A Song of Tolling Bells and War Crimes

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Don Zeko

Don Zeko is the paper-thin pseudonym of a public defender living in North Carolina. Professional interests include criminal law, trial advocacy, and evidence, while unprofessional interests include overthinking pop culture, eagerly awaiting new fantasy novels, holding strong opinions about board games, and trying to convince the two sides of the barbeque wars to bury the hatchet. I also tweet at @Don_Zeko

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  1. Avatar Michael Siegel
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    Overall, I’ve been satisfied with the season. I think we’re hitting GRRM’s story beats pretty much as they’ll unfold in the book; it’s just rushing because eight seasons is about the most you can wring out of a show before things implode. As a result, the plot development are a bit rushed. If they had a full ten-episode season, with 240 more minutes to sand the rough edges off the character arcs, it would have been much better. But, as it is, we got our ending.

    Curious to see what happens next week. A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that Dany would win the battle but lose the war for the hearts of the people. As a result, she would put Jon on the Iron Throne and return to Meereen — the throne she built and where is she is beloved — to face the greater challenge of ruling Essos.

    We’ll see what happens.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Michael Siegel
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      says:

      My prediction was similar, that in order to defeat Cercei she would become an even more ruthless version of Cercei.
      Except I don’t see her abdicating in any fashion. She might be betrayed again, or double crossed, but it would be out of character for her to have a sudden pang of remorse and soul searching.

      The logic of the Westeros world is clear- the most ruthless and determined person wins.Report

      • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Chip Daniels
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        says:

        I half expect that eventually Tyrion will decide take up his brother’s title of Kingslayer, though it cost his own life.

        Though Arya riding off like Death on a Pale Horse, may point to a different Kingslayer…Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to bookdragon
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          says:

          I think David Benioff put it nicely in the aftershow comentary that they wanted to show clearly the price of total warfare, in that innocent women and children get slaughtered without mercy.

          Not just in this battle. In all wars.

          I mean, the Dothraki and Wildlings are portrayed as heroic and admirable fierce warriors.

          Um..how did they get that reputation? By being noble and chivalrous towards the women and children of their slain enemies?

          In the entire Westeros universe, there were only two people who found it morally objectionable to slaughter women and children- Tyrion and Jon.

          And even taking a larger view- the entire arc of the show made it clear that a world ruled by kings and royalty will by its very definition be a world of unspeakable cruelty and injustice.Report

  2. Avatar Marchmaine
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    says:

    Other than being likable and displaying above average empathy in small groups, Jon is terrible at everything he has ever done. He has terrible Strategic Judgement, Tactical Judgment, Diplomatic Judgement, and despite his empathy, his Interpersonal Judgement is also terrible. At his very peak, he might be able to hold together a small regional branch of a failing paper company declining custodial order… but that’s about it.

    We don’t really know what Book Jon would be like after his resurrection, but TV Jon is a train-wreck and quite possibly the best argument against Hereditary Rule every produced… including Daenerys. His only purpose at this point can be an ill advised and poorly planned suicide mission against Daenerys. Anything else just isn’t plausible under the weight of his own TV actions.

    On war crimes he doesn’t even rate a Yamashita defense; that he has never actually been in command of anything… ever, would clear him of responsibility straight away.Report

    • Avatar Michael Siegel in reply to Marchmaine
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      Yeah, they’ve been trying to build him up as a king. But while he has good personal qualities, he’s never shown that kind of leadership.

      (I suspect book Jon will show those qualities much more sharply.)Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        In theory I agree… but that goes to my *other* Meta Theory that I’ve put forward:

        GRRM is not a genius for writing the books, but for not writing the ending…

        Forever we’ll be able to tell ourselves that Book Jon would have been much more intriguing than TV Jon. That Mad Daenerys was totally present in Mother Daenerys, that…Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          I think it’s a pretty clever meta theory.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Marchmaine
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          says:

          I’ll leave this just as a warning to Martin. I’ve read all 1.73M words so far; I’ll buy the last two books should they ever be published; but I expect a certain degree of closure beyond just killing off all the characters. And I know where you live.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Michael Cain
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            says:

            Get the pitchforks ready… I just can’t see how he ever puts pen to paper on this.

