Jon Snow, the reluctant leader archetype, & why he shouldn’t be king – a video essay

JonSnowsad

In my latest video essay, I discuss how Jon Snow fits the archetypal role of “Reluctant Leader”… and how that’s precisely why I don’t want him to end up on the Iron Throne in the series finale. Blasphemy, I know! But hear me out…

So, what do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? What do you think would be a fitting end for Jon Snow’s story? Tell us below.

156 responses

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    1. Very nice essay! This articulated many of my feelings on the matter of Jon as king at the end. Full disclosure, I love Jon. He’s pretty much my 2nd favourite character (next to a certain Needle-wielding ASNAWP). But having Jon as king at the end is just.. it’s too neat. It verges on cliche with its similarity to Aragorn in LotR as well as other examples mentioned in the essay. It would either end up feeling way too happy, or strangely depressing.

      There has been a fair bit of posturing that Jon as king at the end will work if he’s, as Petra says, reluctant, and if he achieves it at the cost of everything/everyone he loves. He’s lost his father(s), his first love, friends & brothers, would lose his second love (Dany), and then be saddled with the burden of ruling 7 kingdoms. I really have to agree with Petra on this: I wouldn’t like such an ending. As much as we may emotionally want this for Jon, I don’t think it’s very satisfying or would be good for his story or the story as a whole.

      I do have to admit though, I’m a bit torn on this as well because I feel that if Jon isn’t king at the end, he’ll be dead, which I don’t want either. His story has been built up too much towards him as a ruler and sacrificial hero for it to go any other way and feel satisfying/organic. I really don’t want to admit it, but maybe that’s the best ending for him? He can finally rest knowing he’s saved not only those he loves, but all of Westeros. Ugh.. Game of Thrones doesn’t make it easy does it? That’s a testament to good writing though.

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    2. I am gagging! You really hit the nail on the head with this essay and managed to eloquently translate my year-long frustration with this King Jon matter in a 10 minute video. I have to stan.👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿

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    3. I could never understand why anyone would think Jon would be king. Yes, I am really slow in the head. Confirmed. For me, nothing in GOT has shown him with required experience and judgement. Plus he is dead and reanimated by magic. He is undead.

      The “Jon and Daenerys” show is also important. I think they are the designated self-sacrificing saviours. Both are magic characters to fight the evil ice folk. Other characters will also play heroic roles.

      Jon is a good, pure man that believes he is a bastard (or just a regular guy ) but is secretly a prince – like Aragorn, like poor prince characters we have seen so many times. (Just this year, this something similar with the not-so-pure Killmonger story in Wakanda.) We see “ the Daenerys story” every weekend morning on Nickelodeon. Beautiful princess treated badly in early life but through a gift of magic rises to glory. Like Cinderella etc. Beautiful princess and prince meet and fall in love and conquer all. Right?

      Everyone loves princess/prince stories but do we think this is the best GRRM can do in his story post-LOTR? HBO spent 7 years tell to a Nickelodeon mash with LOTR. I really hope not! GRRM loves Targs so they may not die but they could exit in an appropriate manner.

      D&D wanted to end with 3 movies of 2 hours each – they knew the characters that would be alive at the end and would have hired experienced movie people for these roles. I wonder who those are? Lannisters, anyone? Maybe they all die, but I bet that some of the heavyweight “movie” talents will last until the last 10 mins of this series.

      Bless his heart, but Jon is not long for this world.

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    4. Great video essay. I really enjoyed it even though I agree only in parts.

      What I disagreed with is that Jon ending up as King in the end would not work. I think there are lots of ways that could be made to work. For example, some of the things mentioned that don’t work are what actually make it work as an ending for me. There is that sense of hope that the future would be better since you have this person coming to power who has a very unique life experience that should make him much more progressive than a normal King who grows up entitled. Jon is in many ways what Book Varys was trying to communicate to Kevan about Aegon.

      Yet at the same time it is not so idealistic as to become unrealistic. The sense of hope extends only the length really of Jon’s reign after that the future is once again uncertain. Additionally, to me the fact that Jon has the right bloodlines is important. It shows that the actual realities of this type of society are still being adhered to since the people that end up as the monarch are precisely people with blood claims to the throne. I don’t recall an actual example in medeival history where someone from a marginalized group rises to Kingship. The best you can hope for in such a system is probably someone like a Jon who grew up an outsider due to a unique circumstance but still has the credentials necessary to become King. I also think there is an interesting anti-war message in the fact that Westeros basically ends up in the same place it would have been had Robert’s Rebellion not happened.

      However, I did find myself agreeing that the reluctant hero trope is an idealistic trope that really makes no sense as the answer to what makes for a good ruler. If Jon ends up claiming the throne, it would be nice that they finally make that an active decision on his part versus once again resorting to the whole reluctant ruler notion. Finding out that he has the best claim to the Throne could be a way to have the character grow out of that archtype organically.

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    5. Mango,

      I think people get the idea Jon would be King because there is an absurd amount of foreshadowing for it, it seems like the most logical plot reason he would be Rhaegar’s legitimate child, the reveal is coming pretty late in the story and The Rightful King Returns trope which is being used has alreadh been deconstructured and subverted in the story so what is left to do with the trope but reconstruct it.

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    6. House Monty,

      Good analysis.

      As for reluctant leader, the Bible makes it clear that leadership is unpredictable. That the most powerful people often don’t get to choose what they themselves will do. Circumstances thrust certain responsibilities upon them, and they have no choice but to take up their assignment. It is filled with people who did not choose power but were chosen for it — from Moses to David.

      The three essential features of political leadership, Max Weber wrote, are passion, responsibility and judgment. The unsuccessful reluctant leader is passionless. His actions are halfhearted. The successful reluctant leader, on the other hand, is fervently motivated by his own conscience. He forces himself to embrace the fact that while this is not the destiny he would have chosen, it is his duty and he will follow it to the end.

      The reluctant leader can be realistic about goals, and he can be skeptical. He can make wise decisions precisely because he’s aware of his limitations.

      In Plato’s vision of a good republic, he condemns those who seek to rule other men, comparing them to mutinous sailors.
      “The ruler who is good for anything ought not to beg his subjects to be ruled by him.”

      Having said that, people speak a lot about who will end up on the IT, but who said there will be an IT as it is now?

      George Washington, rebuffed popular opinion and refused to become king of a new realm. Rather, he accepted a system where he would be held accountable to the people and to the other leaders around him. This event helped create a new style of government and a new nation.

      The only reason I do not believe Jon will end up being a ruler of any kind though, is because he basically is an “undead” person. The conversation he had with Beric sounded like a heavy foreshadowing.

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    7. I don’t see Jon becoming king at all.

      If Jon doesn’t die permanently in fighting the NK, he could choose to exist like Benjen, wandering the far North as a lone protector, in between life and death.

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    8. Very nice video essay, thank you, Petra.

      Jon is one of my absolute favourite characters but I agree that GoT ending with Jon as a trope-y “reluctant leader”, who “rules wisely and well” is trite and I’m expecting more of D&D and GRRM. Maybe they could throw some sort of a curve ball to make it less so? Jon actually wanting power, not just to save humanity but to impose his own world-view on reluctant subjects because he thinks he knows best, something like that.

      Anyway, I’ve always seen him as a “saviour” figure. I mean, the guy is the Jesus of Westeros, he rose from the dead, FFS! So he’s on borrowed time as is, there’s a reason he was brought back. If the reason is to “save the world”, or at least humanity, well, everything after that would be a bit anticlimactic, from a story-telling perspective. (BTW, I don’t expect him to do it alone, help from Dany, Bran and others will be important, but he’d be pivotal.)

      Also, looking at it from an individual psychological perspective. If you’ve done the absolute best thing anybody can ever do by age 24 (or however old Jon is supposed to be now in the show), well, wouldn’t you feel a bit… empty after that. All spent. What is there left to do that could feel worth doing? (Well, ruling well and wisely, obvs., but wouldn’t that feel a bit tedious to you after saving the world?)

      For years, I used to think Jon would die in the War for the Dawn, in a self-sacraficial way – even the unsung hero – and Dany, imperfect as she is, would rule during the rebuilding era with help from several wise councillors, but now I’m not so sure. We’ll see.

      I think the fate Jon deserves after saving the world would be to retire into obscurity. Find a loving wife, perhaps a daughter of a minor Stark bannerman, have a few kids, live his life as a keeper of a minor holdfast in his beloved North. Leave the glory and power and politics to the others who crave it more.

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    9. Alba:

      The successful reluctant leader, on the other hand, is fervently motivated by his own conscience. He forces himself to embrace the fact that while this is not the destiny he would have chosen, it is his duty and he will follow it to the end.

      Very good comment.

      I think the bit I quoted, especially the bit I bolded, is the story Stannis told himself and others. It nicely masked his resentment and ambition.

      Oh well, he followed that destiny to the bitter end.

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    10. I don’t think there will be an iron throne to sit on, because IMO this cycle cosmology story is about breaking into a new cycle (song), and therefor a metaphor for a change in Government. So I agree that Jon or anyone else on that matter will sit on a throne, but I am curious if there will be something akin to an elected group or council to lead and/or if the seven Kingdoms will be divided again…

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    11. I fully expect Jaime to be crowned king. He has been looking out for the people of the realm from the beginning, continues to do the right thing (except in the bedroom and the Targaryens made that acceptable). He is a an excellent military leader, and could have a Hand in Tyrion who has a golden tongue (though not as shiny as Ser Davos’). When he realized what Cersei was, he hit the road. He has been protecting the realm since we first met him – just as a father would.

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    12. I respectfully disagree with a bigger part of your analysis.

      Jon has never wanted power, but that could still change with the news of his parentage – in my opinion, him being raised a bastard is precisely the reason why he doesn’t want power and why he feels out of place. It doesn’t suit his honest character. Could you still see him as interesting, had he somehow craved power, challenged the Starks since the beginning, then accepted Stanisses offer, only to receive the parentage news as a nice confirmation of his claim in the end? That would be a too perfect cliche hero, I don’t even want to start thinking about that. On the other hand, once having that psychological burden of “not having any claim and only deserving a secondary position” removed, things really could change from his perspective…
      As for the Tsar Nicolas II argument – you can hardly see Jon, the reluctant king, as only caring for his own comfort in the end, right? Quite on the contrary, Jon is a good leader independently on him wanting to become one – that is why people root for him. I don’t understand why do you raise this point at all, Jon has already proved himself a good leader. There’s a big difference between a leader who doesn’t wish to do the job and the one who will end up refusing to do it.
      Jon vs Yara comparison – yeah, Yara perhaps is the one more proactive, but it doesn’t help her in the end. Again, Jon doesn’t have to be perfect, having good advisors and people who trust him will do in his situation.
      Also thinking of the famous Martin’s “human heart in conflict with itself” – Jon as the king matches that perfectly.

      I am not saying Jon will be the one to rule in the end, I rather don’t think so, because there are too many variables and it still is the most “traditional” possible outcome, which is not expected. But considering where the story stands now, I can easily see such a situation happening and working very well.

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    13. I agree that’s the archetype indeed.
      But that’s exactly why I’d love for him to become king.
      (Not only for poetic reason: because he’s basically the contrary to Dany, who always wanted to rule Westeros).
      But because… Nicholas II was a family man, sure.
      But he wanted to be a tzar just like all of his predecessors were.
      It is a semplification to say he didn’t want to rule.
      He didn’t feel ready maybe.
      But he wanted to rule and more important he interpreted
      the role in the very same way his predecessors did,
      That is why he failed.
      Same for Luis the XVI.
      He didn’t see how times were changing.
      A reluctant king was George the VI of England.
      Yet he did the right thing.
      He served his country the best he could have possible
      done, in its darkest hour.
      And he succeeded.
      He saved the country… and as a consequence his family too.
      Something Nicholas or Luis didn’t…

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    14. talvikorppi,

      Well said.
      It’s true that they butchered Stannis character and story in the show, but I do agree with you. Part of Stannis driving force, if not all (the jury is still out Stannis), behind his sense of duty is resentment and the opportunity to “show them”, that he is the rightful and best leader, and finally be appreciated.

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    15. They are also writing Daenerys as the “reluctant ruler.” There was dialogue between Daario and Jorah about this in Season 6. Daario says that he thinks Dany doesn’t like ruling very much. Jorah says that it means she’s smart, because no one should like it. I think this also fits with her book version, in that in the end of ADWD, we realize she doesn’t like ruling Meereen and would rather fly around on her dragon. So if Jon is a reluctant ruler, so is Daenerys.

      House Monty,
      I think he will make an active decision. 1) He has to play the game to protect himself and his family because it’s dangerous to be the heir now. This is probably a good kick in the ass to actually take the throne, unlike Ned who had two opportunities to take it and did not, 2) he’ll realize that he has a better idea of what being the “protector of the realm” looks like than any other contender (because he does).

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    16. talvikorppi: I think the fate Jon deserves after saving the world would be to retire into obscurity. Find a loving wife, perhaps a daughter of a minor Stark bannerman, have a few kids, live his life as a keeper of a minor holdfast in his beloved North. Leave the glory and power and politics to the others who crave it more.

      But Aragorn didn’t even save the world. As a hidden king trope this isn’t even what Tolkien did.

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    17. “Jon dies” predictions are kind of lazy and drive me bonkers. It’s a cop-out for people who don’t want to think too much about character arcs or having to guess how Jon might matter to the story beyond “sacrificial hero.”

      How will Jon react to R+L=J and finding out he’s the heir to the Iron Throne? Who cares. He dies. Jon sleeping with his aunt? Who cares. He dies. Jon tossing away the North’s sovereignty because he has a crush? Who cares. He dies. Jon using “Godzilla” to fight “Mothra” and thinking this crazy plan will all work out? Who cares. He dies.

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    18. HayashiM,

      Jon has never wanted power, but that could still change with the news of his parentage – in my opinion, him being raised a bastard is precisely the reason why he doesn’t want power and why he feels out of place.

      Indeed. Moving a reluctant leader into a ready leader takes a shift in mindset. They are hesitant not because they lack ability, but because they don’t see a path for development that works for them. When directed to a charge that is higher than themselves or their organizations, reluctant leaders gladly step up. Steve Jobs said: “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”

      As for the Tsar Nicolas II argument – you can hardly see Jon, the reluctant king, as only caring for his own comfort in the end, right?

      Frankly, taking Tsar Nicholas II as an example, to compare it to Jon or to a reluctant leader in general, was completely wrong.
      He may have lacked in the desire to rule but, he also lacked in qualities. Not only he was incompetent for such a role, but he is the perfect example of how being borned into power and position of leadership (Royalty in his case), doesn’t make you a good leader.

      He loved his country for sure but, he also was out of touch with his people (like most monarchs of his era to be fair). He was a politically weak and short-sighted ruler. He was also blindly conservative, elitist and racist. He overcame his personal concerns in becoming a Ruler, not out of any vision or desire to improve the life of his people. He did so in order to preserve the tradion. He pledged to uphold the autocracy bequeathed by his father and to preserve the monarchy for his own son.

      To make a comparison with GOT, it was out of desire to preserve the “wheel”, not break it.

      Many leaders don’t start out with the intention of becoming a leader. This is true across all walks of life. Many leaders in different contexts fall into their leadership position, as opposed to jumping into them.

      The leader role is often a means to an end, often necessary to execute an idea or achieve a goal that requires you to motivate a group of people that wouldn’t ordinarily be motivated on their own.

      As Dany said, “They can help people from a position of power.” And the desire to help people and civil conscience is something that Jon has in abundance.

      Westeros does need good leaders, great man with the right motivations. Hell, the world today desperately needs them.
      The idea that good men couldn’t possibly be great leaders because they are too decent, do not crave power and are reluctant about it, is a cynical view, at best.

      I have nothing against a cynical approach in a story, if they want to go in that direction. But in that case, they should be brave and go full mode into it. The WW should defeat the mankind and the Long Night “rule” Westeros and Essos.

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    19. Flora Linden:
      I don’t see Jon becoming king at all.

      If Jon doesn’t die permanently in fighting the NK, he could choose to exist like Benjen, wandering the far North as a lone protector, in between life and death.

      Yup. That’s how I see it. Mr. Unselfish will undergo the shard-to-the-heart treatment and wander beyond the Wall for eternity, half-dead and perpetually brooding.

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    20. Ah, about Nicholas II as an example of a “reluctant ruler”.
      You couldn’t have taken a worse example to compare Jon.

      It is true that Nicholas expressed reluctance about taking the throne but he also lacked in qualities and the abilities to lead.
      He was a politically weak and short-sighted ruler. He was out of touch with his people. He was also blindly conservative, elitist and racist. He overcame his personal concers not out of any desire, or sense of duty, to do god for his country (though he sure loved Russia) and help improve the life of his people.

      He accepted his duty in order to preserve traditions. Nicholas pledged to uphold the autocracy bequeathed by his father and to preserve the monarchy for his own son.

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    21. I have to say I disagree as well.

      First of all, taking Jon for a reluctant leader is a mistake. Jon joined the NW, because he wanted to lead. He admitted that to LC Mormont, he aslo admitted that he envied Robb to Sam. He didn’t ask to be elected LC (probably because he felt too young and was affraid to lose) but he was genuinly happy when that happened. Afterwards he learned that ruling is not a fun: instead of being appreciated, he was hated and murdered for his decisions. That shook his confidence and made him a bit more causious about taking the Northern crown. However, that doesn’t mean that his ambition has wanished: rather it has been channeled towards saving the world and becomming the ultimate hero. Therefore, it’s hard to tell how the parentage reveal is hoing to affect him but somehow I don’t expect him to step aside in order to please Dany or similar. I would rather expect him to reveal his supressed ambition for once.

      As for historical parallels, Emperor Nicolas II as far from Jon as Joffrei. First of all, calling him a reluctant leader is a total misunderstanding: he was clumsy and lazy and had no touch with the reality, but he wanted to rule and lead nonetheless, especially under the influence of his wife Emperess Alexandra. Seondly, Jon has more than obvious historical prototype: It’s John I of Portugal also known as the Bastard and the Good or the Great https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_I_of_Portugal. So, based on that there is a legit reason to assume that, after winning the ultimate battle, Jon will end on the throne and rule wisely ever after with Dany as his very helpful consort.
      Sure, GRRM and D&D may take the story other way and make Jon die on the battlefield. But who is gonna rule in such case? Dany is too impulsive and too traumatized to make a good queen on her own and she doesn’t understand Westeros. Tyrion was built up as a smart politicial but later he made a bunch of foolish mistakes and now he’s basically primed to die for them. Sansa migh be an option but only as Jon’s heiress and only if she marries Sweetrobin to consolidate power (which would be highly unsatisfactory to say the least).

