rambling

Dedication: A Few Musings

I’ve been feeling the tug of this blog, waking up every day thinking that it’s probably a good day to let my fingers meander along the keyboard, and today I’m finally giving in to that drive. I’ve had a few other tasks pulling at my attention, the most pressing of which was a deep cleanse of the apartment I share with my brother. It’s not that the place was super messy or covered in grime or some crazy filthy shit like that; it’s just that I know myself, and I know that if I let things slide for too long, I convince myself that I was better off not doing them anyway.

So I cleaned the apartment today, and it feels good. I’m sitting in the dining area now, with my laptop set on our big-ass wooden table (it’s great for board games AND tabletop role-playing games!), and thinking about the things I’d like to share with all of you.

I like to make promises, small or large, and sometimes I dedicate myself to an idea or a task without giving it a second thought. In retrospect, I’m fairly certain I’ve mentioned two topics I wish to ramble about: Game of Thrones, and Link’s Awakening. The latter, I’ll get to soon – I’ve been reminiscing, on and off, about my times spent with The Legend of Zelda and the wonderful adventures I’ve had. I set myself up for even more (and more intense) Game of Thrones ramblings, however, so we’re going to continue with those today.

SPOILER WARNING! I am most likely going to write about the very latest developments in the series as I ramble on, so if you haven’t been watching the final season of Game of Thrones, read on at your own risk.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s jump to two of my favorite characters, either of whom I really wanted to destroy Cersei Lannister. I’m talking about Jaime Lannister and Arya Stark, respectively.

Arya has been a fan favorite for a long time, and I must admit I’m just like many of the folks who read the books and/or watch the show: Arya is among my top five characters in the series, I would say. She’s always had a problem with the trappings of nobility, eschewing the whole political performance necessary to a savvy regal operator (Sansa excels at the political side of things) and dedicating herself to the rough and ragged shadows instead.

For her blatant dislike of pretense and her desire to train herself in various martial arts, many of us love Arya. This isn’t to say that loving Arya totally disavows a love and respect for Sansa – I love Sansa for her struggles and strengths as well – but Arya sticks with people faster, I think. Lol, “stick ’em with the pointy end” – she sticks in people’s minds faster and now I think that’s hilarious.

Anyway, back to Arya destroying Cersei. Early in the series Arya made a list of the motherfuckers she wanted to kill for their parts in murdering her father, Ned Stark. Cersei was and has been on the top of that list. Many fans, even before the show started and we were just plowing through pages, ardently wished for Arya to survive whatever ordeals beset her so that she could return to King’s Landing and deliver a vengeful end to Cersei’s bullshit reign. Many of us have thought that this would be a badass and fitting cap to Arya’s narrative arc: she learns to survive in the shadows, hiding and biding her time, until she’s trained enough to tackle a stealth quest to destroy the awful lioness.

A few weeks ago, Arya did end a bad motherfucker, but it wasn’t Cersei. It was the Night King. And it was fucking awesome.

Has Arya’s training and struggling paid off? Hell yes. She managed to sneak up on that arrogant blue bastard and then feign helplessness as she swapped her dagger to her free hand and killed that evil fucker. She saved, well, the whole world, really. Yet the show goes on, and Cersei continues to sit on the Iron Throne. With Arya demonstrating supreme stealth and martial prowess in dispatching the Night King, would it even be fair to give her another huge kill?

Personally, I didn’t think so. Yet, true to her character, she sets out for King’s Landing anyway, with the intention of killing Cersei once and for all. Now the fear sets in: Arya’s done so much badass stuff already, she’s bound for a failure at some point, right? And with the show ending soon, this failure could be her last – she might fucking die!

But wait a second – there’s another would-be Cersei killer on the show. This one’s more of a stretch, but in my heart of hearts, I thought it would be poetically just if Jaime Lannister would be the one to end his sister’s cruel reign. He’s tried several times to turn his back on Cersei and live a more honorable life, the sort of life a knight would be proud to call his own, and for the most part, he’s succeeded. His travels with Brienne show him what a real person of honor does with their time and their deeds, and with Jaime abandoning King’s Landing to assist in the fight against the Night King and the end of the world itself, it looks like he’s ready to embrace a full knight’s life, ending evil doers and helping the common people.

