Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones Returns: As Civilization Collapses, Government Is No Help

Westeros doesn't lack heroes, it lacks competent governance.


Screenshot via HBO

The return of HBO's Game of Thrones is always an exciting event for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire, the series upon which it is based. But this season is set to be different from the previous six: having exhausted nearly all of the books' narrative threads, the showrunners are finally in the position of needing to explain what comes next. 

If last night's premiere was any indication, what comes next might very well be the end of the world. It is difficult to imagine the scattered forces of good putting up much of a challenge as the impending collapse of civilization unfolds.  

The leaders of the Seven Kingdoms continue to deserve much of the blame for that. Westeros does not lack heroes—Ser Davos, Brienne of Tarth, Jon Snow (RIP?), Samwell Tarly—it lacks competent governance. The state has proven itself wholly incapable of undertaking preparations to survive the most serious external threat to humanity: a long winter. Millions will die, if not from the White Walkers, then from starvation. None of the Seven Kingdoms' administrators are ready to face reality, having depleted their financial resources while waging wars of vanity against each other. 

In season six, the petty squabbles continue. The events in Dorne—the weakest storyline in the show by far—are a good example. Having apparently realized the Dorne plot wasn't working, the showrunners decided to have Ellaria Sand murder her dead lover's brother and nephew, presumably seizing the throne of Dorne for herself. These developments don't really make sense in and of themselves: we are supposed to believe that Ellaria is angry enough to kill her family members for failing to avenge another family member. But they fit in well with a pattern of Westerosi nobles starting counter-productive wars over personal grievances rather than legitimate national security concerns. 

In Winterfell, the Boltons have little time to savor their victory over Stannis Baratheon. By marrying Ramsay to Sansa, they committed treason against the Lannisters, and expect a battle is coming. Unknown to them, the Lannisters are in no position to retaliate, and are currently trying to wrest control of King's Landing from the clutches of religious fanatics. But we understand from last season that Littlefinger, who is competently acquiring kingdom after kingdom, plans to attack the Boltons. The Bolton position is also precarious because they have lost Sansa. Roose and Ramsay discuss attacking Castle Black—the literal last line of defense against the coming apocalypse—in order to re-obtain her. 

What to make of this? It's the Westerosi equivalent of Nero fiddling while Rome burned. As rulers of the North, the Boltons should be stockpiling food, sending men to patrol the Wall, and devising strategies with the Night's Watch. Instead, they plan to attack the Night's Watch, under the false assumption that Sansa's half-brother Jon Snow is in command. 

Of course, Jon Snow isn't in command: he's dead. He was murdered for being the only competent leader alive—the only person willing to put aside politics and pointless in-fighting and prepare for winter. His killer, Ser Alliser, has taken command. Though an alliance between the Night's Watch and the wildlings is at this point key to humanity's survival, Ser Alliser resents Jon Snow for securing this partnership and seems to have every intention of discontinuing it. 

The world—if not the story itself—needs Jon Snow to not be dead, and we are treated to a glimpse of how that could happen. The Lord of Light has revived the dead before, and Jon's corpse is now locked in a room with Melisandre. If anyone can do the seemingly impossible, she can. 

But the premiere—aptly titled "The Red Woman"–does not leave us with any indication that the resurrection is about to take place. Instead, it is revealed that Melisandre's appearance is a trick. She is actually decades if not hundreds of years old—her true face is that of a decrepit old woman. 

There are at least two different ways to read this scene. On one hand, the revelation is confirmation that Melisandre does indeed possess real power. On the other hand, her magic—powerful though it may be—is still ultimately based in trickery. And the old woman who retired to bed seemed defeated, not prepared for some massive magical undertaking. 

The magic of deception might still be useful: in lieu of a full ressurection, maybe Melisandre will make Ser Davos (or, possibly, the direwolf Ghost) acquire Jon Snow's appearance long enough to wreak havoc at the Wall. 

With Jon Snow dead, Daenerys is perhaps the only character who is both a self-sacrificing hero and also a world leader. She possesses the courage to do the right thing, and also the means to do it. But Daenerys is now on a literal road to nowhere, stranded from her allies. She is in no position to save the world anytime soon. 

