Monday, August 7, 2017

Geography Still Doesn't Matter in a Dragon Based Economy

Last month, I stated that "Geography Doesn't Matter in a Dragon Based Economy" (link here).  Euron's fleet and Daenerys Targaryen's fleets occupied the same space in the Season 7 opening episode of GoT, and not a single mention of it was made in the show despite the Narrow Sea and the close proximity of Dragonstone to Kings Landing.

(if you have not watched any of Season 7 and want to avoid spoilers, stop reading now)
Horizon of Dothraki 
The 2nd episode had Euron's Iron Island fleet mysteriously SURPRISE and DESTROY Daenerys's renegade Greyjoy fleet and apparently All the armies of Dorne who were aboard as well, AT NIGHT, with very few casualties among Euron's angry bunch, which was farcical for multiple reasons.  Euron's flagship finds Yara Greyjoy's flagship, undetected, without any warning, raids it, kills or imprisons everyone on it, and sinks it, in the middle of 1000s of ships (no radar, no satellites, no infrared... yet 100% successful for despicable & revolting Euron).  None of the Dorne soldiers apparently survived... but Dorne is a much larger and formidable force & geographic area than the tiny pugnacious Iron Islands.  Instead of firing a bunch of arrows into Then as he jumps over board, they sail away and just let him bob in the cold water...  all ridiculous aspects of an otherwise well written, acted, and presented television show.
Silly Scorpion, Don't Aggravate A Full Grown Wyvern
Last night's episode (#4 in the 7th season) DID FINALLY bring out the wyverns (remember, they're technically NOT dragons since they lack front legs / limbs) directly into a battle, unleashing the full fury of organic napalm delivered from the throat of a very angry, full grown Drogons.  I loved the "Smaug moment" Drogons had when Jaime's Lannister archers let loose a volley of arrows that harmlessly bounced off Drogons underbelly scales.
Silly Human Archers
But the reason I have reiterated that "geography doesn't matter" is because of the episode ending where Jaime is knocked from his horse (apparently by the flame resistant Bronn who has repeatedly saved Jaime's behind) and he falls, slowly dragged to the bottom of a very deep body of water, by his gold hand and his heavy plate mail armor.  Well, if you're going to arrange for a very deep drowning pool to be part of the plot, you can't have a gentle slope of meadow grass tapering off at the water's edge.  Such a gentle slop would have made the water 1 or 2 feet deep MAX where Jaime was knocked from his horse, 1/2 a second before the running equine was turned into ash by the wounded and angry Drogons' fire.  One or two feet deep, and muddy, would have been the "water" that Jaime fell into, after charging the wyvern & Daenerys with his steed and spear at a full tilt (while his little brother pleads from the hill top, futilely, that Jaime flee, instead).
Little Brother's insight, not heeded by older brother
Is Jaime dead?  Did he drown, dragged down by his armor and gold hand?  He should be.  If he's not, when he surfaces, he'll be a crunchy treat for Drogons, who has not yet been fed this season (on camera).  So wether he drowned in an impossibly deep body of water that should have been 2 feet deep at most near the bank where he fell in, or he surfaces and gets eaten, it doesn't matter.

Why do I care at all about geography, when there are witches, 3-eyed ravens, white walkers, wyverns,  resurrected zombies like The Mountain, and a flame-proof Daenerys inter-woven into the story?  Because geography matters.  Geography anchors the reference frame, it provides logical context, to is the foundation upon which the rest of the "world" from H R R Martin or anyone else can exists, function, facilitate commerce, livelihoods for the citizens of that world... so that it can be believable.  Throw in the magic and mythical creatures, and that makes it more exciting to the readers / watchers. But make a gentle sloping river bank lead to a DEEP Sudden Ledge of a drowning pool... make a bay so narrow that it cannot hold thousands of ships that couldn't see each other... it creates a landscape with so many unknowns that the watcher / reader doesn't know if Up is Down, left is right, gradual is sudden, light is dark, etc.

In Avatar, they had floating geography, that the "unobtainium" caused to hover above the planet's surface, sure.  But the "unobtainium" was intrinsic to the plot, it was Why the humans were mining the planet and disturbing the entire eco-system.  The viewer could suspend disbelief because of how central the geographic features were to the viability of the plot.  In GoT, the geographic anomalies keep getting in the way, making the world of Westeros into a farce instead of a fantasy realm.

Enough said... now it's time for me to make some dinner.

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