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Jabul

A More Plausible War

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The Main Idea: How would you rewrite Season 7 to make the war in the south more plausible? Obviously, this presupposes that you believe that the war, as presented by HBO, is hard, perhaps impossible, to believe in. A good many posters say this. I have read several posts along the lines of “In a well-written story, Cersei wouldn’t have lasted more than one episode.” There is a thread entitled “The War makes no sense,” started by Tyrion 1991. 

In the current thread, we will follow on from the premise that things need to be, and could be, improved. If you wish to simply criticize or defend Season 7, please refrain from posting here. You can go to the above-named thread or start your own. 

As an example of what I’m talking about, we have this from Count Balerion in Tyrion 1991’s thread: 

“I had a vague thought for a more plausible scenario, where Dany apparently wins KL, but ... what are these mysterious murders that keep taking place? Could someone EVIL be lurking somewhere in the Red Keep, weaving an insidious web of murder and torture? What's that screaming in the dungeon?”

I’m willing to bend the rules a little. If you feel that Season 7 is hopeless as it stands, you can go a little ways back into Season 6 and make some changes. Perhaps Prince Doran stays in power, and Dorne stays out of the war. Maybe Cersei manages to get rid of the High Septon and reduce the power of the Sparrows without blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor. 

Finally, you can have Cersei lose the war and die in one or two episodes. What happens then? 

 

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Hmmm, if Cersei doesn't blow up the sept then season 7 does get a bit more credible. If, say, the alliance she made with (some of) the Tyrells against the High Septon stands and they manage to get him deposed or otherwise defanged. Ep. 10 wouldn't be anywhere near as climactic, of course. And KL still probably wouldn't be 100% behind Cersei, because the sparrows were fairly popular, I believe. (This scenario also involves Tommen not being influenced to support the HS.)

If the sept does get blown up, and Cersei goes into hiding after Dany arrives in KL, then there'd have to be some way of drawing things out if she's still to be around at the end of the season.

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I think the best move with regard to the High Septon would require a little character adjustment. If the guy is perfectly sincere and consistent, however fanatical, then his popularity and his work for the poor would be hard for any of his opponents to get around. However, let's suppose that someone discovers some unpleasant things about this holy man. Maybe his moves against Loras are not based purely on theology. The High Sparrow has a problem with his own drives. He  has a bit too much interest in males, perhaps including young boys. If this is discovered and publicly proven (i.e. the man is caught in the act), then the dynamic changes. In particular, Margaery, a very popular leader, can express her shock, disappointment, and outrage. How can we treat certain sinners so severely when the guy passing judgement is himself so involved In sin? 

Your point about climatic event(s) in episode 10 is well taken. There can be definite tradeoffs involving things like character development, plausibility of events in a story, and big events like explosions. This is true of any work that is at all cinematic. There is a temptation to go with things that go boom and to let logic and consistent characterization slide. 

 

Edited by Jabul

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That could work. Blowing up the sept would still mean killing lots of innocents and destroying a revered religious monument, of course. Maybe she wouldn't have to, though; could just get a synod (if that's what they're called in the Faith) to have HS deposed, and produce some lackey to take his place.

Another thought that jumps to mind is they get a wight to convince *Dany* rather than Cersei. I suppose she could even still rescue them on her dragon, although a lot nwold still have to be fixed, like the NK being right next to Jon, Dany, and Drogon when he aims at Viserion, the chains, etc., etc., etc.

 

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21 hours ago, Count Balerion said:

That could work. Blowing up the sept would still mean killing lots of innocents and destroying a revered religious monument, of course. Maybe she wouldn't have to, though; could just get a synod (if that's what they're called in the Faith) to have HS deposed, and produce some lackey to take his place.

Another thought that jumps to mind is they get a wight to convince *Dany* rather than Cersei. I suppose she could even still rescue them on her dragon, although a lot nwold still have to be fixed, like the NK being right next to Jon, Dany, and Drogon when he aims at Viserion, the chains, etc., etc., etc.

 

Yes, have the HS deposed and put a lackey in his place. That would be the way to go if you're going to have Cersei stay in some kind of position of power in KL. The High Sept of Baelor is just too important to the Faith of the Seven, and the belief that Cersei is guilty of destroying  the place is too widespread. The attempts by some posters to say "Well, other High Septons have been killed" doesn't work as an excuse to see the Lannister pretender as an accepted monarch. In a better-written story, she would face far too much opposition, both from the common people and from the powers-that-be. Of course, if you're going to have this wanna-be queen go into hiding or escape to CR, then things change. 