One begins to wonder if anything good will come of Daenerys's dragons, or Melisandre's magic, or Ser Davos's bravery, or Samwell Tarly's knowledge, or Brienne's faithfulness to her oath. Given that everyone in an actual position to do something about the coming frost-zombie apocalypse is studiously working to undermine humanity's odds of survival, perhaps this is not the save-the-world tale it appears to be. Perhaps A Song of Ice and Fire is A Song of Government Incompetence While Everyone Freezes and Burns. There is a certain realism in that, I suppose, although whether it makes for satisfying television remains to be seen.

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  1. Or, Melisandre has used all her power to maintain her appearance and must decide to continue using it for that purpose, or forsake her comely visage and use her power to revive Jon Snow?

    1. She looks a lot different without make-up.

      1. Yeah, at first when she disrobed I was like “hehe, boobs”, and then she turned old and it took me a split second before I just fell back into “meh, hehe boobs”.

    2. I only started watching last season and haven’t read the books. Her character seems so odd. She seems to be one of the few people with actual magical power, but have they ever hinted at why that is or what her backstory is other than “lord of light”?

      1. The only people who seem to have actual powers are those involved with the Lord of Light, which makes me wonder why everyone doesn’t believe in the only God that lets you resurrect the dead.

        1. From the books, the ‘Lord of Light’ followers didn’t have any real power until the dragons came back.

          I think they touched about this with the Red Monk (Thoros) and Beric Dondarian (whom the Red Monk resurrected).

        2. Methinks their “lord of light” is Lucifer. Or Ted Cruz.

      2. I have no idea. Didn’t read the books and am a casual watcher of the show. The whole milieu doesn’t seem well thought out.

        1. If you haven’t read any of the books, or even watched the show from the beginning, your opinion on whether anything about it is “well thought out” is pretty much worthless. Why make such a foolish comment?

          1. dude. do us all a favor and take a few deep breaths before you choke on your retainer. D&D + midget porno is not something that a grownup should take all that seriously.

    3. Her appearance seems to be based on whether she wears her necklace, and we don’t know yet if that’s the actual source of her power or not. Given her track record of seducing men with royal blood for her spells (Jon Snow’s parentage still being up in the air as a caveat), taking it off could be a sign of resignation that there’s no “true king” left for her to latch on to, as well as a crisis of faith regarding her decision to back Stannis.

      That said, I honestly don’t think Jon’s getting revived but this series delights in throwing curveballs. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

  2. Of course, Jon Snow isn’t in command: he’s dead. He was murdered for being the only competent leader alive?the only person willing to put aside politics and pointless in-fighting and prepare for winter.

    So… a total departure from the book? Not that it’s any surprise, but in the book he’s murdered for imperiling the Watch’s political neutrality by threatening to march against the Boltons.

    1. that could still be coming. i suspect they killed Jon because we loved him too much. i suspect they planned to bring him back as a much less likable character…so they kill him again and not upset us too much. LOL

  3. “She possesses the courage to do the right thing, and also the means to do it”

    Unfortunately, she’s woefully incompetent when it comes to statecraft. Ah well, Varys and Tyrion are there now to cover that for her.

  4. If we’re trying to apply real-world political lessons to Game of Thrones, should we discuss how the Dothraki are examples of hetero cis-male rape culture? I almost expected one of those brutes to say “Grab Khaleesi’s motherfucking leg!”

    1. No, Dothraki men have been taught to not rape Khaleesi. Other women are fair game, however.

    2. No, the Dothraki are a sort of analog to Saracens and Mongols. Thus, the rougher points in those cultures are to be ignored entirely because criticizing them would be punching down.

  5. This makes no sense, that show ended years ago with the death of Charles Dance’s character.

    1. Charles Dance reading Fifty Shades. Warning: a funny curse word is repeatedly used.

  6. Yeah, wasn’t expecting the Redhead to turn into Hillary Clinton. That was a shock.


  7. I just came here to read all the posts about how people don’t like or care about Game of Thrones. This thread is really disappointing to me. I want you to all think about what you didn’t do here.

