I’m not one of the million-plus who signed a petition begging HBO to redo this season of Game of Thrones. The whole concept of a redo is unreasonable and impossible for a multitude of reasons. But it just goes to show how upset over a million people are. I can’t say that I’m upset anymore… just resigned.
I sat watching the series finale much like Bran Stark has sat watching the world for the past few seasons: still, unimpressed, apathetic. My wife asked me just before the finale aired what I wanted to happen, and my response was something akin to what Bran Stark would say. “I don’t want anything anymore.”
So congratulations to HBO and the GoT writers! I began the season excited for what was to come, and ended the season with Bran Stark as my spirit animal. Kudos! (And by the way, I noticed that little charge come through this morning for another month of HBO NOW. Way to sneak that in before everybody unsubscribes!)
I really don’t want to pile on the writers anymore though. It was probably never in the cards for HBO to succeed with this season. All the expectations, all the money, all the egos, and never enough time. Of course, time will tell if George R. R. Martin can do better, and if nothing else we know he will use the advantages of time.
And to be honest, the finale wasn’t all bad, was it?
Hey, Bronn got his castle! Jon, Ghost and Tormund are gonna be best bros forever! Our man Tyrion is running the show! Arya is going out into the world to have adventures! Brienne and Pod are gonna get to write all sorts of cool knight stories! And Sam Tarly just gave a huge middle finger to the entire Citadel! (Look who’s Grand Maester now, bitches!)
It was all really… really… happy. Oddly happy.
We entered the season with four Starks, they all survived and get to live the rest of their lives pretty well, considering. All the bad guys died (Night King, Cersei, Batshit Dany). I mean, as the show panned out on the small council with Bronn joking (probably not joking) about prioritizing the funding of brothels, I couldn’t help but have a happy little song playing in my head. It was a tune from my childhood, when everything had a mellow golden glow, and all things were full of hope, dreams, laughter and love.
I’d like to share it with you now.
But wait, wait, WAIT a second… Hold the door… this wasn’t a happy ending. Now that I think about it, the bad guy won. Seriously, why is everyone so damned happy?
Bran Stark is the most self-centered, sociopathic MFer in all of Westeros. Let’s lay it out:
EVERYTHING IS BRAN’S FAULT! He is likely aware that everything is his fault. AND he’s smugly accepting the royal nomination with jokes. Damn that’s cold.
So there you go. Our watch has ended, and the bad guy won, after all. Show me that smile!
Thanks for reading,
Dylan Lee Peters
A brief warning: if you are not up to date with the show, having watched season eight, episode fi—aww seven hells, does it even matter at this point?
I’m not boasting, but I did get a fair amount of predictions right last week. (Though they were fairly easy to peg as we get closer to the end).
I predicted Dany would become the Mad Queen and torch King’s Landing, and though I did not predict the correct manner of death, I did predict the deaths of Euron, Qyburn, The Mountain, The Hound, Jaime, Cersei, and Varys. I also predicted they would bring the show back to Winterfell for the final episode, as Arya would escape the ruins of King’s Landing to let Sansa know the Mad Queen is coming for her.
So I did get some things right, amid the morass of things I got wrong.
I invite you to read last week’s blog post here. I hope it’s at least entertaining if not clairvoyant.
• • •
But moving forward and setting our sights on the series finale, I find myself pondering the epic amount of disappointment this season has wrought. I have my own opinions, of course, but I’ve also talked to a fair amount of GoT viewers and have yet to find someone who thinks the writers have been hitting home runs all season long. People are disappointed with the ending. It’s moving from opinion to fact as fast as Daenerys Targaryen turning from Breaker of Chains to Murderer of Children.
I mean, we all knew it wasn’t going to be a happy ending.
But did we think we were going to be left unsatisfied? I can’t say that I did.
Mother of Dragons fans were prepared for their heroine’s death, but were they prepared for her story arc to be far less than heroic, and logically problematic. Tyrion Lannister fans thought they would see their man go out as the “god of tits and wine,” not as the biggest fool in all of Westeros. We wanted to see Jaime dead, but redeemed. We wanted to see Cersei dead, but through Stark vengeance. We wanted another Red Wedding. We wanted Joffrey’s poisoning.
