Daeny that GRRM uses for his stories.

      Of course, the next lines are just as telling. Tyrion has already figured out that Daeny has a “saving people thing” (to use Hermione Granger’s phrase!). Hmm, who else has a major “saving people thing” in this story? That will wind up being very important when it is all said and done, too!

      This is relevant because GRRM might use YG to show that Daeny is willing to save people even when it is not to her own advantage: and that could foreshadow hugely what is to happen at the climax. But, again: Jon can be used for that on the show. This is another big literary vs. cinematic difference: in books, using new characters as foils often is fine (although not too many, George!!!); on screen, it’s best to re-use characters when a new foil is needed, and it’s often better to use another protagonist when it is a multiprotagonist story.

      Flayed Potatoes: I said that with the giant army and the amount of allies Dany has, if they don’t defeat Cersei immediately there’s a chance they might come across as incompetent.

      Many (if not most) of the viewers are considerably knowledgeable enough about military history to not see it like that. For one thing, they will know that invading armies are always at disadvantages for a variety of reasons. But another big thing is that they know that Daeny would not be taking her huge army all around together: it simply is too difficult to provision a host that large or to get it to move in an orderly fashion. Instead, it would be broken up into different units with a general set of tactics to get them to converge at particular places. Moreover, the invading army itself is the one that is going to be outnumbered if they allow the remaining Westerosi to unite against them: and that means that they need to take out multiple individual strongholds at the same time.

      It will be similar in the books. GRRM is not quite the master of military history that some fans think he is, but he’s far from ignorant, too. Aegon’s forces already are split, and although they might unify for a time, they will not stay that way. Daeny’s forces will be split upon hitting Westeros: she’s got to hit multiple places at once and stop the Lannisters from unifying Westeros against her.

      Of course, we won’t read much about this, just as we did not read much about the different divisions in Robb Stark’s army: just passing mention that they exist.

      Flayed Potatoes: He’s not created just for drama and suspense. He’s going to help develop main characters like Dany and his campaign will most likely set the stage for her invasion.

      But that is the suspense and drama! 😀

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    14. Flayed Potatoes,

      Only ally she has on the show that can go with Young Griff is Dorne.

      Victarion(Yara) won’t, Dothraki won’t. Her forces ofc won’t.

      We can discuss about Tyrells, but I’m not sure that GRRM will leave Dany without any support from Westeros.

      You are completely missing the point of story D&D want to tell in S7.

      Dany can defeat Cersei, but the question is at what cost. And that is her big decision for the next season. She will stop the war in which she can win, for the greater good.

      That great character moment will be achieved without YG

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    15. Wimsey: Aegon looks an awful lot like Rhaegar, and there still are a lot of people who remember Rhaegar. Jon, on the other hand, takes after his mother.

      His uncle, actually. Much the same way my own son looks like my wife’s brother.

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    16. The Awful Awful Knight: His uncle, actually. Much the same way my own son looks like my wife’s brother.

      If Jon looks like his uncle, then it is because he takes after his mother! Moreover, people have no problem noting that Jon and Arya are siblings, and Arya apparently looks a lot like Lyanna. (But that means that Arya takes after her father rather than her mother.)

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