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Reality Ensues / Game of Thrones

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In Game of Thrones, a lot of events have realistic consequences:

  • In general with this series when the characters make poor choices, they pay dearly for it and there is no last minute victory for them.
  • As a boy, Littlefinger believed the tales of the plucky little hero beating the odds to win the maiden's heart. Unfortunately, Littlefinger was not a swordsman and Brandon Stark was. After this, Littlefinger realizes he has to play things his way.
  • Being able to win a throne doesn't mean you win the ability to rule. Just ask Robert Baratheon.
  • Joffrey's assessment about the Westerosi feudal system is pretty accurate, as the King is dependent on his subordinates, and his subordinates on their bannermen, which makes handling the continent pretty difficult, and cumbersome. Also, the fact that some bannermen (and Lords) have pretty big armies mean they have to be appeased in every possible way, or they can turn the battle in the enemy's favor. That's how delicate the system truly is.
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  • Cersei is used to getting her own way because she's the Queen and people are afraid of her. She's so used to running her mouth, she thinks nothing of it when she tries to slander Ned in front of Robert. She forgets that Ned and Robert are close friends, and to Robert she's just the woman he was ordered to marry. Robert is not intimidated by her threats and smacks her in the face to put her in her place. As such, she has to resort to ways of getting rid of Robert before she has any real power.
  • Hand to hand medieval-era combat is messy. Very few characters on the show walk off their wounds by the next episode. King Robert, Bronn, and Dickon Tarly all comment that it smells pretty bad too as a dying person often loses control of their bowels.
  • A Trial by Combat is not decided by who is innocent or guilty, but by who is the better and craftier fighter.
  • A Lannister soldier spears Ned Stark in the leg during his duel with Jaime Lannister. Rather than being treated as "just a flesh wound," Ned wakes up an indeterminate amount of time later, feverish and unable to move, later requiring a cane to get around.
    • Prior to that, Jaime shows that he's considered a Master Swordsman precisely because he's a Combat Pragmatist. When dueling Ned's captain of the guard, rather than exchange several blows and go through a round of Flynning, Jaime instantly performs a Blade Lock with one hand and uses his free hand to stab the captain through the eye with a dagger.
  • Syrio takes out several guards with a wooden sword in his last stand by exploiting gaps in their armor. He ultimately (likely) dies against Meryn Trant, a generally crappy fighter. This is mostly because Syrio only has a wooden sword and is in casual clothing while Trant has a steel sword and is decked out in full plate armor. Lampshaded by The Hound.
  • No matter how much he deals with, Ned always stays honorable to the point of even trying to warn Cersei he is on to her and for her to flee King's Landing. This warning makes Cersei put her own plans in motion, resulting in Robert's death and Ned's imprisonment, with help from Littlefinger. Being honorable is going to be a disadvantage when you are going against people like the Lannisters and Littlefinger who wouldn't think twice of doing underhanded tactics or betraying someone for their gain. In the end, being honorable is what leads to Ned's death.
    • A minor example of honor losing to reality is when Lysa Arryn accuses Bronn of fighting without honor after he kills her champion Ser Vardis Egen (who was wearing plate armor in contrast to Bronn who had lighter armor) by running away until Vardis tired, then stabbing him in his armor's weak points and dropping him through the moon door. When Lysa angrily says he did not fight with honor, Bronn responds by pointing to the door and saying, "No, I didn't. He did."
  • Khal Drogo is the biggest and strongest fighter of his Dothraki horde, but he leaves an open wound to fester, which causes blood poisoning. He is subsequently weakened enough that his followers — who only respect strength — see a chance to rebel.
  • In "Fire and Blood", Mirri Maz Duur swears she won't scream when Daenerys has her tied to Drogo's funeral pyre. Burning is an extremely painful way to die, and it doesn't take long before she caves.
    • This happens again with Mance Rayder after he refuses to bend the knee to Stannis. His stoicism cracks pretty quickly when the fire reaches him; fortunately for him, Jon grabbed a bow and ends it before it got any worse.
  • Joffrey thinks he's making a powerful political statement by executing a man who had confessed to treason and repented for his sins — even when literally his entire council protests it. This plunges the entire city into chaos and starts a war. Tyrion later points out that Joffrey's cruel motive for killing Ned Stark meant that there was absolutely no way they could sue for peace or end the war with a hostage exchange like Tywin had thought about doing.