      So, all in all Jon on the throne is the best possible ending and there are many ways to subvert the standard reluctant hero trope: make him power-hungry for a moment and problem solved.

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    22. I forgot about Jon’s free will to join the NW, and what he said to Mormont. Good points.

      There isn’t even a need to make him power hungry. Suffice not to make him look like he is Ned 2.0. I love Ned, don’t get me wrong, but Jon isn’t him, neither in the books nor in the show, until he died at least. When they made me bend the knee to Dany, I thought it was a poor choice. Not because I can’t see why he did that, but because there was no need for that. She had just finished saying to him that she will help against the WW, and Jon is more pragmatic than that. He knows that the lords of the North will not welcome that decision, not before Dany shows her value and that she deserves to be their ruler anyway. Why do that before dealing with the real threat in the North?

      I think I know why, so they can continue with yet another contrived plot, and build tension between him and Dany on one side and Sansa&Lords on the other. I guess that’s the only role left for Sansa in the story now. They dropped the ball with her story since season 5 and never recovered from that.

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    23. Alba,

      Well, Nicholas II wasn’t racist. Where have you got this idea? And you can hardly call him elitist considering that he was so enfatuated by Rasputin who was an embodyment of the Russian common folk. In fact, Nicholas II was very fond of the common folk, although that common folk existed in his visions rather than reality. You can call him conservative, though I would rather call him a romanticist. Anyway, despite of his initial reluctance to take the throne (which was a result of his romantic character), later he clawed to power as a madman seeing it as his divine fate. You should read his diaries to understand his perception of the world.

      But anyway, you are absolutely right about thing: comparing Nicholas II to Jon is the worst possible comparrison one could make.

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    24. Alba,

      Well, there are two things regarding knee-bending. First of all, it had to complicate negotiations with Cersei. Sansa, too. However, when it comes to the North in general, I don’t see much desire to be indepent there. It’s not like the North was rising in rebellions with every everation as an independence-seeking nation would do. It lived quite happily under Targarians and then under Baratheons, they remembered about independence only after the Starks got into conflict with the central government, but shorthly afterwards they were subdued by the Botons and did next to nothing about that – Boltons were defeated by the outsiders (namely, the wildlings and the Vale), even Lyanna Mormont committed her men to Jon’s cause not for the sake of restoring the Northern independence, but because Davos told her about the dead. So, which of the northerners has ever moved a finger for the sake of independence per se? I see none and that makes me conflicted. You see, I know what a real fight for independence tastes and feels, so I can’t take this Northern independence issue seriously: it’s either and unsufficient setup or the authors indeed want to show that it’s not a big deal. We’ll see.

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    25. What DOES Jon want? A family? To be a Stark? A little cottage in the North somewhere? To be a Ranger?
      What if he Does become a Ranger? Becoming an Uncle Benjen sort of figure. Living in isolation after striking some kind of bargain with the Night King…??
      Thanks for the vid, some great stuff here 🙂

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    26. You could be right about the “racism” term, though I am not sure.
      In today world, the meaning of a lot of words changes everyday and everything has become a bit more confusing. lol

      Yes he loved Russia and his people – although completely out of touch with their reality – but not ALL. He was an antisemitic.

      Granted, not the only Monarch to be so, but he was at least partly responsible for the creation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
      He was willing to provide moral and financial support to reactionary groups like the Black Hundreds, who were fervent supporters of the House of Romanov, and noted for extremism and incitement to pogroms, nationalistic Russocentric doctrines, different xenophobic beliefs, including anti-semitism.

      The bloody wave of pogroms that swept through Russia after the publication of the October Manifesto – “reluctantly” signed by Nicholai, by the way – became the sign of the rising Black Hundred monarchist movement.

      Anyway, this isn’t about Nicholai and you got the idea of what was the point I was trying to make.

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    27. Inga,

      Well, there are two things regarding knee-bending. First of all, it had to complicate negotiations with Cersei. Sansa, too.

      Which was a poor plot. That’s exactly my point. The whole idea was moronic, but I’m not going there. It’s done now.

      You see, I know what a real fight for independence tastes and feels, so I can’t take this Northern independence issue seriously: it’s either and unsufficient setup or the authors indeed want to show that it’s not a big deal. We’ll see.

      Me too. I am from the Balcans 😉
      I agree with you but the whole story with the Lords of the North, flip-floping their support and Sansa’s role in season finale, makes me believe they want to pursue that line of narrative. As if there isn’t enough material and potential for conflict with Jon’s parentage and claim vs his intimate relationship with Dany, without having to spring one out of the blue.

      Anyway, the only possibility is that since the WW are south of the wall now, there isn’t going to be enough time for all that. At least I hope so.

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    28. I honestly think Jon is fated to be king and this is foreshadowed a lot in the books. If Jon were just to die at the end saving the world, what was the point to R+L=J? Why make him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne if all that matters is the battle against the WW? You don’t hide a secret king through 80% of the story, murder him, bring him back, and free the secret, just to kill him again in the eleventh hour or hand over the responsibility of ruling to someone else. Especially when him living and ruling literally solves most of the problems.

      While he is very much like an Aragorn character, but GRRM isn’t interested in the good guys winning and then that’s the end. He wants to know what’s Aragorn’s tax policy? Ruling isn’t easy. It’s a burden. There are serious consequences to war, even if the good guys win. It’s why GRRM also loves the Scouring of the Shire. Westeros will need a lot of cleaning up at the end of all this, and it will be a difficult and dirty job. The realm will need someone with the gift of making peace and bringing people together. That’s Jon Snow.

      GRRM rewards the reluctant leader. The ones who aren’t selfishly seeking power. In his mind, those who seek peace and view leadership as a public service are those who should lead. In his recent interview with The New York Times he said: “Certainly at one point, the very simple statement is made that the king is about justice, or what is a king for? […] It’s about serving the people and leaving the country in better shape when you leave office than it was when you took office. Are you making things better? You’re there to service the people, not yourself, not to serve your contributors.”

      Jon Snow is one of the least self-serving characters in this story. And based on GRRM’s opinions about war, peace, power grabs, and weapons of mass destruction, I think we can conclude that Jon Snow has been set up as the reluctant peacekeeper who will ultimately be rewarded with a kingship. Just as Jeor Mormont’s raved told us.

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    29. House Monty:
      Mango,

      I think people get the idea Jon would be King because there is an absurd amount of foreshadowing for it, it seems like the most logical plot reason he would be Rhaegar’s legitimate child, the reveal is coming pretty late in the story and The Rightful King Returns trope which is being used has alreadh been deconstructured and subverted in the story so what is left to do with the trope but reconstruct it.

      Thanks, Monty.

      The problem is that reading foreshadowing is like reading tea leaves. Everyone foresees what they want.

      For me, when speaking about the future, the phrase “there is foreshadowing for” means the same thing as “in my opinion” or “I think” or “this is what I want to happen.”

      So unless you are speaking as the author, foreshadowing is much more reliable when discussing the past. In the sense that in Dec 2019, one could say “Now that Jon has been crowned king in, I can see that this was foreshadowed in Season 2 Episode 5 when X happened.”

      So unless you are GRRM or D&D telling me about their foreshadowing plots of what will happen in GOT in 2019 – your foreshadowing talk? it ain’t worth crap.

      Rhaeger? As far I can tell the Targs were overthrown and replaced as the ruling dynasty. If the Targs including Jon want to rule they have to retake Westeros by conquest. Jon has no more right to the throne than you do.

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    30. Inga,

      I should clarify that I only brought up Nicholas II because I wanted to cite his decision to move to Tsarskoe Selo as a specific example of a reluctant leader choosing personal comfort over politics.

      Nicholas’ bad decision making and rigid worldview were what led to the revolution and the fall of the Romanovs, not his reluctance to rule but bringing that into the video would have been off topic and made things way too complicated.

      Nicholas II and Jon Snow have nothing in common aside from the fact that they didn’t want to rule. Jon Snow is aspirational; Nicholas is reality

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    31. Petra:
      Inga,

      Jon Snow is aspirational; Nicholas is reality

      Well, being that Jon snow is a fictional character, all we can hope for is him being aspirational.

      However, George Washington was a reality. King George VI was a reality. Pedro II of Brazil was a reality.

      Personally, I don’t care about Jon becoming a King. Just as I didn’t care about his lineage, thought it makes for a good story.
      I love his character because of his deeds and moral standarts, regardless of titles and origins.

      But the discussion of the “reluctant leader”, whether he/she can be a great leader or not, I think is interesting.

      I suppose it all depends of how we view power and our leaders throughout history. I don’t think the desire to be a leader is necessarily grounds for suspicion, and certainly isn’t for incompetence. Just as I’m convinced that a “reluctant leader” isn’t a recipe for a bad leader either. History/reality has proved this.

      It is a lot harder to place ourselves into the role of benefactor for others instead of just ourselves. Therefore, someone who is willing to give up their own personal desires to better the circumstances of others would generally be a better leader, IMO.

      As Shakespeare wrote, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”
      I do agree with that and I think it’s also a theme in the books. But that’s just my take on it.

      Anyway, although I disagree with your take on it, I very much appreciate the broader discussion that generates from it.

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    32. MMJ:
      “Jon dies” predictions are kind of lazy and drive me bonkers. It’s a cop-out for people who don’t want to think too much about character arcs or having to guess how Jon might matter to the story beyond “sacrificial hero.”

      How will Jon react to R+L=J and finding out he’s the heir to the Iron Throne? Who cares. He dies. Jon sleeping with his aunt? Who cares. He dies. Jon tossing away the North’s sovereignty because he has a crush? Who cares. He dies. Jon using “Godzilla” to fight “Mothra” and thinking this crazy plan will all work out? Who cares. He dies.

      Those consequences could be what impacts how he dies if he dies. So, no, thinking he may die doesn’t mean not caring about those consequences. And, lordy, I hope there are consequences. If the North changing their collective mind about Dany being an enemy is used to excuse his completely irresponsible behavior … disappointment is the understatement of the Long Night. They need to come together as allies, but don’t let that action off the hook.

      To come back around to the essay, it’s those decisions made without thinking of the consequences that are the number one reason for me why Jon shouldn’t be king in the North, never mind the whole of Westeros. His noble reluctance is what keeps him likable. If he wanted power and was that nearsighted, he’d be insufferable.

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    33. Wow, you certainly are brave!!!! Prepare to be assassinated now. LOL

      I totally agree, Jon becoming king in the end because he doesn’t want it would be the worst possible ending, not only because it’s cliche as hell and been done before a million times, but also because it reinforces this idea most of the fans have that ambition is bad.
      But Jon is such a self insert character and his flaws never hinder him so it makes sense that many want him to be king since it would be like they’re the ones who are one (if that makes sense). It’s the downfall of giving such an archetype character so much focus, people are so used to these characters winning that they can’t fathom the possibility of them not ending up kings that ruled fairly and lived happily ever after.

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    34. Tensor the Mage, Who Loves Historical Failure So Much, He’s Really Fighting Off A Serious Desire To Mention Nicholas Romanov says:

      If Jon were just to die at the end saving the world, what was the point to R+L=J?

      To set up the final conflict with Dany. Her entire drive has been to rule Westeros because she is the rightful heir to the Targ’ throne. What happens when she discovers that her new lover is not only prettier than her, but, by her own standard, has a better claim to rule than does she?

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    35. Owen: What DOES Jon want? A family? To be a Stark? A little cottage in the North somewhere? To be a Ranger?

      In Jons own words ‘Some place warm.’ And after the War for the Dawn Kings Landing will be pretty warm again.

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    36. “Please STFU, Sam” #DED 😂

      Thank you for the great video essay Petra! While others have already noted that the reluctant leader archetype is such a common trope as is the long-lost leader returning to his throne, á la Aragorn, GRRM is also known to subvert these tropes. I think it would be so predictable and so fantasy-genre-traditional to have Jon end up on the Iron Throne in the end. I think it’s GRRM’S grand design to have everyone debate who will end up on the Iron Throne only to pull the rug from underneath us in the end. That’s why it is my own wish, and I feel that the books also hint at this, that there will be no Iron Throne in the end of the series – or at least the power will be given to the commonfolk to elect their leader(s). I can’t help but always think back to Jaime’s POV when he was remembering his last conversation with Rhaegar. Jaime recalls Rhaegar telling him that there would be changes that he meant to see through, but alas, he was killed in the Trident. As for the fate of Jon, I don’t want him dying necessarily, but if it fits the story in a logical way, then I wouldn’t mind. But I also agree with you, he deserves some peace and happiness. #NoIronThrone2019

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    37. An interesting watch; thanks for posting. I disagree with quite a lot of your points, but you made them well.

      I think Jon does, currently, fit the archetype of reluctant leader, but I also feel quite strongly that this is about to change. Perhaps it’s my allowing of my knowledge of book-Jon to influence my thoughts on the character, but I do feel that when he finds out his parentage and his true identity, that will change him quite significantly. I’m not saying that all of a sudden he will be power hungry and feel entitled to the throne, but I do feel that he will no longer feel reluctant as Jon is his *father* through and through; duty and honour are the cornerstones of his very being and if he feels that it is his duty to be king, then I do not feel he will remain reluctant. The big R+L=J has to have significant ramifications for both the characters and the plot. Such a big reveal, that has had its foundations laid throughout the story from the very beginning, can’t not have a powerful impact. Jon has felt burdened by his bastard status his entire life. When he finds out that he is not a bastard, I feel this will deeply affect him and change his outlook. I’m not saying that he will suddenly feel entitled to the throne and seek out power, but that if, at the end of the world, with their ultimate enemy (hopefully) defeated, and with people turning to him to lead, that he would no longer feel reluctant to do so.

      In GOT we have seen lots of power-hungry leaders (as opposed to reluctant ones). They were poor leaders and their rules were short because ultimately, their desire, or feeling of entitlement, were at odds with the qualities a good leader ought to have: putting their people first and serving for those people. Jon’s arc has been primed for this and as a previous poster pointed out, the end of the war is going to, presumably, leave Westeros a broken place. They will need a ruler who is able to bring peace and bring people together. Jon is the only character whose arc has involved the bringing together of people for the greater good. He is well-placed to bring Westeros into a new age of peace and personally, just my opinion, I feel that he would enjoy doing so after the reveal.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about the ending of GOT (haven’t we all!) and it strikes me that either the seven kingdoms will split and each be ruled independently, or, there will indeed be one ruler for them all. I know some people hope for a democracy-style ruling council, but I fear this would be a pretty significant and unrealistic jump. It would seem unrealistic for the world that GRRM has created and would be shoehorning our 21st century values onto what is a medieval-based world. Whether the feudal system remains is another matter, but I don’t think we’ll see anything democratic going on.

      So if they do remain united (which seems the preferable option as, particularly, the northern kingdoms will be pretty devastated by the war), who are the likely possible rulers and what do their arcs say about their suitability to rule Westeros?

      Jon: His entire arc has been about learning to rule and about uniting humanity (in the face of a mortal threat). With the R+L=J bombshell thrown into the mix, he seems a pretty likely candidate.

      Dany: Her entire arc has also been about learning to rule and about fighting for the good of humanity (in her mission to free the slaves) of Slavers Bay. Both she and Jon have made mistakes on their journeys as leaders, so on face value, they may seem equally primed to become the ruler of the seven kingdoms. Already, her declaring herself the rightful heir to the throne and from early on deciding she would storm the seven kingdoms and take it by force, did not work in her favour as being the one to actually sit the throne at the end of the series. However, add in the R+L=J reveal that will entirely undermine the claim on the throne that she feels she has, and the effect that will have on her, then I feel she is unlikely to be the one to rule at the end. It’s not out of the question, but I feel it less likely than Jon.

      Tyrion: Tyrion has also been a leadership arc of sorts, but it has never led him to the top. We have seen him serve as hand to the king/queen and lead in battle, which for the most part he did ably (barring the disastrous run of luck he had in season 7). However, at no point has his arc actually led him to lead in his own right and he does not have the love and admiration of the people in the same way that Jon and Dany do. I think it’s pretty unlikely he will sit the throne, but I hope he remains in his role as senior adviser, as he is clearly the most intelligent character in the saga.

      Sansa: Since season 6, Sansa’s path has become one of leadership (before that, I would argue that she wasn’t on a leadership trajectory). She seems to be doing ably in Winterfell and has certainly inspired the loyalty of those fickle northern lords (I get the feeling it’s not hard to win their loyalty though), but does that leave her primed for assuming leadership of the whole of Westeros? I would argue not. Besides assuming a leadership role in Winterfell purely due to the fact that she is a Stark, what has she done to win or earn power in her own right? She hasn’t got even a fraction of Jon and Dany’s experience and though she is ruling Winterfell well and preparing it for Winter ably, that doesn’t mean she would be any good at ruling a war-torn crippled Westeros and inspiring its survivors to band together to rebuild the kingdoms. Season 8 may develop her leadership role and I think she is a more likely candidate than Tyrion, but still isn’t very likely.

      Yara: She has had a leadership arc, but as a supporting character, it hasn’t been enormously well developed and I don’t think many consider her a true contender.

      Cersei: It would be a pretty wild twist of fate if the remained on the throne at the end. We didn’t get much of an idea about what she was like as an actual ruler and what the implications were for Westeros with her in charge, but by virtue of the fact that she illegitimately sits the throne after murdering the former King and brutalising people to get to power, I doubt we’re going to see her sit it much longer. It would be a pretty unsatisfactory ending to her arc.

      I don’t think I’ve forgotten anyone who has had leadership as part of their arc (have I?). I mean, I was tempted to add Davos, but I don’t think leadership has been his primary development point, rather more that of trusted adviser. In my view (and this is just my opinion), if there is going to be a throne at the end of it, to sit someone on it whose arc hasn’t involved developing as a ruler/leader, would be a pretty odd and unsatisfactory ending to that character’s development, but also the ending of the saga. Out of all the suitable candidates, Jon does seem the most likely fit and I feel that for him personally, it would be a very satisfying ending to his arc.

