Political Update: Westeros

Kit Harington as Jon Snow and Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth. Photo: HBO

“If we don’t put aside our enmities and band together, we will die. And then it doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne.”

During Jon Snow’s shaky introduction to Daenerys Targaryen in the seventh season of Game of Thrones, Ser Davos Seaworth succinctly contextualized the political realities in Westeros. Queen Daernerys had come to claim her birthright and rule the Seven Kingdoms, but there were much bigger issues at stake.

Davos’ observation not only framed the issues for Dany, but also made concrete the realization that fans and critics of the show had come to over the course of the seasons. Although Game of Thrones was presented as a quasi-historical political drama (with light fantasy elements initially) – a supernatural apocalypse that had only been hinted at early on was in the making, and all of the political shenanigans in the capital – the wars of kings, the competition of queens, the strife between church and state – were just distractions keeping the policymakers of the realm from being able to respond to an ancient, existential threat.

The terrifying assault of the White Walkers on Hardhome made that clear.

Political shenanigans can be entertaining and engaging, but the Night King and his army of the dead isn’t going to be interacted with at that level. It’s not like there’s a diplomatic solution to ice monsters.

Night King: Not so fast! Have we been given a chance to state the advantages of allowing the White Walkers into the mainstream? We’re equal-opportunity employers, demonstrate hard-working values, and our health care system really can’t be beat. We provide coverage for almost everything but fire, obsidian, and dragonsteel. (Which are all terrible things that will be outlawed at the first opportunity.) I suggest that every citizen of Westeros gather in some large, approachable open field, and a designated champion can be chosen to debate me. DEBATE ME! (But bring no weapons.)

Technically, there is a political solution to dealing with the White Walkers, if we consider the words of Carl Von Clausewitz (that Prussian war strategist that gets quoted in nearly every war movie):

War is the continuation of politics, by other means.

With that in mind, the eighth season of Game of Thrones will therefore be spectacularly political.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a chance that the show will end with a triumphant Night King. Although George RR Martin is known for wanting to subvert tropes, and having a terrifying evil ultimately win would certainly be a subversion of thousands of years of good storytelling, he probably doesn’t want to subvert too much. And it goes against what he’s recently stated about the expected ending of the story: that the ending will be bittersweet.

Wall - Eastwatch Breach 7x07 (18) Night King Viserion

The Night King winning wouldn’t be bittersweet, it would be sour and gross.

Night King: DEBATE ME!
Me: No.

But the show’s finale will probably be something more than just the heroic ending of the Long Night and fade out to the end-credits. In his hypothetically-final book A Dream of Spring, GRRM will no doubt deal with the post-Long Night in more detail, but I suspect the show will have to at least honor in some way Martin’s observations on how the influential fantasy epic Lord of the Rings wrapped up not entirely satisfactory for him.

Ruling is hard. This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with. Lord of the Rings had a very medieval philosophy: that if the king was a good man, the land would prosper. We look at real history and it’s not that simple. Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn’t ask the question: What was Aragorn’s tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? By the end of the war, Sauron is gone but all of the orcs aren’t gone – they’re in the mountains. Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?
Rolling Stone interview with GRRM, 2014

In the final season, even though the Long Night will give way to the dawn of Spring and joyous celebrations, there will have to be some time for tax policy questions.

Or at least an answer to who will end up on the Iron Throne.

Davos: I said it didn’t matter!
Me: This isn’t a debate. We’re going to talk about the Iron Throne.
Davos: Fine.

At the start of Season Eight, Westeros will be suffering from competing claims (with some claims still to come on the horizon) and various local leadership issues. Almost all of the Seven Kingdoms either have an authority vacuum or a dispute over who is the regional power broker. The invasion of wights and ice wizards will probably not improve the situation, depending on how deep south they can get.

The Landscape, Politically

The North appears to be solidly behind Jon Snow, King in the North and the White Wolf, but Jon’s absence from Winterfell has made some of the northern lords restive (along with members of the Vale allies) and they appear to favor the Lady of Winterfell, Sansa Stark. Jon’s hidden heritage is like a time-bomb that could go off either before, during, or after warfare against the White Walkers, revealing him to not be the son of Ned Stark, and shifting the claim to Winterfell from him to Bran, Sansa, and Arya. (Unless there was – I don’t know – some revelation that King Robb Stark had officially named Jon his heir shortly before the Red Wedding. But that would be crazy – and canon to the books.)

Siege Riverrun

The Freys who ruled the Riverlands are dead, slaughtered by avenging murder-angel Arya Stark. In theory, Edmure Tully might still be a prisoner of the Lannisters (although Walder mentioned to Jaime at the post-Riverrun siege that Edmure was in his dungeons, Jaime seemed keen to get Edmure and his son away from the Freys for Lannister control.) With the Freys gone, Edmure could make a case to claim Riverrun and get the riverlords’ support, but the years of strife might make them want to sit out any fresh conflict.

The Iron Islands have competing claimants with Euron Greyjoy being on top, having won the kingsmoot, enjoying the support of Cersei in King’s Landing, and having captured his chief rival, Yara Greyjoy. But Theon is coming for his uncle with a renewed purpose and until Yara and Theon are sent to the Drowned God, rulership of the Iron Islands will be in dispute.

The Vale is currently ruled by the least impressive Lord Paramount on the show (even counting dead Mace Tyrell.) Lord Robin Arryn was not well mentored by his mother Lysa, nor well served by the Lord Regent Petyr Baelish. And the Vale of Arryn might have its own problems, with the absent Knights of the Vale deployed to the North, and the aggressive mountain clans who had been promised the Vale now armed with Lannister steel.

Robin Arryn: Maybe we should build a wall!
Me: It’s a bit too late in the game for that, m’lord.
Shagga: I like axes.

I would not be surprised if most of the top lords in the Crownlands around King’s Landing were at the Great Sept the morning of Cersei’s scheduled trial. And the surviving sons, daughters, and bastards are competing over the now vacated (of management) castles.

Lollys Stokeworth: Oh goody! Now I can marry Ser Bronn and we can live at Stokeworth. The gods are good!

The kingdom of the West is still nominally under Lannister control, although the populace might have felt a bit abandoned when Jaime left Casterly Rock unguarded as a honeypot for Daenerys’ Unsullied shock troops early in the seventh season. Assuming the West is still pro-Lannister, it’s a good question of which Lannister is in charge. Cersei is away at the capital, Jaime is heading north, and Tyrion had a credible claim as Tywin’s legal if unacknowledged heir until Jaime was dismissed from the Kingsguard. It’s possible that some random Lannister cousin is holding things together in the West. Lannister cousins seem to appear and disappear when convenient in the story.

The kingdom of the Stormlands hasn’t been mentioned since Season Two, and was staunchly pro-Baratheon (well, either pro-Renly Baratheon or pro-Stannis Baratheon.) With the defeat of Stannis’ forces at the Blackwater, we can assume Tywin Lannister awarded Lannister cronies (like Red Ronnet Connington) control of strategic assets in the Stormlands. So we can consider the Stormlands pro-Lannister until that gets updated, if ever.

The Reach lost its paramount family the Tyrells (thanks to Cersei and Jaime) followed shortly by the death of the martial men of the powerful Tarly family (thanks to Dany and Drogon.) Who is in charge of the Reach now? Until something official is announced, I assume the Hightowers are the best candidate. They’ve been mentioned on the show (or rather, the old Lord Commander Gerald Hightower was mentioned in passing) and we’ve seen the Hightower seat of authority – the immense lighthouse by the Citadel in Oldtown.)

Oldtown

House Hightower’s urban economic power plus close relationship with the maesters at the Citadel provides them with soft power influence to prevent much of a power vacuum in the Reach..

Anything could happen with Dorne. They’re not pro-Lannister but they’re also leaderless, with Ellaria Sand killing off the Martells (for reasons) and Cersei having the Sand Snakes killed and imprisoning Ellaria. Although Podrick Payne recited the names of Dornish houses when waiting for Prince Oberyn to arrive in Season Four, the only non-Martell Dornish family members we’ve met were the Daynes, via Ser Arthur Dayne in a Bran flashback. But it’s unlikely anyone from Dorne will be a part of the eight season. The Dornish will just have to figure out who is in charge on their own, which is fairly thematic for them, honestly.

Because of the rudderless situations in most of the individual Seven Kingdoms, whomever ends up on the Iron Throne from out of the three most prominent contenders (Cersei, Dany, and Jon) will probably be able to easily get a majority of the individual regions to go along. But who will that be?

Night King: DEBATE ME!
Me: This isn’t a debate. And there’s only one right answer: Daenerys Targaryen.

The Case for Queen Daenerys

Cersei Lannister winning the game of thrones (hey, that’s the name of the show) would be as sour as a total wight victory. She absolutely won’t be seated comfortably on the iconic uncomfortable chair. And after Cersei broke faith with Dany and Jon, withholding promised troops to aid in the war effort against the wights, there’s really no turning back for her character.

Her Lannister-controlled regions would probably flip to the side of her opponents regardless since her control of the kingdoms was tenuous in the best of times. (The arrival of the Golden Company mercenaries in Season Eight might make things interesting for a while. But won’t be a long-term advantage for her.)

cersei1

With Cersei off the table, it comes down to either Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen. It’s a bummer that these two crazy kids can’t get married and live happily ever-after as sexy aunt and sexy nephew, but George RR Martin has promised us a bittersweet ending, and I don’t even know what to call a joint married rule of Jon and Dany. One of those two is not going to make it to the end, and I have my pick.

Jon Snow has already died, and although some people say that it would be redundant for him to die a second time, I disagree. All Men Must Die.

Jon Snow should be dead, and the fact that he’s up and moving around just means that he’s living on borrowed time. He’s back for a reason, and that reason probably doesn’t have much to do with formulating tax policy in Small Council meetings. He’s going to die fighting the good fight.

Jon: But, we all die.
Beric: The enemy always wins. And will still need to fight him. That’s all I know. You and I won’t find much joy while we’re here, but we can keep others alive. We can defend those that can’t defend themselves.

The show is already setting up the seeds for a conflict between Jon and Dany when it’s revealed that he’s Rhaegar Targaryen’s legitimate son and has a better claim than hers. She’s probably pregnant with his child (I’m assuming great boat sex guarantees pregnancy) and if Dany dies, that’s the end of that. Not a very satisfying conclusion to Daenerys’ storyline and hasn’t the show had enough women either dying when pregnant, or dying after giving birth?

Jon, having the better claim, should end up on the throne, if this was a traditional medieval fantasy. But Game of Thrones isn’t that, really. So his death has the benefit of trope subversion. And follows the parameters already set up for Jon’s self-sacrifice. And would be a bittersweet ending for Dany, regretting whatever Season Eight drama she goes through with him when he truly never wanted to be king in the first place.

Daenerys has been working her way to fulfill GRRM’s request for a ruler with an understood tax policy since the beginning of the story. She’s been considering the political ramifications of ruling the Seven Kingdoms from the start.

Dany rode close beside him. “Still,” she said, “the common people are waiting for him. Magister Illyrio says they are sewing dragon banners and praying for Viserys to return from across the narrow sea to free them.”

“The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends,” Ser Jorah told her. “It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace.” He gave a shrug. “They never are.”

Dany rode along quietly for a time, working his words like a puzzle box. It went against everything that Viserys had ever told her to think that the people could care so little whether a true king or a usurper reigned over them. Yet the more she thought on Jorah’s words, the more they rang of truth.
A Game of Thrones, Daenerys III

The show has established that Dany is interested in political change and reform, even if her attempts with engaging in political experimentation on the Slaver Bay cities had catastrophic initial results. And unlike other contenders for the Iron Throne who couldn’t imagine ruling less than all seven kingdoms directly…

Stannis: Fewer.

… Dany at least considers the idea of distributed power.

Daenerys: And you don’t want the Seven Kingdoms?
Theon: Your ancestors defeated ours, and took the Iron Islands. We ask you to give them back.
Daenerys: And that’s all?
Yara: We’d like you to help us murder an uncle or two who don’t think a woman is fit to rule.
Daenerys: Reasonable.
Tyrion: What if everyone starts demanding their independence?
Daenerys: They’s not demanding. They’re asking. The others are free to ask as well.

Tyrion and Daenerys Beyond the Wall

The show already has options to wrap up the post-White Walker defeat era with Dany mourning Jon but also addressing what to do politically in Westeros. Things like granting Sansa wardenship of the North, since the two of them can mutually bond over the loss of Jon, and granting control of the West to Tyrion (or Jaime – I don’t have a horse in that race, really.) As well as legitimizing Gendry into a Baratheon and granting him lordship of the Stormlands with Ser Davos to help him run things smoothly.

Night King: Wait.
Me: What?
Night King: I’m going to blow your mind. What if there is NO IRON THRONE?
Me: *Sigh* Fine.

Farewell Feudalism?

A popular answer to the question of “Who will sit on the Iron Throne” is “no one, because there is no throne anymore.”

Typically, the elaboration of the throneless-answer is that the feudal structure in Westeros will be abandoned, to be replaced with something more egalitarian and democratic.

I think that’s very unlikely. At least, not in the timeframe left for the show.

The feudal structure of Westeros was in place under a single monarch for three centuries after the conquest by Aegon, and previously existed under multiple kings controlling the independent regions for thousands of years. Even though many of the traditional ruling houses throughout the kingdoms have been wiped out during the course of the show’s seasons, other noble houses exist to take advantage of the power vacuum, without the smallfolk spontaneously organizing into anarcho-syndicalist communes. Changes like that have to come from the top, because that’s where the power is.

It’s easy to see why people want there to be some kind of democratic reform in Westeros. GRRM’s story interrogates the problems inherent in the feudal system, where the powerful can violate the social contract with their vassals with little consequence, but his story is fairly realistic. There’s very little incentive for the mighty to support a system other than Might Makes Right.

There are examples in the books of groups who don’t live under such a rigid structure. Both the mountain clans and the wildling Free Folk have relatively flat power structures, with most everyone getting a say with direct representation. But both of those groups are historically unsuccessful when compared to their feudal counterparts, who have kept them living in the margins for centuries.

Wildling: I’m just saying, why do any of us have to kneel to any of you?
Warden of the North: I’ve heard those last words before, outlaw.
Wildling: You could at least let me stand up when you behead me.
Warden of the North: Yeah. But this is much easier for me.

The Night’s Watch and the Ironborn captains have democratic traditions for choosing their supreme executive, but that’s less an enlightened system of granting power to the people, and more a convenience of having an alternative to inherited succession. In both cases the voters are ending up perpetuating an established feudal structure.

TheonFace

But we might see the beginnings of challenges to the notion of feudalism being the optimal form of governance, since Daenerys has talked about challenging the structure of power in Westeros.

Tyrion: It’s a beautiful dream. Stopping the wheel. You’re not the first person who’s ever dreamt it.
Daenerys: I’m not going to stop the wheel. I’m going to break the wheel.

Dany wasn’t too clear in her political thesis, but I assume we should consider the smallfolk-crushing wheel a metaphor for feudalism. With only six (albeit extra-long) episodes left in the series, I doubt there would be time for something too radical. But maybe there will be some time for an elaboration of what Dany means by breaking the wheel.

At the very least, some signal that Dany would like to protect the people of Westeros from the Targaryen legacy of royal madness. The power structure in the Seven Kingdoms can’t be reversed overnight, but it’s possible to see limits placed on power at the top. Checks and balances are wonderful things, something not really recognized until they’re not used.

Some kind of Magna Carta-style document drafting might be the way to communicate the idea that Westeros is progressing on, satisfying some of George RR Martin’s questions about how a monarch might be a good one.

Night King: I would be the best monarch! DEBATE ME!
Me: Okay, let’s debate.
Night King: Really?
Me: Ooops, we’re out of space in this feature. It’s already too many words.
Night King: 🙁

155 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. Of course, another pro-Targaryen fanfiction where Jon ends up dead and Daenerys gets her tiara, throne, and baby. How original. I personally would prefer both Jon and Daenerys die and their incest child gets no where near the throne (if still alive even) rather than Daenerys living as the ultimate heroine who gets her heart’s desire. Neither gets to rule and there is some sort of proto-parliament or several rulers. Or there is an elected, non-Targaryen ruler like Tyrion wanted in Season 7 as the successor. Perhaps Tyrion himself or Davos?

      As for Daenerys, she is very against the whole idea of reform. Her idea is to crush the feudal system (i.e. break the wheel) and install an even more centralized form of absolute monarchy. She is uninterested in checks on her power and ideas like Tyrion brought up about succession. Tyrion literally brought up the idea of reform in Season 7 and she shot him down. Unless she has a 180 degree change in Season 8, it seems unlikely.

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    2. got_tv_fan,

      that’s what makes her an interesting character for me. she genuinely cares about making the world better but she doesn’t really know how and makes a lot of mistakes. I don’t think she’d be the ideal person to rule westeros but at least she’s trying harder compared to many other candidates.

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    3. Interesting post. I know many disagree because it’s not ‘bitter’ enough, but I believe the likeliest ending is with Jon and Daenerys ruling together. But then again, I’m also someone who believes the “Big 6” will all still be alive by the end.. 😂.

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    4. Clob: Of course, the first person to comment is the one that ONLY posts anti-Targaryen (anti-Daenerys) posts.Surprise.

      Hey Clob! I bet that person is the Night King, come to debate me with the nihilism ending in mind.

      I mean, if I was writing Targaryen fanfic, I’d be proposing Jon and Dany living happily ever after, with lots of babies. Which I’m not.

      I don’t mind the above poster’s statement on proto-parliament – I don’t remember Tyrion calling for elections, but that might be an interpretation I didn’t take away. Great Councils for questions of succession have already been established, and while Tyrion has shown sympathy for the smallfolk, I don’t think he’s ever support an overly democratic scenario for Westeros.

      Now I want to rewatch all the Tyrion/Dany scenes and see where the disagreement lies.

      Regardless, we’ll see in the sixth episode if Dany is the autocrat that the poster blindly insists, or someone wanting to be different than Mad King Aerys, which is the objective truth.

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    5. Jay Targ:
      Interesting post.I know many disagree because it’s not ‘bitter’ enough, but I believe the likeliest ending is with Jon and Daenerys ruling together.But then again, I’m also someone who believes the “Big 6” will all still be alive by the end.. 😂.

      That’s all fair, Jay. I appreciate you reading the feature. I should keep track of who thinks Jon will survive and not Dany, who thinks Dany will survive but not Jon, who thinks both are dead in the finale, and who thinks both will live.