What we are getting this season can only be described as limp.
Quick side note: I’m not advocating for the happy ending. I’m comfortable with “things going wrong” such as the idea of Daenerys breaking bad. But it needs to be earned, and feel organic. With a shortened last season, and so much to tie up, they were never going to have enough time for added character building. They needed to lean on the character arcs of past seasons, so unfortunately Dany going cray-cray just doesn’t make sense. She’s been alone in the past; she’s lost loved ones in the past, yet she still maintained her cool, and her purpose. I mean we just watched her torch a city full of kids and innocent people because she couldn’t get laid. WTF? It was highly out of character, and I’m sorry, but that’s just lazy storytelling.
Think of your favorite character, large or small, and tell me you’ve been satisfied with their story this season. There are a few, sure, but mostly you can’t. From the Night King down to Ghost we wanted more. From Varys to Cersei we expected greater intrigue. From Jaime to Jon Snow we just wanted it all to have more gravity.
So I’m left to wonder. Is this incompetence? Are the show writers mailing it in? Is this just what happens when there are too many egos, too much money, and not enough time?
OR is disappointment the intended theme.
Maybe the existential battle we wanted was the Night King versus the living, but the existential battle we’re getting is our heroes versus the inevitability of failure.
So that is the theme I’m going to use for predicting episode six. Disappointment and the inevitability of failure. We wanted Jaime dead, but also wanted him to stand as proof that people can change. Except what we got was a reminder that change is hard, and more often than not people don’t change. More often than not an arrogant, callous, incestuous prick is just that and nothing more. Jaime doesn’t learn from his mistakes and make a life with Brienne, he tucks tail and runs back to his sister to be buried under the mess his family made.
It’s depressing… but that’s Game of Thrones. Here’s my predictions:
Tormund Giantsbane, Yara Greyjoy, Samwell Tarly, Gilly, Little Sam, Ghost and Nymeria – These characters are actually just gone. They won’t pop back up for the final episode to play some important part in defending Winterfell. We won’t get to see what’s going on with their new lives. It’s just done, because sometimes people leave and there is no closure. Sometimes people just go, and it’s awkward or depressing. Sometimes Jon doesn’t pet his dog goodbye, and it just ends that way. Stop crying! There’s no crying in Game of Thrones! Just stare off into the void and do nothing under the unbearable weight of existence like the rest of us…
Podrick Payne – Oh he’ll get like thirty seconds of camera time, standing behind Brienne or something, and that will literally be all he does. Because Game of Thrones wants to remind the try-hards of the world that no one actually cares.
Bran Stark – Speaking of doing next to nothing, that’ll be what Bran does too. He’ll probably just crawl into a hole under the Weirwood tree in Winterfell, get all comfy in the roots, and spend a generation seeing the world through other people’s eyes. Bran is that one friend you had in high school who was a really smart kid with a bright future, then smoked weed one time and it was over. That kid turned into a burn out, forever lost in a cloud of smoke, talking about weird shit like three-eyed ravens. Someone get Bran a bag of Cheetos for episode six.
Greyworm – is going to commit suicide amid the ashes of King’s Landing. This will be the intro scene for the episode. Good times.
Davos Seaworth – Davos will be the misplaced coffee cup in episode six. He won’t even be in costume. He’ll just show up in jeans and crocs, throwing out modern jargon like YOLO and resting bitch face (that’s for Daenerys). Jon Snow will laugh like he knows EXACTLY what his man Davos is talking about.
Drogon – Dany will inexplicably fly her dragon into the outer wall of Winterfell for some totally illogical reason like she saw Sansa glaring at her, and it just made her lose her mind. Because we all know, when Game of Thrones needs to get rid of the fantasy element of a show, they do so quickly and without any logical reason at all. Can I get a ‘hell yeah’ from the children of the forest?
Brienne – is actually going to die from shyness.
Tyrion Lannister – is going to get stabbed in the heart by a prostitute.
