By Amanda Rossenrode
SO MANY SPOILERS IF YOU AREN’T CAUGHT UP!
Well, winter finally got here. Which pretty much looks like Winterfell during any other season, but I don’t live there. Maybe spring in Winterfell is fabulous. The season finale was pretty good in my opinion, despite my earlier concerns with the events proceeding it. It was nice to see Cersei remind everyone who the boss really is in King’s Landing (hint, not Tony Danza). Too bad she had to commit mass murder to do it. RIP Margaery, you sweet faced little sociopath. And to you, young Tommen, you could have been an alright king if everyone around you wasn’t a manipulative lunatic. Burn in the Westeros version of Hell, High Sparrow.
The season finally answered some questions and posed a few more. John is the son of Lyanna, but is his father Rhaegar? The answer is: duh. Will Dany make it to Westeros with her dragons and will she facedown the white walkers? Yep, pretty much. The showrunners aren’t down for any of George R.R. Martin’s circuitous namby-pamby anymore, so I’m predicting things are going to be pretty straightforward and predictable from here on out. You can trust me, because I completely nailed everything that was going to happen in the Battle of the Bastards. Rickon didn’t have a chance and Jon was as safe as a kitten. Well, a kitten Joffrey didn’t have access to. Instead, I will ask the real burning questions.
Did I Miss the Episode Where they Introduced Teleportation?
I’m not talking about warging, the ability some Starks and a couple wildings possess to inhabit the bodies of animals and Hodor. I mean the straight out, “Beam me up Scotty” teleportation that seemed to occur in the last few episodes. Sure, Dany has the dragons and it’s quicker than the regular Dothraki municipal bus system, but she managed to sneak up on Meereen and Tyrion with an army led by three dragons. Don’t scouts exist in this universe? Just one guy riding a few miles in the other direction? Just one to see if an army of thousands is trooping up the road? Likewise, Littlefinger’s army of thousands whipped around the corner and caught Bolton’s army by surprise like a stealthy boss catching you checking your Facebook at work. If Sansa knew they were coming, why didn’t she tell Jon that maybe they should hold off for twenty minutes and let Littlefinger catch up? Why did Sansa say nothing of this plan?
At least Dany and Littlefinger were in the general vicinity of the folks they were coming to aid. Let’s look at a map of The Seven Kingdoms:
See way up there at the top? Those are the Iron Islands, the home of the Greyjoys. Yara and Theon high-jacked a fleet of ships and sailed them all the way around the continent without being hassled by any of the houses of Westeros along the way who might be curious about this gang of hooligans. They slip through a dragon war with the slavers and just popped in to propose their plan to Dany? How did they make it through that battle no questions asked and so quickly? Ninety percent of the books is about people traveling to one destination or another. The Greyjoys seemingly materialized by magic in Daenerys' throne room. Varys made it to Dorne and back in the time it takes to burn a Digornio pizza. And look at Arya’s path, from Braavos to The Twins. It took her two seasons to get from Kings Landing to Riverrun and they’re not so far apart. She must have been kidnapped twenty times during that trek. I don’t care how many faces she put on, that’s a far way to hoof it unnoticed and undisturbed. Meereen is even farther than that from Sunspear. Seriously, Varys, this is why the gods invented ravens. One minute Varys is chilling with the Sandsnakes and the Queen of Thornes, hatching a plan as that group tends to do, and the next he’s back in Meereen, like “Let’s head back to Westeros. I’m not shiplagged now that we have teleporters. Dragon Invasion, Go!”
Why Does Every Oath Include Forced Celibacy and Loneliness?
Okay, so I get that the Septons mirror religious sects that take vows of celibacy. And the Night’s Watch doesn’t want to deal with a bunch of women and children hanging out at the Wall, distracting their men folk from the business of killing wildlings. But why did Ser Loras Tyrell have to renounce his titles as repentance to the High Sparrow and be forbidden ever marrying or having children? The High Sparrow’s beef with Loras was his relationships with men. His punishment seems a bit contradictory. So, now he doesn’t have to spend his days worrying that he will be lanced to death by the Mountain at a Tourney for the entertainment of the elite? He no longer will have to enter into an arraigned marriage with a woman he not only doesn’t love but has no sexual attraction to? And consequently forced by family obligation to father several heirs with her? Aside from the branding, being a Sparrow isn’t the worst thing that could happen to him, considering the oppressive and brutal Westeros justice system. Getting to second base in the Night’s Watch merits decapitation. Although, you know every last one of those Sparrows has an awful case of ringworm, walking around the feces-carpeted streets of King’s Landing all day. A better option would have been to quit Kings Landing long before this and head down to Dorne where the people are much more free thinking, but then, hindsight is twenty-twenty. Not to mention the fact that Margaery’s punishment was to produce an heir with Tommen, 100% her plan anyway as she’s running out of kings to marry. Harsh, High Sparrow. That’s like arresting someone for vegetarianism and sentencing him to a life without meat. “Uh…alright then…” (shrugs).