    1. I came here to say something along those lines, but now I won’t, so the agony of wondering what my biting wit has to say about a TV show will gnaw at you forever.

  8. I’m still not sure what the point of the story being told is, and am not sure the author does either. That is why I stopped reading after book four and stopped watching after Season 2. If Martin wanted to show people just how gritty life was in the Middle Ages, he could have just written well researched historical fiction or non-fiction about the 100 years war.

    If he just wanted to write about food and medieval rape fantasies, he could have stuck written something appropriate for the romance section.

    Instead we get a bloated story with some interesting world building that’s gone off in so many directions it’s not clear what the story is really about after 4000 pages.

    1. to show people just how gritty life was in the Middle Ages, he could have just written well researched historical fiction

      Like Vikings?

      1. I scoff at series that have no DRAGONS….

        1. Dragonships don’t count?

          1. Might as well be the difference between an elephant and an elephant SEAL…

            1. Not for nothing, but elephant SEALs are quite rapey!

                1. Warty is like Gozer. One must choose the form of one’s destruction.

    2. I think the political intrigue is fun and interesting. I think the world-ending invasion by the white walkers and that mythology is fun and interesting. But they don’t coexist very well. The latter makes the former seem completely inconsequential. Maybe it will all be wrapped up nicely in the end, but my experience with other serialized dramas not named Babylon 5 makes me skeptical.

      1. Good call on B5. I would add Burn Notice did a pretty good job of wrapping things up although it lost its way a little before the end.

        1. It’s hard to mess up a formula as simple as “Michael Weston makes a plan, plan falls apart, problems instead solved by appropriate use of explosives” but after about 5 seasons of that, I lost interest.

          1. Hah! Fair enough. I was thinking more of the overall arc.

            1. There was an arc? I thought it was all Bruce Campbell’s mighty chin, Gabrielle Anwar’s failed attempts at playing an Irishwoman, the mom from Queer as Folk being a (much shittier) mom, and some other people who don’t matter so much. Oh, and yogurt.

              I kid, I kid…

    3. I’m still not sure what the point of the story being told is

      What is the point of a Soap Opera? What’s the point of a reality show? What’s the point of Welcome Back, Kotter?

      The point is to entertain the audience enough to turn a profit. It’s working. I’m entertained. I’m invested. I’ll watch till the end, just to see how it all turns out. It doesn’t need to be Casablanca. It doesn’t need to have a point. It’s fun.

    4. I hear what you are saying. I still think the series is headed for some epic battle between dragons and white walkers, and the ultimate message will be something like “Prepare for Winter”.

      Essentially so far the story has been about how the petty infighting between the humans for the throne is preventing them from preparing for the invasion of white walkers that is sure to happen.

      Of course, if Jon Snow somehow stops them at the wall then I don’t think that lesson will be learned. They fought, they squabbled, and the Wall still saved them.

      If I was writing this story, the Wall would come down, the walkers would invade, and it would end with White Walkers at the gates of Kings Landing. (With scattered holdouts at Winterfell and elsewhere.) Daenerys would come to the rescue with dragons proving that when you’re ruled by people with a magical bloodline it’s best to let them remain in power.

    5. Why do stories have to be about something? The brilliance of Game of Thrones is that bad things can happen to anyone, even a main character on a supposed “hero’s journey.” Most books you know from the first chapter how it’s going to turn out, and who will win in the end. I think even the author doesn’t really know yet.

  9. Jon Snow’s body is NOT locked in a room with Melisandre – it’s locked in a room with Ser Davos, Ghost, and the few Men of the Night’s Watch who are loyal to Jon Snow.

  10. It’s missing competent scriptwriting, too. Don’t forget that part.

    1. This “television renaissance” seems to consist of a lot of shows that are basically “too clever by half”. A couple of enjoyable seasons followed by utter nonsense.

      1. I am pretty sure Scandal is going continue to be thrilling forever.

      2. Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad are great, as is the Wire. Fargo is also awesome.

        1. Breaking Bad was so well done that I quit watching it because it became so emotionally unpleasant to watch. That’s a pretty good achievement, you know?

