Just a Game of Thrones #609: It’s a Bit Abstract, Other People Dying
Welcome to Just a Game of Thrones, the column singing backup vocals on the Song of Ice and Fire.
It’s a Bit Abstract, Other People Dying
“It always seems a bit abstract, other people dying.” – Tyrion Lannister
It does, doesn’t it?
Yes, it’s how we get by in an existentially nihilistic world, only allowing a few select lives to devastate us when they’re eventually
shot with arrows extinguished. Still, watching the faceless and nameless bodies in The Battle of the Bastards pile higher and higher upon each other in that suffocating heap, there’s a distinct ringing of Tyrion’s words to Yezzan zo Qaggaz that nonetheless echoes loudly in one’s ears — our stomach tightening with every cold command of “Loose!” as another lottery of arrows is whipped into the sky, its target unknown but doomed.
In previous penultimate episodes and budget-slaying set pieces, Game of Thrones treated us to spectacles of wonder like “magic green fire vs. an entire fleet of boats,” and “horde of Wildlings vs. a 700-foot ice wall,” and “ragtag band of humans vs. army of sub-zero zombies.” In “Battle of the Bastards” though, all that dissonance-injecting fantasy was mercilessly flayed away, forcing us to instead focus on, torturously, only the most brutal capabilities of man.
Via beautiful tracking shots and battle choreography meant for the silver screen, we were prescribed to bear witness as these poor animals fought not just each other, but the tragic randomness of chaotic chance intrinsic to all late-medieval warfare…
Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton were right: there was no need for thousands of men to die. As Tyrion tries to impress upon Dany, there rarely is. But because in these characters’ world, much like in our own, a few select individuals’ worth is valued higher than everyone else’s, that bit of game-theory logic will always get stampeded into the mud under the overpowering weight of “tradition.”
And maybe that’s why it’s a mistake to believe in kings, as Ser Davos and Tormund so eloquently ponder. When the entire world is only telling the same 5 or 6 dwarf jokes, it’s easy to forget that it’s actually a collection of millions of individuals, all with their own names and histories and lives as worth living as any highborn or beloved protagonist.
But, like the god who brings someone back just to have them die again, there’s the rub…
Because if one’s intrinsic individuality is stripped away, if you don’t honor someone with a name, with words, with an acknowledged memory of their unique existence, you’ve effectively de-humanized them.
In essence, you’ve made them nothing more than meat — and then you can do anything with them…
“But then, we all live complicated lives, don’t we?” – Tyrion Lannister
Break the Wheel of Hot Takes
Welcome to the Fempire!
The Dany/Yara alliance may be the most exciting new logistical development when it comes to the various female characters on the show, but the long-arc story of Sansa Stark still remains its most compelling because, after six seasons of some of the highest highs and lowest lows of any character, we have no idea who the “real” Sansa Stark is. And, more importantly, what she’ll do to get what she wants.
As badass as it was to watch Sansa flip the Hannibal Lecter homage they were doing with the final scene with Ramsay#, this was also an episode in which we saw her barely flinch as she explains to Jon that Rickon is, at this point, nothing more than a pawn they have to sacrifice.
One is right to wonder, then, if that “not telling anyone about her Knights of the Vale” move might not have been yet another cold chess play, leveraging her other brother’s small, more enticing army to lure out a bloodthirsty but cowardly Ramsay from behind the safe gates of Winterfell.
While there is an even more out-there theory floating around about Sansa being pregnant with Ramsay’s baby (“I’m part of you now”), one of the more sneaky fun things we’re going to get to see in this finale is whether Sansa, from the smirk to the shroud of secrecy, has been influenced by Littlefinger more than we – or even she – might have realized.
And now…DRAGON PORN!
“People are getting hurt. Don’t let anybody get hurt. But I don’t think you should mellow out. That’s what Alanis Morissette had you motherf*ckers do.
If someone falls, pick ’em up. We already let the negative energy out. Now we wanna let out the positive energy.”
– Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit, Woodstock ’99
The HoF of GoT GIFs
Tell Your People What Happened Here
A Pincer Move…
Game of H.O.R.S.E.
One Last Giant Party, for Old Times’ Sake
Puttin’ Up Banners
Sword to my Throat, I’d Bet _____ Wins the Game of Thrones
With the season finale rapidly approaching, this seems as good a time as any to bring up my actual postulation for how I think this Song of Ice and Fire actually resolves itself in the end…
The whole story of Game of Thrones has been, like Lost, a “zooming out” – for lack of a better term. Does it really make sense that this thing would end with some giant, end-all battle between Good Human and Bad White Walker? Or doesn’t it seem like the Others are going to eventually become a Those Guys We Misunderstood This Whole Time, meaning we’re then talking about how to make peace, not war?
Jon Snow is the Song of Ice and Fire. He will bring, and keep, that ultimate peace.
Not bad for a walking, talking corpse…
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