You still have to do something about the dragons. Having Daenerys diverted to the north early in Season 7 is one possibility. As to the chains, the NK's aim, and other matters--the title of this thread is "A More Plausible War." I'm not trying to cover all the problems I see with Season 7. 

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It occurred to me the other day that if we don't blow up the sept, that also means Margaery is still at large, which complicates things. She's genuinely popular, for starters. Which side will the Tyrells take? I think they'll go for Dany, but of course M has to give up her throne. Like Cersei, she's always been big on being Queen.

Meanwhile, Cersei is still evil, so I'd expect her still to hatch plots and murder a few people; and it's not implausible she would eventually start blowing stuff up. Even without blowing up the sept she can still have Frankengregor and Qyburn do nasty things to people.

One big problem with season 7 was Tyrion giving stupid advice. Maybe that can be mitigated if it's made clear (in conversation with Jaime?) that he's on the fence and is trying to temporise between Dany and Cersei. I guess that's sort of there in the show, but it's fuzzy.

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23 hours ago, Count Balerion said:

It occurred to me the other day that if we don't blow up the sept, that also means Margaery is still at large, which complicates things. She's genuinely popular, for starters. Which side will the Tyrells take? I think they'll go for Dany, but of course M has to give up her throne. Like Cersei, she's always been big on being Queen.

Meanwhile, Cersei is still evil, so I'd expect her still to hatch plots and murder a few people; and it's not implausible she would eventually start blowing stuff up. Even without blowing up the sept she can still have Frankengregor and Qyburn do nasty things to people.

One big problem with season 7 was Tyrion giving stupid advice. Maybe that can be mitigated if it's made clear (in conversation with Jaime?) that he's on the fence and is trying to temporise between Dany and Cersei. I guess that's sort of there in the show, but it's fuzzy.

Yes, things would be complicated. I think we could make them more rational though, and that's the idea behind this thread. Some tradeoffs are involved. We'd lose the final scene between Jaime and the Queen of Thorns. We'd still have two interesting Tyrell characters. Other scenes could. be written. 

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Oh, agreed; by complicate I didn't necessarily mean it would be worse. On the contrary, it would help draw out the story so as to fill one season, without the logical leaps of the actual season 7 plot.

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OK, I've had a look at the first 2 episodes, on the assumption that Cersei didn't burn down the sept and (apparently) abolish the Faith, or at least the High Septon, and murder one of the leading houses of the realm. I don't know how good a job I did (and am not really one for military minutiae), and doubtless things will have to be moved around. But here goes:

Ep. 1: doesn't sin much on the Cersei side. On Dany's side, they ought to be sending out ravens, so I'd have them do that immediately upon arrival. Also there ought to be some garrison, and that at any rate can be quickly overcome, or surrender without a fight. The problematic Sam and Arya scenes can be cut to make room for additional scenes, e.g., with Tyrells.

Ep. 2: The big problem is Dany not either heading for Red Keep with her dragons, or at least sending someone in (Unsullied as suggested in War thread? Tyrion? Varys?).I'm not sure what to do about that. Perhaps T persuades her to wait for C's response to the ravens (though that's a tad lame). Maybe she chases Euron and burns some ships instead. Or T uses the same argument as the show. All these are on the lame side, and I'm not sure there's a good reason not to go to KL right away and say, "Hey, we're here".

One would have to show various reactions to Dany: some could say, "Ick! Foreign barbarians!" and others "Dragons" or "Cersei's nasty". Others could prefer to sit and wait. There could be a conversation between Olenna (who had escaped before the septsplosion, and we can keep that). Margaery, meanwhile, could pragmatically lean towards Dany even if it means giving up being queen. At some point she figures out (or Jaime warns her?) that C wants her dead, and one bright day might send Frankengregor after her (perhaps C even does send him. It). Tomme is presumably around, but has been established in season 6 as having absolutely no backbone (as I recall).

The Euron raid I suppose can stay.

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Thanks for the link. I've looked the site over a bit.

Some quick reactions:

I would really want Dany's team to act more intelligently. The lack of intelligence is one of my main complaints about Season 7. Thus, I heartily approve of your idea of sending out the ravens early. If, for some reason or other, that doesn't happen, then other methods of communication should be tried--sending ships to various ports, sending riders to various castles, etc. Also, some sort of move toward King's Landing is a must. At least do some scouting, intelligence work, patrolling, etc. 