      Sorry for the ridiculously long post!!!

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    38. Jon wouldn’t make a good peacetime king. He doesn’t consider the wishes of the people under his rule – preferring to do his thing, regardless. It’s what got him assassinated.

      Sansa would do the best job. Practical, listens to people, has political nous and is respected.

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    39. Meg,

      No, when the people you lead shout for their own doom, it is your duty to not listen to them. That’s one of the things that make a good leader.

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    40. HayashiM,

      Not listening to the people under him got him assassinated. You can’t be good king if you are dead. He also led his army into certain defeat against Ramsay and would be dead once again if not for Sansa.

      Jon is the right person to lead the fight against the Night King, just as Robert Baratheon was the right person to lead the fight against the Mad King. Robert was a bad king because he didn’t like to rule. Neither does Jon.

      Besides, I didn’t say good leader (non specific), I said good “king”. You need to be able to navigate the subtleties of politics. Jon hasn’t shown a talent for that.

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    41. Che,

      I know some people hope for a democracy-style ruling council, but I fear this would be a pretty significant and unrealistic jump. It would seem unrealistic for the world that GRRM has created and would be shoehorning our 21st century values onto what is a medieval-based world. Whether the feudal system remains is another matter, but I don’t think we’ll see anything democratic going on.

      I enjoyed reading your post, thank you.
      About the the “new” system. I completely agree with you.
      Democracy in modern terms would be absolutely silly for Westeros. Not credible at all, but I do think that smth has to change in the end. What kind of system that could be, I have no clue though.

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    42. Sansa who got played by LF and saved in the corner by her CCTV borther, in the worst plot of the entire season, and washed out with “I’m a slow learner” excuse? Sansa who thinks Cersei is greater risk to the North than the WW? That Sansa? God forbit!

      She will be the LoW alright, but let’s not get carried away with Sansa suddenly becoming the most competent ruler for Westeros.

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    43. Petra,

      Petra, with respect, I can’t recall a single XIX or even XVIII century ruler who didn’t move to the countryside or at least to the outskirts of the capital city and that has nothing to do with reluctance or wilingness to rule, although it’s true that in XIX century monarchy ran into crysis as an institution per se and that even monarchs with decent leadership qualities were pushed away from decision-making by the state bureaucracy and parlaments and everyone else. All in all XIX centyry monarchies are no parallel to GOT or any of its characters. GOT is based on the Late Middle Ages, right? So, we should look for parallels there and it’s not like “reluctancy to rule” was seen as a virtue back then. Basicly, the reluctant leader trope is a product of a republican mindset and closely related to the concept of the balance of power: it worked in the Roman Republic, it works now, but the medieval ethos was focused on a different issue. It was all about how well one can deal with destiny – be it kinging or slavery. And destiny was seen as the will of God, not like something a mortal could bend. Sometimes this desitiny arrived unexpectedly but reluctance to accept it has never been seen as a virtue. So, there is no way for Jon not to become a king of the Seven Kingdoms to unite them against the dead, although he may fall in the battle (which would also be a trope).

      Alba,

      IMO, you shouldn’t worry. There’s indeed no time for any serious conflict around the issue of the Northern independence, and no resourse too. Sansa may criticize Jon and stare daggers at Dany, but nothing more. Bran who is the only true heir of Winterfell will be on Jon’s side and his word would definitely count in case of any disagreement. Arya is ready to cut every head which might speak against Jon. The Northern lords are primed to bend the knee to the winning side, especially the one with dragons. And even Sansa has no real motivation to go against Jon: she feels a bit resentful for not been listened to but that’s all.

      Therefore, I believe that the tension the showrunners built will take a different turn. Like in S7: Sansa-vs-Jon was hyped during the entire off-season but the real spat occureed between Sansa and Arya and was based on misperceptions and old mistrust, rather than on any actual and legit reason. I expect something similar happening this season, too. We are led to believe that Sansa and the Northern lords might try to dethrone Jon, but in reality it’s all about making Dany to feel unwanted and uncomfortable: she needs that to reassess her worth and to finish her arch as now she is clearly on the path of being corrupted by power. I don’t know what actual form it may take but with the given setup I can definitely see Dany taking Jon’s true parentage revelation as a Stark-Tarly ploy and doing something impulsive. Maybe, she’ll mount her dragon and fly into the blue (just to return to save the day at the most climatic moment), maybe something else, but I firmly believe that all those Northern tensions have been built to complicate Jon’s and Dany’s relationship, rather than for some stand-alone plot focused on Sansa vs Jon.

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    44. Inga,

      Yeah you’re probably right. It’s just that I hate fake tensions. Complete waste of time, IMO. In anycase, whatever ending these characters might have, I truly hope will make sense and stay true to them.

      By the way, what Emilia Clarke said about her ending was interesting and a bit mysterious. That smth “weird” might happen with Dany (?)
      No clue what that might be, but your idea kinda goes in that direction and made me think about it.

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    45. I predict Jon and Dany become the new knight King and Queen.
      I also believe Varys switched Gendry at birth because Cerci would kill him cuz she hated Robert and was raised by peasants and heir to the throne. Even though the prophecy said Cerci would only have 3 golden hair children

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    46. Alba,

      Well, in terms of her character arck, Dany may end up either consumed by power (bu that’s Cersei’s arch, not hers) or sacrificing power for more important things – namely, HOME. And I’m pretty sure that she will choose home over throne at the end, although we will probably see a lot of frustration before that happens.

      As for Sansa (I hope you don’t mind me commenting on this as well), it’s not right to say that Sansa got played by LF: she balanced on the edge but never really sucumbed. It was Arya who rushed into LF’s manipulations, not Sansa. However, Sansa has many other flaws: she is passive by nature, she thinks within the box and is unwilling to take a risk of creative decisions and has a record of trusting wrong people and mistrusting the right ones. Take LF issue: Sansa knew he was dangerous but it has never occured to her that she could simply talk with Lord Royce and make a deal with him directly – she saw LF as her only access to the KOTV, etc. Jon and Dany have many flaws but both of them are creative and capable of inventing new solutions – the trait Sansa has never shown. Moreover, power makes Sansa paranoid, so, if she ever ends in the position of power without a right counterbalanse, she will end up as Cersei’s younger version: mistrustive and incooperative and self-destructive. Therefore, I wouldn’t want Sansa to end in a position of power or, the very least, she must end up in the circle of people she could trust unconditionally to be able to deal with the challenges of ruling. (Same is true for Dany, BTW).

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    47. Contrary to popular belief, Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli did NOT
      believe that leader should be amoral and self serving. He stated that leaders should be pragmatic, that they should hold good virtues, but that when it came to dealing with amoral and conniving individuals, a leader had to be ruthless with them.

      Machiavelli asserted that a good leader:

      1) Should be feared rather than loved “if you cannot be both” in order to avoid a revolt.
      2) Should have the support of the people because it’s difficult to take action without their support.
      3) Should hold good virtues.
      4) Should never turn to outside auxiliary or mercenary units, but always rely on his (or her) own arms.
      5) Should be intelligent.

      “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.”

      Jon isn’t very good at this. The only scenario I can think of where he might have used deception is from the T.V. series in S7 E06 when the raiding party sets an ambush to capture a wight.

      “How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.”

      Jon believes strongly in telling the truth and being honorable, two qualities a leader absolutely needs…however, jon SUCKS at judging character or sensing deception from others, and because of his naivety is murdered by the nights watch, and after his resurrection, utterly fails to understand the sadistic psychological warfare and decption Ramsay Bolton employs against him in the Battle of the Bastards.

      “it is much safer to be feared than loved because …love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails.”

      Jon gets points in my opinion for executing the nights watch brothers that murdered him, and for taking Janos Slynt’s head as well. His men may love him, but they also need to fear him as well, and know that crossing certain lines / breaking certain rules will earn them death at his hand.

      “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.”

      Jon might suck at predicting the amoral and backstabbing behavior in others, but he excels in finding and winning over smart capable men and women to work with him. people like Sam, Pyp, Dolorous Edd, Davos Seaworth, Lyanna Mormont, Tormund Giantsbane, are prime examples.

      “there is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.”

      Jon doesn’t get offended when others tell him things he doesn’t like or want to hear. he actually listens to them. Although, h did make a critical error in not listening to or involving Sansa in the battleplans for ‘Bastard Bowl’. Hopefully moving forward he’s learned from this critical error.

      “Men judge generally more by the eye than by the hand, for everyone can see and few can feel Everyone sees what you appear to be, few really know what you are.”

      Jon doesn’t just tell people what to do or what needs to be done, he shows them. He leads from the front, whether is defending Castle Black against the Wildlings, leading the rescue at Hardhome, leading the troops during ‘Bastard Bowl’, or personally brining a wight to Kings Landing.

      “People should either be caressed or crushed. If you do them minor damage they will get their revenge; but if you cripple them there is nothing they can do. If you need to injure someone, do it in such a way that you do not have to fear their vengeance.”

      Jon learned this hard truth when he was murdered. He demonstrated his willingness to crush those who deserve it when he personally executed the traitors in front of all the brothers at castle black.

      “The lion cannot protect himself from traps, and the fox cannot defend himself from wolves. One must therefore be a fox to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten wolves.”

      Jon sucks in this department. Thats why he needs Tyrion, Varys and Davos Seaworth working for him. It would probably be best if Jon and Dany co-rule with these three working for them. Jon and Dany’s strengths cover each others’ weaknesses well.

      “A prudent man should always follow in the path trodden by great men and imitate those who are most excellent, so that if he does not attain to their greatness, at any rate he will get some tinge of it.”

      Jon admires his “father” Eddard Starks bravery, courage, honor, and honesty. He learns to lead from Geor Mormont, and wins over the wildlings, the nights watch, and all of the North by showing them he posesses these qualities by leading from the front.

      Jon can rule, but not alone. He will need to co-rule with Dany, and have skilled people working under him, like all those i mentioned, plus members of Danaerys’ group like Missande, Grey Worm, etc.

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    48. Nariman,

      Ah but see, Jon getting the throne would not be winning for him. It would be torture and Jon has always been a tortured character. And I don’t think the Aragorn comparisons stand. Aragorn was not a hidden prince. Everyone knew that Aragorn was the son of Arathorn, rightful heir. Aragorn knew what he was. I mean this was known as early as the first film. That he was crown at the end was no surprise. Daenerys plays more the Aragorn role than does Jon. Everyone knows who Dany is.

      Jon is Frodo. He even has his own Sam for goodness sake. And so Jon is the one who has to sacrifice more than most. Jon is Frodo because he has fortitude of character and a willingness to sacrifice but he’s also vulnerable and requires help to do what must be done. Sure he may wield a sword and be a good warrior but he has always being aided on his journey by those who see a certain something in him worth fighting for.

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    49. I like your analysis of Jon – especially comparing it to Mad Max and how it ends, that’s kind of the way GOT should end in my mind. The worst ending I can imagine is Jon and Dany together with incest baby inheriting lordship over the peasants – that’s not breaking the wheel, that’s more of the same. There are hundreds of thousands of undead coming..there won’t be much left standing once the great war is over. Hopefully the dragons and Dany will also be dead and the survivors will do the rebuilding. I don’t see ‘Jon’ as a King – not in the same sense as Robert was, I see him more as a steward that helps with the rebuilding of society.

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    50. Ian,

      Great analysis and a pleasure tu read!

      Idead, Jon matches most of the Maciavellian good ruler criterias. His major flaw is the lack of imagination when it comes to traps but he’s a fast learner and never repeats the same mistake twice. Just look at his fighting style: at the Craster’s Keep he fought honorably at first but as soon as his opponent tried to use that against him, Jon stabbed him from the back; at Castle Black Jon spatted at the Then leader and killed him with a hammer; at Winterfell he beated Ramsay with a shield and then allowed Sansa to feed him to the dogs. So, all in all Jon is pretty adaptive and able to switch from honorable to ruthless pretty fast. I bet that Cersei will pay for her attempt to use Jon’s honor against him.

      Sure, Jon cannot rule alone – nobody can. Dany is great at comming up with creative military solutions but rather bad at formulationg setting common goals for the people she intends to rule (especially in Westeros), and, although she’s pretty good at laying traps, she’s much worse at recongnizing traps laid by others: she breaks from traps by brute force end recklessness but in general she’s not a fox.

      Tyrion was build up as a fox but now he has run into traps twice and in a major way, so his ability to recognize traps is under question.

      Sansa might be the most foxy at the moment but she has to learn not only to recognize traps but also to come up with solutions and present those solutions in a right way: so far, she has been acting as a self-entitled whining brat way too often.

      Basicly, all those flaws and shortcommings make sense: all of the protagonists have learning archs and therefore we can’t expect them to learn everything they have to by the end of S7 with six more episodes left. Moreover, it’s only natural for them to get a bit down now so they could rise from the ashes at the climax.

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    51. Ian,

      Oh Ian, I read your whole post twice because I liked how you took the time for this character and listed what you think of him. I can tell you like Jon.

      I can only say that this quote came to mind while reading it simply because it truly encapsulates Jon, and it was triggered by your talk of how honest he is and how he ignored Sansa’s warning about Ramsay at the battle of the bastards, what you called that a “critical error”. I think on the other hand that he DID listen, but he acted the way he did because “That’s him” (to paraphrase Arya’s “That’s not me”).

      [quote] and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It’s the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they’re going to do something incredibly… stupid[/quote]

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    52. Danny: Ah but see, Jon getting the throne would not be winning for him. It would be torture and Jon has always been a tortured character. And I don’t think the Aragorn comparisons stand. Aragorn was not a hidden prince. Everyone knew that Aragorn was the son of Arathorn, rightful heir. Aragorn knew what he was. I mean this was known as early as the first film. That he was crown at the end was no surprise. Daenerys plays more the Aragorn role than does Jon. Everyone knows who Dany is.

      Jon is Frodo. He even has his own Sam for goodness sake. And so Jon is the one who has to sacrifice more than most. Jon is Frodo because he has fortitude of character and a willingness to sacrifice but he’s also vulnerable and requires help to do what must be done. Sure he may wield a sword and be a good warrior but he has always being aided on his journey by those who see a certain something in him worth fighting for.

      I don’t think that there are clear-cut identifications of ASOIAF and LotR characters. Frodo got weaker as he went on and had less fortitude. Frodo wasn’t willing to sacrifice his desires in the end. Frodo, Arya, and Bran have similarities in that they all go on solo quests; they shirk their claims and titles, they don’t make treaties or amass armies. Aragorn is a secret king in the sense that the other characters aren’t aware he’s out there and he was raised with a false name. Aragorn’s father died when he was 2. He went by the name “Estel” and was raised by Elrond. Elrond was the brother of Elros, the first king of Numenor. Thus, Elrond is Aragorn’s uncle in a distant sense. Aragorn is a ranger hidden in the North (Eradior) with a claim to the South (Gondor) and the North (Arnor). Aragorn works for the realm: ” Strider’ am I to one fat man who lives within a day’s march of foes that would freeze his heart, or lay his little town in ruin, if her were not guarded ceaselessly.” When Boromir meets Aragorn, he has no idea who he is. Aragorn also wasn’t working against Sauron so he could take back his throne; he mainly wanted it so he could prove his lineage to be worthy enough to marry Arwen. As for Aragorn/Dany, they are both exiles and Numenor/Valyria have a lot of similarities. However the Dany/Denethor thing is more interesting to me as a future parallel. Denethor turns Aragorn’s claim into a rivalry: “With your left hand you would use me as a shield against Mordor. And with your right you’d seek to supplant me…Word has reached my ears of this Aragorn, son of Arathorn. And I tell you now, I will not bow to this Ranger from the North last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship.” He is threatened. Juicy stuff.

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    53. Che:
      I think Jon does, currently, fit the archetype of reluctant leader, but I also feel quite strongly that this is about to change. Perhaps it’s my allowing of my knowledge of book-Jon to influence my thoughts on the character, but I do feel that when he finds out his parentage and his true identity, that will change him quite significantly.

      I would say that there’s knowledge of book Jon that is even more relevant here, namely, book Jon is not a reluctant leader at all. That’s a show construct. Book Jon is ambitious, and desires leadership and glory. When he’s offered the lordship of Winterfell by Stannis, he wants it, as he wanted it since childhood; it’s not an easy thing for him to shrug off like it was in the show, and his choosing duty to the Watch over the thing he always wanted doesn’t speak to a lack of desire for the job.

      As far as how the political situation is resolved, I think you can rule out various possibilities just by looking at what we’ve already seen. Among those that don’t really fly as a resolution to the series:

      – any sort of democratizing or republican form of government. There is no setup for this. It’s not reflected in the arcs of any of the main characters, the Westerosi lower classes are non-factors in the books and even moreso in the show, and the show’s own arcs for its heroes actually endorse autocratic rule over any sort of proto-democratic arrangement (indeed, Jon’s arc is a good example of this).
      – I think the oft-discussed breakup of the Seven Kingdoms is out simply because the show has progressively narrowed its scope and eliminated characters who could serve such an ending. We haven’t been watching a story about Westerosi fragmentation for a while now; things have become more and more centralized again.

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    54. Inga,

      The main problem I have with Sansa is because of the writers.
      They needed to uplift her and be where she is now, but it does not feel “earned”. Things happened and played out in a way that feels unnatural and discordant. Too easy or convenient.

      IMO, Sansa should have stayed in Vale and work her way up from there. After Lysa’s death, her next step should’ve been working on Robbin and Lord Royce and bring them on her side, or feeding LF with false hopes that she would marry him, if he helps her take WF.

      From this position of strength, she could have assisted Jon, later on, in a much more convincing and logic way, without having to downplay any of them. Their objectives would have met and things would have played out in a way that feels natural and not contrived. Instead, they went with her lying for no reason (she lied to Jon about LF from the beginning, when they were at Castle Black), belittling the Wildlings, Davos and the Mormonts, acting like an entitled brat and whining about not being heard.

