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Theatre / Westeros: An American Musical

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Look at the picture and try guessing which two works are being combined

"Fools who trust too much soon wind up dead."
Littlefinger, "Small Council"

Westeros: An American Musical is a musical parody of A Song of Ice and Fire and its live-action TV adaptation Game of Thrones, set to music from Hamilton.

After losing his Hand of the King and foster father Jon Arryn to disease, King Robert Baratheon enlists his foster brother Eddard Stark as his new Hand. Eddard soon discovers that Robert’s younger biological bothers Stannis and Renly are the true second and third in line for the throne due to all three of Robert’s supposed children actually being the produce of his wife’s Cersei’s affair with her own brother. Unfortunately, the Decadent Court claims both Robert and Eddard’s lives almost as soon as the news starts spreading. In their wake, Cersei and her family do their best to keep her oldest son Joffrey on the throne. Meanwhile, Stannis is ready to take the seat that is his by force, and Renly’s boyfriend has a sister with eyes on the Queen’s crown.

The play focuses mostly on the events in King’s Landing and the Lannisters, with Stannis and his entourage being a close second. Robb Stark, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow’s storylines get minor focus, while the rest range from brief mentions to complete absence. The play doesn't have much of a Fourth Wall, either.


The play provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • The Sand Snakes accompany Oberyn to King’s Landing instead of Ellaria, resulting in them debuting the equivalent of an entire book early. This gets plenty of mention in their debut song, "Hisstorically Inaccurate".
    • This is also technically the case for Ser Robert Strong, due to Gregor Clegane getting promptly resurrected after his death.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • The play drops most—if not all—of the alcoholic Dirty Old Man only interested in the money Littlefinger pays him aspect of Dontos. While he's still working for Littlefinger, there is no indication of him being paid for it, which makes his good actions come across as more sincere than in canon.
    • The Hound's most questionable act in the play is not keeping Joffrey from beheading Eddard Stark. Other than that, he's competing with Dontos for the most sympathetic of the men interested in Sansa.
    • Heroism is overstating it, but Tywin's worst traits are way toned down. Jaime is cut out entirely, and Cersei is barely there, so the only one of Tywin's relationships with his children that we see is Tyrion's. We don't see the years of Tywin belittling Tyrion; we only see the one moment where Tywin gives Tyrion the job as Hand of the King and calls him his son.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Dany's angst is cut entirely and Tyrion's is heavily truncated. By keeping their actions, but removing the angst, both of them are made much less sympathetic.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Loras in Act II. In Act I, he co-conspires with Renly to make Margaery Robert's mistress and is the figurehead of the Tyrell army in "The Siege of King's Landing". In Act II, Olenna has to intervene to keep Loras from getting harassed by the Sand Snakes and he's mostly silently helping out with whatever Olenna and Margaery are up to.
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The play contains both elements of A Song of Ice and Fire that didn't make it to Game of Thrones and elements from the latter that weren't present in the books.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication:
    • One of Littlefinger's lines only makes sense if the viewer knows of Brandon Stark's story, namely the fact that he and Littlefinger once had a duel for Catelyn's hand (you get no points for guessing who lost), and that he died trying to get Lyanna back from Rhaegar. Knowing that Lysa Arryn is Catelyn's sister is also needed to understand Littlefinger's affirmation that Lysa is "the sister he prefers" which is spoken almost an entire song before any line in the play itself mentions that she's Sansa's aunt.
    • Ser Dontos spends the entire play in a fool's outfit. While he mentions his I Owe You My Life situation in regards to Sansa, nobody ever spells out that the incident consisted of Sansa convincing Joffrey to make Dontos his fool rather than killing him. The play also omits him being an alcoholic and actually being paid by Littlefinger for his more heroic actions, which strips his death from the Asshole Victim aspect it had in the original story.
    • "Sword in the Darkness" ends with someone telling Jon Snow they knew his father and that he was a good man. The fact the father is Eddard Stark is bound to go over the head of anyone not already familiar with the story, as there is no mention of a familial relationship between Eddard Stark and Jon Snow anywhere else in the play.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Rarely are characters given traits they lack in the source material, but due to Adaptation Distillation, few characters are given their full complexity. Depending on which bits are cut and which bits are included, characters can come across very differently.
