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Jerkass Has A Point / Game of Thrones

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This trope is a mainstay of the series:

  • Ser Alliser Thorne is a brutal, petty, and sadistic taskmaster who gives his recruits a Training from Hell. When Jon starts protecting Samwell Tarley from Alliser's torments, however, Alliser correctly argues that men of the Night's Watch need to be hard to survive and that the other recruits' lives will depend on their brothers protecting them.
  • Robert's plot to kill Daenerys is definitely very underhanded and fueled by his petty hatred of her entire family and fear, but Pycelle's point that a Dothraki invasion would also result in thousands of innocent deaths is quite persuasive (if you ignore the logistical issues the Dothraki should face in getting to Westeros). As Robert later pointed out to Cersei, if the Dothraki chose to invade Westeros with the Targaryens, the results would be catastrophic, both tactically and politically. Even if the only reason they invade in the first place is because of the attempted assassination. It later becomes Properly Paranoid, as Daenerys managed to hatch something more dangerous than Drogo and his khalasar combined. And later on, Daenerys is the closest thing to The Usurper to the Baratheon-Lannister regime. When she eventually comes to Westeros, several kingdoms ally with her to put her on the throne, which involves the Dothraki stampeding an army. And later Robert Baratheon was proven completely right about Daenerys inheriting the Targaryen madness, as she became a much worse ruler than her father, as Aerys burning down King's Landing was still a last-ditch measure against Robert's rule, while Daenerys slaughtered most of the city after they surrendered.
    Robert: Let's say Viserys Targaryen lands with forty thousand Dothraki screamers at his back. We hole up in our castles. Wise move. Only a fool would meet the Dothraki in an open field. They leave us in our castles. They go from town to town, looting and burning. Killing every man who can't hide behind a stone wall, stealing all our crops and livestock, enslaving all our women and children. How long do people stand behind their absentee king? Their cowardly king hiding behind high walls? When do the people decide that Viserys Targaryen is the rightful monarch after all?
  • Jaime Lannister:
    • When Catelyn tries to insult him by calling him 'Kingslayer', notorious oathbreaker Jaime argues that the king in question was an insane monster and the numerous and contradictory vows knights swear make everyone an oathbreaker eventually. For instance, what if you have sworn to protect the king and defend the innocent, but the king massacres the innocent? Then Jaime points out that Ned Stark, while honourable, was not without his flaws either, and Catelyn herself hardly fulfills the ideals of "Family, Duty, Honor" either, since she was never able to love Jon Snow, her husband's illegitimate son, and an innocent child, and resented him. Of course, this loses its effect once it turned out that Ned never broke his vows (at least as far as cheating on his wife goes- Jon's still upset about having been lied to), but neither of them knows this.
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    • When Ned and Jaime meet in the throne room, Jaime manages to counter all of Ned's criticisms pretty well. For instance, when Ned condemns him for stabbing the Mad King in the back, Jaime asks if he should have stabbed him in the front, exactly what Ned himself had been planning to do, and would have done if Jaime had not killed him. He also points out that, while Ned considers Jaime complicit in his father and brother's death, Jaime points out that the entire court, including Ned's Worthy Opponent Arthur Dayne, stood silently and watched it happen.
    • When Robb confronts Jaime about Stannis' accusations that "Robert's" children with Cersei are bastards born of her incest with Jaime, Jaime notes that if such an accusation were true, that would make Stannis the rightful heir to the Iron Throne, "how convenient for him." He also notes Robb has no proof of this, nor does Stannis, so it might as well just be gossip.
    • When Robert demands to know what the Mad King's last words were when Jaime betrayed him, Jaime responds, "He said the same thing he'd been saying for hours. 'Burn them all.'" which tells the viewers that the death of this King was by no means a tragedy.
    • Manipulating someone into letting you punch them in the face as part of making your point is definitely a jerkass thing to do, but Jaime and Bronn's criticisms of Lothar's siege of Riverrun are on target.
    • When Bronn complains about not having a castle yet to Jaime, Jaime makes several good points about why owning a castle is not all that great. During times of war, they are giant targets, and most of the revenue you earn in taxes would go to basic upkeep costs.