      It is not true what Ian said, that Jon did not show her the battle plans. First, I don’t see why would Jon, or anybody else for that matter, should consult her in military strategy. Does she has any sort of knowledge and/or experience in that field? No! But more importantly, she was there when they were discussing and nobody was trying to stop her from talking. She participated in every single meeting they had; from Castle Black, to meeting with the Wildings, and the battle plans before BoB.

      Jon even told her: “I know it’s not enough but this is what we have. What should we do?”
      Her reply was: “I dont know about battles. I just know that Ramsay is dangerous.”
      Thank you very much, Sansa. That is very helpful. Not really!

      To me the whole plot involving Sansa, be that with Jon, Arya and LF was “Plot-Driven” rather than “Character-Driven” style of writing. Factors such as plot twists, action and external conflict were the focus of the story. The plot took center stage and the characters were added accessories.

      There is nothing wrong with plot-driven style, when it’s well-crafted. Plot -driven stories are great, and in many cases needed to further advance or wrap-up a storyline. A good story needs both, character and plot. However, bringing Jon and Sansa together, the way they did (e.g. Sansa being sent to WF in S5, marry Ramsay, being raped, then escape and unite with Jon) created a new problem for the writers, I think. In order to move her story forward, show her growth and place her into a position of power (of some sort), they needed to uplift her. In order to achieve that, they downplayed Jon.

      The battle itself, as fantastic as it was (kudos to Miguel Sapochnik for his amazing job as a director), has a plot hole in Jon’s army “defeat” narrative. One example is the poor use of Wun Wun, and their attempt to breach the first line of Bolton’s (weak) phalanx. Wun Wun, alone, and me could’ve done that, but I digress.

      The emotional factor (Ramsay killing Rickon in front of him) is a strong enough motivation to “justify” his reaction. It is human, we understand that and it is something that we can relate. I disagree with Ian also on this point, when he says that, Jon failed to see Ramsay’s trap. It was not failure of understanding but failure to control his emotions. These are two different things.

      I’m not sure he would’ve reacted differently even if he knew about the KOTV. Knowing about them, most probably wouldn’t have changed his actions because that was the reaction of a brother not a commander. Furthermore, the writers wanted to put Jon in a weak position so Sansa could be used as the “savior”, and using his emotional response was the best way they had, in order for that narrative to work. On the other hand, what it didn’t work was Sansa lying to Jon more than once, and constantly whining with Jon for things that he had no power to change (e.g. having more men, or stop the weather from deteriorating which was a big factor).
      It was all absurd really. Even more so, because she had the possibility of getting other men (KOTV) and she said nothing to him. Speaking of not sharing (vital) information before a battle.

      The story moved her character like a lifeless game piece. The whole plot felt contrived, and this was for the sole purpose of the “surprise factor”, fake tension building and selling Sansa as the “smart gal”. It wasn’t a natural outcome because of character evolution, or because of how said character should’ve responded to the circumstances. Instead, it was the story, which artificially pushed her character forward, rather than the character moving the story forward.

      She spent the whole Season 7 giving lessons to others on how they should be smarter and that LF is not someone to be trusted. Yet, she lets LF get into her head, repeatedly. What would’ve happened if Bran wasn’t there? I don’t know, but they used his information as the main tool in order for Sansa to get it, to finally “see” who LF really was. If you re-watch all their scenes together from previous seasons, it is amazing how he has told her almost everything, directly or indirectly. Not to mention that she saw him killing Lysa, and had to go through Ramsay’s horrors, all thanks to him. Whether he knew Ramsay or not, it should not have been a factor for her. LF was dangerous to her and to her family, and not to be trusted in anyway, let alone keep him as your confidante.

      They tried to frame her character as “strong, intelligent, and manipulative” without actually displaying any of such qualities, particularly when it would’ve been useful and appropriate. Just because other characters say so, doesn’t make it true, unless everyone’s been brainwashed and doesn’t know better.

      We know that LF, for example, is manipulative and cunning, not because others say so, but because we see this through his actions during the entire series.

      Instead of making Arya, and as you said Lord Royce, as participants in a plan to bring him down. Create an ingenious and credible plot twist around that idea. They went with a fake and absurd drama between her and Arya, downplaying also Arya’s character in the process and making poor use of Bran, with selected bits of visions, according to the writer’s timing and needs.

      My impression is that the writers didn’t have the guts to go full power with Sansa being ambitious and acting accordingly. It’s like they were trying hard to keep a balance between the image of her being a “Lady” and a “good Stark” and her being ambitious and power hungry. They took half measures; she is ambitious but not so much as to harm anyone. Thus making her look as someone who has not learned anything, least of all how to manipulate LF. The very person she should’ve known better than anyone else by Season 7.

      You cannot have it both ways, and flip-flip her characters based on the need of the plot, in total disregard with character coherence. Either she is “strong, intelligent, and manipulative”, as they loved to remind us in their interviews for the whole year, prior to Season 6 and 7, and “Inside the episode” episodes – because in the show itself that narrative does not stand, so they need to explain what happened – or she is not.

      Last, but not least, if that was not enough, we have Sansa saying to Arya, “He loved me in his own way”.

      First, LF loved LF, only! More importantly, I have heard many women repeat that same mantra: “But he loves me, in his own way.”, when trying to justify in their minds the abuse received by their partners. So, am not sure what the hell D&D were trying to convey with that lame excuse.

      Is that the idea of a strong, independent and intelligent woman, who knows how to “play the game”, and is truly worth becoming a ruler?
      I think not! (she said, in Lord Royce voice) lol

      One last think about Jon. I said in my first comment that the reason I do not believe he will end up as a King, but dead instead, is because of that conversation he had with Beric. That reminds me what GRRM said about Beric resurrections: His heart isn’t beating, his blood isn’t flowing in his veins, he’s a wight, but a wight animated by fire instead of by ice.

      What’s your opinion on this one? How does this reconcile with Jon surviving the whole thing and becoming a ruler in the TV Show? Assuming that’s what his end-story will be.

      Sorry for the long essay, but there were many things to talk about.

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    55. Inga: irst of all, it had to complicate negotiations with Cersei. Sansa, too. However, when it comes to the North in general, I don’t see much desire to be indepent there. It’s not like the North was rising in rebellions with every everation as an independence-seeking nation would do. It lived quite happily under Targarians and then under Baratheons, they remembered about independence only after the Starks got into conflict with the central government, but shorthly afterwards they were subdued by the Botons and did next to nothing about that – Boltons were defeated by the outsiders (namely, the wildlings and the Vale), even Lyanna Mormont committed her men to Jon’s cause not for the sake of restoring the Northern independence, but because Davos told her about the dead.

      Lyanna was pushing for Northern Independence before she even met Davos. Remember her letter to Stannis, both book and show?

      There are certain locations that are important because they’re hard to conquer. The North and Dorne are places that are hard nuts to crack for the Targaryen conquerors, first Aegon and his sisters and now Dany. During the conquest, the North was a cakewalk for the Targaryens because of Torrhen, but I don’t think this will be a repeat of Torrhen (it looks that way now, but its too easy). Jon is a Targaryen giving the North away to a Targaryen. After the parentage reveal, the Lords won’t support that nor would they support two Targaryens as their rulers because they want a child of Ned and they dont trust Targaryens. Moreover, Sansa would have to bow to Dany/Jon but she would lose all support as well, I think. I dont think Jon marrying Dany will solve this problem because Jon has no claim to Winterfell/the North unless the Northern Lords decide he does, and with him being Rhaegar’s son this definitely won’t work in his favor if he wants to marry another Targaryen. A Jon/Sansa political marriage is the only way out of this pickle that I can see.

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    56. Sean C.,

      Oh yes, Jon initially was ambitious and desired leadership in the books (and I think this was touched on in the show as well). I think, kind of like in the show, it was only when he became Lord Commander that he realized how much leadership sucks in reality. I feel this is something in the books as well because Jon is pretty damn miserable as Lord Commander. He does the best he can, tries to do the most good, but he’s pretty unhappy – there’s that line, “Sam, you sweet fat fool, you played me a cruel jape when you made me lord commander. A lord commander has no friends.”

      But yes, rejecting Stannis’s offer was no easy thing for Jon, no. I remember the passage in which he goes over that shame and guilt over having that desire, lamenting he was the only one left of his siblings (“I loved Robb, loved all of them… I never wanted any harm to come to any of them, but it did. And now there’s only me”), and felt even just the desire for Winterfell was so wrong, “even to dream otherwise seemed disloyal, as if he were betraying [his siblings] in his heart” so Jon suppresses that desire deep down, but he did have it and felt that shame for having it. But yes, before he became Lord Commander, Jon did have that ambition for leadership, wanted to disprove those stigmas around bastardy, and as a child, dreamed of proving his worth – but I don’t know how much remains of those dreams anymore with his experience as Lord Commander in which he deals with the hard realities of commanding and how miserable and lonely it is.

      Anyway!! I may not reply for a while – going in for surgery tomorrow, yikes….!!!! But I enjoyed reading this thread, watching the video essay, and considering all of your guy’s opinions! 🙂 Lots of good points made by you all!!

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    57. Alba,

      Yes, the main problem with Sansa is that what we see on the screen is not in line with what we hear in the interviews. Otherwise, I don’t mind Sansa being a self-entitled brat who gets most of the things due to the right family name and is too stupid to admit that. And in this sense she is consistent as a character. So, I don’t know: it might be a bad writing, but it might be trolling as well. We have to watch to the end to know the truth, though some plots, namely Sansa’s spat with Arya could and should have been handled better: I do agree that in this case pursuit for shock value prevailed.

      As for the Fire-wight concept, once again we have to see how it plays, but it doesn’t sound like a good idea to me and I’m affraid that’s the main reason why GRRM got stuck with the book.

      MMJ,

      Lyanna Mormont was a ten-year-old who had wise men wispering on her ear and those wise men manipulated her to keep Bear Island out of the fray. There was no pusruit for independence in this case.

      Sean C.,

      I cundur: Westeros is moving towards absolutizm one way or another and, if all of the potential rulers die in the war, it will end up in total chaos, which will serve a ladder to someone else.

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    58. Flora Linden,

      Hey, your comment reminded me of a dream I had one time. In it Jon is killed in battle right? The night king wakes him up or raises him or whatever, but because he “alredy died” before and because he is the “perfect mix” of fire and ice, he doesnt wake up as a wight, but as a new night king, someone who is dead and made of ice, but retains his free will and fully functional brain. Then he single handedly kills all the wights, white walkers and then the night king, and then dies.

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    59. Sean C.,

      Good points on both the Republican form of government and the break up. I am extremely skeptical of the breakup idea especially since everything we know of pre conquest Westeros suggests there was a constant battle for supremacy of Southern Westeros fought amongst the various Kingdoms.

      Regarding the republican idea, do you not take Tyrion’s comments about elections to choose a successor in 706 as potential hints towards this idea? I hope its not the case as I think that sort of ending would be unearned on the show, but that is one instance of potential forwshadowing….. that or it could just be one more instance of foreshadowing Dany will hve a child and heir.

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    60. MeeraReed:
      I fully expect Jaime to be crowned king. He has been looking out for the people of the realm from the beginning, continues to do the right thing (except in the bedroom and the Targaryens made that acceptable).He is a an excellent military leader, and could have a Hand in Tyrion who has a golden tongue (though not as shiny as Ser Davos’).When he realized what Cersei was, he hit the road.He has been protecting the realm since we first met him – just as a father would.

      Lots of good stuff here for anyone paying attention to this story.

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    61. House Monty:
      Sean C.,

      Good points on both the Republican form of government and the break up. I am extremely skeptical of the breakup idea especially since everything we know of pre conquest Westeros suggests there was a constant battle for supremacy of Southern Westeros fought amongst the various Kingdoms.

      Regarding the republican idea, do you not take Tyrion’s comments about elections to choose a successor in 706 as potential hints towards this idea? I hope its not the case as I think that sort of ending would be unearned on the show, but that is one instance of potential forwshadowing….. that or it could just be one more instance of foreshadowing Dany will hve a child and heir.

      I took this scene to foreshadow Dany getting pregnant and having an heir. Twice her childlessness was mentioned and her belief that she cannot have children was reinforced. They did that for a reason and I don’t think any of us will be surprised if she ends up pregnant next season.

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    62. Alba,

      Jon being a fire wight is something I’m interested to see play out in ASOIAF. GoT, on the other hand, hasn’t incorporated that element of resurrection into Jon’s story. Tbh I think that’s really sloppy writing but that’s the way it is. So, no, I don’t expect Jon’s state as a resurrected person to impact his storyline. I think it *should* but I don’t think it will 🤷‍♀️

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    63. Petra:
      Alba,
      Jon being a fire wight is something I’m interested to see play out in ASOIAF. GoT, on the other hand, hasn’t incorporated that element of resurrection into Jon’s story. Tbh I think that’s really sloppy writing but that’s the way it is. So, no, I don’t expect Jon’s state as a resurrected person to impact his storyline. I think it *should* but I don’t think it will 🤷‍♀️

      I think you’re right. I took GRRM words from the interview and together with the conversation Jon had with Beric in S7E6, I thought they might go in that direction in season finale.
      I took that scene as a subtle hint. Oh well…

      Inga,

      LOL @trolling us.

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    64. Inga: Lyanna Mormont was a ten-year-old who had wise men wispering on her ear and those wise men manipulated her to keep Bear Island out of the fray. There was no pusruit for independence in this case.

      The spirit is there because she says she only recognizes a Stark king when Stannis demands fealty. She doesn’t have to pursue independence by amassing armies–because she can’t. But that doesnt mean she won’t actively push for it, when the timing is right.

      The Northern politics actually makes sense on the show. Roose and Ramsay are not outsiders. However, Ramsay commanded little respect and Smalljon Umber refused to kneel to him as his liege. Even Sansa couldn’t use the Stark name to sway Glover. It appears that the show is telling us that whomever expects or demands fealty from the Northern Lords won’t get it.

      The result is that the Northerners will kneel to whom they want, when they want, and Jon and Sansa just happened to play their cards right. The Northerners are not constant freedom fighters, but that also doesn’t mean they’ll take any Tom, Dick, or Harry who rolls up into the North as their king. Jon had let wildlings pass the Wall and used them to form an army to attack Winterfell, and Sansa carries the stigma of being a Lannister and a Bolton. Neither of these characteristics won them much support, but since they were victorious the Northerners saw an opening for independence and took it.

      Politically this is what Jon has to deal with now:

      -listening to his men
      -anticipating what they’ll do
      -and how they’ll react to his decisions

      I think the NL will fake-support Dany for a while because, like with the Boltons, its practical and they think have no choice. However, I think discontent is going to simmer under the surface. This could be a repeat of Jon with the Night’s Watch and him not listening to his men – BUT HOPEFULLY NOT. Holy shit Jon you better learn your lesson.

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    65. I totally disagree with your view. Jon being reluctant to assume power does not preclude him from being an effective Monarch in Westeros. Aside from a few despots like Maeger The Cruel, Westeros has generally been ruled by The Hand of The King, for example Aegon the Conquerer left most of the day to day ruling to his Queens and while Robert took an hands off approach to ruling, Jon Arryn did an amazing job (except putting Little Finger in charge of the Treasury). Tywin also did an incredible job ruling for the Mad King.

      While I did enjoy your video essay, it would have been more informative if you had opined on who you thought would be a more effective ruler at the end. And what role do you see for Jon. What is his place, where should he go. It’s not as if he is going to ride off into the sunset with Dany and Winterfell is no longer his home. I guess he could camp out with the Free Folk?
      Cheers

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    66. MMJ:
      Politically this is what Jon has to deal with now:
      -listening to his men
      -anticipating what they’ll do
      -and how they’ll react to his decisions

      I think the NL will fake-support Dany for a while because, like with the Boltons, its practical and they think have no choice. However, I think discontent is going to simmer under the surface. This could be a repeat of Jon with the Night’s Watch and him not listening to his men – BUT HOPEFULLY NOT. Holy shit Jon you better learn your lesson.

      Which lesson is that though? Listen to the NL while the WW are coming to WF? He did the right thing with the Wildlings, and I’m ref. to the show only. The fact that they were blind by their hate doesn’t make them right and Jon stupid.

      Granted, I think he should’ve waited before bending the knee. There was no need for that, since she told him “we will fight together” in Ep.6, but that’s D&D for you. They really couldn’t do without that useless Dragonpit meeting.

      My point is though, do they have time for all that?
      Convince the Lords, convince this and that. I mean really, there are only 6 episodes left. It’s time to wrap it up, the final showdown against the WW and Cersei. These two things will probably occupy 2 episodes, at the very least.

      I don’t think they should add more meat to all that and make a mess out of it. Especially, if you consider that there is also potential for conflict between Jon&Dany and other characters that need an end story too; Jaime, Tyrion, Arya, Theon&Yara&Euron, just to name a few.

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    67. Alba: My point is though, do they have time for all that?
      Convince the Lords, convince this and that. I mean really, there are only 6 episodes left. It’s time to wrap it up, the final showdown against the WW and Cersei. These two things will probably occupy 2 episodes, at the very least.

      I was thinking the exact same thing. We don’t have time to get bogged down into Northern politics anymore. At least, not to the extent that some are discussing. They’ll probably squabble for two episodes at Winterfell until the AOTD comes knocking. Then everyone has to decide where their loyalties lie as they face imminent death. I assume most of the Northern lords will simply be cannon fodder for the AOTD at that point since they mean very little to the end game.

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    68. Alba: Which lesson is that though? Listen to the NL while the WW are coming to WF? He did the right thing with the Wildlings, and I’m ref. to the show only. The fact that they were blind by their hate doesn’t make them right and Jon stupid. Granted, I think he should’ve waited before bending the knee. There was no need for that, since she told him “we will fight together” in Ep.6, but that’s D&D for you. They really couldn’t do without that useless Dragonpit meeting.

      I think you supplied a pretty good answer for your own question!

      Politics in the show isn’t glossed over. It’s abbreviated. The show expressed the idea that Tyrell, Dorne, and Iron Islands were only supporting Dany for vengeance, within a 5 minute scene. Then they built on that to show how Dany could only gain support of the Lords if they feared her, within a 10 minute scene. The Northern Lords expressed their support for Sansa over Jon in a 2 minute scene. Jon became king in another 10 minute scene. Time isnt a very convincing argument. And yeah I do think this will come up again. I don’t forsee a battle of good vs. evil where the lines are clearly drawn for 6 episodes. There is nothing unexpected or surprising in that. Plus, the Northern Lords aren’t quite the Night’s Watch old guard. They believe in the threat. No one challenged Jon on that. They can still fight for their homes without having to bend the knee to Dany; one doesn’t relate to the other unless Dany herself forces the issue!

