The Writing on the Wall: Has the Wheel Been Broken?

(9) Courtesy of HBO

The ending of any story is equally steeped in the ending itself and a contemplation of everything that came before it. It is why such a heavy weight is imparted upon the conclusion of a story. Not only does it have to carry itself as an episode of television but it also has to sufficiently honor the narrative foundations that led to its creation in the first place. It is a tricky balancing act and few series, if any, have ever achieved that perfect ending. Whether or not the ending to Game of Thrones accomplishes both critical beats is going to be debated for quite some time, in part a consequence of its legacy as a true pop culture phenomenon.

There are a plethora of ways to try and understand what the series has accomplished or fallen short of. As a writer, I’m inherently drawn to what the series was ultimately trying to say through its themes, its characters, its plot. What was this series ultimately about? Some would say that Game of Thrones is about the corruptibility of power. Others would say that it is about how attempts at breaking the systemic wheel can quite easily slip away and reinforce the wheel if one lacks caution. An oft heard refrain is “it’s all about tits and dragons.” My takeaway from Game of Thrones, in that sense, is a mixed message, much like my reaction to the last couple of installments that ended the series.

The central concern of Game of Thrones has always been about the question of power. That question has most obviously become a central concern for the show via the jockeying for the Iron Throne, potentially fiction’s most uncomfortable literal seat of power. Similar conflicts, albeit on much smaller scales, occurred from seats of power in Essos, Dorne, and the Iron Islands. But there were more damaging conflicts of power occurring between characters themselves. Even more intricate conflicts of power were the ones that George R. R. Martin referred to as “the human heart at conflict with itself.”

varys

In season two, when the series had more time to explore the intricate questions of power, Lord Varys (Conleth Hill) said that power is a curious thing that resides where men believe it resides. To illustrate his point, he talked about a tale centering around a tale of three powerful men and a sellsword. One of those men is a king. Another is a priest. A third is a man of wealth. Each of them in turn offers the sellsword something for killing the other two in the room. Clearly, there is no love lost between the three of them. The king doesn’t offer much to the sellsword except for the notation that he is, in fact, the king. The priest offers some form of religious salvation, the deed of double murder a slight wrinkle in the whole holy pathway to heaven thing. The wealthy man offers him gold.

The question of actual power is what Varys is hinting at, the central trick in the question that originally drove the storytelling in Game of Thrones. The king of course represents the power of the law and the government. The priest represents the power of organized religion. The wealthy man represents the banks, the power of wealth and class, and perhaps capitalism if you take the allegory that far. Those three pillars of civilization, if you will, often seem impenetrable. The might of government, religion, and banks historically always seem to be until they’re not. In Game of Thrones, we saw a partial recognition of that reality when the poor of King’s Landing decide to rise up in season two and envelop the capital in riots.

When Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) tells Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) that she desires to break the wheel, she has a point. The power cycles of Westeros have often led to wanton destruction of the most powerless as everyone scrambles to sit on the Iron Throne. The Baratheons, Starks, Lannisters, Tyrells, and Targaryens have been culpable in that cycle of power. Olenna Tyrell (Diana Rigg) understood just as much. She was acutely aware of the power that the common people had as a collective, damn the government, gods, and gold. She counseled fear as a ruling tactic and pointedly reminded Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) of the necessity for a public spectacle with the Purple Wedding. When the spectacle ends, the masses will find other, more revolt-oriented entertainment.

YaraDany2

The complication in such an analysis is often tied to where one sees themselves in that power structure. It is often easy to see the necessity of breaking a system while not analyzing one’s own role within that system. When Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan) talks to Daenerys about the role the Iron Islands will play in such a system, Daenerys agrees to their independence. It’s a step that signals her seriousness in breaking the wheel. When she arrives on Dragonstone, she readies herself for the conquest of Westeros. She relies in part on the advice of her advisor and Hand of the Queen, whose formative experience as Hand of the King should have come in handy. It did not.

Tyrion makes one major miscalculation after another. Daenerys snaps and becomes Queen of the Ashes. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) assassinates her in a nauseating scene and departs for the lands north of the wall. What remains behind in the Seven Kingdoms is a power vacuum. The clichéd adage goes that nature abhors a vacuum of any sort and the melted Iron Throne in King’s Landing is no exception. The choice that is faced by the respective leaders of Westeros is quite simple: they must decide what the nature of leadership looks like post-the Last War (although it is hardly likely to be the last, all things considered). The reality of making that choice should be fairly complicated.

It isn’t. In a sequence full of players we know and those we have never seen before, there is not much of a discussion as to why Bran should or should not be king. Sansa wisely brings up the note of succession (a note over which many a war have occurred) and stakes her claim as an independent Queen of the North. But otherwise all it seems to take is a persuasive speech from Tyrion for the other lords to agree that a union of six kingdoms was the best option. Yara’s (Gemma Whelan) quest for independence gets lost in the mix. The realpolitik that defined some of the show’s best moments (think of the scene where Tyrion drags his chair in the Small Council chambers) is largely nonexistent.

Perhaps the more important question is, what does Game of Thrones ultimately say about power? What, if anything, comes of Daenerys’s stated desire to “break the wheel?” While other characters may not have repeated the exact phrase, they certainly shared some sense of wanting to pursue something different from the system that had put the Mad King, Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), and Cersei Lannister on the Iron Throne. For now, it seems that they may not have achieved that after all.

(4) Helen Sloan - HBO

Whether or not Bran will be a good king is largely an open question. It becomes a complicated one when one considers him being the Three-Eyed Raven. But let’s move beyond the central figure for a moment and look at the larger picture. There is still a king, albeit of six kingdoms and not seven. There is still a Small Council largely dominated by men with two vacant positions surely not to be vacant for much longer. It is difficult, beyond the names of some of the families in power, to sense there being much of a difference from what came before.

Samwell’s (John Bradley) suggestion that the people of Westeros, who have long been sufficiently fucked by the nobility, should have a direct say in their own governance elicits a chuckle from the nobles (as they are wont to do). It is the closest anyone has gotten to overturning the wheel in its entirety but it would perhaps have been too much of a change in Westeros for it to come across as narratively plausible. The system selected then, is an oligarchical appointment of a king and an annual check-in process. For now, anyhow.

In Lord Varys’s riddle about the sellsword, there is no clear cut answer about who has the most power because it inherently depends on your perception of the reality of power. If you agree with Tyrion’s answer, then the ruling class is sitting upon a brittle foundation of power. It breaks, or at least cracks, when the common people realize its fragility. From the perspective of those people (whoever is around at this point), there was another war between the nobility that wreaked havoc across Westeros and now they have to rebuild their lives while another noble boy sits the metaphorical equivalent of the Iron Throne. Everything has changed yet very little has.

I can say that the wheel is ultimately intact, perhaps even reinforced. It may have charred and cracked in certain senses, but the ultimate power structures remain relatively intact. The question then becomes whether or not Game of Thrones has ultimately answered the question of whether or not the wheel of power can be broken with a resounding “no.” That depends on your perception of where the power lies and just as importantly, how long it will remain there, intact. Perhaps it will remain there for ten years, twenty, or a hundred. What it certain is that the wheel at some point or another will shake once more and this time the trembles may break it apart at last.

Valar Morghulis.

210 responses

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    1. If the Night King had won The Wheel would have been off the table!
      Westeros would have been a world of shambling zombies with not a thought in their heads or even a big smile on their faces.
      Now that would have been more like our current political world.

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    2. The wheel hasn’t been broken, it just changed slightly. Formerly, armed conflict determined which House would now be on top; now a vote of the oligarchy does so. (And all it would take to reinstate armed conflict is a losing candidate with a large army.) The common folk — Dany’s stated concern for whom was the motivation she gave for her actions — were intentionally and specifically excluded.

      “…in a nauseating scene…”

      What exactly in that scene upset your GI tract? 🙂

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    3. In my interpretation, Game of Thrones didn’t give a definitive answer on breaking the wheel or not. The show doesn’t even deliver a clear message about how power should be used. It only says that those want power, or a specific symbol of power, fail – the Iron Throne turned out to be the One Ring 2.0 (even its melting resembled the destruction of the ring in Peter Jackson’s movies).

      GRRM criticized Tolkien for the lack of Aragorn tax policy, but, in the end, its story delivered a poor depiction of the exercise of power. The books may be different, but if he had a clear idea about the benefits of the new power system, I think Game of Thrones would show it to make a statement about his main theme.

      After Bran was chosen king, that final small council scene brought nothing new to the table. Bran doesn’t seem to care, like Robert and Joffrey before him (perhaps for different reasons). We see Davos talking about ships.

      And we see Bronn. Bronn is my main complaint about the new Westerosi government. I enjoyed him as a sidekick to Tyrion or Jaime. He has some of the best one-liners in the early seasons. But having him in the small council is just wrong, if you want to say that the wheel has been broken. Bronn is an amoral, greedy character. Ruthless ambition turns out to be good… for some. The character should have died after Field of Fire 2.0. The battle was very well done, but lacked a climactic consequence. It would be the perfect moment for Bronn to die.

      Overall, the message about power is lacking. The wheel wasn’t broken. Maybe it was slowed down.

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    4. Since no political system in our own world brought lasting peace and stability it would’t be realistic for the show to have one.

      Elective monarchy won’t bring lasting stability, Council wouldn’t either. Republic, dissolution of the Seven Kingdoms,… all these options have flaws, we saw all of it happening in the real world and it can always create new chaos and wars.

      So I don’t think any system at the end of the story would really “break the wheel”. Elective monarchy can solve some problems we saw in the story, because source of those problems were ideas of birthright, which won’t exist any more.

      But elective monarchy brings whole new set of potential political problems.

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    5. mau,

      I have accepted Bran as king (still wish they left a few hints but fine) -so I have a questioned I wondered about early in the game – what is a 3 eye raven? how was it created and why (as a foil for the night king, as a memory machine)? Where in the power structure does he land? Is he considered a god by the COTF?what happens when the 3 eye raven is killed, how is that chosen? we know they get their news from the weirwood is it a tree god creating the visions? And what effect does one have when chosen as a ruling power?

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    6. The wheel may not be totally broken but it is awry. Small steps at first.

      Thank you for your thoughts Akash

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    7. “An oft heard refrain is “it’s all about tits and dragons.”
      ——
      I’m not so sure it’s “oft heard.” The only person I’m aware of who ever dismissed the show as “only tits and dragons” was Ian MacShane. Although I acknowledge I am in the minority, I thought he phoned in his performance and didn’t take the show or his role seriously. When Brother Ray showed up, it was as if some guy walked out of a bar in a different fictional universe.

      Worst of all, he didn’t care about the fans either: In a pre-S6 interview he blatantly spoiled the return of Sandor Clegane.

      (Oh dear. I hadn’t intended to launch into a MacShane-bashing diatribe. Sorry if I offended any of his fans.)

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    8. The only character with a real chance at breaking the wheel was the High Sparrow, though even that likely wouldn’t have been permanent as it still relied upon power being vested in the faith and having a High Septon who actually gave a crap about the common people and held the nobility accountable. As soon as he died and was replaced, there is no reason to think his replacement would be like him as opposed to all who came before him.

      Ultimately, the wheel was never really broken here on earth anyway. Power and wealth are still overwhelmingly hereditary and the leaders of any nation come from a small number of families who have been in power as long as those nations have existed.

      What improved the lives of people on the ground was 1) peaceful transitions of power where competing claims were decided by some means other than war, and 2) the rapid advance of science and technology. What Westeros needs is a university system, places of learning and experimentation other than the Citadel. The people aren’t getting crushed because of the specific family that happens to be in power at any one time or even that it is only a few families. They’re getting crushed because there isn’t enough food, they have no plumbing, no medicine, their hunting and farming techniques suck, and there are virtually no vocations a person can go into that aren’t directly related to equipping people to fight wars. Give them proper irrigation, sewers and clean water, the germ theory of disease, and some idea of how evolution and selective breeding work, and that’ll make a hell of a lot more difference than who sits on the throne or whether there even is a throne.

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    9. “Breaking the wheel” was never more than a hollow campaign slogan. Dany never articulated a vision for a replacement of “the wheel” (other than “I was born to rule; and I will“).

      Ironically, she wound up giving the wheel the mightiest spin of all. and crushed tens of thousands of people beneath it.

      Instead of the cheesy “Break the Wheel” buzzwords, she ought to have used a more accurate tag line: “Kneel or Fry.”

      (If I’m being too judgmental, it’s because earlier today I rewatched the scenes of terrified women and children running through the streets of KL and getting turned into charcoal briquettes.)

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    10. “Sansa wisely brings up the note of succession (a note over which many a war have occurred).”. There was also discussion of the supposed benefits of Bran’s inability to produce an heir, so that the lords would reconvene to elect a new king after Bran’s psssing.

      Funny how Bran never mentioned that his predecessor 3ER had lived for 1,000 years as roots grew through him. Well played, Brandon Stark, well played.

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    11. Ten Bears: Funny how Bran never mentioned that his predecessor 3ER had lived for 1,000 years as roots grew through him. Well played, Brandon Stark, well played.

      Har!

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    12. Seems to me the overall theme of the story is human emotion and the human experience makes people incapable of rational thought and leadership, and therefore needs a detached omnipotent figurehead to lead them.

      That’s Orwell’s 1984 in a fantasy setting, the people also willingly voted in ‘big brother’ to lead them.

      Certainly bitter. I guess the sweet part is not everyone died at the hands of the White Walkers. I guess.

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    13. Ten Bears,

      Akash, great article and central point of the whole series to talk about! I agree, I was always confused by what Dany meant by “Break the Wheel”. Her goal was to become queen, so how was that going to be any different than the system they already had? Did she mean the Targaryens would always be the rulers, since one of the things she said about breaking the Wheel was that different families seizing power “crushed those underneath”? Did she mean the people would no longer be oppressed because she would make sure they were treated with justice? I was hoping to learn what she meant by breaking the wheel, and I don’t feel we ever got an answer.

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    14. Regarding this question, I thought it was a weird ending that Bran told the council to “carry on” while he was going to try to locate Drogon. It was like he’s saying he’s leaving it to the council to take care of the realm, and he won’t be very involved. Is that somehow “breaking the wheel”?

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    15. I tend to agree with Mau, that completely breaking the wheel would not have been realistic, nor would a sudden change to a democracy have been. Going to a king elected by the nobles is a step forward as it indeed does take away the question of inheriting such power. As Akash pointed out such a system could eventually cause similar struggles as in the past via an ambitious house with a large army (and enough power to persuade at least some other nobles). Therefore, I think a next step to making this system more stable would be a standing army loyal to the King (ie the law). I am expecting this to be the case in the books and also think that the small council scene might have hinted at that.
      So clearly the wheel is not broken, but it is slightly improved and more stable thus reducing the need for armed conflicts from which the smallfolk suffer the most.
      In this context I find the secession of the North very disappointing as they apparently have learned nothing and stay with feudal rule.

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    16. “Breaking the wheel” was always a frustrating show concept, because it snowballed into people expecting radical transformation of society despite Daenerys clearly not intending anything to major democratization, which was exacerbated when Tyrion et al. began arguing with Dany herself as to what it meant despite her being the one to coin the phrase.

      To the extent that the wheel represents the existing order, most obviously, the wheel is in place undisturbed in the North, which separated and retains its heredity-based sovereign succession. So consider the North a bastion of traditionalism under the now rather xenophobic House Stark (which the show seemed to be arguing was a good thing, or something).

      As far as the Six Kingdoms go, the game of thrones is to a great extent suspended while Bran is alive, since as the Three-Eyed Raven he, at least in theory, is impossible to get rid of given the extent of his powers. But we don’t really know much about how much he knows or to what extent he makes use of that information, which makes assessing how he’ll act as king very difficult. In theory, again, this could be a long and extremely peaceful reign, albeit peace via the birth of an Orwellian surveillance state.

      Bronn will soon have the treasury turned into a cesspool of graft and corruption, though.

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    17. A Man:
      One could argue that there are now two wheels where there were previously none.

      Agree. The southern wheel has been knocked off its axis, but still turns. Bran and, to a lesser extent, Tyrion look to the future, and understand the present and past. If Bran isn’t too hands-off, corruption will diminish and probably meritocracy will rise. So, some progress has been made. But the North continues as an autocracy for now, and under a very conservative, rule-abiding, hierarchical ruler. Yesterday, Inga speculated that her reign might be brief. I think so too. Even if that is so, whoever takes over will still be an autocrat. So overall, the wheel is weaker but not broken. Not yet.

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    18. No, the wheel wasn’t broken. It just got a new spoke added to it – Family Stark. Not only Bran becoming the king of the ‘six’ kingdoms, but his sister Sansa now being the Queen in the North.

      TBH, I’ve no idea why Bran sent Jon back to The Wall? The Nights Watch no longer exists not forgetting to mention the Wildlings fought alongside with their former enemies to rid Westeros of The Night King and his Army of the Dead. Strange also that Jon actually being Aegon Targaryan (sixth of his name) was never mentioned after he killed Daenarys and Bran, Sam and Tyrion along with Sansa and Arya knew that? OK, we know that Jon wasn’t interesting in the Iron Throne or being the king, but it should have been him who made the decision at that meeting with the Lords in the Dragon Pit?

      Speaking of which another hole in the story was how did Grey Worm know Jon had killed Dany and had him arrrested? There were no unsullied in the throne room when that happened and then Drogon flew off with her body still with his dagger in her heart and thus removing the evidence! Can only presume that Jon being the honest person he was told GW he murdered her – or perhaps it was Tyrion who told GW? Then again, it was Tyrion who put the idea to Jon that Dany must be eliminated seeing what she had done killing thousands of innocents in KL? That she was indeed following in her father’s footsteps and becoming ‘The Mad Queen’!

      Although I was quite OK with the ending and Bran ending up as the king, that whole aftermath at the dragon pit with the Lords of Westeros after Jon killed Dany could have been better explained or presented?

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    19. Just finished watching ep 4, and like the other three, thought it outstanding, an 8/10. Stull surprised that she didn’t burn ships while she had the chance. Certainly the look she gave after Missandei’s death was all you needed to see. She didn’t care about the wheel. She wanted payment, revenge, and fire and blood. No advisors will stop her now

      The acting throughout these 4 episodes has been among the best I have see in the how.

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    20. This may not be the place, but it is the newest post… [promise to read and comment! topic sounds interesting ^_^]

      I just came across this on amazon and [LOL] I’m tempted … I bought the other 2 GOT coloring books, so I wonder if other characters will get this treatment or if this was just fan appreciation taken to an all new level!

      https://www.amazon.com/Maisie-Williams-Adult-Coloring-Book/dp/1099853419/ref=sr_1_44?keywords=funko+arya&qid=1559278308&s=gateway&sr=8-44

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    21. My interpretation was that Bran is meant to be a caretaker and figurehead as Tyrion and Sam work out a gradual transition to a constitutional monarchy. They start with a house of Lords (already implied by the need to elect a new king) then add a house of Commons (as Sam suggested) and, over the decades of Bran ‘s reign, gradually put more power in this new Parliament. Bran will be on board with it (he doesn’t crave power, but looks for the best long-term solution for the world). By the time Bran dies (many decades of even centuries) everyone will be used to this new system, where a king is mostly ceremonial.

      This seemed to be the obvious take-away when I watched the last episode. Why else would Tyrion suggest Bran? If he really wanted the most capable person to rule in the traditional sense, he would have chosen Sansa. But he didn’t want that, he really wanted a change.

      The lesson is that you can’t break the wheel all at once. It takes gradual, incremental changes, with people in control who are willing and patient enough to see them through. Bran is perfect for that purpose.

