What Problem Can't Dragons Solve?
Welcome to Thrones month! In anticipation of the Season 7 finale on Sunday August 27, let’s explore the weirdness of Westeros with one piece (almost) every day! Spoilers through the episode "Beyond the Wall".
All Season 7 Coverage – Assume the Worst: A Catalog of Death | A Deviant Art: The Captain & The Spider | Westerosi What-Ifs | Drafting For Your Thrones Fantasy League | 66 Questions About Episode 6 | Game of Thrones Has A Shock Value Problem | Thrones Theories: How Crazy Can We Get?
Sometimes it's frustrating to be a consumer of media. You're an omniscient presence that projects your consciousness into the universe of whatever you're reading or watching, unable to say anything, your voice constricted by the fact that you don't belong. It's like being stuck in a dream where no one can hear you and no one knows you exist, but you can somehow see everyone's thoughts, and hear their movements before they even know they want to make them.
We gravitate towards smart characters because it's fulfilling to see a plan come to fruition, echoing the famous words of Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith. It takes a special kind of masochism to watch characters that are bad at their jobs, almost willfully incompetent. There's the allure of misery when you want to see just how low a character can go, but it's always driven out of that underlying urge to see a redemption story. And then there are characters who are casually intelligent, but brush that intelligence aside in favor of routine stupidity, seemingly unbeknownst to anyone around them. Seven seasons into Game of Thrones, and many of our favorite characters are falling prey to incompetence, one dumb plan at a time.
Cersei Lannister: As the character backed into the worst (albeit most luxurious corner) in the Seven Kingdoms, her plan is dumb out of a lack of alternatives. She's promised her hand in marriage to Euron Greyjoy which opens up a few problematic doors – (1) that Cersei eventually refuses to marry him and thus angers her only ally, (2) that Cersei does marry him and his male-powers supersede her female ones, (3) Euron kills Jaime because Jaime gets mad at him. This is aside from her possibly fake pregnancy, which reins in the only person that didn't need reining in (Jaime) while also opening up the possibility for him to turn against her.
Randyll Tarly: The man who changed allegiances less than four episodes ago chooses for some reason to not change allegiances again, knowing fully well that Dany would commit the equivalent of the Saturday Night Massacre – "firing" people until someone obeyed her. Also, isn't it common knowledge that Dany was born on Westerosi soil? Wasn't her dad the king? Wasn't her family in power for hundreds of years? How is she a foreigner? Honorable mention to Dickon for all of the reasons above, except he actually was uncomfortable with siding with the Lannisters in the first place, which makes his decision to die even dumber.
Davos Seaworth: Apparently the grand plan for sneaking into King's Landing is to just go to some abandoned beach? And to actually leave the boat there where anyone could take it? And how did he have a plan for getting into the city when Tyrion – who had access to all the city's maps and tunnels when he was Hand of the King – did not? Why didn't Davos convince Stannis to use this secret entrance instead of going to Blackwater? Why did Tyrion not care when Davos said he had some 'business' to attend to in Flea Bottom? Also Tyrion was able to make it to the hall with the dragon skulls, which just so happens to be the basement of the Red Keep! How is such an avenue open?! Sidenote: Why didn't he take back his gold after Gendry killed the guards? That's good money!
Drogon: Yes, let me burn only the weapon that harmed me, and not also the human who's less than five feet away from it who was the one who tried to kill me.
Night King: What is he waiting for? Plot advancement? Why is he chilling (ha) on a random frozen lake? Why doesn't he conjure up a storm to disguise his movements from warged ravens and the Lord of Light? He could totally fake out Jon and go to the Shadow Tower instead of Eastwatch, and so Jon would be roaming around the north looking for eternity. Why does he even care about the living? Isn't he content with his mindless army? What do you need more mindless people for – it's not like they're adding any collective brainpower.
Arya Stark: For someone who went to assassin/spymaster school for a couple of years, she's pretty bad at it. Didn't she learn how to tell when people are lying? Didn't an entire semester hinge on her ability to become 'no one'? Why would you snoop around with your own face?! And why would you not look around when you left Littlefinger's room to see if anyone had seen you? She somehow found a way to invade The Twins and kill Walder Frey, but apparently couldn't get into a dude's bedroom without making a lot of noise. This is a character who, by the way, was on a fast track to King's Landing to kill Cersei, and we all believed that she was capable of doing so!