Sansa Stark – is going to stay alive forever just so she can tell everyone she meets “I tooold Jon not to trust her,” and “no I don’t feel sorry for him, he’s stuuupid.” And she’ll say it all in that Sansa Stark voice that sounds like what you’d imagine an eye-roll to sound like if an eye-roll had a voice. She will also do a lot of cross stitching.
Gendry and Arya Stark – Arya will hunt down Gendry and try to accept his marriage proposal, because for some reason she inexplicably decided there’s more to life than killing people, even though her character has literally never had one on camera moment of thinking that way, but you know, the Hound said some shit so everything changed. Then Gendry will rip off his face to reveal Jaqen H’ghar, (no I’m not letting this prediction die) who will kill Arya for the many-faced god, because even in our fantasy fiction there will always be assholes killing people for no reason because some god "told" them to.
Jon Snow – will do nothing important or intelligent or heroic in episode six. His destiny will be to travel north of the wall and build cabins for underprivileged wildling youth. No one will ever see him again, but he will die one day in an avalanche caused by a dire wolf.
Daenerys Targaryen – In the final episode of the series Daenerys will continue losing things, because that’s what she does. She’ll lose her army, lose her dragon, lose her alliance with anyone in Westeros, and continue to lose her mind. She will then be kidnapped and dropped off the side of a boat in a bundle of chains she will be ironically unable to break.
And who will do the kidnapping?
Bronn of the Blackwater – The final scene of Game of Thrones will be Bronn walking into the deserted former home of the Umbers, Last Hearth. You remember, the place the Night King tacked that dead kid to the wall in a spiral of body parts? Turns out Sansa gave it to Bronn in exchange for the kidnap and murder of the Mad Queen. Bronn will stroll in, arm in arm with some former brothel worker, and sit down in a big chair. He’ll pour himself some wine, raise a glass and then look at the woman.
“Don’t look so fucking disappointed,” he’ll say. “I’ve waited a long time for this.”
Thanks for reading,
Dylan Lee Peters
A brief warning: if you are not up to date with the show, having watched season eight, episode three, you probably shouldn’t read on.
My predictions took some major losses in last Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode. I had the Night King as a “definitely NOT dying” character, Melisandre as “most likely not dying,” Beric Dondarrion as “can’t die yet,” and I predicted a lot of characters would die that didn’t. My predictions were mostly made under the assumption that the Night King would survive until the final episode and lay waste to Winterfell. Obviously, Arya Stark put all that to bed.
I did predict Ed, Theon, and Jorah would meet their ends last Sunday, but honestly… who didn’t see those departures coming? I don’t feel especially proud that I was able to guess those correct.
Truly, the premature end of the Night King busted my entire theory about the show, as I’m sure it did for many others. I guess the Night King had served his purpose and the Lord of Light was done with him, just like he was done with ole’ Beric. Speaking of the Lord of Light–it seems the Lord has a heavier hand in how the Game will play out than I previously thought. Melisandre lit the night up like it was a Rob Zombie concert, and her prophecy about Arya played out so smoothly she decided to go out on top and become dust in the wind. Mic drop. Last week’s GoT MVP might have been Melisandre, might have been Arya, but when you think about it, was definitely the Lord of Light.
So that’s going to be the theme of this week’s predictions, because it seems the Lord of Light truly has a plan for all in the world of GoT. At least until someone else’s god decides to get in on the fun, anyway. (I’m looking at you Drowned God of the Iron Islands. Can we get a Biblical flood for episode five, please?)
Anyway, let’s get on to predicting where the Lord will lay his light.
The Lord is Definitely Not Done With:
After pulling the plug on the Night King so early, it feels like these are the only two characters we can definitively say will survive episode four. The Lord is not done with them (more on that in a bit).
The Lord is Probably Not Done With:
I was wrong about Bran. I thought his character, after helping along the Aegon Targaryen reveal, had satisfied his purpose and needed to be removed. But there is something more going on with Bran that we just haven’t seen enough of yet. Hopefully we get more clues in episode four.
Here’s an early prediction for episode five: Sansa Stark will be the one who kills Cersei. I believe that is the Lord’s plan for her. The Lannisters are responsible for taking her childhood fantasy and turning it on its head. While it would be heartbreaking if Jaime killed his sister, it would be just and poetic for Sansa to kill her. After all, Cersei is the woman who is more or less responsible for making Sansa the hardened woman she is now. It all goes back to Cersei.
