Game of Thrones: Season 6 OST - Light of the Seven (EP 10 Trial scene)
Game of Thrones Season Seven Lost Sight of George R.R. Martin's Vision
When George R.R. Martin began writingGame of Thronesin 1991, did he already know? As he created the character Jon Snow, along with the vast world ofA Song of Ice and Fire, had he already planned that this outcast bastard child in the north was really the true heir to the Iron Throne in Westeros? Given how lovingly he's crafted this entire saga, it's likely this was his intention from the very beginning. But there's no way even Martin anticipated that 26 years later, during one of the most-watched TV moments of the decade, that this is how we would learn the truth that Jon Snow is a Targaryen. For legions of adoring fans of both the TV show and the books, this wasn't much of a surprise. This has been the most widely accepted and discussed theory of the series, which was given more credence with a hint in the Season Six finale more than a year ago. And that's how long it took—426 days—for the writers of the HBO show to reveal that Jon's parents are Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.
The truth arrives at the very end of a lengthy and tense Season Seven finale on Sunday. Not even Frank Ocean's new song, Taylor Swift's new video, or Katy Perry's unfunny MTV VMAs circus could compare with Sunday night's biggest cultural event. Call it satisfaction or relief or surprise, but it's finally official: Jon Snow's a Targaryen, folks. Specifically, his name is Aegon—likely named after Aegon the Conqueror, who came to Westeros from Essos to do exactly what his moniker implies. Tell your friends, because Bran Stark had been holding onto that information, which apparently wasn't pressing enough to reveal until fans were pretty much starving for it. Bran casually tells Samwell Tarly, who arrives in Winterfell after a very reasonable two-episode travel time from the Citadel. But although Bran's the Three-Eyed Raven—and he's very eager to tell everyone who will listen that he can see the past, present, and future (like some sort of clairvoyant vegan)—he doesn't know the whole truth: that the union between Rhaegar and Lyanna was legitimate.
You see, Robert's Rebellion—the great war that took place about 17 years before the events ofGame of Thrones—was largely built on the idea that prince Rhaegar abducted Lyanna and brought her to the Tower of Joy in Dorne. The two were actually in love, however, and joined in legal marriage in secret. This means Jon's claim to the Iron Throne is legal. After Samwell Tarly conveniently remembers this detail, which Gilly had pointed out in passing, Bran goes back into his visions to fact-check it. And it checks out, meaning that Robert and Ned Stark's entire rebellion was built on a lie—or rather, it was built on two dumbass kids who ran off with each other and kinda just let a war happen.
And while it's nice to know the truth at last, this probably wasn't exactly how George R.R. Martin planned on telling the world—certainly not through a TV show and certainly not through the clunky storytelling that theGame of Throneswriters employed in this finale (and the entire seventh season). It's the biggest reveal of the series so far, so why it happen between two characters quietly discussing it in Winterfell? Where's the drama? Where's the showmanship? We saw a more exciting performance from the wight in the Dragonpit than anything happening in the room with Bran and Sam.
As if to put some excitement in the scene, the show interjects the revelation of Jon Snow's lineage with a scene of him hooking up with Daenerys for the first time. And bad news, you happy couple: you're actually aunt and nephew. It's not like weirder shit hasn't happened in this show, but it's a clumsy way to balance two very key moments in the narrative. Also, awkwardly enough, Bran notes to Sam that Jon "needed to know" about his real parents. Yeah, no shit, kid. Maybe you should have sent a raven to Jon before the poor guy had sex with his aunt. But, what's done is done, and Jon and Daenerys are in for a really uncomfortable arrival to Winterfell, which is now the scene I'm most looking forward to in Season Eight:Sam:Hey Jon, good to see you, my dude. How was your boat trip?
Anyway, that's a conversation for next season, and, in the grander scheme of things, they have some bigger problems than some accidental incest. Westeros's big, beautiful Wall has fallen. The White Walkers brought that shit down with their brand new ice dragon: the undead model of Viserion, who was killed with an excellently thrown lance in Episode Six. Like those infamous chains last episode, I guess we're just supposed to assume everything the White Walkers do is magic, because somehow this Ice Dragon can absolutely fuck up this wall. You built a nice wall, Bran the Builder, but you didn't dragon-proof it.
Moving south from The Wall to Winterfell, another one of the more cumbersome storylines from this season finally resolves itself. Littlefinger has spent these seven episodes trying to work his way between the Stark sisters, planting a letter for Arya to find and convincing Sansa that the younger Stark returned to Winterfell to kill her and take the north. No one's big act was very convincing, though. From the very beginning, Sansa and Arya's animosity toward each other didn't make much sense, and fans speculated that it was all a ploy to take down Littlefinger. Well, that's exactly what happened.
If success of this season can be determined by delivering on fan service moments and confirming long-held theories, then call the last seven episodes ofGame of Thronesa success. But when George R.R. Martin sat down to write this saga nearly three decades ago, he did so with a bigger vision. The only fan he was servicing was himself, one who took great care to build complex narratives that fit together immaculately over thousands of pages built by hundreds of characters and interwoven storylines. His stories were about the slow build, the journey between twists that would come in unexpected places in unexpected ways. Sometimes these pivots in the narrative would be subtle—twists you wouldn't even consider game changers until many chapters later.
If writing a season of television worthy of the story Martin began can be considered success, thenGame of Thrones' seventh season was a failure. Faced with the immense challenge of being stewards of his work, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have been unable to recreate the magic that turnedGame of Thronesinto such a phenomenon. That doesn't mean it's a total loss for fans. While the show's quality has dropped significantly, it's still fun for anyone who wants to see big-budget battles while this story reaches some sort of conclusion. This is also good for another reason: Now fans have even more incentive to read how Martin is going to finish this story—if he ever does.
Video: Game of Thrones Season 7 | New characters | Description
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