Thanks For Nothing, Three-Eyed Raven!
Last week I chronicled a number of popular Game of Thrones fan theories ranging from the ridiculous (Ned Stark is still alive) to the obvious (Clegane Bowl). Only one of these was confirmed in the second episode, but it gives me hope. Not hope for Daenerys claiming the throne. Not hope for the living defeating the dead. But I do hope the Night King puts Theon out of his misery and impales Bran on his frowny Ent pal while zombie Hodor does a celebratory jig.
A bit harsh, you say? Bran’s storyline has warged from tedious inevitability into confounding inconsistency. It isn’t uncommon for a character in fantasy or sci-fi to suddenly find themselves imbued with omniscience or another messianic quality. It’s often a handy way for the author to directly convey their philosophy rather than propel an interesting story.
That isn’t the case for the Three-Eyed Raven, as I’ll refer to Bran henceforth at his incessant behest. He offers no wise words to live by or uplifting speeches of why their cause must prevail. He chills, he gossips, and he sits on extremely pertinent info for no apparent reason.
Put Us Out Of Our Game Of Misery
Let’s take if from the top of the first episode of this season. Jon, Daenerys and their armies arrive at Winterfell where Sansa and the Three-Eyed Raven greet them in the courtyard. After exchanging hugs and pleasantries for a whole minute and a half, the Three-Eyed Raven chides them to get their happy asses in gear as the Night King approaches.
Thanks for the concern 3-ER. Maybe you should clue them in to the fact the Lannister army won’t be marching through the gates anytime soon. Can you really see everything? I’m pretty sure it would’ve taken at least a few months for Cersei to negotiate this deal and have an army for 20,000 troops ferried to King‘s Landing. That might’ve been handy knowledge for those planning the biggest battle in the history of Westeros.
But you know what would be handy? Hey, Sam, go tell Jon he’s been taking his aunt to the bone zone and is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Surely this tidbit of knowledge will prove useful in the fight to come. I can’t imagine this will steal Jon’s focus or piss off our biggest ally when he surely tells her. Go on, Sam. You’re his buddy!
Wait, It Gets Worse
Come the second episode, the Three-Eyed Raven’s amnesia/ineptitude has somehow festered and infected the entire population of Winterfell as everyone believes the soon-to-be damned crypts are the safest place in the North. Davos and Gilly convince Shireen’s doppelganger to head there. Daenerys orders Tyrion down below, and Jorah futilely attempts to persuade Lil Lady Mormont to follow suit.
We get it! Zombie Starks are coming! Jon, Tormund and at least a few dozen surviving wildings and former members of the Night’s Watch all watched the Night King reanimate thousands of their dead comrades in a mere few seconds with one slo-mo raise the roof gesture. The Three-Eyed Raven has presumably seen the Night King do this hundreds of times over the past 10,000 years if he truly is the Encyclopedia Westerosi. No one ponders if the Night King might be able to do the same with dead Starks? Really? Sheesh. And please do not have Tyrion slap himself on the forehead and finally figure out it’s a terrible idea once he is down there to redeem himself as the cleverest guy around. Don’t do it!
Later in the episode, the remainder of the Night’s Watch and the Eastwatch by the Sea gang mosey in to let everyone know the Night King should be arriving in less than a day. Oh, man. Not much time left to prepare. Hey, Three-Eyed Raven. Thanks for the heads up. AGAIN!
Buckle Up For Incompetent Strategy
Are you still on the hate train? We are pulling in to our final stop, the war room. The Axis & Allies pieces are on the board, and someone really took a lot of time carving all of those Night King tokens. Here’s where it all comes together. A month, maybe two, of careful planning. Thousands of weapons crafted. Trenches dug. Battlements reinforced. So the plan is…
Ahem. Three-Eyed Raven here. Thought I should tell you guys the Night King is really after yours truly. He wants to erase the entire history of Westeros, and that’s pretty much me. I think I’ll chill by the weirwood to lure him in. You guys can figure out how to make that work in a few hours, right? Cool.
Yet again, not one person questions why Bran (I’m gonna call you Bran again just to piss you off now!) would wait until the last second to drop this bombshell on them. Instead, Jon decides to scrap whatever plan he originally had for the dragons and have his best two weapons lie in wait while Bran is guarded by a small band of the least proficient fighters in his arsenal.
Sun Tzu weeps.
That’s where we stand. The dead are led by a King of herculean strength and resolve who commands an ever-growing army of relentless berserkers, while the best potential weapon for the living is a know-it-all who chooses to sit alone and stare. The only feasible rationale for Bran’s inaction would be even worse. Is Bran holding back because he has a super-secret plan? Have all of the characters we have spent a decade watching become simple pawns in a Bran vs. Night King chess game?
If I have any hopes to left to give, I sure hope that ain’t the case.