Beardy the Wildling

[S7] What would you have done differently?

40 posts in this topic

Hi all,

This is Beardy, and I've been away for a while, but I'm back to talk about Season 7!

Now the hype train has cooled down and resolidified, I decided to sit back and relax, when I can across this:

Now my opinion of Preston Jacobs is... complex, and I think that while he has a tendency to put the books on a pedestal and goes to ridiculous lengths to rationalise them using every vagary imaginable, I do think at the very least his theories are interesting, and his criticisms of the show are pretty damn cogent.

But it got me thinking: If you were writing Season 7, what would you guys do differently?

I for one would rewrite the damn thing wholesale, but honestly, a lot of the problems come dangling in the wake of Season 6, so fixing it all is too much to ask. So instead, I'd go for the more egregious issues:

Have Cersei's rule be unpopular, viewed as sacrilegious, usurping, monstrous, etc, and have Cersei's immediate concern be securing her power and controlling the rabble. To this end, she asks Qyburn if there's a way to make more zombies and seeks allies in the most feared pirate in the world: Euron Greyjoy.

Go for more spectacle with Viserion's raising (surprising, given my usual gripes). Instead of pulling giant chains out of their arse, make it so there's a lingering, uncomfortable scene of the Night King and his lieutenants. The White Walkers' leitmotif of ringing is there, and together, they survey the breakage of the ice where Viserion fell. Then... the Night King raises his hands a la Hardhome. The water rumbles, the White Walkers back off, and bam! Viserion rises out of the water, unleashing one of those silly skeleton screams they use on the wights these days. But as a dragon.

Kill Littlefinger earlier, and possibly in a different way. My proposed different way is not Preston's 'trial by incredible continuity porn' because we have to remember that continuity is not D&D's strong suit, but instead that Arya suspects Littlefinger is manipulating Sansa and, simultaneously, shows that she's psychotic, paranoid and unstable, but still protective of her family. Hell, make it so Bran vaguely gives her a tipoff that drives her to murder. The following episodes would then have Sansa trying to deal with the fallout of Arya having murdered one of their most valuable allies, in spite of Bran's protests that it was the right thing to do and with all his knowledge, he knows LF deserved it.

Speaking of Bran, make him, you know, still a character, and not Expositiontron 9001. Make him rattled by his knowledge, make his knowledge incomplete and fleeting, and not fully under control (because he's only partially trained), but make sure he's still, you know, a person.

Choose an Aryasona and stick with it. Don't have her massacre an entire family, then chill and give Ed Sheeran the jailbait eyes, then be a psychotic idiot who hates her sister for actions she did under duress. And yes, the hate was legit, honeypotters; Bran's actor confirmed they cut a scene where Bran's exposition stopped the Stark sisters' infighting. Also, maybe don't have her beat Brienne in straight combat when she's supposed to be an assassin?

If the Tyrells absolutely must be crushed at Highgarden, have it so the Tarlys pretend to be on their side. Have Randyll say one thing to Olenna and another to Cersei, have the audience doubting what's going to happen, then bam. Olenna's betrayed, pathos is had, a harrowing battle scene can ensue, and Olenna, more bitter than ever, can admit to Jaime that she killed his vile son.

In agreement with Preston, have Dany land in Dorne, a nearby friendly territory that is not so close to King's Landing that you're asking shit like 'why doesn't she just invade KL now?' or 'How did Euron not notice them when he went to treat with Cersei?', or 'Why hadn't Cersei already secured Dragonstone?'. It just makes more sense to have her stay in Dorne, bide her time, and take Dragonstone later. Also, prevents the stupid Fisher King trope of Stannis-controlled Dragonstone being Mordor because, you know, D&D hate Stannis, but being Minas Tirith under Dany, because Emilia Clarke is the best around, nothing's ever gonna keep her down.

Not having Sam leave the Citadel and instead spending his time convincing the Maesters so they can attempt to galvanise an anti-undead coalition. Make it so Sam is informed of his father and brother's deaths if Field of Fire 2.0 happens, and explore the complex relationship he had with his father in his throes of grief.

Have Bronn abandon team Cersei at Field of Fire 2.0; not only does this fit his pragmatic, draw-the-line-at-certain-death character, but it also allows for a plausible way for Jaime to survive: Jaime sees his army in disarray, running away at all the dragonfire and their commander's cowardice, and he orders a hasty, horrified retreat because in this version, Dany hasn't been downed by a ballista and thus there's no reason for Jaime to suicide-charge and get saved by Bronn's bro-dive into the Mariana Trench puddle.