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    6. “It’s a bummer that these two crazy kids can’t get married and live happily ever-after as sexy aunt and sexy nephew, but George RR Martin has promised us a bittersweet ending, and I don’t even know what to call a joint married rule of Jon and Dany.”

      Oh, please, please, may I?

      It would be called “A Song of Ice and Fire”.

      Am I really the only one who thinks, that there is already a massive portion of bittersweetness in this story? Weren’t there already enough rape, violence, torture, loss, sadness and suffering for each and everyone of the remaining figures? The survivors will have to live with these experiences and the consequences for the rest of their lives. There is wisdom in what Dolorous Edd said: “Whoever dies last: Be a good lad, and burn the rest of us. Once I’m done with this world, I don’t wanna come back.”
      As you wrote it so poignantly in your article: The Tyrells, the Martells, the Freys, the Boltons, they are all gone. Okay, it might not be a shame for some of them. But fact is: the whole structure of society in Westeros is basically destroyed already. None of the remaining families in this conflict is strong enough to uphold law and order on their own. There is already a vacuum of power, where the strong prey on the weak. And after the army of the dead arrived in Westeros this won’t get better.
      The Lannisters are diminished to a degree of nearly existing. The remaining rest of them is deeply divided and it is higly unlikely that all Lannisters will survive.
      The Starks are united again, but what a price did they pay for that! None of them will ever be the same – if they survive at all. Can anyone imagine Sansa having any relationship with a decent man any time soon to least speak about another marriage with sexual relations? Can anyone imagine Arya living a quiet and peaceful life? And poor Bran. He “died” in that cave, he is not Bran Stark anymore and he never will be again.
      For the Targaryens, and by that I mean Jon and Dany, it’s the same, plus: It’s pretty possible that it will fall into their hands and responsibility to “clean up as much of the shit” as they can. Which will be a ton of work. Love might be the death of all duty, but the opposite is true as well: Duty can be the death of love. Happily ever-after? I highly doubt it.
      Also, I am not so sure about “boatsexbaby”. If it turns out that Dany is really barren, this will become a huge issue for her reign. The history books are full of queens who have been pushed aside because they weren’t able to do there first and foremost duty to the realm: providing an heir. Seven hells: Henry VIII. even went so far to invent a new church and let two of his wives beheaded because they didn’t deliver him a son! (And it fills my little feminist heart with great joy, that it was his DAUGHTER who became one of the greatest rulers England has ever seen, but that’s just a side note for other history geeks like me.)
      And last but not least: It’s really astonishing that the second part of this GRRM quote is never mentioned. He said, he aims for a bittersweet ending like the one in the Lord of the Rings books, “bittersweet, but overall happy.”
      H A P P Y!
      And geez, am I up for that! After eight+ years of misery and heartbreak I am so ripe for a little bit of happiness in Westeros.

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    7. Clob,

      Because both the show and most of the fanbase are uncritically pro-Targaryen. The hell-yeah slay queen writing on the show annoys me to no end as a Stark and Jon fan. I also hate these predictions about Daenerys getting everything she wants while Jon ends up as cannon fodder. The Starks lose if the Targaryens win.

      Patrick Sponaugle,

      I mean, if I was writing Targaryen fanfic, I’d be proposing Jon and Dany living happily ever after, with lots of babies. Which I’m not.

      Most Targaryen fans dislike or are openly indifferent to Jon. Most Daenerys stans would be fine with Jon kicking the bucket now that he has impregnated Daenerys and as long as Dany lives and gets her tiara and throne. Jon really is incidental to it and in fact most would prefer him out of the way as he complicates matters for Daenerys.

      I don’t mind the above poster’s statement on proto-parliament – I don’t remember Tyrion calling for elections, but that might be an interpretation I didn’t take away.

      He most definitely did in Episode 7.6, which Daenerys shot down without discussion.

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    8. got_tv_fan: He most definitely did in Episode 7.6, which Daenerys shot down without discussion.

      I don’t see that. Dany twice said “We will discuss the succession after I wear the crown” to Tyrion, not what form the government would take.

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    9. Well Martin already showed us what happened in Astapor and Yunkai when Dany´s and her military power wasn´t present to enforce her policies. Chaos and anarchy and either the old order was reestablished or a new bloody order. And in Meereen we see how the situation surpasses Dany´s abilities again and again. There´s Martin´s writing how a good heart doesn´t make a good ruler. What a shitty job got Daario in Meereen whithout dragons and armies.

      And Daenerys strikes me more as an absolutist monarch. Breaking the wheel sounds to me like “no more power struggles, everyone will answer to me”.

      “L´etat c´est moi.”

      Of course breaking the wheel is something that D&D pulled on their own. Dany´s motivations in the books for seeking the IT are more selfish and ultimately tragic.

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    10. Johanna van Locchum,

      I agree with your whole commentary except one thing: baby is going to happen because she is not barren anymore, remember life pays for death and Viserion died so she will be pregnant and they also took the last 3 episodes foreshadowing her getting pregnant let alone the show runners saying commentary on Season 7 video “she thinks she’s barren” oh we will see about that!

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    11. got_tv_fan,

      Tyrion talked how the Ironborn and the Night´s Watch elected their leaders voting them. He discussed with Dany´s the succesion should she die and the many possibilities for that event.

      Of course Dany shot down any talk about that for her conveniently to fuck Jon next episode and the writers throwing at our faces how she might not be barren. The writers now have the GA expecting that baby to be the solution while Tyrion´s good points got forgotten.

      The final outcome of westeros will be messy. George loves throwing them. Robert´s Rebellion was forever stained by the sacking of King´s Landing and the murders of Elia, Rhaenys and Aegon. Aegon V election was stained by Bloodraven commiting kinslaying and violation of guest right. The first Blackfyre Rebellion was won thanks to Bloodraven commiting kinslaying. The dance of dragons? Both Aegon II and Rhaenyra were betrayed by their own men who had enough of their greedy selfishness and cruelty. And so on and so on.

      Expect a messy outcome from wich the survivors will have to rebuild a torn Westeros because Martin´s is about deconstructing the tropes of the genre and rebuilt them.

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    12. Tyrion: If we want to create a new and better world, I’m not sure deceit and mass murder is the best way to start.
      Dany: Which war was won without deceit and mass murder?
      Tyrion: Yes, you’ll need to be ruthless if you’re going to win the throne. You need to inspire a degree of fear. But fear is all Cersei has. It’s all my father had, and Joffrey. It makes their power brittle. Because everyone beneath them longs to see them dead.
      Dany: Aegon Targaryen got quite a long way on fear.
      Tyrion: He did. But you once spoke to me of breaking the wheel. Aegon built the wheel. If that’s the kind of queen you want to be, how are you different from all the other tyrants that came before you?

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    13. Eric Womack,

      The thing is that Daenerys pregnancy has been shoved down our throats in a blatant and obvious manner that the audience should be wary of it. Because the outcomes of such things ends badly for the involved parties.

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    14. I don’t see Jon or Dany ruling in the end not because one or both will not survive but because I predict both will survive and be changed from the Great War forever. Jon doesn’t want to rule as he has stated constantly thru the years and Dany does want to rule and break the wheel so to speak but I see that as that’s all she has available to her and been told since she was a little girl that’s her family’s birth right. She’s always really wanted a family and security more than anything because she never had anything close to it other than the “House with the Red Door” she fondly remembers in the books.
      The throne will be gone in the end and she will not want to rule whic is bittersweet part and Jon we know doesn’t want it either so that leaves the new kingdom with one choice: a council running the 7 kingdoms and making decisions as well. That would be surprising ending after 8 years of fighting over the Irone Throne to not wanting it period.
      I see Jon and Dany wanting to raise their child together because both never had a real family growing up, yes Jon grew up in Winterfell with his siblings which they are regardless of not biologically being Ned’s son but he was an outcast and never felt he belonged there at Winterfell. Dany only had a vicious and cruel brother growing up and they were moving from place to place other than her memories of the House with the Red Door and this would end the show with hope in the case of their child and new beginnings for Westoros by breaking the wheel with a new way to govern.

      It will never be a Disney ending with all the death and destruction happening throughout all season long as I see it but that’s my prediction.

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    15. Fall of House Stork,

      A succession plan is important. What happens if Daenerys dies during the war? And it was a way for Daenerys to agree to something that would break the wheel. The fact that she shoots it down suggests that she is uninterested in reform.

      Eonwe,

      Daenerys is a strongman but she is forgiven her undemocratic tendencies by the audience because she is abolishing slavery and fighting Cersei. It seems that most viewers have decided that since slavery is bad, Cersei is a villain, and Randyll Tarly was abusive toward Sam it is okay that Dany acts the way she does. I believe the show writers share this opinion, which is unfortunate.

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    16. The bittersweet ending of LotR. Frodo saved Middle Earth but finds himself unable to enjoy living in the world he saved so he leaves it´s shores and loved ones. But not only Frodo has no place in this new world. Many elves also leave middle earth because they have no place in this world including Elrond and Galadriel. Gandalf also leaves. No more fireworks spectacles in The Shire, no more wandering old man who counseled everyone.

      Middle Earth has been saved but has also lost. The same as it happened at the end of both the first and second eras.

      Back when I was kid and finished the books I found myself reading and ending who tasted more like ashes than honey to me.

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    17. I have to say that this would be tremendously unsatisfying – and I also don’t think it’s going to happen.

      Jon just dying basically negates any of the purpose of his being the legitimized heir of Rhaegar. His having priority over Dany sets up conflict. I don’t think the point of RLJ was simply to have Jon and Dany engage in a temporary but ultimately insignificant rivalry. It’s meant to push them into conflict. Real conflict. As in a Dance of Dragons type conflict.

      You can say that Dany has been set up to suffer a fall in the last season. She arrived with a foreign army. Lost her domestic allies. Held Jon Snow over multiple episodes demanding his political subservience – and the mechanics of the show allowed her to postpone needing to make a choice between the Throne and the Wall because of the false truce with Cersei.

      She’s threatened to burn cities and hasn’t done it yet – which I find to be a huge Chekhov’s Dragon.

      There are also the themes by which Dany has acquired her power versus the methods Jon has gained his power. This works as a contrast (again setting up conflict) that casts the two as foils more than anything. Jon was elected twice. Dany burned the other khals in Vaes Dothraak to gain her power. She used blood magic to (unknowingly) acquire her dragons. Jon cautions her against using them on cities. So does Tyrion. So did Jorah. And Barristan. At some point, a city going up in a cataclysmic inferno is going to happen.

      And this event would be ultimately what completely breaks apart the Targaryen-Stark alliance. Jon may already be under suspicion for being a *potential* challenge to Dany’s authority. We haven’t seen the pay off for Dany burning the Tarlys (or the harvest from the Reach). We can’t forget that Sam doesn’t know yet and he also happens to be Jon’s best pal AND we already had Jon halt an execution by fire and banish Mel for burning Shireen. Lastly, the spark for Dany to burn a city, like King’s Landing, is already there in the form of the Golden Company. We know of the betrayal, so the betrayal isn’t the surprise. It’s what the betrayal causes the characters to do.

      I imagine that Dany, who staked so much in getting that truce (and lost a dragon in pursuit of the truce) because she was unwilling to go North without the truce — well she might just decide that Cersei needs to be dealt with in one fell swoop. “Burn the Red Keep” she’ll say. “It’ll be fun” she’ll say. Except that fires + cities = catastrophe.

      She’s got by far the most power on the board. She is the conqueror. For goodness sake, they had infinite opportunity to cast Jon and Dany as equal partners – yet we saw Jon give up his crown (for seemingly no reason on the surface) in the fashion of Torrhen Stark to Aegon. This just doesn’t portend to Daenerys as a hero, imo. And her ruling Westeros (after the mess she left in Essos) would be awfully bitter.

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    18. Mr Derp:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Count me in for both dying.Though, my opinion changes on this more frequently than the Hound goes through a bucket of chicken.

      Noted. I know how it is, trying to lock in and commit to a particular fate for any given character in season eight.

      Excellent Hound reference.

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    19. Fall of House Stork: I don’t see that. Dany twice said “We will discuss the succession after I wear the crown” to Tyrion, not what form the government would take.

      I appreciate you bringing the facts, my friend. Discussion of succession can totally be in the realm of feudalism, like Great Councils, Kingsmoots, and Night’s Watch choosings. There’s no need to interpret Tyrion wanting a radical change in government. Thumbs up.

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    20. got_tv_fan,

      The writers have taken away many of the darkest parts of Jon, Tyrion and Dany.

      Dany reasons for seeking the Iron Throne in the books are selfish. In the tv she has been turned into some kind of social justice defender.

      Lord commander Jon Snow, the man who threatened Gilly with her baby life, who took prisoner a Kastark, who takes the wildlings leaders kids as hostages to ensure compliance and who ultimately commits oathbreaking is turned into an action man white knight hero.

      Tyrion Lannister in book five is “if you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you”. Of course all this darker traits dissapears in the TV.

      Cersei is tha bad queen whereas in the books she is a woman whose paranoia, lack of restrain and stupidity results in her own downfall.

      The most controversials parts of the main characters are not present in the show.

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    21. Eonwe:

      And Daenerys strikes me more as an absolutist monarch. Breaking the wheel sounds to me like “no more power struggles, everyone will answer to me”.

      “L´etat c´est moi.”

      This is also not a bad interpretation, just one that I don’t necessarily agree with. (I mean, I don’t know if I agree that Dany is hard-wired for autocratic rule. Even if she’s prone to scary reactions, like crucifying people.)

      Again, I contrast her with Stannis, whose reaction to Catelyn’s offer of support from Robb was “What? That USURPER” – and Dany considering granting Yara queenship of the Iron Islands in exchange for support, rather than a HOW DARE YOU USURP ONE OF MY KINGDOMS type of reactions.

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    22. got_tv_fan: The fact that she shoots it down suggests that she is uninterested in reform.

      Oh come on, that’s not how the scene was framed. The framing is about how Daenerys is thinking in the short term and Tyrion is thinking long term.. Neither of them is wrong, but you seem unable to take Dany’s POV into account.

      She is angry about how Tyrion’s plans have failed and cost her Dorne and Highgarden, yet Tyrion is thinking about succession when they haven’t won anything yet.

      And Tyrion has seen Daenerys in danger, so he wants a plan of succession in case the worst happens.

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    23. got_tv_fan:
      Of course, another pro-Targaryen fanfiction (…)

      you answer to a contributor of this page. not to some weirdo on reddit. see the difference?

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    24. Patrick Sponaugle,

      You know, I find Dany´s deal with Yara strange on the writers part. We have in season 6 Daenerys willing to exchange sovereignty of one of the Seven Kingdoms yet in the next season she is unwilling to accept nothing unless submision from the North.

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    25. Eonwe:

      Lord commander Jon Snow, the man who threatened Gilly with her baby life, who took prisoner a Kastark, who takes the wildlings leaders kids as hostages to ensure compliance and who ultimately commits oathbreaking is turned into an action man white knight hero.

      I’m not going to dispute your overall point that the show does improve character’s flaws, but I think you’re overstating the wrongness of some of Jon’s decisions.

      Taking the Karstark prisoner is not a bad thing, especially to prevent Alys Karstark from being forced into marriage (to this particular Bolton-supporting Karstark.)

      Jon even gets points for avoiding a guest right issue, in intercepting the Karstark party who was up-to-no-good.

      Was Jon getting involved in politics? Yes he was. (Jeor also got involved in politics when he granted the inexperienced Ser Waymar Royce his command, not realizing how bad it would go down, in hopes of getting Yohn Royce’s favor.) But Jon was doing a good thing.

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    26. Eonwe:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      You know, I find Dany´s deal with Yara strange on the writers part. We have in season 6 Daenerys willing to exchange sovereignty of one of the Seven Kingdoms yet in the next season she is unwilling to accept nothing unless submision from the North.

      I agree with what you’re saying, and I almost included it in my essay, but I was already hitting 3000+ words.

      Season 7 Dany, seated at Dragonstone with an army ready to invade, is at a different place when talking to the son of the Usurper’s Wolf, than when she was in Season 6, stuck in Meereen and needing ships, talking to a Greyjoy who she probably had no grudge against. And hey, Yara is kind of charming.

      Jon: I CAN BE CHARMING.
      Davos: Eh.

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    27. Jay Targ,

      Daenerys has no plans for the future of Westeros other than killing all the lords and becoming queen. Her entire philosophy is breaking things without thinking about the consequences for those actions. She didn’t think about Meereen and what happens next and she didn’t think about what she plans to do with Westeros.

      death by chickenfire,

      Who happens to be very pro-Targaryen, very anti-Jon, and very anti-North just based on the above essay. Just because one is a contributor to a website doesn’t mean that one is immune to the tendency to like one house. I think that the showrunners are very pro-Daenerys and one-sided regarding her as well and they get paid millions to write and produce Game of Thrones.

      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Ned is a good subject and servant to the Crown, not a populist strongman. His main issue is that he doesn’t see anything wrong with the old system despite the fact that a king killed his brother and father. The first action we saw him complete was to behead a shellshocked soldier who deserted his post because those were the rules.

      Dany, on the other hand, wants to break the system. Perhaps the better phrase is she wants to “drain the swamp.” However, her plan is for her to be an absolute monarch with an even tighter grip on power than Aerys had. She wants to get rid of the lords and Great Houses and the military check they currently have on the Iron Throne.

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    28. Jay Targ,

      The point of the scene (and the whole season) is to show us a monarch and her hand who are not on the same page and at this point are unwilling to find compromise. That can only be trouble in the future.

      But Tyrion´s concerns are easily put aside by Dany and that´s dangerous. What sparked the War of the Five King was the claim to Robert´s throne. The Dance of Dragons and Blackfyre Rebellions were a result of the legitimacy of who should be on the throne.

      And then there is the whole R+L=J waiting in the background.

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    29. Fall of House Stork: Tyrion: If we want to create a new and better world, I’m not sure deceit and mass murder is the best way to start.

      Yet he goes on to tell Jon Snow at the Dragonpit in season 7 episode 7 that he should’ve lied to Cersei.

      Another example of inconsistent writing in season 7.

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    30. Patrick Sponaugle,

      The thing is that Jon commes not only with the north. But also the wildlings and the Vale lords who have declared for him. And the Vale lords have their military power intact because they took no part in the War of the Five Kings and were key in The Battle of the Bastards.

      Jon not only has the north. He has the loyalty of the wildlings and the Vale on his side too. He has two of the seven kingdoms and the whole migth of one of them yet the show skip this.

      I think that he had a good base to bargain with Daenerys from the very beginning but it was not used. And since I´m not one of the writers I can only guess.

