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Rikard

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  1. Rikard

    Varys' Letters

    Just an afterthought. Varys' execution could have been played slightly differently and explained a lot. The revised scene begins with a short, hooded figure standing beside Daenerys. Naturally we assume it is Tyrion, but when she nods slightly to the side, Tyrion appears from the shadows. He walks up to Varys and takes his arm. “It wasn’t me,” he says. Varys replies, “Yes, I know, old friend.” Varys looks up. The camera follows his gaze to the hooded figure. “It was a little bird.” The figure drops the hood. It is the girl from the kitchens. She smiles.
  2. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    Typically people will endure almost anything to live just one day more. To prefer immolation to starvation one would have to be very bad off. I agree though that playing out the siege over a few episodes would have given several plot lines the chance to make interesting twists and turns. After the smoke from the funeral pyres begins to waft over King's Landing, Tyrion and Jon might appeal to Daenerys to end it all with some aerial dragon fire. Davos, Grey Worm and maybe Gendry might have infiltrated the city and fomented a popular uprising. Arya, Sandor and Jaime would have had time to attempt whatever it was they were planning. Cersei might just decide to ignite her wildfire stocks to cover her escape. And Euron might get some dramatic screen time.
  3. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    Thanks for the quote! Evidence of complicity and no thought of surrender. Some historical parallels here with Caesar's siege of Alesia (52 BC). Vercingetorix had initially permitted the local civilians to shelter within the walls. But with no supplies making it through the Roman siege lines these useless mouths were hastening starvation for all. The Gallic council decided to evict the old, sick, wives and children, expecting Caesar to take them in. He didn't, calculating that the Gauls would have to take them back, or if they didn't that the lamentations of the trapped innocents would hurt the defenders' morale. Nevertheless, Vercingetorix refused to allow them to return. Consequently many died between the lines before the Gauls surrendered. Both commanders had their military reasons for this atrocity. The interests of the innocents were not considered. It would have been interesting if Daenerys had opted to besiege King's Landing with its bloated population.
  4. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    Thanks! I thought it was in Ep 5. Pulling a Saddam Hussein. Human shields didn't work for him, either.
  5. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    I was trying to find that quote the other night. Do you recall where it appears?
  6. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    It occurred to me that since May 12th possibly more has been written about a fictional character fighting a fantasy war than any historical instance of mass civilian casualties since Vietnam. This is not to criticize, it is but human nature to respond more viscerally to horrors we can see and hear than those we only read about. (Although books have made me cry, including GoT. But reading is usually a private activity. Film and TV can reach millions simultaneously.) It makes little difference whether these are dramatizations or actual combat footage. Nor is this a recent phenomenon. I’m sure battle hardened veterans of the Peloponnesian Wars were reduced to tears by a performance of Antigone. Vietnam was a special case in many respects, the first televised war with nightly updates, and likely for this reason, the most unpopular since the Civil War. Politicians and the military blamed media coverage for their failure and in subsequent wars severely restricted reporters in