A Game of Thrones



G
ame of Thrones is HBO’s presentation of George R. R. Martin’s medieval fantasy epic, A Song of Ice and Fire. The Known WorldNamed for the first novel in the series, it relates the struggle for the the Iron Throne of the mythical country of Westeros. The world of Westeros is not named though it is often referred to (outside of the tales) as The Known World. In addition to Westeros, The Known World includes the continent of Essos, lying east of the Westeros across The Narrow Sea, and the little known continent of Sothoryos, lying south of Essos.

Background

George R. R. Martin set out to write an epic trilogy with his first volume, A Game of Thrones, publish in 1996. However, he soon realized that three books would not contain the story he had to write. To date, Martin has completed five of seven planned books. Meanwhile, with completion of Season 6 of the HBO series, Game of Thrones has outpaced Martin’s story (leaving many of his fans bitter with Martin). The final two Seasons will exceed the current story line with much speculation as to whether the TV series and the books will continue to the same finish.(However, I have it that Martin has revealed the end of his epic to the series creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss.)


Over the first 7 Seasons, Game of Thrones has put up some very impressive

ratings:



And, over Season 7, viewership has averaged 30.6 million views per episode! (That

includes ALL views of the episode, not just the night of airing.)

A Recap of Season 7

Season 7 was first and foremost the shortest season of the series. Seems it was just rolling good and then it’s gone leaving many of us with the DTs. However, in the short season, many major events occurred. For an update on the players, check the chart below. First, let’s look at who was killed.



While several of the deaths came as a surprise, there were many other surprises that occurred, or didn’t occur, this season.


  1. Jon's sword, Longclaw, given to him by Ser Jeor Mormont. He tried to give it to Ser Jorah, its rightful owner but Ser Jorah refused it.
  2. Brienne's sword (formerly Jaime's), Oath Keeper, which was one of the swords made from the Stark great sword and the larger of the two.
  3. Jaime's sword (formerly Joffrey's), Widow's Wail, which also was made from the Stark great sword. (I wonder if the Stark sword will be remade?)
  4. Arya's dagger, Catspaw, given to her by Bran (who was given it by its owner, Littlefinger.)
  5. Samwell's Tarley family sword, Heartsbane. It was probably good that he stole it from his father or it might have been melted when the dragon fried his father.


And so here are my thoughts and predictions for Season 8.



And the final word on Season 8 - there’s a rumor that Season 8 airing will be delayed until summer of 2019 due to the late shooting schedule. We can only hope that this is just a rumor.


A History of Westeros

The first known inhabitants of Westeros was a race of small humanoids known as the Children of the Forest. They shared their world with giants and other mythical creatures. It was about 12,000 years ago that the First Men ventured west from Essos across The Narrow Sea. Being more numerous and larger than the Children and bearing bronze weapons, Men gradually drove them back and established numerous petty kingdoms. Finally, after 2,000 years of warfare, the First Men and the Children of the Forest agreed to a peaceful coexistence with men having dominion over the open lands and the children over the forested areas. It was at this time that the Seven Kingdoms were founded that would last for 4,000 years. The Seven KingdomsAnd in time, the First Men, with the exception of the Iron Islands, came to worship the Old Gods of the forest. The Seven Kingdoms were:



About 8,000 years ago, Westeros suffered the longest winter in history, lasting for a generation. As the ice spread to the south, a species of humanoids known as the Others, and more recently as the White Walkers, marched with the ice killing and raising the dead to be their warriors and servants. The First Men and the Children united to drive the Others back to the reaches of the Far North using weapons forged of dragonglass (obsidian).


After the defeat of the Others, the Wall was built by Bran the Builder. It is said that Giants aided in the construction of the Wall and that it was bound with mighty spells to keep the Others and the dead from passing. It was also at this time that the Sworn Brothers of the Night's Watch was founded as “the shield that guards the realms of men”. It is also believed that Bran the Builder built Winterfell and became the first King in the North and founded House Stark.


This peaceful truce between First Men and the Children lasted 4,000 years until the invasion of the Andals from Essos. Worshipers of the Faith of the Seven and guided by their head deity, they crossed the Narrow Sea, landing near the Vale of Arryn wielding swords of steel. Opposed by both the First Men and the Children, they quickly swept Westeros with their superior weapons. Eventually, the six southron kingdoms fell to the Andals, leaving only the Kingdom of the North in the hands of the First Men.


