Welcome to Just a Game of Thrones, the column singing backup vocals on the Song of Ice and Fire.

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Power + Invincibility

“Powerful,” Qyburn acknowledges, admiring the still-menacing skull of the beast whose flames forged the Iron Throne.

“But not invincible…”

It’s a theme as two-dimensional as the bent-kneed former leaders of Westeros, since devolved into single-minded talking heads#, yet nevertheless an important one to establish as we fly quick as fiber optic ravens towards the story’s main events. For every warrior proved strong/brave/lucky enough to still be in The Game at this late a stage has beaten near impossible odds to get where ziry is, so, with only eleven episodes left, it’s downright narratively responsible to remind us or — or reveal for the first time — where exactly these various combatants were held when dipped by their respective creators into the river Styx.

Not to pull a Tyrion and stretch this explication to patronizing lengths, but it’s called table-setting…

And no matter how much our ravenous appetite for destruction, good manners — my very Southern mother would point out — are a sign of respect.

Would I like to not have to watch Ser Davos Seaworth pretend like he’s just now connecting dragon-sized dots, groping his way through “Fire kills wights, you told me… What breathes fire?” like he’s learning to read all over again? Of course. Could I have gone without hearing Varys give his plausible-enough explanation for why he and his populist eye have only recently set their sights on assuring Dany’s ascension? Without question. But for non-obsessed viewers, these were the things that needed to be said.

Like how in cartoons when they occasionally summarize the current situation so that no child gets left behind…

That way, when one of Cersei’s dragons takes a giant spike to the eye/wing/underbelly, they don’t have a tantrum (on Twitter); and when Jorah returns (at least somewhat) cured, it feels earned. And because Sansa is right, Jon should send an emissary to Dragonstone; except then we wouldn’t get the realm’s most famous aunt-nephew duo to finally meet, so, for the purpose of the moment, ‘only a king can convince a queen.’

“Commoners. Nobles.
 
They’re all just children, really.”
 
— Lady Olenna

Daenerys Targaryen, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar, and the First Men,Lady Regnant of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, Mother of Dragons, Queen of Meereen — with three dragons, an army of Unsullied, a horde of Dothraki, an Iron Fleet, and well-resourced allies — could take the Seven Kingdoms by turning it into a slaughterhouse, only who wants to rule over ashes?

Besides, when done right, and given the space to breathe, the shameless divulgement of a character’s precise weakness can be cultivated into a moment stirring enough to overcome the most feral of beasts…

Or strip bare even the bravest of men…

One not about invincibility…

But powerful nonetheless.

 

Break The Wheel of Hot Takes

Last week — thanks to a wonderful article by Ben Lindbergh — I learned just how fervently the gambling world has embraced Game of Thrones (if any diehards want to feel the sharp pang of jealousy, enjoy learning about Pat Morrow, the man in charge of setting the odds for GoT prop bets at the Bovada); and while I don’t understand how games-of-chance work in a world full of Reddit leaks and production spoilers, I certainly appreciate the excuse to make my inner Rationalist happy by qualifying how firmly I stand behind my various venturous predictions for the show.

Now, don’t go betting the farm on any of these, as I have avoided all spoilers and leaks like they’re covered in greyscale; they’re more like images in the flames…

DANY:
Definitely: loses a dragon (or two)
Probably: is a part of the equation to bright light to Lightbringer
Maybe: doesn’t survive her treason for love

JON SNOW:
Definitely: impregnates Dany
Probably: has to go live North of Where The Wall Was or something
Maybe: gets to bring along a still-alive Ghost

SANSA:
Definitely: is the direct cause of Littlefinger’s demise
Probably: has to talk through some things with a now-returning Arya
Maybe: ends up running things as Queen of the (New) Realm

ARYA:
Definitely: crosses paths with The Hound one more time
Probably: Nymeria too
Maybe: learns firsthand “what’s west of Westeros”

BRAN:
Definitely: is the voice in Mad King Aerys’ head telling him to “burn them all”
Probably: is Bran the Builder too
Maybe: the Night’s King too

CERSEI
Definitely: is Valonqar’ed by Jaime
Probably: encounters Arya at some point
Maybe: gets to insult Tyrion to his face one more time

JAIME:
Definitely: Valonqars Cersei
Probably: goes on to become an esteemed general in the Great War to Come
Maybe: smooches Brienne

TYRION:
Definitely: has an emotional reunion with Jaime
Probably: gets to be on, if not ride, a dragon at some point
Maybe: is last seen sipping a cup of the Imp’s Delight

MISCELLANEOUS:
Ranked in order of (relative) likelihood:

  • Howland Reed is revealed to have been keeping the remains of Ned Stark safe, and his delivery of said remains back to Winterfell unites the Stark clan and gives Jon a great opportunity to learn about his parentage (“the next time we see each other, we’ll talk about your mother”).
  • The Clegane Bowl happens, and it looks like The Mountain will have won, only for The Hound to pull one last-gasp fatal move (circa Mountain vs. Viper) and have them both die, next to one another, ending a tale full of sound and fury, signifying everything.
  • A one-armed Jaime Lannister and assassin-trained Arya Stark end up in a blockbuster, castle-sprawling swordfight (either to determine who kills Cersei, or because Jaime is, for the moment, still protecting her).
  • Melisandre — the Lord of Light’s foil to the Night’s Queen — makes an unwelcome return to the North, only to soon end up sacrificing herself at a pivotal moment to help Jon, her true king, resurrect a Fight (Fire Wight) army; like when Aragorn from Lord of the Rings summons the Dead Mean of Dunharrow.
  • Jorah Mormont, walking biological weapon, gives the White Walkers a physical Book Report for Adult on Hot Zone, while the cure (the same one discovered by Stannis during his quest to — double prophecy here — repent for being the one to give his daughter greyscale) is eventually revealed by Sam to be sulfur.
  • Euron Greyjoy pulls out a big sack full of MacGuffins amassed from his travels to the utmost corners of the Known World (e.g. a dragon-controlling horn, a suit of Valyrian steel-plated armor, an email confirming collusion with the Night’s King).
  • Sam kills the Night’s King (aka “The Neville Longbottom”).
  • Westeros become so inhabitable that all the remaining men are forced to answer Arya’s question and learn what’s west of Westeros, thus becoming ‘a mysterious species invading another land by making their way across a seemingly impenetrable border.’

 

And now…EURON PORN!

“Real Gs move in silence, like lasagna.” – Lil Wayne

 

Ba Dum Tsshh

“If my queen summons me, I answer the call. And I’ve heard what she does to those who defy her…”

“Mmmm, possibly something a bit more poetic?”

“One or two.”

“A foreign invasion is underway…”

 

The HoF of GoT GIFs

 * Feel free to peruse (and pilfer from) the Hall of Fame of Game of Thrones GIFs

The Lion and The Scorpion:

My Weakness:

Bite Down:

The North Is Yours:

Reek Overboard:

 

Sword to my Throat, I’d Bet _____ Wins the Game of Thrones

(this is subject to, and will most likely, change each week)

Jon Snow!

JonSnowEmergeGIF

The whole story of Game of Thrones (/A Song of Ice and Fire) 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 (at least part of) the Prince (and/or Princess) that was Promised. In the end, he will somehow bring, and keep, that ultimate peace.

Not bad for a dead guy…

JonSnowGasp