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    31. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Dany, on the other hand, wants to break the system.Perhaps the better phrase is she wants to “drain the swamp.”However, her plan is for her to be an absolute monarch with an even tighter grip on power than Aerys had.She wants to get rid of the lords and Great Houses and the military check they currently have on the Iron Throne.

      I agree that Dany wants to break the old system – I just don’t think that it’s going to go the way you think, and I don’t think ‘drain the swamp’ is a better phrase in any event.

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    32. death by chickenfire,

      Who happens to be very pro-Targaryen, very anti-Jon, and very anti-North just based on the above essay.Just because one is a contributor to a website doesn’t mean that one is immune to the tendency to like one house.I think that the showrunners are very pro-Daenerys and one-sided regarding her as well and they get paid millions to write and produce Game of Thrones.

      Wait. You’re calling me pro-Targaryen and anti-Jon? I don’t even think that’s true based on my essay, if an objective read is taken – but it’s hilarious that you called me anti-Jon. I love me that Jon Snow. When I first started blogging about Game of Thrones, I had a huge six-part series called In Defense of Jon Snow.

      Just because I think the story will go a certain way (with Jon dead, because he’s living on borrowed time – and Dany surviving, because her story would not be served by her death the way her survival would) doesn’t assign the kind of sentiments you’re trying to assign to me.

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    33. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Yet it was Jon who ended in Dany´s bed.

      got_tv_fan,

      Aerys didn´t have a tight grip on power at all. His reign showed that the Targs whithout dragons and isolated thanks to their incestous ways had no real power to rely on.

      Four lord Paramounts rose in open rebellion and a fith took no sides. One lord paramount fought for him but didn´t fully commit (Mace Tyrell besieged Storm´s End instead of joining his forces with the royal armies) and the Prince of Dorne only sent men at the end and under threats (whithout Elia, Rhaneys and Aegon as hostages in King´s Landing Dorne wouldn´t have sent 10000 men to The Battle of the Ruby Ford).

      And if Jaime wasn´t a hostage too Tywin would have jumped boats sooner.

      Aerys was the end of Aegon´s doctrine.

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    34. Jon Snow should be dead, and the fact that he’s up and moving around just means that he’s living on borrowed time. He’s back for a reason, and that reason probably doesn’t have much to do with formulating tax policy in Small Council meetings. He’s going to die fighting the good fight.

      The idea that Jon is on borrowed time rings true to me. Beric believes that he has been resurrected to accomplish a single purpose. I presume that when that purpose is done, he’ll die. Jon and Beric are subject to fate, but some divine force put it’s finger on the scales of fate in Beric and Jon’s favour so that they can fulfill a purpose.

      Some people think Jon will put a sword through Dany’s heart to create a flaming sword. I don’t believe he will. Jon couldn’t kill Ygritte for the good of the Night’s Watch. He could leave her behind and return to Castle Black, but he couldn’t kill her. I don’t think he can kill Dany. Jon is NOT like Stannis.

      If Jon is promoted to the Iron throne, who will step forward to put him over the top this time? When he’s promoted to Lord Commander, it’s a tight contest and Aemon puts his finger on the scale to break a tied vote in Jon’s favour. The second time, it’s a close contest between Jon and Sansa. Leanna speaks on his behalf and Jon is named KITN. Leanna is Jon’s mother’s namesake and Aemon is his secret relative. So, who will step forward to declare Jon King of the Seven Kingdoms this time?

      I knew Jon was being groomed for power by LC. Mormont but when the power arrived, I didn’t quite see it coming. It happened suddenly. Same thing with KITN. The person who does it this time will probably be secretly related to him in some way, if the writers are following that formula.

      It’s as if the Gods put a Kick me, I’m a King! sign on Jon’s back!

      I can’t forget that each time, Jon has walked away from his promotion. He handed Castle Black to Edd, and he handed Winterfell to Sansa. So, will he be promoted to the Iron Throne then hand to to someone else and walk away?

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    35. Eonwe:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Yet it was Jon who ended in Dany´s bed.

      Davos is going to be so surprised!

      got_tv_fan,

      Aerys was the end of Aegon´s doctrine.

      This. The measure of Dany’s character in the final season will be if she’s going to use her remaining dragons (if she has any left at all) to revisit Aegon’s doctrine.

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    36. Eonwe: Well Martin already showed us what happened in Astapor and Yunkai when Dany´s and her military power wasn´t present to enforce her policies. Chaos and anarchy and either the old order was reestablished or a new bloody order. And in Meereen we see how the situation surpasses Dany´s abilities again and again. There´s Martin´s writing how a good heart doesn´t make a good ruler.

      I’m glad you brought this up! I’ve seen so many folks who seem to think that a democratic republic is just around the corner in Westeros, ignoring the fact that Daenerys tried twice to create this situation in Slaver’s Bay, and both descended into bloody strongman situations. There’s a reason why “democracy” hasn’t been the default until the last few hundred years. It’s hard, it takes hard work by the participants (who ought to be every adult), it requires universal education and widespread dissemination of news and information. In Westeros, almost nobody can even READ, and the gossip mill spreads nonsense as stupid as … well, Twitter and Facebook these days.

      I can’t entirely fault Dany for putting off Tyrion when he pressed her on who her “successor” would be – she didn’t even have the Iron Throne yet. Don’t count your chickens (etc). And maybe she assumed he was just angling for a promotion – poor timing, considering how Tyrion’s advice had lost Dany most of her advantages. Still, it leaves us, the viewers and readers, continuing to wonder how things will pan out.

      Great comprehensive article! Thanks!

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    37. Patrick Sponaugle,

      More like she ( and/or whoever remains alive) will rebuild Aegon´s doctrine from the ashes and rubble because that´s Martin´s theme.

      Aegon I was the end of the Seven Kingdoms. Aerys II was the end of the Targaryens as rulers on the Iron Throne. Season eight will be the end of something. The Iron Throne? The lords paramounts? Dragons? Magic?

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    38. Catspaw Assassin:
      Me: Why did this enjoyable article have to end?ಠ╭╮ಠ

      AWWWW. You got me in the feels, my friend. (Unless you really wanted the debate between me and the Night King… it might be going on in the comments as we speak…)

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    39. That is a good article.

      I think this would actually be a good ending to be honest.

      I still have trouble believing Jon wouldn’t survive, but this ending makes a lot of sense and strikes a nice balance between realism and some change.

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    40. I’m using drain the swamp because Daenerys reminds me of a certain brand of politics that is becoming all too popular in West and a very disturbing political bent. It is almost like Martin hit on something without knowing about it when writing the books decades ago. Unfortunately many fans are willing to overlook Dany’s tendency to dictatorship because she is against slavery and against Cersei.

      And yes, the ending being is the ultimate Targaryen fantasy. Daenerys gets her tiara and her child and Jon ends up in the ground. If Jon is going to end up dead, then it seems only fair that Dany end up dead or somehow powerless as well. She shouldn’t get to be queen. It seems unfair and far from “bittersweet” for her to end up with her heart’s desire. In fact, it is a Disney ending but only for Dany. I will be very annoyed if the best Martin/ the show can come up with is a Dany superfan’s wish fulfillment.

      As for a new brand of politics, IMO, that only happens if the Targaryens all die and all the dragons die. Perhaps the lords vote Tyrion or someone as the ruler.

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    41. Many of assume that Jon lives on borrowed time and his only purpose is to kill the Night King and die in the process (or later somewhen, saving… whoever). It may be true, but what if the whole point of his death and resurrection was not that “he should be dead, he just has something to do first” – but that his death freed him from his oath (technically- as he pointed it out), so he can take the crown – the North or the 7K.

      I would be much more surprised if Dany ended up on the IT. Her whole arc screams “savior” and “conqueror” – not “ruler”. Jon is a “protector”- he would make a much better ruler after the war. It’s not that apperent in the show as they dumbed him down, but book-Jon definitely would make a decent king (at least he learns from his mistakes, so he won’t get stabbed in the back again).

      That being said, I don’t want Jon on the IT – he would be much better off in Winterfell. Dany can get that throne if she wants and I wish her good luck. I just don’t see it happening.

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    42. I would be much more surprised if Dany ended up on the IT. Her whole arc screams “savior” and “conqueror” – not “ruler”. Jon is a “protector”- he would make a much better ruler after the war. It’s not that apperent in the show as they dumbed him down, but book-Jon definitely would make a decent king (at least he learns from his mistakes, so he won’t get stabbed in the back again).

      That being said, I don’t want Jon on the IT – he would be much better off in Winterfell. Dany can get that throne if she wants and I wish her good luck. I just don’t see it happening.

      I think Jon would be a good king. He’d be someone to make Ned Stark proud. But, I don’t think he’ll be given that chance.

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    43. got_tv_fan: . In fact, it is a Disney ending but only for Dany. I will be very annoyed if the best Martin/ the show can come up with is a Dany superfan’s wish fulfillment.

      Try telling “Old Yeller” that Disney movies always end happily and give the viewers exactly what they want.

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    44. Johanna van Locchum,

      You are not the only one, I agree with you. There has been too much suffering already and by the time the great war is over there will be more devastation. I do wonder if the ‘breaking the wheel’ part will be that ‘love is NOT the death of duty’. That has also been a constant theme throughout the series but maybe Dany and Jon will be the exception to that rule of thinking. They’ll have a heck of a mess to rebuild so it won’t be all sunshine and roses so there is more bittersweet. I’m just speculating of course, I have no idea how it will end and it’s fun to ponder different scenarios.

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    45. Mr Derp,

      I hated those movies where the animal always dies. From my standpoint, seeing my favorite character dead while my least favorite character gets her heart’s desire is even worse than that. If they are going to kill Jon, the]writers can at least kill Daenerys as well for balance. Oh and please make the baby a red herring. I’m tired of Dany getting everything she wants without a scratch on her.

      For a Stark/ North fan a Targaryen restoration is the worst ending. So I guess Old Yeller is an apt comparison.

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    46. got_tv_fan:

      From my standpoint, seeing my favorite character dead while my least favorite character gets her heart’s desire is even worse than that.If they are going to kill Jon, the]writers can at least kill Daenerys as well for balance.

      It’s interesting you say that, since Jon tends to get things handed to him by external forces, and Dany overcomes obstacles to get what she wants.

      This is not a slam on Jon, it’s just that he’s a different type of elemental character than Dany. In the Yin-Yang spectrum, Dany is active (fire) and Jon is passive (ice.) They still get things done, it’s just that Dany tends to do things, and Jon tends to have things happen to him.

      And I don’t think Dany ending up on the Iron Throne is her heart’s desire. It’s just what she has left to her, since something more important will be taken away. Your favorite character.

      Dany: HE WAS MY FAVORITE CHARACTER TOO!
      Jorah: Dammit.

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    47. Fun, interesting read.

      NK was trying to engage…building social skills!

      A bit more of that and I might be willing to hear him out. What brought him out after all these years? Is there something worse than him chasing him out of his home? How far south could he go before he gets no “ice magic” going on? Just puddles of water spooling wherever he walks…..

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    48. I’m firmly in the “Dany Gon Die” camp, based purely off her time in the Palace of the Undying. Leaning “The Artist Formerly Known As Jon Snow” to be the one to take the throne if it’s still around. Immediately going full-on democracy is borderline cringeworthy and reeks of bad fanfiction, but can really get behind a Westerosi Magna Carta.

      Other thoughts are gibberish until I’m done my watchthrough of the show.

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    49. Marbery Typhoon:
      I’m firmly in the “Dany Gon Die” camp, based purely off her time in the Palace of the Undying. Leaning “The Artist Formerly Known As Jon Snow” to be the one to take the throne if it’s still around. Immediately going full-on democracy is borderline cringeworthy and reeks of bad fanfiction, but can really get behind a Westerosi Magna Carta.

      Other thoughts are gibberish until I’m done my watchthrough of the show.

      Thank you for your vote of confidence in no one voting for immediate democracy in Westeros. Not even Alexander Hamilton could pull off that hat trick.

      As for Dany and the House of the Undying vision, you make a compelling case, but I think we viewers have added a layer of meaning that isn’t in the book source, which is very different.

      I’m not saying that you’re wrong, that’s a solid interpretation.

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    50. Patrick Sponaugle,

      It’s interesting you say that, since Jon tends to get things handed to him by external forces, and Dany overcomes obstacles to get what she wants.

      Dude and you are insisting you are a Jon fan? You think that he is a passive pet who gets what he wants. He died because of convictions. What did Dany do? She gets everything handed to her on a platter. Has she ever died for anything?

      This is not a slam on Jon, it’s just that he’s a different type of elemental character than Dany. In the Yin-Yang spectrum, Dany is active (fire) and Jon is passive (ice.) They still get things done, it’s just that Dany tends to do things, and Jon tends to have things happen to him.

      So Jon is a submissive toy you mean? He isn’t ready for leadership? He is a docile beta who cannot deal with it.

      Oh and Princess Snowflake isn’t fire, she gets things handed to her. She got the North handed to her by her new beta servant boy, Jon.

      And I don’t think Dany ending up on the Iron Throne is her heart’s desire. It’s just what she has left to her, since something more important will be taken away. Your favorite character.

      Yeah why is Daeneys sad about Princess Snowflake’s latest pet slave dying? Why would she care? Jon has provided her with his magic sperm for her bebe and that and being cannon fodder to the Night King is all he is good for. I’m sure that Dany will get over the man she slept with once or twice and was her docile pet and find another toy. She certainly got over Daario quickly. She can get over her current pet mistress just as quickly and find another. The thing I care least about is their “love affair” as it reduces Jon to slavery.

      But please continue to argue you are pro-Jon and pro-Stark.

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    51. got_tv_fan,

      LOL, you’re pretending I’m saying a lot of things that I’m not saying. Which is fair, you can do what you want, and be wrong.

      I do have receipts of a lot of pro-Jon writing. It’s fine if you don’t care to read them, but I’d be remiss not to include them. Here’s the first post of a series of six, but not all of my Jon stuff.

      https://patricksponaugle.com/2013/10/07/opening-arguments-in-defense-of-jon-snow/

      And for you to insist that Dany isn’t Fire in the Song of Ice and Fire equation is pretty unusual. You don’t have to be pro-Dany or anti-Dany to recognize the fire themes, as well as her action-centrism.

      https://patricksponaugle.com/2017/06/27/game-of-thrones-magic-of-ice-and-fire/

      But, I’ll be happy to supply you with ammunition to say that I’m not pro-Stark, the basis of this post…

      https://patricksponaugle.com/2016/03/22/why-are-we-rooting-for-the-starks/

      I don’t expect you to read my stuff, which is fine. But some people here might be interested in reading my old pre-Watchers on the Wall stuff.

      Regardless, the lens you are using to describe Jon and Dany’s relationship seems pretty distorted. If you like Jon so much, why are you degrading him by calling him Dany’s slave? I feel like you’re watching a different show than I am.

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    52. Patrick Sponaugle,

      I do have receipts of a lot of pro-Jon writing. It’s fine if you don’t care to read them, but I’d be remiss not to include them. Here’s the first post of a series of six, but not all of my Jon stuff.

      Sorry dude, but your last post suggests otherwise. It is very pro-Daenerys. Seriously suggesting that Jon is somehow un-active and diminished? Really?

      nd for you to insist that Dany isn’t Fire in the Song of Ice and Fire equation is pretty unusual. You don’t have to be pro-Dany or anti-Dany to recognize the fire themes, as well as her action-centrism.

      You literally think that Jon is a passive and boring servant? That is anti-Jon. Really is he is a damsel who needs to be rescued.

      But, I’ll be happy to supply you with ammunition to say that I’m not pro-Stark, the basis of this post…

      But yet you want the North and the Starks to be powerless servants to the Iron Throne again? Really?

      Regardless, the lens you are using to describe Jon and Dany’s relationship seems pretty distorted. If you like Jon so much, why are you degrading him by calling him Dany’s slave? I feel like you’re watching a different show than I am.

      Remember the part where Jon knelt? That makes him a powerless slave. Daenerys can order him to sleep with her, to obey her, and execute him if she grows tired of him. She can literally burn down the North if she grows bored with him. That is what the Jon signed up for as her servant. He has no power in that relationship as he is no longer a king.

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    53. I don’t know if Dany on the Throne would be a good ending…
      There are traces of Targ’s madness and brutality in her…

      George Martin’s words about LOTR made me think about what would happen to Westeros if Dany wins and reigns for years. I imagine it as a sort of Bananas…

      Tyrion Mellish: At last this country can finally bask in the sunshine of a true democracy. A land where no man is better than the next and there’s equal opportunity for all and respect for law and order.
      Daenerys Esposito: Right now, I am the law.

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    54. Pigeon:
      Well, I still think they’re an autonomous collective.

      Your fooling yourself. They’re living in a dictatorship! (Thank you for carrying on with the Monty Python reference I had buried in the essay.)

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    55. got_tv_fan:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Sorry dude, but your last post suggests otherwise.It is very pro-Daenerys.Seriously suggesting that Jon is somehow un-active and diminished?Really?

      You literally think that Jon is a passive and boring servant?That is anti-Jon.Really is he is a damsel who needs to be rescued.

      But yet you want the North and the Starks to be powerless servants to the Iron Throne again?Really?

      Remember the part where Jon knelt?That makes him a powerless slave.Daenerys can order him to sleep with her, to obey her, and execute him if she grows tired of him.She can literally burn down the North if she grows bored with him.That is what the Jon signed up for as her servant.He has no power in that relationship as he is no longer a king.

      Well, I literally do not think the things you are saying I literally think,

      And I’m not the one saying that Jon is a powerless slave. For a person who is so pro-Stark, it sounds like you’re talking a lot of trash about Torrhen Stark, the king who knelt.

      Regardless if I want Dany to be on the Throne, or not, between Cersei, Dany, and Jon, I say it’ll be Dany, because Cersei won’t last as a ruler, and I believe Jon won’t live. That’s pretty much it. This isn’t a vote.

      King Arthur: You don’t vote for kings!

      I don’t address who ends up on the throne if all three of those top contenders die, because I don’t think that’s an interesting discussion. Other than to say that it won’t be something other than feudalism, the default state of governance until the power at the top does something to change that, which will be largely slow and incremental (unless it’s a peasant revolt, in which case – like most peasant revolts – for a brief time in very localized areas some peasants will know no masters – until they are put down brutally and feudalism gets restored.)

      I appreciate you reading the feature and leaving feedback, but your inability to address what I’ve said as opposed to making specious claims about what I’ve said in to get some straw-man argument happening is tedious. It makes for weak arguments.