  • Affectionate Parody: The musical pokes a lot of fun to the original story's plot and some of the less popular changes Game of Thrones brought to it, but also puts emphasis on its awesome moments. The author and lyricists also clearly love the story enough to adapt it to several Hamilton songs.
  • Anachronism Stew: In addition to the music, some aspects of the modern world show up in the otherwise medieval story. A couple of characters moving away from their current place of residence are seen dragging wheeled suitcases, some of the body language only makes sense in a setting with wristwatches and Wun-Wun is wearing a Giants football jersey. In the sequel, Margaery talks in slang (to the point Asha can't understand her), Aegon has a Tik-Tok, and there is a section where Aegon, Jon Connington, Varys, and Illyrio swipe through a dating app.
  • Anachronistic Soundtrack: The modern music is just as out of place in the retelling of a fantasy story as it was in Hamilton.
  • And Then What?:
    Daenerys: I have no heir
    I can't have kids
    And please don't ask me where Viserys is!
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: "The Red Wedding", which focuses on the reaction of the Lannisters to an event in which many of their opponents died, is basically And There Was Much Rejoicing: The song.
  • Anyone Can Die: Let's not forget the story that's being parodied here:
    • "Plot Development": Robert.
    • Eddard Stark dies between the end of "Plot Development" and the beginning of "Stannis Refuted".
    • "Crownless": Renly.
    • "Hisstorically Inaccurate": The raven serving as narrator for Act I.
    • "Stark to Finish": Robb and Catelyn.
    • "The Groom When It Happened": Joffrey and Dontos.
    • "Talk Less, Stab More": Oberyn.
    • Shae and Tywin little after the end of "Congratshaelations".
  • Anything but That!: Littlefinger's reaction to the prospect of having Stannis as a King.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature: An uplifting take on the trope shows up in "The Siege of King's Landing", when Tyrion is giving himself a pep talk:
    Tyrion: A very small man can cast a very large shadow. Which is a quote from the books by Varys about Tyrion
  • Bizarre Seasons: Grenn points this out in "First Watch", as he has trouble understanding how the "Seasons lasting several years" thing even works.
  • Black Comedy: When the source material is Dark Fantasy in which Anyone Can Die, this par for the course for an Affectionate Parody.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Short and young men are played by women.
    • There is nobody with dwarfism in the cast, so Tyrion is played by one of the shorter women.
    • Another woman plays Joffrey, Jon Snow, the shadow-baby who kills Renly and Edric Storm.
  • Composite Character: The Sand Snakes take on Ellaria's role as the character tagging along with Oberyn to King's Landing who ends up witnessing Oberyn's death in his fight with Gregor Clegane.
  • Compressed Adaptation: This is necessary to fit the first three A Song of Ice and Fire books into two hours, even with some plotlines cut entirely. Important POV characters are cut entirely, like Bran, Jaime, and Arya.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: During "Knight's[sic] Watch Defeated", Davos re-iterates his disapproval of Stannis' plans of sacrificing Edric while Shireen is in the room and covers Shireen's ears while he does so.
  • Death of a Child: Gregor Clegane killing Elia Martell's children is mentioned in "The Dorne Identity" and "Talk Less, Stab More".
  • Decadent Court: It's to the point that "Small Council", the play's counterpart to "Aaron Burr, Sir", changes the "talk less, smile more" piece of political advice to "trust less, conspire more". The following song, "Plot Development" is about several members of the royal court having their own little conspiracy underway.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The ultimate fate of Eddard's head, courtesy of Joffrey.
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • A few Wildling characters get this without outright becoming The Ghost. Among the Wildlings seen in "Sword in the Darkness", only Mance is named on-stage. However, three actors are credited for playing Wun-Wun, Tormund and Val, all three of which are recognizable among the handful of actors standing in for Mance's army.
    • In Act II, Loras is seen much more than he's heard, after having had a more active part in Act I.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The music alone can sometimes draw a parallel between an event from A Song of Ice and Fire and a scene from Hamilton:
    • "King Robert Baratheon", which is about how Robert started out a rebellious teen and became King, is set to the tune of "Alexander Hamilton", which tells the story of a poor orphan managing to better his situation into becoming a historical figure.
    • "Hand of the King" is set to "Right Hand Man". Both songs happen during a war and involve the protagonist being given an important position they weren't expecting by a father or father figure who's a prominent military leader.
