Queen of Thorns

Alternative history

I almost wrote this post in anticipation of the finale of Game of Thrones season seven. Now I’m glad I didn’t.

My expectations were high and they were not met. There was plenty to work with, even in the absence of George, but the show-runners were more preoccupied with hitting the beats they knew the audience wanted smacked, rather than what characters would logically do next.

The side characters were particularly wasted. Even a quick look over their bio’s could have yielded gold!

Qyburn

Qyburn is in a position to call in his marker. As Cersei’s Master of Whispers, he successfully executed the fiendish Sept of Baelor plan as well as everyone in it.

Killing Pycelle wasn’t a reward, it was part of the deal. Cersei never liked him and it helped clear the deck for the new world order.

So Qyburn, you’ve won the Super Bowl. What is your Disneyland?

Revenge

Specifically, revenge on the Citadel that expelled him.

Euron and Qyburn sail to Oldtown. It’s the best buddy comedy since Tyrion and Bronn.

Short / Sword : They fight crime!

Euron’s job is to escort Qyburn to the centre of the Citadel to retrieve something that Qyburn assures Cersei will win them the war.

The -pirates- Greyjoys land and get to doing what they do best. It’s horrifying and a nice reminder of how great it was when Danaerys made Yara swear that they were done with raping and reaving.

Euron escorts Qyburn through the library. Masters stand in every row, desperately unlocking books from the shelves, trying to save as much as they can. Qyburn gets to the Grand Maesters chambers (why you cast a Broadbent if you’re not going to use him). He’s standing behind a desk piled with scrolls. He’s paralysed, which pieces of knowledge are precious enough to save?

The Grand Maester recognises Qyburn, remonstrates with him. How could you burn the greatest library in the world? Qyburn ignores him and goes to a corner of the room. Moving piles of books and scrolls to one side, he reveals a low cupboard door with an intricate lock.

Qyburn has a brief exchange with the Grand Master (boldness shouldn’t be punished BEEYOTCH) as Euron smashes open the lock. Behold, a horn. Qyburn tells Euron that this is what they came for, that the rest can burn.

As they leave we see the greatest scholars alive burning with their books. A rope snaps, breaking the carefully patterned dance of the giant, spinning astrolabe at the centre of the tower. It tilts, groans and falls. Dany isn’t the only one who can break a wheel!

Qyburn could have been the perfect counterpoint to the Sam plotline. Sam, the newbie, is blundering around the Citadel, trying to find the one piece of information that will stop the great war. Qyburn lived at the Citadel for years, he knows all the secrets and their reference number.

Littlefinger

We all wanted him to die. But in this world, the comeuppance is usually exponentially worse than the crime. And Baelish has been a bad, bad boy.

Throw him in a pit and take away the ladder

The trial begins much the same but once she’s got his attention, Sansa tells Littlefinger that she has sent a raven to each of the noble houses with a full explanation of his treachery. He’ll never work on this continent again

The trial begins much the same but once she’s got his attention, Sansa tells Littlefinger that she has sent a raven to each of the noble houses with a full explanation of his treachery. He’ll never work on this continent again

Rather than killing him, Sansa condemns him to exile. Littlefinger must return to the fingers and never come back. If he leaves his house arrest, Bran will know. Baelish is sceptical until Bran tells him (for the first time) that “Chaos is a ladder”. Petyr begs, tells her he loves her, asks how she can be so cruel. Sansa only says that she will call if he is needed.

Littlefinger is next seen on the King’s Road. He has no intention of submitting to his exile and is heading back to Cersei, until he encounters a pack of wolves. They nip and scratch at him until he starts heading east.

Days later, he arrives. He’s obviously tried to evade his wolf escort several time and his clothes are ripped to shreds. We finally see the long scar given to him by Uncle Brandon. It almost makes you feel sorry for him.

The dire wolf behind him gives a snarl and he clambers back to his feet, reluctantly stumbling towards his ancestral home, a small, unwelcoming stone house on the furthest reach of the smallest finger.

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