      I sympathize that Jon Snow is your favorite character, I like him quite a lot. He’s a good guy, he’s well meaning. Some might say he’s boring (you accused me of saying that, which I’ve never done – although I understand you trying to twist my words that Jon operates in the story more passively, the way the amazing Wall passively operates, as me saying that he’s boring, along with whatever all that sexual submission stuff that you brought to the thread) – but Jon’s a good guy in a story with few good guys. I understand how you might feel that me saying Jon won’t end up on the Throne is anti-Jon.

      I say Jon won’t end up on the Throne, not because I don’t want him there, but because I believe he’ll be dead. I seem to have said this several times now. It’s okay if you want him to live and rule. I don’t hold that against you. No need to take it personally.

      I suspect that you, like many folks on the Internet, can’t stand it if someone is wrong, and they must get the last word in, so you are welcome to respond and get the last word. Maybe I’ll read your amazing treatise, but maybe I won’t. But I won’t respond, because this branch of the comments has clearly run its course.

      Night King: Debate me!
      Me: No.

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    56. Thanks for another great article Patrick! I personally would like to see the Iron Throne destroyed, at least in a symbolic gesture. However, I can see season 8 having a Great Council and people voting for the next monarch (IF Jon contests and IF he survives, and of course, IF Gendry is a contender as well). Tyrion sort of foreshadowed that in his conversation with Dany regarding the succession in the event there is no heir. He brought up the Night’s Watch method and the Kings moot as well.

      Also: “Jon, having the better claim, should end up on the throne, if this was a traditional medieval fantasy. But Game of Thrones isn’t that, really.” Completely agree with this statement. If he were to end up on the throne, it would basically be Aragorn 2.0. I’m hoping he doesn’t die at the end but I feel like this has been hinted in the show, unfortunately. “I’m tired of fighting. It’s all I’ve done since I left!” He deserves some rest, dammit! lol

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    57. Ser Creighton Longbough:
      I don’t know if Dany on the Throne would be a good ending…
      There are traces of Targ’s madness and brutality in her…

      George Martin’s words about LOTR made me think about what would happen to Westeros if Dany wins and reigns for years. I imagine it as a sort of Bananas…

      Tyrion Mellish: At last this country can finally bask in the sunshine of a true democracy. A land where no man is better than the next and there’s equal opportunity for all and respect for law and order.
      Daenerys Esposito: Right now, I am the law.

      I appreciate the use of dialogue to express your point. If Dany goes Mad Queen, then that would be bad for Westeros.

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    58. Dark Sister:
      Thanks for another great article Patrick! I personally would like to see the Iron Throne destroyed, at least in a symbolic gesture. However, I can see season 8 having a Great Council and people voting for the next monarch (IF Jon contests and IF he survives, and of course, IF Gendry is a contender as well). Tyrion sort of foreshadowed that in his conversation with Dany regarding the succession in the event there is no heir. He brought up the Night’s Watch method and the Kings moot as well.

      Also: “Jon, having the better claim, should end up on the throne, if this was a traditional medieval fantasy. But Game of Thrones isn’t that, really.” Completely agree with this statement. If he were to end up on the throne, it would basically be Aragorn 2.0. I’m hoping he doesn’t die at the end but I feel like this has been hinted in the show, unfortunately. “I’m tired of fighting. It’s all I’ve done since I left!” He deserves some rest, dammit! lol

      Dark Sister, I really appreciate you bringing up Gendry (and the rest of your comment too.) Thank you for your kind words.

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    59. Great article.
      Feel like I’ve said all this before, but…I love both Jon and Daenerys (not so much the love story since I can’t really get past the incest thing and it seemed a little, Idk…obvious, cliche?) But, yeah, at least they have no clue they’re related, and it’s kinda beautiful. They’re allies and lovers and there’s no need or reason to choose between them. I truly can’t decide whether I expect one, both, or neither to die; it could ever so easily go in any of those four directions. The cast has so emphasized twists and turns and shocking unpredictability that I’m sure we’re all in for surprises regardless of which it is. Also pretty sure there’ll be no happily-ever-after ruling together and having children. Each does seem quite likely not to be there at the very end. And I care just as much, if not even more, about so many other characters that the ending’s degree of bittersweetness is far from dependent solely on their fates.

      I also wouldn’t really accuse the show of overly sanitizing anybody; I perceived the supposedly whitewashed or removed sides of characters mentioned before reading any of the books, as have my fellow viewers who didn’t read them at all.

      Dany may not be flawless or naturally brilliant at ruling, but from where I stand she’s the best choice among people who a) want the power and b) are in a strong position to seize it. I don’t see her going mad. Unlike others, she seems concerned with individual freedom and self-determination and creating the greatest good for the greatest number. Every precise detail of how exactly to do that may not be 100% ironed-out and crystal-clear, and there’s no way it can happen cleanly and easily, but you need someone to at least give reform a shot. Of course they won’t transform into a democracy overnight. But you could get a brief indication of likely movement in that direction.

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    60. got_tv_fan,

      Dany has no more “tendency to dictatorship” than any other character in the series. All of the series’ key political figures are autocrats, including (perhaps even especially) Jon.

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    61. Aszusz,

      Sure, and maybe Jon’s purpose is to father and raise a child, then die an old man.

      I don’t think Jon loves ruling, though. He walked away from Castle Black and Winterfell. He’s sort of a diplomat in that he moves around and makes alliances with people. I haven’t really seen him sit still long enough in an administrative role.

      Dany is definitely a conqueror and an enforcer, but she also stayed put and ruled in Mereen. So, I’ve seen her do both.

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    62. Patrick, thank you so, so much for yet another insightful and witty essay. I always love and appreciate your writing, and the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the comments here indicate many others do as well.

      A thought, which someone has probably already postulated in a thread I’ve never read: If a) the ending will involve the destruction of whatever force maintains the NK and his powers of wightification extant, and b) the living condition currently experienced by Jon and Beric can be best understood as a manifestation of that same force (yin and yang, for lack of a better expression)… does it not follow that the destruction of the NK and the wights will also result in the destruction of Jon, Beric, and any other resurrectees? Are the NK and the Lord of Light not, after all, the proverbial two sides of the same coin?

      And no, I don’t want Jon dead. But I’m already steeling myself for it.

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    63. Wolfish,

      This is pretty much in line with what I’m currently thinking. I believe that Jon will die when the NK dies, and somehow he’ll know it before it has to happen. He’ll go kill the NK knowing full well it’ll cause his own death. Perhaps, Arya will have to do the actual killing with her VS dagger. At least, that’s what I currently believe. I’ve got 5 months left to flip-flop if I need to before we find out for ourselves 🙂

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    64. Shelle:
      Great article.
      Feel like I’ve said all this before, but…I love both Jon and Daenerys (not so much the love story since I can’t really get past the incest thing and it seemed a little, Idk…obvious, cliche?) But, yeah, at least they have no clue they’re related, and it’s kinda beautiful. They’re allies and lovers and there’s no need or reason to choose between them.

      Thank you Shelle for this feedback, I appreciate you reading the article and responding.

      I’m glad that despite your feelings on the closeness (relative-wise) of Jon and Dany, you’re not necessarily rooting for one faction over another, or trying to push factions on them. (The story will do that for us.)

      And thank you for your use of words, the likely movement in the direction of democracy, which is probably the most we can hope for in regards to political change in the time frame the show has been given.

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    65. Sean C.:
      got_tv_fan,

      Dany has no more “tendency to dictatorship” than any other character in the series.All of the series’ key political figures are autocrats, including (perhaps even especially) Jon.

      Right on. That’s what I meant when I said Ned Stark was a strongman. The feudal structure consolidates power upwards, and that power is maintained by force, in some cases by a figurative monopoly of force.

      The people of the North are lucky that Ned Stark is a good dude (although northern traditions of honor might help influence that.)

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    66. Wolfish:
      Patrick, thank you so, so much for yet another insightful and witty essay. I always love and appreciate your writing, and the thoughtfulness and intelligence of the comments here indicate many others do as well.

      A thought, which someone has probably already postulated in a thread I’ve never read: If a) the ending will involve the destruction of whatever force maintains the NK and his powers of wightification extant, and b) the living condition currently experienced by Jon and Beric can be best understood as a manifestation of that same force (yin and yang, for lack of a better expression)… does it not follow that the destruction of the NK and the wights will also result in the destruction of Jon, Beric, and any other resurrectees? Are the NK and the Lord of Light not, after all, the proverbial two sides of the same coin?

      And no, I don’t want Jon dead. But I’m already steeling myself for it.

      Wolfish, you’re making me blush with your charitable words.

      I like what you’re saying, that the animating force behind Beric and Jon, the fire that keeps them going, is related to the frozen fire (Valyrian for dragonglass…) that animates the Others. And the snuffing out that force affects the living dead on both sides. I think that has a certain poetry, which is the best kind of explanation for magic.

      The show has some indications of that, at least in the hierarchical animation of a given White Walker and it’s subordinate wights. And anytime magic has a price, I’m interested.

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    67. got_tv_fan:
      Tyrion literally brought up the idea of reform in Season 7 and she shot him down.Unless she has a 180 degree change in Season 8, it seems unlikely.

      That was one of the most moronic speeches of Tyrion. Not because of the idea per se, but the timing was completely off.
      On one side you have the WW coming, on the other Cersei still sitting on that throne and all he can think of is who’s sitting on the IT after her? She doesn’t even control half of the Kingdoms and is nowhere near sitting on that throne. LOL
      What makes him think that the Dothraki, the Dragons etc. are even going to fight for whoever is “elected” (by who?) to rule Westeros if she dies anyway? Why would they even care?

      It was another empty rhetoric speech by Tyrion about “breaking the wheel”.

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    68. Shelle:
      Great article.
      Feel like I’ve said all this before, but…I love both Jon and Daenerys (not so much the love story since I can’t really get past the incest thing and it seemed a little, Idk…obvious, cliche?) But, yeah, at least they have no clue they’re related, and it’s kinda beautiful.

      I’ve heard the clichè word used a lot when it comes to their story. Yet people didn’t think Jon&Ygritte, or even Dany and Drogo lovestory, was clichè. I mean, if Jon&Ygritte was not a clichè (hello Shakespeare, I’m looking st you) I don’t know what is.

      The “beauty” of Jon&Dany’s relationship is not because it’s romantic, we like them, we want to see them happy etc.
      To begin with, they have both grown and have become mature and find themselves in position of power. If you think about it, this is their first “real” relationship. They are choosing each other as grown ups and not because of the circumstances or “curiosity”. But more importantly, their relationship has the potential to bring real tension and a possible clash between them.

      It’s in that sense that I see also his lineage storyline. His lineage is important not because he’s Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son and heir to the IT, therefore “cool”. Although many fans like that aspect and there is nothing wrong with that. But I don’t think that’s the most important part of this story.

      I don’t know where they will go with all that. But for me, these two things go in parallel and there are huge implications. For me, their story is the best “love” story we’ve had so far in GOT. A part from Brienne and Jaime, though that one might remain platonic, which doesn’t make it less good.

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    69. No one has an idea how this will end. That’s what makes this so fun 😉 So, let’s get on with it!
      What I simply can’t get out of my head, is that GRRM said he was inspired by the events of the very real War of the Roses in medieval England. And that civil war between the Houses Lancaster and York (yeah, the names are no coincidence) ended with the last Lancaster heir to the throne, Henry Tudor. He had a claim to the throne through his mother, but in fact he took it by force, killing the notorious Richard III. on the Battlefield, becoming Henry VII.. To prevent further fights between the houses he married Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Richard’s predecessor, Edward IV., his older brother. She was declared a bastard after Richard “found” very conveniently some proof that her parents were not legally married. Of course GRRM mixed it all up nicely, but the similarities are hard to overlook…
      So, my hopes are high, that it will end similar to this.
      But of course not without conflict…

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    70. Jay Targ,

      Yeah, say it out loud! His queen wanna talk boys and Tyrion is getting political… *ts*

      But of course this scene showed also how hard Tyrion is struggling with the new Westeros he found on his return. He is still playing the “game of thrones” as we knew it for six seasons, not realizing that Cersei changed the gameplan while he was absent. She blew it up with the sept of Baelor. Not to speak about this Nightking dude… It’s really hard to admit, but the most beloved dwarf in the world is failing. What makes it especially hard is, that he doesn’t fail, because he drank himself stupid or others are better. He is failing, because he is, who he is, a humanist with a soft spot for cripples, bastards and broken things, reasonable, logical and eager to balance things out so everyone can prosper. Unfortunately for him, there is little to balance anymore. His sister is gone beyond any reason and he Nightking just wants more meat for his army. The setting is dire for the long run he is planning for…

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    71. Neither Jon nor Dany are fit to rule a Kingdom, much less several. She is entitled, arrogant and burn-people-alive crazy. He’s rash, stupid, uncommunicative and gives entire Kingdoms away for a little nookie. She doesn’t want to ‘break the wheel’ to get rid of the feudalism/monarchy that’s wreaked havoc in the Kingdoms. She wants to be the sole ruler. Not because she thinks she would be a good ruler, she just wants it because ‘it’s hers by right’. Recipe for disaster right there. Jon can’t even bother to communicate with his subjects, leaving them in the dark for week/months as to whether he is even still alive. But who can blame him, ‘he didn’t ask to be made king’. The 2 are horrible candidates for king/queen of Westeros.

      Put Davos on the damn Throne. At least he knows his stuff. Even Tyrion would have been good, before he went downhill after leaving KL and being shackled to Dany’s story.

      And hey, maybe someone will take the Craster approach and actually attempt to bargain with the NK in order to spare their keep/castle/kingdom from being wiped out.

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    72. Alba: That was one of the most moronic speeches of Tyrion. Not because of the idea per se, but the timing was completely off.
      On one side you have the WW coming, on the other Cersei still sitting on that throne and all he can think of is who’s sitting on the IT after her? She doesn’t even control half of the Kingdoms and is nowhere near sitting on that throne. LOL
      What makes him think that the Dothraki, the Dragons etc. are even going to fight for whoever is “elected” (by who?) to rule Westeros if she dies anyway? Why would they even care?

      It was another empty rhetoric speech by Tyrion about “breaking the wheel”.

      It’s funny the original poster considered that Tyrion talking about reform, when Tyrion was talking about securing the line of succession, which is totally the status quo of how feudal lords operate.

      Alba, I don’t think Tyrion is too out of line. Before Ned Stark went to war, even though he could have used the time to get his forces moving, he married Catelyn to maintain the political alliance between Winterfell and Riverrun, but he took the appropriate amount of time to hopefully get Catelyn pregnant (a plan that worked) specifically to ensure that he had an heir. (Well, I guess Benjen could have taken over if something happened to Ned and he didn’t have a son on the way.) So it’s not unusual for Tyrion to be worried about what might happen if Daenerys was killed.

      But you are 100% right that if Dany dies, there’s not much recourse. Unless Tyrion was hoping Dany would invest him with some kind of “If I die, you’re in charge, at least until you avenge me” writ of authority. I don’t really think that was what Tyrion was thinking though.

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    73. Johanna van Locchum:
      No one has an idea how this will end. That’s what makes this so fun 😉 So, let’s get on with it!
      What I simply can’t get out of my head, is that GRRM said he was inspired by the events of the very real War of the Roses in medieval England. And that civil war between the Houses Lancaster and York (yeah, the names are no coincidence) ended with the last Lancaster heir to the throne, Henry Tudor. He had a claim to the throne through his mother, but in fact he took it by force, killing the notorious Richard III. on the Battlefield, becoming Henry VII.. To prevent further fights between the houses he married Elizabeth of York, eldest daughter of Richard’s predecessor, Edward IV., his older brother. She was declared a bastard after Richard “found” very conveniently some proof that her parents were not legally married. Of course GRRM mixed it all up nicely, but the similarities are hard to overlook…
      So, my hopes are high, that it will end similar to this.
      But of course not without conflict…

      I’m pleased you brought in the War of the Roses that GRRM has cited as an influence. Of course, George can play with things, but I think the endgame will have some kind of echoes. Which might be bad news for people who want radical change in Westeros. Because the War of the Roses did not result in England becoming The Tudor Democratic Republic.

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    74. JR,

      Thank you for the best one-paragraph takedown of our supposed heroes! Apparently some viewers have missed the rather obvious hint that an elected leader who inspires his own men to assassinate him is rather poorly suited for another leadership position. Dany is power-hungry, lightly endowed for the leadership role either intellectually or in temperament, and will suffer the fate of her father — if not her brothers.

      “Because the War of the Roses did not result in England becoming The Tudor Democratic Republic.”

      No, and fighting off one Night’s King and two Mad Queens (after Dany loses her last marble to become the final Big Bad) won’t end in a House of Commons ruling Westeros, either. My own suspicion is the Great Council, which will be called from the few remaining human survivors on Westeros, will act as some kind of governing council (rather like the Constituent Assembly during the French Revolution) whilst our surviving characters disperse.

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    75. Patrick Sponaugle: I’m pleased you brought in the War of the Roses that GRRM has cited as an influence. Of course, George can play with things, but I think the endgame will have some kind of echoes. Which might be bad news for people who want radical change in Westeros. Because the War of the Roses did not result in England becoming The Tudor Democratic Republic.

      Oh sure, more like hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society!!!

      (I’ll stop now.)

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    76. Tensor the Mage, Who Greatly Prefers Reading History To Being Caught Anywhere Near It Whilst In The Making:
      JR,

      Thank you for the best one-paragraph takedown of our supposed heroes! Apparently some viewers have missed the rather obvious hint that an elected leader who inspires his own men to assassinate him is rather poorly suited for another leadership position. Dany is power-hungry, lightly endowed for the leadership role either intellectually or in temperament, and will suffer the fate of her father — if not her brothers.

      You’re welcome. I just don’t understand why anyone would want either of these 2 to rule. Neither of them have given me any reason to believe they would be a good candidate. Why would anyone want Dany in charge when she still hasn’t said a word as to what she actually plans to do for the people? She wants the throne and break the wheel. Basically killing off all the higher houses because you need to break the spokes first before smashing the wheel. But what after that? Nothing but hot air. Same as with Slavers Bay which she left in shambles. She conquered that too without a plan as to how to politically and economically replace the previous system so life would be good for all around, rich and poor alike.

      Jon is a military man who can rally people together (no matter what stupid things he does) but that’s about it. Still haven’t seen anything from him that qualifies him to rule. He goes against his advisors who are often forced to openly engage him because he can’t even put a simple council together to discuss things before making his decisions known to the rest of the Lords. He apparently can only make good speeches to Wildlings and be tongue tied with everyone else (Olly, Night’s Watch, Northern Lords, Dany). He leaves his kingdom and promptly gets put under house arrest by a foreign conqueror because he has no clue how to play the political game (damn you Davos for not doing more). He does nothing of worth for episodes (unless long walks on the beach and staring at a girl count) until the dumbest plan that was ever hatched (wight capture) while his cousin actually does what a ruler should do, take care of the people. He can’t even be bothered to send a raven to let his people know he’s alive. And one of the few messages he sends is him telling his cousin he sold out the entire North to someone who is not even the ruler of Westeros, heck not even a ruler of any of the 7 kingdoms.

