Ben Adams, Peter Fenzel, Jordan Stokes, and Matthew Wrather gather to overthink Game of Thrones Season 7: What happened and why both on and behind the camera.
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- “Game of Thrones Unlocked: Season 7” on Overthinking It
- “Game of Thrones and the Aesthetics of Fascism” by Jordan Stokes
- “Chekov and why Arya, Dany, Bran, and Sam Are Safe For Now” by Ben Adams
This season’s motto for me has been, “Predictable, but cathartic.”
We needed a lot of these events to happen after all the build-up we’ve seen so far. Sure, we could see them coming, but then it would feel cheap to zag on us at this time. As stated with Dany having to live until she hits dry land.
Since GRRM said the books would end in a bittersweet fashion, I’ve assumed he would let Tyrion live, but in an undignified fashion. He’s been the author avatar to a point where George appeared to notice this and put him through the wringer. Originally I was thinking taking the black or working for the sewers in Casterley Rock again.
Some of the suggestions of how season seven would end made me think about a similar conclusion.
Cersei’s lack of assistance over time causes some of the Stark contingent to go south. Arya takes Jaime’s face and kills Cersei, keeping the prophecy intact. Cue the suggested sending away of the baby of a dead ruler to Essos, but this time with Tyrion or Varys in charge of it.
I think out of Jon and Dany, Jon would be the one who would serve us better by dying a hero, only because he’d be a terrible ruler. Maybe he’d be kept alive and ruling in a role like Robert Baratheon. If there’s a failed rebellion from the Greyjoys then maybe that would serve as an echo of their past one.
Providing enough people survive the white walkers, we would then end up with a The Wire ending where (spoilers for The Wire) Baltimore is just as much of a mess at the end as it was at the start, just with different people in the same roles.
I keep thinking about what a broken wheel might look like. Perhaps all the senseless violence and game of musical chairs is leading us to some sort of Westerosi Magna Carta, codifying the rights of each kingdom.
I think we need to see a couple things next season. One needs to be a full episode recreating the Tournament in which Rhaegar and Lyanna meet. As Bran says, Robert’s Rebellion was based on a lie, and I think the show needs to develop how that lie began and why it persisted.
Another needs to be a full explanation of who the Night King is and what he wants, and how he’s connected to the Three-Eyed Raven. The Night King can’t just be a pure embodiment of absolute evil: that’s what Sauron is, and the goal of the story from the beginning has been to subvert tropes handed down from LotR. I’ve seen a theory online that Bran himself is the Night King, thanks to some time travel gone wrong; and I think this would be fun to explore, perhaps through a “Groundhog Day” style montage.
I agree especially with the comment about the night king. There is a story to be told about his side of things, about the origin of the wall, and about a new, rather alien point of view represented by the show. I’m not saying they make him a good guy in the seven episodes they have left – but they should make him an intelligent character with possibly warped but comprehensible motives.
The worst thing about Lord of the Rings was that the ending [LotR spoiler ahead!] basically shuts the door on further adventure in the universe we came to love. The story just drops the mike, the elves piss off, and the world is mundane forever after. Tolkien actually started a sequel about the Fourth Age and abandoned it for being too boring.
The way to avoid that is to end with a reset. The cyclic nature of Westerosi history makes me think this will happen. This has to mean – I think – negotiating a deal with the Night King to fix the wall and the destruction of all three dragons and the one person who could hatch further dragon eggs. Maybe a nice orphanage north of the wall would be a part of the deal. That’s how I hope the song ends, but obviously lots of things will burn and freeze before we get there.
It can’t be a complete reset because the great families are unrecoverable, but somebody will move into their castles, and winter will break eventually. I want an ending like in Spinal Tap [Spinal Tap spoiler alert], where everything seems doomed, but then Sex Farm ends up at #5 in Japan, the band gets together to tour there, and even if we aren’t shown what happens next, we have no doubt that its full of stupidity and hilarity.
Though getting a full story about the Knight King would be interesting, I wouldn’t get my hopes up. The books actually give him a possible origin story (steeped in myth, of course) that is vastly different from the show. Not only was he not the first White Walker, but he’s said to have originally been a human. On top of that, supposedly he was actually the commander of the night’s watch before being seduced and turned by a female white walker. Which means that The Others were around long before him, and the Long Night, in the books, has nothing to do with him.
So, since the show decided to collapse all of The Others history into just “The Children of the Forest made them and then everything else happened,” I’m not sure the showrunners are left with much to mine for his backstory.
Part of me hopes that all of the current contenders for the Iron Throne are swept away in some kind of calamity, Gendry to take the Throne. It would be an amusing middle ground between indulging in the tropes of fantasy/medieval legend and subverting them by killing off protagonists.
If you cut out all of the parts of GoT without Gendry, you’re basically left with The Sword and the Stone. The idea of him claiming the kingdom as the natural culmination of his story arc while the surviving major characters look on baffled seems pretty funny.