Differing reactions to Daenerys, interactions with Olenna, Margaery's thoughts and actions...all have interesting possibilities. Euron is a major problem. More on him later. 

Edited by Jabul

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Any attempt to make the war more rational has to take on the Euron problem. His motivation, as presented in Season 7, is not convincing. Even worse, it is hard to believe that he could convince a bunch of pirate guys to follow him on the enterprise that we see. They have this humongous fleet, they sail all the way around a continent, passing up lots of tempting targets, and offer their services to a woman who is the current occupant of the Iron Throne. These guys are sailing wooden ships, and they are offering to fight against a foe that has 3 fire breathing monsters. They are doing this because their leader has the hots for said current occupant. This is hard to accept. I'm not sure what to do about it. Maybe we just have to let it go and work on other issues.

One thing that absolutely should be done--Daenerys and her people have to have enough sense to include the humongous fleet in their war plans. This goes back to the critical need to  show Team Dany acting with at least a minimum degree of intelligence. We have this war council with a plan to send a fleet here, a fleet there, here a fleet, there a fleet, everywhere a fleet fleet. No one even mentions the name "Euron." Essentially everyone knows that there is a big group of mean pirate guys out there. This group will most likely do something or other to disrupt Team Dany's plans, but no one says anything about the matter. Just have Tyrion, Yara, or whoever come up with some kind of idea of dealing with the potential enemy fleet. Later, we can have Euron win a victory or two by using some clever naval maneuver. 

 

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For some reason I don't generally see this thread on list of threads.

Preston Jacobs has done a whole video about how to improve the season. I don't that I agree with everything, but here goes (this is only part 1):

 

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PJ has Dany landing in Dorne rather than Dragonstone, and has Cersei pin the blame for the Septsplosion on Dany, among several other changes. 

Some other random thoughts: 

Dany is like a second (and better) Aegon, so there should be some references to him and how he conquered Westeros. What worked once might work again, mutatis mutandis. Anyway, it should at least be mentioned.

One possible way to delay the attack (it wouldn't even really have to be an attack, but that's another story) on the Red Keep is to have Jon meet up with D earlier and persuade her to go North?

Dany's wheel-breaking programme is a little vague. some think it's contradictory for D to go on about breaking wheels while also insisting on the throne, although it seems to me impossible to hop straight from Westeros as it is now to a modern liberal democracy. I think a bit more detail on what D has in mind might also provide a motive for some lords supporting Cersei.

Fleets: what jumps to mind, apart from "Yara", is that the great lords have fleets, at least in the books; and it makes sense that the Reach and Dorne, with their miles of coastline, would have them.

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On 12.10.2017 at 8:26 PM, Jabul said:

They have this humongous fleet, they sail all the way around a continent, passing up lots of tempting targets, and offer their services to a woman who is the current occupant of the Iron Throne. These guys are sailing wooden ships, and they are offering to fight against a foe that has 3 fire breathing monsters. They are doing this because their leader has the hots for said current occupant. This is hard to accept. I'm not sure what to do about it. Maybe we just have to let it go and work on other issues

Euron doesn't have the hots for Cersei. He wants to marry with her, to gain access to Iron Throne. Because guess who will become ruler of 7K, if after their wedding, Cersei will suddenly die?

 

This recent war seems implausible, mostly because out of all previous wars, shown on GOT, this one was the only one, not orchestrated by Littlefinger, or in any way manipulated by him. Up until Septsplosion, nearly every major event in Westeros, went according to LF's Big Plan to make him King of 7K. But when LF got stuck in The North, because of Jon, he became unable to influence further development of his Big Plan.

Jon was revived after his death. Thanks to his experiences beyond The Wall, he was able to bring wildlings on his side. Daenerys Targaryen, thanks to her dragons, was able to get to Westeros. Arya Stark not only survived, but returned home and became major player in Game of Thrones, thanks to her training with Faceless Men. Bran Stark also survived, returned home, furthermore became an all knowing being.

There was one factor, common for all of those events, which influence LF haven't forseen or calculated, when he crafted his plan -> magic ruined LF's Game of Thrones, and eventually caused his death.

 

Without influence of magic, this war would have went by totally different way. By more plausible scenario.