As the Andals, the Free Men and the Children, war over Westoros, dragons are found lairing in the chain of volcanoes extending across the neck of the Valyrian peninsula. Tamed with magic, the once peaceful folk of the peninsula employ the dragons to conquer the area and the Valyrian Freehold is founded. At this time, the secret of Valyrian steel was discovered and many swords were forged.


Valyria thrived for almost 5,000 years, expanding its influence throughout Essos and, approximately 200 years ago, even to a small island at the mouth of Blackwater Bay, naming it Dragonstone. Seventy-five years later, as a result of a dream by his daughter, Daenys, Lord Aenar Targaryen left Valyria with all of his family and belongings and settled at Dragonstone.Twelve years later, the volcanoes of Valyria shattered the peninsula and the city of Valyria was laid waste and the race of dragons in Essos was wiped out. This later came to be known as the Doom of Valyria.


One hundred and twenty-six years after their move to Dragonstone, Aegon the Conqueror invaded Westeros and, within two years, riding on the wings of his dragons, conquered six of the seven kingdoms, leaving only Dorne unconquered. He constructed a new capitol on the banks of Blackwater Bay which he names King’s Landing. It took another 150 years to conquer Dorne. Ironically, it came four years after the death of the last dragon. However, it took the marriage of the king’s younger sister, Daenerys, to Prince Maron Martell to finally bring Dorne under Targaryen rule.


Two hundred and eighty-two years after Aegon’s invasion, Rhaegar Targaryen, son of Aerys, the Mad King, abducts Lyanna Stark, betrothed of Robert Baratheon. Lyanna’s father, Rickard, and brother, Brandon, appear before the king and demand the return of their daughter and sister. Aerys has them burned alive with wild fire in the throne room. In retribution, Eddard Stark, Jon Arryn and Robert Baratheon raise their banners in open rebellion to the crown. The king’s army is defeated by the rebels at the Battle of the Trident, where Prince Rheagar is killed.


The Lannisters march to the aid of the king, but turn against him. At the command of Tywin Lannister, Ser Gregor Clagane (the Mountain) killed Prince Rhaegar’s wife, Elia Martell (sister of Oberyn Martell) and their children. King Aerys is slain by Ser Jaime Lannister during the sack of King’s Landing, for which he is ever labeled “The Kingslayer”. He later reveals that the king planned to “kill them all”, referring to the citizens of King’s Landing, using wild fire which is stored in the catacombs beneath the city.


After The Trident, Eddard Stark, along with Howland Reed, defeat Ser Arthur Dane, the Sword of the Morning and possibly the greatest swordsman of his day, before the Tower of Joy. Inside they find Eddard’s sister, Lyanna, dying on her birthing bed. A baby boy is placed in Eddard’s arms and Lyanna whispers words heard only by Eddard and then “If Robert finds out, he'll kill him, you know he will.” Eddard takes the babe back to Winterfell where he introduces him as a bastard by an unnamed woman and names him Jon Snow. Eddard takes knowledge this to his death, not even revealing it to his wife, Catelyn, though she loathes Jon for the rest of her life.

The Religions of Westeros

The old gods - The Children of the Forest, the aborigines of Westeros, worshipped the old gods. These were the gods of the mountains, forests and streams. Though nameless, they were symbolized by the weirwood trees.Weirwood Tree It was said that the greenseers of the Children, wise men of a kind, were able to talk with birds and beasts, see through their eyes and, through the eyes of the carved faces in the weirwood trees, see the greater world at large. After the First Men reached a peace accord with the Children, many of them came to accept the old gods. It is not recorded what their beliefs were prior to this.


The old gods continue to be revered and worshipped by those in the North to the current day.


The Drowned God and the Storm God were worshipped by the Ironborn of the Iron Islands. The Drowned God is a harsh deity that governs the Ironborn lives, encouraging raiding, reaving and raping of those not Ironborn. The Storm God and the Drowned God have warred since their creation. It is said that when the oceans roil and the storm winds squall, the gods are battling.