  • When Ned angrily tries to chew Varys out for not helping him when the City Watch and Littlefinger sided with Cersei and slaughtered his retainers, Varys bluntly asks what exactly was he, a portly and unarmed spymaster, supposed to do against a room packed to the rafters with soldiers loyal to the Lannisters. Ned has to concede the point.
    Varys: And would again, my lord. I was unarmed, unarmoured, and surrounded by Lannister swords. When you look at me, do you see a hero?
  • Drogo's bloodrider Qotho is completely right about not trusting Mirri Maz Duur.
  • Speaking of Mirri Maz Duur, as cruel as her words are to the woman who loved Khal Drogo and her unborn son Rhaego, and as treacherous as her actions were, she is not wrong that Khal Drogo was a bloodthirsty barbarian warlord who gleefully partook in Rape, Pillage, and Burn For the Evulz and would have raised his son to have the same values. She likewise has got a point that, from the perspective of the teeming multitudes of non-Dothraki in the world, killing a Dothraki chosen one prophesied to unite the barbarians to ravage the entirety of the known world is no evil deed. She also makes a good point that given what Khal Drogo was responsible for doing to her and her community, her wanting vengeance is entirely justified. Finally, although she does not push this point forward in the series herself, she did warn Daenerys that her Blood Magic ritual was risky and unpredictable (albeit vaguely), so it is not her fault that Daenerys did not get what she wanted.
  • The Spice King is rude and condescending, but when Daenerys asks for ships to get to Westeros he raises some very good points: namely, that she has no real strategy for retaking Westeros, just a belief that everyone will flock to her as the rightful queen and that her massive entitlement issues are not going to make people agreeable to doing her any favours. Later on, he is proven right about the Dragons’ ability to bring misery and destruction when one of Daenerys’s dragons is killed by the Night King and then used to break down the Wall and bring a Zombie Apocalypse while another laid waste to King’s Landing, killing hundreds of innocent people.
  • Theon’s firmly in the Heel part of his Face–Heel Turn when he complains about everyone telling him he should be grateful to the Starks, but when he points out that everyone is essentially telling him that he should be grateful that he had such admirable jailers, his anger makes complete sense.
  • Cersei Lannister:
    • Being motivated by jealousy does not make Cersei's assessment of Margaery as manipulative and two-faced any less true.
    • Cersei is drunk and paranoid when she demands more guards for Tommen's chambers, but since Margaery is somehow able to sneak in, she may have a point.
    • It might be mainly because Cersei is a bitch who revels in seeing others suffer, but what she says to Sansa during the Battle of Blackwater about marrying Joffrey is pretty accurate.
    • While still hiding the fact of Brother–Sister Incest and giving birth to bastards, during her "confession" about adultery, Cersei angrily calls out the High Sparrow on Double Standard, reminding him what kind of a man she had been cheating on. Unfortunately for her, her conversation partner is unfazed, as he thinks All Crimes Are Equal, and the king is now dead and out of reach anyway.
  • While he is unnecessarily a jerkass about it, Craster does have a large family to sustain through the years-long winter with the resources the Night's Watch are steadily consuming as his guests. Grenn and Dolorous Edd seem content enough with it and Sam even tries to point this out to Rast but gets shot down with a False Dichotomy.
  • Though more of Hypocrite Has a Point, Littlefinger is not wrong when he stated that Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark's love brought great ruin to the realm. Especially after some revelations during Season 7.
  • Joffrey Baratheon:
    • In Season 1 Joffrey tells Cersei that he's dissatisfied with the feudal nature of their military, calling it "primitive" that he has to rely on untrained levies who are primarily loyal to their local lords. He says there should be a standing Royal Army of professional soldiers directly loyal to the king. It makes sense, but it's a social development Westeros isn't ready for yet.
    • Joffrey seems to be the only person in Westeros during Season 3 at all concerned about the threat of Daenerys and her dragons, mentioning at one point that the prospect of a foreign army, led by a member of the previous ruling dynasty and packing three fully-grown dragons, could be a problem if it reaches Westerosi shores and wants to do something about it, even if she is a less immediate threat than his fellow contenders for the Iron Throne. Tywin dismisses all his concerns out of hand. Come Season 8 Joffrey's concerns are proved completely justified.