First of all, there would be no Dany, and no Jon. Both of them, without addition of their magic factor, would have died. Dany after death of Khal Drogo. And Jon permanently killed by his Brothers from Nights Watch.

If wildfire is partially a magical substance, then it also should be taken out of the picture.

Though even without wildfire, Cersei would have been able to survive thru her trial, and became Queen and ruler of 7K, as she is now. The Mountain is kept alive by science and medicine, not by magic, thus he stays in the equation. Cersei's Black Guards, and loyal to her servants in Red Keep, Qyburn and Birds Network also remain in the plot.

By slightly different scenario, without Septsplosion, Cersei could have locked herself and Tommen in Red Keep, sent raven to Jaime, and waited his arrival with Lannisters troops from Riverlands. Maybe he would have also took troops from Casterly Rock, to be able to oppose not only Sparrows, but also troops of Tyrells, and to deal with rebellion of general populance, if they would have been angered by those events. The outcome of this scenario would be the same - High Sparrow and his people would be dead, Margaery Tyrell and her father would be dead, same as Tommen. By the end of it, Cersei still would be crowned as Queen of 7K.

Even without Dany, further events in southern Westeros, wouldn't have changed much. Olenna Tyrell and Sands from Dorne, would have still united against Cersei. But in this case, Randyll Tarly and his troops, would be fighting with them on the same side.

Without Dany, Yara and Theon could have escaped from Euron and went away from Westeros, to keep themselves safe. While Euron himself, would have still build his 1,000 ships, and offered them to Cersei, as he did in the original scenario.

So instead of Highgarden against Casterly Rock, there would be a siege of KL by united troops of Tyrells, Tarlys and Dorne. During that siege Dornish fleet would have been destroyed by Euron's Iron Fleet. And Tyrells and Tarlys troops by sudden arrival of Lannisters troops from Casterly Rock. That attacked them from behind, caught them between their line and walls of KL, and killed them all by combined attack from above the walls, and advancing infantry, armed with long spears.

The resulting outcome of this version of the war, will be nearly identical - High Sparrow and his birds, Tommen and Margaery dead; Dorne and The Reach wiped out; Euron and his Iron Fleet at Cersei's disposal; Cersei Queen of 7K; Lannisters' troops from Casterly Rock in KL, serving to Cersei.

The only difference would be, is that there will be only one battle. In which Lannisters and Iron Fleet defeated their enemies all at once, near KL. So there will be no need for Euron's fleet, to have a magical ability, to suddenly appear anywhere, or crossing huge distances in blink of an eye. Also if the Big Battle will happen closer to the end of season, then Euron will have more time to build 1,000 ships. And he will have to bring them only to one location - Blackwater Bay.

By the time when Lannisters will defeat their enemies, Littlefinger would have been able to trick Ramsay Bolton, save Sansa from him, kill him and his people with help of Knights of The Vale. Then under pretence of avenging death of his beloved Catelyn, and father of his new love, Sansa Stark, LF would have united The Vale, The North, and Riverlands, and led their combined troops to KL, to fight against Lannisters, that became weakend by previous battle. They would have won, crowned Sansa as their new Queen. And Littlefinger would have stayed by her side, and reigned over 7K thru her, either as her husband, or as Hand of the Queen.

That's how Game of Thrones could have developed and ended, in a more plausible way. If there was no magic involved. Or if political wars were separated from war against the dead. Then by the end of Season 7, Sansa would be Queen of 7K. And in Season 8, Dany with her dragons, Unsullied and Dothraki, and Jon with his wildlings and Nights Watch, will be fighting against Night's King and his Undead Army. In process of that war, all of them would have died, but humanity was saved, and Sansa remained as ruler of 7K. The End.

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On 10/18/2017 at 5:34 PM, Count Balerion said:

1. For some reason I don't generally see this thread on list of threads.

2. Preston Jacobs has done a whole video about how to improve the season. I don't that I agree with everything, but here goes (this is only part 1):

 

1. It's listed on E01--a mistake on my part. I started some other threads, but that was a long time ago, and the system was a bit different. I should have put this under E07. Don't know how much difference that would have made, but it might have made a little. 

2. The Preston Jacob's version of Season 7 is an improvement. I don't agree with all of it either, but it does have some interesting possibilities. 

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On 10/19/2017 at 0:40 PM, Count Balerion said:

PJ has Dany landing in Dorne rather than Dragonstone, and has Cersei pin the blame for the Septsplosion on Dany, among several other changes. 

