author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, January 19, 2014

On Losing the Good Guys

"Game of Thrones" Red Wedding

As a follow up to my article “On Why Ned Stark’s Die” GRRM continued to remind us in the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and the books “A Song of Ice and Fire” that losing Ned was only the beginning of an avalanche of tragedy for House Stark.  Against the powerful Lannisters, the corrupt Baratheons, the absentee Targaryen, who finds them all as her enemy, there’s not much left after the infamous “Red Wedding.”

Instead of going back and use the second major Stark wipe out to be a “lever” for the story, this time I think Martin is reeling in the results of bad decisions of youth coupled with competent adversaries.  Robb Stark, only sixteen in “A Song of Ice and Fire” married the wrong girl because he had a sexual encounter/fell in love with her and did the honorable thing, a similar line of thinking of his father Ned.  Afterwards he had the gall to ask Lord Frey for his men to assist in his war.  As we feel sympathy for Robb, he found out the hard way battles alone cannot win wars.  Politics do matter, and he didn’t speculate the actions of the Freys or the formidable Lannisters. (In ASOIAF, Robb’s wife wasn’t from Volantis, her family was Tywin Lannister’s bannermen, so  imagine the situation these lovebirds put their families in).

My brother argues with me constantly about ASOIAF, saying the good guys lose too often.  But do they?  I say no, they lose, but more Starks are surviving than Targaryens (not exactly the same). Also, if you believe the direwolves and the Stark kids are connected, look what happened to them.  The young Stark boys and Jon Snow have their direwolves with them and are doing better (won’t spoil here) than Robb, who distanced himself from Greywind, Sansa got Lady killed, and Arya is on hard times after having to give up Nymeria.  More factors than the direwolves involve the fate of the Starks, but as a fiction reader, I think they play a role.

What about the bad guys?  Do they ever lose?  I won’t spoil with information in the books, but if I did, it wouldn’t add much.  Winter IS coming.  The Stark enemies know it, but they don’t really believe it.  Even Tyrion “The Inp” knows about Daenerys and her dragons but he cares as little about three dragons as his selfish sister does.  Though Martin will make we readers work for every inch of this story, Winter WILL come and the bad guys will experience it while the Stark spirits will not have to, and the young Starks will grow up and remember what happened to their family.


  1. I came to the story as a Game of Thrones viewer in season 3 and was awash with confusion, although watching seasons 1 and 2 helped as did numerous conversations with other GoT enthusiasts. I am older than others I know who watch the shows and I have seen in my lifetime that at times the good die young. I miss the Starks. They were my pick for winning the throne and now I cast elsewhere. What else can possibly happen in this story? A yoga friend says that he can't keep track of the plot but that the production costs for this series must be very high. I struggle with the plot, change allegiences and think all in all it is a great show. We GoT enthusiasts have different expectations of tv now.

  2. Hi, thanks for commenting! The books "A Song of Ice and Fire" are really the key to understanding "Game of Thrones." Only Daenerys has the birthright AND ability through her dragons to win, but she's not in Westeros. Anything goes with GRRM, so I've had fun with speculators. I highly recommend any fan of the series to pick up the books. Each chapter is a POV character, a long, but not difficult read. Thanks again!

  3. C.C.Cole I'm not sure if you were forgetting about Stannis or used the "AND ability" to rule him out, but his claim is stronger than Daenerys', figuring he is the Oldest Baratheon and the oldest known male with Targaryen blood (outside of Aemon). At any point, anyone alive has the ability to win the throne. Everything can change.

  4. You make a good point, because I think Stannis is the most under rated character in the series. Melisandre takes away from his character, but will play a role in his destiny I believe. You're right, Stannis is not done.