Not have Davos be the world's most chipper Jon-bro. Seriously, he's seen his son die for Stannis. He knows Shireen, his friend that was like a daughter to him, died in agony. His King died in vain fighting a Northern war while the Iron Throne sat pretty. Davos should be fucking miserable, and not offering his services as Hand to Jon while making jokes about Dany's tits. Maybe he'd still function with his services as smuggler, but not as Hand.

Make Dany and Jon's relationship believable. Have them bond over their similar heroic journeys, anything but the flat nothing we ended up getting. Two hot actors does not equal chemistry, D&D.

Not have that cringy 'bonding over fathers being BFFs' thing Gendry was trying with Jon. Not sure why he had to be a member of the meme dream team (except for his sanic speed developed from all the upper body work smithing entails), but if he has to, don't reduce yet another character down to his lineage. D&D have already reduced Jon to who he is rather than what he does, don't do this shit to Gendry too.

In a similar vein to Preston, make the reveal not that Rhaegar and Lyanna loved each other, but that Rhaegar and Lyanna were both mad about prophesy, and they deliberately conceived Jon as the Song of Ice and Fire. At least that counts as a real twist. Also, not naming Jon Aegon. Literally any other name to Aegon would be fine. Not sure how D&D fucked that one up so badly.

Anyway, those are what I'd do differently, but what would you guys do? I look forward to seeing what you guys think!

Edited by Beardy the Wildling

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I'd center the conflict between Arya and Sansa about a revelation that Sansa had some choice in marrying Ramsay and still did it. 

No Wight hunt. Have Jon convince Dany to visit the Wall and see for herself. She takes a flight over the land, Jon is with her, they spot the army of the dead and attack with the Dragons. Then the NK shows up and kills Viserion. Something like that. 

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2 minutes ago, Zapho said:

No Wight hunt. Have Jon convince Dany to visit the Wall and see for herself. She takes a flight over the land, Jon is with her, they spot the army of the dead and attack with the Dragons. Then the NK shows up and kills Viserion. Something like that. 

Yeah, this is one way they could have had Vis go over to the Night King without making the characters into morons. After all, if you go in with dragons from the get-go, the only weakness you have is... the unknown. And the Night King's ice spears fit that unknown nicely.

As it was in the show, everyone involved damn well knew that thirteen people can't realistically scout for an army of the dead without dying, yet they do it anyway.

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3 hours ago, Beardy the Wildling said:

In agreement with Preston, have Dany land in Dorne, a nearby friendly territory that is not so close to King's Landing that you're asking shit like 'why doesn't she just invade KL now?' or 'How did Euron not notice them when he went to treat with Cersei?', or 'Why hadn't Cersei already secured Dragonstone?'. It just makes more sense to have her stay in Dorne, bide her time, and take Dragonstone later. Also, prevents the stupid Fisher King trope of Stannis-controlled Dragonstone being Mordor because, you know, D&D hate Stannis, but being Minas Tirith under Dany, because Emilia Clarke is the best around, nothing's ever gonna keep her down.

This would have been so much better. I understand the reasoning behind Tyrion's advice not to go nuclear on King's Landing, but I couldn't see why, having two armies you fail to at least defend your allies in the south. Just taking positions between the Lannister army and the Gardeners would have discouraged military actions from her enemies.

3 hours ago, Beardy the Wildling said:

 Also, not naming Jon Aegon. Literally any other name to Aegon would be fine. Not sure how D&D fucked that one up so badly.

Maybe name him "Begon" :))

This unimaginative choice for the name Aegon might have something to do with the idea promoted by GRRM that the ending will be the same in the books and in the show although I can't clearly see how. I was thinking that an Aegon will be there for the ending and since George's Jon isn't that handsome he might as well warg him into a direwolf and keep the other Aegon around for that bittersweet end that seams further and further away. This theory is so convoluted it gave me a mild headache.

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Let’s see:

No Wight hunt.

Better Winterfell plot, without everyone looking like dummies.

If Littlefinger is going to die at end of Winterfell plot, have Sansa do it, not Arya. 

Not name Jon “Aegon”. It just makes Rhaegar look like an even bigger bastard than he already is. If Rhaegar wanted a Visenya, name him Viserys.