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    22. Black Raven,

      Maybe, there is some “sense” in sending Jon to the Wall and re-establishing the Night’s Watch. The 3-eyed Raven has just turned Westeros into a survelliance state, and that leads nowhere else than to the rule of terror. We don’t know his agenda: maybe, he will use his powers to suppress corruption and encourage meritocracy… I highly doubt that. From what we saw, the 3-eyed Raven was undermining meritocracy (Jon who was the very embodiment of meritocrasy and also Dany who has been blatantly robbed of the acknowldgment for her merits) and encouraging corruption (again Dany was pushed to chose fear over love and Sansa was temted and seduced into breaking a sacred oath). So, again there’s no sign that the 3-eyed Raven would ever encourage meritocracy over corruption: corruption creates chaos, and chaos is a ladder. But even if he somehow does, people instinctively hate survelliance and tend to mutiny against it different ways from embraing corruption to straightforward political revolt. Therefore, the 3-eyed Raven will have to do something with all these mutineers; and therefore he needs some “Siberia” to send them out.
      Sure, Jon is a problem: still a war hero, still “the Protector of the Realm”. Killing him would have been a safer decision, than putting in charge of the detention facility, espcially considering that the Night’s Watch is a military order, not a Gulag. However, there’s a question: can Jon be killed? The LoL has already resurrected him once and most probably can do it again. Moreover, if Jon is killed he may come back knowing who his enemy is. So, probably sending Jon out and relying on his committment to his vows is the only option the 3-Eyed Raven has.

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    23. “Breaking the wheel” = our real world “Taking back control!”

      😉

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    24. Benjamin,

      Well, unfortunately, it’s not how the system works. Read Plato. Aristocracy/oligarchty has no potential and cannot transform into democracy by itself. A shift towards democracy happens only when a strong an aucratic leader unites the commoners against corrupted aristocracy (oligarchy) and/or external threat. Sure, such shift eventually leads to tyrany and/or re-establishment of aristocracy, and if all of it is happening in the face of some external threat, different players may even reach some bearable balance of power at least until the threat persists. However, if there’s no visible external threat which could force people to make sacrifices and share power for the sake of survival, aristocracy just lingers on waisting itself on petit squabbles. That’s the natural law.

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    25. Thank you, Akash for this wonderfully insightful post. I’m slowly catching up as I became real-world busy immediately after the finale! Questions of power, politics and the masses are threaded throughout plots in both GoT and ASOIAF.

      It was after (or during) reading A Feast for Crows that I speculated that 1. The Iron Throne would be destroyed; and 2. The Great Council would be enacted to choose the next leader. At the time, I thought it was a tinfoil theory but alas, it has come to fruition, which I am gleefully happy about.

      Having said that, I have to agree that no, the “wheel” has not truly been broken. It is interesting because even the “Free Cities” in Essos are ruled by affluent families who have also started wars with each other. Perhaps this has already been discussed, but it seemed that the previous 3ER was staying alive in order to train and pass on his knowledge to Bran. Will Bran age so that another monarch is elected again? I also wonder how the Great Council will appoint new members. It seems there could be future conflict in that as well as those who are appointed may not want to elect a monarch or perhaps will seize power for themselves. Either way, in my imagination, I expect a few civil wars to happen.

      The king of course represents the power of the law and the government. The priest represents the power of organized religion. The wealthy man represents the banks, the power of wealth and class, and perhaps capitalism if you take the allegory that far. Those three pillars of civilization, if you will, often seem impenetrable.

      This heavily evokes the processes of colonization and imperialism (imperial powers also used the word “civilization”. I wonder if GRRM has delved into decolonial literature and Quijano’s “Coloniality of Power?” Perhaps the old wheel has been replaced by a new, stronger, epistemic wheel of power.

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    26. Tiago:
      After Bran was chosen king, that final small council scene brought nothing new to the table. Bran doesn’t seem to care, like Robert and Joffrey before him (perhaps for different reasons). We see Davos talking about ships.

      And we see Bronn. Bronn is my main complaint about the new Westerosi government. I enjoyed him as a sidekick to Tyrion or Jaime. He has some of the best one-liners in the early seasons. But having him in the small council is just wrong, if you want to say that the wheel has been broken. Bronn is an amoral, greedy character. Ruthless ambition turns out to be good… for some. The character should have died after Field of Fire 2.0. The battle was very well done, but lacked a climactic consequence. It would be the perfect moment for Bronn to die.

      GRRM ‘message’ was never going to be a clear cut definitive answer, do ‘this’ and everything will be a utopia kinda of answer… the world is more complicated than that and some moral people will lose/win and some amoral people will lose/win… that is life…

      Although I agree Bronn dying on the FoF would have been better than having his character hang around doing nothing for several seasons… it does sort of fit his book counterpart… he won’t get High Garden, way too many Tyrells and Tyrell cousins for even Bronn to effectively get rid of to accomplish that, but Bronn did get his castle in the books through ruthless means…

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    27. ash:
      mau,
      I have accepted Bran as king (still wish they left a few hints but fine) -so I have a questioned I wondered about early in the game – what is a 3 eye raven? how was it created and why (as a foil for the night king, as a memory machine)? Where in the power structure does he land? Is he considered a god by the COTF?what happens when the 3 eye raven is killed, how is that chosen?we know they get their news from the weirwood is it a tree god creating the visions?And what effect does one have when chosen as a ruling power?

      IF any of those questions are important, I’m sure GRRM will address them, they really were not important to the series, we got enough for the good vs evil (God vs Death) plot that the Others served. The show never delved into explaining how all the magic worked or the god(s) or why any of it existed in the first place – it just did. We got glimpses of his creation and who and why he was created, his mission.

      Do we really need to understand it all, it essentially was a god(s) working though people (Dany, Jon, Bran, Arya, Beric, Melisandre, etc…) to correct an imbalance in the world.

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    28. Joan Forest Mage:
      Ten Bears,
      Akash, great article and central point of the whole series to talk about! I agree, I was always confused by what Dany meant by “Break the Wheel”. Her goal was to become queen, so how was that going to be any different than the system they already had? Did she mean the Targaryens would always be the rulers, since one of the things she said about breaking the Wheel was that different families seizing power “crushed those underneath”? Did she mean the people would no longer be oppressed because she would make sure they were treated with justice? I was hoping to learn what she meant by breaking the wheel, and I don’t feel we ever got an answer.

      I thought this was answered in the last episode… when Jon talks to her to see what see means to do going forward… he wants to believe it is over now, she got what she wanted, but she has plans to basically do as you stated, destroy all forms of power and rule over everyone (it was in her speech to the unsullied/dothroki too – she wants to take down all the houses).

      She knows what is good and fair and only she (or her and Jon) get to decide (her entire speech before Jon kills her) because he now knows she will continue to do this again and again until everyone is ‘free’ and under her rule and she will create a ‘utopia’ (whatever that means – whatever she determines I guess) for everyone left. At least that is how I heard it… basically following AegonI lead, but going further to also destroy the noble houses so that they can no longer have the power to over throw her, like Robert did to her father/brother.

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    29. Raoul_Duke:
      So clearly the wheel is not broken, but it is slightly improved and more stable thus reducing the need for armed conflicts from which the smallfolk suffer the most.
      In this context I find the secession of the North very disappointing as they apparently have learned nothing and stay with feudal rule.

      They were shown to be real isolationist, but given all that the North has had to suffer, I guess I can see the point – they want to be left out of obligations to others, at least for a while…

      I really didn’t like how they ended the North story line with Sansa decking herself out in a new dress, crown and throne… the North isn’t about that kinda of artifice – Lady Lyanna would have called her out on that! The North suffered so much, lost so much, are in much need of resources and repairs and she has time/money to commission all of that as some of her first priorities? I know it is a show and they wanted the visual of crowning Sansa and a few dozen men cheering, but they didn’t even include Bran in that montage, also being crowned or meeting with the ‘people’ to give them hope for a renewed peace and prosperity for the future – we never even got a scene of how the smallfolk were recovering from all of destruction or seeing their newly appointed boy king… would have been nice to see some of that ‘hope’ renewed in the smallfolk and see some of the positive changes/rebuilding that was being done…

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    30. Sean C.:
      “Breaking the wheel” was always a frustrating show concept, because it snowballed into people expecting radical transformation of society despite Daenerys clearly not intending anything to major democratization, which was exacerbated when Tyrion et al. began arguing with Dany herself as to what it meant despite her being the one to coin the phrase.

      To the extent that the wheel represents the existing order, most obviously, the wheel is in place undisturbed in the North, which separated and retains its heredity-based sovereign succession.So consider the North a bastion of traditionalism under the now rather xenophobic House Stark (which the show seemed to be arguing was a good thing, or something).

      As far as the Six Kingdoms go, the game of thrones is to a great extent suspended while Bran is alive, since as the Three-Eyed Raven he, at least in theory, is impossible to get rid of given the extent of his powers.But we don’t really know much about how much he knows or to what extent he makes use of that information, which makes assessing how he’ll act as king very difficult.In theory, again, this could be a long and extremely peaceful reign, albeit peace via the birth of an Orwellian surveillance state.

      Bronn will soon have the treasury turned into a cesspool of graft and corruption, though.

      Orwellian surveillance state, lol

      I don’t think Bran cares too much about the things that an Orwellian state was created for, and he learned to not interfere because of Hodor… I think his real time information network will come in useful, and since he seems ‘incorruptible’ at least in that ‘he doesn’t want anything’ for personal greed/gains… I suspect a long/peace… at least that is what I think the show was aiming at.

      As for Bronn, I guess Bran surveillance will catch him before its gets out of hand, see a positive use of Brans raven network already 🙂

      Are there really 6 Kingdoms? Before with 7 Kingdoms we had
      (1)Dorne, (2)The Reach, (3)The Stormlands, (4)The Vale, (5)The Riverlands, (6)The Westerlands, (7)The North (Iron Islands was under Northern control)

      so if the North leaves, but the Iron Islands stay, it would still be seven…
      if six – I would like to think that the Iron Islands are also independent, like the North – they just didn’t represent that well as she is also voting, but Theon did call her his Queen in S8E1, and I don’t see her giving back that title… Yara was only there as a representative, but was still independent kingdom (best to work with and keep good relations with your neighbors, besides she was Dany’s girl)

      It makes the most sense as she wasn’t happy with their ‘justice’ for Jon Snow, but decided to not fight it as she seemed on the losing side anyway as no one else was really interested in continued fighting – all wanted peace/recovery.

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    31. Stark Raven’ Rad: Agree.The southern wheel has been knocked off its axis, but still turns.Bran and, to a lesser extent,Tyrion look to the future, and understand the present and past.If Bran isn’t too hands-off,corruption will diminish and probably meritocracy will rise.So, some progress has been made.But the North continues as an autocracy for now, and under a very conservative, rule-abiding, hierarchical ruler.Yesterday, Inga speculated that her reign might be brief.I think so too.Even if that is so, whoever takes over will still be an autocrat.So overall, the wheel is weaker but not broken.Not yet.

      It felt like they were going for a Queen Elizabeth reference, as many suspected… which really make me sad, as that is as far removed from book!Sansa (at least as she is now, still 2 more books) as you could possibly get, I suspect this will not be her book end, and they lifted QueenE as her endgame narrative.

      Brief? Will need to look for that post, I don’t know if it will brief, but it certainly seems like it will be without issue/heir… which is the saddest part of all – cause if true, no more Stark. Bran can’t, Sansa and Arya won’t? end of line? I guess they are young and time and the ‘ticking clock’ or ‘happy accident’ might change their minds in the future.

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    32. Black Raven:
      No, the wheel wasn’t broken. It just got a new spoke added to it – Family Stark. Not only Bran becoming the king of the ‘six’ kingdoms, but his sister Sansa now being the Queen in the North.

      TBH, I’ve no idea why Bran sent Jon back to The Wall? The Nights Watch no longer exists not forgetting to mention the Wildlings fought alongside with their former enemies to rid Westeros of The Night King and his Army of the Dead. Strange also that Jon actually being Aegon Targaryan (sixth of his name) was never mentioned after he killed Daenarys and Bran, Sam and Tyrion along with Sansa and Arya knew that?OK, we know that Jon wasn’t interesting in the Iron Throne or being the king, but it should have been him who made the decision at that meeting with the Lords in the Dragon Pit?

      Speaking of which another hole in the story was how did Grey Worm know Jon had killed Dany and had him arrrested? There were no unsullied in the throne room when that happened and then Drogon flew off with her body still with his dagger in her heart and thus removing the evidence!Can only presume that Jon being the honest person he was told GW he murdered her – or perhaps it was Tyrion who told GW? Then again, it was Tyrion who put the idea to Jon that Dany must be eliminated seeing what she had done killing thousands of innocents in KL? That she was indeed following in her father’s footsteps and becoming ‘The Mad Queen’!

      Although I was quite OK with the ending and Bran ending up as the king, that whole aftermath at the dragon pit with the Lords of Westeros after Jon killed Dany could have been better explained or presented?

      Technically the NW was where they sent prisoners to live out their sentences… the NW was given purpose to keep the wildlings from raiding the North, but it could still be used as a harsh prison sentence… honestly, I think it was just a way to appease Dany’s men, to have Jon exiled forever, I don’t think they understood it wouldn’t really be that hard a punishment for Jon… he would punishes himself more than anyone anyway.

      Jon is as honest as winter is long, of course he confessed. He would accept any punishment given, just like he stood in front of Dragon and awaited his judgement. That was one scene that really didn’t need to be added… it is obvious, even you answered in on the first go.

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    33. Benjamin:
      My interpretation was that Bran is meant to be a caretaker and figurehead as Tyrion and Sam work out a gradual transition to a constitutional monarchy. They start with a house of Lords (already implied by the need to elect a new king) then add a house of Commons (as Sam suggested) and, over the decades of Bran ‘s reign, gradually put more power in this new Parliament. Bran will be on board with it (he doesn’t crave power, but looks for the best long-term solution for the world). By the time Bran dies (many decades of even centuries) everyone will be used to this new system, where a king is mostly ceremonial.

      This seemed to be the obvious take-away when I watched the last episode. Why else would Tyrion suggest Bran? If he really wanted the most capable person to rule in the traditional sense, he would have chosen Sansa. But he didn’t want that, he really wanted a change.

      The lesson is that you can’t break the wheel all at once. It takes gradual, incremental changes, with people in control who are willing and patient enough to see them through. Bran is perfect for that purpose.

      This is as good an explanation as any… again radical change just isn’t practical or sustainable… most of the smallfolk still can’t read/write… they are going to have to change incrementally and possibly work closer together as a nation under one ‘figurehead’ king – too many of the problems stem from everyone feeling like they are not united, but separate peoples that don’t trust or like each other. Would have preferred at least 1-2 of those other ‘nameless’ nobles also on the small counsel, having a voice and say over the kingdom, like Vale or Dorne… showing unity and diversity…

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    34. Inga:
      Black Raven,
      Maybe, there is some “sense” in sending Jon to the Wall and re-establishing the Night’s Watch. The 3-eyed Raven has just turned Westeros into a survelliance state, and that leads nowhere else than to the rule of terror. We don’t know his agenda: maybe, he will use his powers to suppress corruption and encourage meritocracy… I highly doubt that. From what we saw, the 3-eyed Raven was undermining meritocracy (Jon who was the very embodiment of meritocrasy and also Dany who has been blatantly robbed of the acknowldgment for her merits) and encouraging corruption (again Dany was pushed to chose fear over love and Sansa was temted and seduced into breaking a sacred oath). So, again there’s no sign that the 3-eyed Raven would ever encourage meritocracy over corruption: corruption creates chaos, and chaos is a ladder. But even if he somehow does, people instinctively hate survelliance and tend to mutiny against it different ways from embraing corruption to straightforward political revolt. Therefore, the 3-eyed Raven will have to do something with all these mutineers; and therefore he needs some “Siberia” to send them out.
      Sure, Jon is a problem: still a war hero, still “the Protector of the Realm”. Killing him would have been a safer decision, than putting in charge of the detention facility, espcially considering that the Night’s Watch is a military order, not a Gulag. However, there’s a question: can Jon be killed? The LoL has already resurrected him once and most probably can do it again. Moreover, if Jon is killed he may come back knowing who his enemy is. So, probably sending Jon out and relying on his committment to his vows is the only option the 3-Eyed Raven has.

      All this speculation is funny, clearly non of this was the intended take-a-way for the show, and if GRRM decided to include any of this in his narrative, well I guess the next books will give us more insight into the 3ER and his motivations… I don’t think this is anyway plausible in the books. The books are already so dense with nearly 4-5 wars being waged or about to be waged that adding all this frankly there wouldn’t be time to fit it in, the book will end with the battle with the Others decided and the final IT/ruler established, with most of his other story threads nicely integrated or wrapped up. Having a huge cliffhanger hanging over the 3ER motivations would be a terrible way to end his epic tale with a sort of last minute curve ball. GRRM doesn’t write like that and unless he has already planned a sequel in which he follows the 3ER rule and how he was the true evil all along and that everyone has to come back to remove him from power and save poor Bran… nah, I highly doubt any of this… either it is part of this story, or it wont’ happen at all.

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    35. viki: Technically the NW was where they sent prisoners to live out their sentences…the NW was given purpose to keep the wildlings from raiding the North, but it could still be used as a harsh prison sentence… honestly, I think it was just a way to appease Dany’s men, to have Jon exiled forever, I don’t think they understood it wouldn’t really be that hard a punishment for Jon… he would punishes himself more than anyone anyway.

      Jon is as honest as winter is long, of course he confessed. He would accept any punishment given, just like he stood in front of Dragon and awaited his judgement. That was one scene that really didn’t need to be added… it is obvious, even you answered in on the first go.

      He could have still told the truth and just said Dany flew off with Drogon and he doesn’t know where they went. That’s the truth! No one was there as a witness to see what happened. The 3ER could have seen it possibly, but Bran has kept secrets before. But of course, you are right that Jon’s conscience would have forced him to confess and face the consequences. He was willing to stand there and let Drogon burn him.

      It’s going to take him years to recover from what he did. When he rode North of the wall with the wildlings, you can tell he still was thinking about what he had done. He had a real smile moment with Ghost, and then he was back in deep thought again. There were no chest bumps with his friend Tormund. It’s interesting that in real life Kit had to seek rehab. He gets into his character so deeply, I’m sure having to kill Dany and face what comes next in his life was extremely difficult to live with for him as it was for his character. Perhaps if the old gods allowed me to do a re-write, I would have changed things around and had Jon kill the Night King and Arya could have killed Dany. Arya would know how Jon would become “Jon the Broken” if he had to do the act. Arya would have been fine being exiled, and she would have still been able to escape west of westeros by taking on someone’s face and she could have got away. She was more prepared psychologically to be able to handle the assassination and she could have done this for her brother knowing how difficult his life would become if he had to be the one to decide to kill his queen. I don’t think the showrunners could let her do both big moments (kill the NK and Dany), so I would have just reversed it. The way it turned out, Jon may never recover from what he had to do, but at least he has Ghost and his wildling followers to make his life bearable.

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    36. Tron79: He could have still told the truth and just said Dany flew off with Drogon and he doesn’t know where they went. That’s the truth!No one was there as a witness to see what happened.The 3ER could have seen it possibly, but Bran has kept secrets before.But of course, you are right that Jon’s conscience would have forced him to confess and face the consequences. He was willing to stand there and let Drogon burn him.

      It’s going to take him years to recover from what he did.When he rode North of the wall with the wildlings, you can tell he still was thinking about what he had done.He had a real smile moment with Ghost, and then he was back in deep thought again. There were no chest bumps with his friend Tormund. It’s interesting that in real life Kit had to seek rehab.He gets into his character so deeply, I’m sure having to kill Dany and face what comes next in his life was extremely difficult to live with for him as it was for his character.Perhaps if the old gods allowed me to do a re-write, I would have changed things around and had Jon kill the Night King and Arya could have killed Dany. Arya would know how Jon would become “Jon the Broken” if he had to do the act.Arya would have been fine being exiled, and she would have still been able to escape west of westeros by taking on someone’s face and she could have got away.She was more prepared psychologically to be able to handle the assassination and she could have done this for her brother knowing how difficult his life would become if he had to be the one to decide to kill his queen.I don’t think the showrunners could let her do both big moments (kill the NK and Dany), so I would have just reversed it.The way it turned out, Jon may never recover from what he had to do, but at least he has Ghost and his wildling followers to make his life bearable.

