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kevinbgwrites

The bare minimum required to fix Bran/the NK's Arc

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Flicking aside 8 seasons of buildup to then instantly move on to rush the descent into madness of Dany just makes both plot lines very frail. I think the following elements would have been absolutely essential to make the whole Bran/NK arc not fall flat:

1. Since the NK is just a killing machine, play into that hard and make him act like it. Maybe another flashback or some way for just a trickle of lore to establish that. More importantly- Have him be absolutely merciless, no wights standing around in a circle when they could be swarming Bran, or him approaching in slow mo, and no wights meandering around libraries. The dead should be the same unstoppable wave that we see in hardhome.

2. More of a cost to the war. First of all the armies should actually be depleted as opposed to replenishing after the fight and it being casually addressed. People should die when they are put in the in the "eight wights on you at a time" circumstances of the characters in episode 3. Winterfell should have certainly been lost with a desperate retreat needing to be made, perhaps during which the characters we see die in the episode sacrifice themself to make it happen. Mel could even do something like a final fire spell that makes an immense firewall that is so powerful she dies, but stalls the army enough for some to escape. The hidden tunnels in the crypts could be used as an escape for the cast members not in the battle proper. They even set this up with the ice creeping down to winterfell in the episodes intro, which is a great idea to have continue to spread as the army advances.

3. Sensical conclusion- If you want Arya to kill the NK, get there in a logical way, not just wind whipping a White Walker's hair as she teleports past the host of the undead. Also in general have everything be sensical, as opposed to meaningless death charges. Have the army of the living go into the battle with a truly thought out plan and lose in spite of it not because of it, solidifying the NK as a formidable opponent. Hell, if the struggle is as traumatizing as it should be, it would actually be the perfect setup for Dany to start losing it.

4. Very importantly have bran play a role- A BIG one- The show explicitly states in earlier seasons Brans training and ascension to the raven is key in the battle against the NK, not to be an info dump. He needs a powerful ability thats a big problem for the NK and necessitates going after him. As it is it just makes no sense why he'd even care about going after him in person as opposed to just letting his horde or generals kill him. If they did build it up in a way that presents a believable reason for him to want to do it personally, it would still make sense for the area to be totally secured- Again, if he is being presented as the embodiment of evil and a borderline machinelike engine of death it doesn't mesh with nonsense decisions. 

Again there needs to be a damn good reason for the NK to want to get Bran beyond being the memories of mankind. Imagine if when Bran said "I'm going now" any of the following happened:


1. He Wargs into one of those White Walker generals standing in a row on the backline and it kills the general next to it, killing a portion of the army while also turning the undead under its control against the rest of the undead army until it's killed. This would be a huge problem for the NK and necessitate killing him extremely quickly.

2. Bran Wargs Viserion, throwing the NK off his back. Viserion then either needs to have control mentally wrested back to the NK, or be put down by the NK.

3. I like option 1 more, but if there was some build up leading to the fight of Bran doing "something" during episodes 1 and 2, when he wargs in episode 3, suddenly it would be revealed Bran was actually gathering all manner of animals into an army which crashes into the AoTD.

Again giving him something game changing not only makes the NK wanting him dead very badly makes sense, but is a great payoff to his extremely long arc that sadly doesn't have payoff in what we actually got.

Edited by kevinbgwrites

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Flicking aside 8 seasons of buildup to then instantly move on to rush the descent into madness of Dany just makes both plot lines very frail.

I think this ("flicking aside"/"move on to rush"/"frail") is baseless subjective speculation on your part, the result of skewed expectations, again on your part. I feel the writers of any story aren't subject to your desires, and criticism of any work of narrative based on your desires is unfair to the people who have put so much effort into their work.

1. Since the NK is just a killing machine, play into that hard and make him act like it. Maybe another flashback or some way for just a trickle of lore to establish that. More importantly- Have him be absolutely merciless, no wights standing around in a circle when they could be swarming Bran, or him approaching in slow mo, and no wights meandering around libraries. The dead should be the same unstoppable wave that we see in hardhome.

This would certainly be an alternate write but I'm not sure how this is supposed to improve anything. We know the Night King is a killing machine since all he is shown doing is killing. We also get this in exposition form from the Children of the Forest and the Three-Eyed Raven. More exposition isn't necessary to exposit something already known. It becomes superfluous and redundant. 

The Night King is shown to have a desire to avenge himself on the ones who are responsible for his change. He did not want to be the Night King, and his actions show that he intends personal revenge in the course of his mission. He wants to be the one directly responsible for the death of the Three Eyed Raven as an act of defiance and revenge. We see this in all manner of stories "No, he's mine..." so I'm not sure why this is a problem for this specific narrative.

2. More of a cost to the war. First of all the armies should actually be depleted as opposed to replenishing after the fight and it being casually addressed. People should die when they are put in the in the "eight wights on you at a time" circumstances of the characters in episode 3. Winterfell should have certainly been lost with a desperate retreat needing to be made, perhaps during which the characters we see die in the episode sacrifice themself to make it happen. Mel could even do something like a final fire spell that makes an immense firewall that is so powerful she dies, but stalls the army enough for some to escape. The hidden tunnels in the crypts could be used as an escape for the cast members not in the battle proper. They even set this up with the ice creeping down to winterfell in the episodes intro, which is a great idea to have continue to spread as the army advances.

