6 Burning Questions I Have About Last Night’s Game of Thrones


1. What the hell is up with Arya?

Arya Stark might be television’s most likeable character without any sense whatsoever. The way Maisie Williams plays Arya makes you believe that she’s smarter and craftier than anyone else in the room, but the way she’s written seems to counter that idea. When Littlefinger purposefully planted that raven letter in his own hiding place and watched from the shadows as Arya pilfered it, fans kind of hoped there would be something more going on than the surface level.

But nope, as it turns out, Littlefinger successfully played the Stark sisters against each other. Arya is in fact dumb enough to take something involving Littlefinger at face value, but also blame her sister for something that would have happened with or without her consent.

All of her arguments fall apart the minute that you put them into context. Remember this pointed barb?

DO you remember, Arya? Because when Papa Stark was being hauled off to the chopping block, your dear sister looked like this: 

Even for someone who’s supposed to be a teenager, this is an unbelievably stupid argument. Arya should know more than anyone that you have to pick your battles, and wait for the perfect time to strike. As Sansa brings up, Arya didn’t step in to save her father during his execution because that would have been a terrible idea. Similarly, Arya didn’t take the many chances she had to kill Tywin Lannister when she was working for him, because that would also have been a terrible idea.

It feels like the show is making Arya obtuse and dim for no other reason than it creates drama.

The only thing that’s going to redeem this plotline is some kind of twist, like Arya knowing much more than she’s letting on. Maybe she’s pushing her sister’s buttons to see how Littlefinger reacts, and then will strike right after he reveals his true intentions to everyone. Maybe she’s already killed Littlefinger and has been wearing his face to put Sansa to the test.

But that’s probably not how it’s going to play out. Remember back in season six, when Arya decided to bail on the Faceless Men? While she waited for her boat home, Arya strolled around Braavos in broad daylight without a care in the world. It felt like it HAD to be a trap for the Waif, who had made it clear she’d take any chance to stab her rival a dozen times in the belly. But nope, Arya was really that short-sighted, and she got a stomach full of slits for her trouble.

I get that the show wants to depict how the two sisters have grown apart and how very different their journeys have been, but to make Arya straight-up threaten to murder her sister and wear her face as skin is going just a smidge overboard.

 

2. How fast was Gendry’s raven?

Complaining about how fast everyone moves in Game of Thrones has become exhausting in the last season, mostly because everyone does it every single episode. You can try to ignore it and just sort of imagine a lot of awkward timeskips in between, even when they don’t make a whole lot of sense. But this week the speed of travel is just out of control, specifically when it comes to Gendry’s raven.

The brothers of the Night’s Watch send that message to Daenerys in the middle of the night. While it’s on its way, we see the Suicide Squad wake up in the morning. At no point do we ever get any impression that more days pass before the Hound starts tossing rocks. If the crew was out in subzero temperatures for more than just that night, we likely would have heard them worry about food scarcity or frostbite.

So that means, in less than 24 hours, a bird flew from the Wall to Dragonstone, and Daenerys still had time to fly back beyond the wall in time to save the day. That sure as hell sounds impossible, but it’s hard to know without some kind of reference for distance. Fortunately, Jon Snow gave us a pretty good baseline in the first episode of season seven. 

It’s undoubtedly a rough estimate, but for argument’s sake let’s take it at face value. If it’s 1000 miles from Winterfell to King’s Landing, that tells us a lot about the journey of Gendry’s raven. Dragonstone is actually pretty close to King’s Landing, but Winterfell is comparatively much further from The Wall.

Basically, that raven had to have flown over a thousand miles to get to Daenerys. Here’s a rough map to give you a general idea of the distance we’re talking about here.

(yeah yeah I know the raven flew from Eastwatch, but I wanted to make the lines parallel-ish for easier comparison)

Dragons are magical, impossible beasts and if you said that they could fly 500mph, no one could argue with you about the validity of imaginary facts. But ravens are just birds. Even if messanger ravens are bred for speed, they still need to stop and eat every once in a while. In the past you could hand-wave teleporting characters away with invisible weeks ocurring between scenes, but there simply isn’t enough time for everything in this episode to happen when it does. 

