Valar Morghulis

Yes, all men must die. Some need to do it right bloody now. Of course, the way Season 6 is blasting people to the Seven Hells--if they exist--I may be running to catch up. The ones I really want dead form a short list. Longer than Arya’s, but still short. In order from least to absolute worst--Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes, Cersei and Jamie Lannister, the High Sparrow, Ramsay Bolton, Lord Walder Frey, and Lord Petyr Baelish.

All right, the whole Dorne situation is silly, but the book version isn’t any less convoluted or silly. The problem in the show came from Prince Oberyn. His paramour’s rage and grief makes more sense in a TV melodrama (and epic fantasy is always a bit of a melodrama). After you see Oberyn die, you understand Ellaria’s insanity. The fury firing her vengeance is inchoate, not precisely channeled like Oberyn’s. So, she gives lie to Oberyn’s own assertion that they don’t hurt little girls in Dorne by giving Myrcella the kiss of death. Because Doran crossed her, she kills him and Trystane. To what end? 

Her rage is petty, useless, and tyrannical. It’s an immediate-term solution that eradicates another long-term, big-picture player.

Ellaria does serve one purpose. The moral questions surrounding vengeance are clear. Where does it stop? How is Justice different? I think Dorne needs a divine intervention and the creation of an Areopagus. Its first judgment should be to execute Ellaria and the Sand Snakes.

Cersei and Jamie Lannister have been rendered rather impotent. Way to go, Uncle Kevan! He smacked them down in a way their father’d never done. However, they’re resilient and will bounce back. Does Jamie get his Tywin on? That would be the surest way for him to get killed. I’m fine with him getting killed in battle. Trial by ordeal and a fair judgment of the gods. Cersei, on the other hand, needs to find her head on a spike. She’s a warning to the next ten generations that arrogance combined with stupidity comes with a terribly high price.

By the way, we’re at a point in American fiction, in its broadest sense, where characters must change and grow. No, they don’t. Cersei is proof of that. She does not change nor does she learn. She applies the same manipulative techniques to every situation believing she can control every situation. In her attempts to forestall change, she brings about what she dreads the most. The débâcle with the High Sparrow proved her father right:  “I don’t distrust you because you’re a woman. I distrust you because you’re not as smart as you think you are.”

Speaking of the High Sparrow, he needs to die--as soon as possible. Religious fanaticism doesn’t bode well for the stability of the kingdom. Jonathan Pryce plays him brilliantly--kindly evil with just the hint of implacable fury. The character of the High Sparrow is based upon the Dominican Girolamo Savonarola who lit up late 15th Century Florence, calling for religious renewal and destruction of secular art and culture. He and his followers temporarily drove the Medici out of Florence. The city returned the favor by lighting him up at the stake. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer Sparrow.

You know what the Bible says:  as ye sow, so shall ye reap. 

I wanted Roose and Ramsay Bolton to die. I began to wonder how long Daddy would be able to keep Sonny Boy in line. I found out in episode 2:  Ramsay knifed his father in front of young Lord Karstark. It was a nice touch in doing for Roose the same way he did for Robb Stark. Moral of the story? He who climbs by betrayal shall die by it. Are you listening, Ramsay? Did you hear Daddy when he told you--get a reputation for being a mad dog, you’ll be treated like a mad dog?

(I can only hope SmallJon Umber is messing with Ramsay’s pin head by giving him Rickon. ShaggyDog’s death, however, suggests otherwise. If my fears are correct, then Sansa needs to put all their heads on spikes. Justice and Retribution.)

If Ramsay is rapist, murderer, fratricide, and parricide--all horrible crimes and sins, for which he should die horribly, hopefully at Jon Snow’s hand--then is Lord Walder Frey really so much worse? Yes. His sin is Homeric. The violation of guest right is a sin the gods themselves repay. (Unfortunately, they don’t always repay the others. Hey, they’re gods; they’ve got no mercy and they can be a capricious as they want.) For Walder Frey, he should live to the deaths of every last Frey--son, daughter, grand and great-grandchild--to see the Twins in ruins. After the destruction of House and home, he should be left to wander Westeros, receiving no hospitality, no shelter, till Death takes him.

And for the Mockingbird, who set this inferno of chaos ablaze and used it to climb to dizzying heights, may he end in dragonfire in front of everyone. He’s opened the door to her as well. He’s done well--Lord of the Vale with promise of becoming the Warden of the North if he can defeat the Boltons. But he’s made bad mistakes. He’s greatly misunderstood Ramsay Bolton. Sansa’s not going to forgive him for that one, especially if it gets Rickon killed.

Hey, Baelish, remember what I said about Roose--live by betrayal, die by it? That works for you, too, mate. Sansa’s the perfect person to give it to you. So how do you want it? If not dragonfire, then perhaps in the gutter in the backwater you came from would also be good. Nicely symmetrical.

The series has managed to slake some of my bloodlust, if denied me some schadenfeude. In addition to Roose, Ser Alliser Thorne and Olly met their just ends. Ser Alliser was consistent to the end. No expression of surprise or remorse, merely contempt. (I did so want to see his face when he first saw a resurrected Jon Snow.) He died unrepentant and honestly believing his own justification for mutiny. Unimpressed to the very last with Jon Snow. Still, Ser Alliser and Olly got what they deserved--and a mundane hanging got a jolt of electricity from being carried out by the man they murdered. Bitter duty indeed for Jon Snow.

In addition to dying, I want these characters to rot somewhere in the Seven Hells. If the experience of Beric Dondarrion and Jon Snow are anything to go by, that’s not a possibility. Ultimately being only wormfood might be the ultimate penalty for all their vaunting ambition, inchoate anger, and murderous ambition.

Copyright KG Whitehurst
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