  • When Theon executes Rodrik Cassel, the task of beheading a man on the block with a single stroke of a huge sword is shown to be not as simple as when Ned Stark beheaded a Night's Watch deserter in the pilot episode. Because Theon is physically weaker, hesitant and inexperienced, and has an ordinary longsword rather than an Absurdly Sharp Blade of Valyrian steel like Ned uses, it takes him several hits to sever the head. Even then, Theon has to snap the still holding head free with his foot. To make matters worse (perhaps on purpose), his victim only leaned against the block with his arms rather than placing his neck against it. note  The result is as gory and horrifying as one can imagine.
    • Theon attempting to hold Winterfell against the Boltons with only twenty men. After trying to rally his men with a Rousing Speech, one of his men simply knocks him out so they can surrender and walk away. Though, given their fate and Theon's, they might nearly have been better off fighting.
  • A more amusing case happens in "Valar Morghulis". Tywin waits atop his white destrier to enter the Iron Throne room to be proclaimed Savior of the City and officially take his place as Hand of the King. It's a grand majestic scene... and then the warhorse drops a gigantic turd on the floor.
  • After snatching a sword from Brienne and freeing himself, Jaime challenges her to a sword fight. Being malnourished and weakened from his time as a prisoner of war, the battle goes decidedly in Brienne's favour.
  • Lighting your sword on fire looks damn cool. It's too bad that it weakens the blade. Beric Dondarrion learns this the hard way in his duel with Sandor Clegane. Fortunately for him, reality skipped out to lunch immediately after.
  • Robb is promised to marry one of Walder Frey's daughters to form a political alliance. He meets a pretty nurse that he falls in love with, and decides to Marry for Love. His allies quickly lose faith in him and Walder Frey betrays him and murders his wife and mother for good measure.
  • Lord Commander Mormont appears to be taking his killer down with him after being (literally) stabbed in the back, but then his wounds weaken him too much and his opponent escapes to stab him some more.
  • When you make poor choices and anger most of your allies by killing the head of their house or breaking promises like Robb Stark did, don't be surprised when your allies ultimately double cross you for their own gain.
    • As pointed out by George RR Martin himself, it would be expected that the son rides out and successfully avenges his father's death. The reality is that is not always the case and the person that goes out to seek revenge just ends up dying, too.
  • Arya is quite the Little Miss Badass and has been trained in the Water Dance style of combat. Unfortunately, this doesn't make her invincible by a long shot: because she's still essentially a child for most of the series, adult opponents can very easily overwhelm her unless she takes them by surprise, and because she was trained to use a rapier-style sword instead of a standard Westerosi broadsword, her attempts to fight with the latter don't go well. In one case, Thoros of Myr is able to disarm her with almost comical ease, despite being drunk and not taking the "fight" very seriously. Suffice it to say that Arya needs additional training before she can tackle her opponents in a straightforward duel.
    • At one point, after demonstrating her increasing mastery of Water Dancing, Arya is goaded into attacking Sandor Clegane, and immediately aims Needle fair and square at the Hound's gut... and it doesn't even penetrate his armor.
    • It is for this reason that Arya decides to hell with fighting fair, and specializes in poisons and sneak attacks.
  • Joffrey is a raging bloodthirsty psychopath who thinks he is protected because he is the king. He ends up getting poisoned at his wedding by Olenna Tyrell because he is seen as too dangerous.
  • Tyrion's verbal and sometimes physical abuse of Joffrey is often met by cheers from the audience. Tyrion gets away with it because of his high position and being Joffrey's uncle. However, these actions ultimately make Tyrion the perfect candidate to become the scapegoat for Joffrey's death and are used against him when he is (falsely) accused of Joffrey's murder.
  • Daenerys' Season 4 storyline highlights the consequences of her previous actions:
    • Overthrowing regimes and killing the masters who are not Always Chaotic Evil isn't enough to fix the slaves' problems. In many cases, freedom actually lowers their quality of life because they were dependent on their masters for food, shelter, and security. The standard of living falls so low that one ex-slave asks Daenerys to allow him to sell himself back to his former master.note 
    • And then come Season 5, the former slave masters — backed financially by the cities where slavery persists and not under Dany's control — form the terrorist Sons of the Harpy in an attempt to intimidate the freed slaves, kill her, and restore slaverynote 
    • Dany also reluctantly agrees to reopen the fighting pits to provide cultural continuity and ease the transition.