If Jaime has any role in his sister’s death, I believe it will be through inaction rather than action. The things he has “done for love” have defined his character, but his final act will be about what he refuses to do going forward, namely, kill for Cersei. Cersei will look to Jaime as her last line of defense, and he will not be there for her. While all of this could happen in episode four, it feels much more like episode five fare.
I also think episode five will give me the main event I’ve been waiting for… (can you hear them chanting? Two men enter; one man leaves. Two men enter; one man leaves). I give you CLEGANEBOWL!! If Jaime is not there as Cersei’s last line of defense, that means the Mountain will be and he’ll need to be taken down. Unleash the Hound!
The Shepard Needs a Flock:
Gilly and Little Sam
In my original theories for this last season of Game of Thrones I conceived of a story where no one wins, no one lives, the slate is wiped completely. However, if this is all about the Lord’s will, doesn’t our shepherd need a flock? Some people have to survive to move the world forward in the light of the Lord. So he’ll take a little bit of this, a little bit of that, sprinkle in some Unsullied, add a dash of Giantsbane. Shiny happy people holding hands, et cetera, et cetera. I specifically wonder about the group of Tyrion Lannister, Davos Seaworth, and Lord Varys–a new small council, perhaps? Three wise men? (cough, cough). Or maybe the new world will not need a monarch, but an oligarchy?
The Lord Should Be Done With:
These characters seem more than extraneous, at this point. I’d wager some gold on their deaths if I thought they were important enough to care about. They might die, they might not, but I’m not betting either way.
And of course that leads me to…
Where I’m Placing My Gold (and my faith if we’re talking about gods)
Brienne of Tarth
Bronn of the Blackwater
Bronn was given a directive: kill the Brothers Lannister. I don’t expect him to achieve this goal, but I do expect someone to perish by way of his attempt. I am conjuring a scene where Bronn spies Jamie from a distance, and with crossbow in hand the shot is there for the taking. Alas, just as his finger hits the trigger our favorite mercenary has an affliction of conscience. He jerks the shot just a bit, knowing his shot will graze the one-handed man, and not kill him. Unfortunately, at just that moment, Brienne spies the assassin and dives in front of the crossbow’s bolt. It finds its way into Brienne’s heart, just as she found her way into Jaime’s. Poor Brienne of Tarth will pass from this world in the arms of Jamie Lannister. Bronn will be revealed as the assassin, and before he is executed he’ll spill the beans on Cersei as the hiring hand. Brienne’s death at the hands of Cersei will give Jaime the motivation he needs to let his sister go in spirit and in life. A Shakespearean tragedy unfolds, and sets up Cersei’s demise in episode five.
But a good tragedy needs a true shocker.
Bold prediction for Episode Four
Arya Stark will die at the hands of Jaqen H’ghar while he is using Gendry’s face. (which means Gendry is dead too, because… well… his face will be gone). After all, if the Lord of Light was done with Beric Dondarrion, and he was done with Melisandre, then he is definitely done with Arya Stark. He gave that girl more light than anyone. She got to kill the Night King. That will live in the lore of the land for ages upon ages. Besides, a man needs a name… and a paycheck. The fiery Lord giveth to young Arya and the fiery Lord taketh away. Remember, this dude has a plan.
And speaking of that plan… what’s his plan for Jon Snow? After all, Melisandre was very clear that Beric was brought back to fulfill a purpose and be done. Well, Jon was brought back, too. After seasons and seasons of build up, I think a lot of viewers assumed that purpose was to take down the Night King, yet here we are, left with no Night King, and a lot of Snow. If Jon’s purpose wasn’t to come back just for the Night King, who was he brought back for? And more importantly, if the Lord of Light takes you down after you’ve fulfilled your purpose, doesn’t that mean Jon won’t survive the season?
Looks like we have more questions than answers, yet again. The Lord is kind of a dick, isn’t he?
