I will be the first to admit I didn’t do separate reviews for episodes 2 &3 of The Wheel of Time. In some ways, it’s because I felt like there wasn’t much to review? And yet at the same time, I’m trying to figure out where this is going.
Before episode four, this series has felt managed to simultaneously feel as if it is going at breakneck speed while also just plodding along for the sake of worldbuilding and exposition. But this latest episode picked up the pace.
I had to pause and look up the writer because it felt so different to the previous 3 episodes. And sure enough, the writer this time was Dave Hill. He wrote the following Game of Thronesepisodes: “Sons of the Harpy”, “Home”, “Eastwatch” and in season 8, “Winterfell”. Possibly all the stand out episodes. Either way, to me it showed that there was going to be shit happening in this episode.
And yes. FINALLY. Shit went down.
There was still a lot of exposition and worldbuilding but it was more balanced with the present day. We finally got to see first-hand why the Aes Sedai take finding the Dragon so seriously. We saw the impact it has on shielding them from using their magic.
There was more character development happening. And some hints at what the future for some of them may hold. I don’t like giving spoilers but I hope that Mat can find help soon before it’s too late.
And of course. That final scene. Yes! I admit that I’ve only read the first couple of books but Nynaeve was probably one of my favourite characters. She is so intensely loyal to her village. And fierce and strong. For her to come into her own at that moment was amazing to see. 💛
The winds have shifted and the first look at HBO’s latest foray into Westeros has dropped.
So what are my thoughts? After such a long time being away from anything to do with A Song of Ice and Fire, it is refreshing to have something new to look forward too.
My first thought is that 200 years is not really that long ago with it comes to monarchies? If we look at the British that would have been 8 monarchs ago. For the Targaryens, there were roughly 13 in the 200 years from Viserys I. There were 14 if you include Daenerys. And in the previous 100 years of the Targaryen reign? Just 4. So this
I don’t know where I am going with this by pointing it out, other than perhaps mentioning the fact that the events from the Dance of the Dragons sets off a turbulent time for the Targaryen Dynasty. One that was filled with political intrigue and a succession crisis.
The political intrigue and character development was the strength behind the Game of Thrones tv series. It was something that was lost by the end of the show. While the trailer for House of the Dragon hasn’t given us much to speculate on, it has given me a tentative hope that maybe it will return to that beginning.
The Night King and his demise is not the main plot of this story. This is a story about imperfect people navigating an imperfect world and facing the consequences of their actions. If there is a knight in shining armor, it is not who we expect. If the Big Bad Guy is defeated it isn’t done through an honorable fight. If a lost bird makes her way back home, it won’t be the same anymore. The innocence of wishing for a fairytale story to happen is long lost.
This entire season we expected Jon Snow to be the one to kill the Night King. After all, he did all the work of learning about him, being marked by him, finding soldiers and weapons to fight his army. His life since going beyond the wall has been tied to bringing down the Night King. It would make sense that he be the one to face him head on and be the one to defeat him. If that was his story. But his story isn’t that kind of story.
“You don’t know what you’re asking, Jon. The Night’s Watch is a sworn brotherhood. We have no families. None of us will ever father sons. Our wife is duty. Our mistress is honor.” – Benjen
“A bastard can have honor too,” Jon said. “I am ready to swear your oath.”
Jon I, AGoT
From the beginning we are introduced to Jon Snow the Bastard. He is not a part of the Stark family by name and is always cast aside. He knows this but still yearns to be a part of a family. Finding a place where he can belong. He decides to join the Night’s Watch in hopes to find, if not a family, at least a brotherhood.
Now, he’s found out that who he thought was his family isn’t because in reality he is Aegon Targaryen, heir to the Iron Throne. But is that true? Because is your family those who raised you or those who are your blood?
“Night gathers, and now my watch begins. It shall not end until my death. I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children. I shall wear no crowns and win no glory. I shall live and die at my post. I am the sword in the darkness. I am the watcher on the walls. I am the shield that guards the realms of men. I pledge my life and honor to the Night’s Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.”
The Night’s Watch oath
It is in the Night’s Watch that he is takes his oath and receives his duty to be protector of the realm. He quickly learns that the definition of “Duty” is not so clear cut and begins to struggle with indecision. This internal struggle is something that does not translate on screen well at all. He is constantly torn between wanting to do something to protect his “family” in Winterfell as he hears news about them from the south and also wanting to protect the wildlings, the crows, the infirm and moonboy for all I know. The problem with this is you end up protecting nobody and shirking your duty. So he gets stabbed. But wait! He comes back and we get Duty 2.0: Stop Winter from coming.