where they could go and what they could record, with the desired effect. Nowadays hardly a word is uttered opposing the use of drones and smart munitions against civilian targets in Asia and Africa. Even the bombardment of an entire city is readily accepted as a military necessity; e.g., Mosul and Baghuz Fawqani. Much earlier, politicians realized the propaganda value of dramatized atrocities. One could draw a direct line from the Odessa steps sequence in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin to the burning of King’s Landing in The Bells. Kudos to the VFX crew. Not to say that Tsar Nicholas II was any better or worse than Queen Daenerys, the First of Her Name. Just keep in mind that we are being manipulated, presumably for dramatic purposes.
  7. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    If Jon had ascended the Iron Throne, his duty and responsibility would be to the realm, not to any particular house, especially one where he has personal interests. If he granted Sansa’s wish to be Queen in the North, by what recognized principle could he deny independence to every other lord? The Iron Islands and Dorne would quickly demand the same consideration, followed by the remaining regions. There would soon be no Iron Throne, physical or otherwise. This is exactly the course which will follow Bran’s coronation. Bran is truly uncaring, existing mostly in the past, with no regrets for the thousands who died serving his still hidden purposes. Jon is the opposite; he would nurture and strengthen the realm for the benefit of all its inhabitants, as Ned would have done. And Jon adhered to Ned’s brand of justice, harsh and brutal. (As an aside, just how will Queen Sansa deal with rebellion and treason? Probably just like her father or maybe Ramsay.) The only justification for the Seven Kingdoms is the prosperity and security it provides for all in a very dangerous world. Fragmented, Westeros will return to a time of continually warring mini-states, under constant threat from foreign raiders and invaders. Facilitating such a future would be truly uncaring and out of character for Jon. The irony is that Jon’s “necessary” betrayal of Daenerys leads directly to disunion and war. At least under Daenerys no one would dare challenge her rule. To those who bend the knee, peace and security, to all others, fire and blood. Rome and other empires have operated under this principle. Harsh and brutal, but effective. Jon swore allegiance to Daenerys for the very rational reason that his fealty was her price for coming to the defense of the North. Jon understood that the Night King was an existential threat. Daenerys understood that she was putting herself, her dragons and her army in mortal peril. If successful the North might help replace her losses for the last battle with Cersei. The deal heavily favored the North. It was only Daenerys’s love for Jon that proved persuasive. She fought fearlessly beside him and twice saved his life, only to be repaid with a blade.
  8. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    True, Sansa was an irritant, and in Tyrion's camp. But so long as Jon was beloved of Daenerys, Sansa had nothing to fear, barring her open rebellion. And Sansa was too smart a player to make that mistake, as any rebellion would have been against Jon, Warden of the North. A man of honor and duty , Jon would have little choice in dealing harshly with her. Perhaps Daenerys would be merciful and merely banish Sansa, but it would be unwise to count on her being so. Sansa's best option would be to bide her time, waiting for an opening. And it would come, as Deanerys would likely fall in some distant field on her world liberation tour. Yet even then, were Jon to succeed Daenerys, would he be so uncaring as to permit the independence of the North? Ned had never asked that of Robert, and Jon was Ned's son in all but blood.
  9. Rikard