Bran Stark: I hate everything about his character, from his stupid name to his dumb growth spurt to his ridiculous makeshift wheelchair to his overall idiotic uselessness. At least the Three-Eyed Raven had a reason for not giving a shit, because he was super old and everyone he cared about was probably dead, and he was trapped inside of a tree or something. For someone who knows literally everything and has very few functioning body parts, he's great at giving us all blue balls.
Jaime Lannister: He saw a move and he took it. He had a chance to end the war right there by driving a spear through Dany's heart, but ignored the huge fucking dragon that had been attacking them for the last ten minutes. It's also worth noting that he could have *thrown* the spear instead of charging with it. He also ignored the most likely outcomes of the situation – (1) being roasted by Drogon, (2) drowning from the weight of his armor and hand, (3) being captured by Dany and used as the piece to negotiate Cersei's surrender. Also, did they only happen to bring one gigantic crossbow with them? If they were going to bring them, why not bring two or three? What good was one?
Tyrion Lannister: *covers face as he walks past guards*
Sansa Stark: Consistently undermining your half-brother (for all she knows) in front of all of his men isn't good. Undermining him behind his back by accepting compliments from the bannermen while Jon's risking his life at Dragonstone isn't much better. Alienating your little sister who appears to be a pretty good fighter is probably the also pretty bad. Not chopping off Littlefinger's little finger is probably the worst.
Jon Snow: Assembling the Suicide Squad is okay when you're going up against the wacky waving inflatable tube man. But against a literal army? Jon couldn't even defeat Ramsay's army without the help of a whole other army! And their super stupid plan, which was really Tyrion's plan in the first place even though he's not coming with them, is to capture a wight? Did they think a wight would just be stumbling around by himself, away from the rest of the army? How do they capture him? Should they have brought a cage or something? Why didn't Jon stop in Winterfell before going to Eastwatch? Clearly he has no problem moving quickly. Might have been worth reminding everyone that he is alive and still King in the North, did meet the dragon queen, and brought a crapload of obsidian. Oh, and to tell people what his plan is. That would also have been convenient since he could have seen Bran, who could inform him of his true Targaryen parentage, tell him that the Wall literally won't let the undead through, and that there's a kind-of-dead relative of his named BENJEN STARK that might be a little more cooperative than a stupid wight.
Littlefinger: Great call to tell Jon that he wants to fuck his sister. It's a gentlemanly move, really.
Daenerys Targaryen: And bow to the winner of the 'dumbest character'. Dany retains her title from every season so far, displaying an admirable consistency in making terrible choices. From using black magic that killed her son, exiling Jorah the first time, letting Daario Naharis join her because he's pretty even though he's a sellsword, locking up two of her dragons for a really long time, beheading people in Mereen while her hold on the city is precarious, re-exiling Jorah, and flying away with Drogon so she could get captured. Those are just the lowlights *before* this season, by the way. In just the last few episodes, she's pivoted from not wanting to be queen of the ashes or using foreigners to invade to burning Tarlys and using the Dothraki to attack Lannisters. She also sent Olenna Tyrell back to Highgarden without any reinforcement or help, sent Grey Worm to Casterly Rock only to forget about him, sent Tyrion on a stealth mission without a warrior to back him, and sent Jorah north after seeing him for like five minutes (not even enough time to get a quickie in).
This all begs the question: what problem can't dragons solve? We saw what one dragon could do to an army, and we've already seen that she's willing to go back on her 'principles'. She could ride a dragon into King's Landing and burn the Red Keep, which is where all of her enemies are. For good measure, she could hop over the gates, open them, and let all the common folk out before she started destroying stuff. And she could get all of it done WHILE helping Jon. Instead of risking the lives of eight cast members, she could have sent one of the dragons with him to do a drive-by wight pickup. While she was at it, they could have just burned the entire army of the dead and the Night's King with it. Hell, send a dragon to back up Grey Worm and burn Euron's fleet. It's not like she's using the dragons for anything anyway! You don't even have to send Drogon, send one of the shitty ones! Or if Drogon is badly injured, he's probably going to die soon anyway, so send him for one last mission. (Sidenote: Since all three dragons are named after males, does that imply that they're all male? And if so, does that mean they're truly the last three dragons?) The CGI people chose the dragons over Ghost, so make use of the damn things! They might as well be trapped in the Great Pyramids of Mereen all over again.
Just like Daenerys, for all she's worth.