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    77. Tensor the Mage, Who Greatly Prefers Reading History To Being Caught Anywhere Near It Whilst In The Making,

      Jeor Mormont told Jon that service would help him learn to lead. Perhaps Joer died too quickly for his training of Jon to be complete.

      Jon was elected by a group of 100-200 (?) men. This is a fairly small outfit and it basically a cloistered order serving a restricted Northen area. Yet he lost his men and his life. He also has less exposure to the world outside the North than either Arya or Sansa.

      Although they are not part of the “big picture” storyline – both GreyWorm and the leader of the Dothraki have more leadership experience and expertise than Jon. Greyworm has both military duties and exposure to the political arena. Leading men into battle is a hard business.

      Jon was acclaimed as King of the North only as he was saved by the army from the Vale. His political skills are not great, without Tyrion he would not have made good progress before Daenerys decided to bed him. His communication with the North is not the best as he decided to surrender the North to get the badly needed use of her dragons.

      Jon is very brave, concerned about the well-being of others and cares about justice. He is a very good chap. He is a major hero in the story. However, I would not follow him across the street.

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    78. JR,

      Very good points!

      The relentless popularity of these two as leaders is interesting. Daeneryrs has firepower and Jon is a brave guy with the greatest knowledge of the threat (except for the wildings). They are both important to fight against the Others. That is their role.

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    79. Pigeon: Oh sure, more like hanging on to outdated imperialist dogma which perpetuates the economic and social differences in our society!!!

      (I’ll stop now.)

      But we haven’t even got around to talking about watery tarts distributing swords! The logical basis for determining supreme executive power!

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    80. A lot of the criticisms of Jon mentioned in above comments are currently valid.

      However, I find it hard to believe that Jon will end the show as some noble “dolt” (to quote Jaime Lannister), having learnt nothing and never playing the game of thrones.

      As I understand it, mutiny aside, Jon is more astute in the novels. And if the character is likely to end up in a similar position in both book and show then at some point show Jon will have to bridge that apparent gap. That is, unless Jon is simply doomed to die which I hope and believe is not the case.

      Early in Season 7 they had Jon and Sansa converse about being smarter than Robb and Ned and not emulating their stupid mistakes. A couple of episodes later, we saw Jon lamenting the fact that he had apparently made such a mistake by answering the call to Dragonstone. As the season progresses, we see him appear to further emulate their mistakes almost identically.

      So is Jon really just a mindless “dolt”, incapable of learning, incapable of lying, incapable of keeping it in his pants, bumbling from one apparent misstep to the next, capable only in swordplay?

      And this “dolt” is about to be revealed to have the strongest claim to the Iron Throne?

      I find that hard to believe, let alone stomach.

      I believe in Season 8 we will see Jon’s politicking and potentially find out that there was more cunning to his decisions in Season 7 than appeared at face value.

      Otherwise, his character will have descended into farce once and for all.

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    81. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Exactly!

      As I mentioned, his idea is good. It would be the right thing to do but the timing was completely off, and the implementation of it would be even more difficult. There aren’t many reasons to think that in the event of her dying before taking the KL, the rest of them would follow Tyrion. Maybe the Unsullied would but I can hardly see the Dothraki and the North follow him. Not to mention the lack of control they would have over the Dragons.

      Ned is a different story. The North was his home and he already was the Warden of the North. He didn’t have to secure his position before going to war in that sense. He just had to have sex with his wife before going off to war. Not a difficult thing to do. 😀

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    82. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Thanks for your article and thanks for taking the time to respond to so many comments here! I often lurk and watch the debates in the comments. There have been some great points offered up for consideration 🙂

      Re: Jon. I agree with some of the above criticisms from commenters (especially with poor communication) but I don’t think all of Jon’s choices have been entirely wrong. I agree that Jon bending the knee to Dany after she agrees to help is a head-scratcher. I think it edges toward “Why didn’t Sansa tell Jon about the Knights of the Vale” territory. I think it’s meant to create drama and conflict in Season 8.

      However, I agree with Jon’s decision to go to Dragonstone. When the North was in dire need of help and allies to defeat a legendary enemy very few have even seen (Jon being among maybe one of four living Westerosi who has even seen it, one of two who has fought it, with the rest of these witnesses and combatants being free folk), I’m not sure what else Jon could have done but go to Dragonstone. The North (and Westeros) desperately need what Dany can provide – access to dragonglass, armies, and dragonfire. The war they’re facing isn’t exactly normal situation – it’s not the War of Five Kings, it’s not a war against human foes, it’s a war against the dead (in which case, an emissary might be more appropriate). Would an emissary who has never even seen this threat firsthand, let along fought it, be able to convince Dany to help? And how would Dany receive an emissary asking for dragonglass and help in the war against the dead? If the king (and one of the few who has experience with this) himself can’t be bothered to come ask her personally for the monumental help he needs of her, why should she bother to help? This is a mythological enemy that has disappeared entirely into legend – and an emissary is coming to her with, “I’m from the North. The undead are back. The king himself has seen it. Please allow us to mine your island and please send help!” I don’t know…

      It’s totally a risk, Jon going himself, but I think it was a risk that was necessary to take if the North was going to have any chance at all. I’m not sure what else could be done. Jon would (and did) have an uphill battle of persuading Dany (as should have been anticipated) – but at least he’s a guy who’s fought it, not an emissary who’s only heard about it in stories, and he’s the guy Dany sent for. With Jon coming to see her himself, Dany can’t be insulted… but she might have took it as such if Jon sent an emissary asking her to provide all of this help to him and his people without showing up himself. And Jon needs Dany’s help if there’s going to be a North at all so I think he needs to do everything he can to get her on board.

      Nonethless!! What I think should have been done is a discussion between Jon and Sansa about arrangements in the event of Jon’s death before Jon left (ie. who Sansa should look to for information about the AoTD if Jon is killed; actions Sansa should take to help secure the North’s defense, etc.). Critics are right – Jon has zero idea of what he’s walking into by going to Dragonstone and these arrangements would be crucial if anything happened to him. However, this discussion didn’t happen.

      This is something I agree with in regard to poor communication and failure to plan thoroughly. Jon should be keeping in better touch with his people, there should have been discussions between Jon and Sansa about what to do if Jon didn’t survive. Communication has been a weak point with Jon – both in the show and in the books. He’ll explain his reasoning and he certainly has an ability to create alliances with disparate groups of people but yeah, after the initial explanation, Jon doesn’t do back-flips in trying to win people to his way of thinking.

      I have similar thoughts re:the Battle of the Bastards. This has been discussed to death but I can’t see how Jon could not try and save Rickon. Moral reasons aside, how would that look to the North? Jon and Sansa were already facing negativity when trying to rally the North to their cause, none of which is due to any fault of their own: Sansa had been married to both the Lannister and Bolton families, Jon is a bastard, while their brother Robb’s reputation as king is in the gutter. If Jon hadn’t tried to save Rickon, the trueborn son and heir of Ned Stark, would the North have rallied to House Stark in the aftermath? Or would they view Jon and Sansa with suspicion?

      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:
      As I understand it, mutiny aside, Jon is more astute in the novels. And if the character is likely to end up in a similar position in both book and show then at some point show Jon will have to bridge that apparent gap. That is, unless Jon is simply doomed to die which I hope and believe is not the case.

      Sure, but the thing is, that mutiny is the cumulative result of most of the actions Jon takes in ADWD. Jon is more astute in the books and his plans have a more intellectual approach. However, Jon loses on all fronts here – and the mutiny is the result: from his support for Stannis against the Boltons (making Bowen & co. fear relatiation from the Iron Throne), to his efforts to help and ally with the wildlings (which Bowen & co. hate – they worry it will eliminate their dwindling resources and they hate the wildlings), to the reception of that letter from Ramsay, which is a result of Jon’s actions to save Arya and now, Ramsay is issuing an ultimatum against Jon that involves the Watch. Yikes. And finally, Jon declaring he’ll face Ramsay in response. However, what else could Jon do? Let his sister be tortured and raped forever by a monster? Let the wildlings die? Abandon a girl who comes to him for help to escape forced marriage, rape, and murder by her Evil Uncle? Not try and prevent child sacrifice? Not help Stannis when Jon knows he’s facing certain doom against monsters who flay, rape, and torture? Not go and confront a monster when that monster sends him an ultimatum? Jon finds himself unable to stand by and let any of this happen. In one sense, not getting in the wars of the realm is exactly what Jon shouldn’t be doing, he knows it and he knows why, but Jon is still driven by morality, he can’t “let them die” – which compels him to do something to “set the world to rights.” And this results in Jon acting beyond the capacity of Lord Commander when he interferes in Westerosi politics by giving strategic advice to Stannis, trying to save Arya, helping Alys (and going beyond that – forming an entirely new house!!), and then declaring he will confront Ramsay once and for all with the arrival of the Pink Letter.

      As Mormont tells Jon in ACOK, “Your heart is noble, Jon, but learn a lesson here. We cannot set the world to rights. That is not our purpose. The Night’s Watch has other wars to fight.” And Jon tries, he tries to hold to this, but he can’t – and that’s his downfall.

      I know I’ve linked to these essays half a dozen times but they are excellent in breaking down Jon (and Dany and Tyrion’s) ADWD arcs and how these characters ended up where they did. Adam Feldman’s Meereenese Blot Essays are excellent and succinct analyses of these arcs.

      But yeah, thanks to having access to Jon’s thoughts via his POV, we know what he’s thinking, we know why he does the things he does, and we know he’s aware of at least some of the risk. In the show, we have no such advantage of having this access to Jon’s thoughts, of seeing him consider this, that, and the other thing. We only see the action. Yet, in both cases, Jon risks a lot in pursuit of doing the right thing and he ends up losing in the books as well.

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    83. Aw jeeze, I made some pretty bad grammatical typos in my above message which significantly changes the meaning of what I’m trying to convey:

      Paragraph 3 correction (re: going to Dragonstone): “The war they’re facing isn’t exactly normal situation – it’s not the War of the Five Kings, it’s not a war against human foes (in which case, an emissary might be more appropriate), it’s a war against the dead.”

      Paragraph 8 correction (re: time as Lord Commander): “In one sense, getting involved in the wars of the realm is exactly what Jon shouldn’t be doing, he knows it and he knows why […]”

      Sorry about that!

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    84. Mango:
      JR,

      The relentless popularity of these two as leaders is interesting. Daeneryrs has firepower and Jon is a brave guy with the greatest knowledge of the threat (except for the wildings). They are both important to fight against the Others. That is their role.

      I understand rooting for these 2 characters as heroes. The ones fated/destined to take out the army of the dead and eliminate that threat forever and save the kingdoms. But that is an entirely separate issue from being King/Queen after. IMO neither of them have shown that they are fit to rule a kingdom, much less several. I see Jon the same way as King Robert, a reluctant king who only took the throne because no one else stepped forward. And then just being the face of the operation while the council actually runs the show. Jon has no qualifications except limited military experience. Which won’t help since the goal is supposed to be to end the wars for good. Dany isn’t much better and all one has to do is to look at how she conducted herself in Slavers Bay.

      Ramsay’s 20th Good Man:

      As I understand it, mutiny aside, Jon is more astute in the novels. And if the character is likely to end up in a similar position in both book and show then at some point show Jon will have to bridge that apparent gap. That is, unless Jon is simply doomed to die which I hope and believe is not the case.

      I believe in Season 8 we will see Jon’s politicking and potentially find out that there was more cunning to his decisions in Season 7 than appeared at face value.

      If we see that in S8 it would be totally unbelievable IMO. Laughingly unbelievable. I mean, I wouldn’t put it past the current show runners/writers to do a complete 180. Lord knows they are incapable of writing characters consistently, or at all. They had 7 Seasons to write Jon closer to the book version. Even if they failed before, they could have used his rebirth to bring about that Jon. Instead they’ve made him even worse. The character keeps failing but he always fails upwards for no reason that I can see except fanservice.

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    85. When all is said and done though, I think whatever ending will not satisfy everyone. This is true for the show as well as the books, IMO.
      Not that they need to satisfy and make everybody happy, but I feel like with the ending there will be an impasse. The best way to end this story? The WW whipe everybody out. The end of Westeros civilization!

      I know GRRM said “bittersweet”. But bittersweet is not really something I see fit with the cynical and nihilistic view of what this story has been so far, despite some decent human beings in it.

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    86. Alba,

      The ending will upset a lot of people, 100% guaranteed. Look no further than the comments on WOTW for proof. I’m actually kind of looking forward to the meltdowns. It should be almost as entertaining as season 8 itself.

      Some people expect Jon and Dany to rule together or they will be upset
      Some people expect Jon and Dany to die or they will be upset
      Some people expect Jon to die or they will be upset
      Some people expect Dany to die or they will be upset
      Some people expect the WW to win or they will be upset
      Some people expect the IT to be demolished and democracy to take over or they will be upset
      Some people hate the idea of democracy coming to Westeros so soon
      Some people expect Dany to go full on mad Queen
      Some people expect Dany to win the IT
      Some people can’t stand the idea of Jon Snow ruling
      Some people can’t stand the idea of Dany ruling
      Some people can’t stand the idea of Dany having a baby
      Some people will lose their shit if Arya dies because…ASNAWP
      …and on and on it goes.

      At this rate, I assume at least 50% of the people watching the finale will find disappointment in it.

      Personally, I’m just going to assume everyone will die and I have no particular set of expectations on how it will play out, so I’ll just let D&D tell their story and then let my feelings be known after it all plays out.

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    87. JR,

      Well, it’s already laughably unbelievable to me that the character:

      1. Couldn’t lie to Cersei, even with the fate of Westeros at stake. He was happy to lie to Mance Rayder to protect the Seven Kingdoms, but suddenly he’s too honourable?
      2. Bent the knee when he didn’t have to, despite his bannermen having made their feelings on that matter quite clear.
      3. Simply couldn’t resist getting romantically involved with the “foreign w…e” he just unnecessarily bent the knee to.

      Not to mention:

      1. Neglected his kingdom for months.
      2. Almost got himself killed for a truce that he then sabotaged and which will soon be revealed to be false.
      3. Allowed the Night King to get his hands on a dragon, which brought down The Wall.

      I mean, if they don’t do something to rectify all that mess, then the character is irreparably tarnished.

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    88. Mr Derp:
      Alba,

      The ending will upset a lot of people, 100% guaranteed.Look no further than the comments on WOTW for proof.I’m actually kind of looking forward to the meltdowns.It should be almost as entertaining as season 8 itself.

      Ahahahahah tis true. LMAO!

      Some people will lose their shit if Arya dies because…ASNAWP
      …and on and on it goes.

      What’s ASNAWP? lol
      Speaking about Arya, she is my favorite but I see her endstory in two ways: either she dies, or she goes off to explore what’s beyond West Westeros. If the Hound goes with her, even better. 😉

      Personally, I’m just going to assume everyone will die and I have no particular set of expectations on how it will play out, so I’ll just let D&D tell their story and then let my feelings be known after it all plays out.

      Ditto! I absolutely adore Jon, but I don’t really care if he rules or not. In the end, my only desire is they make justice to these characters and are coherent with their journey so far.

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    89. Well, I actually see some reasons for both of them. Although I have to admit, that it’d be best if they do it together, because one has characteristics the other one lacks an vice versa.
      Dany is the only leader in this story who actually considers taking the well-being of the people in consideration. She takes responsibility for those who stay with her. And she is not only adapting to what is thrown upon her, which means she is able to learn. She is also willing to change her course due to what she learned. It’s a scene not wildly talked about, but I found it quite revealing for Dany’s character. When she resides in Mereen and is willing to learn how to be a queen (something I can’t remember, say, Joffrey even took in consideration), there’s this former slave coming to her, bidding her to be sold back into slavery because her new world doesn’t bode him well. Instead of going “You can live in my new world or die in your old”, she grants his wish, and at the same time she makes sure, that if he changes his mind, there is a chance for him, to do so. Bad ruling looks different for me. She is not only asking for advice, she is virtually seeking it and willing to listen to it. She knows she lacks of a greater “game plan” so to speak. That’s what she hires Tyrion for. Unfortunately for him, the game plan he knew, was blown up with the sept of Baelor…

      She is killing off all the higher houses??? Have I seen a different series? I thought that these higher houses managed to do this on their own pretty well. Besides the Starks and the Lannisters they were already gone BEFORE she returned to Westeros. Which makes this “break the wheel”-speach quite redundant anyway. Something they learned when she finally reached Westeros and met up with a certain KITN…

      Yes, Jon is a military man who can “rally people together”. Sounds quite plain when you say it like that, but I think this is actually an important characteristic for a leader. If you are not able to mobilize your people, to inspire them, to rally them together, you are basically fu***. Because if you can’t achieve that, your political plan can be brilliant as hell, nobody would care. And let’s not forget how Jon achieves that. Not by pretty words, but by example. An even rarer characteristic. There is much talk about how Jon is not very political cunning, and that might be true for as he is not willing to mince his words. He is telling like it is. Honest and straight forward. Very strange in this world (and in ours!), and not easy to digest, so of course he has difficulties. But I would say: Just give it time. Will be interesting to see, what the view of an undead dragon, spitting blue flames, can do to your assumptions…
      I also have my difficulties to agree to the “not able to play the political game”. Jon knows exactly how this game is played, he’s just not that interested. There are more important things on his mind. I loved these scenes with Sansa in the beginning of season 7. She is so convinced that he doesn’t have a clue, that he actually outsmarted her. By giving her what she wanted – the rule over the north – he got what he wanted from the start: going to Dragonstone and ask Dany for her help and her dragons. And he is actually one of the few characters, if not the only one, who was able to withstand the whisperings of Littlefinger, to not get involved in the manipulations of this creep. Alone for that he has my highest respect! So, add determination and intelligence to his characteristics…
      So, yeah, I think Westeros would be very well off with these two in the lead…

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    90. Ned is a different story. The North was his home and he already was the Warden of the North. He didn’t have to secure his position before going to war in that sense. He just had to have sex with his wife before going off to war. Not a difficult thing to do. 😀

      Littlefinger found it difficult, thanks to Brandon Stark.

      Okay, I can’t believe I brought Littlefinger into the thread.