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    69. Mr Derp: Then everyone has to decide where their loyalties lie as they face imminent death. I assume most of the Northern lords will simply be cannon fodder for the AOTD at that point since they mean very little to the end game.

      True that.
      I hope they decide in 1 episode and be done with whatever drama they’re planning. Because, really, they are not in a position to “refuse the offer”. Without Dany’s army and her 2 Dragons, they do not stand a chance against the Dead Army and Viserion.

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    70. Alba,

      Yea, I assume the Northern lords will resist Dany every step of the way, which will ultimately be their undoing. While others like the Starks will resist her at first but eventually approve of her.

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    71. MMJ: I think you supplied a pretty good answer for your own question!

      Politics in the show isn’t glossed over. It’s abbreviated. The show expressed the idea that Tyrell, Dorne, and Iron Islands were only supporting Dany for vengeance, within a 5 minute scene. Then they built on that to show how Dany could only gain support of the Lords if they feared her, within a 10 minute scene. The Northern Lords expressed their support for Sansa over Jon in a 2 minute scene. Jon became king in another 10 minute scene. Time isnt a very convincing argument. And yeah I do think this will come up again. I don’t forsee a battle of good vs. evil where the lines are clearly drawn for 6 episodes. There is nothing unexpected or surprising in that. Plus, the Northern Lords aren’t quite the Night’s Watch old guard. They believe in the threat. No one challenged Jon on that.

      See, that’s the thing. I’m hoping to not see again, fake conflicts&alliances made and unmade within 10 minutes, like they did in S7, because they needed to cut off characters and make Dany weaker. Otherwise Cersei didn’t have a chance to be alive and still a factor in season finale.

      They can still fight for their homes without having to bend the knee to Dany; one doesn’t relate to the other unless Dany herself forces the issue!

      No, it doesn’t. But say Dany doesn’t force the issue. There is still the problem that Jon has pledged alliegiance to her. That’s the first thing they are going to learn when Dany&Co arrive at WF.

      We’ll see how that plays out. Whatever it is, I hope it is well done and makes sense. This is the last season and it’s either make it or break it, IMO.

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    72. I also believe that Sam will come around too. I know that a lot of people are expecting Sam to hate Dany since she barbecued his dad and brother, but I just don’t think it’ll play out that way. Sure, he might be upset at first, but we’re talking about the man who made Sam’s life a living hell and even threatened to kill him if he didn’t leave his family and join the NW. I’d actually be completely stunned if Sam gave in and hated Dany. I fully expect Sam will get over it pretty quickly. He knows his dad didn’t love him. Sam is ultimately a pragmatist, and will be on the side that’s more focused on defeating the AOTD. Anything else would be out of character.

      We didn’t watch certain character arcs play out in front of us for 7 seasons just so they could all give in to petty squabbles in the end like everyone else.

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    73. Alba: See, that’s the thing. I’m hoping to not see again, fake conflicts&alliances made and unmade within 10 minutes, like they did in S7, because they needed to cut off characters and make Dany weaker. Otherwise Cersei didn’t have a chance to be alive and still a factor in season finale.

      Are you hoping that there will just be one big zombie battle, which even D&D said is boring? You’d rather have this than scenes involving politics? And how is the NL electing him then later having misgivings about Jon, fake drama? Where people believe power resides is one of the show’s core themes and a monarch only has a few ways to control that: appease the Lords, rule by fear, or rule by marriage/treaty. This theme and Jon’s mistakes also relate back to other central themes: when you play the game of thrones you win or you die, and what makes a good ruler.

      Why do your predictions involve no complications for Dany? Ever since she’s arrived in Westeros things haven’t gone well for her. Moreover, the show runners aren’t enamoured by the WW vs. humans plot as some may think:

      “It’s one of those great conflicts that makes us love the books and this saga. Ultimately, it’s not just about good versus evil. It’s about people with good intentions coming into conflict with each other because they have very different views of the world.”

      – David Benioff, S05E10, “Mother’s Mercy” Inside the Episode on Jon’s death

      They enjoy the intrigue and conflict between people with good intentions. So I’m saying, these things will be addressed. They won’t just be glossed over because the zombies are invading; it will just be done economically. You can dislike that of course, but hoping that the season is just one non-stop zombie battle where everyone becomes an action hero is way worse.

      I’d also say that if the Northern Lords are just canon fodder, then there’s no one left to rule over or decide who rules what. Who has control of the North has come up every season.

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    74. Mr Derp,

      If Sam and Dany do move past that initial conflict, it’ll be interesting if Maester Aemon is brought up. Maester Aemon played a larger role within Sam’s storyline, so perhaps that’s the reason why it wasn’t brought up in S7 with Jon and Dany? One can hope!

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    75. MMJ: I’d also say that if the Northern Lords are just canon fodder, then there’s no one left to rule over or decide who rules what. Who has control of the North has come up every season.

      Sansa or the Lady Bear could easily survive and make that decision. No one needs Lord Glover or Lord Manderly for that.

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    76. Jay Targ,

      I’m hoping that season 8 will be full of callbacks to previous seasons, so I personally would expect Maester Aemon to be brought up in a conversation with Dany/Sam or Dany/Jon.

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    77. Mr Derp: Sansa or the Lady Bear could easily survive and make that decision. No one needs Lord Glover or Lord Manderly for that.

      Again trying to make this a cakewalk for Dany I see. Just kill off the guys who stand in her way! I’m telling you, it’s not going to be. Sansa and Lyanna certainly won’t choose a Targaryen incest baby to rule the North or an outsider who burns fathers and sons because they wont kneel.

      Northern Independence has been a plot since the very beginning of the series, and it’s an obstacle for Dany that isn’t easily solved.

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    78. MMJ: Are you hoping that there will just be one big zombie battle, which even D&D said is boring? You’d rather have this than scenes involving politics? And how is the NL electing him then later having misgivings about Jon, fake drama?

      I’m not hoping for a big zombie battle. I know for sure there will be one, and fortunately there is a great director filming it. I am not worried about that. I want a good story and a solution to all the characters involved. I’ve seen the fake drama in S6 and S7.
      So, forgive me If I do not have much faith left in them, when they talk about “characters” and “intrigue”.

      Why do your predictions involve no complications for Dany?

      I’m not sure I understand your question. My prediction for Dany is that she will die. So, I’m not sure where did you get that idea.

      Moreover, the show runners aren’t enamoured by the WW vs. humans plot as some may think:

      They may not, but the WW were presented as THE threat from the very first scene of season 1. It started in a subtle way but they have been building on that each season. Jon’s main concern and objective has been the WW. Same for Sam, Mel and everyone who has seen them. They might not like it, you might not like it, but to discard that as something boring and be like “Meh…it was never a big issue. We like the politics better”, it will be anticlimactic.
      Also, let’s not forget that this is a fantasy genre as well.
      Ignoring that element or shying away from it, it’s a mistake, IMO.

      You can dislike that of course, but hoping that the season is just one non-stop zombie battle where everyone becomes an action hero is way worse.

      I never said that. I said two important battles will be covered at least in 2 episodes. That much information has been given by them in the last interview as well. So, you are left with 4 episode and many other characters to deal with. Therefore, what I’m saying is, I hope they take the time and make justice to these characters and their end game.

      I am not disregarding the Lord of the North as being unhappy for Jon, with Dany, or both. I’m saying, that I find it hard to believe that when you are facing an imminent threat, the biggest threat, a matter of life or death threat, you have the luxury to play games.
      That is short-sighted and stupid, and if they do that, they truly deserve to die.

      After, if you are still alive, you might have the freedom to choose, not before. It’s common sense really, it’s self-preservation.

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    79. MMJ,

      It’s not going to be a cakewalk at all. However, I think you overestimate how much of an issue it’ll really be. I don’t think Dany is going to arrive at Winterfell expecting everyone to bend the knee to her right away. She’s more intelligent than that. You seem to be of the mind that she’s going to start slapping bitches and ordering everyone around left and right as soon as she arrives. She’ll be more diplomatic than that.

      You’re talking about season 8 through the lens of what you personally want to happen. I’m talking about season 8 objectively, trying to figure out what will happen whether I approve of it or not. There’s a big difference. You obviously don’t like Dany and that’s fine, but I think you’re letting it cloud your judgment a little bit.

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    80. Alba: I am not disregarding the Lord of the North as being unhappy for Jon, with Dany, or both. I’m saying, that I find it hard to believe that when you are facing an imminent threat, the biggest threat, a matter of life or death threat, you have the luxury to play games.
      That is short-sighted and stupid, and if they do that, they truly deserve to die. After, if you are still alive, you might have the freedom to choose, not before. It’s common sense really, it’s self-preservation.

      You are assuming that Dany isn’t a threat to them either. Which is fine. I get it. Whatever Jon thinks is best, the audience thinks so as well (but he knows nothing, remember?). The Lords aren’t exactly Aliser Thorne and Olly. I said upthread that they are opportunists who push for independence when it’s feasible and practical. There will be a lull in the fighting and I’m sure that who they want to rule them will come up again. But if they decide that both Dany and the WW are a threat to them (because Ice and Fire – two threats facing Westeros?) then it’s a legit concern. The person who played frivolous games – Littlefinger. At the same time, the North wouldn’t be united to face the threat without a certain level of politics. The North deciding whom they want to follow AFTER the fighting is over, also isn’t frivolous.

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    81. MMJ,

      “The Northern Lords expressed their support for Sansa over Jon in a 2 minute scene. Jon became king in another 10 minute scene.”

      Glad to see someone else uses a stopwatch at times. 🙂 And your pun on the lords being “canon fodder” was priceless. The lords are indeed “sheep” (per Olenna) and go where they’re led. Littlefinger knew this and was colluding with (or more like manipulating) Royce and Glover. It won’t be a cakewalk, but with the AotD breathing down their necks in Episode 1 the powers that be (mostly Jon, Dany, their Hands and the Starks) cannot devote many minutes to factionalism and will unify their forces. Sansa will come to terms with Dany because Arya and Bran won’t support her otherwise. I think EVERYONE will have a voice in the decision, but at some point talk will end and war will begin.

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    82. Good video essay. Really enjoyed it. Thank you!
      I do agree though with other commentors that Jon has been reluctant so far out of a sort of inferiority complex based on his bastard-ness and that may change if suddenly he is acknowledged as Aegon Targaryen.
      And Nicholas II was probably not the best example of a reluctant leader. Not even the fact that he moved away. After all, Louis XIV also moved to Versailles, far far from Paris. Nothing reluctant about old Louie though.
      Personally I see Jon AND Daenerys on the Iron Throne. Or just her. Although many fans do not seem to like her that much, an American 2019 tv show will NEVER have a female character set aside for a man. So, queen Daenerys of House Targaryen it is.

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    83. Alba: I’m not sure I understand your question. My prediction for Dany is that she will die. So, I’m not sure where did you get that idea.

      I think she will die too: betrayed by her own men or eaten by her dragons. I think it’s a Rhaenyra type death because things aren’t going to go her way. Most folks think it will be a heroic death simply because she fought the WW or that she’ll die childbirth, but these are cop-out, cakewalk, Mary Sue, fanservice, storylines.

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    84. MMJ,

      The easiest solution for the North to solve this issue is to acknowledge Jon’s claim to the IT and push him up aginst his own will forcing Dany to accept the role of queen-consort (though even that may turn into a problem, if Dany is considered baren). So, Dany will have a problem and a serious one.

      Alba,

      I wouldn’t call the Dragonpit meeting useless: it was the turning point to Jaime. And for the option of Jon not bending the knee after Dany promised him help, well, let’s take a look at Meera and Barn farewell scene:

      Meera: You don’t need me anymore.
      Bran: Yes, I don’t.
      Meera: That’s all you have to say???
      Bran: Thank you.
      Meera: Thank you???????? I’ve almost died for you, etc.

      Female logic in a nutshel: I’ve made a sacrifice, so a simple thank you won’t do.

      So, basicly Jon acted very reasonably, when he bended the knee to Dany: otherwise she might have freeked out. And making that public at the Dragonpit meeting was probably the only option, too. Cersei was forcing him to swear neutrality, and Jon coundn’t afford that anyway. Cersei was a sworn enemy of his house, and it was pretty obvious that she would go agains the North sooner or later. It was in Jon’s best interest to put Dany on the IT and that also implied that he would have to fight for her at some point, especialy after she lost all other westerosi allies. Jon’s only desire was to freeze this conflict somehow until the AOTD is dealt with but when he was asked that question he gave a fair answer (and won Jaime to his side).

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    85. MMJ,

      Interesting. I didn’t know dying would be a cakewalk. Thanks for letting us know.

      Fan service means that something is intentionally done to please the audience. You’re part of the audience and you want her to die by betrayal. This is just your version of fan service.

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    86. Mr Derp: Interesting. I didn’t know dying would be a cakewalk. Thanks for letting us know. Fan service means that something is intentionally done to please the audience. You’re part of the audience and you want her to die by betrayal. This is just your version of fan service.

      If she doesnt have to make any morally questionable choices – she just always makes the right ones and dies a hero – its a cakewalk for the audience and for her character arc. We might as well be watching Wonder Woman With Dragons if she’s just going to fly around saving everrryone and being Ms. Noble Hero who is never put in a compromising position.

      It’s not that *I* personally want her to be betrayed. Did I write in 3 treasons for her in the books? Did I compare her to Philip of Macedon like the author did? I’m saying that this is in line for how GRRM writes Targaryens. They rise high and fall hard and he’s not above having a them die a gruesome death just because they’re fan faves. He does not do fanservice.

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    87. MMJ,

      Making the right decision doesn’t necessarily have to be a cakewalk. I’m not sure where you’re getting that idea. Just ask Jon Snow. He made the right decision letting the Wildlings through the Wall and paid the ultimate price for it.

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    88. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      In fact, that scene where the Northern Lords (or rather Lord Glover) expressed their support for Sansa can be taken seriously. They were angry for Jon being not with them at the moment when Bran broke the news about the AOTD matching on Eastwatch and let that anger out. But it’s hard to believe they really considered replacing an experienced commander with a girl who knew nothing about the enemy or battles in general. That’s nonsense: they did some whinging and that’s all (Arya overreacted for no good reason). And I think it will be very similar in Ep 1: they’ll do some whinging and then Jon will shut them up with an epic speach and that will be all, except that this whinging may hasten Sam to break the news that they have a better Stark-Targarian claimant to the IT (and then the shit may hit the fan, cause Dany won’t like it).

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    89. MMJ: You are assuming that Dany isn’t a threat to them either. Which is fine.

      Actually, you’re assuming and putting words in my mouth that I never said. I didn’t even discuss much about Dany, because I do not have a clear idea about her in regards with the Lords of the North.
      What I said is; they do not have much choice and refuse her help, because without her army and dragons they do not stand a chance.

      As for her fate, I do not see her sitting on the throne. In fact, I do not even see a throne left, and I see her as dead in the end.
      Whether that will happen because she will sacrifice herself for the greater good, or because she will do some crazy sh*te, I have no clue.

      I get it. Whatever Jon thinks is best, the audience thinks so as well.

      Please spare me the condescending tone. It’s really not necessary.
      We are discussing about a fictional character, a TV show. Jon isn’t my brother or lover, and I’m assuming it isn’t your enemy either.
      If this was real life and he was to me one of those two things, I would say to him: “Jon, take Ghost and run to Braavos. It looks like a very nice city and it’s warm. Sansa and the Lords of the North will take care of Westeros.”

      I said upthread that they are opportunists who push for independence when it’s feasible and practical. There will be a lull in the fighting and I’m sure that who they want to rule them will come up again.

      I’m fine with that, as long as it’s done well. No plots springed out of the blue and flip-flop with characters just for shock values and “gotcha” moments.

      But if they decide that both Dany and the WW are a threat to them then it’s a legit concern.

      It depends. Reasons, motivations and timing are crucial. Unless you think Dany will start to burn them as soon as she sets foot in WF, or while they are fighting against the WW.

      At the same time, the North wouldn’t be united to face the threat if it wasn’t for politics.

      Sure, so? The context is not the same as it was in S3 or S4. It’s the season finale and the story is ending. Now time has come to face that threat for real.

      The North deciding whom they want to follow AFTER the fighting is over, also isn’t frivolous.

      Once again, you’re using words that I never used. I repeat again.
      My whole point, from the very first post on this subject, was: Do they have the luxury to play games BEFORE dealing with the WW? I think not, and it will be a stupid thing to do.
      AFTER, If they are in a position to do so, they can choose whoever they want.

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    90. Mr Derp:
      MMJ,
      Making the right decision doesn’t necessarily have to be a cakewalk.I’m not sure where you’re getting that idea.Just ask Jon Snow.He made the right decision letting the Wildlings through the Wall and paid the ultimate price for it.

      Yes, we’re in agreement then that Dany could very well be betrayed by her own men despite her good intentions.

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    91. Alba: Actually, you’re assuming and putting words in my mouth that I never said. I didn’t even discuss much about Dany, because I do not have a clear idea about her in regards with the Lords of the North.
      What I said is; they do not have much choice and refuse her help, because without her army and dragons they do not stand a chance.

      And being forced to follow someone just because another threat is facing them is no guarantee that politics will be removed from the story. I never said that they would object to fighting the White Walkers. I’ve maintained that they won’t follow Dany. They can fight the WW without kneeling to her. The issue is, will Dany allow this.

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    92. Alba: Once again, you’re using words that I never used. I repeat again.
      My whole point, from the very first post on this subject, was: Do they have the luxury to play games BEFORE dealing with the WW? I think not, and it will be a stupid thing to do.

      What games are you talking about? I’m saying they won’t bend the knee to her. How is that a “game”?

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    93. MMJ: Again trying to make this a cakewalk for Dany I see. Just kill off the guys who stand in her way! I’m telling you, it’s not going to be. Sansa and Lyanna certainly won’t choose a Targaryen incest baby to rule the North or an outsider who burns fathers and sons because they wont kneel.