          1. That’s the reason I couldn’t get into it in the first place.

          2. That’s a shame because the last 3 episodes are the best television ever filmed. The way Vince Gilligan wrapped everything up was perfection.

            1. One day I’ll go back to it. I had enough stress in my life at the time. Which, now that I think about it, is never going to change. Fuck it.

              1. Your meth business wasn’t doing too great?

            2. Agreed.

        2. I would also add The Knick to that list.
          If you haven’t seen the second season, YOU MUST. it has an ending that is epically jaw dropping.

      3. They have had trouble ending many of them, that is true.

      4. The first season was masterful, the second was shit, the third was better, the fourth was unwatchable, and that’s all I can say. Maybe last season was really good.

        1. The first season had Sean Bean. The third had Charles Dance. All of the seasons had Peter Dinklage, but you can’t carry a show on one actor.

          Their problem is that they cast the best actors to play dead-end parts. Alternately, their problem is their adherence to the source material’s constant need to kill people off.

          1. I’d argue that their major problem is their failure to adhere to the material. Every change they make to the source material makes it worse, because they’re shitty writers who don’t realize it.

            1. Would you have preferred season 4 of the show to be an adaptation of the 4th book? Following master writer GRRM’s brilliant decision to completely omit many of the most important characters so he can pad things out with Brienne saying “Hi, I’m looking for my sister, she’s 13 and pretty and has red hair” a thousand times?

              1. That was the book when he started to mail it in, it’s true. But if you combine the 4th and 5th books and throw away the 500 pages of descriptions of food, you have a decent season or two of TV.

                1. “throw away the 500 pages of descriptions of food”

                  The integral message of ASOIAF is that George RR Martin likes food.

              2. Speaking of which, isn’t Brienne supposed to be a zombie by now?

                1. In the books, she’s just working for one, which looks to be bad news for Jaime.

                  1. In the books, she gets hanged, IIRC.

                    1. No, she says something that gets her out of it.

  11. Yeah, like everyone here I hate the show, totally scoff at the so-called “plot” and “dialogue” and only watch it religiously to make fun of it and loudly signal my finer sensibilities to those rubes who actually “enjoy” it. HICKS!!

    1. I gave up on it two years ago. I don’t mind that they’re making changes to the books, but literally every change they’ve made was retarded. But if you liked the wacky buddy comedy of the Arya and the Hound Show, well, good for you.

      1. Of course NOT *cough cough*…. hated it *cough*… I mean, why would you think that I would want to spend an EXTRA WHOLE SEASON with the Hound?!?! *glances around nervously*… I mean, its not like he was a popular character or anything!!

      2. If any more words come pouring out your cunt mouth, i’m gonna have to eat every fucking chicken in the room.


    Eh, I read the whole thing anyway. I watch the show for the actors, not the story.

  13. But anyway, the Red Lady is a red herring, amirite? Jon’s gonna come back to life on the funeral pyre, yeah? And they reveal he is actually a Targearyen? R+L=J?!?!?

    1. Good one.

      But they can’t be killed by fire. They can be killed by daggers. Not sure fire is gonna bring him back from holes in his chest.

      But using the witch as a distraction was a good idea.

    2. I’ve been assuming for years that the funeral pyre would bring him back to life too. Because obviously he’s a Targaryen, and even GRRM wouldn’t murder such an important character so abruptly.

      1. By the way, I’ve trademarked that Red Herring joke, so please don’t use it without attribution…

    3. Funeral Pyre thing only worked for Daenerys because of the fact they burned a witch alive while the witch was casting spells.

  14. You guys know this is a television show about a fictional world based on a set of novels about the fictional world, don’t you?

    You know that what happens in the show is what the screenwriters want to happen, don’t you?

    This show has about as much in common with reality as the Libertarian Moment.

    1. Not a big fan of fiction, eh?

      1. He is if he’s a socialist.

        1. That’s free market socialist, knob.

          1. And here I thought free markets and socialism were pretty much mutually exclusive. You’ll have to find time to educate me when you’re through calling me names.

            1. If you took a couple moments to really think about it, the truth might dawn on you.

              Also, may I suggest changing your handle to Sandy V?

