Just a Game of Thrones #602: Guns (and Messiahs) on the Table
Welcome to Just a Game of Thrones, the column singing backup vocals on the Song of Ice and Fire.
Guns (and Messiahs) on the Table
“With a backstory as dense as most AP History textbooks, Game of Thrones likes to masquerade as a ‘history’ of a world rather than a fictional story, and its creators have been more than happy to use that as an excuse for why bad things happen to good people. It’s fine that characters are getting tortured/raped/immolated because this is the (fake) real world and in the (fake) real world, things like that (fake) really happen. But now, with more and more red herring protagonists (possibly) getting knocked off the board, Game of Thrones is being forced to reveal itself as the epic story it really is.
‘Bad luck’ can only go so far in a narrative before it becomes ‘bad storytelling.’
By now, we already know the classic plays that GoT likes to run — when a character gives a long soliloquy they’re probably going to die soon, don’t trust cutaways, it can always get worse, etc. — and the quick fix has always been to throw in a nice twist for the viewers. In the past, it’s been seemingly indiscriminate, as that’s how the (fake) real world is, but with Winter rapidly approaching and our final main characters having to at least somewhat congeal before the big looming end battle, the essential elements of the story of Game of Thrones have to supersede the chaotic randomness of a supposedly real world’s nature.
There are really only a few ways, narratively, that things can shake out for everything to be logistically okay in the end…”
I wrote the above roughly 11 months ago, in reaction to Jon Snow getting ‘For The Watch’ed, as they say up at Castle Black, in hopes of proving the Lord Commander wasn’t really dead. Even then I made sure to bring up that “we’ll probably find out confirmation of Good Snow Friday via behind-the-scenes shit like casting and filming gossip,” but still, it’s nice to see a little faith in the system get its due reward.
Because, as I try to explain to those non-English majors out there, there is a system to this sprawling Song of Ice and Fire.
It may feel hectic or disjointed at times, but I swear on my Boston College diploma every gun on the table is going to fire before all is said; every loose end will be tied, every half-remembered prophecy will eventually come back around, and every fitting valar will be rightfully morghulised…
Martin has sworn ASoIaF isn’t your standard tale of good v. evil, but as Roose Bolton tells Ramsay, there just isn’t room for a mad dog in the world of Westeros#. Book readers well know that the television adaptation has had to whittle down a lot of the more peripheral (and occasionally red herring) stories, which has meant that like a good poem, every word and scene that does make it on HBO is there for a reason.
So, with that in mind, I’d like to take the time to list some of my favorite guns on the table/unfulfilled prophecies/Gendrys to keep in the back of your mind as the final chapters in this story unfold:
- Who is the Night’s King?#
- Who is Quaithe?#
- What happened to Benjen Stark?
- Where the hell is Rickon Stark?
- How’s Edmure Tully been holding up in that post-Red Wedding cell?
- How many Valyrian swords are left and where are they (especially the real Lightbringer)?
- How did Wylis became Hodor?
- Who is the Third Head of the Dragon/Azor Ahai/the Prince that was Promised/The Stallion that Mounts the World?
- What’s up with that whole “To go north, you must go south; to reach the west, you must go east; to go forward you must go back, and to touch the light you must pass beneath the shadow” thing?
- What’s up with that whole “Three fires must you light: one for life and one for death and one to love; three mounts must you ride: one to bed and one to dread and one to love; three treasons will you know: once for blood and once for gold and once for love” thing?
and the Mother of Guns on the Table…
Break The Wheel of Hot Takes
“Prophecy is like a half-trained mule. It looks as though it might be useful, but the moment you trust in it, it kicks you in the head.” – Tyrion Lannister
Game of Thrones has been dancing around this fan-favorite theory for a few seasons now, but with Jon Snow’s resurrection it’s about time we shed some R’hllor-esque light on this literati assumption that’s sure to be all the rage on the blogosphere this week:
R = Rhaegar Targaryen
L = Lyanna Stark
J = Jon Snow
Meaning, Rhaegar + Lyanna = Jon Snow
You might remember this conversation between Littlefinger and Sansa from Season 5…
Essentially, Prince Rhaegar Targaryen won a tournament at Harrenhal, except instead of giving his wife the flower crown meant for the “queen of love and beauty,” he rode past her and gave it to Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister, Robert Baratheon’s betrothed) instead. Later, he would end up abducting Lyanna and running off to Dorne with her.
Yada yada yada, a year later Rhaegar has been challenged and beaten in single combat by Robert Baratheon, thus bringing Robert’s Rebellion to a successful end, and Ned Stark has made it to Dorne to rescue Lyanna – except Lyanna is lying in a pool of blood and has just enough strength to ask Ned Stark an unheard favor…
It’s assumed by R+L=J theorists the favor Lyanna asked was, “Can you please raise this ½ Targaryen, ½ Stark bastard as your own?”
Obviously this has huge implications for the eventual conclusion of the story, and there has been more than enough evidence dropped that this is for realz, but for now, all there’s left to do is sit and watch as a blue rose grows from
BONUS: If you already smelled the R+L=J thing from a mile away, enjoy the S+B=M theory (which I also happen to subscribe to)
The HoF of GoT GIFs
When Your Friend Wants to Dance with Dragons…
Arya “Tyler Durden” Stark
Snow is Risen, Alleluia
Updates from Meereen
- The Queen is currently MIA
- The fleet has been burned but no one saw anything
- Astapor and Yunkai have been retaken by the masters
- The whole of Slaver’s Bay has returned to the slavers
- The dragons haven’t eaten any food since Dany left
- A low barometric pressure system means cloudy, gray skies in the forecast
So Who Is This Three-Eyed Raven Tree Guy?
Glad you asked.
One of the harder characters to translate from the books, the Three-Eyed Raven is really a guy named Brynden Rivers…
Also known as Lord Bloodraven, he was a legitimized bastard of Aegon IV Targaryen (Dany’s great-great-great-grandfather) prone to sorcery who disappeared while ranging beyond the Wall as a member of the Night’s Watch about a half century before the War of the Five Kings all started.
More weirwood tree than man these days, he makes Varys and Littelfinger’s scheming look petty. He also may or may not be related to Quaithe, our other magical whisperer in this story.
Sword to my Throat, I’d Bet _____ Wins the Game of Thrones
The Jon Snow parental lineage connection (R+L=J) enables both the Starks and Dorne to fall in line behind her; Tyrion (a Lannister, to close that loop) and Varys give her the political/diplomatic edge she needs to be more than just an invading liberator; and she’s more than halfway through her Quaithe prophecy.
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