Thoughts on HBO’s “Day in the Life”

Which you can find here.

– Note the sudden prominence of Ser Meryn Trant. Dollars to donuts he replaces Raff the Sweetling in Arya’s “Mercy” scene.

– Jorah fighting in the pits. So he’s definitely getting sold into slavery and fighting in Hizdahr’s re-opened pit, because that’s how you get Dany to care.

– The Water Gardens look absolutely lovely. Not quite the giant pools for naked children to run around in, but there’s health and safety problems with that.

– How awesome for the folks working in Seville?

– Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow is going to be so good. The Sparrows look appropriately bleak and fanatical.

– they’re discussing the mudsill theory in Meereen!

– Hardhome, which I’d guessed. When it doubt, have a major character do it. The Hardhome set looks fantastic.

– Illyrio is mentioned, but does he appear?

– more white slaves. Good. I mean, a couple seasons too late, but good.

– a Cersei/High Sparrow scene in a soup kitchen…interesting.

– the bullring of Osuna is quite impressive.

– Sand Snakes fighting! Areo Hotah!

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28 thoughts on “Thoughts on HBO’s “Day in the Life”

  1. KrimzonStriker says:

    New season can’t get here soon enough, looking forward to seeing Dorne and Braavos for one.

    Also, I really want to continue off on our previous discussion on the Illyrio/Varys conspiracy now that I’ve been catching up on your chapter by chapter analysis lately. While a great deal of what you’ve said was very insightful in understanding Varys mindset, I feel your missing on some key elements, namely the restated reluctance of Rhaegar to depose his father, and what kind of position the unexpected circumstances of Robert’s Rebellion would have put Varys in at that time, which would have been mostly reactive. For all this talk of mistrust being sowed between Rhaegar and Aerys that Varys was doing nothing really comes of it directly as a confrontation between the two never happens in the end, thanks to Robert’s Rebellion. I have thus always been of the opinion that Varys DID want Rhaegar to originally take over and was trying provoke him into doing so by pushing Aerys against him, as any realistic confrontation between Aerys and Rhaegar would almost always have Rhaegar emerge the victor.

    • Well, keep in mind that the original Varys/Illyrio theory was made in advance of WOIAF. But no. I don’t think Varys was pro-Ehaegar. Rhaegar was way too unstable and prophecy-obsessed to be the perfect prince, and Varys wanted to steal and resell his son.

      • Sean C. says:

        Or, rather, make people think that was what he’d done.

      • KrimzonStriker says:

        Which how many people would have really known about? How many examples did we have of it? One where he talked to his wife about it and another when he wrote to Aemon. Your acting as if until Lyanna Rhaegar had displayed any actual or erratic signs beyond an inquiring mind on the matter publicly. He took tours of the kingdom as Jon Connigton recalled, he took part in the lists on occasion, and everywhere he went lords and the smallfolk revered him so he must have had an active face in terms of governance as well. And he had apparently been setting up the pieces to deal with his father at long last. Remember that initially Rhaegar saw himself as the Prince that was Promised and thus would have diligently applied himself to the task, which would have theoretically included ruling and uniting Westeros.

        But most of my issues with your assumption is how logically feasible Varys could have pulled something like this off ahead of time. There were around 4 years in between when Duskendale and Aegon’s birth. We can’t and shouldn’t assume Varys saw anything like what set off Robert’s Rebellion coming given how seemingly random those circumstances where, so we can’t say he engineered the downfall of the Targayeans. And without a clearing out of the Targaryean dynasty, which his warning to Aerys about Tywin suggest he didn’t want, Aegon’s return from years of training would have floundered as he would have been regarded in much the same way as say Theon was upon his return. So in that case, assuming he did switch out Aegon, it makes more sense that his plans for Aegon were a reaction to the failing circumstances rather then premeditation.

        • Varys would have spent many years observing Rhaegar closely – and while Rhaegar had many good points, he was also a rather emo person who liked to vacation at the ruins of the castle where his family line was almost extinguished, which he kept singing about in public.

          I think Varys certainly helped stoke Aerys’ paranoia, that’s well-established in the text.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            Which discounts him why exactly? Being emo and singing aren’t qualities that would have meant Rhaegar couldn’t still be a good king.

            Reading through both World and Barristan’s recounting however. Varys might have stoked Aerys paranoia but he never gave him the means or just cause to remove Rhaegar. In fact his reporting to Aerys about Harrenhal only served to harm Aerys reputation according to the World book by publicly exposing his degeneration to everyone. And if Rhaegar removed a sitting king through lawful means he’d have sent a powerful precedent that would have appealed to Varric’s arguments about merit and duty over simply birth right.

          • Because Varys wants the *perfect* prince, not just a pretty good one. Aegon V was a good king, but that wasn’t enough to change Westeros.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            A reason I keep bringing up Theon is all the drawbacks involved of simply removing Aegon beforehand and then trying to reintroduce him to an existing Targayrean institution if we discount Robert’s Rebellion from Varys equation. One is how Varys would go about getting away with a kidnapping even if Elia doesn’t notice, when the two children started growing up. Two, the loss of building up Aegon’s political powerbase would be a tremendous setback to overcome as logically attention would then shift to Viserys as the expected heir and then Rhaney afterwards, even if say Rhaegar would have been willing to accept it’s Aegon on face value upon the boy’s return.

