Just a Game of Thrones #610: Goodbye, Norma Jean
Welcome to Just a Game of Thrones, the column singing backup vocals on the Song of Ice and Fire.
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Goodbye, Norma Jean
There’s something so poetic about “The Winds of Winter” using a candle to, pun intended, launch its thousand ships.
The simple but powerful embodiment of hours of care and precision, the candle doesn’t fizzle wildly like a fuse when lit. It doesn’t have a Jack Bauer-esque countdown to metronome crescendoing anxiety, it doesn’t even crow with a Tell-Tale tick. Instead, with hypnotic resilience, it ever-so-slowly melts away, simultaneously fighting its denouement while gorging itself on the very flame consuming it.
Like a certain newly-crowned queen, it’s a tragic figure – aware from its onset of how, exactly, its prophesied to perish, yet thirsty for the empowering flame just the same.
And, like an histortically beloved British knight once eulogized after another famous royal tragedy#, a candle can burn out long before its legend ever will…
We’re going to remember this finale for a long time.
From the tease of director Miguel Sapochnik’s introductory scene – the rare, affecting soundtrack, the “Godfather baptism scene”# cinematography – to its closing ‘by land, by air, and by sea’# CGI masterpiece, “The Winds of Winter” was one for The Citadel’s record books. New kings and queens were anointed, entire families and age-old architectural institutions were obliterated in seconds, and the vague promises of Winter toothlessly threatened since the very first episode of this series have finally, on the wings of snow-white ravens, come to fruition.
Homaging the same historical chain of events it was simultaneously expositing, “The Winds of Winter” was equal parts devoted fan service as it was necessary narrative vessel.
Confess, it felt good.
So good, in fact, you might not have noticed the Night’s King was auspiciously absent. Or that Bran’s becoming the Three-Eyed Raven was simply a vehicle for a spotlight-stealing flashback. Or that the only army who is at all focused on the looming apocalyptic White Walker threat is currently being led by a ‘True King of the North!’ whose birth certificate is about to get questioned by politically cunning yet militarily ignorant insurgents.
It’s amazing how distracting the petty concepts of “vengeance” and “justice” can be…
Even those like Littlefinger, who focus unflinchingly and unwaveringly on the future, can get diverted by the tunnel vision of ambition. Even the most clever imp in Westeros, with the best of global intentions, can mistakenly tell his beloved Queen ‘This is actually happening’ like it’s the final chapter of the story because of the inebriating cocktail of “fire and blood” running through his veins:
Tyrion even touchingly welcomes Dany to “The Great Game” as they prepare to sail west; completely oblivious of the new, even greater game already at play.
Regardless of whether or not it’s really self-sacrifice to leave the man who loved you when you didn’t love him back, the reason self-sacrifice makes for a good ruler is because it allows said ruler to see that sometimes the purpose of fighting, despite Walder Frey’s assertions, isn’t always about the arrogant reward of defeating your enemies.
Sometimes, fighting is about surviving.
And sometimes, surviving actually means talking about peace – “doing what you can for as long as you can,” as Coldhands Benjen put it – for the sake of the few good and kind who still remain…
It’s going to be interesting to see how Team Kraken Dragon Golden Rose Sand Snake pivot next season when they realize they aren’t the only ones planning a winter invasion of Westeros, the hope being that the existential terror of complete special extinction will keep this fiery army from gorging itself too much on the crippling empty calories of unnecessary battles before The War for the Dawn arrives.
Because Walder Frey was absolutely dead-on about one thing before he was forced to eat his well-chopped words…
Fear is a marvelous thing.
“The longer you wait, the worse it will be on you.” – Lancel Lannister
Break the Wheel of Hot Takes
We need to talk about
Look at that side-eye at the end.
Jon Snow is being hailed as True King of the North, and Sansa, having just had a conversation with Littlefinger in which he calls Jon Snow “a bastard born in the South,” is giving him that look.
This is all after a scene in which Sansa played Jon Snow like a fiddle, apologizing for not telling him about the Knights of the Vale move then immediately diverting his thoughts to the more pressing concern of the announcement of Winter – a signature Littlefinger play.
When Season 7 comes back, all I want to know is what all these looks are about, Sansa…
Wildcards/Guns on the Table to Ponder Because We Have the Time
- Jorah Mormont, the human biological weapon
- Daario Naharis, the scorned lover
- Gendry, the possibly-written-off bastard
- Varys, the enigmatic eunuch
- Jaime, the White Knight (and possible valoqar) v. Cersei, the Black Queen
- Melisandre v. Davos
- The Knowledge of the Citadel
- The Magic of The Wall
And now… DRAGON PORN! (with SHIPS!)
A Stark By Any Other Name
Fun Fact: Bran means “raven” in Welsh
The HoF of GoT GIFs
Your Candle Burned Out Long Before Your Legend Ever Did
King Tommen the Freefallin’
Sam = Hufflepuff
My Name Is Arya Stark
A Pretty Picture
Hand of the Queen
The Prince that was Promised
The King of the North…
…Protector of the Realm…
…Long May She Reign
Sword to my Throat, I’d Bet _____ Wins the Game of Thrones
With the closing seasons of Game of Thrones 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 is the Prince that was Promised. He will bring, and keep, that ultimate peace.
Not bad for a walking, talking corpse…
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