    • Almost every point he makes to Tywin during their meeting actually makes sense from an objective viewpoint:
      • He asks for a report on the Small Council meetings, and Tywin merely replies that he could attend them himself if he wanted. He could, but the fact is that he didn't, and whether it's because of laziness or genuinely being too busy (almost certainly the former), he's still the king and certainly due a report.
      • Tywin acts like Joffrey asking him why he moved the council meetings to his tower is a stupid question, and when Joffrey complains about having to climb all the stairs of the Tower of the Hand to attend a Small Council meeting, Tywin snarkily replies he could arrange to have him carried there. This is the same Tywin who just admitted that he moved the Small Council meetings near his own chambers so that he wouldn't have to walk anywhere, making him a massive Hypocrite.
      • Worth pointing out that Joffrey may have a point, but he's Right for the Wrong Reasons. His concerns about Daenerys aren't the result of him being prudent and cautious, but due to him being obsessed with power and fascinated by dragons, which are much more interesting to daydream about than anything else. While Tywin is being a bit too dismissive and complacent regarding dragons (a threat not seen in centuries), his position is nevertheless more objectively reasonable than Joffrey's. For the rest of it, if Tywin treats Joffrey with contempt, it's because Joffrey genuinely is a contemptible, bratty teenager - king or no. His mental instability and incompetence had already plunged the Seven Kingdoms into chaos - a mess Tywin was still trying to clean up. While Tywin could probably act with less impudence towards the office of the King (regardless of the person holding it), he is perfectly right in wanting to keep Joffrey out of politics.
  • Tywin Lannister:
    • The worst thing about Tywin's denunciations—whether it is calling Jaime an ambitionless bodyguard, Cersei less clever than she thinks, or Tyrion a fool for his drinking and whoring—is that he often has a point. In the case of the latter two, those prove to be Fatal Flaws for them. Ironically, his own failings as a father seem completely lost on him.
    • When Tyrion disapproves of the Red Wedding, Tywin asks him why it is more noble to kill thousands in battle than a dozen at dinner. Even acknowledging the thousands of soldiers who died as well, Tyrion really cannot dispute his father, having himself killed thousands of defenseless, ship-bound men in a wildfire explosion less than a year past.
    • When Tommen is about to become king, Tywin gives him a talk, which is clearly intended to ease Tommen into his role as a puppet king while Tywin actually rules. He also manages to insult both Tommen's ostensible father (who had died relatively recently) and brother (while standing over his dead body). For all that, the content of his advice was sound. All other qualities are useless if not guided by wisdom, wise people listen to experts and advisors, particularly when young and inexperienced, and it's important to be aware of the things you do not know or do not understand. In another context, this would all be excellent guidance for a young ruler.
  • An extreme example, but as smarmy and unbearable as he may be, Walder Frey's reason for turning on Robb does make sense. Robb did break his deal with him. When Catelyn Stark begs for Robb's life by giving him her word, Frey is quick to point out that he has no reason to trust a Stark's word when they have already broken a promise in the past.
  • Sansa is dismissive of Ramsay's naturalization, noting that the decree was signed by King Tommen, himself a bastard. To bolster his point that bastards can, despite the prejudice against them, rise high in the world, he breaks to her the news that her own bastard brother, Jon Snow, has been elected Lord Commander of the Night's Watch.
    • Later, before the Battle of the Bastards, Ramsay rightly turns down Jon's offer to settle the matter in single combat since while Jon may be a better swordsman than he, Ramsay definitely has the larger army. And in doing so echoes Robb Stark's refusal to duel Jaime for a similar cause.
  • Ygritte is hardly the ideal traveling companion to Jon after he captures her, but her description of how the wildlings see the Wall—as a land grab rather than a defensive measure—is not easy to dismiss, especially since Tyrion has already observed that the placement of the Wall effectively created the wildlings.
  • The Hound has a lot of these moments:
    • He is coarse and mocking when he sees Arya practising with her rapier, but he proves absolutely right that it stands no chance against even a mediocre swordsman in full plate. Though an unpleasant Kick the Dog moment, it serves to teach her how to survive in a Crapsack World like Westeros, especially given how her family was decimated by those not willing to play by the rules.