            I don’t know what motivates him or how his “method” might be influenced by TV… but from what little I do know, it seems harder to believe he rises to this challenge vs. shuffling off to a new vacation destination.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Michael Siegel
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        says:

        I don’t think John becomes king. I bet he either dies, or just leaves to go up north with Tormund and Ghost.

        I bet this ends with Tyrion and Sansa hashing out some kind of deal. I bet the Iron Throne is never dug out of the rubble and some other throne is created instead. A lot of this story is about how some people lose power for lack of compassion (most Lannisters, Danaerys) and some people lose power due to lack of cunning (the Starks). Having the most cunning of the Starks and the most compassionate of the Lannisters making a political bargain after the two Chosen Ones in the story fail would fit with a deconstructive work like A Song of Ice and Fire.Report

        • Avatar Maribou in reply to James K
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          @james-k This is the most appealing theory for both deconstructive consonance and SOME bleeping kind of story satisfaction of any that I’ve come across so far. So thank you for that.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Maribou
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            says:

            Yeah, if we recall the early books there’s a strong recurrence of Grumkins and Snarks that Tyrion talks about a lot.

            I could well imagine an ending with Tyrion closing the book on his adventures fighting Grumkins and Snarks north of a mythical (non-existent) wall that he’s reading to his (adorbs) royal children.

            He never rode a dragon, but he lived to tell the tale of Grumkins and Snarks. And the cycle of remembering to forget starts another 10,000 year cycle.Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to James K
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          My thinking was something more like the Seven Kingdoms, with the main characters ending up where expected in such an arrangement, with Tyrion reluctantly on the Iron Throne as a sort of first among equals and arbiter. Killing Jaime pretty much did that in. You could play it with Jon on the throne and Tyrion as Hand, I suppose. Completely out of character for Dany, especially with the remaining Dothraki, Unsullied, and a dragon making her the preeminent military power on the continent.

          Myself, I would have killed out both Dany and Jon while they saved the world from the Night King.Report

  3. Avatar J_A
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    says:

    At his very peak, he might be able to hold together a small regional branch of a failing paper company declining custodial order… but that’s about it.

    Last time he did that (the declining custodial order, not the failing paper company), he got murdered by his own employees. So, no, I don’t think he’s any good at that, either.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to J_A
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      Well, right… he probably could have managed a squad or, over time, the management of an outlying keep, but by R’hllor, don’t put him in charge of the whole thing.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    Of course, implicit Yamashita doctrine is ‘don’t lose the war’. I don’t seen anyone else with the power to convene a Nuremberg-like authority.Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Kolohe
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      Oh yeah, absolutely. I didn’t want to get too sidetracked so I just eluded to it at the end, but the reality of the laws of war is that they are only enforced upon people near the bottom of the chain of command or upon the losing side.Report

  5. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    I have to admit that it looks to me like the writers have themselves in a corner with no way out that will satisfy very much of the audience. Dany’s the last force-of-arms power standing but is insane; Jon on the throne is a walking invitation for assassination; they killed Cersei an episode too early and cut off Jaime’s redemption arc; Sansa seems to have settled for the North.

    Tyrion, Arya, or some combination of the two?Report

  6. Avatar George Turner
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    Well, what we saw was a typical high-school girl fight where they don’t seem aware of any rules, written or unwritten.

    Whew! I feel better now.

    But seriously, does the show have any female characters that didn’t turn out to be somehow monstrous, other than Brienne of Tarth who seems to want to be a man and live as a knight in a male world? Sansa is scary as heck, with a treasonous nature and lust for power, and she was instrumental in isolating Daenerys and setting the horrifying events in motion.. Her sister Arya is an assassin fueled by vengeance. Daenerys is a war criminal who burned two million civilians alive, somehow becoming infinitely worse than Cercei Lannister, who is a complete brother-fishing monster.

