Friday, January 03, 2014

All In The Game

It's 2014 and you know what that means--the fourth season of Game Of Thrones can't be far off.  Years ago, when Lost was fairly new and it was clear the show was willing to kill off characters, I gave odds on who might die. I made some mistakes, but I also recognized certain core characters they'd never touch. (The next two paragraphs feature some spoilers if you've never watched the show or read the books.)

Game Of Thrones is a bit different in that it follows, generally, the plot already laid down in a series of books, whereas Lost could react to the popularity of the characters the show had created. Still, even George R. R. Martin knows what works dramatically, and you don't kill off characters the audience loves who still have an arc. Not usually. But killing Ned Stark at the end of Season One (and I'm guessing in the first book) was smart since it told fans you can't count on anything, and also freed up everyone else when the center didn't hold.

The Red Wedding was supposed to be shocking, and I guess it was in a way, but to be honest, Robb and Catelyn's adventures had grown a bit tiresome.  They were two of the stiffest, most self-righteous characters, and wiping them out let the show loosen up and have more fun.  While some fans reacted strongly, it was nothing compared to how they'd have dealt with the death of characters who make the show spin.

So here are some guesses for upcoming years (though I don't know how many more seasons there'll be--from what I understand, it takes Martin too long to write his books and the show will eventually catch up).

Tyrion--very safe. Probably the most popular character, so if he were to die, fans might abandon the show.

Jaime--fairly safe.  Though he's out there putting himself in positions where he could easily die, he's one of the best characters, a true swashbuckler.  He's also evolving, showing a softer side. (Don't get too soft Jaime--that's when they get you.)

Cersei--average safe.  She can get pretty annoying and be fairly foolish, and for that matter it seems her dad, her brother, and even Margaery can run circles round her.

Daenerys--very safe.  Another fan favorite, and with a significant story set off from almost all the rest of the action, it's hard to believe her arc doesn't continue at least until her dragons grow up and she reaches Westeros. In fact, I'd guess she's most likely to end up on the Iron Throne.

Jon Snow--fairly safe. The bastard clearly has a great destiny before him, or he wouldn't have been sent to the Wall.  But he sometimes runs the risk of being another stiff, like half-brother Robb.

Jorah--not safe. As an advisor to Daenerys, and not her only one--and also one who doesn't seem to know his station--he could be disposed of. She hasn't quite outgrown him, but she hardly needs him as she used to.  Besides, she hasn't even learned of his perfidy. His best chance is that he's a fairly popular character. (Maybe he'll find a way to make it up to her.)

Littlefinger--fairly safe. He's always involved in intrigue, which can bring anyone down, but the show needs characters like this--not fighters, but schemers--to keep things moving.

Tywin--not safe.  He's powerful and everyone knows it, but that also makes him a target for someone to take him down.  He's also very well written and acted, but he has no real arc and the power vacuum created by his death would open up a lot of possibilities.

Davos--fairly safe.  He could have died already but survived.  Melisandre sees a future for him so I guess he has one.

Stannis--average safe.  Most who fight for the throne will have to lose, and his harshness and unwillingness to bend doesn't necessarily bode well.

Margaery--not safe.  She's a fairly smart schemer, but she's playing with fire. She can handle Joffrey, but that could change--and being on the bad side of the Lannisters is usually fatal.

Bran--very safe. Not the most interesting character, but he's clearly got a destiny beyond the Wall which he must fulfill.

Sansa--fairly safe.  She's far from a fan favorite, and is the most innocent lead character, but she has plenty of people who need her alive to use her, and that alone should keep her safe for a while.

Arya--very safe.  Along with Tyrion and Daenerys, one of the most popular characters from the beginning.  She's been through so much they wouldn't dare kill her. Besides, she's got a destiny to become a major killer herself.

Theon--average safe. Considering the rotten situation he's in, he'd probably prefer death.  But the storytellers wouldn't put him there unless he had somewhere to go, which will keep him alive at least for a while.

Joffrey--not safe.  The most despised character on TV. Sooner or later, and I'm guessing sooner, they've got to do the fans a favor and take him out.  He certainly has no arc now that he's king--he's horrible and doesn't seem capable of learning anything.

Samwell--fairly safe.  He should have died already, so incompetent is he, but he's probably the most popular character at the wall so I think he'll be sticking around.

Varys--fairly safe. Like Littlefinger, a subtle and cunning character who will probably be able to keep himself alive.

Pycelle--average safe.  Another courtier like Varys, except he's more annoying and less interesting, which makes it easier to kill him.

The Hound--fairly safe. Quite popular, but then again, he's constantly fighting and someday someone might put him down.

Melisandre--average safe.  She's very powerful, but needs to be around powerful men.  Without Stannis to back her, not clear where she'd be.

Brienne--very safe.  Another one of the most popular characters. They wouldn't want to kill this lady warrior any time soon.  She's pledged to Catelyn, which may sound like a dead end, but it gives her a mission, plus it seems she has more to do with Jaime.

Ygritte--average safe.  It depends on her relationship with Snow. If they don't get back together, there'll probably be a tragic ending, and that won't be good for her.

Bronn--fairly safe. Fun, wily and a good fighter. Won't easily let others get to him since his first order of business is saving his skin.

I realize I've left out about a hundred characters.  Most of them, I'd guess, aren't prominent enough to be anything higher than average safe.


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