      It’s not the whole truth! Besides there was a huge pool of blood on the floor, and the melted IT, and Dany and Drogon just flying off never to return… yeah, no one would buy any of that! Even Hodor! LOL

      They were working off GRRM notes, obviously some changes had to be made to fit the show, but Jon killing Dany seemed like a huge moment to me, and no Arya couldn’t have done it for him… I hate the way people overestimate Arya’s skillset as if she can literally do anything… it is ridiculous. She is quiet, quick, determined, clever, and highly underestimated (her biggest asset) most people don’t see her as a threat – but she can’t do anything and get away with it, getting near Dany wouldn’t not have been easy, Jon had special privileges as a Targ. Arya killing the NK in the show made sense, the NK knew Jon has a special sword that would kill him with one blow, of course he would avoid him, and anyone else with a weapon… it need to be a surprise attack when his guard was down, when he felt he had won – so Arya and her stealth and dagger. In the show it is fine and makes sense.

      Why would Arya have to be exiled? She wouldn’t be caught, or if caught it would be with another’s face, so once that ‘person’ disappeared/escaped (again she can do anything now right) – she would be in the clear and the killer would remain on the loose… hell with all the enemies that Dany made that day, that explanation would actually make sense! I thought Martha (Vary’s little serving girl) might try and poison Dany, one last effort on Vary’s part to stop Dany… but a survivor of the King Landing Massacre getting revenge for the loss of his/her entire family/friends/life… I could buy that one too!

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    37. Of all the people to rule Westeros, Bran is by far the best choice. The show doesn’t make it clear enough, but Bran is graced/cursed with the knowledge of nearly everything that has happened over the last 8-10 thousand years if I’m not mistaken. So he has at his hand the knowledge of all the mistakes made, problems that arose, solutions offered, on and on, through thousands of generations of societies and rulers.

      Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it, no?

      He is also clearly not interested in power for power’s sake, which is the bane of all forms of government, including democracy.

      He seems unaffected by emotional ties, so his judgements should be based on the facts before him, the vast knowledge he has access to, and not swayed by emotional reasons. I’d like to see some compassion in a ruler personally, but hey, you can’t have everything.

      To those who think “breaking the wheel” and having democracy, I say, well, look to our society. As far as I can tell, election results these days are based more on the cult of personality than they are the qualifications and/or experience of the politicians. Either wealthy individuals enter into politics, or those who enter into politics without wealth, and are successful, become wealthy, and not through their salaries. Human nature. Maybe not mine or yours, but those type of individuals will exist forever among us, and will learn ways to take advantage of our systems for their own purposes.

      We assume the benevolence of other humans, but there are those of us who seek for power and wealth, mouthing the proper words that make us feel all warm and fuzzy, but in truth caring little for the masses. They don’t have to live with the results of their own decisions because of their wealth and positions.

      Those who seek power and wealth at the expense of others will always find a way to what they want, whether it be a corporate/capitalist society, or socialist/communist society. Either through private means, or the power of government positions. That is human nature and will not change, now, or in the foreseeable future. So you need some sort of system that will keep that to a minimum, while allowing for the masses of us to pursue our lives as best we can.

      The jury is still out on that, and we will continue to experiment for generations to come, I am sure. At least we have the power still to do that.

      But back to Bran, as to breaking the wheel, I think this was the absolute best solution available to Westeros. I wish we had leaders that had access to that kind of information, and no lust for power or wealth. That’s why I enjoy fantasy! 😉

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    38. viki,

      “Having a huge cliffhanger hanging over the 3ER motivations would be a terrible way to end his epic tale.”

      The show did exactly that and yes: it’s both terrible and fearsom.

      As for GRRM, if he ever finishes the books, we’ll see. But somehow I highly doubt that he’s gonna turn the 3ER-Bran into some sort of good or at least well-intended ruler: so far, he has destroyed every single protagonist he had. And in general: a godly creature in a wordly position of power is a fundamental disalance which screams to be fixed up.

      So, let’s be frank. Show ending is the only ending, we will probably have for some 10-15 years, and everyone is entitled to start fanfictioning from here. And the audience is huge: some 1.5 million fans went as far as signing the petion. Even a small share of that would be sufficient to support any fanfiction. I would probably try to write something myself, if my English were better, LOL.

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    39. Lindamon,

      Bran could not figure out Jon’s parentage without Sam’s help. That was just 6 episodes ago.

      He was useless in the fight against the AOTD. He did not even know where the AOTD was – It is Tormund that told Jon. That was 2 episodes before he became king.

      He was not made king because of his knowledge. Tyrion said he had the best story. Whatever that means.

      Truth is we cannot fully judge – because the story did not let us get to know Bran 3E raven.

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    40. I have no idea what Daenerys meant by “breaking the wheel” because she clearly had no intention of being anything other than Queen.

      Perhaps her more meaningful phrase was “leave the world a better place than we found it,” because her actions at least in abolishing slavery actually achieved that – debateably.

      Of course, even that has flown out the window by the time she’s brushing off the Army of the Dead as “Jon’s war.” Instead of the end of the freakin’ world.

      Power corrupts, become the thing you hate, and all that. “I am a dragon and I want my crown!”

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    41. viki,

      Thanks for your response. Your points are logical and make sense to me.
      My suggestion of Arya doing it was more based on her character knowing how hard it would be for her brother to live with it. And she did still consider him her brother. I do think they’ve shown that FM are pretty incredible. She could have followed Jon and used a tranquilizer dart (like Jaqen used at Harrenhal, but not with deadly poison) to knock out Jon and then do the deed herself. Yes, getting past Drogon would have been difficult for even Arya though! I know this is purely fan fiction!!! but I’m thinking of how the character of Arya would worry about Jon and want to take that burden from him. I do understand it’s not the way it happened and it would have been tough for Arya to get past Drogon. Point well taken. Honestly, that was one of the only reasons it mattered to the story that Jon was actually a Targ (to get past Drogon).

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    42. Mango,

      I didn’t say he had ALL knowledge, but he far surpasses everyone else alive as a knowledge database.

      Perhaps he was not made king because of his knowledge, but he still has it, so that works just fine, Unintended results. Having said that, I believe Tyrion’ use of the word “stories” was simply a poetic way of saying the same thing. YMMV for sure, no worries.

      You have to remember, the people of this world don’t seem all that bright in the first place.

      I mean, no technological advancement over 8000 years? A medieval technology that never advances? Kind of sad really.

      Even if they don’t have fossil fuels in Westeros, you’d think by now someone would at least have figured out steam power!

      But finding logical faults in the stories of Westeros while entertaining for us, and I am not judging that, is not the point.

      Trying to find logic in a fictional fantasy world is a fools errand, and I am as much a fool as anyone for making an argument about Bran being the best king, but in my defense, and other’s who criticize the show and/or books, it’s fiction, we love it, and we want to immerse ourselves in the world of it and become a part of it, so no worries.

      So while I make an argument based on this fantasy world we love, I do try to remember the real point of all these stories is not just what happens to the characters at the end.

      As GRRM states quite clearly, (though I realize I paraphrase here) the main purpose of his stories to explore and show the conflicts in the human heart, which I think he is quite good at, and the show did an excellent job of as well.

      Some of us may not understand or agree with these conflicts, or their resolutions, but I believe they are are valid questions to ask, and human issues to explore, through the tool of fiction.

      Our own lives, our own stories we must explore and try to understand on our own. It’s sometimes a daunting task, but we take in what knowledge we can from others, and fiction, especilly when I was young, has always been a help to me.

      Cheers!

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    43. In retrospect, Dany’s “break the wheel” mantra is a bit of a red flag. At least that’s how I see it now. She mentions the “spokes” of Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Tyrells as rolling over the people, crushing those beneath it. Yet she, as sole ruler, will set things right?

      Going back to one of the first conversations between Tyrion and Dany, he tells her that she will need the support of the houses of Westeros to take the throne, and she basically implies that she doesn’t need/want the support of them if they won’t give it to her. She will rule no matter what.

      So “break the wheel” is just Dany’s justification for her benevolent and rightful rule perhaps? It wasn’t/isn’t about establishing a better system per se, because this phrase was coined by Dany, Queen of the Ashes.

      Still.. I agree that this is the most problematic part of the ending. While I like the idea of Bran as king (I don’t buy any of the evil Bran theories), more was needed to set him up as the king and why this is good for Westeros, and why all the other lords & ladies back him.

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    44. Joan Forest Mage:
      Regarding this question, I thought it was a weird ending that Bran told the council to “carry on” while he was going to try to locate Drogon. It was like he’s saying he’s leaving it to the council to take care of the realm, and he won’t be very involved. Is that somehow “breaking the wheel”?

      I think it’s important for them to know where Drogon is traveling as he had Dany’ s body. The Red Priestesses can resurrect if they are brought into play quickly as with Melisandre and Jon.
      Jon is banished and has been ordered to not have children.
      There are to be no more Targaryens. Gendry doesn’t count as he is only a small percentage through Robert. He identifies as a Baratheon.

      The Stark girls are still very young. I can see children in both of their futures, perhaps without husbands.

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    45. Akash,

      Brilliant article once again. I’d been waiting for your thoughts after the finale. Worth it as always.

      A few thoughts of my own:

      + The dominance of the aristocratic/religious/merchant classes in Westeros will not persist in the long-term if the common masses ultimately reject any religious basis for the ongoing dominance of the minority of people belonging to those classes. Real-life historical precedents from the medieval and ancient worlds usually involved the masses adopting more egalitarian interpretations of their religion or completely different religions offering more egalitarian principles, rather than rejecting religious belief entirely.

      + Historically, such social transformations did not occur peacefully if the established three elite classes found ways to refuse to let them happen. Such sweeping changes did not happen at all — not in any meaningful sense — if the common masses were unaware of the true scale of their own power, especially if they’d internalised the very notion of hierarchy as the fundamental basis of human life (most of all if there was also a religious angle). I’m referring specifically to the medieval and ancient periods again, although there are obviously some parts of the modern world that still have these issues to this day.

      + In this context, Varys’s comments about power being a “shadow on the wall” are truly brilliant. Like Varys said, power is wherever the person on the receiving end decides it is.

      + The derisive reactions to Sam’s suggestion of democracy hint that even the noble houses comprising the “winners” of the Game of Thrones — supposedly the good guys — will not necessarily react well (or peacefully) if the common masses ever try to remove/replace them completely as the rulers of Westeros. Historically, such things have only happened successfully if the ruling elites suffered a catastrophic military defeat at the hands of external forces, either because the latter removed them from power or because they were now too weak to resist/oppose the common people taking power for themselves.

      + Bran is now just a figurehead “king”, and he seems to be perfectly aware of it (the normally expressionless Bran was practically smirking at the Small Council when he said he’d leave Tyrion to run the show). European parallel: Bran is a constitutional monarch, and true power now resides in the hands of his Prime Minister, ie. Tyrion. Medieval Japanese parallel: Bran is the emperor, but the real ruler is the Shogun, our buddy Tyrion.

      + So the ultimate winner of the Game of Thrones really did end up being Tyrion, in practical terms the best man for the job (even better than Jon, overall). He’s the de facto king, but his formal position of Hand of the King means he can get on with ruling Westeros without the hassles of the actual kingship and without the masses being aggravated by the notion of yet another Lannister as monarch.

      + Think back to Tywin’s discussion with the newly-crowned Tommen about what qualities make the best ruler. Also consider Tywin’s remarks about who is really “the most powerful man in Westeros”. And, of course, remember Tywin’s statement that “any man who has to say ‘I am the king’ is no true king at all”. All of these are now very ironic indeed when you consider who has actually ended up as Westeros’s de facto ruler and the way that Tywin mistreated him.

      + If “the Wheel” was represented by the Iron Throne, Drogon ended up being the one who destroyed it.

      + I think the whole issue of the Night King etc was a deliberate red herring from the start. GRRM once said something about how the real monsters are other human beings and this was what he wanted to show in his story (as opposed to LOTR etc). So Dany was the real villain of the story all along; it wasn’t necessarily easy to spot because of genre tropes and — more directly — because like many real-life nasty people, Dany didn’t think of herself as evil if she could find a way to justify her actions, especially if it involved blaming (and, eventually, scapegoating) other people, so her personality wasn’t overtly nasty. Unfortunately in the real world, there certainly are psychopaths like Ramsay Bolton, but not all malicious people are as obviously sadistic as him — some hide it well, others find excuses to rationalise it (like Dany) — and given GRRM’s genre-subverting intentions along with the whole “psychological realism” thing, Dany was never going to end up being some medieval fantasy version of Princess Leia.

      + Parallels between Jon and Dany: Both of them were stabbed to death as a result of a conspiracy by some of their erstwhile allies, because the latter disagreed so strongly with what he/she was in the process of doing. (Yes, Jon’s death was obviously temporary).

      + Parallels between Dany and real-life historical figures:

      ++ The closest example is actually Alexander the Great. He sacked numerous cities across the world, including deliberately slaughtering civilians, developed a mercurial temper, became increasingly megalomaniacal, believed himself to be divinely blessed and eventually divine himself, and claimed that he was “liberating” the world by trying to bring it under his sole rule. Like Dany, Alexander also died suddenly and early, albeit under mysterious circumstances in his case (long believed to have possibly been poisoned by some of his closest allies, although recent research indicates his death may actually have had medical causes).

      ++ To a lesser extent, there are parallels with Julius Caesar too. Caesar slaughtered huge numbers of civilians in Gaul during his rise to power, claimed to be primarily concerned with the plight of the Roman common people, was regarded as becoming a megalomaniac by some of his closest allies, and those allies ultimately killed Caesar in a conspiracy just before he was about to launch a huge campaign of conquest to the east.

      ++ Jon would probably have become an Augustus figure (both immediately and in the long-term) if someone else had killed Dany and Jon took the throne afterwards, especially if he still opposed her murder.

      + This was not shown on GoT, but if the stuff in the books about Naarth is still canon, Grey Worm and his army of Unsullied will die in a horrific way soon after they arrive at the island, since it is toxic to outsiders. So most of them were sailing straight to their deaths. No happy ending for Grey Worm.

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    46. MotherofWolves: I think it’s important for them to know where Drogon is traveling as he had Dany’ s body. The Red Priestesses can resurrect if they are brought into play quickly as with Melisandre and Jon.

      Despite what some people will argue, Jon was resurrected for a purpose. So was Beric. Both were in the service of defeating the Night King. At this point, there is no purpose in resurrecting Dany (as far as the Lord of Light is concerned at least). Unless it’s a Lady Stoneheart-type scenario where a priest sacrifices their life for Dany with a kiss, but that was never established on the show. (And if you thought LSH was bad in the books, a resurrected Dany with Drogon would potentially be cataclysmic!).

      I doubt Bran or the small council is concerned with any resurrections, they just need to keep tabs on Drogon given the extreme destruction he could potentially cause.

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    47. That’s enough from me. Akash, thank you for your wonderful articles on this website; I really hope you plan to continue writing here when the prequels come out.

      And thank you to WotW’s commenters too; I’ve enjoyed reading your intelligent and thought-provoking discussions.

        Quote  Reply

    48. Lindamon,

      What makes you to conclude that 3ER is not interested in power for power’s sake? I think we saw exactly the oposite.
      The first lesson Bran gets from his father is “the one who passes the sentence must swing the sword”. The second one he gets from his grand-father Ricard: “If you have to fight, win.” Ned’s lesson translates into “play fair”; Rickard’s sounds more like “ends justify the means”. Which of those two lessons does Bran follow?
      In the beginning, he becomes a cripple and starts seeking the 3ER at least partly as a compensation for that. Then on the way he starst abusing people (Hodor), which seems justified, as Bran and all of us believe that he serves a bigger purpose and is supposed to sacrifice himslelf for the survival of mankind. This continues until the 3ER takes over his body. From that moment, Bran is no longer Bran; however, some part and memories of being Bran remain and are integrated into the consciousness of the 3ER, so at least partly the 3ER is still Brann who learned several things including using other people for his purposes. And the initial 3ER also has this habit.

      In this light, the purpose becomes essential. If it’s really noble like saving Westeros from the Night King sacrifices may be justified; however, somewere on the way 3ER/Bran loses all the empathy and becomes fixed on his own survival motivated by his personal importance. And he uses that line “chaos is a ladder”. Initially it sounds like he simply wants to scare Littlefinger; however, when we consider his further actions, it starts looking like he really said that for himself and about himslelf.

      From the moment, Bran-3ER collects all the missing pieces at the end of S7 and starts playng, he’s doing everything to create chaos. 1) the key piece of information about Dany losing her dragon when saiving Jon and the whole mission, which would have presented her in a very positive light in the eyes of the northerners, as well as Sansa and Arya just gets missing. 2) Bran orchesrates Jon’s parentage reveal so, that his alliance with Dany nearly falls apart on the eve of the battle. 3) He covers Jaime’s sins, so he could use him for creating more chaos during the aftermath of the Great War. 4) 3ER sais that he’s not Bran Stark to all the people except Brans real family; when it comes to Jon, Sansa or Arya, the 3ER poses as Bran. It has nothing to do with a “fair game” Ned tried to teach him, it’s all about “ends justify the means”. And what ends exactly?

      Bran is not all that indifferent to personal comforts: he wanted a wheel-chair and got it. So, his statement about not wanting anymore is either a self-delusion or a straightforward lie and I lean to the latter. After all, he used the chaos he created to turn his wheel-chair into a throne and manipulated Tyrion to help him knowing that Tyrion has a soft spot for cripples and broken things (and also that he can be very naive). So, in short, 3ER-Bran doesn’t play fair, he is all about “if you have to fight, win”, and his motives are very earthy: survival and personal comfort.

      Which actually makes me re-assess the role of the NK. Sure, the NK was bad, but what if the 3ER simply used him as “icereaker” to infiltrate the realms of men?

      One way or another, giving powere to the creature which doesn’t play fair is a very bad and very dangerous thing.

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    49. Emily,

      I wouldn’t put too much into Dany calling the Great War “Jon’s War”: after all, she was speaking with Sansa, when she said that, and her main point was that she was not manipulating Jon. And in general, I don’t think that Dany’s arc is about “power corrupts”. To me it’s more like “misfortune and lack of credit corrupts” which turns into justification of school-shooting and terrorism, and I absolutely hate it, but it was what we’ve got.

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    50. Tron79,

      Frakly speaking, Arya became an absolutely irrelevant to the story after she killed the NK. And her dcision to go west of Westeros is also weird and infantile. Such a waste of a great charracter!

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    51. Tiago:
      MotherofWolves,

      No, please. The character has already been reduced to a caricature in the last episodes. We don’t need some Lady Fireheart to make it even worse.

      Oh, I definitely don’t want that either. I only suggested that because the Red Priestesses backed Dany as ruler.

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    52. Tiago:

      And we see Bronn. Bronn is my main complaint about the new Westerosi government. I enjoyed him as a sidekick to Tyrion or Jaime. He has some of the best one-liners in the early seasons. But having him in the small council is just wrong, if you want to say that the wheel has been broken. Bronn is an amoral, greedy character. Ruthless ambition turns out to be good… for some. The character should have died after Field of Fire 2.0. The battle was very well done, but lacked a climactic consequence. It would be the perfect moment for Bronn to die.

      Totally agree that Bronn was entertaining but in no way earned the upward mobility he was given. I was even more offended by his receiving Highgarden. Not sure why they are going to place him in the most powerful position in courst and as the wealthiest landowner of westeros, but they just did. And that’s because he threatened to kill the Lannisters if they didn’t give him the most coveted castle!

      I see this move as fan service. D&D believed we love Bronn and would love his winning all the marbles. Miscalculation. Now we hate on him for passing ‘Go’ like 5x on the board.

      Totally doesn’t break any wheel when the undeserving take wealth and power by hook or by crook.

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    53. Inga:
      Tron79,

      Frakly speaking, Arya became an absolutely irrelevant to the story after she killed the NK. And her dcision to go west of Westeros is also weird and infantile. Such a waste of a great charracter!

      Yeah. I actually thought her arc was over when she galloped away on the white horse. She had seen enough death and decided to embrace her human side instead of just seeking vengeance. I thought that may have been the last we saw her until I saw the preview for episode 6. She did remind Jon about the stakes in episode 6. A big turning point for Jon was when he realized his Stark family would never be safe with Dany living. But I do think they could have utilized her much more whether it was teaming up with Jon in a fight or a scenario like I outlined which I think would have been consistent with her character motivations. I could totally see her wanting to shield Jon from the burden of killing Dany.