      And you are correct, of course with your comment about Tyrion and his concerns on succession.

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    91. Adrianacandle:

      Thanks for your article and thanks for taking the time to respond to so many comments here! I often lurk and watch the debates in the comments.

      Thank you! And that was an impressive comment. I see you posted a follow up to correct typos or grammars (which makes you a very exceptional person.) Let me read up and respond.

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    92. Adrianacandle:

      Wow, there’s so much here.

      I agree that Jon, a king, going to treat with Daenerys, a queen, seems appropriate. (Maybe you didn’t say it that way, but I wanted to agree that I don’t think it’s a big deal that Jon went to see Dany. And I think there’s some proper parity in negotiation that would be slowed down by sending a representative.

      Northern Diplomat: Uh, our king saw some boogens.
      Daenerys: That’s it?
      Northern Diplomat: He seems pretty sure of it.

      I also don’t fault Jon for bad leadership in getting himself killed. By most accounts, Julius Caesar was a great leader (if we overlook his human rights record, which isn’t good, just ask the Gauls) but he was assassinated for political reasons. Caesar’s rival Pompey was by most accounts a great leader, but not as good as Julius militarily, and he was assassinated because the Egyptians didn’t want to shelter him and risk Caesar’s wrath.

      Jon Snow wasn’t a bad leader to the Night’s Watch, he was killed by someone who carried a personal grudge, and was a political liability. Thorne didn’t want the wildlings through, but he let them through because Stannis supported Jon. It wouldn’t work out for Thorne if Stannis got word that Thorne mutinied and denied Jon re-entry with the wildlings (wildlings that Stannis went on record of not caring what Jon decided in regards to the Free Folk – because Stannis was keeping them in mind as possible auxiliaries if need be.) When Thorne got word that Stannis was dead (the timing of the battle outside Winterfell and Thorne’s coup seems to suggest that he got word) Ser Alliser knew he could act on his grudge, could blame Jon because of Jon’s pro-wildling policy, and would sidestep any problems with the Boltons on account of Jon hosting Stannis briefly (not that the Watch had a choice, but Thorne couldn’t take any chances.)

      Jon was in a pretty hard spot.

      There’s a lot of talk above about Jon and his spotty communication skills, and that’s all fair. I don’t want to bounce around and address them all. While I’m here, I think it’s important that personal style and being a skilled communicator might not have the weight that we’re assigning.

      Feudalism ensured that power tended to be passed on to the next leader via heredity, and not to the child with the most smarts or charisma.

      Renly: Tell me about it.
      Stannis: Please shut up.

      There’s going to be exceptions that break that rule, the kingsmoot is a good example. But in general, the feudal peasant wouldn’t care about Jon’s ability to inspire in the abstract, because he took his orders from his lord. The lords might want someone with charisma, because who wants to serve a dullard, but in general there are higher priority attributes, like a solid claim. Because there isn’t mass media like television in Westeros, there’s only so much a lord can do to sway people with their personality.

      Anyway, the fact that a bunch of lords declared Jon King in the North is probably sufficient for the North’s needs at the moment.

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    93. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Oh god, yeah, I’m sorry for writing so much. Brevity is a talent and skill I really need to get down. I agree with your article! Much of my response was based on responding to what I was seeing discussed in the comments. Thank you for reading it all! And for responding!

      I agree with all of your points in your response and I’ll try to keep this short as I can! Jon was in a hard spot there. Looking back, I don’t think there were any great options (or clear good options) for Jon. I think he was risking a great deal in whatever he chose and was trying to do the most good for as many people as he could. Unfortunately, things got messy fast, just as you described. While I think Jon has necessary attributes for leading in these extraordinary, supernatural times (can see the bigger picture, the need for alliances and unifying against a common foe), I’m not sure what Jon would look like as a leader in peacetime since much of his leadership on-screen (or on-page) has had to deal with responding to crises and urgent situations, usually within the context of an extraordinary threat where time is of the essence. But… I admit that last part isn’t so important to me – Jon (or anyone else) on the throne wouldn’t make or break the story for me. I’m more nevous about what happens to the character and other characters – oh god my anxiety!!

      And I can’t argue with anything else you’ve said, I agree! Yes, as you said, the Northern lords themselves chose Jon, which I agree does seem sufficient at the moment. I think at least some of the reason for this is because the current situation is impacted by aforementioned extraordinary times – they’re not just facing a war from the south with human enemies, but they’re facing an undead apocalypse they’ve only heard about in myth and, aside from the wildlings, like five people in Westeros (including Jon) have direct experience with it.

      Also, I really enjoy your dialogue snippets XD

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    94. Adrianacandle:

      Oh god, yeah, I’m sorry for writing so much. Brevity is a talent and skill I really need to get down. I agree with your article! Much of my response was based on responding to what I was seeing discussed in the comments. Thank you for reading it all! And for responding!

      {snip}

      Also, I really enjoy your dialogue snippets XD

      Thank you so much! And your long comments were great! Thank you for that engagement.

      I sympathize with your anxiety about the characters’ emotional fates, which is what we’re going to sync up with the most in these final episodes, as they face the consequences of their actions, experience loss, joy, frustration. Watching Game of Thrones is not a low activity pasttime, emotionally speaking.

      I’m very pleased with all the discussion in these comment threads, it made hammering out all these words on a lightweight faux PoliSci article worth it.

      I’m starting to work on a feature for December, hope to see everyone there too!

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    95. Cheers, Patrick. 🙂

      Alba: I’ve heard the clichè word used a lot when it comes to their story.

      I think the “cliche” part just comes from them being “the main hero” and “main heroine” of the story—and therefore of course having to fall in love when they inevitably meet, pleasing all the viewers who want to see those two get it on. ;p I do think it played out pretty well, represented development for both, set up good conflict potential, etc. I didn’t end up too disappointed by that or anything else is S7. (Unlike when everyone had already figured out well ahead of time that Lily Potter was Snape’s great love, and I felt so let-down and bored by it. xD At least in this case the R+L=J secret being known ahead of time didn’t diminish the moment of the reveal when it finally arrived, and the payoff should be interesting, however it goes.)

      I’m not a huge shipper with regard to this show, but I like a lot of the main ones (Sam/Gilly, Jon/Ygritte, Jaime/Brienne, possibly Brienne/Tormund even though it’s currently one-sided, Dany/Drogo even through he’s dead, Grey Worm/Missandei…and if I were Dany Jorah wouldn’t be friendzoned, lol, but that’s just me…)

      I couldn’t have agreed less with JR re: Dany.
      And tbh, does anybody who legitimately wants to be a good ruler and make things the best they can be for everybody have a very specific plan? Even in our world? Davos or anyone else who could potentially-but-unlikely end up on the throne would have no more of a “plan” than Dany has. Any of the decent candidates would necessarily have to take things one matter at a time and make decisions based on how well they solve people’s problems and align with their shared better-world vision.

      As to Jon…maybe he’s pulled some bonehead moves (who hasn’t >p<), but he’s a good egg and a stand-up guy with noble intentions. He strives for honesty and to do the right thing.

      Agreed with Johanna. ^^

      Neither one’s the most perfect leader, but they do at least kind of complement each other. And they've made it this far. x-p

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    96. Thank You very much, Patrick and also Adriana – I enjoyed reading Your very interesting discussion very much, not least, because You’re not as emotional as some are. And You made so many points, that I can fully agree with.
      :o)

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    97. Shelle:
      Cheers, Patrick.
      I think the “cliche” part just comes from them being “the main hero” and “main heroine” of the story—and therefore of course having to fall in love when they inevitably meet, pleasing all the viewers who want to see those two get it on. ;p

      Sure they are the “main hero&heroine”, but their personal relationship is not made just for the sake of viewers who ship them. This is not roses and daises love story. As you said, it plays out very well because it has many components in it, regardless of how it ends. Though I’m almost 100% sure, this an’t going to have a happy ending.
      So, why try to “separate” them just because it sounds clichè, therefore it’s not “cool”? That sounds to me very contrived and pretentious. It’s kinda like some people who do things just for the sake of looking “different” in the eyes of the outside world, not because of who they truly are.

      I’m the least “romantic” gal you’ll ever know. 😛 😀 Give me a war movie and I’ll cry my heart out. Notebook doesn’t do it for me. lol
      But I am really curious and cannot wait to see how their story unfolds. Mainly because personal feelings are involved and intertwined with bigger issues. But if not for those personal connections, I would care far less for any friction, tension or clash that might come between them. To put it simply, if the characters do not care about each other, why would I?!

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    98. Adrianacandle:
      Patrick Sponaugle,
      But… I admit that last part isn’t so important to me – Jon (or anyone else) on the throne wouldn’t make or break the story for me. I’m more nevous about what happens to the character and other characters – oh god my anxiety!!

      This! I never really cared so much about who’s going to rule, who’s going to die or survive in the end. Somebody will, bad or good choices the story is ending. What I truly care about are the characters and purpose. Their internal motivations.

      I was reading a blog about “what makes an ending in a story”, and made me think about the ending in GoT, and what I truly care about.

      In the moment when the characters face their “ultimate final defeat”, they become aware of a “fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief” (Tolkien). According to Tolkien, it is only with imminent defeat, the moment of eucatastrophe, that the characters within the story become aware of the true meaning of life, the appreciation of life and this world. To recognize the joy behind things one must acknowledge that there is an intended joy. Tolkien says that “we ask HOW, perceive patterns and ask WHY, and this implies reasons and motives and a MIND. Only a Mind can have purpose”. If one sees some “Joy” behind the world, they have to recognize there was an intended joy. The ending, the consolation of the story, puts the characters in a position where they simultaneously face their own mortality and recognize that there exists a mind much greater than their own. It would require an answer to the question “Why survive? Why should we fight to live?”, questions that can only be answered in a moment of consolation, when the darkness is at the height of its power.

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    99. Johanna van Locchum:
      She is killing off all the higher houses??? Have I seen a different series? I thought that these higher houses managed to do this on their own pretty well. Besides the Starks and the Lannisters they were already gone BEFORE she returned to Westeros. Which makes this “break the wheel”-speach quite redundant anyway. Something they learned when she finally reached Westeros and met up with a certain KITN…

      That’s what ‘breaking the wheel’ means. You have to break the spokes first. The houses she mentioned (although there are more) are the spokes. Break the spokes, the wheel cracks and stops spinning. Which at the very least means taking any and all power away from said houses (which she has no right to do except she feels entitled to it). Or at worst eradicating said houses which means killing. The latter option is the only safe way for her to ensure there will be no power uprising in the future to throw her off the throne.

      I also have my difficulties to agree to the “not able to play the political game”. Jon knows exactly how this game is played, he’s just not that interested. There are more important things on his mind. I loved these scenes with Sansa in the beginning of season 7. She is so convinced that he doesn’t have a clue, that he actually outsmarted her. By giving her what she wanted – the rule over the north – he got what he wanted from the start: going to Dragonstone and ask Dany for her help and her dragons

      Even if he doesn’t care about the political game, it still needs to be played sometimes. Like when dealing with someone like Cersei. And I must have missed that Season 7 began with Jon wanting to go to Dragonstone and Dany. None of that came from him, it was handed to him. He wouldn’t have even known about Dragonstone if it wasn’t for Sam sending him a message. And he wouldn’t have known about Dany being in Westeros if it wasn’t for Tyrion sending a message. Funny how team Dany knew about Jon being KitN and sending for him as soon as they landed but Jon knew nothing about them. And last I checked, Sansa wasn’t the ruler of the North (and judging by the surprised look on her face it’s not something she secretly was yearning for no matter how much fans think she is power hungry). Jon was the ruler of the North, Sansa at most was his regent. Technically speaking she has no authority unless she gets the ok from Jon for any major decisions. Except she might have to actually rule since the KitN goes radio silent for weeks/months. So it’s not like she has another choice there.

      And he is actually one of the few characters, if not the only one, who was able to withstand the whisperings of Littlefinger, to not get involved in the manipulations of this creep. Alone for that he has my highest respect!

      Oh come on. He has ONE conversation with LF in the whole 7 Seasons, in a Season no less where LF was written the worst he ever was and you credit him for not falling for LF’s schemes? That makes no sense. And lets not forget that in said ONE conversation, LF managed to completely push Jon’s buttons. Jon wouldn’t stand a chance against ‘real’ LF because LF doesn’t ever need to whisper directly in your ear in order to screw you over. He manipulates others to do it, that’s how he rolls. And for that Jon is not equipped at all.

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    100. I’m having trouble keeping up with all the articles this past week but this is an excellent and really interesting piece! Like you I don’t see the show ending with the defeat of the Nights King – I’d guess that will be episode 5 at the latest and Cersei possibly in the finale. I also don’t see any scenario where Nights King or even Cersei win and hold all power. Dany holding power I also feel is very unlikely (but not impossible at this point).

      My probably ending involves Jon leading (because why have the secret heritage if not) however Jon then stepping down and setting up some ruling group with Sansa (presumably as Lady of the North), Gendry (leading Storms end), Sam (looking after the Reach and maybe even Westerlands) and say Davos or Tyrion could also work. With then Jon leaving to get what he wants. It’s not my preferred ending but I do think it could happen. This way we could see the group planning to tackle how to rebuild Westeros in a stable way.

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    101. “Sansa isn’t power hungry.” Yeah right. lol

      Whover thinks that, is doing a grave disservice to her character. If anything, the weakness of Sansa’s character in the last season was not fully exploring that side, which was heavily teased but they didn’t have the guts to really go there. The “surprise” look in her face was not because she doesn’t want to be in charge. She just didn’t expected it because that’s not how Sansa rolls. She would not do the same, if the places were reversed. She has had as “teachers” some of the worse people in Westeros, contrary to Jon. Her looking immediately to her “master” says a lot. LF got in her head all this time because he was speaking to her “hidden” desires. He knew what button to push with her as well. She was far from being immune to his manipulations. The opposite in fact.

      No matter what she says about Jon, she doesn’t truly sees him as a true “Stark”. She wants to but is not really heartfelt and with convinction. What Arya said to her; “You are thinking it right now. You don’t want to, but the thought just won’t go away” is 100% true.

      It’s not necessarily a bad thing to want the power. She is after all the trueborn child of Ned Stark, and it is her right. So, don’t try to sugarcoat it and present her like some innocent, pure, no ambitions whatsoever Ladylike.

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    102. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Patrick — thanks for this analysis, and you make a number of great points, including the possibility that Jon will follow his sacrificial arc to its logical conclusion (although personally I think it is more likely that the NK’s end will be somehow linked to Bran’s death). However, looking at LoTR as a guidepost, I think it is possible to have a bittersweet ending that has Jon and Danerys sharing the IT (or whatever the new royal line will sit on). In this scenario, the two will be left with a wrecked Westeros, having to live with decisions they will have made (which will have led to terrible if unintended outcomes (see dead Viserion)) and a sadly depleted set of advisors and allies, with Drogon and Rhaegar dead at the hands of the NK and his minions. And after all the suffering and destruction, the two will be even more committed to making sure that they work together to build towards a future that is better for the common people than the world they have experienced.

      Mr Derp,

      I totally agree that the fandom will be hopelessly divided on the ending; I am sure there are even more permutations we could up with that some people are desperate to see.

      For my part, I am among those that is prepared to accept any ending that comes at the end of a season 8 that is told well and hangs together (altho that may be low bar for me as I was willing to suspend disbelief on some of the plot decisions in Season 7 that drove others insane).

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    103. Alba,

      I am a big Sansa fan and (despite my last post) will be disappointed if she doesn’t make it until the end.

      I do think Sansa wants power. First, she thinks she is better than Jon at wielding it. Second, she believes that the only way she can truly be safe is if she controls her own destiny. With Jon in command, she is still not fully in control, and I think that this chafes at her, and will be part of the conflict that will have to resolved in Season 8. per your earlier post, I do wonder whether she will be among the characters that, having faced annihilation at the hands of the NK and the AotD, will be changed and will be able to move on to a resolution of their inner conflicts.

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    104. Wolfish: A thought, which someone has probably already postulated in a thread I’ve never read: If a) the ending will involve the destruction of whatever force maintains the NK and his powers of wightification extant, and b) the living condition currently experienced by Jon and Beric can be best understood as a manifestation of that same force (yin and yang, for lack of a better expression)… does it not follow that the destruction of the NK and the wights will also

      I think this is in an interesting theory and one which could very well be correct but given what we know about S8 (albeit very little) it doesn’t seem likely in my opinion. Minor pretty well known spoilers

      The battle at Winterfell will happen in Episode 3 and 4, whilst we know Jon makes it back to Kings Landing after that as he filmed a scene with Cersei

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    105. Jon Snowed,

      The NK could make it out of the Battle of Winterfell and reach KL. Remember the image of a dragon flying over KL? Of course, it could be Dany, but I doubt that the entire AOTD will be gone by the end of episode 3. The NK could very easily make it past episode 3, imo.

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    106. “That’s what ‘breaking the wheel’ means. You have to break the spokes first. The houses she mentioned (although there are more) are the spokes. Break the spokes, the wheel cracks and stops spinning. Which at the very least means taking any and all power away from said houses (which she has no right to do except she feels entitled to it). Or at worst eradicating said houses which means killing. The latter option is the only safe way for her to ensure there will be no power uprising in the future to throw her off the throne.”

      Sorry, English is not my first language, so I might have some difficulties from time to time to understand the nuances. I am very well aware, what “breaking the wheel” implies and I am very well aware what she intents to do to these “spokes” of said wheel. That was never the question. What I meant was, that there is no wheel left for Daenerys to break anyway. The power houses she named were already dead and gone in the war of the five kings or killed off by Cersei. Even if she wanted to do something drastically to these houses, she never had the chance. That’s what I meant when I wrote the social structure of Westeros already changed completely and this intention “to break the wheel” went pretty fast out of the window after she arrived. And I might add, that she didn’t kill off ANY of the houses. The Starks were destroyed by the Lannisters and their allies, as were the Baratheons. The Tyrells and Martells were wiped out by Cersei, the Arryns more or less by Littlefinger (although there is still an Arryn in the Vale, even if he is useless), the Freys by Arya, the Boltons by Sansa and Jon. So, all this talk about breaking the wheel is useless. There is simply no wheel left. Anybody who will win the Iron Throne or the power in Westeros will have to clean up that shit as well…

      “Even if he doesn’t care about the political game, it still needs to be played sometimes. Like when dealing with someone like Cersei. And I must have missed that Season 7 began with Jon wanting to go to Dragonstone and Dany. None of that came from him, it was handed to him. He wouldn’t have even known about Dragonstone if it wasn’t for Sam sending him a message. And he wouldn’t have known about Dany being in Westeros if it wasn’t for Tyrion sending a message. Funny how team Dany knew about Jon being KitN and sending for him as soon as they landed but Jon knew nothing about them. And last I checked, Sansa wasn’t the ruler of the North (and judging by the surprised look on her face it’s not something she secretly was yearning for no matter how much fans think she is power hungry). Jon was the ruler of the North, Sansa at most was his regent. Technically speaking she has no authority unless she gets the ok from Jon for any major decisions. Except she might have to actually rule since the KitN goes radio silent for weeks/months. So it’s not like she has another choice there.”

