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May 21, 2019 11:55:50

Why I liked GoT's ending

by @basilesamel PATRON | 711 words | 434🔥 | 485💌

Basile Samel

Current day streak: 434🔥
Total posts: 485💌
Total words: 223093 (892 pages 📄)

Good art is not merely entertaining. It's didactic, it broadens the mind, it makes you think. Similarly, a good ending is a resolution bringing a fresh perspective to a problem.

GoT's finale was incredibly subversive. Not a happy ending, but full of valuable lessons, which is precisely why it was a great ending.

The last two seasons received a lot of hate, most of the time for the wrong reasons. No, the plot was good. Yes, the pace was too fast.

GoT is not merely about dragons and zombies, it's a political essay trying to answer a complex question: what is a great ruler?

The series was a huge political campaign where each spectator wanted his/her own favorite to win. People who didn't see their own fantasy come to life in the last episode ended up frustrated and blamed the "poor writing". I can't disagree more, I believe the series does a great job at mimicking GRR Martin's witty, highly-politicized, writing style.

Tyrion explained really well why Daenerys wasn't worthy of ruling during his meeting with John in his cell: the mother of dragons was, and always has been, a tyrant. Daenerys' twist is brilliant because it explains how people can be led to serve and praise tyrants: with emotions, Manichaeism and good storytelling. Daenerys only dealt in absolute - yes, like a Sith Lord - everything is either black or white to her. We were lead to believe all the murdering she committed were done rightfully so, but the truth is more complex than that and her underlying nature finally revealed itself in the fifth episode of the last season: Daenerys' purpose is to dominate, as illustrated by her spirit animal. Dragons symbolize wealth and strength, but also greed and egotism. Daenerys didn't hesitate to twist her own reality with a good story to fit her dreams of grandeur. She always lived in a dream, she died with her illusions.

Daenerys' blindness became apparent during her last encounter with Jon Snow when she told him of her motives and how he should better than anyone else, after all the events he went through. This line also illustrated his character perfectly: Jon is bound to know nothing, highlighted by two references to this famous line during the last episode. Ultimately, his story ends as it began, his cycle repeats itself, he will always repeat the same mistakes, learning nothing. Jon Snow is a hero, a knight ideal, he is meant to serve and protect others. Jon Snow is a natural leader because his virtue inspires others. He doesn't want to rule because he acts out of necessity, out of emotions. He lacks the calculative mindset most politics display. According to Machiavelism, Jon Snow is not fit to rule, his heart is too pure, which is why he ends up hanging out with the wildlings: Jon Snow's happiest time was with Ygritte - he is a simple man, so he joins a nomadic tribe of ingenuous "free folks". When you see it this way, he had a good ending.

Bran becomes king, why is that?

GRR Martin depicts machiavellian characters as the aptest to rule, but Bran has something even more valuable than a mindset prone to politics: he has ultimate wisdom. His powers make him omniscient and the closest to truth/reality, the way things are meant to be. Bran is thus an allegory of the philosopher king, the ideal ruler "who possesses both a love of knowledge, as well as intelligence, reliability, and a willingness to live a simple life".

Tyrion is not only wise, he constantly learns from his mistakes, which is why he is fit to become a great advisor: he is not afraid to do his best and fail, because he will always find a way to get back on his feet. All the people ruling Westeros are now the wisest of the wises, including Bronn who was the ultimate cynic and among the most pragmatic characters of the show, and with the exception of Sansa who became the new allegory of Machiavelism after learning everything from Baelish.

The only problem with this season was its pace, which made things hard to understand. And yet, the message is still there, which is what matters most in a good show.

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    @basilesamel - I refuse to believe that you are 25. There is no way. Check your birth certificate again.

    I didn't see even 25% of what you wrote here. I feel like I need to watch the whole show again if I missed this much. Could you explain what happened with Arya? I actually want to understand. Why did Cersi die so easily? Did you read the book? How did you get this type of insight?

