Game of Thrones – “What Is Dead May Never Die”Posted: April 15, 2012
Varys said something interesting this week as he and Tyrion kicked back with a bottle of wine, discussed the things they learned that day, and realized that each of them had found a better friend in the other than they had previously thought. He said, “Power resides where men believe it resides.” Well, that’s certainly true. But as we’re learning, there’s a great deal of power that resides with those who stand just out of the public eye, and oftentimes the power they wield is stronger than that of those they supposedly answer to.
I guess your initial response to a proclamation like that would be, “DER!” But I think you’d say that because you’re using a government like ours as a basis for your opinion. In our government, whoever’s in power depends more or less on a coalition of support to get legislation passed. In a land like Westeros, you don’t need that. What the king wants, the king gets. And I think that in a situation like that, the rulers are much less swayed by close advisers or others looking for personal gain. Then again, I majored in English so what the hell do I know.
My main reason for saying this is because I doubt there are a lot of people who look at Tyrion or Varys or Littlefinger or Maester Pycelle and see men who wield power, yet they all do. When Tyrion is trying to figure out which of these others would betray him to Cersei, he tells them each different stories about who he plans to marry Myrcella off to. When Cersei confronts him, screaming about sending Myrcella off to Dorne, he knows that Pycelle’s the one who gave him up. He’s still got to watch out for Cersei — who’s one crazy lady — but he’s gone a ways toward protecting his flank against the man who at least partly responsible for the deaths of his two immediate predecessors.
Of course, if you’re not as smooth behind the scenes as Tyrion Lannister, there are several other ways to seize power in Westeros. One of them is to go to war, much like the Greyjoys are planning. You know, I don’t hate Theon Greyjoy, but I sure do hate his family. Part of the reason for this is that, Theon has a point. Balon’s pissing and moaning about what a weak pup his son is, and how living with the Starks for years has made him soft, but who was the one who sent him off in the first place? It wasn’t Theon’s choice. The second reason is Asha Greyjoy’s dead eyes. Seriously, what the hell?
Anyway, Theon’s apparently decided to play the hand dealt him and go along with their batshit crazy plot, which is to raid cities up and down the coast and somehow end up in King’s Landing and on top of the throne. Whatever. I haven’t read the books, so I’m still holding out hope that life on that fishing boat turns Theon into a hardened and battle-tested killer, and that he pays his family back all sorts of sweet revenge. As with all things, time will tell.
If you don’t want to take risk declaring war and then losing, there are other options available to you. You could go the Renly Baratheon route. That is, take off, get some other people to like you and create their own kingdom just for you. Well, as it turns out, that’s working out well for Renly. He’s got quite a few guys backing him up, and Margaery Tyrell (as well as her brother Loras) to share his bed with. And as far as that goes, Renly really lucked out. It turns out Margarery doesn’t care if he’s still stuck in the closet. She understands that while Renly’s crowned king of the Seven Kingdoms, what he’s got right now doesn’t amount to much more than a government in exile. And now that Catelyn Stark’s come, looking sour but asking for help, Renly’s got a chance to be much more. And Margarery could be part of that.
So it’s anything goes in the race for the Iron Throne. And maybe the Stark’s and Baratheon’s brute strength will carry the day. Or maybe it’ll be the Greyjoy’s daring (it’d have to be their daring, because their plan is so f**king stupid). But, I think I’ll keep my money on Tyrion, just because watching him work is so much fun. While it may have been sad, watching Maester Pycelle dragged off like that, poor old man that he is, we can’t deny that Tyrion really is a smooth operator. Hate the game, not the player, I guess.