Before I dive into things, I want to note you should not read this post unless you are up to date with Game of Thrones (TV). There will be spoilers! If you are not caught up and still choose to read this, I am not responsible for what you might learn—I have warned you.
When Game of Thrones returned for a new season this year, I was excited. Even though I had seen the reveal of Lyanna Stark as Jon Snow’s mother coming (seriously, who didn’t), I still thought there were some really interesting and compelling story lines going on in the sixth season. I still felt like that at the beginning of this season, particularly with Daenerys landing in Dragonstone and Jorah in Oldtown close to a cure for greyscale. Unfortunately, things started to go south relatively quickly. The last moment of complete satisfaction I had was the battle where Daenerys took Drogon and the Dothraki and decimated the Lannister forces. Of course, I do think the ending should have been different in that I would have loved to see Bronn and Jaime captured (not killed).
One significant issue, in my mind, is how the season has fewer episodes. I wonder why they did this, because I highly doubt the show would have been in danger of cancellation if they still kept the last two seasons at 10 episodes each. I think the reduced episodes actually have a significant negative impact, because the story seems to be going at near hyperspeed as a result of the reduced episode order. This hyperspeed, in my opinion, has made things not seem plausible. Consider how fast people are moving across Westeros. It seems like it is happening in an instant! I think time is still passing, but the lack of markers around for how much time is passing makes it difficult to grasp. Is it weeks? Hours? Who knows?
The time passing and lack of markers actually plays a small role into why I am not a big fan of the Jon and Daenerys connection (especially the connection in the finale). Characters are pointing out this about how they look at one another, but we really don’t see much development—we are told. This makes the entire relationship ring false for me. I know the best way to have information like this come across is to show, not tell.
Another thing making me dislike this connection is because of the fact Jon is her nephew. If Cersei and Jaime are wrong, then I think Dany and Jon are also wrong. So they aren’t siblings. They are still close family! It really does not sit well with me, by any means. And the incest? It is why no one will get me on board with the relationship. Doesn’t matter if they are not aware of how they are related.
Moving forward…I know a lot of people are behind Jon as the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. After all, it seems Rhaegar had his marriage annulled and then married Lyanna. Alright. But technically no, Jon is still not the rightful heir. Want to know why? It all has to do with the timing.
Rhaegar was the Mad King’s heir—we know this. We also know Rhaegar had two kids with Elia Martell: Rhaenys and Aegon. Let’s add Jon in here are well (his true name is another point of contention with me, but I will get to that later).
Logically, the throne would have passed from Rhaegar to one of his children. But this is where timing comes into play. Rhaegar died before the Mad King did, and from what I can gather, so too did his kids with Elia. With Jon not born at this point, the heir to the throne would have then become Viserys, the Mad King’s second son. Thus, when Jaime killed the Mad King, the technical heir from the Targaryen’s line would be Viserys. This is where things might get complicated, because things would of course change if Viserys ever had legitimate children. However, there’s been no mention of this, so I think we can strike it off the table.
So now it comes to who would have taken over as heir when Viserys got his gold crown from Khal Drogo: Daenerys or Jon? Some arguments might say it would be Jon, considering he was the oldest Targaryen male and would come before Dany. However, he had already become a man of the Night’s Watch at that time, and that means he would have given up his right to lands and titles. Thus, Daenerys would be the last Targaryen with a claim—she would be the rightful queen.
Besides all of this, Jon gave up his right to titles when he joined the Night’s Watch, so the right would have passed Daenerys then. Additionally, he was technically dead for a little while, so even if you argue he would have taken the throne before Daenerys, I would counter argue how the right to it would have technically passed to her while he was dead. So what, were you going to just say you can have it for five minutes and then have to give it back?
Another reason why I think it would go this way is because of the way the Lannister succession has played out. If you suspend your belief about all of Cersei’s children and how they are bastards (and therefore technically not in line for the throne), when Tommen died, the throne should have passed to a surviving uncle, Jaime or Tyrion, if the men come before women regardless of age. If Jaime as a member of the Kingsguard could not be eligible (we know he could not marry and be the heir of Casterly Rock), then technically Tyrion would be the heir after Tommen. But was he? No, Cersei was the accepted successor.