    I shared this post with my brother with whom I have had a few arguments about the ending. Here is what he said.

    "WOW. This was perfect. "

    Keni avatar Keni | May 21, 2019 11:22:20
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      @keni Thank you and your brother then :P

      I didn't read the books, just watched some interviews with GRR Martin about how he wrote his books. GRR Martin does a lot of historical research so it became quite obvious he read Machiavel's The Prince. Machiavel and Plato (who wrote about this concept of the philosopher king) are mandatory to study in French high schools, so I just extrapolated from there :) Nothing I wrote is 100% fact, I'm merely sharing my perspective on the story.

      Arya overcame her feelings of vengeance in episode 5. She is then seen stumbling in the streets before encountering a white horse, which is clearly a biblical reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. I thought Arya would represent the Pale Horse (death) and kill Daenerys, but she was, in fact, the White Horse: the conqueror, or maybe in her case, the conquistador (an explorer). Arya stated two seasons ago she wanted to travel west of Westeros so it makes sense she trades her life as an assassin to fulfill the destiny she dreamed for herself. More generally, Arya always was a character who wanted to go on an adventure, then she grew tired of death during the fifth episode after witnessing Daenerys' genocide.

      Well, for Cersei, not all deaths are meant to be memorable I guess. You can't just behead every hated character publicly + she had her fair share of shaming. She always was a vulnerable woman/mother, we only get to know it at the end when she tells Jaime she doesn't want to die. She was a woman full of secrets who died in the dark, just like the way she lived - always in the shadows.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 21, 2019 17:51:32
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      @basilesamel @keni borrowing in a friend's perspective, Cersei's much-debated sudden vulnerability also seemed to make sense, in a way. Transforming a super-villain into a small, terrified human being, taking the rug out of the viewer and almost pleading for sympathy for that weak figure during Daenerys's atomic attack is pure HBO provocation :D

      Sara Silva avatar Sara Silva | May 21, 2019 12:12:27
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      @sarasilva yes exactly :P Subversion all the way, nothing is black or white.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 21, 2019 18:20:33
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    @basilesamel This is a very thoughtful review and much deeper than my superficial take on GoT. Perhaps because I did not read the books or do not have an interest in the politics of the stories, I did not watch GoT and take away the deeper meanings that you did. You are delivering college lectures on the topic, and I'm with Bronn let's get those brothels back up and running stat!

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | May 21, 2019 07:14:30
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      @brandonwilson Samwell better get his shit together now that Bronn is in da place lmao

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 21, 2019 16:28:39
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    @basilesamel I couldn't agree more,

    Daenerys' twist is brilliant because it explains how people can be led to serve and praise tyrants: with emotions, Manichaeism and good storytelling.
    Yes! That was a great way to illustrate it, much like the "you either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain"

    I only don't "agree" with

    he is not afraid to do his best and fail
    Well, Tyrion did say he was, in fact, afraid of, and wanted not to be, the King's hand as well.

    All in all, it had beautiful moments: I loved the Brienne touch, of writing a good story for Jaime, and Dany's demise with a glimpse of her lovely younger self... still I recognise it was vertigo with the pacing, and it left a feeling of almost emptiness, but I guess it's part of any ending 😔

    Sara Silva avatar Sara Silva | May 21, 2019 08:51:32
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      @sarasilva Brienne had such a good ending! Loved the character and her development. Brienne was always the one to serve, and with this scene, she finally creates her own story. It's a nice touch to illustrate how her character transcended her social status, from a woman bodyguard to a highly respected knight.

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 21, 2019 15:52:52
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      @basilesamel loved my girl Brienne throughout the show, so pure in her intents, such a good strong message

      Sara Silva avatar Sara Silva | May 21, 2019 12:15:30
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    @basilesamel oh no no no no no no no...
    what could I add... no no no no no no no...
    I will try to elaborate in the post...

    Lucjah avatar Lucjah | May 21, 2019 13:37:59
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