    • "Shae No To This" / "Say No To This". Let's see: We've got a young political hotshot—a man who tends to assume he's the smartest in the room. He has an affair—an unwise and poorly thought out decision. Someone threats to reveal the affair, and tries to extort money from the man as the price of silence.
    • "Growing Concerned" focuses on a group of characters conspiring to get another out of their way, much like its original, "Washington on Your Side".
    • Both of the songs sung by Daenerys were originally sung by King George III, who is also an antagonist separated from the protagonists by a large body of water, and has nothing to do plot-wise.
  • Double Entendre: Right after "Hand-Holding", a song that is all about how much Eddard and Robert care about each other, the narrator calls the Hand of the King position Eddard accepted during the song a Hand-job. She also mentions that Eddard next needs to meet Littlefinger, or, in her own words, "get a Littlefingering".
  • Friendship Song: "Hand-Holding", which is about the friendship Eddard and Robert shared in their youth and their expectations of being a good team as King and Hand.
  • Fun with Homophones: When Sansa tells Sandor he's a good knight:
    Dontos: Good night to you too!
  • The Ghost: Several characters get demoted to this, so many in fact that it gets pointed out for some of them:
    • The raven serving as narrator first thinks she misread her cue card when she narrates about Eddard Stark travelling to King's Landing with two daughters, due to only Sansa actually appearing in the play and Arya getting relegated to a few mentions.
    • During "I'll Be Back", Daenerys asks the audience to not ask her where Viserys is. It can easily be read as a nod both to Viserys being dead by that point and to the fact that Daenerys is the only Essos-located character seen in the play.
    • When Stannis burns the leeches to curse Joffrey, Balon and Robb, the fire's response to Balon's leech being thrown in is Balon's voice complaining about not being in the play.
    • Near the end of "Stark to Finish", the Red Wedding gets interrupted due to Catelyn getting baffled by Jaime's physical absence from the play. Robb points out the fact that Jaime's capture by the Starks was mentioned earlier in the play ("Hand of the King" and "Robb Stark"). To top things off, the early part of "Stark to Finish" itself alludes to Catelyn releasing Jaime.
  • Happily Ever Before: The play ending right around the time A Storm of Swords interrupts the story at a relatively happy point:
    • The audience is spared the deaths of at least two likable characters.
    • The negative aftermath of the deaths of less likable, but quite influential characters isn't shown.
    • The play ends right after one of the candidates for the throne provides much-needed help for a pressing issue neglected by his rivals and is welcomed by the people needing the help accordingly. The long-term consequences of providing that help turn out to not all be positive in canon.
  • "The Hero Sucks" Song: "King Robert Baratheon" is about how much of a handful Robert was to both his parents and Jon Arryn as a child and a teen, got better thanks to Eddard's influence, led a successful rebellion, became King, quashed a rebellion, then let himself go. By the time the song finishes, the company is singing about Robert currently being in a brothel, fathering yet another bastard he won't pay any attention to.
  • Hostile Show Takeover: The Sand Snakes strong-arm and murder their way into becoming the narrators during Act II.
  • Hufflepuff House: The play's version of the War of the Five Kings is more of a War of the Four Kings, with the Iron Islands being the faction losing out. Both the Lannisters and Stannis seem to simply consider Balon just an extra person contesting their authority while considering each other the more immediate problem. The Lannisters ultimately only interact with the Starks, Stannis' faction and Renly's faction over the course of the play, while Stannis' faction only has confrontations with the Lannisters and Renly's faction. The Iron Islands ultimately only play a role in the Stark-focused portions of the story, and that role consists of raiding various parts of the North entirely off-stage and being the faction in favor of which Theon defects.
  • "I Am" Song: "Crownless" for Margaery, also doubling as a "I Want" Song.
    Margaery: I have always been well-liked and kind to all the peasants
    Always unsuspicious but ambitious at my essence
  • Interactive Narrator: The raven in Act I of the 2019 version. She interacts with the audience as a narrator, but also has a few exchanges with the characters when she deems it necessary to move things along.
  • It's All About Me: What Margaery has to say about Renly's murder.
    Margaery: And now you're fucking dead, and I'm still crownless!
  • Judicial Wig: The three characters who are judges during the murder trial in "The Groom When It Happened" don white powdered wigs.