Introduce a house in Dorne to fill the power vacuum, say House Dayne.

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6 hours ago, Angel Eyes said:

Introduce a house in Dorne to fill the power vacuum, say House Dayne.

This one here is a good point. Back in Season 4, there were other Dornish banners; Yronwood, Dayne, I think Uller, though don't quote me on the last one.

And given the name 'Dayne' has been said out loud on the show multiple times, the Daynes do seem to be the obvious choice. But yeah, unfortunately, it appears D&D are now operating under the 'you kill the leader, the whole faction disappears' logic.

Edited by Beardy the Wildling

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Landing in Dorne is dumb.

if she was to land anywhere else it should have been the Reach where moving a large army from there to Kl is much less of a logistical hurdle. 

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Anything that involves more Dorne just doesn't make sense to me.  The showrunners (and I'd argue GRRM too) already screwed the pooch with that one and going back there would just remind people of how dumb and pointless it was in the first place.  I honestly think that's the one area that D & D unquestionably did right by this season- get rid of the Sandsnakes and create a great scene with Cersei killing Ellaria.

I've said before that there were 2 main problems with this season- 1 is that it was built around the wight hunt which was just building a foundation on a house of cards.  2 is that Cersei had to stick around because I think D & D realized how great Lena Headey was and they wanted her around for Season 8 too.

My fix would be relatively simple- Dany would take over the Iron Throne pretty quickly and easily, Jaime kills Cersei, etc.  You just basically are cutting the South and Crownlands out of the story quickly.  Then you can position Dany demanding fealty from the North and Jon refusing to give it as the main storyline.  You can have them negotiating back and forth because Dany doesn't really want to have to take her army north and risk all these casualties.  

I think that basic fix would be far more logical in terms of the wight hunt (if you even still need to do it) and it would give a lot more time to the truly important characters like the Starks, Dany, Tyrion, etc.

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1 hour ago, Tagganaro said:

Anything that involves more Dorne just doesn't make sense to me.  The showrunners (and I'd argue GRRM too) already screwed the pooch with that one and going back there would just remind people of how dumb and pointless it was in the first place.  I honestly think that's the one area that D & D unquestionably did right by this season- get rid of the Sandsnakes and create a great scene with Cersei killing Ellaria.

I think killing the Sand Sneks and Ellaria was the right call, for sure, but I was more thinking in terms of the '1337 tacticzzz' of being able to easily take over Dragonstone without provoking the crown and taking over anyway for why I used Dorne.

But you're right, Dany having a quick and easy takeover would make just as much sense.

Edited by Beardy the Wildling

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19 minutes ago, Beardy the Wildling said:

I think killing the Sand Sneks and Ellaria was the right call, for sure, but I was more thinking in terms of the '1337 tacticzzz' of being able to easily take over Dragonstone without provoking the crown and taking over anyway for why I used Dorne.

 

I agree; this is a plot hole I would have highlighted in red ink had the draft been handed to me to "mark". All you'd need is an explanation for why Cersei doesn't try to claim the (apparently empty) Dragonstone herself because it is a strategic hot-spot that should have been secured by the Crown. Honestly, it would make sense if it was still being held by Stannis's loyalists (who were Selyse's queensguard and thus loyal to Melisandre) who are anti-Cersei and anti-Lannister. Maybe they even send a cheeky message saying something like: "The only thing Cersei Lannister did we can approve of is blow up the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire. This way, when Daenerys shows up, it will make sense that she is able to take it -- because they just let her in.

As for Dorne, I agree with what others have suggested that they should have at least filled the power vacuum left behind by the bloomin' Sand Snakes, a house who might step in to betray Ellaria because they seek vengeance for the murder of their liege lord and House Martell. If you wanted to tie it into the story, make it someone like House Dayne. After they officially seize control of the Dornish army, maybe they receive a raven from Cersei who them pardons and to be Dorne's new Prince/Princesses if they accept her as Queen... but then they receive news from the North that "Ned Stark's bastard" has been elected King in the North (maybe Jon has sent out messages to all the houses for Dragonglass or something). This then prompts them to burn Cersei's message and declare that "it looks like we already have a king" -- implying they are aware of who Jon Snow really is.