There’s another issue relating to Jon Snow—remember how I mentioned his true name? The fact the writers have said it’s Aegon is just downright lazy. Yes, you can name people after others. We already know there was one Daenerys prior to the one we know well. But to name him Aegon even though one of Elia’s children had the same name? His half brother? This is lazy and is simply asking for trouble and confusion. The only way its plausible is if Jon was actually meant to be Elia’s son. But if that were the case, why in the world would Lyanna want Ned to protect him and use her final breaths for that? It makes no sense to me either way.
Beyond the issues relating to Jon, Dany, and the line of succession and route the writers obviously want to take… there are a number of other issues with Game of Thrones and believability right now. Specifically, I think there are problems with the Winterfell story with Bran, Sansa, Arya, and Littlefinger at the forefront.
Sansa and Arya, we know, have always had a strained relationship prior to their separation early in the series. Up until the finale, we have been shown that strain still exists, exacerbated by the fact Littlefinger is manipulating the two of them. But in the finale? Out of nowhere, people, and that feels like cheap storytelling, brought on by Bran. In writing, having an all-knowing character like that is very problematic. It makes the story lose the drama, the character mistakes, et cetera. You need things like manipulation or attempts at a task failing because characters do not have all the information. Bran and his all-knowing nature now take this away. Dealing that information out takes a lot away from the story, in my opinion.
I think without Bran, Littlefinger would not have met the end he did. I think though he may not have gotten his way completely, he would still be in a power position with Sansa. I think the final season will be a little less without him around, especially since we will not see him reunite with Varys—something I think would have been wonderful to see.
I think the switch in the finale from thinking Littlefinger was winning with his manipulation, as I said, came off as cheap storytelling. It would have been nice to get more of a hint than what we did receive. It would, I think, make things a little better and easier to swallow.
Another issue I think is the stuff with Euron Greyjoy and his extreme power with the two fleet “battles” early in the season. How in the world did Yara, Ellaria, et al not see him coming? With the power Yara and Theon took with them, how did Euron gain so much? How did he decimate two fleets? I think, if you look closely, this was a way of dramatically reducing Daenerys’ power when it came to taking over Westeros. You can’t have it happen in an instant!
Characterization is another big issue for me—I think there are serious inconsistencies. Consider Jaime for instance. He killed The Mad King because of his threat to burn everyone in King’s landing with wildfire, no matter their allegiance. He knows what it would due to his reputation, but he knew it would be better for the greater good. For the majority of this season, he seems too attached to Cersei. She did what the Mad King was threatening (on a slightly smaller scale) and you could clearly see how she was losing it, particularly with her words about Tommen betraying them because of his suicide. How could he stay by her side for longer knowing all of that? Even if he couldn’t kill her…he should have left far earlier. It remains to be seen how the final season will go for him, given the events of the finale, but I still think there were inconsistencies with his characterization recently. There are with other characters too, but this is the one at the forefront of my mind for sure.
Remember how I mentioned the passage of time earlier? There are issues with consistency and pacing across storylines here as well. Consider, for example, the speed at which Dany and Jon are moving from Dragonstone and to King’s Landing and then their progress to Winterfell. Then consider how slow Sam and Gilly seemed to move from Oldtown to Winterfell. Also consider how slow the White Walkers are moving. I can forgive this a little if they were truly waiting for Viserion, which is another can of worms entirely.
You know, I could talk for quite a while about the flaws I am seeing in Game of Thrones. I mean, don’t even get me started on the Ice Dragon. And even though I love Jorah, I think the greyscale thing lacked detail and substance (I could also talk about the disservice to his character, but I digress). Also what about the sudden drop in the Dorne story? It was severely flawed to begin with, yes, but I think there’s more to be had there.
I think my analyzing everything is natural, when I start to see even a little bit that doesn’t seem quite right. Habit, I guess, from analyzing everything in university. With that said, I think what a lot of this boils down to is how Game of Thrones this season really feels a lot like wish fulfillment and fan service. I think perhaps if I did not analyze things the way I have and find the holes and issues I’ve discussed so far, it might not be as bad. I think it’s highly unlikely I will tune in for the final season beyond just looking at recaps after the episodes, but I won’t say never because who knows how I will feel when the final season begins.
So you know what I think…but I don’t know what you think? How do you feel about the most recent season of Game of Thrones? Do you differ from what I’ve discussed? If so, why? Leave all your thoughts about Game of Thrones below—I would love to hear them!