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Game of Thrones

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On 5/13/2019 at 1:50 AM, CAT5 said:

It's a tragedy, but I think Dany's arc highlights one of the central problems with the way Westeros is run - the whole Idea of Royalty is simply inane. And as the series has shown us many times over - high-borns and low-borns spill blood just the same. So the separation of classes is already unnecessarily divisive. And furthermore, thinking that you're fit to rule simply because you were born into "the right" family is pretty much a system that encourages delusions of grandeur by default.

I actually went in the other direction. I think the problem with the way Westeros is run is that the monarchy is weak. I've always believed that the most efficient form of government is a benevolent dictatorship, and that is the cornerstone of Bran the Broken's unwritten rule after the end of the show. We already flirted with democracy via Sam's suggestion, and the other nobles laughed it off. I'll explain why this is important later, but basically Westeros is not ready for democracy. When the monarchy started 300 years ago, it was done by Aegon I Targaryen, his two sisters, and three dragons. That's the equivalent of bringing a tactical nuke to a medieval gun fight. The early Targs were able to consolidate power first with dragons, then with political and military alliances. The power of the Targaryens decreased when their dragons stopped becoming a threat, and of course when the issues of incest multiplied generation after generation.

Now look to the present in the show starting with the first books and look at who is really in charge. The "earliest" we can go is Aerys. Aery's successor was Bobby B, who earned the throne via right of conquest but was an ineffectual ruler that could command no one's respect. He was openly mocked by his wife, sired no legit heirs, spent the crown into debt, and died on the eve of war. Joffrey and Tommen weren't effectual rulers either, basically they were Cersei's mouth pieces and had no power on their own. Dany touches the throne for 3.5 seconds and dies 10 minutes later.

Now look to the people who had power; Aerys was king but it was Tywin, hand of the king, who was ruler in spirit. The High Septon had no problem forcing any of the rulers into following religious customs without even needing to be in the Red Keep. Cersei presided over the rule of two kings as regent before becoming Queen herself. She held onto power for so long because she was ruthless and a bit insane, creating a centralized power structure through fear, but once she became Queen proper her claims to power got more tenuous, not less, almost as if becoming ruler undermined her authority. Who instructed Jon to murder Dany? Tyrion in a prison cell. Who floated the idea of Bran as the new king? Tyrion, prisoner about to be executed and looking for a pardon. The recurring theme is twofold: one is that that the Iron Throne is not something that anyone actually wants to have, and the other is that the person who elects the king often has more power than the actual king!

Back to my original point: Bran himself is a weak king because he cannot sire heirs. Tyrion picking Bran as the new king is a power play for himself out of self-preservation. He's hoping either Bran accepts and pardons him, or Bran looks into the future and picks the ideal candidate. When he dies, the right to rule will be brought into question again. The whole idea that nobles will pick the right leader every time is absolutely laughable; you put powerful and self-interested people in the pilot seat, ask them all to pick one among them to rule, and expect all of them not to want to take the wheel? Self-interest will be the primary motivating factor, and remember I said that the country is not ready for democracy. Democracy is all about compromise, which is difficult when everyone wants to be king, but at least democracy has built-in checks and balances to promote compromise. War is only one king and one future disagreement between two groups of nobles away from returning to Westeros, and the nobles still don't know how to work together.

This idea of "electing a new king" puts more hands into the power of each of the kingdoms than it does into the central monarchy. That reminds me of the Articles of Confederation, which was a massive failure because the states could not/would not effectively coordinate with each other, and the federal government could only request action, not demand it. This is the situation Bran almost immediately finds him in, when Sansa turns around and declares the North free. That's a horrible precedent, because that sets up the monarchy for immediate weakness. There's little that Bran can do to command the rest of the kingdoms to stay, if they so choose to test him. They're basically staying put because they chose him, so their acceptance is implicit, but there's no saying the next ruler gets the same treatment. The next ruler probably will not. Where is his tactical nuke? His dragons? His standing army? Doesn't exist. The king is the most vulnerable person in the entire Seven Kingdoms, who basically rules for as long as his charisma lasts.

It's also a bit of an asspull to make a psychic Gary Stu the king, because there is no real world equivalent to the 3ER, so it cements the ending in the realm of feel good fantasy at odds with the gritty realism that defined this show. It also doesn't make a lot of sense if you dig into the political science behind it, about as much sense as


The Khalasar + The Unsullied not rioting in KL after discovering Jon killed Dany




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