    • While the dragons were easy to control when they were still small, they've only become more dangerous and destructive the bigger they got. They are instrumental to Daenerys' military campaign, but they start acting out as time goes on. It's not just her enemies getting burned. Come peacetime, Drogon attacks livestock and kills an innocent little girl, for which Daenerys has to pay restitution. Then she has to chain up her dragons because they're causing too much destruction, but this seems to make matters worse, as the dragons have grown aggressive even towards their mother....
  • Just because your opponent is bigger and stronger than you — even if he's the most feared man in Westeros — doesn't mean you can't beat him. But it means you have to be really good, and careful not to make a single mistake. Just ask Oberyn Martell. Oh, wait, you can't. Because, despite being really good, and coming within a hair of defeating the most feared man in Westeros, he made a single mistake and as a result was killed for it.
  • During the Wildling assault on the Wall, one of the attacking archers attempts to shoot the defending archers off the top. The archer pulls back as hard as he can and fires... and the arrow doesn't even make it halfway up the wall before it falls back down.
  • It's repeatedly made a point that however skilled you are in combat, all it takes is one good hit. And even if you're tough enough to call it Only a Flesh Wound, poor medical care will lead to even the strongest men being felled by infection. This bites Sandor Clegane hard when he faces down Brienne at the end of Season 4; Sandor had suffered an infection from a previous fight a few episodes prior and — though giving a great showing — ultimately loses the fight against an opponent he may well have defeated if he were at his best.
  • Varys has Tyrion smuggled out of Westeros in a box. Upon their arrival in Pentos, Varys discovers to his chagrin that because it took so long, Tyrion is delirious from hunger and thirst and has soiled himself several times.
  • Mooks should never be discounted, especially if they outnumber you so you are unable to guard your back, and especially if you're not wearing any armor. Not even Barristan Selmy, the greatest knight in Westeros is capable of surviving those odds, despite managing to kill over twenty enemies in less than two minutes as shown in "Sons of the Harpy". He likely would have survived if he had worn his plate armor, as he always does in the books. But even then armor is not immune to flanking.
  • After a whole lot of warnings about keeping Gilly around a crew of rapists and murderers, two finally corner her in "The Gift". Sam is nearby and has gone from being a nerdy, cowardly wimp to having found his courage with two lucky kills in prior battles. Unfortunately, two lucky kills don't make you a true warrior and he gets the shit kicked out of him when he tries to stop the Nights Watchmen from raping Gilly. Fortunately for her, Ghost came to the rescue.
  • Roose is very angry at Ramsay for torturing Theon and crippling him, alongside castrating him. As he points out, if Theon gets badly hurt to the point of death and does die, they lose the one thing keeping the Ironborn from simply declaring war on them and attacking them with full force; the heir to the Iron Islands. The only reason they avoid this outcome is because the Ironborn decide to hold a Kingsmoot over who should rule next, with them ruling out Theon as a lost cause due to this.
  • In Season 5, the rest of the Free Cities are plotting against Daenerys since her disruption of the slave trade has caused economic turmoil and they're now are ready to strike at the first sign of weakness.
  • The Sand Snakes are easily held off by Jaime Lannister and Bronn. Skilled or not, three teenage girls are going to have a tough time taking two experienced and equally skilled swordsmen head on. If not for Jaime missing his good hand they likely wouldn't have lasted even that long. Fighting in plain sight in the middle of a nobleman's garden is also a good way to have the guards show up in record time.
    • Catching them and their mother in the act doesn't stop them or their ambitions. Rather than giving up, they feign defeat, wait to try again later, and then succeed in killing both their original target and the one who obstructed them.
  • Stannis's march on Winterfell is made of this:
  • When a trueborn son is born to Roose Bolton, Roose's bastard son and heir at the time, Ramsay Bolton, immediately murders his father, stepmother, and half-brother. What, you thought the brutal, cruel, and obviously unhinged nutcase would just step aside and have someone else take his power?
