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Where To Watch Got To Believe Full Episodes
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy at home and abroad. Before arriving in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a think tank devoted to the ideas that shape our political world.
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When Game of Thrones premiered, in 2011, I was a graduate student studying international relations. Part of what appealed to me about the show (and the books it’s based on) was its political realism: the subtle motivations of key players in the Seven Kingdoms, the mundane actions of the small council, and the long history of Westerosi conflict. And how it shaped the hero’s world view. After I graduated and became a journalist covering global affairs, I began writing about the show professionally—publishing pieces about how it connected with and illuminated the real-world workings of global politics.
The resolution of the series’ defining conflict—the battle for the Iron Throne and the future of the Westerosi monarchy—is essentially determined by Tyrion Lannister’s impassioned speech. Sansa Stark wins freedom for the North without argument from the other assembled lords. Jon Snow returns to the Night’s Watch, which has no reason to exist, and maybe — just maybe — the wildlings are bugs? And Arya Stark decides to become Christopher Columbus for no reason.
Its psychological realism is stretched almost entirely by trying to understand the inner motivations of its characters—aside from the complex political reality it helped create in the first place.
People did things because the plot required them to, not because their actions matched their past behavior. Battles were decided purely based on story convenience. In one episode, Euron easily kills one of Dany’s dragons with a well-aimed ballista, but in another episode, no one is seen attacking the remaining dragons. In 2011, the show’s politics, a key element that made it so different and fresh, fell apart completely – to the point where the series could no longer be considered anything like validation.
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‘Big closing stories. Daenerys going crazy, could mean Bran being king. The problem was execution: the show prioritized character development over shock value and political details, and the complex reality of Westeros — the element of the series that had previously engaged so many viewers so deeply — fell apart like an exploding tower. King’s Landing. Dragon fire.
It’s a deeply disappointing end to one of television’s deepest and most exciting shows at its best.
Let’s zoom in on the resolution of the Iron Throne plot, the show’s primary concern for eight seasons.
So Tyrion is in prison, apparently for a few weeks. From main characters like Sansa and Arya to side characters like Yara Greyjoy and whoever is the new prince of Dorne – he’s brought to a meeting of the most powerful lords and ladies of the Seven Kingdoms. Everyone decides to meet with the Gray Worms and the Unsold to discuss Tyrion and Jon’s fate, a discussion that could end in another brutal war if no deal can be reached. The fate of the country hangs in the balance.
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. While the show focuses heavily on the goals and visions of each of its main characters to discuss, the interests and motivations of the side characters are also somewhat outlined.
It’s not just the North that needs independence, for example: both the Iron Islands and Dorne are historically separate from the rest of Westeros and can hope to gain their own independence from the Iron Throne. Gendry, the new lord of the Stormlands, may be looking to bolster his unwavering claim to the title (as a bastard promoted by the now-deceased Daenerys). These conflicting interests could theoretically lead to a tense and difficult discussion, which lasted several days of showtime and produced surprising results.
What happens instead? Apparently, Tyrone suggested that they decided to pick a king out of the blue. He suggests that Bran Stark, unknown to most of the nobles of Westeros, should be king. He gives a speech about Bran’s magical powers, which no one really understands, suggesting that Bran’s command of the story means that he must be entrusted with near absolute power. In the show’s universe, the story should be as funny as Sam’s quest to find democracy.
But that is not the case. All the assembled nobles seem moved by the power of Tyrion’s words, except Sansa (who declares Winterfell free) to make Bran king – as well as revolutionize the nature of the Westerosi monarchy. Rather than being eternally determined by birth, it is chosen. No meaningful debate or discussion. How does this affect Dorne, the Iron Isles, the Reach, the Vale, the Wasteland? Who cares! Tyrion is good at speaking.
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The Western region is defined by its optimistic account of democracy. At its core, Aaron Sorkin’s play The White House believes that people are rational and open to persuasion, and that the American political system centers around people being convinced of their beliefs and changing their minds over and over again as a result. The stories are persuasive; The marketplace of ideas works.
This is how American politics – or politics anywhere – really works. This is a naive view
Over the years, disunity, selfishness and ideologies not only make it difficult for people to compromise, but sometimes lead to war. However, the end of this long struggle for supremacy ends in the most active way possible: all the lords agree on a new king without debate, as Tyrion offers some nice words about the stories.
After years of division and war, the Council elects a political unknown like Bran as a compromise that almost starts another conflict after debate. could be bought.
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But that didn’t happen. Instead, the scene is about Tyrion — who, as he admits earlier in the episode, has been spectacularly wrong about everything for the season now — convincing everyone to do what he says. This is bullshit.
The series finale had my favorite parts, for sure. Killing off Jon Daenerys felt right for both characters. Drogon’s attempts to revive his mother were also touching, as was Jon’s reunion with the ghost. Sansa tearing into Edmure Tully when he stood up to claim the throne as her own, while also laughing at Sam (“Uncle, sit down” would probably be a refrain from uncles everywhere).
I love the idea of Sansa winning freedom in the North, and her coronation shot is great. But how can everyone agree without objection or discussion? Why didn’t anyone else ask for independence or other concessions from the crown in exchange for remaining in the seven kingdoms?
If it felt emotionally satisfying but a little unrealistic, then Arya’s turn to seek out the “west of Westeros” was just silly.
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I get that she mentioned wanting to explore in the previous season, but why did she leave after reuniting with her sister and brother? Isn’t she a trained assassin with the skills to help Sansa support her new queen? Why would a show that turned a cautionary tale about imperialism from one of its beloved characters into 15th-century European colonialism?
Jon returns to the Night’s Watch, the Wildlings are at peace with the Seven Kingdoms and have no reason to exist as the White Walkers have been destroyed. Somehow the wall, a giant semi-magical ice formation, has been repaired in a few months. In the final sequence, John—obsessed with duty and honor—seems to leave the night watch and roam with wild animals? We see green buds poking from plants through the snow, as if the longest winter in the world’s recent history, which ended last year’s winter, is already coming to an end. Because the white walkers are dead? Who knows!
Why would Brown become a coin master without any experience in finance? Why is Brienne last?
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