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    54. Inga,

      You exhibit a stunning lack of understanding of Arya’s story. She has one of the most, if not the most, personal arc in the series, and so much of that has to do with her struggle with identity. While she doesn’t impact the overall plot in a huge way after killing the NK (although seeing the destruction of KL through her eyes is very significant), the rest of her arc on the show is her reconciling the revenge/identity part of it and ultimately finding salvation, choosing life, and thus finding the “true” Arya — an identity that is true to her independent and free-spirited self. This has always been at the core of Arya’s story.

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    55. Enharmony1625,

      I disagree that the LOL has no motive to resurrect Dany. Even if you reject the idea that Bran is a villan, he’s a villain in the eyes of the LOL. He stole his victory. The LOL was doing everything to help the humans to defeat the NK: he sent his priests and champions, he resurrected Jon and trained Arya (yes, the show strongly implies that the LOL and the MFG are the same entity or at least two entities coexisting in balance). It’s fair to assume that the LOL expected some credit for that: after all gods crave power just as humans, and everything was set up for that – Jon & Dany would have converted Westeros to the faith of the LOL soundly and peacefully (burning Shereen would have been written off as Melisandre’s personal mistake and misinterpretation of his will). And then that little cripple 3ER rolled in and reaped all the fruits of all the LOL’s endevours and stole the spoils of war! And now he wants to get hold of the dragon, or at leats he seems to be. If I were the LOL, I wouldn’t leave this without reconing! Sure, Jon-Aegon is still the best card he can play and he will probably be able to take control of Drogon on his own, but Dany can still be resurrected to motivate him better.

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    56. Enharmony1625,

      I won’t argue. Arya was just not the type of charracter I could relate to and her story left me totally indifferent. So, yes: maybe, that’s the reason I coudn’t engage or understand it. But I know that other people love her.

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    57. Tron79: Yeah. I actually thought her arc was over when she galloped away on the white horse. She had seen enough death and decided to embrace her human side instead of just seeking vengeance.I thought that may have been the last we saw her until I saw the preview for episode 6. She did remind Jon about the stakes in episode 6. A big turning point for Jon was when he realized his Stark family would never be safe with Dany living.But I do think they could have utilized her much more whether it was teaming up with Jon in a fight or a scenario like I outlined which I think would have been consistent with her character motivations.I could totally see her wanting to shield Jon from the burden of killing Dany.

      Another case in which no time for narrative development played to the disadvantage of the character.
      For most of the remaining character arcs, D&D needed to give us final motives, hopes, perspectives and future agendas to not feel so flat-lined.
      That’s how I feel about the ending episodes… just flat lined.

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    58. Olli: Another case in which no time for narrative development played to the disadvantage of the character.
      For most of the remaining character arcs, D&D needed to give us final motives, hopes, perspectives and residual agendas to not feel so flat-lined. Some sort of pieces of interest or potential intriguing futures.
      That’s how I feel about the ending episodes… just flat lined.

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    59. I think you’re imposing a binary judgement on a non-binary situation: either the wheel has or hasn’t been broken. No, Bran becoming an absolute monarch didn’t revolutionize the power structure of the kingdoms. However, it did alter that power structure in a way that is, HOPEFULLY, less likely to lead to abuse. It’s a dream of spring, not spring itself.

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    60. Inga,

      Interesting take. I won’t argue with your interpretation, as we all view fiction and fictional characters through the lens of our own personal experience, so your view is completely valid, as is mine. That’s the great thing about good art, it’s open to multiple interpretations, often time many different ones are equally true.

      We take from stories what we will, assign our own interpretations to characters and situations we read, and discard what has no meaning to us.

      The same can be said about us in the real world. We are each on a unique journey, and will use the tools and knowledge we find in different ways. We learn about human nature, and in art, as well as situations in our own lives – the conflicts of the human heart.

      Often, life hands us situations which have no one correct answer, only a series of less bad answers, and we muddle through as best we can, oftentimes to no one’s satisfaction.

      Good fiction, good art, will often make this conflict plain, simply laying out a story, no more, no less, allowing each of us to take what we will from it.

      As someone else once said, we are exactly where we need to be! 😉

      Cheers!

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    61. Inga,

      As someone who definitely followed Arya I thought she had one of the best conclusions to her arc. She left her vengeance behind with the help of Sandor and is living life on her own terms. She knows who she is now (and no longer going through her identity crisis as no one). She was never just a cold blooded killer and she wouldn’t just take random names given to her to kill. She made peace with her sister Sansa for the good of the pack. Talk about changes!! It was great seeing her reconcile with Sansa. That’s one of my favorite moments since they could both bond with the memory of their father. That being said I thought they could have done a better job utilizing her skills. I love the character based episodes but I am also a fan of action. Maisie is able to pull off the action hero role even at 4’ 11” or 5 feet. I thought they could have used her action hero skills more later in the season. It did seem that after they gave Arya her big moment with the NK she didn’t get to use her action skills again. Her skills could have been used for good and not just for vengeance. But I am more than satisfied about her arc. Bonding with Sansa over the memory of Ned and her scene with Sandor have to make any Arya fan smile. No complaints here. Other characters’ arcs weren’t nearly as fulfilling.

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    62. How long do you think it will be before the other kingdoms demand their own independence? What good reason would Bran have for telling them no?

      The paltry two minutes they gave us to decide how to continue on and give The North their independence was just ridiculous. Even at that moment I was thinking that the next time they have to decide a king/queen, it’s going to be an all out brawl. Everyone will be jockeying for themselves, likely will start a war over it. So nothing changed at all except the Targaryan line is seemingly gone.

      I personally think Jon will start a family in the North. His children will still be Targaryans. They will still be of the dragon. Hopefully Jon is able to learn more about his real father and come to understand that it doesn’t have to be bad to be a Targaryan. And I hope Drogon comes to visit. 🙂

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    63. Tron79:
      Inga,

      As someone who definitely followed Arya I thought she had one of the best conclusions to her arc. She left her vengeance behind with the help of Sandor and is living life on her own terms. She knows who she is now (and no longer going through her identity crisis as no one). She was never just a cold blooded killer and she wouldn’t just take random names given to her to kill.She made peace with her sister Sansa for the good of the pack. Talk about changes!! It was great seeing her reconcile with Sansa.That’s one of my favorite moments since they could both bond with the memory of their father. That being said I thought they could have done a better job utilizing her skills.I love the character based episodes but I am also a fan of action. Maisie is able to pull off the action hero role even at 4’ 11” or 5 feet.I thought they could have used her action hero skills more later in the season. It did seem that after they gave Arya her big moment with the NK she didn’t get to use her action skills again. Her skills could have been used for good and not just for vengeance.But I am more than satisfied about her arc.Bonding with Sansa over the memory of Ned and her scene with Sandor have to make any Arya fan smile. No complaints here.Other characters’ arcs weren’t nearly as fulfilling.

      This is how I felt about Jon. He hasn’t had the same training-to-be-an-awesome-fighter arc that Arya has had, but nevertheless, we have seen him develop as a fighter throughout the series and always be a central fighter in battles. The stunt guys always praise Kit’s sword fighting skills saying he is as good as the stunt guys. And yet this season, he barely did anything. He had a bit of action during the AOTD battle, but only a little in his futile attempt to get to the NK and then a bit more in the battle for KL, but most of that was him looking abhorred by the actions of the others and stunned at the turn of events. It felt like a bit of a deflating end to the action side of his story. I can see why you feel the same about Arya, though it was nice to see her get that moment on the battlements to show off her skills.

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    64. Inga,

      Wouldn’t you say Arya contributed very little to the story over the first seven seasons? Her contribution in season 8 was more than the rest of the first seven seasons combined. That’s because Arya’s journey was more about the character than the plot, and her character arc came to a very satisfying conclusion, imo.

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    65. trarecar,

      I would rather ask how long it will be before Bran (and Tyrion) attempt to force Sansa of her knees? It didn’t take all that long for Russia to attemp to re-conquer Georgia (2008) and then Ukraine (2014), not to mention conflicts on a smaller scale. Hence, 20 years might be a fair guess. However, it may be much much sooner, like in a year or two. Bran and Tyrion are week for the moment, but as soon as they gain strength they absolutely must try to bring the North back into the fold, otherwise othe kingdoms may follow its example. After all, there are no premises for Bran to be a popular king (at best he will be seen as a weirdo) or for Tyrion to be a popular Hand.

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    66. Che: This is how I felt about Jon. He hasn’t had the same training-to-be-an-awesome-fighter arc that Arya has had, but nevertheless, we have seen him develop as a fighter throughout the series and always be a central fighter in battles. The stunt guys always praise Kit’s sword fighting skills saying he is as good as the stunt guys. And yet this season, he barely did anything. He had a bit of action during the AOTD battle, but only a little in his futile attempt to get to the NK and then a bit more in the battle for KL, but most of that was him looking abhorred by the actions of the others and stunned at the turn of events. It felt like a bit of a deflating end to the action side of his story. I can see why you feel the same about Arya, though it was nice to see her get that moment on the battlements to show off her skills.

      Che
      I lost my first reply on my phone, so let’s try again from the computer..
      Picture me yelling at the screen during episode 3…”Jon, get off the dragon!!” It was driving me nuts seeing Jon up on the dragon for so long. He’s such an amazing ground fighter and Dany has controlled three dragons herself (back in Meereen).

      Here’s some more fan fiction, but I’m not sure why D&D didn’t go this way. It would have been extremely dramatic and got us to a similar place in the end.
      There were several POV characters still alive in Episode 3 who wielded Valyrian steel swords. They hardly did anything with the WW generals. Why not have a major ground battle between our POV Valyrian steel sword characters and the WW’s (I think some others may have suggested this as well here on WotW). Jon could have been a big part of this battle helping to shatter many WW’s. Arya could have been helping her Stark pack in the battle and she could have still landed the final blow doing her WOLF leap at the NK. I am with you though that I wanted to see Jon much more part of the ground action. I am a dreamer and I can always think of cool fan fiction. Even if they didn’t change things as dramatically as I suggested, I do wish they could have got Jon on the ground sooner and off that dragon!! I would have loved it if he could have turned Vaserian using his Targ charms to allow him to get past him (instead of just yelling). His Targ charms could have been stronger than the NK’s or strong enough to have Vaserian hesitate. See, I’m dreaming again!! sorry. (and you’re right…the battlements scene was the best ever for Arya. I loved when Davos just looked on in amazement!)

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    67. Young Dragon,

      Well, at least Arya hasn’t been turned into a villain like Dany or into an idiot like Jon, so on such background her ending might be satisfying. But what takes me out of Arya’s story is that she never payed any price for anything, and I haven’t seen many identity issues in the show: it was just too obvious that Arya was tricking the FM and that she never planned to become no-one.

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    68. Inga,

      I don’t think Arya was attempting to trick anyone. She wanted to obtain the necessary skills to successfully seek out revenge on those who were on her list and she saw the Faceless Men as a means to an end.

      Whether her ultimate goal was to become a Faceless Man or not, I don’t know, but I think it was clear that she was well on her way to buying into their philosophy and becoming a Faceless Man until she saw that theater play and was reminded of who she really is. At that point, she just couldn’t escape that she’s Arya Stark, not no one.

      Perhaps you didn’t find that it played out very successfully, but I’m pretty sure that’s what the writers were going for.

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    69. Mr Derp,

      Well, Arya hid Needle instead of giving it away, so it was way too obvious that at some point she’s gonna retrieve it. Anyway, my problem was more like, why Sandor managed to talk Arya out of revenge like in 10 seconds, whereas Jon… oh, well, there’s no need to over-analize a forced twist. There was no realistic premise for Dany to go mad, but GRRM decided to drive her mad, so D&D had to follow the outline somehow and we’ve got what we’ve got.

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    70. Dany’s “breaking the wheel” schtik made sense in Essos, where she set about dismantling slavery and attempted to create a more open/equal society. Slavery wasn’t the same issue in Westeros, so the wheel she was interested in breaking didn’t roll on that side of the ocean. This allowed her to really just focus on gaining power, where she intended to rule within the established guidelines of Westeros, but in a more just (in her mind) manner. When she went ahead and fried the city, prompted only by cries of surrender, we got an idea of how her gauge for justice was unpredictable, warped. I think the take home here was that giving too much power to any one person is a dangerous/bad idea. Hardly a novel concept, but thx DD/GRRM.

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    71. Winter is here again oh lord,
      haven’t been home in a year or more
      i hope she holds on a little longer
      sent a letter on a long summer day
      made of silver, not of clay
      i’ve been runnin’ down this dusty road
      Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’
      i don’t know where i’ll be tomorrow
      wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’
      I’ve been trying to make it home
      got to make it before too long
      i can’t take this very much longer
      i’m stranded in the sleet and rain
      don’t think i’m ever gonna make it home again
      the mornin’ sun is risin’
      it’s kissin the day
      Oh the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’
      i dont’ know where i’ll be tomorrow
      ooo the wheel in the sky keeps on turnin’

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    72. viki:
      I really didn’t like how they ended the North story line with Sansa decking herself out in a new dress, crown and throne… the North isn’t about that kinda of artifice –Lady Lyanna would have called her out on that!

      The King in the North always had a crown, and that other stuff is all rudimentary tools of crafting a royal image. You can be absolutely sure that the North has always had that.

      viki:
      Brief?Will need to look for that post,I don’t know if it will brief, but it certainly seems like it will be without issue/heir… which is the saddest part of all – cause if true, no more Stark.Bran can’t, Sansa and Arya won’t? end of line? I guess they are young and time and the ‘ticking clock’ or ‘happy accident’ might change their minds in the future.

      The show doesn’t address the issue of Northern succession at all, but one might infer from Sansa’s comment about Bran that she understands that she needs to have children. If we were meant to take the opposite, there were numerous instances where her deciding not to ever marry again could have been brought up (particularly earlier this season when Tyrion raised the issue of their former marriage on multiple occasions).

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    73. Mr Derp,

      IA about Arya and the FM. I still believe that JaQuen knew the whole time that she wouldn’t stay.

      Inga,

      Arya hiding Needle was another indicator that she would never give up being Aya Stark. It meant too much to her as a momento of her family. “Jon Snow’s smile etc.”

      I hadn’t heard that tidbit about Kit’s skill with a sword. Impressive!
      I also would have loved to see Arya and Jon fighting together. Just not meant to be.

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    74. 5/31/19, 5:35 pm: Fourth attempt to reply to Inga 5/31 10:49 am comment
      [*Prays to Lord of Light that this long reply doesn’t vanish into the ether again*]
      I’ll try to separate paragraphs and post separately…
      ——————-
      Inga wrote:
      “Frankly speaking, Arya became an absolutely irrelevant to the story after she killed the NK. And her dcision to go west of Westeros is also weird and infantile. Such a waste of a great character!”
      _______
      Reply, Part 1

      (1) After saving the planet and revealing herself to be the Princess That Was Promised who brought the dawn, any other part she could play in the story wouid be anticlimactic, wouldn’t you say?

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    75. Inga,

      Testing. 5:51 pm. If this goes through and my continued reply doesn’t, this cell phone is going into the intracoastal waterway.

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    76. Inga,

      I simply do not understand why you would think that Arya’s “dcision [sic] to go west of Westeros is also weird and infantile.”

      Even if you don’t like it, “weird and infantile” I still don’t understand.

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    77. The wheel IMO is not solely about the political power of Westoros or even the world at large, but rather it was also about the BIGGER power that is in control of A Song of Ice & Fire’s Universe…

      There has been a debate since the beginning if the characters identities and/or their fates are ever truly their own, as seeing visions, having prophecies, and especially the “Hodor Paradox” lean heavy to a predetermined universe with “cycle cosmology”…

      This why House Stark’s role (winter’s coming/there must always be a Stark in Winterfell) and The Night King coming was so important, despite that the history behind it was subverted (and hopefully revealed in the Long Night prequel), which may have to do with themes about ‘breaking the wheel’ by omitting “sins of the father” (aka Jon’s Snow’s ultimate point of contention in the back half of series). The past was lost so that a cycle from the Age of Heroes could finally be reenacted (Azor Ahai Prophecy) and broken into a new.

      So yes, “power” is never gone, but it doesn’t mean that things don’t change into new cycles; that for a time, for a certain group of people’, that power is being politically distributed for a time of peace/prosperity or at least something closer to the way things were before the cycle was created during the AoH. The Starks ending (near extinction, travel, being in touch with nature) reflects the Starks beginnings and Dany being taken east may reflect a home coming for how The Long Night was “ushered in” (Blood Betrayal, the Dawn Empire, Asshai, Shadowlands, Azor/R’hllor, and maybe the birth place of Dragons).

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    78. Inga,

      No one is going to take your fan fiction trash seriously though, so your effort is as useless as that retarded petition is .

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    79. Inga,

      Well then why the hell did you claim her arc was useless when yourself admit you didn’t care for her story to begin with, Jesus Fn Christ !

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    80. With all the hollow talk about “stopping the wheel” or “breaking the wheel”, there was only one character who ever fixed the wheel.

      at 0:30

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    81. Inga:
      Mr Derp,

      Well, Arya hid Needle instead of giving it away, so it was way too obvious that at some point she’s gonna retrieve it. Anyway, my problem was more like, why Sandor managed to talk Arya out of revenge like in 10 seconds, whereas Jon… oh, well, there’s no need to over-analize a forced twist.

      She’s been coming back to herself and embracing Life ever since the Frey feast. D&D clearly showed the steps along the way. S7: seeing the enemy’s humanity, choosing family over revenge, accepting the pet wants a life of her own, working with family to rid their home of evil. S8: Being restored to family, friends and acquaintances, flirting, love-making, saving Bran from death (and everyone as well), protecting the family, again accepting life over vengeance, and endangering herself to help others. When she accepted that white horse, she was surely giving up vengeance and killing for good. Arya could have targeted Dany, but instead warned Jon that Dany would probably kill him if he didn’t kill her first.

      And at the end she left to seek knowledge, humanity, and probably the betterment of humankind. There was nothing weird or infantile about that. In fact, Arya couldn’t have stayed with Sansa; she tolerates her as part of the Pack but doesn’t seem to respect her (the “smartest person” comment was a quick way to stop Jon from reopening her rift with Sansa). I honestly think Jon and Arya got the best ending–freedom, being with congenial companions, and having a purpose that they could embrace because it was congruent with their core traits. They are still Starks, symbolised by the fact that their wolves live. Bran has no feelings so he’ll be fine. But Sansa, who is much more Tully than Stark, will feel probably isolated among the primitive Northern ‘wind vanes’. And judging from her comments (and Myranda’s and Ramsay’s) may not marry.

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    82. viki,

      True!
      Jai,

      I thought that too about Jon stabbing Dany. He ended up doing to Dany what the Night’s Watch did to him: they killed their leader because they disagreed with what the leader was doing. Several people get stabbed by their sworn followers: Roose stabs Robb, Ramsey stabs Roose. So many parallels in the story! Another example: I remember how curious I thought it was that few people mentioned at the time (season 6) that Cersei and Dany do exactly the same thing: they are both on trial, about to be killed, and they gather all their enemies in their respective houses of worship and burn them. Most viewers thought of Dany as a hero and Cersei as a villain for this same action; it was interesting to contemplate what makes a hero or a villain.

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    83. Not sure if this has been posted yet, but his S8 analysis from Just Write is one of the best I’ve seen so far. I gather he’s a professional screenwriter who also does online courses. I agree with his analysis of how/why the character arcs went awry. https://youtu.be/habt4hbvJHg

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    84. D & D themselves said that Game of Thrones was a 50 week a year job. How were they then able to develop Confederate, a tentpole series for HBO with a massive budget, to the point where HBO felt comfortable making a major announcement about the show? How were they able to develop a Star Wars script to the point where Disney has actually put the movie on their schedule? These guys were checked out, and if you were unable to tell from their writing, look no further than the projects they actively spent a tremendous amount of time developing while they were supposed to be spending 100% of their focus on GoT.

