Carice van Houten reflects on the end of Game of Thrones and Melisandre’s death

I wouldn’t jump in this discussion, but it’s evolving so nicely, I thought I might leave a note or two.

I don’t think that Jon was supposed to be in love with Dany. The story as it was had a “romance” that was undercut each and every time these two shared common scenes, whether it was bend the knee/ominous voice over/dragons/superior claim/powerplay and whatever. It was written like that on purpose and it was supposed to be questioned and doubted, otherwise why write it like that, why direct it like that? Jon only said to Dany that he loved her once and Dany understood the opposite. “Let it be fear”. It was the most eloquent scene between them. If I had any doubts, this particular scene cleared it for me. Remember, everybody says that Jon is in love with Dany, Sansa, Tyrion, Varys, but not Jon. He had no such issues with Ygrit, he told her he loved her more than once and he knew they were on opposing camps. So why did they write the Jon-Dany romance like that? They could have just as easily give us all the looks and sighs and the tropes that go with it all. It makes no sense, unless it wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

While, on the other hand, I do think that Tyrion was in love with Dany, for many reasons, but mostly because of the look of pure adoration he gave her when she named him Hand. Actors are specifically directed to act a certain way, and in that scene PD was probably told to be like that (I don’t think that KH received a direction like that btw, save perhaps the killing scene, but that was emotionally charged anyway). And I do think that Tyrion will be in love with Dany in the books too.

But in the end, if someone was clearly in love with Dany, that was D&D (both). They completely wiped out the Starks in seasons 7 and 8 and made it all about Dany. I think they too believed in the beginning that Dany was the ultimate hero, Azor Ahai or something; the blond girl that starts as the underdog, fragile, scared and powerless, who rises through the challenges and becomes this all-powerful, god-like, flawless, superhero with a solid moral compass. The problem is, that Martin is one for subversions of typical tropes and he has stated that he doesn’t like clear-cut heroes because they are boring. He also said that the villain is the hero of the other side, which means, that to some, in-universe, but also outside of it, Dany is a hero. The problem is, what happens with the rest of them who don’t see her as a hero, but perceive her rather as a threat (eg Sansa, or the Tarlys).

So Dany meets Jon back in season 7, and that scene was imo one of the best in the entire series, which encapsulates the entire political problem in GOT. We have an assertive, self-righteous, entitled ruler or rather ruler to be, and one who rose through the ranks and war to become king. “You are in open rebellion”. Ok, only she forgot that Cersei was sitting on the iron throne, so the rebellion wasn’t against her. Dany didn’t want to gain an ally, she wanted to gain subjects. And that was a bad start for Westeros. Dany took a king and turned him to nothing; he gave up his throne, his name and ultimately his family to support her claim, and what does she do? She threatens his family, and then she burns KL.

They took a nicely set up political thriller and turned it into a personal story about Dany and her need to be loved, adored and seen like a godess, while at the same time they ignored entirely the personal stories of the Starks, who are central to ASOIAF according to Martin. The surviving Starks became Dany’s satellites. There was absolutely no political plot or political interest in season 8, and the Starks were swallowed up in Dany’s story. This is why their endings all feel unearned. Even Jon’s parentage turned out to be not about Jon, but about how it contributes to Dany’s instability. We don’t know what Jon thinks about this major change of identity. Some said that his ep6 scene with Tyrion imply that Jon tried to defend himself against the allegation that he too, is a Targaryen, which Tyrion even brings up in the conversation, but the entire discussion is so blurred because of D&D’s need to speak to the audience, that it hardly makes sense.

In the end, none of the political complications, or the magical/apocryphal implications were addressed in the final season. Season 7 set up a good plot, but most of the plot points went completely down the drain or were underwhelmingly or disappointingly addressed in season 8. Dany’s pregnancy or expectation of it; Cersei’s pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage; the burning of the Tarlys; the food issue; the Golden Company; Jon’s curious “bend the knee” situation; Bran’s unwillingness to assume any responsibilities; Melisandre’s going to Volantis; Jon’s parentage.

I’m sure I can find more if I think about it harder. Not to mention I can find even more if I go backwards, eg Jon’s insane foreshadow that he’ll be king in KL (the blue flowers in the glass pannels of the throne room), or Cersei’s prophecy (how’s Bran for “the younger more beautiful queen”?)

The overall impression, now that time has lapsed from the ending, is that they were going for a better, much more complicated story, which they ditched at about the time they edited season 7, even before it aired. By removing Cersei’s miscarriage scene they simplified the story immensely, because a miscarriage would have led Cersei to insanity by connecting to the prophecy; she’d have used the GC more and better against Dany and the North, and she’d actually have a role to play in season 8 (apart from having Missandei decapitated), she’d have tried (because that’s what she needed) to break up the alliance of Jon and Dany, and this would have given Jon a motive to move south. It would have been a political plot, other than the personal one they gave us (the threats against Sansa and Winterfell).

But no. We have what we have.