    Why didn't Jon simply refuse to accept banishment?

    Power trumps everything. Grey Worm could have styled himself anyway he pleased, Lord Protector, Dictator, President, First Counsel, Chairman of the Central Committee, whatever. And if not a eunuch what was Bran? Tyrion considered the inability to father children an admirable quality in a king. However, Grey Worm had little like for the bigoted, murderous ingrates of Westeros, and would prefer to take the money and leave.
  10. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    A bet that pays off, however poor the odds, is a good bet. Needless to say, this sequence of unlikely events is the invention of the show runners, whose motives are suspect. I expect Martin will eventually produce a more reasonable plot twist.
  11. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    Actually, I did think some about the sisters/cousins choice. True, Tyrion did say "sisters", but I felt he meant "cousins", as that emphasized the dynastic situation. You're right that Jon considered Arya and Sansa to be his sisters, and that made all the difference. But Tyrion would have said anything to save his skin. I also like your comparison of the early traumas in the lives of Dany, Tyrion and Jon. Clearly Martin wanted his readers to feel some sympathy for all three. Benioff and Weiss contrived to destroy any feeling for Dany.
  12. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    Perhaps, but I prefer to consider the consequences of his machinations. He survives while all of his enemies and rivals are dead or neutralized. Not only survives but the show ends with him as de facto king. Selfless idealism or self interest? Tyrion is too much a player to leave it to chance, he worked hard to win the game.
  13. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    One of several arguments Tyrion made in his increasingly desperate attempt to turn Jon. This one failed (You were far from the battle, how could you judge?), as did the one about unending, universal war (meh), and the penultimate one, the threat to Jon himself (“Who is more dangerous than the rightful heir to the Iron Throne?” at about minute 24, 8/6). Loyal Jon replied that he would accept the Queen’s judgement. Tyrion says that he also loves Daenerys, though not as “successfully” as Jon, said with a bit of a leer. But duty must kill love. This doesn’t work either. Only when Tyrion plays his last card, the improbable threat to his cousins, Arya and Sansa, is Jon finally swayed. It should be remembered that this discussion occurs while Tyrion is awaiting his death sentence for treason. He wanted to live above all else. This colors everything he said. Killing Daenerys was essential to his survival plan. He could have done so preemptively (no stranger to murder), but he had publicly and insolently resigned as Hand. The army noticed; Daenerys had to act. Bronn might have done it but he was too busy appraising Highgarden. Jon was Tyrion’s last, best hope. Too bad if Jon were killed in the aftermath, but it was necessary to keep Tyrion alive. He had previously denounced Varys back at Dragonstone, in a successful bid to save himself. About that business with Jaime, if Tyrion was really so concerned about burnt babies why did he not try to convince his brother to kill Cersei, the one act that would have saved King’s Landing? The idea of saving Cersei from the wrath of Daenerys was absurd. And he knew his sister; she’d never give up the Iron Throne willingly. In either case fast action was essential. Yet instead of taking the unguarded sea cave entrance to the Red Keep that very night, Jaime inexplicably waits until the next morning to enter through the guarded city gate with a stream of refugees. Only when that gate is shut does it occur to him to use the alternate route. Of course he’s too late to achieve anything, other than killing Euron. But perhaps that was what Tyrion planned all along (less the Euron part, who'd have thought?) In the end it all it worked to Tyrion's advantage, risky but with a big payoff. Too bad about that pile of bodies. By the way, I highly recommend Think Story’s clever and satisfying “How Game of Thrones Should Have Ended” on YouTube.
  14. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    The numerous posts by the Dany-haters brings to mind this exchange in the 1939 RKO film, Gunga Din, based on the Rudyard Kipling poem of the same name, directed by George Stevens, screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur: Sgt. Archibald Cutter, a British soldier held prisoner by the Thuggee, played with aplomb by Gary Grant: You're mad! Thuggee Guru, played with wide-eyed theatrics by Eduardo Ciannelli: Mad? Mad. Hannibal was mad, Caesar was mad, and Napoleon surely was the maddest of the lot. Ever since time began, they've called mad all the great soldiers in this world. Mad? We shall see what wisdom lies within my madness. For this is but the spring that precedes the flood. From here we roll on. From village to town. From town to mighty city. Ever mounting, ever widening, until at last my wave engulfs all India! In the film Guru makes some elementary tactical errors and is quickly defeated by the British Army. Clearly he was insufficiently mad. Hey guys, it's just an HBO series, loosely based on some pretty good books.
  15. Rikard

    Daenerys the Terrible?

    Agree, certainly I over simplified. People tend to do that when making a point. Mea culpa. History is always more nuanced. But the point is valid, victors are rarely punished for their victories, however great the enemy’s death toll, civilians included. Now Pyrrhic victories can prove problematical. I do, however, question the view that Daenerys was waging a civil war. It was a dynastic war or war of succession. All the same to the dead, but we should keep the terms straight. Daenerys had already created an independent realm in Essos, and was determined to extend her rule to Westeros with her foreign army and reptilian auxiliaries. The situation is more akin to the Hundred Years War than to the Wars of the Roses. In GOT only Tyrion, Arya and Jon seem particularly upset by the burning of King’s Landing. And only Tyrion was intent on killing Daenerys for her actions. Judging from his responses to Tyrion’s arguments, Jon was finally convinced only by the fanciful threat to Sansa and Arya. The real civilian deaths were not enough for him to betray his Queen. So despite the general condemnation of Daenerys in these forums, Jon had a personal reason for murdering his lover. But let’s consider modern times. Okinawa was won only at enormous cost to America. The plan for invading the Home Islands projected losses an order of magnitude greater. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were accomplished at no cost to America and to the extent they precipitated Japan’s surrender spared innumerable American lives. Only much later did President Truman receive much revisionist criticism for his decision. At the time nobody demanded his impeachment for killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese non-combatants. He did catch the ire of Republicans for firing General MacArthur. Now MacArthur was a piece of work.
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