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    85. viki,

      IF any of those questions are important, I’m sure GRRM will address them, they really were not important to the series, we got enough for the good vs evil (God vs Death) plot that the Others served. The show never delved into explaining how all the magic worked or the god(s) or why any of it existed in the first place – it just did. We got glimpses of his creation and who and why he was created, his mission.

      Well its information that I want to better understand what has happened and what the future might hold. But if we are talking about the wheel, knowing more about the 3ER, what its function is, how a new one is chosen andd trained, and how long they live will have an affect on Bran’s rule. If he has no real purpose except for his web of information, there would be no reason not to kill him off, if someone thought it nec (and I don’t think we will ever see GRMMs answer to that much less more important questions, just couriousity)

      Speaking of information – that is where the true power is. If you have access to information that no on else nows about you have great powr. Certainly in our world, the gap between the haves and have nots gets wider with the greater our abiilty to control who gets what information

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    86. Lindamon,

      As GRRM states quite clearly, (though I realize I paraphrase here) the main purpose of his stories to explore and show the conflicts in the human heart, which I think he is quite good at, and the show did an excellent job of as well.

      Some of us may not understand or agree with these conflicts, or their resolutions, but I believe they are are valid questions to ask, and human issues to explore, through the tool of fiction.

      Our own lives, our own stories we must explore and try to understand on our own. It’s sometimes a daunting task, but we take in what knowledge we can from others, and fiction, especilly when I was young, has always been a help to me.

      Very well said! The real life factor and human issues are well reflected in the book and show, as well as the discussion here. We are talking about a fantasy, but something else much greater that matters to our lives and our comments show that

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    87. Inga,

      Frakly speaking, Arya became an absolutely irrelevant to the story after she killed the NK. And her dcision to go west of Westeros is also weird and infantile. Such a waste of a great charracter!

      And the discovers of different lands in our own time is irrelevant to its history? I don’t fine it weird or infantile – she knows herself, and wants to strike out into the great unknown. And if I get my wish and there is a sequel based on her adventures, not a waste at all!

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    88. Inga,

      But what takes me out of Arya’s story is that she never payed any price for anything, and I haven’t seen many identity issues in the show: it was just too obvious that Arya was tricking the FM and that she never planned to become no-on

      e.

      first I realize I am very late to the party and am at this point drinking the last drop and turning off the lights before I leave. But have to diagree with this – she paid the price by surviving the death of her father and rest of family, by surviving her wondrings withh Gendry and Hot Pie for surviving wandering with Hound, for surviving the Waif (and still think that was such a disservice to the waif in the book) surviving the Long night. All and more arrows yet she still managed to survive. I’d say she paid quite a price.

      Ashkash thanks for this facinating post – it lead to quite the discussion, just what I have come to expect of the writer here! Hope this wont be your last) as I turn out the light

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    89. Stark Raven’ Rad:
      In fact, Arya couldn’t have stayed with Sansa; she tolerates her as part of the Pack but doesn’t seem to respect her (the “smartest person” comment was a quick way to stop Jon from reopening her rift with Sansa).

      The sisters learning to respect each other (offscreen) was the whole point of their Season 7 arc.

      But Sansa, who is much more Tully than Stark, will feel probably isolated among the primitive Northern ‘wind vanes’.

      It’s funny that the character can be turned into a Northern uber-nationalist who prioritizes Stark family sovereignty in the face of the apocalypse but some people still cling to the idea that she’s “more Tully than Stark” (whatever that means, but it’s generally not meant as a compliment; also, strangely, those same people tend to like the Blackfish just fine).

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    90. ThisGirlHasNoName:
      Not sure if this has been posted yet, but his S8 analysis from Just Write is one of the best I’ve seen so far. I gather he’s a professional screenwriter who also does online courses. I agree with his analysis of how/why the character arcs went awry. https://youtu.be/habt4hbvJHg

      He makes some good points in this video that I agree with. Although it’s rather ironic that he uses Stephen King to illustrate his argument about the lack of proper character development in season 8 considering Stephen King has been very positive towards the season in his Tweets.

      Secondly, I’ve never seen or read anywhere that George has said that the White Walkers are representative of climate change, so that statement in the video is just plain wrong. If anyone wants to interpret it that way, that’s fine and valid, but GRRM has never confirmed this as fas as I know. In fact, George, like Tolkien, dislikes allegory.

      Finally, his argument for Arya’s killing of the NK not being a proper subversion of expectation is weak. He makes the argument that it would have perhaps made more sense if Dany or Jaime did it since they rode north for Jon (since Jon was the expected one to kill the NK), but that’s exactly why Arya went home as well (further emphasizing Jon’s importance in bringing people together)! Furthermore, Jaime didn’t explicitly ride north for Jon, it was more of a general pledge of fighting for the living (and if he rode north for anyone in particular it was for Brienne).

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    91. ash,

      True. There’s no question that Arya has suffered more than just about anyone in the series (along with Sansa), so her relatively happy ending is well-deserved. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I was expecting some kind of consequence for her in season 8 for joining and abandoning the Faceless Men. I didn’t want it to happen, but I expected it given that this is GoT. But then I thought about it more, and she’s already suffered some consequences for this.

      First of all she was blinded for killing Meryn Trant and forced to live as a beggar in the streets of Braavos. Then she was pretty badly wounded by the Waif for abandoning them (the scars of which she’ll bear forever). She also suffers the hell of escaping King’s Landing — she wouldn’t have been there if she didn’t temporarily relapse into wanting to cross Cersei off her list. The only thing she “got away with” was the killing of the Freys in my mind, and that’s perfectly fine by me.

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    92. Enharmony1625:
      ash,

      True. There’s no question that Arya has suffered more than just about anyone in the series (along with Sansa), so her relatively happy ending is well-deserved. However, I’ll be the first to admit that I was expecting some kind of consequence for her in season 8 for joining and abandoning the Faceless Men. I didn’t want it to happen, but I expected it given that this is GoT. But then I thought about it more, and she’s already suffered some consequences for this.

      First of all she was blinded for killing Meryn Trant and forced to live as a beggar in the streets of Braavos. Then she was pretty badly wounded by the Waif for abandoning them (the scars of which she’ll bear forever). She also suffers the hell of escaping King’s Landing — she wouldn’t have been there if she didn’t temporarily relapse into wanting to cross Cersei off her list. The only thing she “got away with” was the killing of the Freys in my mind, and that’s perfectly fine by me.

      I had a discussion about this with my friend recently, who felt Sansa had suffered the most. I agree she has suffered, as has Arya, but in my mind, the one who has suffered the most is Jon. His childhood, while well-provided for, was filled with the stigma of being a bastard and with the pain of being hated and treated poorly by his step-mother. He then suffered constant derision and emotional abuse at the wall, which continued throughout his time there. He had to abandon the woman he loved for honour and duty (to the same people who treated him like shit) and then watch her die in his arms. After doing his best to save as many people from being slaughtered by the night king, he is actually murdered by his own men, one of whom was a boy he loved (I personally think actually dying and then being brought back from oblivion with the memories of being murdered are possible the most anyone can possibly suffer, but I fully understand this is a totally contentious issue and everyone will feel differently). The rest of his life he is constantly fighting everyone else’s battles, never getting to decide what he wants to do with his own life as he is a slave to his honour and everyone else abusing it to benefit themselves. And to end his miserable time on GOT, he has to kill the only other woman he has ever loved (after having the first die in his arms), for duty and honour and the good of a realm that totally stabs him in the back for ‘peace’ after all is said and done.

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    93. Enharmony1625: Secondly, I’ve never seen or read anywhere that George has said that the White Walkers are representative of climate change, so that statement in the video is just plain wrong. If anyone wants to interpret it that way, that’s fine and valid, but GRRM has never confirmed this as fas as I know. In fact, George, like Tolkien, dislikes allegory.

      You’re mostly right. There was an NYT article a couple of years ago where GRRM agreed that “Winter is Coming” has interpretive parallels to climate change. Unfortunately the media, being what they are, ran with it and a bunch of stories ensued that made it appear that the story line was intentionally about climate change. So I can see where the video’s creator got that idea.

      Here’s his full answer to the question posed to him:

      Manjoo: Many observers have pointed out that “Game of Thrones” offers a perfect metaphor for understanding climate change. What do you think of this interpretation?

      Martin: It’s kind of ironic because I started writing “Game of Thrones” all the way back in 1991, long before anybody was talking about climate change. But there is — in a very broad sense — there’s a certain parallel there. And the people in Westeros are fighting their individual battles over power and status and wealth. And those are so distracting them that they’re ignoring the threat of “winter is coming,” which has the potential to destroy all of them and to destroy their world. And there is a great parallel there to, I think, what I see this planet doing here, where we’re fighting our own battles. We’re fighting over issues, important issues, mind you — foreign policy, domestic policy, civil rights, social responsibility, social justice. All of these things are important. But while we’re tearing ourselves apart over this and expending so much energy, there exists this threat of climate change, which, to my mind, is conclusively proved by most of the data and 99.9 percent of the scientific community. And it really has the potential to destroy our world. And we’re ignoring that while we worry about the next election and issues that people are concerned about, like jobs. Jobs are a very important issue, of course. All of these things are important issues. But none of them are important if, like, we’re dead and our cities are under the ocean. So really, climate change should be the number one priority for any politician who is capable of looking past the next election. But unfortunately, there are only a handful of those. We spend 10 times as much energy and thought and debate in the media discussing whether or not N.F.L. players should stand for the national anthem than this threat that’s going to destroy our world.

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    94. Enharmony1625: Finally, his argument for Arya’s killing of the NK not being a proper subversion of expectation is weak. He makes the argument that it would have perhaps made more sense if Dany or Jaime did it since they rode north for Jon (since Jon was the expected one to kill the NK), but that’s exactly why Arya went home as well (further emphasizing Jon’s importance in bringing people together)!

      I agree with you here as well. I had no issue with Arya killing the NK. The only thing I would have liked to have seen a blur of Arya doing her FM sprint through the courtyard and Jon more explicitly distracting the dragon from her. I’ve seen the claims that Jon showed recognition in his eyes and yelled “GOOOOO” but after rewatching the scene a dozen times I think people are seeing what they want to see.

      This to me was just one of many pieces of missing connective tissue that hurt the viewing experience. If I’d seen the Arya-running-blur and Jon sacrificing himself (or trying to) for her, my fear and anxiety would have been ratcheted up even higher. I’d have been terrified that she was on a suicide mission.

      True, while Bran and the NK were in their little stare down moment, I would have been anticipating her appearance. But would it have reduced the impact for me? NO. When the NK caught her, I would already have been on the edge of total meltdown, wondering if she would make it, or if she had any chance of success. Just an extra second or two of buildup would have made the scene that much more powerful to me. Surprise is great, sometimes.

      This also would have cemented Jon’s more direct role in the destruction of the NK.

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    95. Che,

      That’s true, Jon has suffered greatly as well. All three in very different ways really. One of the reasons Arya sticks out in my mind is due to her young age and the fact that she’s a girl trying to survive in this brutal world after all that’s happened to her. In the addition to the points I made above, she saw her father beheaded before her eyes (Arya losing one of the very few people who understood her and with whom she had a good relationship with growing up), endured the horrors and tortures at Harrenhal, constantly suffers the loss of friends along the way, and then witnesses the aftermath of the Red Wedding. This all as a pre-teen girl. What does that do to a person? The fact that she finds the strength to carry on is miraculous in and of itself, not to mention eventually striking out totally on her own to a foreign city and putting herself at the mercy of a death cult.

      I just can’t begin to imagine how traumatizing that would be for a young girl in that world.. Ultimately, I’m it’s up to each person how much a character’s suffering resonates with them. It would take someone with far better knowledge of psychology to say why and how we resonate with certain sufferings over others.

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    96. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Yep! I love that Arya killed the Night King, but I would not be against any of the suggestions you have on how it could have been slightly improved. As per the documentary, the script indicates that she vaults off a pile of dead wights, and that makes it much clearer how she appears behind the NK as she does, but they could have shown her running up and actually doing that without losing the impact. And yes, when the NK grabbed her, my heart stopped! Like just.. oh, f&ck! I would definitely have been okay with Jon doing something too, like distracting some of the WW generals. That would have been pretty cool actually seeing Jon fight 2 or 3 of them at once, which would turn out to be too much for him to handle, and then we see Arya run in for the kill, get caught (both of them in mortal danger), and then *stab*!

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    97. Inga: Frakly speaking, Arya became an absolutely irrelevant to the story after she killed the NK. And her dcision to go west of Westeros is also weird and infantile. Such a waste of a great character!

      I don’t agree. Yes, killing the NK might have been the most epic part of her story line, but she played three very key roles in the last two episodes.

      1. In Ep. 5, her farewell to “Sandor” was the pinnacle of his story, and hers. Sure the battle with his brother was his last scene, but the previous scene with Arya was the actual culmination of his growth. Despite his anger and hurt and mental/physical scars, he cared about other people more than himself. He saved Sansa when the city was rioting, putting himself at risk. He protected Arya at the Twins/Red Wedding, even though he might have gotten a hefty bounty for delivering another Stark to the bloodbath. He buried the farmers he stole from. He tried to protect, and then avenge, Brother Ray and his people. To fulfill his story, the Hound needed Arya there, as much as she needed him to let go of her own hurt and anger and thirst for revenge.

      2. Also in Ep. 5, Arya’s journey through the horrors of Kings Landing was critical, and brilliant. I might not be a fan of much in the last four episodes, but those scenes of Arya in the apocalypse were some of the most horrifying and gripping scenes of any show in history. We knew Arya had already seen so much death and had a high tolerance for that sort of thing. Which made her emotional journey so much more effective. Seeing it through her eyes made it so much more personal.

      3. In Ep. 5, Arya telling Jon that Dany was a bad seed. Yes she was one voice of many, but this was the first time I saw Jon start to turn. Yes he was horrified at the destruction of KL, but I think until that moment he was still in shock and hadn’t yet mentally equated the carnage with Dany being a bad/mad person. Sometimes you don’t want to believe the worst until someone you trust with all your heart and soul tells you so. I thought those few seconds were critical.

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    98. Enharmony1625:
      Finally, his argument for Arya’s killing of the NK not being a proper subversion of expectation is weak. He makes the argument that it would have perhaps made more sense if Dany or Jaime did it since they rode north for Jon (since Jon was the expected one to kill the NK), but that’s exactly why Arya went home as well (further emphasizing Jon’s importance in bringing people together)! Furthermore, Jaime didn’t explicitly ride north for Jon, it was more of a general pledge of fighting for the living (and if he rode north for anyone in particular it was for Brienne).

      I don’t think the Arya comparison is meaningful. Arya traveling north was not the result of Jon’s diplomatic efforts, just the mere fact that he existed.

      Conversely, while Jaime did not travel north “for” Jon, he very much did travel north because of Jon. Jon spearheaded the entire effort to rally the southern kingdoms (an effort that turned out to be largely pointless).

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    99. Sean C.,

      That’s true that Arya didn’t ride north for the same reason, but it’s still Jon that got them all there. I just don’t see how Jaime would have been a better subversion of the expectation considering up to this point he had absolutely nothing to do with the NK plot. Not even thematically in the way that Arya was connected to it. So just because a few episodes prior to the battle Jaime decides, as you said, to ride up because of Jon (not for him) in some way makes it a better subversion? No. Sorry. As I said, completely weak argument.

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    100. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Very well put! The counterpoint of Arya choosing life against Sandor being unable to relinquish his hate for his brother and ultimately dying because of it is very important to both their stories. I also think there’s some interesting symbolism in Sandor wanting revenge against what is, essentially, a dead man already — the futility of revenge.

      Don’t misunderstand, I absolutely love Sandor. He’s my second favourite character (tied with Jon), so I don’t intend that as a knock on his storyline. I was crushed to see him die, but.. I had prepared myself for it.

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    101. Enharmony1625,

      I wouldn’t want it to be Jaime either (he’s not supposed to be a good fighter anymore, that was the whole point of him losing his hand), but as far as theme goes, Jon’s arc has been all about his character growing and gaining the wisdom and perspective to push people to set aside their differences and unite to face the real enemy. If it’s not going to be Jon who kills the Night King, it should be somebody whose presence was the result of Jon’s efforts. That would function as at least some payoff for Jon. Whereas Arya being there really says nothing about Jon’s arc in the series.

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    102. Flove your comments about Arya, Enharmony
      She’s been my absolute favourite character along with Jon. Arya saying that Dany was a killer totally affected Jon because of the close relationship these two had since day one. It was well played by Kit and Maisie both.

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    103. Sean C.,

      No, Arya killing the Night King doesn’t pay off Jon’s arc, but it pays off her arc. While Jon and Dany are clearly the central figures in the story, Arya is only just below that in terms of her prominence and status as a main character, so she is just as deserving of a big payoff in her arc as Jon is. So while I do agree that they should have had Jon do more in the battle than what he did, the payoff for his arc is still significant in that he united everyone against this threat against all odds, and they prevailed.

      Furthermore, if we consider this and the killing of Dany as the two big moments in the season, it fits both characters’ themes very well. Jon having to kill his aunt/lover/Queen fits perfectly in with his struggle of duty, love, and honour.

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    104. Raoul_Duke:
      Therefore, I think a next step to making this system more stable would be a standing army loyal to the King (ie the law). I am expecting this to be the case in the books and also think that the small council scene might have hinted at that.

      This is actually a very good idea as part of the problem Westeros has always had is the people seeing themselves more as subjects of their liege lord than of the crown and the resulting civil wars that have always gone on. Nothing crushes the people on the ground more than nonstop war. It’s ironic as hell that this was exactly what Joffrey wanted to do, too. Maybe the single best idea any leader in the story ever had and it was had by the worst leader.

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    105. Enharmony1625,

      However, I’ll be the first to admit that I was expecting some kind of consequence for her in season 8 for joining and abandoning the Faceless Men. I didn’t want it to happen, but I expected it given that this is GoT. But then I thought about it more, and she’s already suffered some consequences for this.

      Totally agree. sorta like the consequences Cersie should have gotten for bombing the sept, I found many things in both the bookj and show that seemed to look away for a good story, or, their just wasn’t enough time.
      Which seems to be the theme for this season,.

      Che,

      I had a discussion about this with my friend recently, who felt Sansa had suffered the most. I agree she has suffered, as has Arya, but in my mind, the one who has suffered the most is Jon.

      I have heard people arguing who suffered more, the jews in the holocaust or the blacks in slavery. Such questios bother the hell out of me, aside from just not helping conversations, but everyone suffers through life , It is not a race, there is no prize., The whole and living must work so there is no one suffering, but lets not go there comparing who got beat up the worse, ok?

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    106. Jon was also the original reason Arya was prepared to be the heroine. Without him, she wouldn’t have had her sword training with Syrio, and probably wouldn’t have ever ended up on the road, or gone to Braavos etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDeJPk7DXu0

      Jon: It won’t hack a man’s head off, but it will poke him full of holes if you’re quick enough.

      Arya: I can be quick.

      Jon: You have to work at it every day…first lesson: stick ‘em with the pointy end.

      (side note: I still cry at this scene!!)

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    107. Meh Arya. One of my favorite characters on the show…until “No One”, easily the worst episode on the show, which flushed her dark character journey down the toilet and put her on a typical heroes journey. She really had no interesting arc after that point. Wanting to kill Cersei doesn’t count. It also jettisoned the uber cool and mysterious Faceless Men from the show, never to be heard from again. We never really learned that much about them because D & D were busy writing some boring Star Wars movie that’s going to be rewritten and reshot so much by Disney that they won’t even be able to recognize it by the time it gets released.