  • When Daenerys is captured by a Dothraki horde, she is unable to command respect just by saying her names and titles like she normally does, since they have never heard of her and their culture does not respect such things as bloodlines anyway, only personal strength and fighting prowess. The only thing that saves her is mentioning she is Khal Drogo's widow, since he was someone they actually respected.
  • Jorah is a knight past his prime, and unlike Barristan, he doesn't have remarkable skills to keep fighting people way younger than him on even terms. The greyscale doesn't help. A slaver comments that due to his age, he would not be able to make it in the fighting pit. While Jorah does show he has what it takes, he is clearly at a disadvantage when he faces younger fighters of equal or greater skill. He has less stamina than them as well, and must resort to the style of fighting that has served him well.
  • While Tyrion is a charming and charismatic person in Westeros, he's still a foreigner in Meereen and his attempts to strike up a conversation with two people (Grey Worm and Missandei) who were slaves and are used to a culture in which they do what they are told without any further small talk or banter doesn't automatically work on them.
  • While running from the Waif, Arya's wounds reopen, despite the milk of the poppy that Lady Crane had administered to her the night before.
  • For six seasons, people talked about Varys' "little birds" as if they were elite spies and hardened secret agents. Then, in the episode "Oathbreaker", we see the birds for the first time — young, hungry street urchins who Qyburn is able to turn with a few kind words and sweets. Children may be more honest than adults, but they don't understand or care about geopolitical games; they didn't follow Varys because they were loyal to his cause, they didn't even know what it was. He looked after them, so they did what he said, and now he's gone and Qyburn takes care of them, so now they do what he says.
  • Areo Hotah's death at the hands of Tyena Sand. He was a hulking giant and a feared warrior tasked with protecting the lord of House Martell, so Tyene didn't even bother fighting him hand-to-hand and instead resorted to poison. Even feared warriors are still human.
  • A majority of Team Bran, including Summer, Leaf, and Hodor, sacrifice their lives to ensure Bran escapes when the White Walkers storm The Three-Eyed Raven's home. The following episode shows that the White Walkers simply caught up with Bran and an utterly exhausted Meera barely hours later, as Meera is still just a teenaged girl who's dragging a cripple through terrible winter conditions, running from an army of undead who don't sleep and don't get tired. The only thing that stops it from being a straight example of Senseless Sacrifice is the arrival of Benjen Stark to save them.
  • It was not a surprise that Brother Ray and his group were all going to be slaughtered without fighting back due to their pacifist ways. Ray told Clegane even if they wanted to fight they'd still lose, since they were just regular commoners and not bandits and former knights.
  • Davos was right that the North, for all their loyalty, won't fight against the Boltons for a desperate cause. As popular as the Starks might have been while they were in power, it turns out that not all of their former allies are willing to fight for them again. Robett Glover even brings up that fighting for the Starks cost him his castle and his brother. And considering that Jon and Sansa's army is heavily outnumbered by the Boltons and the bulk of their force is made up of Wildlings, it's not much of a surprise.
  • Honor and reputation are a huge part of Westerosi politics. The Lannisters, Boltons, and Freys succeed by betraying people and killing men under a flag of truce, considering themselves clever for it. The inevitable result, however, is that no one will ever believe a word they say again, meaning that instead of an easy peace, the remnants of their enemies would all rather fight to the death than trust any offer of surrender. The Freys threatens the Blackfish (Brynden Tully)'s garrison at Riverrun with an ultimatum stating they'll kill Edmure Tully if they don't surrender, but given that the Freys literally killed men who were guests at their own table, breaking Sacred Hospitality, Brynden has zero reason to believe them. In his eyes, if he surrenders, they'll just kill Edmure anyway.
  • While tied to a chair and trapped in the kennel with his hounds, Ramsay Bolton is confident that his hounds won't attack him. But Sansa points out that he purposely starved them for a week in preparation to feed Jon and his men to them, and since they are very hungry they're willing to eat whatever is in front of them, even their master.
  • Cersei is facing pretty serious charges (regicide, treason and incest) to name a few, and as Tommen outlawed Trial by Combat, Cersei lost the Mountain as a possible savior who could save her from disgrace, and more possibly, death as well. It is pretty obvious that Cersei will lash out and do anything to save herself, no matter how short-sighted and dangerous that may be. Which leads to her blowing up the Sept, and killing all her near enemies in a fell swoop, to fall back and plan on something while not in danger of execution.