    • In the Season 4 finale, when Brienne finds Arya with him, he is also right about the flaws in her plan to find and protect the Stark girls by finding them "someplace safe", as she promised Arya's mother Catelyn she would do. He explains that Arya's parents and aunt are dead and there are not a whole lot of safe places for Arya to be, not with so many people wanting her dead.
    • Likewise, the Hound's point about knights really being nothing more than vicious killers as opposed to noble heroes is pretty much on the nose, especially when you have scenes of knights violently murdering children and/or talking about raping women.
  • Lampshaded by Podrick after Brienne, having offered to train him in sword-fighting, apologizes for her frequent rudeness to him:
    If you didn't snap at me, I wouldn't learn anything.
  • It takes a special level of jerkassery to admonish your own son that he better not make you rue the day you raped his mother, but Roose Bolton is nonetheless correct that Ramsay can't rely on fear of his cruelty alone to secure the North since that is eventually likely to foment a rebellion and the Boltons' allies the Lannisters have never sent their own army this far north so they cannot rely on their skins being saved that way.
  • Sansa tells her brother Jon Snow that he needs to give up on rescuing their little brother, Rickon Stark from the Boltons because he's a Dead Man Walking — even though Jon's primary motivation for taking up arms against the Boltons was to rescue his brother Rickon and protect his sister Sansa from Ramsay Bolton, while Sansa, herself, wanted to fight the Boltons in order to save their brother Rickon and take back Winterfell.
    • However, Sansa later tells Jon that they'll never be able to rescue Rickon because he is a threat to Ramsay's rule as a trueborn son of Ned Stark and as a result, Rickon won't live long. Jon insists they can't give up on their brother. When Jon is presented with the chance of saving Rickon, he rides to rescue him as Rickon runs for his life toward Jon away from sadist Ramsay, but Ramsay kills Rickon right in front of Jon (just when Jon and Rickon are just about to reach each other) — letting Jon believe he had a chance to save Rickon right up to the last second.

      And, worse, that draws Jon's army out along with him into a position where they are in the open and more vulnerable to Ramsay's ensuing cavalry attack.
  • The High Sparrow is a homophobic and misogynistic religious zealot, and it shows during his conversation with Margaery, but he's not wrong that she needs to give the King an heir. If Tommen were to die without an heir, a Succession Crisis would occur, and when the mere question of Joffrey's legitimacy was enough to start the last one, leading to the War of the Five Kings and thousands of deaths, another one might well tear Westeros apart at the seams.
  • These are Roose Bolton's claims to Walder Frey for betraying Robb Stark, noting that he refused to listen to Roose's advice and knowingly broke a marriage contract and compromised any real chance to win their war, though he and Walder exchange a Psychotic Smirk, by remembering their "forever young" Wolf, which suggests they were angling for a chance to screw him over anyway.
  • The Smalljon:
    • Smalljon comes to Ramsay because he basically has no other choice, as Ramsay is the Warden of the North and the Smalljon's liege lord; he flat-out points out that he's not happy to resort to Ramsay in the very least.
    • As the northernmost house in Westeros, the Umbers have fended off Wildlings for thousands of years, so there's no lost love between them; to Smalljon's eyes, this time is no different.
  • Lyanna Mormont's attitude is harsh but it's not incorrect. An illegitimate son and a twice-married lady arrive requesting she aid them in another war for the Starks, even though neither — despite being of Stark blood — are legally Starks. Loyalty is not reason enough to risk losing everything; however, she does lend them 62 men and leads them there herself.
    • And the same is true when the lords of the North meet again after Jon retakes Winterfell. She calls out her colleagues like Lord Cerwyn, who despite seeing his own father flayed alive by Ramsay refused to assist the Starks, as well as the Manderlys and Karstarks, who similarly had reasons to resist Bolton rule.
  • Robett Glover has already lost many men, his brother, and his castle in service to Robb Stark, who made some terrible strategic mistakes in his war campaign. It's understandable why he refuses to lend more troops. He even brings up that it's the Boltons and not the Starks that gave him back his castle (and Ramsay would more than likely kill him in a horrific fashion if he found out he'd met with Jon and Sansa).
