The Spectacle Blog

Game of Thrones: Arya the Nihilist

By on 5.19.14 | 5:39PM

[Here, there be spoilers]

Arya’s direct family is dead or disappeared. She is paired—half by necessity, half by fate—to an unlikely teacher with a knack for killing who is driven by short-term goals and long-term aimlessness. Wait! This seems familiar. Whether consciously or not, R.R. Martin has paralleled the protagonist duo of the movie Leon the Professional—Leon the mercenary and Mathilda, his bite-sized, orphaned trainee played by a young Natalie Portman.

Arya and the Hound, as well as their more modern equivalents, are dangerously alike when it comes to temperament, intelligence, stubbornness, and worldview. They have suffered, they have been wronged, and they no longer believe that the world, or people, or even life are innately good.

“Why go on?” Arya asks a man who is bleeding out from a belly wound. The Hound put him out of his misery, prompting Arya to channel Nietzsche: “Nothing isn’t better or worse than anything. Nothing is just nothing.” 

On a more scantily clad note, Game of Thrones outdid itself in the voyeurism department this past weekend. Enter Daario Naharis and Danyreas Targeryn: HBO sex scene #1,278. After which, there was the most fabulous scene transition from Daario’s naked butt to Melisandre’s naked boobs an entire continent away. One can tell that much thought went into that segue—it was such a profound logical leap.

Lord Baelish outdid himself in sheepish nefariousness last night after he pushed Lysa Aaryn out of the moon door to her death hundreds of feet below. Her fall into the abyss was cinematically ridiculous and therefore well worth the proliferation of Youtube clips this morning. It reminded me of the scene in The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King where a flaming Lord Denethor leaps melodramatically from the highest cliff of Minas Tirith.

Justice-obsessed Oberyn offered to be Tyrion’s champion in the legal battle for his life. He brandished a burning torch alluding to the family sigil of Sunspear, and his sister whom he would be avenging if he succeeds in killing Ser Gregor Clegane—the Mountain.

It is important to note that Daenerys’s decision to “rule” as a queen in Meereen in order to prove that she is more than a mother of dragons is a fatal distraction from her end goal of ruling the seven kingdoms. With this decision, she has shown weakness. You cannot change an individual unless they want to change. And if you cannot change an individual, how can one expect to change a group of individuals except by the choking grip of force? Yet Daenerys has something all other leaders do not—dragons.

In last night’s episode, Daenerys relayed a powerful message to Yunkai and all the towns that rejected her rule: “They can live in my world or they can die in their old one.” Such is the justice of dragons. But we must ask ourselves: is Daenerys in it for the long run? Or will she get stuck playing the short game of benevolent monarch?

As Lord Baelish said in his raspy death rattle of a voice: “A lot can happen between now and never.” Indeed.

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