    Strong, positive female role models? At this point, I got nothin’. I can’t even think of one who was killed off earlier. I suppose Jon’s red-headed girlfriend was really nice, for a girl who loved to run around killing people.

    If I had a young daughter, and mom was out shopping, I’d be saying things like “You see honey, it’s that all women can do is destroy things and slaughter people, due to their violent nature, unlike men who love to unite and build cities and castles. That’s why any no sane person would ever vote for Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, or god forbid HIllary Clinton.” But then I enjoy being a horrible theoretical parent because it’s amusing.

    But if we did put Daenerys on the stand at our war crimes tribunal, her best defense is to argue that her Unsullied couldn’t have raped anybody because… Then I’d throw a hail Mary and argue that she was actually using dragon fire to stop a horrible [ typhus | bubonic plague | genital small pox ] outbreak that had started during the siege because of the totally unsanitary conditions in King’s Landing under Cercei’s rule.

    I’m not sure what the big Daenerys fan base will take away from all this. It’s like a having a big reveal that Princess Leia had become a dark lord of the Sith and slaughtered an entire city full of baby Ewoks.

    (check me)Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to George Turner
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      Strong, positive female role models? At this point, I got nothin’. I can’t even think of one who was killed off earlier.

      Within the GOT universe rules, Margaery (*), and, at least to my mind, in a not-too-close second, her grandmother, Lady Olenna, are very good female role models. Both are intelligent, capable, politicians. I chose Margaery first because she understood that you had to not only consider, but also involve the lowborn, in your political agenda (BTW, so did Dany, until her resentment towards the lowborn for not greeting her as the Westerosi Breaker of Chains got the best of her). On the other hand, Lady Olenna’s world included only the highborn.

      (*) Margaery is a female role model only in a world that rejected the concept of male-female equality. She, like almost everyone, accepts that cocks are politically important, and that, therefore, women had to work their way to power through different paths.Report

      • Avatar George Turner in reply to J_A
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        Yes, I could see those two as being pretty good, though cunning (with a positive connotation) might be closer to it than “strong”. They mostly operated by working in the background to set the cards up to fall the right way, instead of directly pushing through what they needed done. As a caveat, though, poisoning young King Joffrey was definitely a direct action, but done with deniability and allowing others (Sansa and Tyrion) to take the fall for it. Yet when it came down to it, Lady Olenna showed no fear at all and proudly boasted of her lethal blow.

        Lyanna Mormont, who got crushed killing the giant in the battle of Winterfell, was definitely a strong leader, but she didn’t last long and was not otherwise a sympathetic major character.

        However the final episode turns out, I think pretty much every major character should end up in prison or in therapy.Report

        • Avatar bookdragon in reply to George Turner
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          Missandrei – the person whose execution pushed Dany into revenge-seeking madness – was among the more admirable female characters, and human beings in general, in the show. Not strong in the sense of command or blood, fire and steel fighting, but someone with the inner strength of a survivor who did not allow herself to be crippled by the trauma she survived.

          but otherwise, yeah, there is not much in terms of female or male characters who aren’t somehow severely damaged and/or monstrous.Report

        • Avatar J_A in reply to George Turner
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          says:

          As a caveat, though, poisoning young King Joffrey was definitely a direct action, but done with deniability and allowing others (Sansa and Tyrion) to take the fall for it.

          It is not clear to me that Margaery was fully into the Kill Jeoffrey plot details, at least with respect to who will be blamed for it. I think she just trusted her grandmother had the issue under control.

