Game Of Thrones – Small Council

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Dear Team,

Love the podcasts—keep up the great work!

In this week’s GOT deep dive, you guys discussed how they needed to compress the plot as a practical necessity to try to wrap up a story with so many characters and so many plotlines. I disagree. The only reason they had to dismiss so many characters and plotlines so quickly was because the showrunners were determined to even up the sides and give us one more emotional swing to build tension for another final battle.

It wasn’t necessary. After the Battle of Winterfell, the good guys won. Defeating Cersei was fait accompli. Even with what looked like the decimation of the Dothraki and the Unsullied, Team Dany still had all the magical creatures (2 dragons, a direwolf, Bran, Arya), all the best fighters in the world (Jon Snow, Brianne, The Hound, Grey Worm, Tormund, Gendry, Jaime (?)), tons of potential alliances (Iron Islands, Dorn, Dario and the Second Sons, the Eyrie, etc.), and all the top advisors/strategists (Tyrion, Varys, Sam, Sansa, etc.). Cersei’s 20,000 sell swords, the remaining dregs of the Lannister Army, and the Iron fleet wouldn’t be nearly enough to defeat the good guys, much less occupy an entire continent. Hell, Arya could have walked up Kings landing by herself and killed Cersei and the Mountain without breaking a sweat.

They could have still have had Cersei pull some clever and evil shit to make us think briefly that she might pull it off, or have her rip our hearts out by taking out some beloved characters, or come up with some other ways (such as Dany/Jon conflicts) to heighten the drama, but ultimately, she’s still definitely going to lose. There was no reason to come up with all those flimsy contrivances to “even the odds”. The ridiculous killing of the Rhaegal, sending the dire wolf, the Free folk, and Sam away for no reason, coming up with tortured reasons to sideline the remaining dragon (there is a big gulf between burning cities and melting castles, and not using them at all), the bizarre departure of Jaime, etc. All to have all of that, no doubt, reversed again, and for a good guy to still ultimately end up on the Throne.

After 10 years and 70 episodes of soul crushing plot twists, the show could have taken this last battle much more straight forward—everybody would have been so expecting a last minute twist, that the tension would have been there. You could have avoided all of the cringeworthy plot conveniences, and then also had the time in a full post-battle final episode to resolve and unwind all the subplots, and to see what happens with all of the surviving characters after the war.

Thanks!

David Tanenholz

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