            2. You may want to replace your sarcasm detector, your’s seems to be broken. Maybe while they’re at it they can install a sense of humor too, since you seem to be missing one.

            3. Actually, free markets and socialism are not mutually exclusive. In a free market, you are still free to enter into any socialist arrangements you like so long as they are consensual and voluntary.

              Of course, the same arrangement does not work in reverse.

      2. I enjoy good fiction. I read plenty of it. I don’t pretend that it’s in any way real. What happens in every work of fiction is nothing more or less than what the writer intends to happen.

        1. I’m pretty sure we all know it isn’t real. But part of the fun for a lot of people is immersing themselves in it *as if* it were real. Like with the WWE.

          1. Yeah, yeah. I’m sure everyone has taken the time to determine who are the faces and who are the heels.

    2. “Why do people enjoy fiction, I do not understand. Everything we discuss or read about should be 100% factual and all fictional stories are illegitimate.”

      1. “Since Reason has pretty much given up on reporting things that people give a shit about, we might as well make it a book club. Then we could talk about what our favorite fictional characters would do.”

      2. When I was a kid, my father used to berate me for watching The Six Million Dollar Man, because of the impossibility of replacing body parts with machines.

        Needless to say, he gets an email with every advancement.

  15. At least Alexander Siddig got a nice paid vacation out of his Game Thrones experience. Maybe, he and Bighead can form a club for getting paid not to work?

    1. I was annoyed that they killed off Dr. Bashir so quickly. She could have at least distracted him by having the Sand Snakes flashing their tits or something.

  16. Boobs?

  17. Only kind of Game of Thrones related…is anyone else confused by the whole “binge watching” TV thing? A disturbingly large number of people seem quite proud of the fact that they’re willing to sit for hours on end and do nothing with their lives. It’s definitely a form of social signaling. I know quite a large number of people who just queue up shitty TV series and that’s how they spend their lives. It doesn’t make any sense to me. They’re not even good shows.

    This is coming from a guy who used his TV so very seldomly that he stuffed it into the back of his closet and got a fish tank instead.

    1. I’ve binge-watched a couple of series to catch up, Archer, Vikings, and Penny Dreadful but all of those were only a couple seasons in so it wasn’t a big deal. I can’t imagine trying to catch up on something that’s been out for more than five seasons, probably why I won’t try Homeland.

      1. The only time I’ve ever done it was while I was overseas and there was nothing else to do.

        1. Daredevil and Jessica Jones, because Netflix for a month.

    2. I’ve “binge watched” by accident before, i.e. I got caught up in a series of episodes and kept watching longer than I probably should have. But I don’t make a point of it.

      But the whole “I don’t own a TV” thing is also chock full of social signaling.

      1. A lot of people nowadays don’t have TV in the conventional sense (broadcast, cable, satellite–fixed channels with fixed programming). There is definitely some social signaling involved for some of them, but I think a lot of is just preference. I also think the TV networks shot themselves in the foot by working so hard to hobble DVRs (at least, for a while–I don’t know what the present situation is).

        1. Yup.. We no longer have cable, but have a Fire Stick for each of our televisions (since we’re not empty nesters, that’s a total of 2). We subscribe to Netflix and SlingTV, and get streaming through our Amazon Prime membership. I think the only show we really binged was Breaking Bad, having discovered it about halfway through the 3rd season, but after that we watched it when it came on, as we’re doing with Better Call Saul. We try pretty hard not to watch more than one or two episodes at a time of shows that are released all at once, such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, not because we feel binge-watching is a horrible thing but because once you’ve watched the entire season, what’s left to watch? Dr. Who has also been pretty easy to parcel out a few episodes at a time.

          1. Sorry, that should say NOW empty nesters.

      2. I do own one. That part of the comment was to provide some context on where I was coming from. If that’s social signaling, then sure, but I don’t really give a shit if anyone approves of it or not, or even if they own or use a TV.

        1. You have a KILL YOUR TV bumper sticker, don’t you? And, like, a NO FARMS = NO FOOD one, too? Come on, it’s okay. You’re among friends.