          I see her independent political thoughts on issues like becoming popular with the citizenship, by being seen in the market, buying local products, and being quite the populistReport

  7. Avatar North
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    says:

    I can see the general shape of Martins plot inclinations in the symmetry of Daenerys’s reclaiming Kings’ landing in the same slaughter and even greater destruction than the one in which her family lost it. Watching from afar (via recaps and commentary rather than the show itself) you can keenly feel the damage that translating that vision into television did. Everything feels rushed and horribly contrived. Things that mattered, dragon killing giant crossbows for example, suddenly simply don’t matter because reasons. Ugh.Report

    • Avatar Brent F in reply to North
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      says:

      There’s a fan theory than book Dany will attack King’s Landing by dragon and it sets of Aerys’s wildfire caches he prepared to immolate the city.

      Which probably works better as the culmination of Danerys’ efforts to build a better world through burnination inevitably causing more collateral damage than intended. Rather than her deciding to do it deliberately because she’s pushed to the limit and wants to go with rule by fear as her strategy as being beloved isn’t working.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to North
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      says:

      Dragon killing crossbows would never work in practice because they can’t pivot fast enough and their velocity and range are horrible.

      The ones they were using had wooden limbs held by iron bands, and in a shape that was decorative instead of mechanically efficient. Even with a good design they’d be lucky to shoot at 150 feet per second, and that design would probably have trouble hitting 130 feet per second. That means the maximum range is about 500 feet, feet tops, if launching at a 45 degree angle at a ground target.

      So, say you’re trying to hit a dragon that’s flying at 150 feet up, moving side-to-side across your front at 50 mph, along a straight path that’s 100 yards out, as if he’s paralleling the wall you’re on. Unless you’ve got a ballistic computer in your brain, you’re going to miss.

      At closest approach along the path, the dragon will be 300 feet in front and 150 feet up, for a closest line-of-sight distance of 335 feet, at an angle of 26.5 degrees above the horizon. But due to the low velocity of your projectile, the crossbow’s angle of elevation has to be 50 degrees, about twice the line-of-sight angle. So you have to aim way, way above the dragon, so sighting down the weapon is worse than useless.

      But the dragon is moving at 50 mph right to left, so to hit him, given that your bolt has a 3.6 second flight time, you have to shoot early. Really early. You have to release the bolt when he’s 41.3 degrees to the side, leading him by 263 feet of his flight path. So you’re releasing you bolt straight ahead, at a 50 degree angle to the horizon (slightly more up than out), to hit the dragon that’s 41.3 degrees to your right and at only 20 degrees above the horizon while off on the right.

      Nobody is going to make that shot.

      Not that I’m questioning anything else about the situation, which is all otherwise completely plausible.

      *cough*Report

      • Avatar North in reply to George Turner
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        says:

        Well they shot down a dragon with those contraptions and then subsequently failed to shoot down another one with even more of said contraptions.Report

        • Avatar Brent F in reply to North
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          says:

          A lot of issues with the previous episode could be rectified by there being a straight up fleet on fleet battle with Dany providing close air support and the injured dragon getting hit from in close rather ambushed from an implausible distance.

          Unfortunately the show loves implausible ambushes rather than straight up fights.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Brent F
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            says:

            For sure, but that particular fleet has already demonstrated an ability to conjure itself into existence out of thin air and teleport so shooting down a dragon is a comparatively minor feat.Report

        • Avatar James K in reply to North
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          says:

          Ballistae like that would have an easier time hitting at long range than at short. In ep4, the dragons were flying straight and level, making the biggest question how much to lead the target. By contrast in ep5 Danaerys is in close and moving rapidly, it would be hard to traverse the ballisate quickly enough to fire. In other words, once she was aware of the threat, she changed tactics.Report

          • Avatar George Turner in reply to James K
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            A better approach would be regular crossbows firing poison tipped bolts in mass volleys, where they make a flat wall of flying projectiles so they’re guaranteed some hits. I think we’ve seen in previous episodes that arrows or spears can stick in a dragon’s hide, so the question is what kind of drug or poison to deliver to make those weapons more than mere annoyances.