The Lady of the Waves and the Lord of the Skies - The Lady of the Waves and the Lord of the Skies was worshipped by the folk of The Three Sisters, islands lying to the east of The Neck. Storms, sacred to these people, were thought to be the result of the Lady and Lord mating.


The Faith of the Seven - The Faith of the Seven, referred to simply as the Faith, was born in the hills of Andalos in Essos approximately 6,000 years ago. Adopted by the Andals, it was brought to Westoros with their invasion. It embraces the concept of the Seven Who Are One - the Father, the Mother, the Warrior, the Maiden, the Smith, the Crone and the Stranger. The tenets of the Faith are defined in the holy text The Seven-Pointed Star. The Faith’s place of worship is the sept, each of which has one or more septons (priests) or septas (priestesses).


The Faith was brought to Westoros by the Andals and eventually became the dominant religion. Because among the requirements to become a knight is the requirement to spend a nightlong vigil in a sept and be anointed in the name of the Seven, there are few knights in areas where the Faith is not kept. Since the old gods are still worshipped by most of the North, there are few knights from this region.


The Lord of Light - R’hllor, the Lord of Light, though little known in Westoros, is a prominent god in Essos. R’hllor is locked in an eternal struggle with the Great Other, the god of ice and death. This conflict will end only when Azor Ahai returns to raise dragons from stone and defeat the Great Other with his flaming sword, Lightbringer. The red priests of R’hllor can be either male or female.

Recap of Season 6

Season 6 led us into uncharted waters with a still not released publication date of Martin’s sixth tome - The Winds of Winter. For five seasons we have witnessed the on-going decline for House Stark. It began with the slaughter of Ned’s men outside of Littlefinger’s brothel and the slaying of Jory Cassel, Captain of the Stark guards and Ned’s subsequent beheading at the order of the sociopathic King Joffrey.


After Ned’s death, his son Robb, was proclaimed the King in the North and became known as the Young Wolfe. With several strategicGOT.pdf victories over the Lanisters it appeared that the Stark power was waxing. However, it was dashed at the Red Wedding when, at the hands of Walder Frey and with the betrayal of Roose Bolton, Robb Stark, his pregnant wife, Talisa, (whose marriage precipitated the Red Wedding) and Lady Stark, Ned’s wife, Caitlen, were treacherously killed. Robb’s army, camped and celebrating outside of Lord Frey’s castle, was set upon by the Freys and slaughtered. Possibly the most emotional death was that of Robb’s direwolf, Grey Wind, ambushed in his kennel by Frey’s men. The ultimate affront comes with the naming of House Bolton as the Wardens of the North and their taking possession of Winterfell, the ancestral home of the Starks. And to add insult to injury, Roose Bolton’s bastard, Ramsay Snow, is made a Bolton by order of the King and, after murdering his father, assumes the title of Warden of the North. Ramsay Bolton gives King Joffrey a run to the title of Sociopath of the Age.


Fortunately, as Season 6 closes, Ramsay Bolton lies dead at the jaws of his own hounds, the Starks are back in possession of Winterfell and Walder Frey lies dead at the hands of Arya Stark. Finally, the Stark fortune is once again rising.


So here is a summary of the major characters living at the beginning of Season 6 along with their travails. (To assist in your confusion, please refer to the Updated Guide to the Houses & Character Relationships above.)


Jon Snow

Sansa Stark

Arya Stark

Brandon and Rickon Stark

Joffrey Baratheon

Cersei Lannister

Daenerys Targaryen

Tyrion Lannister

Season 7 - What can we expect?

There has been much (and I mean much) speculation as to where GoT goes in Seasons 7 and 8. Actually, the consensus is that Season 8 will be devoted to the war with the Night King and his minions. The question is, who will show up for the good guys. That seems to be the crux of Season 7.


So at the end of Season 6 we are left with the following scenarios:


Cersei has crowned herself Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, etc., etc., and Jaime appears to be displeased. She may have 20-30,000 troops at her disposal, but no navy; however, she’s managed to kill all of the Lannisters with any strategic abilities with the exception of Jaime. And his future is in question. And she has alienated herself from all of the Great Houses with the possible exception of the Freys.


Jon Snow has been declared King in the North. Along with the Knights of the Vale, he may be able to field 30,000 loyal northerners including perhaps 1,000 wildlings. However, many were killed in the battles and the exact number available is uncertain.