  • Olenna may relish telling Cersei that she has no influence or power left after their families' joint attempt to free Margaery and Loras from the Faith Militant in "The Broken Man", but she's nevertheless right.
  • Euron may be going out of his way to make snarky remarks about Theon's unmanning at the kingsmoot, but he's correct that Theon's inept handling of the Northern campaign leaves him with no credibility to argue for his sister's claim to the Salt Throne.
  • Amoral Mad Scientist he may be, but Qyburn's assessment of the Maesters as incurious, complacent yes-men that perpetuate Westeros' Medieval Stasis is quite accurate. In Season Seven, Samwell learns that the Maesters know about the White Walkers, but decide to keep their heads down and assume it will pass over like all the other world-ending disasters the realm has faced, without actually doing anything with their knowledge and influence to stop it or warn anyone. Not to mention that, apparently, Qyburn is the first person who came up with the idea to use cheap, effective ballistas against dragons in the centuries that Westeros has lived under Targaryen rule.
    • Quite possibly other people dismissed it as impractical. Qyburn's ballistas are only effective when used in a surprise ambush against an inexperienced dragon/rider. The historical Targaryen's and their dragons were likely trained in aerial combat, whereas Daenerys and her dragons are making it up as they go.
    • * Qyburn, who was training to be a Maester until he was expelled from the Citadel for his "perversions", also brings up a very good point that his experiments on people have made him the most competent Doctor in the Seven Kingdoms, as the Maesters in the Citadel are pedantically obsessed doing everything as they've always done things, thus leaving no room for improvement on outdated, inefficient medical treatments. Sure, Qyburn's methods are extremely unethical (including reanimating Gregor Clegane into a horrifying Giant Mook who unthinkingly obeys an increasingly crazy Cersei), but you can't deny the man gets results.
  • Miraculous breakthrough aside, Grand Maester Ebrose really should have expelled Sam from The Citadel then and there. Possibly even jailed. Even though Sam's intentions were noble and brave, he took an extremely careless chance in trying to treat Ser Jorah. It could have (and was likely to) gone horribly wrong, and wiped out the entire Intelligencia of Westeros as greyscale ravaged Oldtown.
    • In fact it is implied that Ebrose is going to keep this a secret to protect Sam.
    • Ebrose was also ultimately proven right about the impending threat of the White Walkers when he stated that the problem will be dealt with soon enough, without any help from the maesters, and it would vanish to the rears of history.
  • Bronn accepting Cersei's offer and refusing to fight for Tyrion against Ser Gregor is harsh, and certainly selfish, but it makes sense. When Tyrion tries to goad him by asking if he's afraid of Ser Gregor, Bronn immediately replies: Yes. He is. He's massive, strong, and quick to boot; only a fool wouldn't be afraid. He certainly could fight him, but why put his life on the line when he's being offered a fortune not to? The only real reason to fight would be out of friendship for Tyrion, but despite the growing bond between them, he never lost sight of the fact that their relationship was at heart a business deal. Certainly Tyrion never risked his life for Bronn. He's a mercenary who fights for gold, not loyalty, and Tyrion can't complain if someone else beats his price. Even Tyrion seems to acknowledge his point and bears no ill will against him.
  • Stannis says in the Histories and Lores section on the Greyjoy Rebellion that he would have executed Balon Greyjoy after their rebellion instead of sparing them as Robert did. Considering that after Robert's death Balon revolts again, Stannis was probably justified. This actually happens quite a lot. Many of the figures Robert spared despite fighting against him turn to be very treacherous, like the Small Council who support someone they know isn't Robert's son, and the Tyrells who support Renly's poor claim to the throne, then switch their allegiance to Joffrey...
    • Stannis is practically the poster-child for this trope. While his demeanor is generally unsympathetic, he is usually right in his assessments. After his death, both Jon and Sam, at different points, say they should have listened to him.
  • The trope extends into the show's backstory. Aerys may very well have been insane and unfit for the throne, and ordering Jaime to kill his father was an unnecessary humiliation that backfired fatally on him. But ... Tywin had undeniably deceived and betrayed him.


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