It's a common mistake to think that since a person can offer an alternate write of a narrative, that alternate write is somehow superior (usually this is a form of ego i.e. "This is how I would do it, therefore it is better since I am better") but usually it's just an alternate write, neither better or worse, just different. I'd propose this is the case here, as well. I think it's fine to offer alternate "what if" writes as some kind of exercise, but to actually criticize another person for doing it, their way, instead of your way, seems substantially unfair to me.

The point about "no one should survive" is a meaningless statement without the ability to calculate probabilities resulting in a certain conclusion. There's no possible way the statement "people should die when they are put in circumstances" is anything other than fanciful and imaginary speculation.

3. Sensical conclusion- If you want Arya to kill the NK, get there in a logical way, not just wind whipping a White Walker's hair as she teleports past the host of the undead. Also in general have everything be sensical, as opposed to meaningless death charges. Have the army of the living go into the battle with a truly thought out plan and lose in spite of it not because of it, solidifying the NK as a formidable opponent. Hell, if the struggle is as traumatizing as it should be, it would actually be the perfect setup for Dany to start losing it.

Arya killing the Night King is the most logical part of the battle. That moment in time had eight seasons of direct build-up for that pay-off. Arya didn't teleport, she ran. Her training was said to make her silent as a shadow, swift as a cat, light as a feather. The undead were not fully surrounding the grove, they were not on the path into the grove (through which the Night King and the White Walkers entered). She simply ran through that opening, past the White Walkers and lept from a pile of bodies to the final position. Arya is practically silent and invisible in darkness. Her getting from point A to point B was well within the character. Arya was trained to weaponize the environment that the Night King created. That's the point.

The Dothraki "meaningless death charge" was a meaningful charge (likely a suicide charge) intended to provoke the battle. It accomplished that intended meaning.

When you say "if the struggle is as traumatizing as it should be, it would actually be the perfect set-up for Dany" - which is what happened (in part) in the loss of Jorah. So here you are suggesting that if Dany were traumatized "enough" then her actions in later episodes would be "perfect set-up" - but then I'd argue Dany lost all of her closest friends, two of her "children", her devotion, half her army, the loyalty of her remaining advisors, her love, her food, her sleep, was in a constant state of sleep-deprived paranoia... how much more traumatized can you make a person at the threshhold of hell? What more does she need to endure for your "perfect set-up"? 

4. Very importantly have bran play a role- A BIG one- The show explicitly states in earlier seasons Brans training and ascension to the raven is key in the battle against the NK, not to be an info dump.

Bran used his ability to set everything up and put everything into place. That's quite powerful. Sometimes great power is, not visible. It's not just about how bright the laser beams coming out of a person's hands are. Did you know that Gandalf is one of the most powerful individuals in Middle Earth? But his visible fireworks are just a peripheral show. At any rate, he ended up moving every piece on the game of thrones to where it was supposed to be.

He needs a powerful ability thats a big problem for the NK and necessitates going after him.

The Night King's motivation was revenge, not power.

As it is it just makes no sense why he'd even care about going after him in person

Revenge.

Again, if he is being presented as the embodiment of evil and a borderline machinelike engine of death it doesn't mesh with nonsense decisions.

Is it possible the decisions all made sense, but you just didn't understand them? 

Again there needs to be a damn good reason for the NK to want to get Bran beyond being the memories of mankind

Revenge.

Imagine if when Bran said "I'm going now" any of the following happened:

1. He Wargs into one of those White Walker generals standing in a row on the backline and it kills the general next to it, killing a portion of the army while also turning the undead under its control against the rest of the undead army until it's killed. This would be a huge problem for the NK and necessitate killing him extremely quickly.

2. Bran Wargs Viserion, throwing the NK off his back. Viserion then either needs to have control mentally wrested back to the NK, or be put down by the NK.

That, to me, would be incredibly unwise of Bran. There is no possible way of knowing the outcome of warging the undead minions of the Night King. Bran could possibly be rendered a minion of the Night King if he did so. I think this is poorly thought-out narrative, as opposed to the narrative which the writers went with. 

3. I like option 1 more, but if there was some build up leading to the fight of Bran doing "something" during episodes 1 and 2, when he wargs in episode 3, suddenly it would be revealed Bran was actually gathering all manner of animals into an army which crashes into the AoTD.

Animals would have no effect on the undead horde, fire or dragonglass is required. This also seems poorly thought-out.

Again giving him something game changing not only makes the NK wanting him dead very badly makes sense, but is a great payoff to his extremely long arc that sadly doesn't have payoff in what we actually got.

The Night King had no arc at all, let alone an "extremely long arc" - he was a minor character of the "absolute" type. He only exists in the narrative to affect the main characters who do have an "extremely long arc" such as Arya, who receives the "pay-off" to her eight-season arc in this episode, as do the characters of Jorah, Theon, Berric, and Melisandre (all of whose arcs support the culmination of Arya's arc).

Perhaps instead od focusing on minor characters, you look at the main characters in the episode, and how their very long story arcs come to fruition here.

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