      It would have been far more interesting / cool to have Arya do some really bad stuff in Braavos, like sell your soul to the devil type stuff. Her obsession with revenge completely changes her and makes her compromised. Would’ve been much better to have her stick with The Faceless Men and watch as they full fill paid assassinations in Westeros all while the wars and battles are going on. Instead, they put her on a typical boring heroes journey like any other show. ::yawn::

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    108. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Star Wars, meh. I sat in theater as a little tyke with my parents (showing me age here) to see the first one and thought Darth vader and light sabers were kinda cool but other than that wasn’t too interested but obviously a lot of people are, or the franchise would not still be going strong 36 years later. But I wonder at what could have been (GOT-wise) if those darn movies weren’t still being made and thus D&D never had that carrot dangled in front of them 🙂

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    109. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      D&D weren’t given the Star Wars project until 2018, so that didn’t have anything to do with their decision to have Arya leave for Westeros in season 6. Besides, they’ve been saying for years that GOT was a 70 episode show, so they gave us 3 extra. The Faceless Men are assasins for hire that can change their faces. What more do you need to know?

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    110. ygritte,

      I think if it wasn’t Star Wars, it would’ve been something else. These guys just lost interest for whatever reason. Which is weird because they had the most bad ass story of all time at their disposal, and it really was their time to shine. Instead they decided to half-ass it and in the process flushed their legacy on the show down the toilet. Sadly now most people don’t give them any credit for the job they did and give all the credit to George.

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    111. Young Dragon,

      They had been working on Confederate well before that. For HBO to make a huge announcement about Confederate, D & D probably had written a pilot and outlined multiple seasons of the show. They definitely had to pitch it and do a lot of work on it.

      As for the Faceless Men, there was definitely still some mystery about them, but my point about Arya is that she was completely devoid of any internal struggle after she left The House of Black and White. She had no arc. She was a Marvel character. Would’ve been far more interesting if she killed Lady Crane and sold out to the Faceless Men. Stayed with them and completed some assassinations for them, and ultimately ends in Westeros on a mission, and has to reconcile the person she’s become as she sees familiar faces. Or something along those lines. At least there would be conflict. Conflict = INTERESTING.

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    112. Ten Bears,

      Wow, it’s not so often that I strongly disagree with you, but I have to here. You could argue S7 maybe, but definitely not 5 or 6. While 5 is my least favourite Arya season, it was still very important to her arc. Same with 6. Without those seasons, we literally have no exploration on the potential loss of her identity and eventually reclaiming it.

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    113. Ten Bears:
      LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Hey LDB! Good to see ya back!

      On the subject of Arya: S5-S7 kind of put her in a holding pattern. However, she was the MVP of S8, wouldn’t you agree?

      #ASNAWPTWP

      Arya was a standout for Season 8. And Maisie’s performance was outstanding.

      Over the seasons, her story has a few trouble spots but compared to some of the other storylines – it was not disastrous. For example, the end of Season 7 Littlefinger event was a bit off; her quick recovery the stabbing and fall into the dirty water; the parkour with Waif.

      As for what is west of Westeros, she should simply ask Bran. Then she could still sail to see it. But there should be no need for any mystery.

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    114. Enharmony1625:
      Ten Bears,

      Wow, it’s not so often that I strongly disagree with you, but I have to here. You could argue S7 maybe, but definitely not 5 or 6. While 5 is my least favourite Arya season, it was still very important to her arc. Same with 6. Without those seasons, we literally have no exploration on the potential loss of her identity and eventually reclaiming it.

      Indeed. I find it interesting that quite a few people have serious issues with Arya’s arc since I find it among the strongest on the show. Her thematic connection with Death going back all the way to Season 1 definitely paid off with offing the Night King, while her broader arc dealing with identity had a clear narrative throughline right until the end.

      First she reclaimed her name at the end of Season 6. Then she reclaimed her family by the end of Season 7 and dealt with the issues of trust and acceptance in doing so. Finally, she found her true self in Season 8. Yes, her name is Arya, yes, she is a Stark, but all the rest of the pieces that make a person whole fell into place in those last few episodes, where she cast away her anger and vengeance, and embraced that independent spirit she exhibited from her very first scene. That final goodbye to her character, on the deck of a ship sailing into the unknown, was the first time we saw Arya truly at peace with herself and the world at large.

      I don’t know about the rest of you, but I found Arya’s story through the seasons fantastically done. Maybe the best out of all the main characters.

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    115. So just rewatched The bell. My god how horrific. Rewatching the series which I plann to do this summer is going to be interesting, given what I know now (tho actually suspected already) Acting, esp Maise and Nic were outstanding. Not sure how to rate it; Its so devastating that I don”t want to give it a high rating, but because thats the whole point, I’ll stick with 8/10 Wish they had Cersie doing more, thought she’d been wasted most of the seaon, but that changed when she sees Jaime and suddenly she is a scared little girl.

      So I have three really cool dany and dragon figures, thinking about putting them aside for a while, cant quite bear to see them. But remembering its just a fantasy story, I keep them; I prefer to remember her in those somewhat happier times.. r

      re Aryas arc, If they had stuck with the story from the book, including the Kindly Old Man and the real Waif who was her trainer, teacher and not killer, it all would have worked better. She was my fav character from the first time i read her in the book, hiding away with a h elmet on her head, till seeing her aboard her ship. Slip ups in Baaros re fight and quick heal (tho I aswered that for myself by imaginig that she jumped into the pool and healed herself) plus the whole LF was offputting, but not enough from so wishing I knew her, and want to see what happens next!

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    116. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      They announced that in 2017, so again, that had no bearing on their decision to end Arya’s arc in Braavos. You can criticize Arya’s arc if you want, but don’t say they screwed it up because they were distracted by another project. They simply went in a different direction than what you would have liked. Arya’s weakest storyline was definitely in season 7, but I loved her arc in all the other seasons and want to echo the person who said her storyline is one of the strongest.

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    117. Mango,

      “…As for what is west of Westeros, she should simply ask Bran. Then she could still sail to see it. But there should be no need for any mystery.”

      _______
      And maybe the maps are outdated. She ought to get a new map.

      “Just point out the nearest map shop and I’ll buy you one.” – Sandor*

      * Yes, in my headcanon he’s already been resurrected by the Lord of Light to continue watching over the Princess That Was Promised.

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    118. ash,

      Well as a non-book reader, I’m generally familiar with Arya’s books! Braavos story kind.

      What I could never understand is why show! Waif had a bug up her a** against Arya from the outset. FM, even acolytes, are supposed to be devoid of emotion, so if the Waif were motivated by jealousy or some other petty enmity, she should’ve been kicked out of Murder School. Show! Waif had even extracted a promise from Jaqen 2.0 that she could whack Arya if Arya blew her second chance,

      (Is there some unwritten cliche that female characters have to snipe at each other???)

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    119. Mr Fixit,

      “… I don’t know about the rest of you, but I found Arya’s story through the seasons fantastically done. Maybe the best out of all the main characters.”

      _______
      Agree 💯%. Except for the S7 Sansa vs. Arya LF hiccup and the Braavos gut-stabbing (poor directorial decision), Arya’s story was fantastically done. Surely the best out of all the main characters.

        Quote  Reply

    120. Enharmony1625:
      Ten Bears,

      Wow, it’s not so often that I strongly disagree with you, but I have to here. You could argue S7 maybe, but definitely not 5 or 6. While 5 is my least favourite Arya season, it was still very important to her arc. Same with 6. Without those seasons, we literally have no exploration on the potential loss of her identity and eventually reclaiming it.

      Arya had some standout individual scenes in S5-S7, eg, avenging Syrio (and without knowing it, Sansa too) by poking Meryn F*cking Trant full of holes; serving up Walder Frey’s damn moron sons to him in pie before cutting his throat; using “a woman’s weapon” to exterminate the rest of the Frey Red Wedding conspirators; and (one of my favorites) her S7e4 sparring match with Brienne. As a whole, I just felt Arya didn’t really take center stage until S8, and Maisie Williams did her best acting since S4.

        Quote  Reply

    121. Mr Fixit,

      Completely agree. Her arc is by far the strongest of all the main characters in my opinion. There are a couple of bumps along the way as others have pointed out, but as a whole it’s an incredibly satisfying and well done arc.

      In addition to addressing the ever-important identity aspect of her arc, how else does Arya gain the skills to fight let alone kill the Night King if it wasn’t for what she learned in season 5 & 6?

      ash,

      I would have loved them to include more stuff from her Braavos book storyline into season 5 especially. That would have helped spice up that part of her arc, which I felt was a little dull (apart from the wonderful scene of her hiding Needle away on the pier).

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    122. Ten Bears,

      But “holding pattern” suggests nothing of importance happened and she was just there to bide time or something, which is clearly not the case. Although I agree in terms of the acting — she had such great material in the first four seasons that season 5 & 7 didn’t showcase her talents enough (I think she had pretty good stuff in 6, which is when she was nominated for an Emmy). Season 8, in comparison, gave her (and us) so much good stuff that really put her front-and-center. In terms of story material though, I still think season 5 & 6 are very significant.

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    123. Just watched ep 6. wow the first section, the walking(reminded me of the promo where they were all walking ‘sit down’ except this time there was no where to go. Dany going full tilt tyrant, scary as hell. Tyrion discovering Jamie and Cersie. and his talk with Jon. Jons realization; (he actually broke the wheel, and Dorgon destroyed the sorce of power. Poor Drogon (a targareyen alone in the world is a terrible thing came to mind), my heart broke as he tried to wake u mom and how he gently scooped her up an flew away (hopefully to someplace where dragons dance) Then the second part – I wish they had done something different there. Didn’t mind the decision on Bran but would have liked more lead up, didn’t mind the choices each stark made, but getting there was really a mess, aside from just being too slow. Pity. Still the acting was amazing. I’d give it a 9/10 first hald 6/10 the rest.

      BTW how much time had passed between the masscre and the final part? Coz I wondered where they got all the pretty material for the new stylis clothes. Ah but its a fantasy show, Michelle Clapton has all the magic in that dept so it alll good.

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    124. Ten Bears,

      Ty. Good to see you as well.

      No, I actually really loved Arya’s story in the House of B & W up until it jumped the shark in “No One”. I don’t get why everyone was so “bored” with it. It was mysterious and the Faceless Men were cool.

      After she left Braavos, her character had no struggle at all. She was reduced to a series of crowd pleasing moments, i.e. killing the Freys, killing LF, killing the Night King, reuniting with The Hound. Boring. No internal struggle, just the hero kicking ass. I could watch any Marvel movie if I wanted to see that. Game of Thrones used to be different than that, until D & D got bored with it and tried to rush us out the door (while simultaneously trying to get all the glory for being the ones to finish the show and not hand it off to someone else).

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    125. Young Dragon,

      Yes, it was announced in 2017, but networks don’t just announce shows on a whim. The ideas have to be pitched and developed long before that. D & D didn’t just wake up one day with an idea, go to HBO, then they set an announcement date. They likely had to write a pilot and outline seasons worth of material to prove that it was a show worth being on HBO’s schedule for which there is not much space (they don’t green light a million shows like Netflix, nevermind ones that will require huge budgets).

      So yeah, I get that people liked Arya’s arc in the last or final seasons, but to me there is enough Marvel / Disney stuff so I was completely bored of it. Wow, Arya does something awesome! So interesting. I did love her story for the first 6.5 seasons when she was struggling to survive, she was one of my favorite characters. But like pretty much everyone else, D & D decided to flush her arc down the toilet and simplify her because show needed to end.

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    126. Mango,

      Yes, the whole thing with LF was just awful. It reeked of pandering to the audience, another thing D & D did plenty of in the final seasons which was cowardly.

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    127. Ten Bears,

      My impression was that his longevity was directly related to his physical relationship with the weirwood. Absent that, I expect Bran to have a normal lifespan. And given that the CotF and the NK are both gone, I think the magical elements of the North will die out with Ghost and Nymeria—which the show never showed as vessels for warging into anyway (in the books all the Stark children save Sansa are shown to have warging powers, although only Bran fully understands them).

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    128. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      You have no source of when they came up with the idea, though. Regardless, D&D have been saying for years that this was going to be a 70 episode show, so they ended up giving us 3 extra. With Confederate and Star Wars, they were simply planning their next project once GOT was over, which isn’t uncommon. I don’t know why you continue to insist they rushed GOT to move on to something else when all the evidence points to the exact opposite.

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    129. Sam Tarly had it right on breaking the wheel. It’s what happened ultimately in Great Britain (and in other countries in Europe and the United States) as laws gradually evolved to extend the vote to more and more people.

      For instance, people forget (or never knew) that a large proportion of British soldiers left alive in the trenches of France in 1918 were not able to vote in parlimentary elections when they were repatriated home after giving their all. They were too poor, did not own land, etc. It took until the 1920s for them and women to be able to vote.

      People forget, as well, that the remnants of serfdom lingered in Germany until the early 1800s. My significant other’s great-great-great grandparents who were born in the years 1803-1807 and endured the Napoleanic wars as children were owned by the local noble in Hesse, Germany. This didn’t change until they were adults.

      Neither was suffrage truly universal in the United States for quite some time. There were property, race and income restrictions. Women didn’t get the vote until 1920.

      Sam Tarly’s suggestion was revolutionary for its time.

      The solution they ultimately agreed upon in the Dragonpit was also revolutionary and had its parallels in the evolution of the rights of the lesser nobility and Parliment.

      It was good to see the evolution take place.

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    130. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Yes, D&D already had a full-length movie script when they approached the Spellman duo to join them as co-creators of Confederate. By the time HBO announced Confederate (July 2017), they had an entire team assembled. They did say there were no “show” scripts yet, but clearly serious time had been invested in it.

      It would have taken at least a year for all of this to happen, and pitch HBO, get the greenlight, organize press announcements etc. Which means, at the very latest, this was all happening in early-to-mid 2016, during post-production of Season 6 or while it was airing. It could have been even earlier.

      This was the time that D&D should have been laser focused on the final two seasons of GoT. But they were not. They were working on something else both from a tactical and a creative perspective, and when the controversy erupted, spent weeks tampering down the fires.

      They announced Confederate three days after the S7 premiere and they were definitely hoping to ride the publicity wave so to speak. It backfired. Didn’t get a lot of love or support from GoT fans and the twitter activist crowd demolished them.

      I also believe that HBO told them to shelve Confederate for awhile. Given the announcement timing, It’s not hard to imagine the bitterness they would have felt, toward HBO (who basically said publicly that the announcement was botched) and maybe even the fans who didn’t come to their defense. Maybe they believed they were White Walkers who could raise their hands and we would rise up on their behalf?

      Then they announce Star Wars six months later, in Feb. 2018. Which means that someone from Disney approached them not long after the Confederate controversy. Those conversations and contractual negotiations usually take at least a few months. Another distraction. More press tours.

      Anyways I don’t believe they intentionally blew through Seasons 7 and 8, but I do think they had already mentally moved on. And I think the show suffered for it, especially without GRRM’s source material.

      I still think there was a lot to love about Season 8. A lot of individual scenes that were moving and wonderful. But those scenes felt erratically patched together and too often decontextualized or missing connective tissue.

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    131. Ten Bears,

      (Is there some unwritten cliche that female characters have to snipe at each other???)

      It goes along with severa unwritten clihe that show female characters in need of protection, or having to become mothers

      Speaking of: When talking about heirs, everyone assumes Bran cant. Why? just because parts of his body does not mean his others are impaired as well. just sayin…..

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    132. viki: but it certainly seems like it will be without issue/heir… which is the saddest part of all – cause if true, no more Stark

      I don’t think there’s any indication that the Stark line won’t continue with either Sansa or Arya. Unless we’re just supposed to assume the bleakest possible future for their House, which I doubt.

      I think the surest way for Sansa to hasten the end of her reign would be to tell every eligible Northern Lord who came courting to get bent and risk conflict over her successor. There’s no reason any Elizabeth I imagery must imply that Sansa will remain unmarried and childless, since there are myriad other positive implications that they may have been aiming for.

      viki: I really didn’t like how they ended the North story line with Sansa decking herself out in a new dress, crown and throne… the North isn’t about that kinda of artifice

      Oh, I dunno. Ned and Robb were rocking some pretty sweet furs while they were in charge. And if we’re supposed to believe that Sansa managed to deck herself out in an elegant dress with what was going spare in the Night’s Watch storeroom, I think we can assume she won’t be bankrupting The North to line her wardrobe.

      Plus, Michele Clapton the costume designer has pointed out that different parts of Sansa’s outfit in that scene are inspired by the members of her Stark family, so she is dressed in an unequivocally Northern fashion as she assumes the throne.

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    133. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      I don’t know anything about the process, so I’ll assume you’re right, but a year would place them working on Confederate in 2016. The scripts for season 6 were written in 2015, so Confederate would not have been the reason D&D ended Arya’s Braavos arc, which was what LDB and I were originally discussing. The fact remains that they didn’t move forward with the project, so there’s no indication that it got in their way with running GOT. Besides, as I said, it’s normal for people to plan their next project while they’re wrapping up their current one. They were just preparing for the future.

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    134. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Yeah people don’t realize that when big media companies like Disney and HBO make announcements like this, they mean business. They don’t announce something if they don’t think it can be successful because if they have to cancel their plans some where down the line, they look stupid. Plus, Disney has already looked like buffoons with the Star Wars franchise having to constantly do massive reshoots and firing creatives (some times during the shoot). So yeah, you better believe that D & D spent a ton of time developing these ideas.

      I definitely agree with your last two paragraphs, I think that sums it up for me as well. They lost interest in the material (you can see little hints in interviews they give), and while they still tried to put their best foot forward, their hearts just weren’t in it and you can tell. Add to this, their egos were inflated from the ridiculous success they had while simultaneously they probably were a bit of a mess from all the vicious online criticism that came at them in later seasons, and all these things just led them to be in totally different states of mind while writing the later seasons than they were in the earlier seasons.

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    135. OK. I had a problem with posting comments for sevral days, so rorry I haven’t answered. I won’t argue about Arya: I would have preferred her story to end differently and perhaps more tragicly, because no-one can trick death forever, but I’m OK with the fact that some people enjoyed what they got.

      As for the show in general, the more I think, the more I wonder: does HBO or Hollywood has a quality control system or something? Because what happened with Star Wars and now with GOT is worrysome. Bad writing butchered both. And bad writing is something that can be identified at a very early stage of a project. So, where was Craig Mazin, when we needed him?

      Well, Craig Mazin undrtook a noble mission to tell the story of Chernobyl – the story about the cost of lies. As someone who got a dose of radiation and then and was reading Legasov’s report at the age of 15, I do appreciate that with all my heart.

      But the tragedy of GOT S8 was also based on “lies” – on a poorly written script all the responible people somehow took as “normal”. Kit as a true Jon Snow was the only one who dared to say “disappointing”. So… I fully understand, that the Muses may turn their backs on the writers at the most inappropriate moment (I often have this problem, too), but a normal industiry should have some system of backup or something. Instead, it serves shit and bash the fans for vomiting in response: more true for Star Wars, but GoT is not that far behind them. Really, looks like these people are thinking of themselves as gods, and that the system should start thinking about introducing ISO standards, LOL.

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    136. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Well none of us lost interest in the material. Maybe they should have let other writers and directors collaborate or even finish it off instead of insisting on both writing and directing the last 3 crucial episodes all by themselves if they lost interest. They did with many other seasons. If they simply weren’t interested why didn’t they utilize this option? I’ve lost interest in my job many times over but it pays the bills and more so I chug along, and it’s not even a creative type of work wherein even during dull spells I would have the luxury of getting inspiration from my imagination or outside sources like other artists and mediums. If I start a project and get bored I leave it for a bit and then come back after getting inspired to finish but if it’s something meaningful I do finish to the best of my ability. But it’s all speculation right now because the two haven’t even come out and said a word after the end of their show which had become a global sensation. Not even the standard “inside the episode” feature. Pretty sad.

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    137. Inga,

      I think the difference between Disney and HBO is, Disney engineered their disasters from the top down, while HBO was in a much tougher position. D & D had done brilliant work for most of the run on GoT, so it seemed like a no brainer to let them finish things up without interfering. HBO even trusted them when they said they only needed 73 episodes because HBO wanted and was willing to give them many more episodes. Unfortunately, D & D betrayed this trust by putting their focus else where and not stepping down when maybe they should have. I can’t really blame HBO for putting their faith in D & D, it would’ve taken immense courage for an exec to call out the writing of their two golden boys after they delivered dollar after dollar and Emmy after Emmy for the network.