The worst part of all this is how easily this gaping plothole could have been smoothed over. Reddit user maledictus_homo_sum suggested an easy fixAfter doubting her decision to let Jon Snow roll North on a dangerous mission, Daenerys starts flying up to The Wall earlier in the episode. Arriving at Eastwatch, Dany meets up with Gendry, who points her in the direction of the action. Boom, done. A cleaner, less bewildering and more believable sequence of events that relies on character motivations (and some lucky coincidence) over sloppy editing that makes the audience fill in the gaps. Think HBO could make space in the writer’s room for that Reddit dude during season eight?

 

3. Why isn’t anyone wearing hats?

Did nobody in the North have moms? Everyone knows that if you’re going to trudge into the icy wastes on a suicide mission, you have to at least bring a hat. Hypothermia is a going concern, as Jorah points out, and yet nobody even thinks to raise their hoods. Well, except for those redshirt goons who existed solely to get torn apart by wights.

Then again, if everyone was using proper winter headgear, it might’ve gotten hard to tell who was who when the action got hectic. This was probably why everyone in the episode went hatless, but that doesn’t make it any less distracting. It sort of takes you out of the moment when the characters on the screen look like they checked the “turn off helmets during cutscenes” box in an RPG menu.

4. Wouldn’t that hammer be useful for breaking up the ice?

The only thing that saved Westeros’ Suicide Squad from immediate disembowelment was the thin ice around a lake. The wight hordes seem to be willing to throw their own faces onto dragonglass daggers no problem, but swimming in frozen water is just ridiculous. For at least a night, the team was safe. But when the waters froze up once more, the battle raged on.

The Hound had initially grabbed Gendry’s sizeable hammer for use in the fight, but ditched it once he realized that dragonglass was much more effective. But the thing is, the hammer WAS good for something:

Watching this moment, I truly thought this would be the turning point for the crew. The entire reason for the existence and prominence of the hammer, outside of Gendry’s Baratheon heritage, would be for The Hound to smash up every inch of ice around that rock and save them. Because up to that point, the only thing keeping the crew alive was a moat of water — so why not make sure it stays that way?

Hell, the gang didn’t even have to wait for the wights to make their move — they could have just smashed up the ice the moment they got onto that rock and kept a watch on it while waiting for Scottie the Raven to beam over to Dragonstone. Then again, that might be expecting a lot from the guys who think showing an ice zombie to a queen who already has an undead guard is a good idea.

 

5. Why didn’t Daenerys and her dragons go after the White Walkers?

If you want to wrap up winter before it even begins, all you have to do is ice these guys. Or you know, roast them with dragonfire. We know that Daenerys didn’t point her dragons at the generals of the dead because we still have a full season to go, but she doesn’t know that.

You could argue that Dany didn’t know about the White Walkers. But I mean, they were conspicuous as hell hanging out on that ridge on their horses. And she DID just see them in a mystical cave next to her castle. Plus, it’s not like Jon Snow hadn’t lectured her and everyone else on Dragonstone about the Night King.

On top of all that, this is the same Daenerys who just got a raven from Gendry. If you were writing a note and you were trying to include vital info that would help your friends, you would probably mention that killing the ice generals instantly wipes out their soldiers. But I guess if you were an inbred Targaryen, this might slip your mind.

6. Why didn’t the White Walker kill the dragon that EVERYONE was on?

All in all, things are going swimmingly for the White Walkers so far. Most everyone South of the Wall is still bickering among themselves, unaware that they’ll probably never see another summer day ever again. The few rascally punks that are wise to their game are too low in number to really do any actual damage.

Even dragons don’t stand a chance against the overprepared army of the dead.

 

 

Up until this moment, the Night King had done everything pretty much perfectly. All of his plans seemed to be working out, his enemies’ numbers were dwindling and their cause was growing more hopeless by the day. So why in the world would the Night King squander this chance to kill the only ones in any position to stop him?

Come on, dude. There was a dragon sitting down, in plain view, carrying all the characters your army came here to kill and then some.

 

All the Night King had to do was aim his spear just a bit to the left and the humans his underlings were pursuing would have no chance of getting away. On top of all that, he’d still have an ice dragon. There doesn’t seem to be any discernable reason why the dragon in the air was a more valuable or desirable target.

I’m starting to think that the ice zombie army that walks one mile every season isn’t that smart.

 

Tristan Cooper can be found on Twitter.


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