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Discussion Recap / GameOfThronesS7E4TheSpoilsOfWar

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Aug 7th 2017 at 9:14:50 AM •••

I'm not deleting anything yet, but I think its important to discuss if in a series like Game of Thrones can you truly call any of the characters in it "villainous" like it seem to be thrown around in the page. Apparently, the Lannister army, with Bronn and Jaime, acting like soldiers and doing proper strategic work is enough to call them into evil and villany, while Daenerys, who brought an army of well known rapists and burned hundreds of soldiers to their deaths is in the "heroic" territory.

I'm not saying that they are all in equal in morality, but it would be better if tropes of "villany" were removed in favor of more nuance.

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Aug 7th 2017 at 10:04:10 AM •••

1) The Lannisters are also a known army of rapists based on what they do in the Riverlands, with Tywin making Harrenhal a Gulag, and sending Gregor Clegane and his goons (like Polliver and others) to commit sundry war crimes. Of all the Houses and factions, the Lannisters have the least right to talk down to the Dothraki.

2) For Jaime and Bronn to not be villains, Cersei has to be some kind of ambiguous queen which she isn't. She's plainly a despotic psychopath. Now even if Cersei were evil, Jaime and Bronn's actions could be qualified, i.e. they have to be shown to be opposed to some of Cersei's actions which they aren't. Jaime plainly states that Cersei will win and reign over, and acts as if she's a genius. Like Tyrion in Season 2 was serving Joffrey but he called out his nephew for insulting Sansa, provoking a riot, for Cersei's cruelty and so on and so forth. And he had sympathetic reasons for supporting House Lannister...We don't see any of that from either Jaime and Bronn.

Jaime and Bronn rob the peasants of the Reach of their food and rations. Jaime explicitly tells Bronn to act like a hitman to threaten farmers to give their food. This when Winter is Coming, and that food is going straight to the capital. So I think that's pretty much a villainous action however way you cut it.

Aug 7th 2017 at 10:28:27 AM •••

I mean, yeah. GOT is big on Gray and Gray Morality, but the Lannisters from day one have clearly been a much darker shade of gray.

Putting aside the fact they were straight up villains for seasons 1-4, their current actions and associations are clearly pretty black. The soldiers may be Punchclock Villains right now since they're just "acting like soldiers" but they're doing so for a tyrant.

Aug 7th 2017 at 12:08:20 PM •••

As mentioned here by Coster-Waldau, who I guess is World Of Saint Paul but as an actor on the show an authority certainly:

''“Even though Daenerys is the hero and the Lannisters are the villains, being burned alive is not great,” Coster-Waldau says. “It’s a terrifying thing when this monster flamethrower comes along and incinerates thousands and thousands of men who are just doing their job.”

So that makes it clear...the Lannisters are villains but you shouldn't feel too happy being overwhelmed and boiled alive and they do show courage...but that doesn't mean they stop being villains...

Aug 6th 2017 at 9:57:15 PM •••

A commenter removed this entry because he felt this is debatable:

  • Diabolus ex Machina: The Lannisters continuing to remain a threat in the war depends on characters loyally serving them even if their previous characterization should make them consider the twins a liability:
    • The Iron Bank is willing to support the Lannister regime so long as they pay their current debt, even though their method of payment is inherently unsustainable. With the Reach raided of its wealth, Cersei almost certainly could never pay off such a debt again, and there's no readily available means for them to generate more wealth over a longer period since winter is coming. Furthermore, they previously showed disdain for this method of debt servicing, yet Tycho treats this as if it's a clever solution.
    • Likewise, Bronn, the mercenary who fights for the strongest side and gloats about turning his cloak at the best opportunity, still supports a regime that has not really paid him what he's worth, that extorts and exploits his services and skills regardless, and that forces him to risk his life for them, when logically he should have turned his cloak for Daenerys' side. Bronn refused to fight for Tyrion when the latter asked him to fight Gregor Clegane, noting both the risk and the lack of commensurate reward for such a task. Nevertheless, he willingly agrees to use a ballista against a giant fire-breathing dragon, this despite Jaime treating him poorly, and then risks his life to save Jaime's after even the pittance of the gold satchel given to him has fallen during the ruckus.

Now I think It fits the trope because as mentioned in the Diabolus Ex Machina page: Diabolus ex Machina (Devil from the Machine) is the Evil Counterpart of Deus ex Machina: the introduction of an unexpected new event, character, ability, or object designed to ensure that things suddenly get much worse for the protagonists, much better for the villains, or both. In this episode, we see Jaime and his Goon Squad raiding the Reach and facing no consequences for doing so...said action is rewarded by the Iron Bank...the gold they raided has reached the Capital...for all of this to work, multiple characters have to behave in unexpected ways.

It's also stated on the Diabolus page: Like the Deus ex Machina, a Diabolus ex Machina does not necessarily occur at the end. Though it often overlaps with Ending Tropes, it should not be confused for one. So clearly this doesn't have to be an ending trope.