    • Averted in the next season however as Cersei is able to stroll away from this action with no consequences and continue her rule, even though destroying the Westerosi equivalent of the Vatican like that would have had her entire population from commoner to noble rebelling against her.
  • In "Stormborn", the Sand Snakes' weapons of choice are ill-suited to close-quarters combat on a cramped ship, whereas the Ironborn raiders are wielding practical swords and axes. Nymeria's whip is only good for restraining opponents, which renders it useless when she has no allies to assist her, and Obara's spear is too long to use easily in the large melee. Given that the Sand Snakes weren't skilled enough to beat even a crippled swordsman and a mercenary who were trying to flee their presence, they are completely hopeless in a actual battle against a serious enemy and are killed in short order.
  • In the same episode, Theon does well for himself during the ship to ship battle at first, but he is still suffering PTSD from his treatment at the hands of Ramsay Bolton. Witnessing the carnage and pillaging of the ships, the death and destruction around him and Yara being held hostage by Euron ends up triggering Theon into an emotional breakdown and he flees the battle.
  • At the beginning of Season 7, everyone on Dany's side seems to believe that she can't be defeated and taking the Iron Throne from Cersei is going to be a cakewalk. They forget that despite the massive size of Dany's forces, she doesn't actually have any truly experienced military commanders on her side. She puts her full trust in the battle plans of Tyrion, who while being an excellent statesman is no real tactician; he admitted so himself to Cersei in Season 2! His plan to take Casterly Rock succeeds, but only because Jaime took the majority of the Lannister troops away to sack Highgarden after convincing Randyl Tarly and other valuable bannermen of the Tyrells to defect to their side. This surprises Olenna Tyrell, who was well experienced in politics but not as seasoned with military command, and did not account for the possibility of her bannermen deserting her. Elsewhere, Yara's fleet suffers an ambush from her Evil Uncle, who has much more experience commanding and executing such raids. Turns out that no matter how massive your forces are, you can't guarantee victory, and experienced military commanders are needed to utilize your armies effectively.
    • Tyrion logically assumes that taking Casterly Rock — the home base of the mines and thus the source of the Lannister riches — will be a blow to the family. But no matter how great your strategy may be, it won't make up for the fact you're missing key intelligence — in this case, Tyrion totally unaware the mines ran dry years ago and thus the Rock is basically worthless and Cersei has no problem letting it go.
    • Of course, as soon as Dany actually starts using her forces effectively, Jaime is sharply reminded that Cersei is still going to lose this war, regardless of how many things undercut Daenerys — she still has a massive army of Dothraki and three dragons, and a lot more support than the Lannisters at this point.
    • Oh, and that anti-dragon ballista that Qyburn made? It isn't 100% effective against full grown flying dragons, especially since they don't have time to properly train their soldiers to use it. It might not be a complete Curb-Stomp Battle, but the dragon queen is still going to win in the end, which is why Jaime takes the first opportunity of an armistice with Daenerys.
    • Part of Dany's problem is that her best weapons — her dragons — are basically a Fantastic Nuke, and if she uses them to melt her enemies' castles she'll lose what little goodwill she has with the people. She could slag the Red Keep with Cersei in it, but she'd win the battle by losing the war.
  • In a Freudian Slip, Daenerys mentions to Jon Snow that she was raped as part of the indignities she suffered: even if she did grow to care for Khal Drogo during their marriage, it would have been hard for her to forget or brush aside the callously indifferent roughness with which he consummated their marriage, not to mention those first weeks of her husband *ahem* "taking his rights".
  • In Season 7, Daenerys' choice of allies quickly unites the otherwise fractured and squabbling denizens of the Seven Kingdoms against her, because she's allied herself with forces that have been demonized in Westeros for generations.