          1. NO FARMS = NO FOOD

            This is imminently more understandable than the much more common “NO FARMS NO FOOD” bumper sticker which seems to be advocating for the practical extermination of most of mankind. At least put a comma in there, for fuck’s sake.

            Come on, it’s okay. You’re among friends.


            1. imminently more understandable

              fuck it, I give up

            2. NO FARMS NO FOOD, that’s what I meant. Shit.

          2. “You have a KILL YOUR TV bumper sticker, don’t you?”

            Not me, but I only watch the high-brow shows…

            Like NASCAR and football…
            BTW, REASON eds, you really ought not SF the IRS/dope link like that.

          3. They’re right next to my COEXIST sticker.

    3. Well, aren’t you just better than everyone else?

      1. I thought that was a requirement for being a libertarian?

        1. How much you bench?

          1. Not as much as you do, based on the scuttlebutt around here.

            1. Warty goes to the gym and benches the gym. The whole building, and everyone and everything in it.

    4. A disturbingly large number of people seem quite proud of the fact that they’re willing to sit for hours on end and do nothing with their lives.

      From a guy commenting on a libertarian site.

      1. Yep, you got me. Guess I was wrong about everything.

        1. A large number of people are also quite proud of the fact that they smoke weeds and down pills to make their lives more pleasant.

          1. It’s social signals the whole way down!

    5. I’m not sure which is more annoying: the binge watchers, or the people who like to brag about how little they watch TV.

      1. The latter, in my opinion, simply because of how smug they are about it.

        1. Yeah, I’d have to agree. The former seem to use their binge watching habits more as a conversation starter with other people in their clique/ in-group:

          “Hey, I got caught up on ___________ this weekend, so let’s waste a bunch of time talking about that.”

          As opposed to:

          “Oh, I haven’t seen that show. In fact I don’t even watch TV anymore because it’s all crap, and more importantly, because I’m better than you.”

          Usually the “I’m better than you” part is implied, but still.

      2. I wasn’t trying to brag, but it’s been made very clear that that’s exactly what I meant to do. I’m glad so many people were around to explain to me what it was that I really meant.

        I was attempting some self-deprecating humor at my own strangeness for replacing a TV with a fish tank, but I guess that didn’t come across well.

        I suppose the obsession with binge-watching TV is similar to the obsession over celebrities or anything else that diverts attention from more pressing matters, but that doesn’t seem to be the discussion my comment created. Oh well, I’ll work on my communication and try again later.

        1. Once you start a conversation it ceases being your conversation and becomes whatever anyone else wants it to be about. Behold the power of the Internet.

          1. In addition, once you pick a spot on the high ground, people are going to notice that you’ve intentionally placed yourself on the high ground.

            1. It is interesting to see people make assumptions about my comment and then being told I’m the smug one when someone tries to explain to me what I actually meant. My definition of a shitty show and what I do with my free time is entirely subjective, but that doesn’t mean I think I’m better than you because of it.

              There’s a similarity to the people who cry “racism” at every perceived slight and think it’s because the person committing the slight must have some sort of God-complex. The reality is much less sinister than that. It’s not exactly on the same level, but it’s similar.

            2. I am willing to admit that I could have phrased it better to make my point clear. It does seem like a lot of wasted time to me, however, that doesn’t mean I believe I’m better than them because I don’t watch TV.

              1. Many Internet comments make more sense if you place at the beginning “That reminds me of…” Many times your original comment is only relevant to the fact that you reminded some stranger of some thing that happened this one time at band camp. If you want to avoid undue criticism, I suggest you start inserting SLD before your complaint. It’s H&R shorthand for saying you wouldn’t arrest people for whatever your complaint is.

        2. I’m glad we were hear to douche-splain it to you then. /I keed, I keed…

          1. Where’s my safe space?

            *runs off sobbing*

    6. I’m confused by people who think time spent doing something you enjoy is somehow wasted compared to time doing something you hate because society has decided it’s “useful”.

      1. I’d like to know the difference between binge watching and watching it once a week as it comes out.

        Same time involved, just spread out.

    7. “is anyone else confused by the whole “binge watching” TV thing? A disturbingly large number of people seem quite proud of the fact that they’re willing to sit for hours on end and do nothing with their lives.”