      Northern Independence has been a plot since the very beginning of the series, and it’s an obstacle for Dany that isn’t easily solved.

      I’m not sure that Northern independence is going to be an issue by the end of the show. Isn’t it pretty much a certainty that as the first line of defence (and also the first line of defenceless villages and holdfasts), they will be pretty much decimated? We’re all anticipating humanity to take some heavy losses in this war. I would be amazed if there’s much of the North left after all is said and done. Maintaining their independence isn’t going to be high up on their list of to-dos when they are going to require support from the other kingdoms to rebuild and cope with the aftermath of what is likely to be the biggest battle Westeros has ever seen. It may pose some political hiccup early on in the season, but I doubt it will become an enormous obstacle for Dany.

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    94. Che,

      Exactly. Most of the Northern lords will be dead by the end. They really won’t play much of a factor. They’ll be around long enough to whinge at Dany for a bit, but then they’ll be killed and that’ll be that.

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    95. Alba,

      I wouldn’t call the Dragonpit meeting useless: it was the turning point to Jaime.

      That’s the only good thing. Although I was so tired with dragging Jaime for so long with Cersei, that I didn’t felt as much joy as I did when it happened in the books. But I understand the reasons, so fine.
      My impression though, is that the last 3 episodes (except for WF plot) were written with one thing in mind, only: How to get a Dragon for the NK. Not an easy thing to pull it off, I am well aware of it, but rather than the death of Viserion be a conseguence of their mission, to me it felt like the other way around. Furthermore, I never bought the idea that they needed Cersei so desperately, but I suppose the good thing was that it convinced Dany. That is why, I didn’t get Dany’s reaction and what she said to Jon (when they were waiting for Tyrion) either. I was like…Ehhh? What?Boh…

      Female logic in a nutshel: I’ve made a sacrifice, so a simple thank you won’t do.

      I thought the same. Lmao! But I guess they wanted us to show Bran’s transition because it happened so suddenly for us viewers. I guess the weird moment with Sansa wasn’t enough.

      So, basicly Jon acted very reasonably, when he bended the knee to Dany: otherwise she might have freeked out. And making that public at the Dragonpit meeting was probably the only option, too. Cersei was forcing him to swear neutrality, and Jon coundn’t afford that anyway. Cersei was a sworn enemy of his house, and it was pretty obvious that she would go agains the North sooner or later. It was in Jon’s best interest to put Dany on the IT and that also implied that he would have to fight for her at some point, especialy after she lost all other westerosi allies. Jon’s only desire was to freeze this conflict somehow until the AOTD is dealt with but when he was asked that question he gave a fair answer (and won Jaime to his side).

      Jon did absolutely the right thing in that meeting. In fact, I was surprised with Dany’s reaction. I expected Tyrion’s reaction, after all he didn’t even know but not Dany. How would he know that a stranger, he needs even more than Cersei, would still trust him after that? I wouldn’t! Why would he even risk that? Honestly, I’m not sure what D&D were trying to do there. Speaking of not knowing, I didn’t understand why neither Tyrion or Davos knew. Both Dany and Jon said nothing to their closest advisers…why? So they could have that reaction in Dragonpit and the excuse for Tyrion and Cersei private meeting?

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    96. Mr Derp,

      It’s not going to be a cakewalk at all. However, I think you overestimate how much of an issue it’ll really be. I don’t think Dany is going to arrive at Winterfell expecting everyone to bend the knee to her right away. She’s more intelligent than that. You seem to be of the mind that she’s going to start slapping bitches and ordering everyone around left and right as soon as she arrives. She’ll be more diplomatic than that.

      We are talking about someone who burnt a high lord and her son alive because they refused to kneel. Dany isn’t a reasonable person. She expects brainwashed obedience like what Jon is providing her now.

      MMJ,

      Northern Independence has been a plot since the very beginning of the series, and it’s an obstacle for Dany that isn’t easily solved.

      Of course, Northern Independence is still going to be an issue. I hope at the very least Westeros will remain as some sort of equal federation with a ruling council or primitive parliament. That strikes me as much better than the absolute monarchy that Daenerys fans seem so enamored with. Incest baby on the throne with Tyrion as the regent is one of the worst ending to the show.

      As for Jon kneeling, it remains one of the stupidest decisions on the show. Because Daenerys was willing to help the North without such a heavy price in return. The only way it works is if you believe that Jon is trying to double cross Dany in some sort of game. But if everyone’s intentions are pure and above board it was a dumb idea.

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    97. got_tv_fan,

      If you’ve watched all seven seasons of GoT and came to the conclusion that Dany isn’t a reasonable person and expects brainwashed obedience then I have to seriously question if we’re watching the same show. Either that, or you’re watching it with your own prejudices in mind, which is useless for an honest discussion.

      I’ve already had a discussion about this with you in the past. I’m not going to make that same mistake twice.

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    98. Mr Derp,

      She burnt the Tarlys alive for not kneeling to her. What is to say that she won’t burn the Northern lords alive for the same offense? That seems likely.

      And she is surrounded by people who worship her as a goddess and liberator. For instance, Missandei and Greyworm are both more than willing to criticize Tyrion in Season 6 but don’t say a peep against Daenerys. And Jon is basically subservient and pretty brainwashed by the end of Season 7. I doubt we’ll see him grow a backbone and oppose her in Season 8.

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    99. MMJ: And being forced to follow someone just because another threat is facing them is no guarantee that politics will be removed from the story.

      I never said politics will or should be removed from the story. I already repeated myself three times, and I think I was very clear. You’re choosing to ignore them and continue on your own beat. The worst kind of deaf person is someone who does not want to hear. Therefore, be my guest. You win.

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    100. Oh please, I’m not even a Dany fan (don’t hate her but neither I love her. She is somewhere in between) but let’s not take Tarly to showcase. Yes, she can be irrational and she is entitled. But Tarly was a lamest excuse the writers found, in order to tease the viewers and play around with the idea of the “Mad Queen”. Probably because it will serve them later.

      Tarly was the commander (or whatever his titles was) of the Lannister army. An army she has declared war and fighting against. She gave him two choices, other than death; bend the knee or join the NW. Tarly and his sudden newfound “loyalty” for Cersei – after he had just betrayed Olenna – chose death. Because you know, Cersei was born and raised in Westeros. Who cares she is a certified lunatic who blow up the sept, killing a lot of innocent people in the process, and wiped out the entire Tyrell House. Sorry if I don’t shed tears for him.

      About Dany and what could possibly wrong for her. I’ll try and give some ideas. I’m speculating based also on the filming timeline, actors placement during filming, and also based on which director was chosen for which episode.

      I think it’s reasonable to say that she might think the North will support her, if she help “save” them. She might think that when all is sai and done, she will win them over. Kinda what Stannis says in the books, “I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne.” Therefore, I think it’s possible that she will not be all “bend the knee” with them, before dealing with the WW first. Yes, there will be discussions about it, but ultimately they will fight together against the WW.

      However, if Dany goes “Mad Queen” (though we’ll have two at this point), I think that will happen later. After WF and before/during KL I’m kinda 80% convinced about that.

      Now, timing and other factors will be crucial, IMO. There are some important things that need to happen to make her go bonkers. The Lord of the North wanting independence isn’t suffice, IMO.
      I remain with the opinion that they are not strong enough to challenge her, alone, and achieve anything with that. Jon said to Davos, in Dragonstone, they had 10.000 or less in the North. Dany has more than that and 2 Dragons. So, these are my considerations:

      1)When is she going to learn about Jon’s lineage? Before or after the battle? I am not sure that even if Jon learns this before, he would tell her just yet. At least, I would advice him against it.
      This is an important factor because it could be a trigger for her.

      2) Let’s say she will learn about this after. I’m sure they will lose a lot of people, in particular Dany because she has more people to lose after all. It’s very probably that she might lose another Dragon and be left with one (I also think which one of her Dragons, can be a factor). That’s a cause for frustration and will make her feel weak. It might make her feel pushed in a corner and trapped.

      3) I don’t know if going to KL means they have defeated the WW for good and they have only Cersei left to face, or it will be a strategic retreat from the WW and find themselves trapped between the two. Either of these two scenarios isn’t going to be a piece of cake, though the latter is worse, knowing Cersei also.

      Considering all this, I can see her loosing her mind and do smth crazy. Dany without her Dragons and with a small army left, with no claim – she thinks she is the “rightful queen”, after all – and on top of that, not having the support of the people (she is also used to be “Mhysa”, remember?), is a ticking bomb ready to explode.

      Having said all that, a lot will depend from Jon as well. How will he react to the news of his parents? How will that affect him? What’s Tyrion’s role and his sudden “love” for Dany in all this? I don’t believe they invent a new love interest for Tyrion, out of the blue, and not use it. What role Jon&Dany’s personal relationship will play in all this? What role Jon will he play in all this? These are important questions, IMO, and I don’t think the we have all the answers when it comes to Jon, the way we think we do. I think Jon is the unknown factor, at least for me. His life is about to get turned upside down. In these cases, people that you think you knew very well, can be very unpredictable.

      So, what do you think guys? Missing smth? Any ideas about this?

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    101. MMJ: And being forced to follow someone just because another threat is facing them is no guarantee that politics will be removed from the story. I never said that they would object to fighting the White Walkers. I’ve maintained that they won’t follow Dany. They can fight the WW without kneeling to her. The issue is, will Dany allow this.

      In principle, you’re right. In pragmatic terms, politics makes strange bedfellows, but the threat of utter destruction makes the strangest of all. In WWII, Churchill and Roosevelt swallowed their distaste for Stalin and Communism because Russia was an extremely powerful ally. Only with Russia could the two democracies beat the Axis in Europe and Japan in Asia. Moreover, it would be unprecedented for Hitler to physically join with Japan or Japan with the Axis because they’d have to cross Russia. Even Napoleon hadn’t managed that. Similarly, Jon and Dany are fighting a two front war. Dany holds no significant or strategic territory, but she can field two dragons and legions of Dothraki and Unsullied.

      And she has the loyalty of the Starks. The details of Jon’s status are uncertain, but as KitN he had pledged to support Dany, and no doubt Arya and Bran would back him. Sansa would be unable to go against her family. As she had told Littlefinger, even if she wanted to get Jon un-named as king, she couldn’t because Arya would never go along with it. So while technically the Lords could fight without bending the knee to Daenerys, they’d be breaking faith with their liege lords, the Starks, at the worst possible time. To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin, they must all hang together or assuredly they’ll all hang separately.

      got_tv_fan:
      Mr Derp,

      She burnt the Tarlys alive for not kneeling to her.What is to say that she won’t burn the Northern lords alive for the same offense?That seems likely.

      And she is surrounded by people who worship her as a goddess and liberator.For instance, Missandei and Greyworm are both more than willing to criticize Tyrion in Season 6 but don’t say a peep against Daenerys.And Jon is basically subservient and pretty brainwashed by the end of Season 7.I doubt we’ll see him grow a backbone and oppose her in Season 8.

      No, it’s NOT likely she’ll burn the Northern lords. She hasn’t been going around Essos and wholesale burning her enemies, though she got tough with the Sons of the Harpy. Alba has explained clearly why Randall Tarly had to go, and Dickon freely chose to join him. Grey Worm, Missandei, and Jon are not sycophants. The first two saw Dany in action, and Missandei explained to Jon and Davos why she chose to follow Dany. Jon is nothing if not sincere. Let’s not forget that Jorah has seen Dany in action since the first season and changed his loyalty for her and has been her devoted protector and follower ever since. Moreover, the very astute Varys and Tyrion both still follow her. And Yara, Olenna, and Ellaria all found her worthy of their support, albeit for their own reasons. Are all these people subservient, brainwashed and/or needing a backbone? I think not.

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    102. Missandei and Greyworm are currently in a storyline that will involve some kind of duty vs. love choice. The Unsullied were always the more extreme version of the Night’s Watch. Greyworm’s feelings are bound to be torn on whether he can support his queen or his lover. Game of Thrones makes everyone choose.

      They had no real choices when they supported Dany because they had nowhere else to go. Oddly enough they put themselves back into service, being a slave and serving a “master.” I’d really love for Greyworm and Missandei to have a chat with Tormund so he can ask them some pointed questions about what they think freedom means.

      the Lords in Westeros only support Dany when they’re desperate, or they think they don’t have better options. The Starks supporting Dany (if all of them even do so) is just like the Tarlys supporting Cersei, or the Northern Lords supporting Ramsay. That’s not confirmation that Dany is worthy of anything. She just has bigger guns and they are all pragmatists; they either want to use her or they’re scared of her.

      But then Jon’s parentage is waiting to be dropped – my guess is at just the right moment. There is a possibility people will support him instead because (getting back to the point of the thread) he’s the Targaryen with the bloodline who is the opposite of a Targaryen in every way possible. He’s Aegon V, even more improved (and approved of) because he wasn’t raised a Targaryen.

      P.S. Dragons probably won’t even be that useful because pure fire is always a negative in this story.

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    103. Alba,

      But Tarly was a lamest excuse the writers found, in order to tease the viewers and play around with the idea of the “Mad Queen”. Probably because it will serve them later.

      Agreed. They should have used someone more sympathetic like a Lannister soldier one off similar to Karsi.

      I think it’s reasonable to say that she might think the North will support her, if she help “save” them. She might think that when all is sai and done, she will win them over. Kinda what Stannis says in the books, “I was trying to win the throne to save the kingdom, when I should have been trying to save the kingdom to win the throne.” Therefore, I think it’s possible that she will not be all “bend the knee” with them, before dealing with the WW first. Yes, there will be discussions about it, but ultimately they will fight together against the WW.

      What is the North getting in return after the White Walkers are defeated? Dany is offering nothing more than a more extreme version of the old system. Kneel to me as your absolute ruler. That led to three rulers of the North and one heir’s death. Why should they accept the old system. It might make sense to ally with her in the short term, but it doesn’t make sense in the long term. And of course, she is going to demand total obedience and fealty because that is who she is.

      Dany doesn’t get a “prize” for doing the right thing. No one gets to rule or gets a gold star IMO.

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    104. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Dany’s philosophy is kneel or die and the Tarly incident was evidence of that. She was certainly quite brutal in Meereen and threatened people even prior to that. I suspect that she does threaten some lords in the North like Lady Mormont. Perhaps Sansa and Arya save the lords and ladies from getting burned alive?

      As for her followers, they are a mixture of ex-slaves like Missandei and Greyworm who treat her like another master and people who want something from her like the Sandsnakes who wanted revenge. Tyrion wants revenge and power like that but is beginning to doubt her. As for Jon, I’d put him in the former category, not the latter. He was completely submissive to Dany in Season 7 and acted very meek and brainwashed around her. I suspect that he continues to act like a spineless jellyfish in Season 8, comply to her wishes, and refuses to stand up to her.

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    105. got_tv_fan:
      Alba,

      What is the North getting in return after the White Walkers are defeated?

      Their survivial?

      Dany is offering nothing more than a more extreme version of the old system.

      Agreed.

      Why should they accept the old system.It might make sense to ally with her in the short term, but it doesn’t make sense in the long term. And of course, she is going to demand total obedience and fealty because that is who she is.

      Indeed I didn’t say they will or they should. After the battle all bets are off. Though some things might change after that, so who knows what’s going to happen. It’s difficult to say but my idea is that she will not be sitting on the IT, for one reason or another.
      a) it has been foreshadowed
      b) I see Dany more of a conqueror rather than a ruler.

      Dany doesn’t get a “prize” for doing the right thing.No one gets to rule or gets a gold star IMO.

      Where did I said she will get a “prize”? The opposite in fact.
      I wrote an essay explaining what I think might happen after the battle with the WW. If this was a European show, most probably both Jon and Dany would be dead in the end. I somehow doubt HBO would go for both though. American audience wouldn’t like that.

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    106. got_tv_fan:
      Alba,

      What is the North getting in return after the White Walkers are defeated?

      The North are getting a real possibility to win and therefore, their lives. That’s a pretty big plus for them. This has been Jon’s point all along: they need allies. They cannot, absolutely 0% chance, defeat the AOTD alone. They need powerful allies. The fact that none of those lord at Winterfell agreed with Jon on this, and saw him leaving to try to get on board the most powerful ally there is as a foolish move, is absolutely absurd. Dany is coming to help. She is bringing an army that is bigger than the north has ever seen and two dragons. It’s obviously not going to be this simple, but some might say she is saving their arses. It’s not like they get nothing for bending the knee to her. They do get ‘staying alive’ out of it. Besides, don’t the northern lords value strength and courage? Isn’t her decision to put her fight for the iron throne on hold so she can take on the NK and the AOTD an admirable quality? Is Sansa (who they wished to crown Queen) more deserving of their loyalty than Dany, who will no doubt sacrifice a huge portion of her strength to save their lives? I mean Sansa is stockpiling food… so I guess they won’t go hungry. I’m being dry now, but I suppose I am hoping that the Northern politics won’t be dramatic for the sake of drama and tension. Yes, Dany’s entitled attitude is very annoying; yes, the North is not going to want to give up sovereignty to a Targ after the long history they have together and the execution of Rickard Stark; yes, there is going to be a lot of glaring and sniping. But I do so hope they don’t let it all get too carried away and petty, making those fickle northern lords seem even more unintelligent. They have to see the bigger picture here. One hopes.

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    107. Che:
      Is Sansa (who they wished to crown Queen) more deserving of their loyalty than Dany, who will no doubt sacrifice a huge portion of her strength to save their lives? I mean Sansa is stockpiling food… so I guess they won’t go hungry. I’m being dry now, but I suppose I am hoping that the Northern politics won’t be dramatic for the sake of drama and tension. Yes, Dany’s entitled attitude is very annoying; yes, the North is not going to want to give up sovereignty to a Targ after the long history they have together and the execution of Rickard Stark; yes, there is going to be a lot of glaring and sniping. But I do so hope they don’t let it all get too carried away and petty, making those fickle northern lords seem even more unintelligent. They have to see the bigger picture here. One hopes.

      Agreed. Especially the part in bold is my concern. But if you think about it, Sansa doesn’t have much to do with the WW coming to WF. The only way the writers have to give her something, a role to play and making her the Lady of Winterfell is this. Politics, tension, that sort of thing.