  • In "Eastwatch," Jon's desperate attempt to go south and parley with Daenerys Targaryen to get the weapons and allies they need as their best chance to defeat the approaching Zombie Apocalypse means that his rule has started to crack in a matter of weeks. Having left Sansa in charge as his regent, since she is his sister and the Lady of Winterfell, the Northern lords become restless as they believe that the King in the North "should stay in the North." As a result, Lord Glover says that though they did not choose Sansa to rule, perhaps they should have as Jon is not physically in the North while Sansa is present at Winterfell. At the same time, if Jon — as one of the few who directly knows and has seen this encroaching threat — hadn't left to get the necessary weapons and allies with the dragonfire the North needs to defeat the undead army coming for them (and the whole of Westeros), there won't be a North. No decision in this situation is without consequence.
    • Sansa experiences the day-to-day grunt work of ruling in her brother's absence as his regent — a taxing job in which she must keep everything together at Winterfell, including soothing tensions, addressing complaints, and preparing the North for Winter by keeping track of food stores.
    • Even though Jon's intentions are clearly good and for his people's best shot at surviving, it's a serious hit to morale as everyone's worried that their unmarried and childless king is going to die (well, die again) on this mission south, so the lords start gravitating to Sansa as a result. And they don't even know he's going to try and capture a White Walker for Cersei yet. Also, they don't know that Jon has already surrendered the North to another 'Southern ruler', possibly souring things.
  • In "Beyond the Wall", Thoros of Myr is savagely mauled by an undead bear. His wounds are quickly cauterized by Beric Dondarrion's flaming sword and he's back on his feet within moments. However, he is still in the middle of a freezing environment with no medical supplies (other than wine) readily available. Once the party rests for the night, Thoros dies from the exposure.
  • After Sansa and Arya learn the truth about Littlefinger via Bran, the two immediately forgive each other, and take down Littlefinger, who started the destruction of the Stark family for his own petty greed for power. Despite their differences and how much they've both changed over the years, Sansa and Arya are still sisters who have reunited after believing the other had died long ago. It would take far more than Littlefinger's plots to drive them apart again... especially since one of them KNOWS Littefinger's M.O. and decides to check in with Bran.
    • Moreover, as Littlefinger confessed to his murder of Lysa Arryn, the rest of the Vale Lords immediately relinquished the protection of Littlefinger, and witnessed his execution. The murder of the liege lord is still counted among the regicide offenses, and is Serious Business in Westeros. Even though the rest of the allegations proved false, (which was not to be due to Bran's perfect recollection), this crime was enough for the Vale Lords to abandon Littlefinger. Sansa surely knew where to start.
  • In "The Dragon and the Wolf", Tyrion and Jon learn the hard way that no matter the evidence you bring of a greater threat and how much combining forces is needed, you just can't negotiate in good faith with an egotistical and insane narcissist.
  • Throughout the series, Jon, Sam, and the rest of the faction trying to prepare for the war with the White Walkers face resistance because no one believes in them despite witnessing other supposedly mythical beings like giants or dragons. As a result, until shown hard proof, no one is willing to abandon personal/political goals to fight an "imaginary" enemy.
    • In one case, the case of a woman whose insane desire for power has lead to her destroying almost anything that mattered to her, even proof isn't enough.
  • It makes sense that, after the death of her last child, Cersei would lose any sense of constraint and embrace power for its own sake as that's all she's got left.
  • Stark vassal Lord Glover is so infuriated over Jon bending the knee to Daenerys that he decides to stay back with his forces in his stronghold of Deepwood Motte, which is to the north of Winterfell and a much smaller and weaker fortress to begin with. Of course, he doesn't stand a chance when the Army of the Dead comes marching south and gets slaughtered offscreen.
  • During the Battle of Winterfell, a giant manages to enter the courtyard and easily carves through Lyanna Mormont and her banner. She's able to get back up and make a heroic charge, but given that she's a child against a giant, it should be no surprise that Lyanna is just picked up and crushed to death almost immediately.
    • During the same battle, the charging wights practically submerge all their opponents with sheer numbers and ferocity, wiping out the Dothraki and tearing through the Westerosi knights, who are forced to scatter and retreat as individuals. The Unsullied, on the other hand, hold formation in the face of inhuman odds and do far better. Why? It's because they combine their strength and hold off the wight surge together rather than fighting as individuals, demonstrating the role of discipline and organization for an army in the face of a vastly stronger and numerically superior enemy.
