The Dark Herald Fixes A Game of Thrones

The Dark Herald Fixes A Game of Thrones

I’ve recently gone on the record as stating that I don’t think George R. R. Martin will ever finish A Song of Ice and Fire. The last book was released eleven years ago. He’s got two books to go and Gary from Nerdrotic makes a pretty compelling argument for him not being even halfway done with the next one.

Back in 2015 all of the show’s fans were saying that George RR Martin is a better author than JRR Tolkien and that A Song of Ice and Fire is superior to The Lord of the Rings.  Now, it’s 2022 and his Stans are pretending they never said anything of the kind.

The ending of the series was a disaster and just about the only way that George can salvage his literary reputation (such as it is) is to leave A Song of Ice and Fire as “one of the great unfinished works of literature.”  He also has the devastating problem for a Gamma Goblin of having to take something away from a strong female whamen.  Not having Arya kill the Night King will send the Twitteristas into a Woke frenzy, and then they will say mean things about him.

It really comes down to just how badly Benioff and Weiss failed to stick the landing.  Unless you count “augering in” as sticking the landing.

These two alleged writers were so frantic to get done with GOT and move on to Star Wars that they forgot some of the simplest basics of writing.

In Western fiction, the plot can most easily be boiled down to the Question of the Story.  What is the Question the story is trying to answer?  Jim Butcher gave a good example of this that I’ll paraphrase. ‘The Question of the Lord of the Rings is, will Frodo be able to overcome all of the obstacles, hardships, plus the might and minions of Sauron to complete his quest of bringing the ring to Mount Doom so that it can be destroyed? Not destroy the ring himself but complete his quest.  If it was just to destroy the ring, then Gandalf probably should have just called up the Eagles back in Hobbiton.  

Can Frodo complete his quest?

Answer: Yes. 

See? Anybody could write Lord of the Ring.

The fundamental disaster of A Game of Thrones was that Benioff and Weiss couldn’t figure out what the Question of the story was.

Can Jon Snow overcome all the obstacles from disadvantageous birth to death itself in order to kill the King of the Ice Zombies and save Westeros?

Answer: No, but his sister can.

As bad as that is, at least it’s an answer.  

But then B&W screwed things up by making, who shall sit on the Iron Throne? The real Question of the story.  That was literary incompetence on an epic scale. Literally.

That was one of the big reasons everyone hated the ending of GOT.  The Battle of Winter Fell was the climax of the story.  Everything after that should have just been dénouement.  Instead, there was a second and more incoherent climax that consisted of a lot of cheap drama that was trying to look clever.  And wasn’t.

Here is how to fix a Game of Thrones.  First and foremost, the question of who shall sit on the Iron Throne? Is not the question of the story.  It’s a subplot.  The existential threat of zombie genocide is a bigger story. 

Can Jon Snow kill the Night King? That is the only question that really matters because there won’t be a world if he fails.

Fix begins:

Jon Snow awakens in the underworld and gets a Spiritual Guide. During the Road of Trials in the underworld he is stripped of his doubts and weaknesses. At the end of the Road of Trials, it is revealed that Jon’s Spiritual Guide is his father Rheagar Targaryen (played dashingly by Henry Cavil). Jon returns from the underworld resolute in his quest for the throne, he doesn’t want it but he knows he must get it for only a King of Valyrian descent can kill the Night King.

Instead of 100% girl-bossing her way onto the Iron Throne, Dani knows she will need a secure foothold on Westeros without fighting her way into it every step of the way. A political marriage is the best way to do that. And who better than a bastard who just killed Ramsey Bolton and effectively crowned himself king? Kings Landing now has a beef with King Jon and Dani has a beef with Kings Landing. The alliance through marriage is a natural one. They don’t want to be married to each other but from that conflict blooms romance (or at least a romantic subplot). Jon does macho stuff that wins the respect of the Dothraki.

A war with Kings Landing begins. Lots of death, murder, and betrayal ensues.

Cersei discovers that Dani is infertile because of her disastrous miscarriage when she was married to Khal Drogo. So she parlays with Dani. Cersei agrees that the Ice Zombies are a menace and will need to be eliminated.  It doesn’t matter whose skeleton sits on the Iron Throne if they fail. Defeating them will require more resources than she has, the kingdom won’t follow her for something like this, and Dani’s pet Mongol horde will obviously be needed. In exchange for titles, territories, guarantees of personal safety, and (since Dani is barren) acknowledgment of her offspring as heirs to the throne, Cersei will step aside and let Dani rule.   

Jon and Dani are deeply suspicious, Sansa is nakedly hostile to the idea. Everyone else on their side thinks it’s a pretty good deal, especially in light of Dani’s recently revealed infertility.  They are forced to accept Cersei’s offer by their court. Sansa refuses to have any part of it and won’t leave Winterfell for Kings Landing.

Cersei of course betrays everyone. Dani gets killed, and Cersei gets killed along with several of the more expendable characters. Including the dragon that isn’t Drogo.

Now there is no one to lead the kingdom in this desperate hour. But then it’s revealed that Jon is the son of Prince Rhaegar. Drogo lets Jon ride him thus signifying his right to rule. And so Jon takes the Iron Throne.

Word comes that Winterfell is under siege by the White Walkers.

King Jon heads north with all of the armies at his command and does battle with the king of the Ice Zombies.  The climax begins.  Jon Targaryen goes through all the standard stages of isolation, confrontation, the dark moment of failure (Drogo is killed), the choice, the dramatic reversal, and finally the resolution to the story where the Question of the story is finally answered.  

Can Jon Snow kill the king of the Ice Zombies?

Answer: Yes. Arya was killed in Kings Landing.

Then comes the dénouement.  Jon has won but is utterly broken by the cost of his victory.  He can no longer bang his aunt. He breaks the Iron Throne into seven pieces and sends a hunk of it to each of the Seven Kingdoms.  He appoints Bran (who can’t have children) as his regent, Bran’s mission is to oversee the peaceful breakup of Westeros.  And the last of the Targaryen kings returns to the Wall.  

When he dies his kingdom will die with him.

See?  Anyone can write a Game of Thrones.


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