        Quote  Reply

    138. ygritte,

      Yeah, it’s hard to imagine them getting bored of this material. To me, it’s the most bad ass story of all time with a million great characters in an unbelievable world. You’re on HBO so you can do whatever you want uncensored. A huge audience is watching. Plus it was really their time to shine now that they were off the books and were in full control of the story. Compare this to Star Wars, where they’ll have all the filthy Disney execs breathing down their necks every single second, making sure they pander to this demographic or that demographic and help them sell toys or put a lame joke on every single page of the script to keep the mass audience morons entertained.

      It seems like it was a selfish move by them. They still enjoyed being in the position to receive all the glory, but didn’t deliver on the level everyone expected them to because they wanted to move on. I mean, did they even read Dave Hill’s script for S8x01? That’s the opening episode of your last season and boy was that flat. Contrast that with Bryan Cogman who was still bringing his A game late in the series, and his two episodes in S7 and S8 upstaged D & D badly. Those were the only episodes on par with how the show used to be, those were the caliber of episodes D & D used to write.

      Ah well, what can you do? It’s mind boggling. Still gotta love D & D for what they gave us, but can’t help but be woefully disappointed with how things ended. Hopefully Jane Goldman can give us something good with this new series which is not that far off 😀

        Quote  Reply

    139. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Woefully disappointed is a good way to say it. Although many seemed to enjoy it!

      Over the last few weeks, I have tried to understand several characters in a different way from my original perspectives to see it their storylines (particularly in terms of character development) over the years held together. It did not work.

      I still came back to finding the end to be a nihilist end. Actually, I came back to what a friend said was an expected ending for “basement boy torture” fiction.

      But alas, we need to look forward to a good summer!

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    140. Ten Bears: Me too. The Waif did noticeably stop and change expression when Arya got to “Walder Frey” on her “little list.”

      The Waif changed her expression because Arya kept getting up after being pummeled and it surprised the Waif. The voiceover about Arya’s list was playing over it, so the Waif’s expression did not change because of Arya mentioning Walder Frey. There is no connection between The Freys and the Waif, as far as we know.

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    141. Ten Bears,

      This is the same scene I was referring to.

      They are two different scenes playing together. The discussion of the list is separate from the Waif and Arya sparring.

      The Waif gave a surprised look to Arya simply because she got up after taking a beating.

      It happened to take place at the same time that Arya was talking about the names on her list, which is a different scene that’s playing over another one.

      Arya mentions the list (and Walder Frey) when the Waif and she are sitting down.

      The Waif gives Arya a surprised look when they are sparring because Arya kept getting up despite getting beaten down pretty bad.

      Therefore, the Waif does not give Arya that look because she mentioned the name Walder Frey.

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    142. Mr Derp,

      I thought The Waif was jealous of Arya and fearful that she was going to be replaced. IMO, JaQuen allowed it as battling The Waif made Arya that much stronger. A girl had a destiny.
      ASTPTWPSNAWP

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    143. ygritte,

      LatrineDiggerBrian,

      You two can keep saying D&D lost interest all you want, but it’s not based on reality. Yes, they wrote an outline and pitched Confederate to HBO, but I can’t imagine that took a long time. They were still producing the biggest show in the world at the time. All evidence points to the exact opposite of what you are saying. 70 episodes was their goal, and they worked longer producing the final two seasons than the previous six. These are facts. You are yet to provide any. The reason that the last season didn’t work for you was because they took the story in a direction that you didn’t agree with. That’s it. You have every right to be disappointed, but don’t make up reasonings that are not based on reality.

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    144. Young Dragon,

      The proof is in the pudding imo, i.e. the writing. Like when you have Euron Greyjoy suddenly appear out of nowhere and takes out a dragon with some precision guided scorpion strikes. Or when Arya pops out of nowhere to take out The Night King. Or when Dany roasts an entire city after the opposing forces have surrendered and with barely enough reason to do so in the first place.

      Neither of us is going to fully be able to prove that the writing was good or bad, it’s all subjective. But in the end, it wasn’t just westeros.org that was criticizing the show, it was the critics and a huge portion of the fan base.

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    145. Mr Derp,

      Yep, I figured that out eventually. I do wish the Waif had been someone, instead of another no one. It would have given her character more motivation and depth beyond simple jealousy and rage.

      Similar with Jaqen. I got so excited when I read the spoiler that he was hanging out in Seville during Dragonpit filming. An effective diversion I guess (sigh).

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    146. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      As far as I know, none of my real-life friends are involved in westeros.org, reddit, or WOTW. Yet the comments I’ve seen and heard from them were consistently disappointed. I don’t think the sentiment is limited to hard-core fans.

      I realize that many people liked it and I’m genuinely happy for them. I wish I felt the same.

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    147. ygritte: But it’s all speculation right now because the two haven’t even come out and said a word after the end of their show which had become a global sensation. Not even the standard “inside the episode” feature. Pretty sad.

      I did some serious poking around yesterday to see if they’d said anything about the season. Not a peep as far as I can tell. It’s bizarre. For better or worse, stand behind your work or hell, apologize. The silence feels like a big middle finger to the fans.

      I did read that they have several studios vying for a long term contract with the duo. They also fired their long-time managers a few days ago, one of whom reportedly brought them GoT in the first place. They’re done with us all.

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    148. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Yeah, same here. All my writer friends, for whom none of which are crazy book readers or political people and who all enjoyed the show for most of its run also came away disappointed with similar gripes.

      Part of it is D & D are victims of the high expectations they set themselves in the first 5.5 seasons. Were the final seasons Tommy Wiseau, The Room bad? No, but the bar had been set so high that the drop off was more than noticable, so when the writing got more rushed and sloppy, and the story telling became more conventional, it was disappointing.

      Funny thing is I used to go westeros.org pre season 6 when I was very positive about the show and they were all so negative so I left and came here. Then after S6 I became the negative one when everyone was positive here 🙁 .

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    149. Inga,

      do you remember in season 4 Tyrion is talking with Jaime about there cousin, who used to spend his days bashing bugs. a few days later there was a cartoon of GRRM sitting on the ground, stamping people. Thinks haven’t changed a whole lot

      The carnage at KL was astouding, brutal. I had trouble watching it, cant imagine setting it up to happen, or acting in it.

      I do think D&D wanted out, not because (or not onlly because) they lost interest, they said several times in interviews that they need to get back to their families, they missed normality. I can see that. Wish they could have found someone to do the writig for this one. There were some scenes that were right where we started with well written, well acted. But not enough because the season wasn’t long enough.

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    150. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Of course Euron came out of nowhere. It was an ambush. That’s kind of the point. It’s like when Ramsay came out of nowhere and attacked Stannis and the Sons of the Harpy came out of nowhere and attacked the Unsullied. Also, the arrows flew pretty straight to me. Arya came out of nowhere to kill the Night King like Tywin came out of nowhere and saved King’s Landing and Stannis came out of nowhere and saved the Wall. It’s the exact same situation. Danerys roasted King’s Landing to punish the citizens for supporting Cersei and to spread fear throughout Westeros.

      I knew this season was going to be polarizing from the very beginning. This show is too big with too many characters. People expected different things. There was no way D&D could win

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    151. Young Dragon: There was no way D&D could win

      I don’t know if that’s true. With the time, budget, incredible characters and the end-game mapped out for them, I can think of many ways they could have won. Frankly I’m pretty easy and went into the season with very realistic expectations.

      As far as I’ve read, most people are just fine with individual events. They’re just not sold on how the pieces were moved on the chess board. Surprises and twists are amazing tools of the craft, but they have to leave the audiences saying one of two things:

      1. “I should have seen that coming!” – meaning the plot hints were there all along but they were crafty and subtle, but in immediate aftermath of the twist you’re in awe, not straining for justification.

      2. “I never saw that coming but in retrospect it makes perfect sense!” – meaning the twist took advantage of a character’s inherent traits or motivation that we knew well, even if the event is out of the blue.

      The other thing that could have helped D&D “win” is plotting out the individual characters’ development. Fr season 8, they had a very clear starting point with each person, and a known end-game. Most writers would hate having a predetermined ending given to them, but that’s also something very freeing. Because you get to focus on how they become who they become.

      But D&D didn’t do that. They left Jon out in the cold, turned Dany into Orphan Annie Hitler, perched Cercei in her window drinking wine. had Jaime reverting back to his Season 1 caracature (I mean, if you decide to make him a bad boy again, make it juicy! Not pathetic), reduced Varys to a simple plot device to justify Orphan Annie Hitler etc. etc.

      Yes, there were a lot of characters that needed development. That’s why they needed time. With time and focus, they could have won.

      In my humble opinion.

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    152. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Well, from what I’ve seen, people were upset by the what, not the how. Some people wanted Jon and Danerys to rule Westeros together, some wanted Jon to die and Danerys to rule solo, some wanted Danerys to die and Jon to rule solo, some wanted Tyrion to become king, some wanted the Night King to be the final antagonist, some wanted the White Walker storyline over quickly, some wanted an epic duel between Jon and the Night King, some wanted Jaime and Brienne to get married, some wanted Jaime to die in Brienne’s arms, etc. I can literally go on and on. Like I said, people have certain expectations and wanted different endings.

      Jon had a great season, imo. He may not have been the same action star he’s been in previous seasons, but that is the least interesting thing about his character. Danerys turn has been built up for many seasons. It’s one of those “I should have seen that coming.” I agree with you on Cersei. She could have been used more. Jaime did not revert back to season 1 Jaime. Sure, he still loved Cersei, but that was never the problem. It was the things he did for that love, like pushing Bran out a window. That is what he stopped doing and that is why he is a much better man. Varys stayed true to his character, which is a sign of good writing. He was trying to serve the realm by putting a righteous ruler on the throne. He died trying to save the people of King’s Landing.

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    153. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Well, from what I’ve seen, people were more upset by the what, not the how. Some people wanted Jon and Dany to rule Westeros together, some wanted Jon to die and Dany to rule solo, some wanted Dany to die and Jon to rule solo, some wanted Tyrion to become king, some wanted the Night King to be the final antagonist, some wanted the White Walker storyline to end quickly, some wanted an epic duel between Jon and the Night King, some wanted Jaime and Brienne to get married, some wanted Jaime to die in Brienne’s arms, etc. I can literally go on and on. Like I said, people have certain expectations and wanted different endings.

      Jon had a great season, imo. He may not have been the action hero he’s been in previous seasons, but that is the least interesting thing about his character. Dany’s turn has been built up for many seasons. It’s one of those “I should have seen that coming.” I agree with you on Cersei. She could have been used more. Jaime did not revert back to season 1 Jaime. Sure, he still loved Cersei, but that was never the problem. It was the things he did for that love, like pushing Bran out a window. That is what he stopped doing and that is why he is a much better man. Varys stayed true to his character, which is a sign of good writing. He was trying to serve the realm by placing a righteous ruler on the throne. He died trying to save the people of King’s Landing.

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    154. ash,

      Oh, yes! That cartoon of GRRM sitting on the ground and stamping people with a smile is the true quintessence of GOT now: no deeper meaning, no reveal of some truth, just smashing beetles with some crazy nihilistic idee fixe in mind, and even that idea remains obscure. I don’t think GRRM will manage to pull out his imagined ending in a satisfactory way: the story is already over-crammed with twists, red herrings and all that jazz. It looks like he has an ambition to explore and subvert every possible theme, which has ever been tackled in the history of mankind, however, even if he manages to finish his saga somehow, I don’t think it will maintain its popularity. Giving it a depressing ending in the form of destroying every single goodie is just a bad idea. Some critics may call it “creative”, but in general people want some happy payoff for going through the doom & gloom and they have every right to do so. That’s how the laws of gods and men work: per aspera ad astra. And if the story fails to deliver at least some light in the end of the tunnel, most of the people will inevitably move to the stories that do and there are plenty of them both fictional and true.

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    155. Young Dragon,

      It was never in Dany’s character to indiscriminately slaughter innocents. Without adapting a character’s moral code to allow for atrocity, saying “I’m going to burn cities to the ground” is not foreshadowing, it’s rhetoric.

      Nothing she had done before wasn’t justifiable. Ambitious? Yes. Brutal? Yes. Even gleefully vengeful at times. She wasn’t a sweet innocent lamb for sure. But nor was she a sadistic despot, delusional psychopath, or schizophrenic madwoman.

      Maybe if back in Season 3 we had seen her cut some young woman’s throat for flirting with Drogo or some other petty jealousy or revenge, we would have better believed that she had an intemperate and impulsive dark side. Or if on rare occasions, she hallucinated things like the Mad King.

      At least to me, the mqss murderer of Kings Landing’s innocents simply for the sake of a temper tantrum was out of character for Dany. Destroying just the Red Keep, with Cersei and a few thousand people would have been far more in character. That would have been willful blindness to the consequences in her quest to kill Cersei.

      But then D&D wouldn’t have been able to justify Jon killing her. Oops.

      Just my opinion :).

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    156. Young Dragon,

      Stannis and Tywin attacks were both built in well through the story. We saw Tywin in Harrenhaal brokering a deal with Baelish and it made perfect sense that he would align with the Tyrells because they both needed each other. Stannis was heading north and everyone knew it, it was built up the whole season. So though it’s a coincidence he shows up right on time to save Jon, it was fine. These are both surprises that make sense.

      Ramsey ambushing Stannis wasn’t really a surprise, he said “give me 20 good men” in the previous episode and then shows up burning the tents in the next episode. Of course, we have no idea how he was able to do this. Yes Stannis’s army was exhausted at that point, but I think a lot of people pointed out that it was more weak plotting from D & D. I wasn’t really that overly concerned with it back then, so I didn’t mind. It would’ve been nice to show how he pulled it off though.

      Arya coming out of nowhere and sneaking up on the Night King was awful, it was such a simplistic solution to take down one of the biggest villains of the story who had been built up for 8 seasons. It was bad writing, anyone could have written that. “Arya comes out of left field and stabs The Night King with a knife”. There was no challenge or suspense. Big choke job by D & D.

      And Euron randomly showing up to ambush Dany was ridiculous. Not like she couldn’t see miles ahead with her dragon. Was not built into the story at all. It was just BOOM, now this happens, a tactic D & D used way to much in the final seasons. Then the next episode the scorpions present no challenge at all, Dany just flies in and wastes them.

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    157. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Danerys locked two people in a vault to slowly starve to death, she crucified innocent men, she fed an innocent man to her dragons, used fire as a means to execute people, just like her father, burned Dickon Tarly alive for no reason, and threatened to burn down Astapor and Yunkai as punishment for them attacking Mereen. Her saying, “I’m going to burn cities to the ground” in season 2 was rhetoric, but her plans to massacre entire cities for the actions of the masters was foreshadowing. And that’s not even including how she sacrificed one of her children to save the King in the North, yet the northerners were never grateful, only received fear from the people of Westeros rather than love, lost Jorah, Missandei, and Rhaegal, discovered the man who she loved had a better claim to the throne, Sansa attempting to usurp her, Varys’s betrayal, her declaring the people of King’s Landing not innocent. I mean, what more do you want?

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    158. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Tywin attacking King’s Landing was in no way built up. He made a deal with the Tyrells, but so what? That in no way means they are going to save King’s Landing together. The point is that the three situations are entirely similar. We see all three head off to attack an enemy, and the next time we see them, they are attacking that enemy.

      Anyone could also have written “Ned gets beheaded.” I don’t know where you’re going with that argument. Arya killing the Night King makes perfect sense. Death has played a major role in Arya’s storyline, and the Night King is the personification of death. It’s fitting that was her final kill.

      I thought you really liked season 5 and thought the writing only went downhill afterwards.

      I guess you missed the part where Euron was hidden from view. Cersei said she had plans for the dragon queen, then Euron kills Rhaegal. It was as set up as “20 good men.”

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    159. Young Dragon,

      If you’re comparing Ned getting beheaded, an iconic moment in TV history which was built on a million little brilliant things that came before it, with Arya coming out of left field to kill The Night King then you are definitely wearing Valyrian Steel tinted goggles and probably would’ve defended the show no matter what D & D did. Look, you loved S8, that’s fine, I didn’t, at this point we should probably just agree to disagree.

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    160. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      There were tiny hints of foreshadowing that Arya would kill the Night King too:
      “What do we say to the god of death?”
      “Not today.”

      “There’s a darkness in you, and in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, green eyes, and blue eyes. Eyes you’ll shut forever.”

      No, if D&D had written something I didn’t like or were inconsistent with their characters, I would criticize them for it. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Like I said, death played a major role in Arya’s storyline and it makes perfect sense that she would be the one to kill the personification of death. And she didn’t come out of nowhere, we saw leave to confront the Night King. But fine, let’s agree to disagree.

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    161. I know I am very late in this post and maybe this has been addressed somewhere above and I didn’t see it. Here’s my point of view: Game of thrones since it’s beginning was a mixture of many genres, fantasy, political drama, history inspired conflict, psychological and sociological drama, adventure, horror. It was a very complex mix of reality inspired events and fiction. It would have been almost impossible to land in all these directions. It would have been very very difficult to give a satisfying resolution in all these totally different styles and genres. So they went with the fantasy. Because they went with the fantasy, I believe it s pointless to argue giving examples from ancient or medieval history, or trying to find human history grounded explanations. The explanations could be found in Tolkien’s books maybe.
      Magic was returned to Westeros. The ages long conflict between the Children of the Forrest and the First Men and after that the Andals has been resolved. Bran is not a dystopian symbol, in this fantasy realm he is the last of the heritage of the Children that was passed through thousands of years. The Children inhabited Westeros before they were slaughtered by the First Men, the White Walkers and the Andals,because the latter thought their magic was a heresy to the Faith of the Seven. The Children were magical entities, living in trees in peace and harmony on a green continent ( Tolkien quotes again and again). The Men destroyed this environmental balance. It was time for a armistice to be made between the realm of magic and the realm of men. So basically if this is GRRM ‘s idea, he too wasn’t interested in Aragorn’ s tax policy…The last episode is an ode to peace and a nostalgic ballad to all that was lost. Much like LOTR only here with magic taking the rule once again. One could argue that a greater wheel was broken, living the many small wheels inside somewhat intact.
      I found a very good essay on Danny’s dragons and the wheel, I will share the link below, I strongly recommend this essay to anyone interested to read, it is very well written indeed!

      https://www.vulture.com/2019/05/game-of-thrones-finale-the-last-dragon.html?utm_medium=s1&utm_source=fb&utm_campaign=vulture

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    162. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Huh. I hadn’t heard about them firing their managers. I wonder what happened behind the scenes here. The show and its fans brought them much notoriety, awards and money. They had a good thing going. I can’t wait until the dust has settled and we get someone opening up to tell-all. I feel they are disrespecting the loyal fans with their silence as well.

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    163. I’m probably too late to get much feedback on this, but my answer about whether the wheel was broken or whether it remains is that it remains, for the simple reason that nothing has happened in Planetos to really change things.

      One of the things that has always surprised me about ASOIAF is how insanely stable these kingdoms, city-states and empires have been. Events that happened thousands or many hundreds years ago (the wars between Valyria and the Old Empire of Ghis; the war between Valyria and the Rhonyish people and the flight of the 10,000 ships) still have direct incidence on Planetos, and people act accordingly….

      Braavos in particular would seem to be the type of place where technological breakthroughs happen (there’s no slavery, there’s a fairly developed financial system thanks to the Iron Bank, there’s a ton of maritime commerce and a tremendous ship building tradition)…. but they haven’t.

      Why hasn’t there been a Guttenberg? Why hasn’t somebody invented something along the lines of steam power? Surely the Braavosi would be the type to do so, but it isn’t happening there or anywhere else, and thus, the world can’t really chance that much….

      At times during the last two seasons of GoT I have been reminded of Harry Turtledove’s Basil Argyros stories. In this world, Islam never arose (Muhammed became a Monk instead of a Prophet) and the Byzantine Empire remained the great power in the Mediterranean.