So killing Cersei would make some sort of sense for him, I think. She has historically shat all over the common people of Westeros and treated anyone not herself and her children as less than dirt, so, like, she needs to go, man. Would it be difficult for her twin brother to accept this and end her life? Of course. But not impossible.

My pipe dreams of poetic justice did not come true, however, as Jaime rushes away from Brienne and Winterfell to be with his sister in the big battle to destroy/defend King’s Landing, depending on which side a person is on. I held out hope that Jaime would rush to his sister’s side only to watch her make dreadful, murderous decisions and finally commit to stopping her destructive ways. It wasn’t to be, however.

No, a far more emotional and destructive character went full fucking crazy and ended all kinds of lives. The most recent episode showcased Daenerys and her insane, callous vendetta against Westeros, culminating in the utter destruction of King’s Landing and the nearly one million lives within it. That’s right: one million. Dany ended up causing the deaths of almost a million people, all because things aren’t exactly going her way on this side of the sea.

Do I feel for Dany? Yes. She’s lost most of the people she’s cared about and called friends throughout her struggles, and her most devoted voice of reason, Ser Jorah, was silenced during the Battle of Winterfell. Fuck, right? She’s losing all the people and things she holds dear, so it’s all too easy for her to say “Fuck it” and lay waste to a lot of people.

ALL THOSE PEOPLE! Dany says she doesn’t want to be the Queen of the Ashes, but she sort of is, now. And what does this have to do with Jaime and Cersei, and even Arya, for that matter? Well, Cersei dies, ostensibly, by Dany’s extended hand – Drogon’s fire has caused the Red Keep to crumble, and Cersei and Jaime are crushed in the collapsing rubble. Jaime makes it to his sister’s side after Euron Greyjoy (damned be his name forever) stabs him fatally in several places. Euron is killed by Jaime, but Jaime is still mortally wounded – anything he does at this point is one of his final acts.

So he dies with his twin sister. He doesn’t kill her for any sort of poetic justice, and I’m okay with this. Despite all the terrible things she’s done, she’s still his sister, and the love of his life. He’s done some bad things too, but I still believe that after all is said and done, he had a good heart and he did more good than evil in the world. He became the Kingslayer by stopping Aerys from doing exactly what Dany did – destroying King’s Landing. Jaime saved the whole damn city and the million people in it, but everyone thought he was just an opportunistic power grabber. Well, fuck that, I say. He was a righteous and honorable man, in the end, and I’m sad to see him go.

Not even Arya got to twist a dagger into Cersei’s dilapidated heart, but that’s all for the best. Heeding Sandor Clegane’s (The Hound’s) advice, she gives up on death and revenge to focus on life instead – she runs through the beleaguered city, dodging dragonfire, panic-stricken soldiers, and desperate people, all while trying to save as many lives as she can. She’s a capable bringer of death, to be certain, but it was wonderful to watch her embrace life instead and devote herself to the cause of saving people.

I’ve been a supporter of Arya from the very beginning, and even though it was initially difficult for me to accept Jaime’s place in the narrative, I grew to love him too. He’s one you have to get to know before you like him. So now, two of my favorite characters are dead, and the rest are at the mercy of a pissed off, sad, and desperate Targaryen queen. Theon and Jaime died well, in their own ways, and I’ll miss them dearly. But Arya, Tyrion, Jon, Sansa, Davos … my list could go on and on, and damn, I wish for all of them to make it to the end. Please, make it to the end and build a better world.

Still, Daenerys may just burn everyone alive. At this point, it’s her against the world – at least, she probably sees things this way. She has dedicated herself to claiming that throne, and she won’t back down. Arya dedicated herself to killing Cersei, and she did back down, at the last second – thank the Old Gods and the New that Cersei was as good as dead anyway. Jaime was dedicated to Cersei from his birth to his death, and despite how sad it makes me, it’s also weirdly heartwarming.

I’m trying to dedicate myself to the promises I make, no matter how small, so I’ll keep writing about the nerdy stuff that brings me joy. I rolled a few Game of Thrones characters into one post today, so next time, I think I’ll take a break from that and focus on Zelda instead. Put me on a boat but make sure to give me a lightning rod – Link’s Awakening reminiscences are on the way.

Keep on nerding out, folks.

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