Game of Thrones Season 8B, Episode 4 Speculation, with SPOILERS FOR EP. 3!




Samwell Tarly, Wanted for Book Theft and Confabulism

As we enter Season 8B of Game of Thrones — which designation I pattern after the split final season of HBOs The Sopranos — Winter is no longer Coming (at least not on foot), and House Stark needs a new motto.  (Perhaps “Cold and Calculating”?  Though perhaps they don’t need to hurry to get one, as most of the Northern nobility is dead.)  Seriously, who’s entitled to be in charge of Bear Island these days?  Jorah’s long-departed spendthrift ex-wife?)  As the story (literally, not figuratively) heads south — though probably not as far South as Dorne, which could well join the North and the Iron Islands in an argument for a federation of independent states — it’s timely for us to remember that there’s more to life on the continent but Lannisters, Starks, and mostly-fake Baratheons.

GoT prides itself in misdirection, in capitalizing gleefully on what you may not have considered, especially if it was right in your face the whole time.  And what we might have forgotten, as the story heads to the south, is that Samwell Tarly is a thief.

Yes, he stole his ancient House’s ancestral sword from the Tarly residence, but frankly no one there is still around to press charges.  (By the way, Dany torching all of that food doesn’t look so stupid now, does it?  Cersei’s the one with lots of empty mouths to feed.)  Of greater consequence is that he stole some priceless and irreplaceable books from the Citadel — a major political player south of the North — and we should not be surprised if, in this second half of Season 8, he is called upon to pay a hefty fine, even if he returns them late.

Samwell may well argue in his defense on theft of antiquities charges that he played an instrumental role in defeating the Night King, who doubled as the Borg Queen when it comes to being the sole weak spot that could shut down an entire army, keeping Jon alive long enough to, um, watch Arya give a war whoop (why isn’t anyone complaining about that?) before turning the NK into crushed ice.  We know that he can tell a good story.

But .. why should the Maesters of the Citidel in Oldtown believe a word that he says?  Yes, they presumably accept that there were dragons in the old days, and perhaps even now — but why should they believe that there was a being called the Night King who did all of the things he’s accused of?  (Raising the dead and turning them into his soldiers, really?)  If they’re aware of anything — depending on which ravens got through and what information they had — it may be that there were reports of a wight (or something pretending to be one) in the Dragon pit, and they probably know about Euron and the Golden Company.  The Maesters are not likely to feel warmly towards Cersei so long as she was disgraced ex-Maester Qyburn as her hand — but that was a long time ago and at least he’s not a greyscale-chipping, plague-risking, book thief!)

With the Reach depopulated, Casterly Rock irrelevant, and Dorne presumably off-limits to the show’s writers, the main players south of the North as the Iron Islands, the Vale, and Oldtown — the latter of which has to fear ravishing by the Iron Islands, just up the coast.  Both because of Sam and the threat posed by Euron, I think that the Maesters side with Cersei — and while they don’t have troops, who knows what sort of influence they do have.  Edmure Tully is potentially the key to the Riverlands and the Twins (through his wife), and we know that he’s both weak and smack in between the North and both the Vale and Crownlands.  (And, unlike the even more hapless Robyn Arryn, he doesn’t have a huge impregnable tower to hide in.)  If Jamie stays true to Dany and Tyrion’s cause, then we have a Lannister Civil War, and Edmure won’t even know to whom to capitulate.  (Maybe the Blackfish did escape the Lannisters and will come back; there’s certainly enough of a power vacuum.)

Complicating the situation even more is that two of the continent’s great religions seem to have collapsed.  We don’t even know if the Old Gods are active anymore, with the Night King’s threat eliminated.  (Seriously, why would they be?)  And R’hillor the Red God is even more likely to be out of business, now that the prophecies are completed (or, um, incompleted, for those of us who are trying to figure out how Arya fulfilled the Azor Ahai and “Prince That Was Promised” details).  This raises the further question of what religions may still be thriving on Essos.  Has Kinvara closed up shop as well?

The Faith of the Seven still has some presumed influence (except perhaps for that whole unfortunate Blowing Up the Sept of Baelor incident.)  Any other religions still around?  The only one that comes to mind, besides the supposedly useless but still kicking Drowned God, is the worship of Death that animates the Faceless Men — though if the Night King truly did equal Death then perhaps they too have a problem.

It’s looking more to me like there’s not that much left to rule over — but that what there is of it is probably going to be dominated by Essos.  The Faceless Men are from Braavos, as is the Iron Bank — to which Cersei is in hock — which is affiliated with the Golden Company as has the ability to outbid her.  My guess is that when it comes to the Cleansing of the Shire portion of our saga, it’s just not going to be cleansed.  The person who rules Westeros, if there is a continent-wide ruler. will be determined by Tycho Nestorius, head of the Iron Bank.  In other words, the saga ends with Westeros exiting the medieval period and entering modernity.  I doubt that Cersei will be the stable hand that they wand in control, but the interesting thing is that … it really won’t much matter who sits on the throne, once the banks are in control.

A fantasy, you said?  Sounds pretty realistic to me.

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)