  • Kangaroo Court: The murder trial in "The Groom When It Happened" is one. The fact that the main suspect was already considered guilty before the victim had let out their last breath is made clear in the refrain, for which the full sentence is "No one else was with the groom when it happened". It is first sung before the suspect's trial takes place.
  • Kinslaying Is a Special Kind of Evil: A couple of lines in "The Siege of King's Landing" allude to this:
    Even to the villainous,
    Kinslaying is prohibited
  • Maternal Death? Blame the Child!: This comes up concerning Tyrion:
    • He mentions this as one of the reasons he needs to prove himself to the rest of his family in "Hand of the King".
    • When Cersei fears that Tyrion's methods will get the entire rest of the Lannister family killed, she speaks of their mother as if she's Tyrion's current record of getting family members killed.
  • Minor Character, Major Song: Daenerys, aside from being a brief conversation topic during "Small Council", spends the play doing her own thing on the other side of the Narrow Sea. She still gets to sing "I'll Be Back" and "The Storm's End".
  • Misplaced Sorrow: If a person essential to her current plan to become Queen dies, Margaery tends to mourn the plan rather than the person who died.
  • Mundane Utility: Able to resurrect a dead body? Do it early enough after the death and it saves other people the trouble of needing to move it.
  • No Fourth Wall: The play keeps several Breaking the Fourth Wall moments from the Hamilton songs. On top of this, it has such things as characters casually pointing out differences between A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones or acting out romantic scenes between specific pairs to please the audience. The Interactive Narrator also tries to kick the Sand Snakes out for showing up too early and gets killed over it.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Many songs have this for various reasons:
    • "Hand-Holding", "Small Council", "Plot Development", "First Watch", "Red Woman", "No Waiting", "More Than Jest Friends", "Hisstorically Inaccurate", "The Dorne Identity", "Growing Concerned", "A H(e)art Inflamed", "Stark to Finish", "Opposing Council", "Hostile Witness", "Talk Less, Stab More", "Sword in the Darkness" and "The Storm's End" are all indicative of what the song is about, but don't actually appear in the lyrics.
    • "Stannis Refuted" and "Knight's[sic] Watch Defeated" inherit the feature from their respective Hamilton originals, "Farmer Refuted" and "Schuyler Defeated".
    • "Shae No To This" is the parody of "Say No To This", but retains none of the instances of the titular sentence.
  • Opening Chorus: "King Robert Baratheon" has several characters take turns at telling the audience the story of how Robert became King.
  • Perspective Flip: "Congratshaelations" consists of Shae's perspective on her relationship with Tyrion. She points out that from her point of view, he was keeping her despite the fact that she risked being killed if discovered, married a teenage girl without much protest, isn't nearly as kind as he thinks he is and got his family on his bad side at times when he really shouldn't have. She also explains many of her actions by the fact that regardless of anything else, she needs to work to make a living and can't stay with someone who can't pay her.
  • Plot-Irrelevant Villain: Daenerys is one in the play. "I'll Be Back" reminds the audience that she doesn't have an heir and can't have children. "The Storm's End" has her point out that the turmoil that has happened by the end of Act II would make it a good time for her to try getting the throne... but that she first needs to conquer three different major cities on another continent than the one on which the rest of the characters live. "The Storm's End" is not only the last the audience sees of her, but the last song of the entire play.
  • Pokémon Speak: The play's version of Bronn only says his own name if he speaks at all. Hodor, the canonical holder of the trait, isn't in the play.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: The Hound already has a thing for Sansa in the books, but the musical boosts it.
    Sansa: We're doing fanservice!
  • Pun-Based Title:
    • "More Than Jest Friends" (jester + more than just friends)
    • "Hisstorically Inaccurate" (a snake's hiss + historically inaccurate)
    • "The Dorne Identity" (Dorne + The Bourne Identity)
    • "Shae No To This" (Shae + "Say No To This")
    • "A H(e)art Inflamed"
    • "Stark to Finish" (Stark + start to finish)
    • "Congratshaelations" (Shae + "Congratulations")
  • Record Needle Scratch: Occurs both times Dontos appears in "More Than Jest Friends". The first time, Dontos shows up unexpectedly while Sansa is waiting for Sandor. The second time, he's being an outright Moment Killer in a scene that was meant to be a romantic moment between Sandor and Sansa.