It seems like a lot of issues in the Seven Kingdoms are caused by these rather pointless oaths. Why Maesters though? Why can’t Sam have his semi-wife and fake bastard/secret prince like everyone else in the kingdom is allowed? Because that will distract him from reading books? Sam likes books, he would undoubtedly get his fake son into reading and then we’d have a kingdom filled with learned people with job opportunities other than “highway robber”, “ale wench,” and “blood-thirsty sociopath who has never been hugged.” Every medieval employment requires either a life oath or castration. Even after taking such an oath, everyone breaks it anyway, so maybe if you just drop the whole thing you could, perhaps, get some stable people in your employ who don’t make life oaths as teenagers and then immediately regret it and betray you. Just saying.
Where Are the Dragons Going to Sleep on the Way to Westeros?
It’s cruel not to give them a break here and there, Dany. Couldn’t you have fashioned a barge or something? Daenerys is like that awful pet owner that buys some fancy dog for status reasons and then neglects it in the back yard until it goes insane and bites a meter reader. She kept them chained up in the dark for a season until one escaped and killed a bunch of people and then she showed up back with them saying, “No, they don’t bite. They won’t crisp you like an unattended steak at your dad’s BBQ. No, they’re fine flying hundreds of miles without food or fresh water or any sort of respite. I control them with my mind. Or something. It’s not super clear.”
Somewhere, in The Seven Kingdoms there is a commercial to the tune of Sarah McLachlan with a pathetic picture of Drogon’s face. Also, do dragons need water?
What happened to the White Walkers?
In arguably season five’s best episode, The Night’s Watch got away by the skin of their teeth from the ever-replenishing army of white walkers. They didn’t have a huge head start. So… what are they doing? They’re undead, so they don’t need rest and they’re ice monsters, so the snow shouldn’t be slowing them down. They don’t even have to stop and make camp for the night, like the Night’s Watch would need to. They should have passed the Watch on the way to the Wall. Even if they were afraid of that body of water, Jon and Sansa spent weeks glad-handing for support on the Winterfell take over; they should have found a shallow area to cross at this point. Even for CGI Snow Zombies, they seem like poor military strategists. Rather than the whole “suspended animation” plan the show seems to be going with, in which I assume they drop like dolls in a reverse Toy Story scenario when Jon’s not looking, they should have maybe advanced while the human force was small and scattered and the dragon-glass defect hadn’t been widely released. Then again, I myself am not yet the leader of an army of Ice Monsters, so I may not be the one to comment on their tactics.
What is Littlefinger’s Deal?
Seriously guys, I’m starting to think the guy is just coo-coo-bananas. I don’t think he has some master plan he’s checking off boxes on. I think he’s as crazy as a ferret on bath-salts and just does things so long as they amuse him. He can’t have possibly been sitting in some overstuffed horse hair chair, sipping a glass of wine, and thought: “If I sell Sansa to that insane Bolton troll, Theon will save her and that Brienne will show up and whisk her to the Wall, where the dead Snow kid will be resurrected by a red witch who has no reputation for resurrection. Bolton will capture her silent younger brother most people forgot existed and obviously they will wage war, which I will surprise-show-up at and Sansa will fall in love with me and then I will get the Iron Throne. Yes, that’s an excellent plan. I’m so smart.”
For all George R.R. Martin’s nonchalant approval of the action movie style the last season is skimming and dipping into, you know he has at least once tossed a forty dollar glass of scotch at his TV and cursed some plot point or short cut the showrunners made without his permission. He wanted Arya’s trip from Braavos to The Twins to play out in real time, damn it, and he knew every food item on the menu for every single day of that journey! Hopefully he will read this and answer these questions in his next books, even if the show never deigns to. I know old Georgie reads my stuff and is grimly detailing the exact bodily functions of dragons just so I know that he knows whether or not dragons drink water.
Did I leave out any burning questions that you have? Did I miss a scene where a dragon is peacefully lapping up water in a placid stream? Did it bother you that The High Sparrow stared at Margaery like a confused old man lost in the cereal aisle at Ralph's when she tried to evacuate the building? I implore your comments.