    • The battle as a whole is a great demonstration of Hollywood Tactics and why they don't work. The defenders' own incompetence turns what would have already have been a difficult battle into an absolute massacre. They're opening gambit is throwing their light cavalry away in a frontal charge against heavy infantry that their weapons can't even hurt (they got burning swords at the last second, but that wasn't in the plan). Said charge keeps allied archers and siege weapons from firing for fear of hitting retreating friendlies, allowing the enemy to reach the lines unmolested. Even the Unsullied shield wall is an example; it's only needed because the army inexplicably deployed outside the fortifications and so far in front of their lights that they can't see the enemy coming, and now they have to play for time while everyone falls back.
    • Neither Jon nor Dany are using any kind of harness system to keep them attached to their dragon mounts, instead seeming to hold on with just their hands and legs. After several close calls in earlier seasons, both riders (or three, if you include the Night King) have been knocked off or accidentally thrown from their mounts.
    • Jorah lies dying in Daenerys' arms. He goes to say something and just about squeaks out, "I'm hurt", before succumbing to his wounds, unable to get anything else out. The man is mortally wounded and has been fighting for several hours beforehand, he's not going to have the strength for a long-winded Dying Declaration of Love.
    • When Theon is the last remaining man guarding Bran in the Godswood, he runs at the Night King ready for a fight. Despite all his combat prowess, the Night King is vastly superior and kills him with no fanfare in just a few seconds.
  • Throughout all of Season 8, Sansa and the rest of the North are hostile to Daenerys despite Jon bending the knee to her. Even if they need her help, of course they don't want to kneel to her, not just because the North wants to be independent from the rest of Westeros, but considering the Targaryens' spotty ruling history and the events that led to Robert's Rebellion (which included the deaths of three Stark family members), not to mention Daenerys' "Bow to me or die" approach to the Westerosi Lords (which cannot possibly work to the same effect as it did in Essos, because Westeros is a feudal system with entirely different social structures than the Essosi slavery she tried to end), of course they would not want to be allies with her.
  • Jon reveals his true parentage to Sansa and Arya after vowing them to secrecy. While Arya keeps the secret, Sansa proceeds to tell Tyrion, who then tells Varys. Just because somebody is family and they swear a vow, it doesn't mean that somebody won't talk — regardless of Jon's renouncing his claim for Daenerys's. Especially considering Sansa clearly doesn't like or respect Daenerys, and truly feels Jon would be far more suited to be the king of the Iron Throne. Additionally, Dany knew something like this would happen and begged Jon to never tell anyone, including his family.
  • When presented the option of using her dragons as a way to attack King's Landing, Daenerys considers it despite previously saying she didn't want to, because it would lead to casualties, which they point out to her. When someone is desperate enough, they won't think twice doing things they previously said they wouldn't do.
  • The Iron Fleet ambushes Daenerys and her dragons, and manages to bring down Rhaegal in a hail of ballista fire. That only happened because the Iron Fleet had the element of surprise, and Rhaegal had a lot less fighting experience than his big brother Drogon. Come the next episode, the Iron Fleet faces off against Dany and Drogon, only with three significant differences: 1) Dany and Drogon now know what to expect, so the advantage of surprise is gone; 2) Dany and Drogon have worked together several times as a unit in battle before, and understand tactics much better than Rhaegal did; and 3) Dany and Drogon are pissed off beyond all measure for what the Iron Fleet did to Rhaegal. The result is a Curb-Stomp Battle that ends with every ship and ballista in flames, and Euron Greyjoy swimming for shore.
  • Jon tries to stop his troops from participating in the massacre on King's Landing by Daenerys and their combined forces, but after being subjected to years of suffering under the Lannister-led regime and Cersei lying about sending help in the war against the Night King, the Northern soldiers are really not going to be in the mood to be merciful.
  • In the last act of the series finale, a couple of months have gone by since Daenerys's democide of King's Landing, Cersei's death, and Daenerys's assassination by Jon to stop her carnage. Without a ruler, the lords of Westeros are still at odds with themselves over how to fill the empty throne.
    • When Samwell Tarly proposes that the next ruler of the Seven Kingdoms be decided by the smallfolk in a democratic vote, the entire assembly laughs at him. Feudalism is in full swing in Westeros and the nobles earnestly find the idea of smallfolk choosing who rules them as ridiculous as allowing a horse to rule the land. However Tyrion does use the point to successfully argue the merits of Elective Monarchy.


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