By: Colin Chiles and Andy Foote, who you can find on twitter your own damn self
Estimated read time: 9 minutes
Andy, rather than dive into our questions, I have a little rage filled soliloquy to go on. Bear with me here.
Fictional stories are extremely fragile things. As a consumer, we want to be fooled into thinking of these people and situations as real people in real situations acting with free will rather than doing whatever is written for them in the script. The best way to achieve this illusion is by creating believable characters that do believable things.
Part of the magic of thrones is that there are so many characters with such varied personalities, that what makes sense for each character differs from person to person. And the magic of every good story is still being able to surprise you with believable acts from those characters.
Joffrey cutting off Ned’s head was STUNNING because we didn’t see it coming, but it’s a totally believable act because Joff is a monster and you can honestly follow his logic, even if it’s flawed. This passes the illusion test (and the magic test).
We are of course asked to suspend belief when it adds a fantastical element to the story, and when it can fit into the fictional world we’re hanging out in. And we do so, gladly. We accept that Dany created dragons, white walkers exist and people sometimes come back from the dead.
Most of us are even willing to suspend belief if it doesn’t really affect the plot. The last two seasons have really shown the show doesn’t give a SHIT about geography and travel time. Everyone on the show can teleport I guess. In the final parts of season 6 Varys makes it from Mereen to Dorne, and back to Mereen, just in time to sail back to Dragonstone…(my dude, you really couldn’t have just met them at Dragonstone?)
But when something that does not make sense also affects the plot, it begins it can tear down the illusion that we’re participating in this fictional world.
This week’s episode left some gaping holes that tore down the illusion for me. Some of these holes were created by character decision but others were created by the show rather than any specific character. Let me start here:
At the end of episode 4, Jamie charged Dany and Drogon (which was dumb but a believable act – he’s a warrior, to die in battle is the best thing he can hope for, he was even kind of jousting, which he use to be a legend at). He’s ultimately tackled off of his horse by Bronn into what MUST be shallow water, right? Jamie’s horse was running in it, it can’t be that deep. But the second the show cuts to him in the water, he’s sinking in what must be the deepest trench in Westeros.
But let’s even ignore that for a second. Maybe it just looked deeper than the show intended. Since he was going to live regardless of the water depth, it’s essentially of no consequence.
Jump to the start of this week’s episode. Bronn has saved Jamie and dragged him to the oppose shore of what was a gigantic battle. Jamie safely makes it back to Kings Landing. Now hold on a second. Are you telling me that NOT ONE of Dany’s Dothraki horde saw one man dragging another man in heavy Lannister armor to safety?
To the Dothraki’s defense, they would be unfamiliar with Lannister sigils, colors and certainly unfamiliar with what Jamie looks like.
If only someone would have seen him charge Dany that could easily recognize him.
Oh yeah. Dany saw him. And Tyrion saw him. Am I supposed to believe that neither Tyrion or Dany thought it prudent to look for Jamie Lannister in the river? We’re talking about what would be one of the most valuable prisoners in Westeros…and he just got away? Because Bronn played sharks and minnows as a kid and knew how to swim away from people looking for him?
No. I refuse to accept that Tyrion wouldn’t send someone to check on his brother, even if it was only to retrieve his drowned body.
You can’t even blame this on dumb character decision because for a decision to be made there has to be a choice. The show removed that by just forcing down our throats that Jamie and Bronn somehow got away from an entire army, Jamie’s brother and the Queen of dragons.
If this were the only plot hole of the episode, I may have been able to overlook it. But it wasn’t.
In fact, it seems to me like the entire plot is going in an unbelievable direction
Please tell me how it makes sense for Dany to have Jon and Co. capture a white walker and show it to Cersei. I’ve been thinking about this all day and I just can’t make it work.
Let’s run through this as quickly as I can.
If Dany truly does want to join forces with Cersei to fight the army of the dead then, first of all, wow, what a 180 degree turn from her position only one episode ago. But if allegiance against the dead is her true goal then why exactly did she flame the fuck out of the Lannister army that could have, you know, helped fight the army of the dead?