I think Bronn serving the Lannisters is inarguably an example of this at least...since there's no reason from his characterization to expect that the guy who refused to fight Gregor Clegane out of loyalty to someone he liked will fight a giant dragon for free for someone he doesn't like as his own Sellsword logic he should turn his cloak and fight for Dany.

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Aug 7th 2017 at 3:46:10 AM •••

A Diabolous Ex Machina is something that happens UNEXPECTED, something new that literally no one seems before. Besides the fact that Game of Thrones has always been much more complex than simply calling someone a "villain", it adds to it that the Lannisters have been in the game for a long time, with the ballista being set up from other episodes and even been referenced in the books.

Aug 7th 2017 at 10:19:24 PM •••

The Diabolus ex Machina entry doesn't mention the ballista at all....

And for the Lannisters to not be villains...Cersei would have to be a good ruler and Jaime's idea that she could build a better world would have to be true, which the show In-Universe doesn't and to say otherwise would be YMMV territory.

Aug 8th 2017 at 6:29:21 AM •••

I don't think Diabolus ex Machina really applies here.

The Iron Bank isn't really an example because it's more a continuation of last episode's. It doesn't come from nowhere, it's an extension of something that existed. Put on last episode's recap but leave it off here.

A lot of people, our site in particular it seems, really play up Bronn's I Fight for the Strongest Side mentality. He's a pragmatist for sure but at this point, he feels like the Lannisters owe him and given their ridiculous victories thus far, they're the best bet. Not to mention that defecting is slightly more complicated than going "ah ha! I am on your side now. Trust me!"

Edited by Larkmarn
Aug 8th 2017 at 10:40:56 AM •••

okay then...

i still think bronn fits because he categorically refused to fight the mountain but now fights a dragon for free...

Aug 8th 2017 at 10:58:57 AM •••

That is a hugely different situation. Firstly, he's not doing it "for free" since he's being paid. Secondly, he's not volunteering to fight a dragon, he's fighting back after being attacked by one.

Keep in mind if he was quite as mercenary as you're making him out to be, he would've turned tail at the Battle of Blackwater since he could've guaranteed a Stannis victory by just not lighting the Wildfire.

I see where you're coming from but it's still major Character Exaggeration.

Aug 8th 2017 at 11:13:43 AM •••

In the case of Blackwater, Bronn was on the right side of the Wildfire and was serving the richest army in the Seven Kingdoms and had believable reasons to fight for Tyrion and believe that the Lannisters could defeat Stannis, especially Stannis being a known stickler for laws would likely not be as kind to a turncloak and would not appeal to someone as ambitious as Bronn.

Now he's fighting for a side that has stiffed him, that he can see robs wealth from other lands to pay its debts and that is now fighting against a side that has three dragons and a huge army. Its not believable that this guy could rationally see the Lannisters as more profitable, especially when the Lannister he likes is on the other side, you know the one who paid him well, got him a knighthood and so on.

I don't think it's character exaggeration at all...but I also have said my say, and I won't push the point further than this. SO I will let it rest.

Aug 8th 2017 at 10:59:33 PM •••

That rests on a lot of assumptions. We don't know that Bronn even knows that Tyrion is serving Dany; she doesn't exactly send out a regular newsletter to the entire Seven Kingdoms with updates on everyone's current job titles. And even if he does, there's no guarantee that he could go AWOL from the Lannister forces and get to Tyrion without being caught and hanged for dereliction of duty, or that Tyrion would receive him with open arms if he did. After all, the last time they saw each other, Bronn had basically sold him out and left him to die. Tyrion was more resigned than angry about it, but there's a far cry from "I understand why you fucked me over" to "all is forgiven, come be best buds again."

Bronn might not be thrilled about his prospects with Jaime and Cersei, but from where he's sitting, attempting to turn his cloak is still a very risky proposition for uncertain gain.

Edited by HighCrate
Aug 10th 2017 at 5:03:39 PM •••

Remember that Bronn's actions are a matter of choice or lack thereof. Bronn chose not to fight the Mountain because he knew that his victory would be uncertain; this is not the case when he faced Drogon, as he had no choice but to fight or be incinerated.

In the case of saving Jaime from the dragon, even if it's not for altruistic reasons, Bronn doesn't want Jaime to die, as it's on his best interest to keep him alive (as he tells Jaime to flee at the beginning of the battle); I'd like to point out that Bronn complained in the same manner about his pay to Tyrion even when he was on his service. Bronn certainly didn't want Tyrion to die with the trial by combat leaning towards a Mountain victory, seeing it as an insurmountable endeavor, so having the choice, he opted for not defending Tyrion. Had it been any other combatant rather than the Mountain, there's a greater possibility that Bronn could have defended Tyrion at the trial by combat.

What I mean is that Bronn will serve whoever will pay him, but he has his limitations. I'd like to think that he saved Jaime not just because he's expecting to get paid, though.

Now, Bronn might be faced with the possibility of fighting for Daenerys because he doesn't have a choice either. Under the assumption that he an Jaime come out of that lake alive, like the rest of the survivors, Bronn would be given the choice of serving Dany or die. Tyrion might not receive him with open arms, but he knows Bronn to be an excellent fighter to make use of.

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