            So, probably the most potent primitive poisons would be natural. Some tree frog poisons used on blow darts have an LD50 in the range of a few micrograms per kg, and puffer fish toxin is similar. Rattlesnakes, asps, and kraits would give a venom that requires 40 to 60 micrograms per kg.

            Given that your point might weigh anywhere from 100 to 150 grains (There are 7,000 grains per pound), adding 30 extra grains would be fine, and that translates into 2 grams of toxin. If you used snake venom with an LD50 of 50 micrograms per kg, 2 grams would be enough for 40,000 kg of body weight, which is about six elephants. A good tree frog poison would be about twenty times as potent, but even a dozen hits with the snake venom tips should hopefully do the job, assuming of course that someone could come up with a good delivery mechanism so the toxin isn’t just rubbed off as the arrow slams through the dragon’s thick hide.

            Of course with planning and access, even once person could probably pack a sheep stomach full of enough common poisons to do the job, if he can get the dragon to eat the sheep.Report

            • Avatar James K in reply to George Turner
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              The only culture in Westeros that makes ready use of poison is Dorne, and they’re probably not keen to trade with the Lannisters. And getting an arrow to stick in the hide, is different than reaching the bloodstream.

              Also poison is dangerous, and would end up killing your own solders if mishandled.Report

              • Avatar George Turner in reply to James K
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                I’m pretty sure Cersei didn’t care if her own soldiers were at risk from self-inflicted accidents.

                She had more time to come up with counter-dragon measures than Jon had to come up with a supply of dragon glass to fight the white walkers, form a new alliance to mine that supply, and turn it into an arsenal.

                Cersei’s spies had kept her informed of Daenerys and the three dragons, and she knew that Daenerys was coming to claim the iron throne using those dragons, and she’s known it for a long long time. Yet she apparently didn’t even bother to try and come up with any counter or any stratagem, and the only weapon she used had fallen into her hands because an egotistical jerk who wanted to bed her happened to have a fleet that already used a potentially viable anti-dragon weapon, almost certainly for ship-to-ship combat. If Jon Snow knew his army would have to fight dragons, he’d have figured out practical ways of going about it.

                And that brings us to some of the episode’s failings, as far as I can discern.

                What did the audience need from this episode? What did they expect?

                1) A battle of good versus evil.
                2) An epic confrontation between two evenly matched opponents, a battle of courage, wits, and cunning.
                3) A resolution in which our eight years of hating Cersei are rewarded by watching her horror as she’s picked apart, dethroned, and basically exiled to the lower depths of hell where her soul will be tormented forever.
                4) For everyone to realize that Jon Snow is the superior commander.

                We went zero for four on those.

                1) It wasn’t a battle of good versus evil, of courage, innocence, justice, and strength of heart triumphing over the forces of chaos, ego, arrogance, and vile cowardice. No, it was a battle of really unhinged evil over pure evil, with everyone good left powerless and running for cover.

                2) and 3) The epic confrontation was no confrontation at all, just death from above and mindless, undirected, and random slaughter, like a feeding frenzy on Shark Week. This wasn’t Cannae, Waterloo, or Gettysburg, with large units making coordinated moves in a high level chess game. This was a drunken urban sports riot with edged weapons, with main characters like Jon Snow running down main streets and into back alleys trying to figure out where he is or where he should be. And none of it even mattered because Denaerys decided to use the nuclear option.

                Worse, Cersei had no coherent plan, and perhaps no plan at all.

                A large body of her troops stood outside the front gate, which makes no sense because if you’re not going to take advantage of the high walls and gate, why have a castle at all? What was their plan if they got forced back by the superior numbers of attacking infantry, beg to be let back in while being over run? In short, WW-I soldiers didn’t repel attacks by crawling out of their trench and standing in front of their own barbed wire. They either attack the enemy’s position or they defend in their own trench. Castle defense is the same.

                But that’s just a mistake, and both sides are allowed to make mistakes without affecting the arc of the story. Indeed, often those mistakes are the story. But in this case, was Cersei the one who even decided to position her troops there? We need a confrontation between two great foes, but one foe didn’t seem to be involved.

