Just a Game of Thrones #604: The Power of Family (and Fire)
Welcome to Just a Game of Thrones, the column singing backup vocals on the Song of Ice and Fire.
The Power of Family (and Fire)
The more things change the more they stay the same, huh?
After 6 seasons of warring families and competing governing systems and evolving societal beliefs, we’re (known) worlds away from where we started, yet there’s an uncanny reminiscence about it all. We always knew that “to go forward we must go back,” but between the Lannister Twins’ small council scheming and Daenerys Targaryen supernaturally emerging out of a fire to establish her Khaleesi-dom, you’d be forgiven for feeling like, to paraphrase Dany, we’ve been here before.
But as the High Sparrow has been teaching Queen Margaery, dedicated and laborious time – dozens of hours, in fact – has gone into cobbling this redolent quality.
I mentioned this last week, but we’re turning the corner on a lot of these characters’ respective Hero’s Journeys – which means that while we are coming up on the home stretch, we’re also seeing a host of resurrections…
Most of which involve some sort of family reunion.
“Book of the Stranger” saw the glorious rejoining of Starks, with Sansa finally making it to Jon Snow at Castle Black, but it also saw Margaery reunited with Loras, the Lannisters (including Kevan!) reunited with their in-laws the Tyrells, Theon reunited with Yara, Littlefinger reunited with his “nephew” Robin Arryn, and Dany reunited with the closest thing she’s ever had to a real family.
The question left, then, is what’s different this time. And, more importantly, what does it mean going forward?
Obviously the roster has been whittled down a bit since we first started playing this Game of Thrones – let’s remember a whopping 0 of the 5 kings from the War of the Five Kings are still breathing – nevertheless, the remaining powers that be seem to have begun congealing into forces representative of something greater than just a familial banner.
The Lannister/Tyrell alliance have been pretty blatant about what they stand for: in short, “the system”:
“The High Sparrow has no respect for kings or queens. No respect for anything in this world. He has no use for the things of this world. He wants to knock them down and replace them, with what? With fantasies. With beggars in the street. With nothing.”
But there is also the Stark (et. al) quest fueled by honor, Dany (et. al)’s mission to break every chain in the Known World, and, of course, Littlefinger’s pursuit of upward mobility via chaos by any means necessary.
Sure, it may seem a little late in the game for Littlefinger to be ‘joining the fray,’ but to quote Lord Baelish himself from all the way back in Season One, “You know what I learnt losing that duel? I learnt that I’ll never win; not that way. That’s their game, their rules. I’m not going to fight them; I’m going to fuck them. That’s what I know, that’s what I am.”
And chaos, while random, is no doubt a catalyst.
As the pillars of this world regroup, rekindle, and cling to the realm or the gods or love, it is a jarring, jagged reminder that the ladder is real. One can seek out money, finery, power, freedom, but the climb – at its core, a struggle for life itself – is all there really is.
“Many will die, no matter what we do. Better them than us.” – Olenna Tyrell
Break The Wheel of Hot Takes
Early on in last night’s episode, new best friends Ser Davos Seaworth and Melissandre are having a little debrief when Davos asks what Melissandre’s plan is. She tells him she will be following the orders of Jon Snow, who she then dubs “The Prince that was Promised.” Davos is quick to point out this is the very same title she once bestowed upon Stannis, though obviously the red priestess, after her resurrection miracle, has had a change of heart.
But let’s take a look at the whole “Prince that was Promised” thing…
The phrase comes from a prophecy we’re privy to during Dany’s vision-quest at the House of the Undying. In her vision, her brother, Prince Rhaegar, is talking to a woman nursing a baby, trying to decide what to name the young boy. “Aegon, what better name for a king,” he declares, “He is the prince that was promised, and his is the song of ice and fire.”
Anytime the title of a book/movie/show gets interjected into the dialogue, you know it’s important. However, there’s a lot of mystery, theory, and conjecture about what, or in this case who, this actually means…
Followers of R’hllor (aka the Lord of Light) believe the Prince that was Promised to be a reincarnation of Azor Ahai, the legendary hero who defeated the Great Other thousands of years ago with his badass sword Lightbringer. According to prophecy, “When the red star bleeds and the darkness gathers, Azor Ahai shall be born again amidst smoke and salt” – which, for those keeping track at home, narrows down the candidates to two characters you’ve heard a lot of theories about before: Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.
The case for Jon Snow:
- was resurrected
- has the “blood of the Dragon” (R+L=J)
- carries a fabled Valyrian sword
- “Promise me, Ned!”
The case for Daenerys Targaryen:
- born amidst smoke and salt
- has the “blood of the Dragon”
- High Valyrian (the language the prophecy was spoken in) is gender neutral
- a Red Comet passes overhead when Dany and her dragons emerge from the pyre
Tricky stuff, huh?
And we haven’t even gotten to part where we start bringing in The Stallion who Mounts the World, and the Last Hero, and how this all relates to the Three-Headed Dragon. Plus, just to make things even trickier, these titles could all be meant for the same person, or three different people.
My money is still on Jon, Dany, and Tyrion in some form or another.
The HoF of GoT GIFs
Family Values Tour ’16
12 Days a Slave
How You Like Them Apples?
Sorry About the Food…
Clever Words from a Clever Man
- “We make peace with our enemies, not our friends.”
- “You don’t need slaves to make money.”
- “Let us sail on the tide of freedom, instead of being drowned by it.”
- “My friends! Large sorry you wait so fat time.”
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.
Also, Dothraki army.
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