Let the record show that I was 100% correct.
…Which doesn’t mean a whole lot because it was by far the most common fan theory, but I knew about it way before all the set leaks and crap, so there.
There’s been some debate over whether Jon Snow’s resurrection is cheap and insufficiently grimdark to be in a story like Game of Thrones. I’m coming down on the “no” side of that one, which may surprise you. Normally I do feel that bringing dead characters back to life indicates a story that values shocking the audience over telling a good story (which… is actually my main complaint about Game of Thrones), but in this case I feel like it’s earned.
Jon’s biggest source of conflict, apart from keeping his hair properly conditioned, has always been the tug of war between his oath to the Night’s Watch and his desire for a higher purpose, whether that’s sallying forth with his brother to avenge Sean Bean’s death or Davos urging him to put the wrongs of the Seven Kingdoms to right. Dying conveniently frees him from his obligations on the wall, and the particular manner of his death was a very stiff wake up call to the realities of the world he’s living in. He’s always been the most idealistic character on the show, consistently underestimating the impact of human violence and assholeitude, and I think getting stabbed repeatedly by his own men should finally cure of him of that.
On a related note, has anyone else noticed that this show constantly equates authority with a willingness to execute people? The show started with Sean Bean grimly cutting a dude’s head off, and then when Robb Stark took over leadership of the North he grimly cut more dude’s heads off, and when Jon became Lord Commander he promptly had to cement his position by grimly cutting a dude’s head off, and now when he comes back he grimly hangs his assassins (which involves cutting a rope, in a similar manner to cutting a dude’s head off) and when Theon took over Winterfell he tried to grimly cut a dude’s head off but bungled the job because he took power illegitimately, and thus was not imbued with the divine right of decapitation that is bestowed on all rightful rulers.
In case you couldn’t tell, I find this to be one of the most asinine and juvenile aspects of the show. Like a lot of fantasy, Game of Thrones is obsessed with ideas of Kingship and Law and Duty and Honour and all that shite, but its actual understanding and willingness to explore those themes is shallow at best.
Meanwhile, Rickon Stark is back! I had completely forgotten about him. I’m kind of hoping Ramsey just kills him immediately, because that would make it more likely that Sansa would take over Winterfell and I really want that to happen.
At the other end of Westeros, it’s becoming clear that the situation in King’s Landing with the High Sparrow is this season’s irritating plot thread that’s going to hang around for episode after episode like a bad smell. I actually already had reservations about the Faith Militant due to how they seemed to go from basically non-existant to powerful enough to arrest the Queen in the space of a single episode, but at least their rise was kind of exciting. Now any storyline involving them just consists of a lot of belligerent people glaring at each other and failing to get their way. I also don’t get why the characters are acting as if the High Sparrow is untouchable just because he’s surrounded by some dudes with cudgels. Any time anyone goes near him he makes vaguely threatening remarks about a peasant uprising (which you’d think would be enough for Cersei to get him arrested for treason or something), but we’ve been given no indication that he has the influence or popular support to make that happen, so it looks as if the characters are just refusing to do anything except make the most timid moves against him in order to keep the plotline going.
This particular gordian knot is all the more irritating because it hinges more or less on entirely on Tommen’s inability to king up and just slap the High Sparrow, and I get that his entire character revolves around being weak and ineffectual, but it’s still incredibly annoying to watch.
So where will the Exciting Story go next? Will Jon and Sansa meet, or will George RR Martin’s odd phobia against letting main characters occupy adjacent space once they’ve been separated ruin things yet again? Here’s some predictions:
- That dude giving Rickon to Ramsey will turn out to be part of some sort of clever ruse, thus explaining why he made such a big show of not swearing allegiance.
- When the White Walkers reach the wall, a newly-confident Melisendre will volunteer to fight them on the front lines, convinced that the Lord of Light will give her the power to defeat them. She will be incorrect about this.
- Cersei’s zombie bodyguard has some sort of hidden motive. Keep an eye on that guy. He’s suspicious.
- Tyrion will continue faffing about in Mereen because the show’s writers couldn’t think of anything interesting for him to do until the end of the season.
Let’s see if I’m right about any of them.