                Cersei didn’t take part in the battle. She barely even watched it. All the events of the series had been leading up to this great showdown between Daenerys, Jon Snow, and Cersei Lannister. So on the great getting’ up morning, Cersei hardly bothered to get out of bed. She just stood in her castle, looking out the window, like a detached observer with no skin in the game nor authority to direct the defending troops, and no inclination to try and affect the outcome.

                She seemed less emotionally invested in events than a student at a college basketball game, who at least deeply feel the ebb and flow of events. But Cirsei didn’t seem to even understand what was happening, or who was winning and who was losing. She might as well have been someone’s deaf aunt with Alzheimer’s who was dragged to the game to get her out of the house, and who doesn’t know one team from another, and who waits for her niece to tell her what the outcome was. At a basic level, the writers forgot to include an important role for the pivotal character. Cirsei, who is supposed to be one of the episodes protagonist’s, turned out to be just another audience member.

                What we needed was to see Cirsei out there giving it her all, slowly realizing that she’s losing, doing everything in her power to prevent it, and losing some more. We needed to see her lashing out at her commanders, at messengers, and individual units, damning them for retreating, damning them for failing. She needs to find that everything she does, every blow she tries to land, is easily predicted and countered by an adversary possessed of far more skill and determination, leading an enemy army that’s more highly trained and motivated, executing a better plan being run by commanders who are clearly far better than her. She can’t own the defeat, she can’t feel it as a personal defeat, if she’s not even involved in the action.

                Going back to much earlier episodes, all she’s doing in this battle is the same as sitting in her royal box watching her champion, the Mountain, fighting in a judicial duel. She doesn’t really much care whether he wins or loses because she’s not the one in the arena. The viewers got no emotional payoff from those judicial fights, and there was no emotional payoff in this one, supposedly the great epic battle, because the main villain just sat in her royal box instead of getting her head slammed into the dirt, over and over again.

                And finally, her castle crumbling around her, Cersei wanders down to the crypts, runs into her brother, and gets comforted before a rock drops on her head. The scope of her army’s defeat hardly dawned on her, other than it’s inconvenience regarding her personal family situtation. It was less than satisfying. Way, way less.

                4) Jon Snow didn’t get to prove himself at anything. I’m not sure most soldiers even knew he was there. He had no more effect on the battle than Sansa did, and she wasn’t even there.

                So to my mind, the writers focused on the wrong elements of the story. They put all the emphasis on Daenerys turning to the dark side, when she was already dark as can be, so that wasn’t even much of a character reveal. In doing that, they sidelined the apex of the story, Cersei getting slapped in the face with stark, bitter defeat and humiliation, payback for all the pain she’d inflicted during her cruel time upon this world.

                The writers let things meander all over the place.

                The fight between Clegane brothers was irrelevant to the story, yet was the biggest fight scene in the episode, getting much of the focus and screen time. The Mountain was never a major character to anyone except his brother, and that’s just an long running sibling spat that wasn’t even relevant to Arya, much less any other characters, much less to the audience.

                Then they wasted a lot of screen time on a fight between Jamie Lannister and Euron Greyjoy. Why? They’re both on the same side, defending Cersei and King’s Landing. There wasn’t a reason for conflict. Greyjoy had no reason to hate Cersei’s brother, and Jamie didn’t have a real reason to hate his sister’s newest flame, who she was of course using because she had a temporary need for his fleet.

                To produce an emotional payoff from killing Euron Greyjoy, the writers should have killed him with an angry, vengeful dragon ridden by Daenerys, because the dragon and Daenerys had a reason to hate him. They came close when the dragon torched his fleet, but refused to let that blow land, shafting the audience yet again. Instead we had the pointless confrontation under the cliffs, which just ate screen time without establishing or resolving anything, or even affecting the story. It would have been just the same if they’d had Jamie temporarily delayed in a subway turn-style while he dug through his pockets for the correct change.