Daenerys sails from Essos with around a 1,000 ships (made up of Iron Borne, Slave Master and Dornish), 100,000 Dothraki, 8,000 Unsullied and 3 Dragons.


Euron Greyjoy is building a fleet of 1,000 ships. Not sure what he’ll do with them when they are built. His strength of fighting men is unknown but is surely the smallest of the lot.



And here are many of the questions that we can only hope Season 7 will answer:


Will Bran reveal to Jon his parentage? The fact that the information exists is its own raison d’etre. And given this knowledge, will the North still hail him as King? After all, Lyanna was still a Stark and technically, the blood of Ned Stark’s forebears runs through his veins.


Will Daenerys, accepting that Jon is in fact a Targaryen, seek his hand in marriage? Targaryens have intermarried for ages (thus the Mad King.) Or will she reject this road in her quest for change?


If she rejects Jon as a mate, will she accept him as an ally? And if so, will she allow him to remain as King in the North (thereby sundering the Seven Kingdoms.)


If the North rejects Jon as Ned’s heir, will they instead accept Sansa as Queen in the North? Is this even a viable option? Has there ever been a Queen in the North?


Will Jaime see Cersei’s use of wildfire as the same insanity as the Mad King? If so, will he kill her (thus becoming the King and Queen Slayer.) After all, the witch’s foreseeing of her death by her “little brother” could also apply to Jaime. Though they are twins, she was born first making Jaime the younger.


Or will Tyrion be the one to do Cersei in? It would be sweet revenge for the Imp after all of the years of torment. However, I also think that Tyrion would have some regret since I honestly feel he has some familial love for her.


Will Arya complete her death list? Here is her list and the the status status of its members - Joffrey, dead at the hands of the Queen of Thornes and Littlefinger; Cersei, alive and Queen; Walder Frey, dead at Arya’s hand; Ser Meryn Trant, killed by Arya in Braavos; Tywin Lannister, dead by Tyrion; Melisandre, alive; Beric Dondarion, alive; Thoros of Myr, alive; Ser Ilyn Payne, alive; Ser Gregor Clegane (the Mountain), seems to be alive; the Hound, alive and possibly no longer on the list; Polliver, killed by Arya at the inn; the Tickler, killed by Jaqen at Arya’s request; Ser Amory Lorch, killed by Jaqen at Arya’s request.


Will Arya rejoin her sister, Sansa, and half-brother, Jon, in Winterfell? With Cersei, Ser Ilyn Payn and the Mountain in the same location, King’s Landing would seem like her next destination. Or possibly the Band of Brothers where she will find Beric and Thoros and probably Melisandre. And she will be surprised to find the Hound alive. And he knows all of the names on her list.


Will Arya be reunited with Nymeria, her dire wolf? She set her free way back in Season 1 after Nymeria attacked Joffrey in her defense. It was near the Crossroads Inn in the Riverlands lying along her path to either King’s Landing or the Brothers.


Who will Daenerys marry? Jon has already been mentioned. She told Ser Jorah that she could not take the throne without him. However, he is a disenfranchised member of a minor house and would probably not qualify. Jaime Lannister would bring a large portion of the Westeros army to her side. Then there is Littlefinger who aspires to the thrown and might deliver The Vale. A long shot…first he has to survive Season 7. Then there’s always Sweet Robert Arryn. Oh yeah, what about Tyrion? Hmmmm. (I think we can scratch Lord Varys off the list.)


What major players will die in Season 7? In the early episodes, it seemed that as soon as we grew fond of a character and thought that he or she would be the savior of the Seven Kingdoms, they were killed. However, since the Red Wedding, I can think of only three major characters to die that have been around from the beginning and that we care about. (No, not Tywin, no one really cared about him and no one in Baelor’s Sept really meets my criteria, not even Margaery Tyrell.) The only meaningful deaths in Season 6 were Hodor and Summer and Shaggydog, Bran and Rickon’s dire wolves. We will have to wait and see.


As the One-Eyed Raven, what will Bran do?


What about Uncle Benjen Stark?


And what role will Gendry play?


…And then there is the Night King and his minions. But that’s best left for Season 8.


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