            Thus I feel that taking Aegon only makes sense under the circumstances the Rebellion, which once again suggests a reactionary contingency plan on Varys part.

          • Unless you take the position that Varys considered a rebellion inevitable and raised Aerys’ paranoia as a way to encourage that along.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            And yet in that case the natural replacement/rebel would have been Rhaegar, which butresses my argument that Varys encouraging of Aerys paranoia against his son was meant to encourage Rhaegar to be the one to enact that rebellion/lawful removal, who as stated on multiple accounts was reluctant to depose his father initially.

          • But if that was the case, why alert Aerys to Harrenhal…unless you want both of them out of the way?

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            We have only to go back to the World Book for that answer, it reads that Aerys going did tremendous harm to his standing by exposing him for the entire realm to witness his deterioating madness firsthand. This would have only strengethened Rhaegar’s hand had things not spiraled out of control regarding Lyanna

          • But it also forestalled any Great Council. So definitely increasing the chances of a civil war, but not improving the chances of Rhaegar replacing him.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            Gah pressed the wrong response button. My reply is at the bottom of our conversation.

        • KrimzonStriker says:

          And in both Aegon V and Aegon VI cases they went through almost the exact same thing essentially according to all of Varys criteria. Which suggests to me that Varys didn’t need to completely remove Aegon from the Targaryean royal institution to still make him effective. And Aegon V might have been able to pull it off had his children’s marriages managed to go through. The term perfect prince is being taken too literally, we both know there’s no such thing. And the way your using it essentially suggestion a level of premeditation that would have required a complete clearing of the Targayeans unless we end up with a precursor to Theon Greyjoy, that could easily be explained as and is more fitting/consistent as a simple reactionary manuevere given Varys actions during Robert’s Rebellion of warning Aerys against Tywin and how unexpected the Rebellion would have come for Varys given its unusual circumstances.

          • I think Varys’ emphasis on nurture (as discussed in Hollow Crowns Part V) suggests that he does have to remove him. For Varys, the perfect prince needs to know what it’s like to be poor.

            BUT, unlike Aegon V, the perfect prince needs an environment in which the nobility is willing to accept any change in return for peace, a la Henry VII.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            I do agree that Varys does place a much bigger priority on nurture, but nurture can come through many means/avenues. Egg’s squring is a good example of that, more then one Targaryean prince ended up in Essos as well, fostering was also an option. Of course this all goes back to whether Aegon was always Varys initial target and not Rhaegar as I’m arguing.

            Then couldn’t Aerys rampaging paranoia, which we acknowledge Varys was encouraging, not have paved the way for Rhaegar to have done so in that case as I’ve previously suggested? Both Jaheary’s and Dareon II managed to push through tremendous reform after the misrule of their predecessors.

        • KrimzonStriker says:

          Forestalled assumes it was already in place and was going to happen, given Rhaegar’s constant delaying it seems unlikely that Harrenhal would have resulted in a great council being declared at that point. A great Council also requires consensus to pass, we are talking about removing a sitting king which has no precedent among the previous Great Councils, and Aerys had locked himself in the Red Keep for years so no one knew how badly he had detioriated.. So if Aerys did try to remove Rhaegar, how many of the Lords would have supported that after clearly seeing that man’s completely batshit insane now firsthand at Harrenhal? By and large most of the kingsguard seem to be on Rhaegar’s side as well.

      • Winnie says:

        Even granting that Rhaegar wasn’t Varys’s idea of the perfect prince, supporting Aerys over Rhaegar seems like a bad idea, since Aerys was so nuts he threatened to bring the whole thing crashing down. (And in terms of the Targaryen dynasty he did.)

        Also I still think the problem with the Perfect Prince is even if you succeed in the first generation, (which is a big IF and unlikely to be the case with fAegon) how do you successfully repeat that with the prince’s heirs?!? Do you take them away from the royal parents to be raised in poverty and exile as well?!?

        • KrimzonStriker says:

          Exactly my point, to make this last Varys needs to institute a fostering and education system within any government he brings to power that will dole out his curriculum, not kidnap them. So I don’t see why he couldn’t have done that with Rhaegar in power first.

        • Well, that’s kind of the problem with enlightened despotism, isn’t it? But to hazard a guess, I’d say Varys was thinking about reform as something you do in one big burst, so that you don’t have to rely on the virtue of a monarch for more than 1 generation.

          • KrimzonStriker says:

            A big if but even then you’d want a stable enough institution left behind to make sure said reforms stick at least. It seems much easier to do that with the Targayean monarchy still intact versus everyone having an example of when they were deposed from power. Plus in my mind pitting Aerys against Rhaegar first just fits better with Varys more systematic approach compared to Little finger and his ‘burn it all down so I can rule the ashes’ stick. Only when Robert’s Rebellion blew up in Varys face did he decide to switch gears for something more drastic.

  2. St3 says:

    I’m better Meryn Trant replaces Kettleblack and gets tortured.

  3. wer@sa.com says:

    what is the mudsill theory? Are you talking about the Hanibal Hamlin thing?

  4. Sean C. says:

    Regarding Illyrio, Roger Allam was doing a play in the West End through most of the filming period in Croatia, where the scenes in the villa were shot (the exteriors, anyway), so he may not have been available. They could recast, of course.

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