Given the gathering of "evidence" for the Jon Snow parent reveal is terrible in the actual show essentially, a robotic, semi-catatonic boy's "hallucination" and a diary that, as far as we know, has no actual mention of Jon - just Rhaegar and Lyanna's "secret" marriage. Y'know what would have been better: if the physical evidence were being held between House Dayne and House Reed, or something. Both have been seen and name-dropped enough to establish them properly. Ned still had to take that crappy version of Dawn back to Starfall -- with a baby in tow. Given the Daynes were Targ loyalists (Arthur was willing to die for his newborn "king"), hearing that Jon has been elected a king despite his station could "inspire them" to action, in a cheesy TV way. 

In another thread, a couple of us talked about the idea of making the meeting in the Dragonpit more impressive by bringing in a larger crowd of Houses from each region. It would make the idea of capturing a wight make more sense if Jon was getting a wider audience for it. See, I'm not opposed to a wight-hunt -- or even a White Walker hunt! -- as long as it makes sense getting to that point because on paper, it makes sense that Jon would want to obtain "samples" of the wights to prove he isn't a crazy man.

It was the execution of the plan that was bad.

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Put some damn internal consistency in.

"Jon, how the fuck did you come back" ask the Northern Lords.

"Euron, how the fuck can we follow a guy who openly brags about kinslaying" say the Ironborn

"Cersei, we can't follow a woman, we are sexist assholes and besides, you've never commanded men or fought" say the Westerland lords

"Cersei, you blew up the Faith, we can't stand for that" says most of Westeros, especially the Reach lords who defected.

"Jon, get your dumb ass on this dragon asap and if you get dropped into the ice, you will die" say Daenerys and everybody with a functioning brain

"Arya, sit the fuck down, Brienne will kick your ass" says....

You know what, im sorry, I can't even continue there is SO MUCH wrong with this season. So many things I would change.

Edited by Red Tiger

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3 hours ago, Red Tiger said:

Put some damn internal consistency in.

"Jon, how the fuck did you come back" ask the Northern Lords.

"Euron, how the fuck can we follow a guy who openly brags about kinslaying" say the Ironborn

"Cersei, we can't follow a woman, we are sexist assholes and besides, you've never commanded men or fought" say the Westerland lords

"Cersei, you blew up the Faith, we can't stand for that" says most of Westeros, especially the Reach lords who defected.

"Jon, get your dumb ass on this dragon asap and if you get dropped into the ice, you will die" say Daenerys and everybody with a functioning brain

"Arya, sit the fuck down, Brienne will kick your ass" says....

You know what, im sorry, I can't even continue there is SO MUCH wrong with this season. So many things I would change.

This plus kill Cersei in the first two episodes, heck she shouldnt have lasted the first episode. We had danny with an overwhelming army and overwhelming advantages, the dothrakis alone would have been enough to crush Cersei, and still at the end of it all danny was begging Cersei for a truce. F'nnnnnn unbelievable.

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5 hours ago, tormond said:

This plus kill Cersei in the first two episodes, heck she shouldnt have lasted the first episode. We had danny with an overwhelming army and overwhelming advantages, the dothrakis alone would have been enough to crush Cersei, and still at the end of it all danny was begging Cersei for a truce. F'nnnnnn unbelievable.

But Lena Headey contract is expensive! We write around the budget, not what makes sense! Themes are for eighth-grade book reports, after all!

- Something one of the Ds likely said.

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On 11/9/2017 at 5:00 PM, jcmontea said:

Landing in Dorne is dumb.

if she was to land anywhere else it should have been the Reach where moving a large army from there to Kl is much less of a logistical hurdle. 

The problem with that is the only coasts the Reach has are on the Western side of Westeros, meaning more sailing with massive armies of seasick Dothraki. Dorne reduces sailing time from Slaver's Bay, and the logistical hurdle you pointed out would actually act as a decent excuse for keeping Cersei around longer (and thus making the most of D&D's contract budget), as opposed to being a stone's throw away from KL and for some reason not pulling a Blackwater Stannis right away.

Edited: I confused east and west like an idiot.

Edited by Beardy the Wildling

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Jabul had a thread where we were tossing around some ideas:

http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php?/topic/148777-a-more-plausible-war/

Jabul had the premise that Cersei didn't blow up the sept, but caught the HS in a scandal (or mayhaps he was framed?), and ousted him and substituted a puppet. This loses the big climactic scene at the end of season 7, but gains in plausibility of Cersei having as much support and power as she does. Another thought we threw out was of Qyburn being in league w/ the Others, so he has some magic that can counteract the dragons, since Dany's overwhelming advantage having so little effect was one of the problems with the season, in terms of plausibility.