Thanks for reading,
Dylan Lee Peters
I didn't come up with this theory, and in no way take credit for it. It’s just something I stumbled upon in bits and pieces as I traversed the inter-webs, and thought I should share. If you are a Game of Thrones fan who is not up to date on the television episodes, or someone who doesn’t want potential spoilers, do not read on. For everyone else, here is a fan theory about GOT that is too perfect not to be true.
Firstly, let’s follow the family tree of House Targaryen, starting with Aerys II, the Mad King. (This is the guy Jamie Lannister kills to earn the nickname "Kingslayer"). The Mad King had three children with his wife, Rhaelle. These children are Daenerys “Mother of Dragons,” Viserys (the d-bag from season one last seen wearing a scalding pot of gold, care of Khal Drogo), and Rhaegar (Died; never on the show).
So, the Mad King has three kids. However, as we have learned time and time again, Westeros is filled with illegitimate children. It’s likely a dude nicknamed the Mad King wasn't the most faithful guy in the world to his wife, and probably wasn't afraid to take whomever and whatever he wanted whenever he felt like it. In a world where you’re seemingly not a cool kid unless you have a bastard of your own, it seems pretty safe to assume the Mad King had at least one illegitimate child.
So that brings us to Tyrion Lannister. You know, the Tyrion whose father, Tywin Lannister, treated him like he wasn't actually his son, the Tyrion who recently displayed an amazing ability to calm caged dragons long enough to pet their necks and take the shackles off of them, the Tyrion who is described in George R. R. Martin’s books as having hair so blonde it almost seemed white. Doesn’t Tyrion almost seem like he isn’t really a Lannister? Maybe he isn’t a Lannister…
Maybe the Mad King had a thing for Tyrion's mother, Joanna Lannister, and maybe the Mad King had a secret affair with her, or maybe he just took what he wanted in the way a tyrant king might. If you believe this possibility, then it means Tyrion is yet another bastard in Westeros, and the half-brother of Daenerys. Does that make Tyrion the “Uncle of Dragons?”
Now let's go back to one of the Mad King's legitimate kids, Rhaegar Targaryen. We never met him, but we do know something about him. Namely, that he kidnapped Ned Stark's sister, Lyanna, and kept her prisoner until Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon started a war over it. Rhaegar dies at the hands of Robert Baratheon during the war, alas Lyanna Stark dies anyway. Oddly, we aren’t told exactly how Lyanna died.
This raises the obvious question: why would Rhaegar kidnap Lyanna? And it is surely to be followed by the obvious answer: to make more bastards. Because, as we have already learned, time and time again, the goal of every man in Westeros is seemingly to make more bastards. It’s as if they think it’s a game. Whoever has the most bastards when winter comes is the winner. (I digress).
It's not a huge logical leap to think that maybe Ned Stark wasn't unfaithful to his wife, Catelyn. He never really seemed like the kind of guy who would cheat. I mean, wasn’t the whole point of Ned Stark’s character to tell the world nice guy’s finish not only last, but also without their heads in the Game of Thrones? Maybe it’s not so hard to believe that Ned Stark didn’t raise his own bastard within the walls of Winterfell, but instead was doing something far nobler. Maybe he decided to raise his sister's orphaned son as his own. Maybe Jon Snow's mother is Lyanna Stark. It would explain why her character is brought up so often, as evidenced by Bran Stark's memory/dream in the most recent GOT episode. Also, this would obviously mean Jon Snow’s father is Rhaegar Targaryen.
This would also make Jon Snow (Targaryen) the nephew of Daenerys Targaryen, and Tyrion Lannister (Targaryen).
Hmm, aren’t there three dragons?
That is why I say this theory is too perfect not to be true, because let’s be honest, if you’re telling me this show could have Tyrion, Daenerys, and Jon Snow riding a trinity of dragons into battle against an army of White Walkers, yet someone said, “nah, I think we can come up with something better,” that person would be wrong. That person would be utterly, tragically, mind-bogglingly incorrect.
Don’t crush our dreams, HBO. Tyrion Lannister needs to ride a fire-breathing dragon.
• • •
Dylan Lee Peters
Author of The Dean Machine and The Everflame Series