      Well, Basil Argyros is a “Magistrianos” for the Byzantine Empire (a combination Magistrate/Spy), who in fairly rapid succession finds out how to inoculate children from small pox, runs into the development of powder and sort of develops printing with movable type. All three are done organically, and I would have loved to have had any one of those elements introduced into ASOIAF to see how Planetos starts developing (especially the latter two), and moreso, see if they actually do manage to break the wheel.

      Another possible way to break the wheel is for a Black Death-like event to cause such destruction to the economic system that a burgeoning urban middle class becomes crucial to Planetos (especially Westeros). There are stirrings along those lines in ASOIAF, but I’m not sure that I can compare the Pale Mare’s effect to the Black Death.

      Finally, the discovery of the Americas and a ton of bullion and new agricultural products could also jump start Planetos in a way that allows the wheel to be broken. That MAY be what’s going to happen with Arya in the GoT timeline and it may be that GRRM laid down those tracks with Ellaria Farman and her possible arrival at Ashai….. but it doesn’t look like we’ll get to read that (we certainly did not see it on TV).

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    164. Thank you, Akash, for your piece. Thank you, all you commenters – I’m sorry I haven’t had time to read everything.

      The wheel, has it been broken?

      Just Daenerys’s idea? What about the native Westerosi? Bran??

      I think we’ll get a Declaration of Arbroath (Scottish) and Magna Carta (English) situation whereby the power of powerful lords will be curtailed, the centralising power of the monarchy could well bind the realm together… Except…uhm… who is there? Dany the Destroyer (now dead), Jon the… Oh, Bran! And Tyrion!. It’s seeming really weird.

      Ho hum.

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    165. Young Dragon:
      ThisGirlHasNoName,

      Danerys locked two people in a vault to slowly starve to death, she crucified innocent men, she fed an innocent man to her dragons, used fire as a means to execute people, just like her father, burned Dickon Tarly alive for no reason, and threatened to burn down Astapor and Yunkai as punishment for them attacking Mereen. Her saying, “I’m going to burn cities to the ground” in season 2 was rhetoric, but her plans to massacre entire cities for the actions of the masters was foreshadowing. And that’s not even including how she sacrificed one of her children to save the King in the North, yet the northerners were never grateful, only received fear from the people of Westeros rather than love, lost Jorah, Missandei, and Rhaegal, discovered the man who she loved had a better claim to the throne, Sansa attempting to usurp her, Varys’s betrayal, her declaring the people of King’s Landing not innocent. I mean, what more do you want?

      The people that she locked in the vault killed her people, took her dragons and betrayed her. It’s no different to Sansa feeding Ramsay to his own dogs or Arya torturing Meryn Trant before killing him. In fact, the latter two deaths are a lot worse.

      Most of the people that she crucified had already crucified innocents, including children. A few were innocent but she didn’t learn this until after, and clearly showed remorse when she found out.

      Feeding the man to her dragon I agree with, it’s probably her darkest act before season 8.

      When she uses fire to execute people, they are almost instantly incinerated. It’s a lot faster than hanging or a botched beheading, which can last minutes.

      Using fire in battle is no worse than hacking people to death with swords or shooting them full of arrows, which is what every other army in Westeros does to their enemies.

      Dickon Tarly refused to bend the knee. So it wasn’t for no reason. If she had let him live after refusing, the other Lannisters she held captive probably wouldn’t have bent their knees.

      And her threatening to attack Astapor and Yunkai was as a last resort. She had tried for 4 seasons to come to a peaceful solution with the slavers but they threw it in her face every time. And now they were attacking her city. It’s not comparable to King’s Landing where the people had surrendered.

      And you only bring up her dark moments. You ignore every time in the series that she cared about innocents and tried to protect them, which is a lot.

      Everyone looks bad if you just look at their dark moments. Jon Snow, killed a traumatized child and killed a man that was begging for his life.

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    166. Undead Elephant,

      But the fact that she crucified slavers without determining their guilt shows that Danerys has a very black and white view on justice, just like most tyrants. Besides, we judge people by how they treat their enemies, not their friends. Crucifixion and starvation are not humane ways of executing your enemies.

      Varys and the Tarlys died quickly. But look at Pyat Pree, Kraznys Mo Nakloz, the Sons of the Harpy in the the arena, the Khals she burned alive, the Yunkai and Astapor soldiers, the Lannister soldiers, the people of King’s Landing. They all died in agony. The fact that she could have made it painless but didn’t is another strike against her. And yes, using fire is very different than using steel. It’s the equivalent of using sarin gas on enemy soldiers, which is a war crime.

      Tyrion informed her of how to handle Dickon differently. If, afterwards, he still failed to comply, the execution would have been warranted.

      It’s absolutely comparable. She said she would burn the cities after she had slayed all the soldiers and crucified all the masters. After that, there would have been no reason to massacre the cities other than punishing them for the masters’ crimes and to send a message. Sound familiar?

      I am fully aware that she did a lot of good things to. People aren’t only one thing. But you can’t deny she had some very dark impulses, and when the time came, she gave into them.

      If you want to make a list of all the dark things Jon has done and compare them to Danerys, be my guest. I don’t think you’ll be happy with the results.

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    167. Young Dragon,

      If we judge people by how they treat their enemies, then how come I don’t hear any complaints about Sansa feeding Ramsay to his own dogs, or Arya brutally assassinating Meryn Trant and slaughtering the entire Frey family? In a vacuum, these killings would be seen as the work of psychopaths. But we don’t judge them in a vacuum. We judge them in the context that is presented; they clearly deserved it. And the same should be applied to Dany’s enemies.

      Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah betrayed Dany, killing many of her Khalasar, stealing her dragons and dooming her to an eternity trapped in the House of the Undying. If they didn’t deserve what happened to them, then neither did Ramsay, Walder Frey or Meryn Trant.

      Similarly, Pyat Pree was going to enslave Dany and her dragons and keep them in chains forever. And she literally had no other choice in that situation but to burn him alive.

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    168. Young Dragon,

      Kraznys also deserved what happened to him. The guy was cutting people’s nipples off to prove a point. Everything about the training of the Unsullied was extremely cruel and inhumane, and he just didn’t care. And he was the one that suggested Dany should sack a city to break the Unsullied in. Why should he be immune to this?

      With both the Sons of the Harpy and the Khals, she was surrounded by enemies trying to either rape her or kill her and she acted in self defence. In both of these instances fire was the only weapon available to her to save herself.

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    169. Young Dragon,

      I still feel that Dickon’s execution was justified. He was given a choice; bend the knee, or die. This was a pretty common occurrence in Westerosi warfare. Robert Baratheon gave Balon Greyjoy the same choice after defeating him at Pyke. Aegon the Conqueror gave the same choice to every King in Westeros when he conquered the Seven Kingdoms. Stannis took the same position in the War of the Five Kings; bend the knee of be destroyed. Dickon was an idiot for not accepting Dany’s offer. If she had agreed to send him to the wall after already threatening to kill him if he didn’t bend the knee, her position would be weakened, and many of the Lannister men would have also refused to bend the knee. Dickon refused to submit to Dany. Janos Slynt refused to submit to Jon. Both ended up dead, but only one is criticised.

      I didn’t say that Jon had as many dark moments as Dany. I just meant that anyone looks bad if you focus on their dark moments and ignore all of their good ones, like a lot of posters seem to be doing with Dany recently. If you solely focused on Arya’s dark moments (and there are quite a lot) she would look like a complete psychopath.

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    170. Young Dragon,

      The Yunkai, Astapor, Greyjoy, Golden Company and Lannister soldiers were killed in battles. And I disagree that using her dragons is a war crime. Burning people in battle isn’t cruel in the context of Westeros. The people that died in the Battle of the B******s died just as gruesomely as the people that died in the Battle of Meereen. Just because hacking people to pieces is common in Westeros doesn’t mean that it is any more pleasant than getting burnt alive. Both can be quick or slow ways to die. Also, I don’t see people calling Tyrion a war criminal for burning thousands of people alive in the Battle of the Blackwater, or Aegeon the Conqueror for burning thousands of people alive in the Field of Fire, or Robb Stark for allowing his direwolf to rip his enemies to shreds in his battle. It was war. They did what they had to, as Dany did when she used her dragons in battle.

      Please note that I am not defending her burning King’s Landing after the surrender. I am arguing that it felt out of character and illogical.

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    171. ygritte,

      Would you stop with your entitlement and conspiracy theories and actually act your age and like a mature person ? At this point you aren’t any different than someone like The Dragon Demands who is a clearly mentally ill person who is doing more than just simply criticism and participating in stalking and harrasing actual persons, this is what you’re doing right now !

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    172. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      You too as well, you are treading on a very dangerous ground and the fact that you think that what you’re doing is something normal is alarming, i worry about the people you interact in real life . It’s none of your damn bussiness what two people, who aren’t in any way related to you or even know you do in their lives or what they want or won’t say, get a life yourself !

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    173. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      I can say the same thing, you would have criticised the show no matter what they would have done since you’ve been on a hate train forever, what kind of good argument do you think is that that you actually try to use it in your favor? Perspective is important, but you don’t care about that and you don’t want to engage into any sort of meaningfull discussions whatsover, you just want to sit in an echo chamber and want everyone to agree with you and to say the show was bad and then you wouldn’t have any problem and no one will have any rose tinted glasses as long as they sing your tune .

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    174. Undead Elephant,

      I’m not arguing that these people deserve to die, but the method of execution matters. Burning alive is one of the worst ways to go. Yes, other characters have also committed terrible acts, but they pale in comparison to the amount of terrible acts Danerys has committed. Tyrion using wildfire was also horrific and he is the one who comes closest, and I don’t give him a pass. Besides Sansa using dogs and Arya killing Meryn Trant, all the methods people used were quick and painless.

      You’re wrong about the khals. Danerys had a chance to run away with Jorah and Daario. She chose to stay and kill the khals
      so she could take over their khalasar.

      Dany’s decision to burn a Dickon was impulsive and she should have stopped to consider Tyrion’s suggestion., and that’s the problem with Danerys. Her first impulse was always Fire and Blood. That was her go to method for dealing with problems.

      The reason we’re focusing solely on Dany’s dark side is because the argument is whether or not her burning down King’s Landing was in character. Yes, she had a good side, but she also had really dark impulses that you can’t deny, and burning down King’s Landing was an impulsive decision.

      It was definitely in character because she threatened to do the same thing to Astapor and Yunkai. No one has given a good argument about how that was a different situation. When she told Tyrion her plans, she wasn’t desperate, or even angry. She was speaking matter-of-factly, like that was going to happen. Anyone who can speak that coldly about massacring cities is capable of anything.

      No, fire is a much worse death than steel. When Mance was burning alive and was in agony, Jon put him out of his misery with an arrow. The fire was hell, the arrow was mercy.

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    175. Jack Nabble,

      From FAQ – Moderation Policy

      2. What is the moderation policy when commenting on Watchers On the Wall?

      WatchersOnTheWall.com has an open commenting policy for the most part, but personal attacks on other commenters are not permitted. Spamming and trolling are also not allowed, and comments of this nature may be deleted without warning. If your post contains language that is racist, extremely vulgar, or otherwise abusive, it may also warrant deletion.

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    176. Ten Bears,

      What about comments that are targeted towards harrasing people about their private lifes, does that say anything about it or did you conveniently omissed it? I stand by what i said because it’s the right thing to do and i’m not taking back anything no matter if my comments get deleted or not, some of us actually own a spine and can tell somebody when they are doing a wrong thing even if they don’t like it .

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    177. Ten Bears,

      The mods have been completely dropping the ball on this troll for a while now. I have no idea why they’re not enforcing their own policy. He’s clearly not here to do anything other than conduct personal attacks. It’s really a shame he has nothing better to do with his life, but that’s the troll life I suppose.

      He comes on here whinging to people that they’re not engaging in meaningful discussions even though they are, and ironically, he’s the one person who isn’t engaging in any meaningful discussions at all.

      It’s actually would be pretty hilarious if it wasn’t so pathetic and a waste of time.

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    178. Young Dragon</
      Young Dragon,

      there are many different ways to die from fire and you wrongly conflate them all.

      I agree the method of death matters – dragon fire is shown to be nearly instantaneous in most cases. You get obliterated and quickly, it’s a better way to die than most others in Westeros.

      You can’t seriously compare Mance’s death to torching people with Drogon. One is instantaneous, the other was a form of torture.

      You do see some people with burn injuries in episode 6, but those were outliers in how we saw people killed by dragon fire.

      Dany could only kill the Khals the way she killed them. And why not? Most of the Lannisters, Baratheon, Tyrells, Martells or Arryns would have done that had they been in Danys position. At this point in time the show was portraying lots of moral shades of grey, and accurately portraying the regular brutality of Planetos that is analogous to the medieval and ancient periods of our own world.

      You try so hard to find fault with Dany’s actions everywhere, but in the moral framework she was working in, there was nothing that unusual, until Ep 5.

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    179. Aurelius,

      Again, Pyatt Pree died screaming. Kraznys Mo Nakloz died screaming. The Sons of the Harpy died screaming. The khals died screaming. The Astapor and Yunkai soldiers died screaming. The Lannister soldiers died screaming. The people of King’s Landing died screaming. There were only two instances where death by fire seemed instantaneous, and that would be Varys and the Tarlys. There were many, many more instances where dragon fire caused people to die in agony.

      Dragon fire is not instantaneous, so comparing their deaths to Mance is perfectly reasonable.

      Dany didn’t have to kill the khals. She could have run away with Jorah and Daario, but she wanted to take over the Dothraki for herself.

      Danerys has done some great things, but she also has done some not so great. You can’t deny she had some serious dark impulses, and it seems Fire and Blood was her first answer to everything, unless her advisers could talk her out of it. The Mad King and Danerys share an obsession with fire and both had a tendency to burn their enemies alive. The moment Danerys decided the people of King’s Landing were not innocent, they were doomed.

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    180. Young Dragon:
      Aurelius,

      Again, Pyatt Pree died screaming. Kraznys Mo Nakloz died screaming. The Sons of the Harpy died screaming. The khals died screaming. The Astapor and Yunkai soldiers died screaming. The Lannister soldiers died screaming. The people of King’s Landing died screaming. There were only two instances where death by fire seemed instantaneous, and that would be Varys and the Tarlys. There were many, many more instances where dragon fire caused people to die in agony.

      Dragon fire is not instantaneous, so comparing their deaths to Mance is perfectly reasonable.

      Dany didn’t have to kill the khals. She could have run away with Jorah and Daario, but she wanted to take over the Dothraki for herself.

      Danerys has done some great things, but she also has done some not so great. You can’t deny she had some serious dark impulses, and it seems Fire and Blood was her first answer to everything, unless her advisers could talk her out of it. The Mad King and Danerys share an obsession with fire and both had a tendency to burn their enemies alive. The moment Danerys decided the people of King’s Landing were not innocent, they were doomed.

      Dany didn’t have to kill the khals in the same way that Arya didn’t have to kill the Freys or Meryn Trant, Sansa didn’t have to kill Littlefinger or Ramsay, Jon didn’t have to kill Janos Slynt or the people that assassinated him. The khals wronged her and Dany retaliated.

      If Dany has an obsession with fire then every other character has an obsession with swords. It’s not an obsession, it’s her weapon. She doesn’t take pleasure in it like the Mad King did. She burns people fast wherever possible. The Mad King wouldn’t have given Varys an instant death like that. He would have slowly cooked him alive like he did to the Starks.

      When people were hit with direct dragon fire from a fully grown dragon they died pretty instantly. It’s only the people that are not directly hit that suffered for longer. And this is the same as generic Westerosi warfare. The people that had their heads sliced off in the BotB dies instantly. Other people were crawling around with their legs sliced off and their intestines hanging out of their stomachs.

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    181. Undead Elephant,

      I agree with the Arya kills, since she went out of their way to kill them. Sansa didn’t go out of her way to kill Littlefinger, as he was with her when she discovered his deception. Killing Ramsay was a result of them taking back Winterfell, which is what they had to do, because of reasons already given in the show. Jon didn’t go out of his way to kill Slynt, he was insubordinate and spat in Jon’s face. Danerys went out of her way to kill the khals, and she did it all for power.

      Swords are a conventional way of doing combat, so the comparison doesn’t really work. Fire is a really brutal way to use on someone, and no matter what you say, we see a lot more people die in agony than we see die quickly. It’s not even a contest. That said, comparing her to her father may have been unfair.

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    182. Young Dragon,

      Dany went out of her way to kill the Khals? Since when was getting kidnapped and threatened multiple times with rape/death going out of her way? Sure, she could have ran away with Jorah, but by that point they had already wronged her (also don’t forget that these Khals chased her into the Red Waste and one of them killed Rakharo). She decided to take revenge and gain power with one move. She didn’t hunt down the Khals and kill them all just to take power, that would have been going out of her way. But yhey kidnapped her and the opportunity to seize power presented itself.

      I’m not saying that fire isn’t a brutal way to die. I’m saying that I don’t see a big difference in brutality between fire and conventional Westerosi warfare where people are hacked to pieces alive with swords, like in these clips.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrsK1X72Ts8

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsFeIVJfKsA

      Also, fire is an acceptable part of Westerosi warfare. The Night’s Watch used flaming arrows against the wildlings in the battle at Castle Black. They dropped barrels full of pitch on them too. The Lannisters also used flaming arrows against Stannis’ forces, and that’s not even considering the wildfire. The intent of these flaming arrows and barrels of pitch is the same as Dany’s; to burn their enemies. She’s just doing it on a bigger scale.

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    183. Undead Elephant,

      Danerys didn’t have to kill the khals, though. She chose to take revenge and take power. That was her choice. So, yeah, she did go out of her way.

      Yes, people being hacked to pieces is painful, but we’ve also seen a lot of people dying quickly from a thrust of a sword or an arrow. We’ve only seen 3 people die quickly from dragon fire, as opposed to the thousands who died screaming. Between the two, using swords and arrows are much more humane.

      Fun fact: Television and films don’t accurately portray the use of flaming arrows. In medieval times, they were only used to burn supplies. They actually provided a disadvantage, as the flammable material wrapped around the arrow head would weigh the arrow down and it won’t be able to shoot very far. The reason shows and movies use flaming arrows is because it looks cool and it allows the viewers to see the arrows hit their target if the battle is happening at night.

      In regards to Thrones, we never see flaming arrows cause any suffering. It’s not like the people would catch on fire after being hit. In fact, everyone we’ve seen hit with a flaming arrow died instantly. It’s the arrow that causes the damage, not the fire. Compare that to Danerys literally roasting people alive.

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    184. Young Dragon,

      I know that flaming arrows are not effective in real life, but they are clearly meant to be in the show or they wouldn’t use them. The only in-universe reason to use them would be to burn their enemies. And the barrels of pitch used in the battle of the Wall and that the Lannisters planned to use in the season 7 finale were clearly intended to burn their enemies.

      And a lot more than 3 people died instantly from dragon fire. It just depends on how directly the fire hit people. Remember that squad of archers next to Jaime that got instantly turned to ash? That was far more humane than anyone that died in the BotB. And it looked like a good portion of the people killed by Drogon in the King’s Landing attack died pretty instantly (as well as the ones that died in agony).

      And Dany didn’t HAVE to kill the Khals. Sansa didn’t HAVE to feed Ramsay to his dogs. Arya didn’t HAVE to brutally murder Meryn Trant. Robb Stark didn’t HAVE to sacrifice 2000 of his own men.

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    185. Undead Elephant,

      Well, I already told you why movies and television use flaming arrows, so we could seen the arrows at night. We don’t see the arrows burn anyone. Everyone who has been struck by a flaming arrow appeared to have died instantly.

      I’ll have to watch it again, but I remember the archers screaming when Drogon lit them on fire, as well as a lot of other Lannister soldiers.

      Sansa didn’t have to feed Ramsay to his dogs, but she didn’t go out of her way to kill him, either. He was already her prisoner, which isn’t the same with the khals. I already agreed about Arya. Robb did have to sacrifice his 2000 men in order for his military strategy to work. And conducting a military campaign is not the same thing as murdering a bunch of men for power. To be clear, my position is not that Danerys is the devil and everyone else are saints. I don’t even see Danerys as evil. I’m just highlighting the fact that Danerys has done plenty of dark things in the past and had had dark impulses.

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