      Uhm, yes, if you want to see it that way, it was kind of handed to him. As I see it, of course he first had to know, that Daenerys Targaryen came back to Westeros with three dragons. As he did in the second episode, when Tyrion’s letter arrived. Which he had written, because MELISANDRE (of all people) arrived at Dragonstone to tell Dany she should summon Jon Snow, the King in the North. And Tyrion was like: Wait, what? Jon Snow is now the King in the North. Wow. So, as I see it, it was not funny at all how team Dany knew about Jon being KITN.
      After the letter arrived Jon asked Sansa and Davos for advice what to do with these news. They were standing on the balcony in Winterfell while boys and girls learned how to shoot arrows in the yard. Sansa pointed out that Tyrion is not like all the other Lannisters, but said, this is a trap. As said Davos. Both agreed, that it’s not a good idea to go to Dragonstone. Although Davos pointed out, that Jon told him, that fire kills the wights and what breathes fire. Yep. Dragons.
      I found it was wonderfully played by Kit Harington, that Jon had this idea or wish to meet her and ask for her dragons with how he delivered this “And?” and was then very disappointed, that both his advisors thought otherwise. But, hey, maybe that was just me.
      And I also found it wonderful how he kind of tricked Sansa later on, after Sams letter arrived, informing Jon that there is a huge amount of dragonglass on Dragonstone (also episode 2). It was wonderfully played by Sophie Turner and Kit Harington. She trying not to undermine him again, he trying to convince her, that this is the only option they have. And of course she was surprised, when he told everyone of his plans, because that was exactly the opposite of what they had agreed on when Daenerys’ letter arrived. But the dialogue which followed was just awesome! It was so clear, that she was not only telling him: “You are abandoning your home, you are abandoning your people” but also implied unsaid: You are abandoning me.
      “I’m leaving both in good hands.”
      “Whose?” (Oh, Sansa, a little bit more trust in your brother would be good!)
      “Yours.”
      He outplayed her pretty good, I’d say. And he is leaving her the North. “You are my sister. You are the only Stark left in Winterfell. As long I’m gone: THE NORTH IS YOURS.” The surprised look was her reaction to that Jon was willing to do that, after they squabbled when Cersei’s letter arrived and he accused her of undermining him, and the concerned look on her face in LF’s direction was of course because she knew that he would use that to play his own games. Which leads me to this wonderful scene in the Winterfell crypts.

      “Oh come on. He has ONE conversation with LF in the whole 7 Seasons, in a Season no less where LF was written the worst he ever was and you credit him for not falling for LF’s schemes? That makes no sense. And lets not forget that in said ONE conversation, LF managed to completely push Jon’s buttons. Jon wouldn’t stand a chance against ‘real’ LF because LF doesn’t ever need to whisper directly in your ear in order to screw you over. He manipulates others to do it, that’s how he rolls. And for that Jon is not equipped at all.”

      First of all: I don’t think that LF was written the worst he ever was. As I saw it, for the first time in this series, he was out of his “comfort zone”, so to speak (similar to Tyrion and Varys, the other masterplayers in this game; or as Dany put it so neatly: Enough with the clever plans). You are right. LF doesn’t ever need to whisper in the ears in order to screw them over. He manipulates others to do it. But how was Littlefinger able to do that? Mainly by getting or promising people what they want, by fulfilling their wishes and desires, as dark as they may come and afterwards getting his reward for that or being able to blackmail them. As I see it, that was what he talked about with Ros in this “sex-position”-scene in season 1 everybody talked about in length. And we saw that a couple of times on the show. Lysa wanted him, so he put the thought in her mind, that this is possible if she gets rid of her husband. Catelyn wanted to know, who tried to kill Bran, so he provided the owner of the dagger. The Boltons wanted to rule the north, so he provided them a Stark bride. But of course this strategy only works, IF the people tell him what they want. The first who doesn’t apply to this anymore is of course Sansa. “What do you want?” he asks her when she stands on that balcony and all she replies: “Peace and quiet.” So he gives her that – for the moment. Later on, when Arya returns, of course the game is on again. And he is trying to do the same with Jon. But Jon doesn’t provide him any answer. Quite the opposite. He is doing the only thing you can if you deal with LF: He doesn’t say anything. Therefore LF has nothing he can pry on or work with.
      But he has to do something before Jon sails to Dragonstone. a) He doesn’t know Daenerys Targaryen, had no contact to her group whatsoever, so he has to make a move before this new player arrives on the game plan. And I think Aidan Gillen played his annoyance so wonderfully when he heard the news, that there is a Targaryen coming back to Westeros. and b): Obviously Tyrion Lannister is her hand, and who knows, what he might be telling Jon about Littlefinger if the two chat… So, when Jon doesn’t give him something he can work with his only option is to fall back on the old “you owe me”-line. Something Jon sees completely different after what Sansa told him, and it’s a sore point anyway, because his sister didn’t tell him about the knights of the vale.
      And then LF makes his biggest mistake: He is mentioning Jon’s sister. I’m not so sure, what his intention was with this move. If he wanted to check out if Jon would be content if he courts her or if this was meant as a threat, but as we all could see, Jon has absolutely no sense of humor when it comes to his family. And with a serious death threat he leaves for Dragonstone. Unharmed by LF’s attempts to manipulate him, unaffected by his schemes. I think there are very few people in Westeros who can say that about themselves, so, yes, I stick to my point.

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    107. Alba:
      “Sansa isn’t power hungry.” Yeah right. lol

      Whover thinks that, is doing a grave disservice to her character. If anything, the weakness of Sansa’s character in the last season was not fully exploring that side, which was heavily teased but they didn’t have the guts to really go there. The “surprise” look in her face was not because she doesn’t want to be in charge. She just didn’t expected it because that’s not how Sansa rolls. She would not do the same, if the places were reversed. She has had as “teachers” some of the worse people in Westeros, contrary to Jon. Her looking immediately to her “master” says a lot. LF got in her head all this time because he was speaking to her “hidden” desires. He knew what button to push with her as well. She was far from being immune to his manipulations. The opposite in fact.

      No matter what she says about Jon, she doesn’t truly sees him as a true “Stark”. She wants to but is not really heartfelt and with convinction. What Arya said to her; “You are thinking it right now. You don’t want to, but the thought just won’t go away” is 100% true.

      It’s not necessarily a bad thing to want the power. She is after all the trueborn child of Ned Stark, and it is her right. So, don’t try to sugarcoat it and present her like some innocent, pure, no ambitions whatsoever Ladylike.

      Have you been abused before? Raped? Kept locked away in a tower? Been robbed of your agency for years? Just wondering…

      Sansa started the show wanting to be the wife of a Lord/King. That was her dream. She would run the household and bring up the kids, to a certain degree. There isn’t much power in that. None in fact. And she wasn’t after any. So why would she want power now? What changed? Being abused and used for years is what changed. Resenting what she used to be and wishing to be home again and safe is what changed. Seeking power for her is a simple measure of being SAFE. She’s not seeking power for the sake of seeking power as far as I saw on my screen. She’s seeking power because it’s the only way she can be assured she is safe.

      It’s so simple for me that I’m in fact often baffled at what people supposedly see on screen. Maybe people need to listen/read less about the nonsense sprouted by the actors, writers and showrunners and actually pay attention to the only thing that matters…the canon of the show. Only what’s on screen matters, nothing else. For two Seasons people have been constantly talking about ‘Sansa will betray Jon’ because of what was said outside the show, to the point that it colored their view for everything she said/did. And it never happened. Sansa didn’t betray Jon. In fact Jon betrayed her and the entire North by signing their freedom away just to get into a girls pants.

      And I can’t believe I just defended Sansa whom I don’t even care that much about.

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    108. JR,

      As to Sansa not really seeing Jon as a Stark. Where is the evidence for that? She declared him one. I saw nothing on my screen that said otherwise when she said ‘you are to me’. That Jon continues to say ‘I’m not a Stark’ after that, well that’s on him and not her. If he doesn’t want to be a Stark, so be it. If he’s still insecure about it, that’s not her responsibility. He’s a grown man.

      And using Arya as ‘evidence’, an unreliable narrator, doesn’t work. This is the same girl with faulty memory (how she describes Sansa during Ned’s execution), who doesn’t get that the letter was written under duress (Cat, Robb, Maester Luwin got it right away) and who was hypocritical to boot (forgetting her stint as Tywin’s cupbearer which gave her every chance to prevent the Red Wedding by killing Tywin herself or use one of her free 3 kills). You have to do better than that, preferably evidence that comes directly from Sansa and not someone else.

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    109. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Thanks! And to you as well, cos alpha! I’ve enjoyed the discussion here too and I’ll be looking forward to the discussion on the upcoming December article!

      But oh yeah, you are right, Patrick – watching Game of Thrones is not a low anxiety pasttime emotionally speaking. I remember when I was beginning to watch the show, I was doing my internship in a completely new country and coming back to watch it at my best friend’s place, where I was staying. That was when I started reading the books too and I remember somebody on Facebook warning me, “Don’t get invested! Or it’s going to hurt!” And I was like, cool, whatever, okay, I won’t! (Pfft!!) And then I got invested! Really really badly! And then I followed the show no matter where I was in the world! And now I’m wishing I wasn’t so invested because that person was right and I’m really nervous for these characters! And now it’s the end and it just feels so weird! But I think final seasons often have that kind of weird feeling about them because it is the end and whatever happens, that’s it. That’s how this show ends.

      Alba,

      Oh yes, I completely agree! I know it’s guaranteed that there will be characters I love who will die. Whatever happens with the throne, I don’t care, but I’m completely concerned with how the ending fits each character who we’ve seen on screen over the course of these past seven, eight years. Honestly, I’m not sure what a “fitting end” looks like, or if it’ll happen, but it’s what I ultimately hoping for, even if I can’t really describe it. And yes, as you said, an end can definitely involve facing those defining, perhaps final, questions that clarify everything in a moment where it might be all over (a bit like real life, when something significant and potentially life-ending puts everything into perfect clarity for some). These ends are going to be a conclusion to their entire journey and I’m preparing for aspects of this to crush me. It’s daunting!

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    110. Oh yes Mr Derp not discounting that possibility only of the belief based upon the articles I read on this site I found that scenario less likely. I absolutely love that we know so little about the first season, I am sure when the trailer drops it’s going to have so many of us analysing the details to see if it supports our theories.

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    111. Jon Snowed: Minor pretty well known spoilers

      Sapochnik is the director of Ep.3 and Ep.5. I think there are two battles, one at WF and one in KL.

      Adrianacandle,

      Well said. I’m prepared for that too. 🙁

      JR: Have you been abused before? Raped? Kept locked away in a tower? Been robbed of your agency for years? Just wondering…

      Yes. Does that make my opinion more valid now? Just wondering…

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    112. Alba:

      Yes. Does that make my opinion more valid now? Just wondering…

      (b^-^)b

      Your opinion on Sansa Stark having ambition is spot-on. Her experiences with Cersei showed her poor leadership, and there was a time when she was preparing to become queen under Joffrey – where she was planning on contrasting herself to Cersei, particularly in regards to how the people would respond to her. From love and not from fear.

      It’s funny that he said that queen was a position of zero power, since Cersei used her position to do a lot of stuff, even when Robert was around. And there’s a lot of discussion currently with the impending release of Fire and Blood volume 1, about Good Queen Alysanne.

      Anyway, you don’t need my support, Alba. You seem to have this debate under control.

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    113. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Very good points.

      However I am not sure that the word “ambitious” communicates the same meaning as “power hungry”. One is more neutral ( and sometimes even positive) and the other carries a negative connotation.

      Sansa is an important character for multiple reasons but she has been on the political side of the story. Sansa had seen more of Westeros than Jon when she meets him at Castle Black; up to that point, Jon had never left the north before. Jon’s focus has been on the threats outside the wall – wildings and “others”. It is consistent that her focus remains on the political side even as Jon is pre-occupied with “others” as he should be. I do not think to this point Sansa has seen the wights (has she?), she, like all the north, was relying on the reports by Jon and the wildings. Yet she believes him (later, his reports are confirmed by Bran) and tries to help by guiding Jon on the political side. Jon and Sansa are complementary in their roles in the north.

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    114. Mango:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Very good points.

      However I am not sure that the word “ambitious” communicates the same meaning as “power hungry”.One is more neutral ( and sometimes even positive) and the other carries a negative connotation.

      Sansa is an important character for multiple reasons but she has been on the political side of the story. Sansa had seen more of Westeros than Jon when she meets him at Castle Black; up to that point, Jon had never left the north before. Jon’s focus has been on the threats outside the wall – wildings and “others”. It is consistent that her focus remains on the political side even as Jon is pre-occupied with “others” as he should be. I do not think to this point Sansa has seen the wights (has she?), she, like all the north, was relying on the reports by Jon and the wildings. Yet she believes him (later, his reports are confirmed by Bran) and tries to help by guiding Jon on the political side. Jon and Sansa are complementary in their roles in the north.

      That’s very fair, to contrast power hungry and ambitious. I don’t want to ascribe any ill-intent on Sansa’s part, I think as a person who has found herself at the bad end of abusive power, that she might be leery of authority figures, as well as willing to take as much agency as she can.

      Because we don’t get a window into show Sansa’s head (and the show is past the books where we last had a good take on Sansa’s thoughts) – I don’t have a strong opinion how Sansa feels about Jon, but in general I give Sansa the benefit of the doubt. I don’t mind people having theories that Sansa is considering political moves against Jon, because there’s no reason not to at least consider these things.

      For example, I couldn’t imagine Arya plotting against Jon, unless he was doing something very counter to her wiring.

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    115. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Yes, I can see what you are saying.

      Sansa has given Jon the benefit of the doubt so far. However, it would not be inconsistent for Sansa to counter Jon if she disagrees with the political direction that Jon is taking. She will not let him just do as he wishes. And she is perfectly capable of working with others to do reverse/oppose his actions. But I expect that she will raise her objections to his face at first and try to persuade/guide him. But she will consider the welfare of the North ahead of Jon’s preferences. And she has the Vale army. Jon so far has the wildings and whatever Rob and BoB left of the northmen.

      Arya was a loving sister when she last saw Jon. “Needle” has been her link to her identity. Arya’s current wiring is less clear but I also expect she would be loyal and loving to Jon.

      But if she stabs him in the eye, I would shrug. I am not sure what is expected from some-one who dismembers, cubes and bakes another human being into a pie. Even for a justified punishment. That is some Ramsey level dysfunction. She needs some “soul” work.

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    116. Mango:

      But if she stabs him in the eye, I would shrug. I am not sure what is expected from some-one who dismembers, cubes and bakes another human being into a pie. Even for a justified punishment. That is some Ramsey level dysfunction. She needs some “soul” work.

      One of the things I’m looking forward to is Sandor Clegane’s reunion with Arya. Since Arya is so hard and badass now. I’d like Clegane to kind of provide Arya some “don’t end up like me, full of regrets” type of perspective.

      (The show might not go that way, which is fine, but it’s one of my hopes.)

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    117. Patrick Sponaugle:

      Because we don’t get a window into show Sansa’s head (and the show is past the books where we last had a good take on Sansa’s thoughts) – I don’t have a strong opinion how Sansa feels about Jon, but in general I give Sansa the benefit of the doubt. I don’t mind people havingtheories that Sansa is considering political moves against Jon, because there’s no reason not to at least consider these things.

      I don’t think Sansa’s POV is needed. She gave a perfectly clear view of that back in S6. ‘No one can protect me. No one can protect anyone.’ After everything she has gone through, she is looking for safety. And she has trust issues due to being wronged over and over again by people she trusted. Was she unfair to Jon when she hid things from him? Perhaps. But I understood perfectly where she is was coming from. She is not willing to leave her safety in the hands of others anymore. She will do what she has to in order to be safe. That also extends to her home in Winterfell now.

      That to me doesn’t scream power hungry. It speaks to a deeply hurt person looking to do anything to be safe. And that also extends to Winterfell and possibly the whole North.

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    118. JR:

      That to me doesn’t scream power hungry. It speaks to a deeply hurt person looking to do anything to be safe. And that also extends to Winterfell and possibly the whole North.

      A POV is always useful.

      I’m not here to argue with you, but I could probably assert that almost everyone hungry for power is doing so as an extreme reaction from being afraid someone else might have power and use it against them.

      To say Sansa will do anything to be safe makes me more suspicious of her, as opposed to her simply wanting to exercise agency because she feels she is the best for the job, or she feels the others are making mistakes, or whatever.

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    119. Patrick Sponaugle: (b^-^)b

      Your opinion on Sansa Stark having ambition is spot-on. Her experiences with Cersei showed her poor leadership, and there was a time when she was preparing to become queen under Joffrey – where she was planning on contrasting herself to Cersei, particularly in regards to how the people would respond to her. From love and not from fear.

      It’s funny that he said that queen was a position of zero power, since Cersei used her position to do a lot of stuff, even when Robert was around. And there’s a lot of discussion currently with the impending release of Fire and Blood volume 1, about Good Queen Alysanne.

      Anyway, you don’t need my support, Alba. You seem to have this debate under control.

      This!

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    120. Alba: Sure they are the “main hero&heroine”, but their personal relationship is not made just for the sake of viewers who ship them. This is not roses and daises love story. As you said, it plays out very well because it has many components in it, regardless of how it ends.Though I’m almost 100% sure, this an’t going to have a happy ending.
      So, why try to “separate” them just because it sounds clichè, therefore it’s not “cool”? That sounds to me very contrived and pretentious. It’s kinda like some people who do things just for the sake of looking “different” in the eyes of the outside world, not because of who they truly are.

      I’m the least “romantic” gal you’ll ever know. Give me a war movie and I’ll cry my heart out. Notebook doesn’t do it for me. lol
      But I am really curious and cannot wait to see how their story unfolds. Mainly because personal feelings are involved and intertwined with bigger issues. But if not for those personal connections, I would care far less for any friction, tension or clash that might come between them. To put it simply, if the characters do not care about each other, why would I?!