Some other random thoughts: 

Dany is like a second (and better) Aegon, so there should be some references to him and how he conquered Westeros. What worked once might work again, mutatis mutandis. Anyway, it should at least be mentioned.

One possible way to delay the attack (it wouldn't even really have to be an attack, but that's another story) on the Red Keep is to have Jon meet up with D earlier and persuade her to go North?

Dany's wheel-breaking programme is a little vague. some think it's contradictory for D to go on about breaking wheels while also insisting on the throne, although it seems to me impossible to hop straight from Westeros as it is now to a modern liberal democracy. I think a bit more detail on what D has in mind might also provide a motive for some lords supporting Cersei.

Fleets: what jumps to mind, apart from "Yara", is that the great lords have fleets, at least in the books; and it makes sense that the Reach and Dorne, with their miles of coastline, would have them.

Good ideas from the PJ video:

The landing in Dorne makes sense. 

It's a lot better to have the scorpions developed in a reasonable manner instead of somehow quickly invented by a torture expert.  

Bringing in the wildfire makes the Lannister forces more formidable.

Sending a secret letter to Lord Tarly is better than the throne scene we get in the official Season 7. 

On the other hand:

I don't buy the Lady Nym betrayal.

The Pod betrayal is hard to even understand. What would be his motivation?

Littlefinger as a continuing player? Nah, one thing that Season 7 got right was eliminating this guy. As the story progressed, his always successful Rube Goldberg machines became harder and harder to accept. The Winterfell scenes were not well done, but the basic move of getting rid of Baelish was good. 

Some things that can't be fixed by simply rewriting Season 7: 

Yes, Dany's program is vague. Perhaps it's an expanded version of noblesse oblige or a sort of undeveloped belief that the Mother of Dragons will be a philosopher queen. 

The fleets business is a big problem. One of the reasons that the criticism of "deus ex Euron" is on point is that there are no house fleets, no royal fleet, etc. Why not? 

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PJ will be bringing out a Part 2 eventually, so we'll see. I think he said something about Pod being a LF agent. I don't terribly buy it either.

I only have a tiny bit to add, having glanced at ep. 4 summary:

I'm pretty sure  Braavos is anti-slavery in the show as well as the books, so there's a contradiction in having the bank support Cersei because Dany has abolished slavery. Perhaps something can be done here by having Cersei appeal to the bank's preference for stability, possibly giving a distorted version of Dany's wheel-breaking. Not that Cersei is the epitome of stability.

Dany intervening in the battle can stay, I suppose. Still not sure how to keep Dany from hopping over to the Red Keep with dragons and saying "Hey".

Had a bizarre thought just now: Qyburn is actually a warlock! He's in the pay of the night King, and is using Cersei as a tool to bring about the Long Night! Hype! But it's actually pretty plausible that book-Euron at any rate is into black magic; an one of PJ's more likely-sounding ideas is that he is aiming to bring about the LN. For what all that's worth.

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Hmm, Qyburn as a warlock. Yeah, that could work. I don't think the show will go that way, but the idea is interesting. 

I had a somewhat similar idea. A character in the know in KL (perhaps Jaime) looks at the queen's advisor and says, "If those dead guys get down here, whose side will Ser Creep be on? I wouldn't count on his loyalty. He'll likely go over to the other side."

 

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After thinking about the Qyburn business, I find myself liking it even more. 

Do some of the things we discussed earlier--manage to depose the High Septon and replace him with a friendlier figure. This could keep the Tyrells in a position of power and thus in opposition to Daenerys, though still in conflict with the queen mother. Develop weapons like the ballistas and wildfire in a more plausible manner. This would make the odds more even. Then the warlocks come back into the picture. The show, unlike the books,  just dropped them. However, even in the show it's apparent that the power of the warlocks has not gone to zero. Remember the little girl in Astapor? The show only used her as a gimmick to bring Barristan into Dany's service. We could do a lot more. 

Imagine a scene where Qyburn is talking about how to counter the dragon threat. He says that attacking the dragon rider is a possible counter measure. Then he brings in a young girl with a little ball that looks familiar to us. We could also have a scene in one of the torture chambers where Qyburn employs a crawling ugly-looking little scorpion-like device that is also familiar to us. Finally, Ser Creep tells his allies that words and spells are important. There is one word, "Dracarys," that looms large in the current conflict. He is looking into the matter. Perhaps there is some word or spell that will negate the power of Dany's command. 

 

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