  • Secret Message Wink: Done with lampshading in "Small Council"; when a character with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is introducing himself to another character, he turns and winks to the audience, indicating the insincerity of his prior words:
    Petyr Baelish: Petyr Baelish, at your service, [turning to the audience and winking] I say with a wink.
  • Shipper on Deck: The raven narrator states that she "ships it" after "First Watch", which has Sam tell Jon about his crush on Gilly. She isn't specific on whether she means Jon/Sam or Sam/Gilly.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: A frequent consequence of reducing the roles of some characters:
    • Lancel Lannister is given all the credit for actually killing Robert, but only gets a brief mention in "Plot Development".
    • Tyrion mentions his life getting saved by his squire near the end of "The Siege of King's Landing". The squire in question isn't heard of before nor after the fact.
    • Robb's wife isn't seen at all, but the fact that she isn't a Frey has a huge impact on the Stark storyline.
  • Song Parody: A decent portion of the Hamilton songs get this.
  • Succession Crisis: Robert's death creates one. Joffrey would have been Robert's proper heir if he had actually been Robert's son, but he's not and Joffrey's family won't let others take him off the throne without a fight. Stannis is the rightful heir, but quite unpopular. Renly has the backing of a family with a large army and their own ambitions to get more political power.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Oberyn volunteering to be Tyrion's Trial by Combat champion is phrased as one of those:
    Oberyn: Actually, I totally believe he's innocent, and I'm definitely not just using it as an excuse to battle the Mountain in front of an audience for confession purposes.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Both "King Robert Baratheon" and "Hand-Holding" hold a big, shining beacon for fate. The former boasts about the mere fact that Robert is alive, while the latter has Eddard and Robert sing of a future time in which both of them will be dead. Robert realizes this in "Hand-Holding" and goes out of his way to specify that they are imagining that time to be quite a few decades away.
    • Cersei reacts to Tyrion demanding Trial by Combat by saying that nobody is going to volunteer to be his champion with the Mountain representing the Crown. While the character who famously volunteered to be Tyrion's champion in both book and TV canons is in the room.
  • Truer to the Text: Zig-zagged considering the play’s parody nature, but quite a few elements from the books make more of an appearance than they ever did in Game of Thrones:
    • Leo Lefford is seen in "Hand of the King".
    • Roose Bolton wears pink, which is the main House Bolton color in the books. The TV show went with Red and Black and Evil All Over.
    • Sarella Sand is among the Sand Snakes.
    • The animosity between the Reach and Dorne, which was absent from the TV show.
    • Shae is played as the Gold Digger she is in the books.
    • A hairnet is used to get the poison used to kill Joffrey where it needs to be, while the accessory was changed to a necklace in the TV show.
    • Edric Storm serves as Melisandre’s source of King’s blood, while this part of his storyline was given to Gendry in the TV series.
    • Robb marries Jeyne Westerling in this version.
    • Several characters who were Adapted Out of the TV series, such as Coldhands and Ser Cortnay Penrose, are among the name-dropped characters.
    • The actress playing Catelyn is also credited as playing Val, which indicates that the blonde Wildling woman seen in "Sword in the Darkness" is supposed to be her.
  • Twice-Told Tale: The play is its own blend of the book and TV continuities, but also clearly expects the audience to be familiar with at least one of the official versions of the story it’s telling. Plot elements can get anything from proper exposition to Adaptation Explanation Extrication, depending on the whims of the Interactive Narrator and characters. The fact that the plot is being retold with parodies of Hamilton songs is also best appreciated if the originals were listened to beforehand.
  • Understatement:
    • The following exchange from "Knight's[sic] Watch Defeated":
      Stannis: I never thought I'd have to kill my own Hand.
      Davos: As your Hand, I don't think that's very good plan.
    • After getting framed for murder and losing his Trial by Combat, Tyrion comments that he's "having a bad year".
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: "No waiting" from the 2019 version gets interrupted because a certain Lord Lin-Manuel of House Miranda sent a "cease and desist" notice due to too many similarities with "Wait for it". "Lady in Waiting" from the 2018 version covered the entire song, and was the one that retained the most lyrical similarities with its Hamilton counterpart.
  • Zombie Gait: A resurrected character leaves the stage walking with both arms in front of them.