                And those were pretty much the episode’s only two fights between major characters, if Euron and the Mountain can even be considered a major characters.

                So much wasted opportunity, so little emotional payoff, so little resolution.

                But other than all these minor quibbles, it was a great episode!Report

      • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to George Turner
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        But what if it’s a last desperate million-to-one chance (omt)?

        Although that has to be done by a lone female warrior, as yet untried in battle (omt), who climbs up onto the mechanism and sights it by eye as her wind-blown hair whips stingingly into her face (omt), and only shoots when the dragon for no apparent reason decides to hover directly in front of her and open its mouth.Report

  8. Avatar Brent F
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    Regarding the OP, I’m not convinced Jon could have reasonably expected an order to hold off the attack if signs of surrender were given to be obeyed if their allies kept attacking, or for orders to disengage once re-attacking to be heard let alone obeyed.

    Command responsibility is contingent on a commander having reasonable prospects of controlling his men. Its a concept that emerges with increasingly modern armies with increasingly capable command and control. Meanwhile, the convention that a resisting fortress can expect no quarter was maintained well into the modern period as it was commonly expected that an army wouldn’t be able to order its soldiers not to run wild in a sack and even if they could give the order it wouldn’t be expected that discipline would hold.

    Which is to say that legal and moral expectations are effected by the material circumstances. What we can expect out of a commander of a feudal host is different from what we can expect from a commander of a modern army.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to Brent F
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      Well, it remains to be seen if we’re really any better, because a modern army has never taken a city whose residents owned flat screen TV’s. No soldier was ever tempted to try and make off with an analog, 13-channel, 80-pound RCA that he could barely get his arms around, so there wasn’t any problems maintaining good discipline and order. But perhaps our luck has run out.

      “Sergeant, what are those men doing?!!! Are they looting TV’s?”
      “Improvised Roman shields, sir.”
      “Good thinking. Carry on.”Report

  9. Avatar DensityDuck
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    I think the issue is not that people can’t accept Dany being crazy-evil, it’s that the writers couldn’t accept her acting that way. They spent multiple seasons showing her not being that and now suddenly she flips back to being Thanos and we’re supposed to just go with it?

    I mean, let’s borrow from pro wrestling, but it’s hard to get the fans to buy a heel turn from someone you’ve been pushing as a face for the last five years…Report

  10. Avatar Kolohe
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    worthwhile reddit link tangentially related to original postReport

  11. Avatar Morat20
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    I just watched this last night, and I am fairly certain that — when Grey Worm attacks the surrendering Lannisters, after Dany makes it clear she’s not in the “accepting surrender mood”, Jon Snow does try to order them to stop.

    His men (the Northern Troops) start to obey, but at that point the melee is rejoined and the Lannisters are rearming themselves and fighting back.

    In short, only his troops (the Unsullied are Dany’s) within range of his voice obeyed — until they were engaged again by the enemy, when they started fighting again.

    So I’m not sure Jon’s really culpable in anything. He ordered his men to stand down, they did (the troops he was working alongside, but not under his command, did not) and then re-engaged once they were under threat.

    Also, I really feel the Hound should have just stabbed Cersei when she scuttled by. She’d have died at the hands of a “little brother”, just as foretold, as a total afterthought.Report

  12. Avatar Burt Likko
    Ignored
    says:

    Also worth noting is that in the war council the night before the battle, Jon heard Tyrion — the #2 guy in the hierarchy — sincerely order everyone to stop attacking and accept the surrender when they heard the bells. And he saw Dany nod her head (once, with some reluctance perhaps, but she did nod) assenting to this instruction.

    So I think the Yamashita rebuttal at the end of the OP is weak: the instructions that it accuses Jon of not personally giving were actually given, in his presence, by the only two people who outranked him. Jon had a reasonable expectation that an order given by the Hand of the Queen and affirmed by the Queen herself would be followed.Report

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