And here is where D&D could have prevented this frustration we have now. They expected us to know and remember that Jon came back from the dead with the seemingly sole purpose of killing the Night’s King. Which most of us did. But what we missed out on in those brooding stares and looks is that internal struggle with wanting to have it all but will end up with nothing in return.
And what does “having it all” look like to Jon?
Jon wants honor. He is a bastard and a bastard has no honor. Or so he thought he was up until Sam announced he is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. But do you have honor then if no one knows about it? Now Jon will have to wrestle with the questions that come along with knowing that he is the true heir. Does he take that from Dany our tragic hero? Or would it be more honorable to let her have what she’s been fighting for this entire series?
There was a scene in the last episode where Jon was faced with a choice. A choice to save Sam, his friend, brother and one of the few people who have stuck by him this whole time or to go and kill the Night King. He chose the Night King and was subsequently denied his chance to get to him by Viserion. Does this speak for his choices in the future?
At this point it’s an open book to see what he’ll decide. He has choices now to make. Things he has been avoiding since the beginning of the series. He’ll have to make sacrifices because if he reaches again for everything then he will fail.
Will he go down the path of the tragic hero and turn his back on the Starks, his family, and go after the Iron Throne? If he does this then chances are he’ll be blocked by Daenerys and lose everything again.
Will he take up his sworn duty to the Night’s Watch and continue to guard the Seven Kingdoms?
Will he be able to make the honorable choice now that he knows what’s at stake?
Here is the third part in the series. It turns out the holidays were quite busy for us but we got there in the end. My goal is to do 2 more posts for wrapping up the where we left off after season 7. I want to look at Oldtown next and after that what is happening Beyond the Wall.
Current Ruler – Daenerys Targaryen, Squatter of Dragonstone, the unburnt Queen of seemingly everyone, Mother of Dragons better known as Khaleesi
Summary of Events
The beginning of the season showed us Dany pulling up to Dragonstone and following in her ancestor Aegon’s footsteps. She started with plotting how to take the Iron Throne again until Jon Snow showed up and told her about the army of dead rising in the North. While she worked first to weaken the Lannister control she eventually saw what was coming for them from beyond the Wall. She’s agreed to support Jon Snow and the Starks in their fight as long as Snow will bend the knee to her in support.
Daenerys Targaryen – Dany came to Westeros to reclaim the Iron Throne. She’s now backtracked on her plan to conquer Westeros in order to save it from what is coming from beyond the Wall. She hasn’t come out unscarred though because she lost one of her dragons to the White Walker army.
Tyrion Lannister – Tyrion is continuing to serve Dany as an advisor and used his position to set up the parlay between Cersei and Dany at the end of the season. He is under the impression that Cersei has agreed to help out in the fight against the White Walkers.
Yara & Theon Greyjoy – They were sent with Ellaria to Dorne to gather the dornishmen to support Dany. They were attacked by Euron on the narrow sea and Yara was captured after Theon panicked. After he regained the Ironborn respect, Theon is on a mission to rescue his sister.
Missandei & Grey Worm – Finally talked about their feelings and got together.
Dany’s Fanclub – Consists of Varys, Olenna, Melisandre and probably some others that were thrown in because they have nowhere else to go.
House Greyjoy – Yara & Theon lent the Greyjoy fleet to Daenerys so that she can reach Westeros but are currently either captured or on the run from Euron Greyjoy.
Stark/Snow – Sansa and Jon both have a motive to befriend the Dragon Queen. Sansa because she could be an ally against Cersei and Jon for gathering support to fight the war against the undead.
Unsullied – The Unsullied continue to support Daenerys after she broke their chains.
Dothraki Horde – The Dothraki Horde has been brought to Westeros to support Daenerys and her conquest.
War against the Dead/White Walkers – Before conquering Westeros she will have to save it from the army growing beyond the Wall.
King’s Landing – This is Dany’s real goal. She will fight to sit on the Iron Throne again if she survives the fight against the White Walkers.
Thank you for being so patient for the next post. It turns out taking care of a newborn is in fact quite time consuming. (But more about that for another time.) This week we are looking at the State of the Crownlands post season 7 on Game of Thrones.
And just like before here is the text copied below:
Current Ruler – Queen Cersei Lannister, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms and out for Vengeance
Summary of Events
Season 7 began with Cersei settling into the Iron Throne and searching for allies. She meets with Euron Greyjoy who wants to go after his niece and nephew. Cersei also gets her revenge against Ellaria and Olenna. She faces trouble with the Iron Bank and plots to use the Highgarden wealth to pay them off. Cersei attempts to baby trap her brother Jaime to stay by her side and is convinced to parlay with the Dragon Queen.