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    108. Alba,

      Their survivial?

      In return for complete submission to a dictator? Doesn’t seem like that much upside.

      Where did I said she will get a “prize”? The opposite in fact.

      Jon gave her the North for free as a prize. She also got his spineless, obedient submission and heavily implied a pure bred Targ baby. It seems like Dany gets “wins” even when she loses something. If she was a hero, she would do it without Jon kneeling to her as her servant.

      Che,

      Yes. They should ally together. This isn’t what the power dynamics are at the end of season ones. Jon sold out the North and they are Dany’s subjects, not her allies. Dany can use the powerful armies that she is marching North after the war to burn alive the Northerners who question and defy her, including Jon if he grows a spine and defies her or the other Starks. She can do whatever she wants with the North during and after the war because she has absolute power.

      Moreover, based on the sequence of events in Season 7, Jon didn’t get anything in return. Daenerys promised an alliance regardless of Jon kneeling. He could have had his cake and eaten it as well.

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    109. got_tv_fan:
      Alba,

      In return for complete submission to a dictator?Doesn’t seem like that much upside.

      LOL
      Than you are a man in 10,000. Most of us are not so strong to not care about survival.

      Daenerys promised an alliance regardless of Jon kneeling.He could have had his cake and eaten it as well.

      That was a mistake. As a human, I understand it. She had just lost a Dragon and saved their ass, putting herself in dangerous as well. Politically though, not a smart move. Especially because he didn’t consult with them first, and he will have problems for that.

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    110. got_tv_fan:

      Che,

      Yes.They should ally together.This isn’t what the power dynamics are at the end of season ones.Jon sold out the North and they are Dany’s subjects, not her allies.Dany can use the powerful armies that she is marching North after the war to burn alive the Northerners who question and defy her, including Jon if he grows a spine and defies her or the other Starks.She can do whatever she wants with the North during and after the war because she has absolute power.

      Moreover, based on the sequence of events in Season 7, Jon didn’t get anything in return.Daenerys promised an alliance regardless of Jon kneeling.He could have had his cake and eaten it as well.

      I don’t understand why they had Jon bend the knee after Dany offered to fight for the North regardless of his fealty. I think that is going to perplex a lot of viewers. We’re supposed to believe her sacrifice and act of bravery in coming to save him, followed by her generous offer to fight for the North with nothing in return, bewitched him and made him see her rule as something that would be good for the North, but I think we all feel there wasn’t enough justification for that. It will be problematic for him when he returns to face his banner men.

      Having said all that though, Jon isn’t stupid. Other characters think of him as stupid and we see him make questionable choices (as we see all characters do in this show), but he is shrewd and often knows what needs to be done for the greater good, even when everyone else is against him. He will have bent the knee to Dany because he believes it is in the best interest of his people. They may not know it yet, but they will need the 7 kingdoms’ help when all is said and done if they are to rebuild. They will not be able to function independently when the AOTD are through with them. A part of me feels Jon knows this and being a part of the world Dany wants to build will be in their best interests – even if they vehemently hate the thought.

      I feel your characterisation of Dany burning those who defy her is at odds with what we know of her so far. Of all those who have defied her, she has killed very few. Hell, she married one! I am not a huge Dany fan, but I like the character (as I like almost all the GOT characters for their own individual strengths and weaknesses) and I feel your representation of how she will do with the north as she pleases, through fire and blood, regardless of what the people of the north want, as unfair to her and ignores the developments of her Mereen arc entirely.

      We will learn why Jon bent the knee when it wasn’t necessary and I have faith in his character that he did it for the greater good of his people. That is Jon’s whole raison d’être after all: do the best for his people (and indeed, all people) when they can’t see the bigger picture and get a whole lot of abuse (and shabby shabby knives) in return.

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    111. Che,

      I wonder if the writers decided to have Jon bend the knee to Dany because Dany may eventually decide to reciprocate and bend the knee to Jon in season 8 depending on how she eventually takes the news that he’s the true heir to the IT.

      I’m certainly not expecting it or holding my breath, but their stories mirror each other’s so much and this could be just another example.

      Of course, I could be totally wrong. Maybe he simply did it out of respect and that’s the end of it. We’ll find out in due time.

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    112. Mr Derp:
      Che,
      I wonder if the writers decided to have Jon bend the knee to Dany because Dany may eventually decide to reciprocate and bend the knee to Jon in season 8 depending on how she eventually takes the news that he’s the true heir to the IT.

      I’m certainly not expecting it or holding my breath, but their stories mirror each other’s so much and this could be just another example.

      Of course, I could be totally wrong. Maybe he simply did it out of respect and that’s the end of it. We’ll find out in due time.

      It could be. However, there are other reasons as well.
      One is what Inga suggested, they needed that for the Dragonpit meeting and Tyrion&Cersei meeting. We still don’t know what kind of deal did Tyrion broke with her to “convince her”. They cut the scene. Furthermore, I think they used that also to show Dany and Jon falling for each other, so an emotional response as well.

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    113. Che:
      Having said all that though, Jon isn’t stupid. Other characters think of him as stupid and we see him make questionable choices (as we see all characters do in this show), but he is shrewd and often knows what needs to be done for the greater good, even when everyone else is against him.

      No he isn’t. But tbh they have downplayed him post Season 5, and they are trying to present him a bit like Ned.
      I love Ned and I do not think he was stupid. I also think that people who judge him as being all about honour are wrong. Ned’s driving force and all his arc as about love and care, not honour.
      But Jon isn’t Ned. He has shown pragmatism, good observation skills, willing to bend the rules and lie, if that helps to achieve what he’s trying to achieve. Up till season 5 they pretty much kept Jon essence in the same line as he is in the books. After that, not so much.
      So, I don’t know what’s their idea of Jon now and where are they going with him.

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    114. Alba,

      Exactly. And when you think of it, nothing would have changed at the Dragonpit meeting, even if knee-bending in Ep6 never happened. Jon couldn’t accept Cersei’s terms, he couldn’t swear to keep neutrality in Dany’s war against Cersei – that would have been suicidal. Without westerosi alies Dany stands no chance against Cersei: she still has the largest army but no food for it – she has admitted that herself. Moreover, most of that army will be sacrificed in the war for the dawn. By spring Cersei would have an upper hand against Dany and then come for the North – it’s not like she would recongnize the northern independence. So, all in all Jon had to reject Cersei’s terms and hope that she’ll ask for something more reasonable. However, Cersei is a very skillful negotiatior: she left immediately knowing that in such case the other side will have to come to her (and that’s what happened). And the blame lies on Tyrion, because he entered negotiations without any plan B against Cersei’s potential provocations: Dany ould have had Drogon anround and torch Cersei the moment she stood up from the chair; the very least, she could have threatened that. But Tyrion made her affraid of her own shadow; moreover, he insisted that they should play fair, though when Jon did that he told him to learn to lie.
      So, all in all, alhough both Jon and Dany make mistakes, it’s Tyrion who’s having the highest score at the moment, cause he’s completely incapable of dealing with really reckless people. And that’s will be his downfall, cause Tyrion is a gonner one way or another. And considering that, it’s legit to assume that Jon and Dany will survive, cause killing all the three main protagonists would leave the story without any dream of spring, so to speak.

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    115. Inga:
      Alba,
      But Tyrion made her affraid of her own shadow; moreover, he insisted that they should play fair, though when Jon did that he told him to learn to lie.

      I know right?!
      Tyrion to Dany, when she asked if they had a plan B for the meeting: “If we want to create a new and better world… I’m not sure deceit and mass murder is the best way to start.”

      I have to say, I screamed “Schadenfreude!” when Cersei lied to them. A liar beating another one. Poetic justice. lol

      Seriously though, they have dropped the ball with Tyrion very much, since he left KL. He has become all about cheap jokes and empty rhetorics now. I don’t even know wth he wants.

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    116. Alba:

      Seriously though, they have dropped the ball with Tyrion very much, since he left KL. He has become all about cheap jokes and empty rhetorics now. I don’t even know wth he wants.

      It’s much the same in the books though, I feel. His extended trip across Essos and his storyline with Griff and then with Penny do not show him even nearly at the strength of character he was before he left Westeros.

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    117. I just cannot imagine an ending where Jon Snow keeps living.
      I think hes back for a specific purpose, and when thats over, he will return to being dead.
      Because he isn’t really alive, hes reanimated by magic.

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    118. Che: It’s much the same in the books though, I feel. His extended trip across Essos and his storyline with Griff and then with Penny do not show him even nearly at the strength of character he was before he left Westeros.

      Nah, in the books he is completely broken and dark. Granted, we don’t know, yet, where he’s going from there in the books. He may go up but I can see him going down really bad. It can still happen in the show but so far he has been a lot of talk and some moronic ideas, only.

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    119. Che,

      Having said all that though, Jon isn’t stupid.

      IMO, they made Jon stupid on the show. He doesn’t have the political savvy or smarts that Jon has in the books. D&D see him as a dumb Ned clone honor bot. And a dumb Ned clone honor bot would have given Dany fealty as a reward for saving him regardless of the realpolitik implication. Moreover, from a meta standpoint, it is just more PC for the man to be the submissive one in the relationship.

      A part of me feels Jon knows this and being a part of the world Dany wants to build will be in their best interests – even if they vehemently hate the thought.

      Jon doesn’t know this. He is clueless about the Field of Fire or the Tarlys or Meereen. He doesn’t know what “world” she wants to build. She has no vision other than she gets the Iron Throne. And the things he does know should cause him to pause. He does know that she threatens to burn her enemies constantly, that she imprisoned him for refusing to kneel and that she threatened him with violence, and that her father burned his grandfather and uncle. The things he does know and those he doesn’t should give him pause.

      I feel your characterisation of Dany burning those who defy her is at odds with what we know of her so far. Of all those who have defied her, she has killed very few.

      She killed the Tarlys and the Lannister soldiers with fire.

      Hell, she married one!

      In the books, yes. On the show, it was a forced marriage. It wasn’t like Hidzahr had a choice. She threatened him with her dragons. It isn’t like he could tell her no thanks, but he was seeing Mary in the next pyramid over.

      I feel your representation of how she will do with the north as she pleases, through fire and blood, regardless of what the people of the north want, as unfair to her and ignores the developments of her Mereen arc entirely.

      What Meereen arc on the show? It seems all Dany learned was that it was very good to burn things she didn’t like. And these are now her servants who must kneel. Of course, she demands total obedience from them.

      We will learn why Jon bent the knee when it wasn’t necessary and I have faith in his character that he did it for the greater good of his people.

      According to Dany fans, he did it because he was a natural beta who only wants to follow a strong leader.

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    120. got_tv_fan,

      Oh, my sweet summer child, what do you know about realpolitik? Jon gets it way easier with Dany, than any of the CEE countries gets it in the EU. But that’s life: not everyone can afford Brexit.

      In a way you are right: Dany has to learn to deal with her opponents without burning them alive. But Jon will teach her;) Don’t underestimate Jon.

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    121. got_tv_fan,

      IMO, they made Jon stupid on the show. He doesn’t have the political savvy or smarts that Jon has in the books. D&D see him as a dumb Ned clone honor bot. And a dumb Ned clone honor bot would have given Dany fealty as a reward for saving him regardless of the realpolitik implication. Moreover, from a meta standpoint, it is just more PC for the man to be the submissive one in the relationship.

      I agree that Jon seems smarter in the books than he does in the show. However, it is always going to be easier to show someone’s character through a POV in a book rather than watching their actions on a TV show. If we analysed how Jon’s actions would look from the books, without the benefit of the POV exploring his thoughts and feelings, he wouldn’t be all that different to the Jon we have come to know from the show. There’s also the fact that they cut a lot of his more intelligent plans and manoeuvres as there simply wasn’t time to delve into every element of every plot. I think you’re right in that they are trying to model Jon on Ned in superficial ways, indeed, the other characters have remarked on it, but I think (just my opinion) that the comparison has been too obvious, too emphasised in the last season especially, and it will lead to Jon doing something so very un-Ned-like in Season 8 that will take everyone by surprise – maybe in conjunction with the R+L=J reveal.

      Jon doesn’t know this. He is clueless about the Field of Fire or the Tarlys or Meereen. He doesn’t know what “world” she wants to build. She has no vision other than she gets the Iron Throne. And the things he does know should cause him to pause. He does know that she threatens to burn her enemies constantly, that she imprisoned him for refusing to kneel and that she threatened him with violence, and that her father burned his grandfather and uncle. The things he does know and those he doesn’t should give him pause.

      He also knows that she has apologised for her father’s sins and deplored them. He knows that she has freed slaves by the millions in Essos. He knows that she has won the devotion of people like Missandei (who made it very clear why she follows Dany) and Grey Worm – giving him an idea of the kind of person she is. He knows that she has won the allegiance and friendship of Tyrion Lannister, a man he once respected and holds in high regard. He knows that she listened to council and while she wanted to rain down fire on KL in order to win in the war in one fell swoop, she didn’t, she incurred heavy losses to preserve innocent lives. He knows that despite her telling him that she couldn’t fight for the North until she had won the Iron throne, she still came to rescue he and his companions and then decided to put everything on hold to fight for the living, without anything in return, showing that she puts the lives of everyone in Westeros before her own desires.

      Yes, Dany has made some awful mistakes. Yes, Dany has been ruthless at times. And no, I don’t actually think she would make a very good ruler in the long term, but you’ve painted a very one-sided view of what Jon knows about her. She has also done an immense amount of good and her desire to free people and rule for the people, will resonate with Jon’s own views.

      Also, to say Dany has no vision other than winning the Iron throne is to willfully misunderstand her character.

      She killed the Tarlys and the Lannister soldiers with fire.

      The soldiers were killed in battle. I wouldn’t say that supports your argument.
      The times that Dany has burned those who defied her include the Tarlys, the masters she was trying to intimidate in Mereen, the slave master who she bought the Unsullied from, the warlock who stole her dragons and… my memory escapes me, have there been others (genuine question)? Considering the opposition she had come across during her climb to power, she could have burned a hell of a lot more, but she didn’t.

      In the books, yes. On the show, it was a forced marriage. It wasn’t like Hidzahr had a choice. She threatened him with her dragons. It isn’t like he could tell her no thanks, but he was seeing Mary in the next pyramid over.

      Yes, she threatened him, but not into marriage. The marriage came much later and as I recall, Hidzahr didn’t seem to mind.

      What Meereen arc on the show? It seems all Dany learned was that it was very good to burn things she didn’t like. And these are now her servants who must kneel. Of course, she demands total obedience from them.

      I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not with this one. Have we been watching the same show? I would summarise her arc there like this:

      Dany arrives at Mereen to free the Slaves.
      Dany encounters a score of crucified child slaves and feels an uncontrolled fiery fury.
      Dany defeats Mereen and lets that fire loose, recklessly, on the slave masters.
      It is pointed out to Dany that she was too hasty in the mass punishment she dolled out and that she killed people who didn’t deserve to die. Dany regrets her recklessness.
      Dany realises that in order to rule Mereen, she will need to try to appeal to all the classes – not just the oppressed.
      Dany makes alliances with those classes through marriage.
      Dany realises that despite her own deep moral objections, she needs to listen to the will of her new people and allow them to open the fighting pits. She even goes along, even though it sickens her.

      I’m summarising from memory, it’s been a while since I watched that season, so apologies if it’s a little shaky. I do agree that she made mistakes while she was there, but to say she had no development arc there is simply untrue.

      According to Dany fans, he did it because he was a natural beta who only wants to follow a strong leader.

      Well, thankfully, Dany fans don’t write the show, so I will reiterate my belief that we will find out more on his motivation and logic (probably when he addresses his furious bannermen).

      *Just as a quick aside: Jon is my favourite character and though I like Dany, I do find her a bit annoying and impulsive. I also don’t believe she would make a good ruler as she has a vision to make the world a better place, but hasn’t got the temperament for it. Having said this though, despite my lukewarm sentiments towards her, I can’t ignore the strengths of her character, yet it seems that you are purposefully trying to ignore her good attributes in favour of her poor ones.

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    122. Inga:
      got_tv_fan,

      Oh, my sweet summer child, what do you know about realpolitik? Jon gets it way easier with Dany, than any of the CEE countries gets it in the EU. But that’s life: not everyone can afford Brexit.

      LOL!

      @All: I hear a lot of fans hammering characters and judging them complete idiots fo their mistakes. Not saying all are smart, superintelligent and fit to rule but, If we were to follow that thought for everybody, there isn’t one charcater left in Westeros who’s really fit to rule.

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    123. Inga,

      The EU is a trade union. Unless Germany can now suspend Bulgaria’s elections and Angela Merkel can order people murdered at a whim and last I checked Germany doesn’t do that anymore, being subjected to an absolute ruler is different. The North-Targaryen relationship has more in common with the British rule of India than any sort of trade union.

      As for Jon being some sort of moral conscience for Dany, I hate him being reduced to a docile helpmeet there to whisper in Dany’s ears and calm her down. Jon should be ruling the North as its king not serving as an angelic damsel from a Victorian novel there to calm down a tyrant.

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    124. Inga,

      It doesn’t imply anything of the sort. People are reaching to suggest that Dany is going to end up a villain. Both the writers and Martin himself love her. There are no spoilers to Season 8 to suggest that Dany is a villain or that she is “reduced” to anything. So yeah based on Season 7, I think that it is logical that Jon is basically a Daario type sidekick in the story. And I’m sticking with that conclusion until I see anything else. If the writers want to use Dany as a female empowerment vehicle, they will.

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    125. Che,

      He also knows that she has apologised for her father’s sins and deplored them. He knows that she has freed slaves by the millions in Essos. He knows that she has won the devotion of people like Missandei (who made it very clear why she follows Dany) and Grey Worm – giving him an idea of the kind of person she is.

      He doesn’t know about the nuances of what happened in Meereen. He also fails to realize that ex-slaves might have a different mindset to their savior. Missandei and Grey Worm never criticize Daenerys because of their relationship.

      He knows that she has won the allegiance and friendship of Tyrion Lannister, a man he once respected and holds in high regard.

      Jon doesn’t inquire about Varys or Tyrion’s concerns about Daenerys actions.

