The Lion's Mouth, the main entry to Casterly Rock, is an enormous natural cavern reaching two hundred feet high. Its steps are now wide enough for twenty riders. Its port has docks, wharves, and shipyards and is accessible by longships and cogs.
The Kings of the Rock from House Lannister took their title from their seat, and members of the family founded nearby Lannisport. During the Andal invasion, the Lannisters eventually invited Andals into their realm and brought Andal youths to serve at Casterly Rock as wards and potential hostages. According to a lost scroll, Valyrian sorcerers believed their downfall would come from the Rock's gold.
Oberyn wanted vengeance for Elia. Now the three of you want vengeance for him. I have four daughters, I remind you. Your sisters. My Elia is fourteen, almost a woman. Obella is twelve, on the brink of maiden-hood. They worship you, as Dorea and Loreza worship them. If you should die, must El and Obella seek vengeance for you, then Dorea and Loree for them? Is that how it goes, round and round forever? I ask again, where does it end?
It’s still an interesting show, and I’ll keep watching, but I can’t help but feel like we’re getting an increasingly efficient, stripped-down, and streamlined version of the extremely baggy and meandering monstrosity that George R. R. Martin is clearly incapable of finishing. But his incapacity to close it out is a function—I am convinced—of what it is that he created: at its core, this is a soap opera. Game of Thrones could have been a narrative framework within which a multitude of characters come and go and scheme and plot and improvise—ostensibly moving towards some kind of grand resolution, but manifestly in no hurry to get there—and for a long time, that’s exactly what it was. Interminable wars go on and on while our protagonists struggle to survive—and when they don’t, new protagonists pop up in new places and struggle to survive in turn—and the show become less like a grand epic than a narrative ecosystem, with a changing and evolving cast, replenishing its stock of story with new story every time a narrative line went dry.
No more: the callous efficiency with which Dorne is being disposed of speaks to the necessity that the showrunners seem to feel about cleaning up all the loose odds and ends of the plot; instead of diverging and branching narratives, everything is converging. And much is lost as this happens. For all the richness of the reunion scenes—after years have passed and shared experiences are stretched and warped by memory—it’s becoming a narrative device with diminishing returns, like we’re harvesting but not replanting. Olenna’s death mirrors Joffrey’s, just as the Sand Snakes’ death mirrors Myrcella’s, nice symmetrical end-stops. Put differently: we’re seeing narrative repetitions, closed-parentheses on interesting tangents, but there aren’t any new ones opening up.
Remember when characters on this show used to just talk and talk and talk? And talk? It feels like they don’t, anymore, which is related to the fact that travel times have been effectively reduced to zero. Every scene moves the plot forward, because all those long journeys that used to drag things out and leave characters with nothing to do but walk and talk and scheme… well, let us observe that Euron continues to be able to teleport his ships around the world so as to get where he needs to go at exactly the right time, and in only three episodes, the war has completely changed its shape; when the situation changes this fast, there’s no chance to ruminate.
Here’s where my head damn near exploded. After establishing quite clearly that everyone knows that Cersei burnt down the Sept of Baelor, now we get cheering crowds applauding Euron Crowseye? There should be riots in the street, or at the very least ominous crowds barely held back by the gold cloaks. The lack of any kind of continuity when it comes to public opinion and political support really does show a stark difference between Benioff and Weiss – who think of the smallfolk as easily swayed dupes – and GRRM, who goes into great detail about their political ideas and actions.
I also enjoy that the great mystery Ned Stark was slowly unraveling that whole season is something everyone casually jokes about now. Oh Ned.
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