Edited by Count Balerion
Link was messy.

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- I'd cast someone else for Dany. Natalie Dormer, for instance, would have added an edge to her that Clarke can't manage. Clarke is too sincere for me: if she's supposed to be fierce, she does textbook "brave, fierce" thing, which is almost embarrassing to watch.

- I'd keep plot points the same: Sansa goes North. Sansa hides the Vale. Arya turns against Sansa. I'd just make sure the show remembers its own plot: Sansa's supposedly the "new Sansa." Don't just say it between seasons. Show it.

- Give Dany a reason not to move against Cersei. Instead of overpowering her beyond belief, which makes the decision impossible to comprehend, maybe make her a tad less powerful. Have Cersei hole up with a bunch of innocents at the Red Keep. Something.

- Keep Tyrion cunning. There's no reason to further idealize Dany by erasing Tyrion's intelligence. Tyrion could have prepped Meereen for its siege. That would have given him something to do, and taken nothing away from Dany's entry with the dragons. Same on Westeros.

- Keep Jon the imperfect character he's been so far. I loved the fact that he made numerous mistakes, leading to disaster at the Battle of the Bastards. Keep him imperfect. Do not idealize him to make him a match for the already hyper-idealized Dany.

 

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6 hours ago, Beardy the Wildling said:

The problem with that is the only coasts the Reach has are on the Eastern side of Westeros, meaning more sailing with massive armies of seasick Dothraki. Dorne reduces sailing time from Slaver's Bay, and the logistical hurdle you pointed out would actually act as a decent excuse for keeping Cersei around longer (and thus making the most of D&D's contract budget), as opposed to being a stone's throw away from KL and for some reason not pulling a Blackwater Stannis right away.

How many more days does it take to sail to the Reach from Dorne? Not sure the extra days it takes is so large to make that a reasonable watsonian explanation given the very real drawbacks from a watsonian perspective of landing in Dorne. She is going to land in dorne because her vicious army is puking? Suck it up and keep going. 

From a Doyalist perspective a Dorne landing has that benefit. 

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14 hours ago, jcmontea said:

How many more days does it take to sail to the Reach from Dorne? Not sure the extra days it takes is so large to make that a reasonable watsonian explanation given the very real drawbacks from a watsonian perspective of landing in Dorne. She is going to land in dorne because her vicious army is puking? Suck it up and keep going. 

From a Doyalist perspective a Dorne landing has that benefit. 

Yeah, I was mainly looking Doylist here, because one of the obvious aims here was to hinder Dany and keep Lena Headey in the show, but yeah, it's a bit of a clusterfuck no matter where you land; Dorne, Reach, whatever, if you don't take the obvious solution of just flattening Cersei with dragons the moment you're in Crownlands waters.

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58 minutes ago, Beardy the Wildling said:

Yeah, I was mainly looking Doylist here, because one of the obvious aims here was to hinder Dany and keep Lena Headey in the show, but yeah, it's a bit of a clusterfuck no matter where you land; Dorne, Reach, whatever, if you don't take the obvious solution of just flattening Cersei with dragons the moment you're in Crownlands waters.

I think the shows solution is the right one. Moral/ political dilema prevents a full on Kl assault initially followed by the intervention of the dead shifts the focus away from cersei. I think the answer lies more in better execution of that basic structure than in chaging the landing to Dorne. Makes no sense to land somewhere where you can’t project power from easily. 

You could decide to kill her. The main drawback there though is that your are left with a straight good vs evil, living vs dead final battle in season 8 instead of the three way clusterfuck they seem to be heading towards in 8x05 for the final battle outside KL. 

Edited by jcmontea

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On 11/10/2017 at 10:09 AM, Beardy the Wildling said:

The problem with that is the only coasts the Reach has are on the Eastern side of Westeros, meaning more sailing with massive armies of seasick Dothraki. Dorne reduces sailing time from Slaver's Bay, and the logistical hurdle you pointed out would actually act as a decent excuse for keeping Cersei around longer (and thus making the most of D&D's contract budget), as opposed to being a stone's throw away from KL and for some reason not pulling a Blackwater Stannis right away.

You mean the western side of Westeros, right? Because Daenerys is coming from the south-east.

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