      It’s definitely true that trying to do the exact opposite of a cliche or expectation can become just as, if not even more, cliche itself. I can still understand why some of us kinda groaned when the romance started happening, but I ended up okay with the way they handled it…I mean, how could I really complain about something that yielded that fine shot of Kit’s arse…>w< I’d also be good with their relationship/interactions having gone the same way minus the romantic love, but can’t blame her for being attracted, and she ain’t half-bad herself. In the end I quite understand their feelings. Almost assuredly there’ll be a “miracle pregnancy” plot point in S8, and I reckon this all comes from George & was meant to be. I’m not usually all that into romance either, but I can appreciate it in the right circumstances.

      One thing I like about Dany is that she doesn’t just think it her destiny & duty to be queen, but that she truly deserves it due to her desire to take power from those who’ve used it to selfishly mess everything up, and utilize it for the good of all.
      She wants to be worthy. She wants sound advice to help guide her when she’s uncertain of the best thing to do, and to check her impulses.

      Totally agreed with you & Patrick re: Sansa.

      Mango:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      But if she stabs him in the eye, I would shrug. I am not sure what is expected from some-one who dismembers, cubes and bakes another human being into a pie. Even for a justified punishment. That is some Ramsey level dysfunction. She needs some “soul” work.

      Could never see that in a zillion eons; I expect the same from Arya that I have since S1E01. If somebody murders my family members/loved ones, they’re asking to be served to theirs in a pie. I think that’s perfectly fair and functional. =^.^=

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    121. JR,

      Well said. Which is why I rarely fault the decisions she made – at first she was too young to know better, later she was doing whatever she could to get help, and now, she is indeed looking to herself for her own safety and well being, and that extends to her home and family.

      To say Sansa will do anything to be safe makes me more suspicious of her, as opposed to her simply wanting to exercise agency because she feels she is the best for the job, or she feels the others are making mistakes, or whatever.

      Heh, I can see that. Not sure I agree but see where you are coming from. BTW excellent post, rather thought provoking.

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    122. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Late to the party, but I just want to thank you, Patrick, for the original analysis article, and all the comments it’s sparked.

      This is why I keep visiting WotW. Analyses, ideas, discussion, without too much partisan frothing at the mouth in the comments.

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    123. ash:

      Heh, I can see that. Not sure I agree but see where you are coming from. BTW excellent post, rather thought provoking.

      Thanks Ash! Thanks for reading the post, and these comments.

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    124. talvikorppi:
      Patrick Sponaugle,

      Late to the party, but I just want to thank you, Patrick, for the original analysis article, and all the comments it’s sparked.

      This is why I keep visiting WotW. Analyses, ideas, discussion, without too much partisan frothing at the mouth in the comments.

      Thank you for reading it! We have a long time to go until [undisclosed date] in April, so I appreciate the discussion to get us through the time.

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    125. Patrick Sponaugle,

      Thank you, Patrick, for that brilliant assessment of the background, status quo, and potential political future of Westeros. It’s quite convincing and a pleasure to read, in part because of your turns of phrase and whimsical dialogue snippets. I hope and believe the Endgame will bring us some movement away from rigid feudal structure and towards a more open, mobile and meritocratic society. At least Dany understands that change is needed, but in six episodes I doubt more than conceding a few rights and some geographical reorganisation is possible. Even the Magna Carta was limited in scope and aimed at nobility. A splendid first step, but English peasants didn’t start coming into their own until the 14th century. I hope Jon and/or Dany rule in the end because they are most likely personages to promulgate some of the necessary changes.

      JR,

      It’s so simple for me that I’m in fact often baffled at what people supposedly see on screen.

      Totally agree, but how we remember and interpret what we see and hear is often arguable. We’re all subject to that:

      JR: And using Arya as ‘evidence’, an unreliable narrator, doesn’t work. This is the same girl with faulty memory (how she describes Sansa during Ned’s execution), who doesn’t get that the letter was written under duress (Cat, Robb, Maester Luwin got it right away) and who was hypocritical to boot (forgetting her stint as Tywin’s cupbearer which gave her every chance to prevent the Red Wedding by killing Tywin herself or use one of her free 3 kills). You have to do better than that, preferably evidence that comes directly from Sansa and not someone else.

      First, I agree totally with something else you wrote–SAnsa did explicitly accept Jon as a Stark and a brother. She accorded him respect officially. I don’t know how fans can not see her acceptance. But Arya’s lines to Sansa–“I remember you standing on that platform with Joffrey and Cersei when they dragged Father to the block. I remember the pretty dress you were wearing; I remember the fancy way you did your hair”.–were completely accurate. Quickly everything erupted and Arya had to grab Needle, jump down and try to rescue Ned. It’s not clear she noticed anything else before Yoren blocked her view of the platform. Robb had NOT realised Cersei was behind Sansa’s letter, but his experienced adult advisors, Catelyn and Luwin, explained that to him. Arya is yet young and probably still unaware someone could be forced into terrible lies by pressure/threats from adults.

      She could not have prevented the Red Wedding; Tywin had not even thought about it yet. In any case, her cupbearer stint was not treachery to her family. In fact, though Tywin had saved her and Gendry’s lives, at one point she aimed her knife at Tywin’s back. He turned around before she could act. Also, an 11YO doesn’t think very strategically. At least naming the Tickler saved many people from immediate torture AND proved Jaqen could deliver on his promise. Naming Amory Lorch saved her life. Soon after she caught on and gave Tywin’s name to Jaqen, but it was too late. And don’t forget, all along she was spying on Tywin in hopes of getting information to Robb once she escaped. That’s even clearer in the books. Arya is very perceptive (with “the TRUE seeing”) and steadfastly honest. Book Arya seems a rather reliable narrator; at least she doesn’t invent an “un-kiss.” Alas, memory plays tricks on us all.

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    126. Yes Alba I was referring to those battles but please becareful as I am sure there are some contributors that are not even aware of those (even if there are no significant spoilers). From what I can gather

      Jon, Arya, and Cersei will all be around in Kings Landing in the last two episodes or at least episode 5 but we don’t know if the Nights King will or even the context of what is happening

      .

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    127. I don’t ever visit there anymore but the more tabloid styled rival to this site ran an article that bookmakers now have Bran Stark as the favourite to rule Westeros at the end of S8, Jon is second, Dany third then the Night King. Obviously this only reflects where people are betting but it struck me as left field given the above article so possibly worth mentioning. Interestingly Tyrion is not among the front runners and has quite long odds.

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    128. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      SRR, thanks for all the comments. I’ll chime in just a bit, mostly in agreement!

      Right on with your comment that the Magna Carta was limited in scope, and (written by the nobles) was there to benefit the nobility, but a solid benefit was the refutation of absolute monarchy. Once limits were put in place at the top, to opened the door eventually to parliament, and to the lower classes getting a voice. So if we got something like a Magna Carta moment in Westeros, with Dany either wanting to put limits in place to prevent future Mad King’ing – then we could extrapolate a potential positive political change for Westeros.

      Thank you for stepping up for Arya and her perspective. Although I wasn’t a fan of Season Seven’s generated drama between Arya and Sansa, the things she was saying didn’t ring untrue to me. When Arya assessed that Sansa at least had imagined ruling in Winterfell (which she is allowed to do, Jon imagined ruling in Winterfell over Robb, when he was young) – I felt that was accurate, even if Sansa would never plot against Jon.

      I tend to trust Arya, because she’s had some crazy Faceless Man training. The Game of Faces, where they intuit truth and falsehood gets kind of supernatural at times in the information assessment.

      Thanks for your kind words! I hope to have more feature articles before the premiere (and to write during season eight) and will continue to include my whimsical dialogue.

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    129. Jon Snowed:
      I don’t ever visit there anymore but the more tabloid styled rival to this site ran an article that bookmakers now have Bran Stark as the favourite to rule Westeros at the end of S8, Jon is second, Dany third then the Night King.Obviously this only reflects where people are betting but it struck me as left field given the above article so possibly worth mentioning.Interestingly Tyrion is not among the front runners and has quite long odds.

      I should have really included Bran Stark in my write-up. It would be wild if he ended up on the Iron Throne. (Which I sometimes joke is a magical artifact, soaked in Targaryen blood, like an artificial weirwood tree network.)

      Also, since Bran is the Three Eyed Raven, with a connection to Brynden “Bloodraven” Rivers, in a sense a Targaryen bastard would be on the Iron Throne if Bran sat there.

      I’m really curious what’ll happen to/with Bran in the final season.

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    130. Patrick Sponaugle: A POV is always useful.

      I’m not here to argue with you, but I could probably assert that almost everyone hungry for power is doing so as an extreme reaction from being afraid someone else might have power and use it against them.

      To say Sansa will do anything to be safe makes me more suspicious of her, as opposed to her simply wanting to exercise agency because she feels she is the best for the job, or she feels the others are making mistakes, or whatever.

      Wanting to be safe for the simple desire to be safe is wholly different from the reason all the other players had ambitions. From the Lannisters to the Tyrells, it was all about power. The only one different was perhaps Stannis. For everyone else it was all about securing power or achieving power to be on top. For Sansa it was reclaiming her home in order to feel safe for safety’s sake. That’s about all the ambition she had.

      Stark Raven’ Rad:
      But Arya’s lines to Sansa–“I remember you standing on that platform with Joffrey and Cersei when they dragged Father to the block. I remember the pretty dress you were wearing; I remember the fancy way you did your hair”.–were completely accurate.Quickly everything erupted and Arya had to grab Needle, jump down and try to rescue Ned.It’s not clear she noticed anything else before Yoren blocked her view of the platform.Robb had NOT realised Cersei was behind Sansa’s letter, but his experienced adult advisors, Catelyn and Luwin, explained that to him.Arya is yet young and probably still unaware someone could be forced into terrible lies by pressure/threats from adults.

      What does it matter what Sansa was wearing? Arya was denying what Sansa did while on the platform to reaffirm her opinion of ‘Sansa the girl who wants pretty things’. And you can’t use the excuse of ‘Arya didn’t see anything’ when it’s clearly shown that she did. Arya was still sitting on the statue when Sansa started freaking out. When Yoren took her away she had a clear view of the stage again. And to say Arya is too young to understand that someone could be coerced doesn’t work since she had years on the road and her stint in Braavos to boot. She should be grown up enough at this point in time to get that.

      Stark Raven’ Rad:
      She could not have prevented the Red Wedding; Tywin hadnot even thought about it yet. In any case, her cupbearer stint was not treachery to her family.In fact, though Tywin had saved her and Gendry’s lives, at one point she aimed her knife at Tywin’s back. He turned around before she could act.Also, an 11YO doesn’t think very strategically. At least naming the Tickler saved many people from immediate torture AND provedJaqen could deliver on his promise. Naming Amory Lorch saved her life. Soon after she caught on and gave Tywin’s name to Jaqen, but it was too late.And don’t forget, all along she was spying on Tywin in hopes of getting information to Robb once she escaped.

      Arya called the letter a betrayal and that she would never have done it. That Lyanna would never have done it. Age was no excuse for Arya. So what did she expect of Sansa? To kill herself rather than write the letter? To attempt to kill everyone instead of writing the letter?

      So why shouldn’t the same standard be applied to Arya then? She should have tried to kill Tywin. Or she should have made use of her 3 free kills to have Tywin, Cersei and Joffrey killed and damn the consequences to her own life. That’s what she expected of Sansa. The two girls were not that far apart in age so I don’t understand the constant demand from people to judge Sansa as if she were an adult and expect her to act like one, yet excuse everything Arya does by saying she was a child. It doesn’t matter whether the Red Wedding was planned yet or not. Killing Tywin would have prevented it. Just like no one saw Ned’s beheading coming when Sansa wrote that letter. And Sansa not writing it or trying to kill everyone in the room instead of writing it would not have prevented Ned’s beheading. Arya actually could have changed things so I stand by the points I’ve previously made.

      Stark Raven’ Rad:
      That’s even clearer in the books.Arya is very perceptive (with “the TRUE seeing”) and steadfastly honest.Book Arya seems a rather reliable narrator; at least she doesn’t invent an “un-kiss.”Alas, memory plays tricks on us all.

      Every person is an unreliable narrator. You see what you want to see. That’s true of every person that ever existed. Just like Arya’s memories and opinions are clouded by her own perception of people and situations. And what does book Arya or Sansa have to do with this discussion?

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    131. Tez:
      Magna Cartawas less about personal absolutism than it was about resisting centralization, aggregation of power.

      I’ll have to take your word for it, since it’s been awhile that I read up on the agreement between King John and the rebellious barons at Runnymede. I’m sure the barons didn’t have language specifically saying “we reject personal absolutism” but they entirely had a long list of rights they were trying to get recognized, which were limits on the monarchy. Like the security clause where 25 barons, as a check on royal abuses, could wage war legally on the crown and take possession of crown lands without being considered traitors or whatever until things could be redressed.

      I don’t quite know what you mean by resisting centralization, aggregation of power, unless you mean resisting King John doing that. Which seems to be rejecting absolute monarchy.

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    132. JRAnd what does book Arya or Sansa have to do with this discussion?

      I reference the characters from the book sources all the time in these features. I don’t know why it’s inappropriate to do so.

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    133. Patrick Sponaugle: I know, it was to Stark Raven Mad. But people jump in and out of these side conversations all the time.

      Patrick, I wasn’t Mad, but Rad ;-}.

      JR, I brought up book Sansa because she is unreliable there. But as I pointed out, Arya’s facts were accurate, it’s her interpretation you think is wrong. Interpretation by a character or a reader/viewer is subjective anyway. I see no comparison between Sansa’s ‘betrayal’ with the letter and Arya’s by serving Tywin, especially as she was collecting intelligence on him and also came close to killing him. Under duress Sansa gave her captors a valuable tool with potential dire consequences for her family. The Starks might have surrendered if Robb fell into the trap. Probably he would have been killed or imprisoned. Arya was a cog in Tywin’s household. and yet trying to aid Robb. It’s easy to say she could have killed Tywin or had Jaquen do, but offhand I can recall no head of state in history who was assassinated by a young child. Arya could do it now, but BACK THEN she had never killed except once in self-defense. At her age children don’t see the big picture. Nonetheless, she used her three kills to save prisoners, save her own life, and free her and her two companions. She was clever enough to outwit Jaqen and force him to go against his own rules. Arya has not dealt with politics even by Season 7. We should not blame her because she didn’t realize, as Catelyn and Luwin immediately had, that SAnsa wrote it under duress. WE know Sansa was young AND a member of the court and had to live there and thought it might help Ned. I don’t see why any mature person with all the facts about the coercion scene would blame her for doing what she did.

      “What does it matter what Sansa was wearing? Arya was denying what Sansa did while on the platform to reaffirm her opinion of ‘Sansa the girl who wants pretty things’. And you can’t use the excuse of ‘Arya didn’t see anything’ when it’s clearly shown that she did. Arya was still sitting on the statue when Sansa started freaking out. When Yoren took her away she had a clear view of the stage again.”

      It matters because in the quiet moments before hell broke loose, the impression was that Sansa was all dolled up and standing with the enemies for her own father’s execution. Arya didn’t mention it, but Sansa smiled a few times. Seeing all that must have been shocking. And look again at the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MgjP_0iFm0 from around 4:55. Arya does see Sansa rush forward crying “Stop it”, then looks around at the crowd, glances at the platform and immediately jumps down and pushes through the crowd, with her hand on Needle’s hilt, till Yoren grabs her. (In the book she used Needle to clear a path through the crowd!) She tries to get away but saw no more until the pigeons soared. With the crowd roaring around them it’s doubtful she even heard anything.

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    134. Stark Raven’ Rad: Patrick, I wasn’t Mad, but Rad ;-}.

      JR, I brought up book Sansa because she is unreliable there. But as I pointed out, Arya’s facts were accurate, it’s her interpretation you think is wrong.Interpretation by a character or a reader/viewer is subjective anyway. I see no comparison between Sansa’s ‘betrayal’ with the letter and Arya’s by serving Tywin, especially as she was collecting intelligence on him and also came close to killing him.Under duress Sansa gave her captors a valuable tool with potential dire consequences for her family. The Starks might have surrendered if Robb fell into the trap. Probably he would have been killed or imprisoned. Arya was a cog in Tywin’s household. and yet trying to aid Robb.It’s easy to say she could have killed Tywin or had Jaquen do, but offhand I can recall no head of state in history who was assassinated by a young child. Arya could do it now, but BACK THEN she had never killed except once in self-defense.At her age children don’t see the big picture. Nonetheless, she used her three kills to save prisoners, save her own life, and free her and her two companions.She was clever enough to outwit Jaqen and force him to go against his own rules.Arya has not dealt with politics even by Season 7.We should not blame her because she didn’t realize, as Catelyn and Luwin immediately had, that SAnsa wrote it under duress.WE know Sansa was young AND a member of the court and had to live there and thought it might help Ned. I don’t see why any mature person with all the facts about the coercion scene would blame her for doing what she did.

      Sansa did nothing except write a letter telling her brother to kneel. That’s not a betrayal of any kind since the crown pretty much expected all the players to kneel (Robb, Renly, Stannis). You know what else that letter achieved? It saved her father’s life. The only reason Ned died is because Joffrey flipped the script on everyone. Sansa achieved a hell of a lot more than Arya. All Arya achieved was saving her own life. She had every opportunity, and 3 free kills to boot, to do something. She named Tywin way too late. By Arya’s own standards, she betrayed her family too. And she didn’t save any of them. Which she could have if she had applied the same rules to herself that she judged Sansa by.

      And I sure can blame adult Arya (which is what she is in S7) for not understanding what duress is.

      It matters because in the quiet moments before hell broke loose, the impression was that Sansa was all dolled up and standing with the enemies for her own father’s execution. Arya didn’t mention it, but Sansa smiled a few times.Seeing all that must have been shocking.And look again at the scene:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MgjP_0iFm0 from around 4:55. Arya does see Sansa rush forward crying “Stop it”, then looks around at the crowd, glances at the platform and immediately jumps down and pushes through the crowd, with her hand on Needle’s hilt, till Yoren grabs her.(In the book she used Needle to clear a path through the crowd!) She tries to get away but saw no more until the pigeons soared.With the crowd roaring around them it’s doubtful she even heard anything.

      The scene continued into the next episode. That episode begins with Yoren hoisting Arya up and you see her looking at the stage. The next shot is Ned’s headless body being dragged away, that’s what Arya saw. Since she had a clear view of the stage, she should have had no trouble seeing her sister up there. So Arya saw enough in those 2 episodes to know her sister wasn’t just standing up there smiling while wearing a pretty dress.

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