      Not really. I don’t see it as any different from /regular TV/. The only difference is that binge watchers choose to get it all over in one session, while regular viewers waste smaller amounts of time over a long period of time. They’re still wasting the same amount of time overall.

    8. It’s cheaper to buy HBO for one month than for three.

  18. Westeros doesn’t lack heroes, it lacks competent governance.

    That’s like saying it lacks a strongman to take charge and tell people what to do.

    If the people of Westoros *had a tradition of self-government* (instead of waiting for the local strongman to arrange things) then this wouldn’t be anywhere near as much of a problem. They could form and disband adhoc organizations as necessary rather than creak along under the accreted weight of bureaucracy.

    1. See, the thing is, they do have competent government. But its not a government ‘for the people’ and so its priorities are skewed. But its certainly been competent.

      1. I’d say a major problem in Westeros is too much government. I mean, they’ve had up to five kings at a time pillaging and burning all over the place.

        1. That’s what happens when the government is ‘competent’ – it just keeps getting larger and at some point, the left hand will be working at odd to the right.

          As is happening in our own government right now. Sans the *open* burning anyway. The pillaging is still happening.

          1. Sans the *open* burning anyway.

            Don’t worry, they’ll get to that soon enough.

          2. I’m pretty sure there’s a euphemism for something in there somewhere.

  19. It strikes me that the entire system portrayed here is designed to give bad results. Let’s say one of the rulers decides to do the right thing – stockpiles supplies, shores up defenses against the common enemy, etc. What’s the result going to be for him or her? My guess is his/her kingdom will get invaded by one of the other kingdoms and that supply will get taken. Well, you get more of what you subsidize and less of what you tax.

    1. There was only one ruler who knew and believed there was a larger threat out there. Though the warring Kings have been ravaging the countryside while being aware that winter is coming and likely a long winter at that so there will be years of famine ahead.

      All because Cersei and Robert could not stand each other enough to have one child that lived to adulthood.

      1. All true. But, I think the problems of Westeros go deeper than that. Let’s say you’re a king who realizes what the real challenge is. Okay. So what? If you follow a different policy – a policy based on that knowledge – you’re going to find your kingdom invaded and your stores taken.

    2. I really hope it doesn’t devolve into a Climate Change allegory.

      1. They’d love them some global warming in Westeros right about now.

  20. Some people noted that basically once a novel, Joffrey would say something about the current political situation that was unusually insightful for his character, which would be completely ignored by everyone else.

    One of them was commenting that it was a terrible idea for each other the major houses to have their own private army so that the king had to go around convincing them to help whenever they actually needed an army and just caused trouble the rest of the time, and that Westeros would be better off with a single national army under the direct control of the king.

    1. And by “better off”, we mean better off for the king with the national army.

  21. Prediction: Jon is going to be resurrected, but much like Lady Stoneheart, he’s going to come back super pissed. He ends up becoming the new Night’s King. Meanwhile danny has had it with trying to be a nice ruler and solves the Mereen problem by just melting down the entire city with dragon fire The humans are going to end up getting crushed between the hammer of the targaryen leading a firey dragon army from the south and the anvil of the targaryen leading an icey zombie army from the north.

    1. +1 song of ice and fire

  22. Meanwhile, George RR Martin and everyone involved with the show are still raging lefties

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  29. I do not share the authors vision of Dany as a noble, self-less leader. Her intentions are not much better than the other failed leaders of Westeros. Everything she has done has been done to re-take the iron throne. However, she does truly sympathize with the plight of slaves after having been a slave of sorts herself. However, that is a personal agenda – end slavery. No more self-sacrificing than Ramsey’s goal of eliminating potential rivals in the grand scheme of “winter is coming”. Don’t get me wrong. I admire and respect Dany while utterly detesting Ramsey, Cersei, and the lot. However, she has not shown herself to be the competent ruler the world needs. Tyrion and (bald eunich; forget his name at the moment; starts with a V?) have so far shown themselves to be more practical and intelligent rulers in King’s Landing. Merseen remains to be seen.

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