If Jon and Co. can actually trap a white walker on it’s own (I’m dubious), how exactly are they going to get it through the wall? How many times have we heard that white walkers CAN’T GO THROUGH THE WALL. (yes I know there was a walker in the first season at Castle Black. He wasn’t yet a walker when they brought him through and if that’s their plan here then it’s a shitty plan to try and recreate something they don’t even know how they did the first time)
If they DO get a walker through the wall…isn’t bringing it to a crowded city like the LAST thing you’d want to do with it?
If it gets to Cersei and she sees it…what then? Is Cersei going to unite with the dragon Queen on her doorstep that just burnt down most of her army and plans on taking the Iron Throne? Have you MET Cersei? Tyrion has. AND THIS WHOLE THING WAS HIS IDEA.
Andy. These things really bother me. And I didn’t even get to Sam yet. Am I overreacting? Do you see something in this that I don’t? Talk me off of this thrones ledge or jump off with me, but either way I need to know your response.
By the old gods and the new, I thought I was the only person who had massive issues with this episode. While Twitter can’t get off of this episode’s proverbial junk, I was pretty damn unhappy. You summed up a lot of the points nicely, but now I’m going to rage on the second worst character in this story, Sam Tarley.
But first, MY GOD GENDRY SMASHED SOME FACES WITH THAT HAMMER!! The Baratheon and Stark bastards reunited filled me with an odd sense of happiness, which was of course immediately doused by more terrible plot devices. Although Gendry rocking a war hammer is a nice tip of the cap to Thrones history. His dad, Robert, famously used a war hammer that “Ned could scarcely lift”.
I get it, there are only two episodes left, and most of the budget has gone into massively fulfilling battles, and consequently letting the plot fall to the side, which has kept us enslaved for years at this point. I won’t go into the brotherhood without banners suddenly appearing at the wall and saying “Welp I guess we should all join forces now”, or how Bran knows everything, but can’t tell anyone ANYTHING. (Like holy shit how hard would it be to say that Jon is coming back, or Littlefinger tried to kill me?!?!)
But Sam. Sam Tarley. Sam the Slayer. Sam the Piece of Shit. Sam the Useless. He is literally a bigger baby than Gilly’s bastard child, also named Sam, and the two are in a power struggle for who can be the bigger pile of shit. His one job, his only freaking job, was to get information on the White Walkers and report it back to Jon. He even laid out his plan for the Arch-Maesters. It was a good plan!! But instead of trying to learn anything useful, he cuts off Gilly when she was about to reveal who Rhaegar Targaryen married (unforgiveable, fucking unforgiveable), and then leave. Just leaves. Grabs some random scrolls that are not going to help, and just runs away from his responsibilities. What is he going to do, go fight the walkers? What happens when the Nights Watch gets pneumonia, is he going to peel their skin off and pour ointment on it like he did for Jorah? He didn’t learn anything at the citadel except how to maybe cure greyscale, and because he wasn’t having fun, he ran away, and the Watch is screwed. Good luck Sam, you’ll need it.
I don’t hate Sam as much as you do but I 100% agree with you on his horrible decision to just bolt the one place in the world might hold the specific knowledge he’s looking for. But back to little Sam for a second…what in the fuck are they feeding him? That kid hit a growth spurt and I can only assume he’s going to be taller than Bran by next season.
But big Sam. My dude. What in the hell are you doing? You were in a room full of people who could be looking a white walker in the face and would still be asking for a second opinion as their head was being removed from the rest of their body. These are scientists. They need a ton of proof of things before they allow it as a truth and it’s ENTIRELY understandable that they would be skeptical of a few ravens and an acolyte who claims to have seen the army of the dead. The archmaester’s non-dismissal of white walkers is honestly about the best you can hope for. He was in a room full of doubters and he pushed them to consider that it might actually be true.
Because it’s a show though, I’m sure he just so happened to grab the right scroll, out of millions upon millions of scrolls, that will lead him to some deeper knowledge of the Night King or the walkers.
Well put. This is the kind of cutting analysis you can expect from The Dive 35.