      He knows that she listened to council and while she wanted to rain down fire on KL in order to win in the war in one fell swoop, she didn’t, she incurred heavy losses to preserve innocent lives.

      Oh Gosh. Why do people keep bringing it up as some sort of proof that Jon has some sort of influence over Dany or that they are equals? It is evidence of a queen-servant relationship. She orders Jon to stay and provide her with advice as she would a servant rather than respecting his position as a neutral ruler. Jon should have left rather than staying as she ordered to remind her that he isn’t her servant.

      He knows that despite her telling him that she couldn’t fight for the North until she had won the Iron throne, she still came to rescue he and his companions and then decided to put everything on hold to fight for the living, without anything in return, showing that she puts the lives of everyone in Westeros before her own desires.

      This makes her the same as Stannis and Jon remained quite wary of Stannis.

      Yes, Dany has made some awful mistakes. Yes, Dany has been ruthless at times. And no, I don’t actually think she would make a very good ruler in the long term, but you’ve painted a very one-sided view of what Jon knows about her.

      Jon himself has a very one sided view of her. He doesn’t care or know about the Tarlys. You’d think that Jon, who mercy-killed Mance, would be against Dany’s actions.

      Also, to say Dany has no vision other than winning the Iron throne is to willfully misunderstand her character.

      What is her vision again? It seems that that this is her vision for Westeros.

      Step 1: Become queen
      Step 2: ………..
      Step 3: Sunshine and flowers sprout all over Westeros.

      Daenerys has a decidely undemocratic vision and reacts quite violently to people who refuse to kneel, which is what I believe that the Tarly situation was supposed to show. She also isn’t invading Westeros to free the slaves as there is no slavery in Westeros.

      The soldiers were killed in battle. I wouldn’t say that supports your argument.

      They were POWs. It is at best a similar situation to Mance.

      Yes, she threatened him, but not into marriage. The marriage came much later and as I recall, Hidzahr didn’t seem to mind.

      On the show, she uses her dragons and threatens him. The books are a bit more complicated in that it is the Green Grace’s suggestion and Hidzahr, who is probably with the Harpies, marries Dany willingly. Hidzahr was also probably in on the Daenerys assassination in the books.

      I’m summarising from memory, it’s been a while since I watched that season, so apologies if it’s a little shaky. I do agree that she made mistakes while she was there, but to say she had no development arc there is simply untrue.

      It is tied up in a neat bow in Season 6 with no real consequences.

      Having said this though, despite my lukewarm sentiments towards her, I can’t ignore the strengths of her character, yet it seems that you are purposefully trying to ignore her good attributes in favour of her poor ones.

      The show is incredibly uncritical toward her and props her up at the expense of other characters particularly Jon, who has been reduced to Daario, and Tyrion, who has been reduced to a funny dwarf sidekick. Many of the more problematic aspects of her personality tend to be explained away or like the Tarly situation forgotten about in the next episode. I think that the writers are big Dany fans which is why she gets all the glory. I know people who think that she becomes a villain. I’ve read the theories. I don’t think that the show writers are capable of such a plot twist and nothing “spoiled” about Season 8 suggests complex politics.

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    126. got_tv_fan,

      It’s not right to say that the show has been incredibly uncritical towards Dany. D&D could have written her whatever way they wanted: they could have written her to destroy Randyl Tarly with an epic speach and send him to the Wall to rethink his beliefs, or they could have shown Randyl to be a coward or whatever. They included the scene specifically for the purpose of Dany looking bad. Same with Daario – they could have killed him off, insted they used him to make Dany look bad, etc. Hell, had they been unritical, there would be even talks about her becomming a villain. So, all in all they have built up Dany as a very contraversial protagonist who has to find balance and/or prove her worth in the final act. It has nothing to do with any SJW agendas.

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    127. Great video Petra, extremely well put together and thought out however I still want Jon to rule in the end and will be disappointed if he doesn’t. My desire is driven by the fact he’s the best candidate for it (unlike Cersei/Dany who desire it), he’s just, fair and hasn’t been groomed for it and therefore detached from the common folk. I take your point about Jon getting freedom from responsibility at the end which would be good for him personally but if not Jon then who? That’s the crux of it, there just isn’t anyone else suitable.

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    128. got_tv_fan,

      You and I are going to have to disagree on this one. I feel that you are watching this show through a lens that is skewed heavily by your evident dislike of Dany’s character. You took some things I said way out of context (my suggesting that Jon witnessed Dany calming down her natural impulses to wreak destruction was not a suggestion that Jon held power over her – merely the undeniable truth that he witnessed her listening to reason and acting in a far less ruthless way than she intended – which will have helped form his view of her) and so I find it slightly frustrating to debate these matters. I can’t agree with most things you’ve said, yet we’ve both watched the same show. Art is meant to be taken subjectively, so it’s no big deal. It’s a shame for you that you’re not enjoying it more though; it sounds like you haven’t really enjoyed recent developments.

      There is one thing you said that I want to specifically respond to though and this is your worry/belief that Season 8 won’t have much politics in it from what we have so far been “spoiled” with. Those events would never take place out in the open and will have definitely been filmed on sets, so that belief is pretty unfounded. We know virtually nothing about what is coming (such an amazing feeling!), so I don’t think that you can state that Dany is going to continue to be the hero at the expense of Jon’s character. Jon is about to be thrust centre stage with the R+L=J reveal. Yes, it will undoubtedly involve Dany and impact her, but the prime soul of that plot bomb is going to be Jon and how it effects and changes him.

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    129. Che,

      I’m not sure about the last bit: Jon is a self-acomplished person who will hardly change much after learning the truth. Sure, it will give him a powerful tool to unite Westeros in the war for dawn, but on the personal level I don’t see that much of a conflict.
      Dany, on the other hand, should be shaken to the core: her claim to the IT – her responsibility to the dynasty – has been her whole raison d’être. So, the basic dilemma to Jon will be the duty to the country vs inevitability of breaking the heart of the woman he loves. But he already had this dilemma with Ygritte and we all know what was Jon’s choice. So, there’s no other way: Dany will have to adjust to the new reality (which won’t be all that terrible or different from what she could expect otherwise) or to lose everything she holds dear. Impuive as she is, I don’t see her going Cersei’s way.

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    130. Besides narrative logic, at this point I want Jon and Dany ruling together just to see the inevitable meltdowns lmao

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    131. Che,

      skewed heavily by your evident dislike of Dany’s character.

      Because the writers have chosen to reduce every other character on the show to prop her up. It’s annoying.

      (my suggesting that Jon witnessed Dany calming down her natural impulses to wreak destruction was not a suggestion that Jon held power over her – merely the undeniable truth that he witnessed her listening to reason and acting in a far less ruthless way than she intended – which will have helped form his view of her)

      Jon was treated like trash in that scene, nothing better than a servant that can order around. That should anger anyone rather than making them feel like selling their people into slavery. Jon is supposedly a neutral king in that scenario and isn’t afforded equal respect. And yet he kneels. Why? So he can be further ordered around by Daenerys and be forced to attend to her whenever she is having a tantrum?

      It’s a shame for you that you’re not enjoying it more though; it sounds like you haven’t really enjoyed recent developments.

      I’m a fan of Jon, the North, and the Starks, and the show has become anti all of them in favor of Mary Sue Targaryen. God, the writers did a number on Jon in Season 7. He went from king to a meek, submissive mistress of Daenerys. It certainly has no power anymore, even as you admit.

      There is one thing you said that I want to specifically respond to though and this is your worry/belief that Season 8 won’t have much politics in it from what we have so far been “spoiled” with.

      I’d actually like to be spoiled about this, but I doubt there is much. There is only six episodes left and I’d say at least three are battles. They are going with cheap romance and CGI violence over politics.

      Jon is about to be thrust centre stage with the R+L=J reveal. Yes, it will undoubtedly involve Dany and impact her, but the prime soul of that plot bomb is going to be Jon and how it effects and changes him.

      I doubt that that amounts to anything. Daenerys has a large army and they made him such a meek character. Jon will just kneel to Dany again and declare himself her obedient servant because he enjoys “kneeling” so much.

      Besides, who cares about the Iron Throne? It is a symbol of naked oppression. It should be melted down and there should be no ruler of Westeros.

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    132. got_tv_fan,

      I think, You got worked up too much in mantra “meek Jon”, got_tv_fan.
      People thought the same, as it was about Qrin and Ygritte: meek Jon.
      We saw, that killing Qrin and falling in love with Ygritte didn’t change Jon’s way. He didn’t loose his mind.
      So, what about wait and see?

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    133. cos alpha,

      Jon is meek. He gave up the North for no reason. (Shippers really believe because Dany didn’t rape Jon they are equals. Seriously, that is the argument with them.) That is different from his time with the Free Folk, where we were all in on the ploy. There really is no ploy with Daenerys. Writers and directors have argued they are equals while writing Jon as a docile and powerless subject in Season 7. They just really want to pump up Daenerys as a ruler and hero. Jon is an afterthought.

      And did you watch Season 7? It was bad. The show clearly is pro-Daenerys and there is nothing to suggest that the show has suddenly improved in Season 8 or that the payoff is satisfying. In fact, the actor comments suggest it will be controversial, which probably means a bad ending for the North and the Starks.

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    134. Inga,

      I actually don’t believe Dany will take it all too badly when she finds out that Jon is the rightful heir to the throne–mainly because he is a fellow Targaryen. She’s currently determined to take the throne because, as far as she knows and believes, she is the last living Targaryen and the throne is her birthright. So she would obviously go up in arms against a contender without any Targaryen blood, but she might be willing to share the throne with a fellow Targaryen. It might even be her who proposes marriage to Jon so that they can rule together. I believe the conflict will be more on Jon’s part, since he never wanted the throne but will feel it is his duty to take it.

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    135. Melissa:
      I honestly think Jon is fated to be king and this is foreshadowed a lot in the books. If Jon were just to die at the end saving the world, what was the point to R+L=J? Why make him the rightful heir to the Iron Throne if all that matters is the battle against the WW? You don’t hide a secret king through 80% of the story, murder him, bring him back, and free the secret, just to kill him again in the eleventh hour or hand over the responsibility of ruling to someone else. Especially when him living and ruling literally solves most of the problems.

      While he is very much like an Aragorn character, but GRRM isn’t interested in the good guys winning and then that’s the end. He wants to know what’s Aragorn’s tax policy? Ruling isn’t easy. It’s a burden. There are serious consequences to war, even if the good guys win. It’s why GRRM also loves the Scouring of the Shire. Westeros will need a lot of cleaning up at the end of all this, and it will be a difficult and dirty job. The realm will need someone with the gift of making peace and bringing people together. That’s Jon Snow.

      GRRM rewards the reluctant leader. The ones who aren’t selfishly seeking power. In his mind, those who seek peace and view leadership as a public service are those who should lead. In his recent interview with The New York Times he said: “Certainly at one point, the very simple statement is made that the king is about justice, or what is a king for? […] It’s about serving the people and leaving the country in better shape when you leave office than it was when you took office. Are you making things better? You’re there to service the people, not yourself, not to serve your contributors.”

      Jon Snow is one of the least self-serving characters in this story. And based on GRRM’s opinions about war, peace, power grabs, and weapons of mass destruction, I think we can conclude that Jon Snow has been set up as the reluctant peacekeeper who will ultimately be rewarded with a kingship. Just as Jeor Mormont’s raved told us.

      This is a fantastic post written perfectly in my opinion.

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    136. Lunaselene:
      Inga,
      I believe the conflict will be more on Jon’s part, since he never wanted the throne but will feel it is his duty to take it.

      There is also another question with Jon. I mean, we are talking a lot about the throne, but let’s not forget that they are close related.
      For Dany it might not be a big deal, and sure they never knew each other before, so they are strangers basically. However, I think it might not be the same thing for Jon. This has a potential to make him feel very conflicted about it.

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    137. Alba,

      Yes, and he would feel even more conflicted if Daenerys turns out to be pregnant. I’m looking forward to finding out what Jon will do about these revelations.

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    138. Flayed Potatoes:
      Besides narrative logic, at this point I want Jon and Dany ruling together just to see the inevitable meltdowns lmao

      LMAO!

      Lunaselene:
      Alba,
      Yes, and he would feel even more conflicted if Daenerys turns out to be pregnant. I’m looking forward to finding out what Jon will do about these revelations.

      Right! I forgot there is going to be a baby too. Well, most probably. What a mess this is. It has a lot of potential and someone will go down. That’s why I like their union as a couple. It’s messy. lol

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    139. Flayed Potatoes:
      Besides narrative logic, at this point I want Jon and Dany ruling together just to see the inevitable meltdowns lmao

      Ruling or not at the end and regardless of capacity, having them together has been my desire since sometime in the second book when I got a feel for the story direction. I don’t give a shit about anything being a so called “Disney ending.” I’m certainly not one to pick a favorite and then continually and incessantly fashion everything about the other into something terrible and write only hateful things about that character online… I believe that would get really old for others to read and reflect negatively on myself as well…

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    140. Clob,

      Yea, the complaints about a “Disney ending” thing gets old after a while. It’s like unless everyone betrays each other at every turn then the ending is somehow “Disney”. Someone try telling “Old Yeller” that all Disney movies end happily!

      I feel the same way about cliched words like “trope” and “Mary Sue”. Those words get thrown around so frequently and are used in the wrong context so much that they tend to lose all meaning.

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    141. Meg:
      Jon wouldn’t make a good peacetime king.He doesn’t consider the wishes of the people under his rule – preferring to do his thing, regardless.It’s what got him assassinated.

      Sansa would do the best job.Practical, listens to people, has political nous and is respected.

      Sorry cannot agree with this at all. His actions at Hardholme were selfless and clearlyh done for the greater good at the cost of his individual sacrifice. I certainly wouldn’t see Sansa as a better ruler although she’d likely do better than Cersei or Dany who are the other two potential options.

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    142. Clob,

      I don’t think it’s worth debating anything with people who use “Disney ending” as their go-to reason. It’s imo a knee jerk reaction based on the fact that the narrative isn’t going in the direction they want, and they can’t recalibrate their expectations.

      This book series has been out for so long now that every possible ending and theory have been discussed.

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    143. Flayed Potatoes,

      Exactly! And let’s not forget that many of these people leave and breath through their YT channels, blogs etc.
      They need material and sometimes, some of them will produce them just for a click. “Controversial” opinion and going against the “mass” attracts viewers and it also make them feel “special” smh.
      I certainly know some.

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    144. Jon Snowed: Sorry cannot agree with this at all. His actions at Hardholme were selfless and clearlyh done for the greater good at the cost of his individual sacrifice.I certainly wouldn’t see Sansa as a better ruler although she’d likely do better than Cersei or Dany who are the other two potential options.

      Totally agree. Jon was taught to be a leader and probably surreptitiously prepared for the crown by the one man who knew his secret, Ned. FWIW, Aemon may have known too–he certainly gives Jon good advice. But the key is what LC Mormont told Jon: “If you want to lead, you have to learn to follow.” And so he has. And he’s done both quite well, though not without mistakes. ( I think this is why Jon was comfortable bending the knee to Dany. Not because he’s a Mary Sue, dumb, or subservient, but because he’s personally humble enough to know that Dany’s unifying leadership and her forces are crucial to defeating the only enemy that matters.) The other reason Jon will be a good choice is that while he’s reluctant, he’s also conscientious and empathetic. He has inspired numerous friends and enemies with his ethics, understanding, and fighting ability. If Westeros is to be rebuilt after the devastation of three wars, he’s the one to lead it.

      As to Sansa, she was brought up to be a lady, not to lead. Littlefinger taught her to manipulate, not to lead. She’s almost never thought of others’ welfare (exceptions–gathering grain, singing with other scared ladies during Blackwater, and saving Ser Dontos from Joffrey. But when LF murdered Dontos, Sansa did not bat an eyelash). And unfortunately she seems to ignore smallfolk unless they’re servants. Offhand, I cannot recall one conversation she’s had with any non-highborn who were just ordinary blokes.

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    145. Stark Raven’ Rad: when LF murdered Dontos, Sansa did not bat an eyelash

      To be fair, she did seem pretty freaked out about the whole thing, though I’m not sure what she could’ve done differently at the time that would’ve made anything better for Dontos. There wasn’t anything she could’ve done to stop it. At that point she needed to think about her own survival.

      Stark Raven’ Rad: Offhand, I cannot recall one conversation she’s had with any non-highborn who were just ordinary blokes

      Her and Shae had a good relationship and she certainly isn’t highborn, but you’re right that she doesn’t really speak to very many ordinary folks and she isn’t a very kind person tbh.

      I’m not sure where D&D will go with Sansa’s story, but I do feel like they are at least attempting to show that she is evolving into a good leader. Whether or not they have been successful in convincing us is another matter, of course. I haven’t been convinced, but I can see they are clearly trying to prop up Sansa as a leader in the making.

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    146. Mr Derp,

      Don’t waste your time. That person has an unhealthy obsession with talking Sansa down and twisting things to paint the character in a bad light.

      The character literally screamed out loud in horror, started hyperventilating and had to be physically silenced by Littlefinger forcefully covering her mouth with his hand, yet that is characterised as not batting an eyelash. It’s absurd.

      Not only that, but they (and you) are judging the character based on things that the producers have not shown rather than things they have.

      So Sansa is declared to “ignore smallfolk unless they’re servants”, even though practically the only context in which the producers have depicted Sansa in proximity to the smallfolk is when interacting with servants and handmaidens.

      Exactly when was Sansa supposed to be mingling with the smallfolk? While she was a prisoner confined to the Red Keep in King’s Landing? While she was hiding out in her mad aunt’s impregnable mountain stronghold? Perhaps while she was locked in a room at Winterfell all day long and being raped and beaten all night?

      Man, they really should’ve added a few scenes where she broke bread with the smallfolk to prove she isn’t a total cow, because the sexual slavery obviously wasn’t enough to make her sympathetic.

      The handful of interactions / relationships that they have depicted between Sansa and the smallfolk / servants and social misfits have generally been positive. Shae, Ser Dontos, The Hound, Edd, the old lady servant at Winterfell…

      But what does what’s actually been portrayed on screen matter when you can judge a character by what wasn’t and just make it up in your head, as the person you replied to does.

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