Cersei Lannister – Cersei feels she has entered into the Game of Thrones in her rightful place – as Queen. She strives to be seen just as cunning as her father and play the field to her advantage. We last saw her telling Jaime her plan to betray Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.
Jaime Lannister – Jaime attempts to guide Cersei as she takes her place on the Iron Throne. He advises her to look for allies and also carries out her plan to take the gold from High Garden and kill Olenna. Jaime also meets with Tyrion and between them they plan out the meeting of Queens for the parlay. At the end of the season Jaime leaves Cersei to head north.
Bronn – Bronn for the most part continues to keep Jaime alive by saving him more times than we can count. He’s a bit upset about the fact that he hasn’t received the proper compensation yet for doing so.
Euron Greyjoy – Euron wants to capture Yara and Theon Greyjoy. After hearing of their alliance with Dany he allies himself with Cersei Lannister for promise of marriage.
Randyll Tarly – Randyll Tarly was one of the first to swear allegiance to Cersei however he and his son Dickon were BBQ’ed after they wouldn’t kneel before the Dany.
The Mountain – For most of the season The Mountain hovered in the background just to let us know of his presence. However at the end of this season he was reminded that the hour of Cleganebowl draws nigh.
Euron Greyjoy & Golden company – Euron has allied himself with Cersei for the chance to marry the Queen. He is currently gathering the Golden Company.
End of Parlay – On the surface everyone agreed that the true fight is what lays beyond the wall and current political disputes should be set aside to take care of that threat. However Cersei has other plans.
Starks – Sansa harbors a healthy distrust of Cersei and her political machinations and implores Jon not to trust her.
Jon Snow & Daenerys Targaryen – Cersei agreed to “loan” her military to them to fight the army of undead but plans on not delivering and picking off the remains once that battle is fought so she can remain on the Iron Throne.
Economic Status 💰
In debt to the Iron Bank. Cersei was planning on using the Tyrell gold to pay off the debt and their grains to feed King’s Landing for the winter but the latter has been destroyed by Daenerys Targaryen.
I like info-graphs because it helps me keep track of things when there is a lot of information and in Game of Thrones there is a lot to remember. It’s been awhile now since the last season so to prepare lets look at where everyone ended up in Westeros. Next up will be the State of the Crownlands. 👑
In case you aren’t a fan of text on images here are my notes on the State of the North:
Current Ruler – Jon Snow, King in the North and Right Proper Lad
Summary of Events
Season 7 began with Jon and Sansa restoring their place again at Winterfell. Jon is concerned with what lays beyond the Wall to the North while Sansa is worried with the plots coming from Cersei in King’s Landing. By the end of the season, Jon attempts to rally support from the south for the fight brewing north of the wall. Sansa and Arya pass a sentence and swung the sword against Petyr Baelish.
Jon Snow – Newly crowned King in the North. Currently traveling Westeros to seek support for the looming Great war against the dead.
Sansa Stark – Lady in the North. She is managing Winterfell while Jon Snow is seeking support. She is working to restore the Starks place at Winterfell and repair the damage the Boltons have caused and prepare for the upcoming winter.
Bran Stark – Returned to Winterfell and established himself as the Three-Eyed Raven. Through weirwood.net he hold pertinent plot information such as what lays beyond the wall and knowledge of R+L=J.
Arya Stark – Returned to Winterfell after hearing that Jon Snow is now King in the North. She is now working alongside her sister to prepare for the upcoming winter.
Petyr Baelish – Followed Sansa North and used the Vale military over her in an attempt to manipulate her actions at Winterfell. Now that she is back home in her seat of power he failed and has been executed.
Brienne of Tarth – Brienne had been sent to King’s Landing as Sansa’s representative during the parley between the Lannisters and Daenerys Targaryen.
Tormund Giantsbane – Tormund was last seen giving the order to evacuate Eastwatch as the undead army appeared.
Davos Seaworth – Ser Davos is accompanying Jon as he travels to Dragonstone to seek support from Daenerys Targaryen.
Jon Snow and the Starks are restored at Winterfell. The children of the Karstarks and Umber’s have been forgiven. Jon Snow has also secured the alliance of the Daenerys Targaryen in the upcoming Great War.
Bolton occupation of Winterfell
For The Watch (The Wall)
Great War against the Dead
Economic status 💰
In turmoil – the castle had been completely destroyed due to multiple sieges and the Bolton occupation. Sansa Stark’s current priority is preparing the upcoming winter so that the North will have a place of refuge.