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How Shireen Baratheon’s Legacy Led To A Major ‘Game Of Thrones’ Revelation

How Shireen Baratheon’s Legacy Led To A Major ‘Game Of Thrones’ Revelation

Warning: Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.

From the return of a long-departed character to news of an unexpected pregnancy, Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues to slay with the latest episode ‘Eastwatch’. Yet, another huge moment flew under the radar amidst books and a mispronunciation, a major revelation that even the scholarly Samwell Tarly didn’t catch. This moment was brought to us by Gilly, but would not have been possible without Shireen Baratheon and her lasting impact. Let’s first take a look at Gilly’s discovery:

Gilly Uncovers The Real Story Behind R+L=J

As Gilly regaled a frustrated Sam with fun facts like the number of steps in the Citadel and how many windows were in the Great Sept of Baelor, she unwittingly stumbled upon the true story behind Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark. The longtime fan theory that Rhaegar and Lyanna were Jon Snow’s parents—R+L=J—was confirmed in the Season 6 finale ‘The Winds of Winter’ via Bran’s vision at the Tower of Joy. But until now audiences still didn’t know the real deal behind Rhaegar and Lyanna. Some claimed Rhaegar kidnapped and raped Lyanna while others spoke of passionate lovers that essentially eloped, their love burning too bright for the Seven Kingdoms. Now, as Gilly tells Sam via the diligent recordings of High Septon Maynard,

“Maynard says here that he issued an annulment for a Prince ‘Ragger’ and remarried him to someone else at the same time in a secret ceremony in Dorne.”

Gilly has come a long way with her reading ability, but her pronunciations are still not perfect. Prince ‘Ragger’ is actually Prince Rhaegar. Gilly thus discovers that the tale of passionate, consensual love between Rhaegar and Lyanna is the true tale. Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia Martell was annulled by this High Septon Maynard who then secretly remarried him. The ‘someone else’ has to be Lyanna based on what is known about the timing of Rhaegar disappearing with Lyanna, the beginning of Robert’s Rebellion, and eventually the confirmation of R+L=J that Bran witnessed in his Tower of Joy vision.

Not only does this put to rest the debate about Rhaegar and Lyanna’s relationship, but it also clarifies that  is not a bastard. Since Lyanna and Rhaegar married, Jon is a legitimate Targaryen child. Had Rhaegar lived to succeed his father Aerys Targaryen—the Mad King—Jon would’ve been Rhaegar’s heir to the Iron Throne. Now by the laws of Westeros and the Targaryen claim, Jon has a better claim to the Iron Throne than his Aunt Daenerys (Aunt Daenerys sounds even weirder than I thought it would).

Brimming with justified frustration and contempt for the Citadel, Sam completely missed this revelation. For both the past and future of Jon Snow and all of Westeros, Gilly’s discovery will be crucial moving forward, though it wouldn’t have happened without Shireen Baratheon.

Shireen’s Lasting Legacy

Shireen’s death is easily one of the most heartbreaking moments in all of . As fans continue to struggle with the loss of the girl both so fiercely intelligent and sweet, Season 7 has provided some closure and comfort through the likes of Gilly and Davos Seaworth. Shireen’s relationship with her parents left much to be desired, yet she formed lovely relationships with Gilly and Davos. Both Gilly and Davos were illiterate, but Shireen taught them how to read. Sam helped Gilly learn to read as well, however, Shireen was also integral to building Gilly’s literacy skills.

Without Shireen, Gilly would’ve never learned to read. Without Gilly knowing how to read, the revelation about Rhaegar and Lyanna and what that means for Jon would currently remain a mystery. On a personal level, Shireen’s teaching has also enriched the relationship between Sam and Gilly. Gilly is now just as capable at sharing obscure, fun facts that broaden one’s perspective of the world. Sam and Gilly’s relationship is therefore more intellectual and just as sweet as ever.

The legacy of Shireen also lives on through Davos. Fans reveled in Davos correcting Jon’s grammar in ‘The Spoils Of War’ but the teaching credit seems to be going towards Stannis. More credit should go to Shireen as she directly taught Davos to read during numerous hours of instruction as opposed to Stannis’s occasional mutterings about grammar. Regardless, it’s comforting to see Shireen’s legacy live on through the literacy of both Davos and Gilly, whether it’s Gilly’s discovery or Davos correcting the King in the North’s grammar. Even in the cutthroat world of Westeros, literacy is essential.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones continues Sunday, August 20th on .

Image Credit: HBO

How To Get Away With Murder season 3 review

How To Get Away With Murder season 3 review

How to Get Away With Murder season 3 review

***Spoiler warning!

+ “Who is under the sheet” mystery: This creative premise hooked audiences into season 3 and provided a concrete reason to return each week up to the mid-season finale. The stakes were higher than ever with the life of an unknown core character on the line, keeping audiences guessing and frantically trying to put the pieces together.

Ultimately Wes was an excellent choice for the mystery’s reveal. Audiences were more emotionally invested in Wes than many of the main characters and all the surviving characters had strong, complicated emotional ties to Wes as well. This kept audiences hooked after the mid-season finale. I’m not sure any other characters would’ve provided the same emotional investment from both the audience and characters within the story. And no one had as complicated and emotional a relationship with Wes as Annalise, so his death opened up even more intriguing routes for her character development as the central figure of the story.

Wes was furthermore an excellent choice because his character development felt very complete up to this point. The only other character with as much development and backstory at this point was Annalise. We’d seen Wes as the naïve and innocent “puppy,” a hardworking and independent law student, a manipulator, the one manipulated, the one who takes a strong moral stand, as someone who acts desperately, as the victim and even as a murderer. Through these experiences we saw Wes pushed to his furthest limits. His story and character development felt very complete while many of the other characters still have a great deal of untapped potential. The choice to kill Wes was shocking, bold, and also deceptive due to the show manipulating the timeline behind the reveals of who survived the night of the fire. Above all it was a fitting choice that behooved the show.

– Too many unanswered questions about the night of the fire: While HTGAWM tends to leave cliffhangers, the show also has a tendency to leave with the questions surrounding the season’s primary mystery to be answered. Season 1 ended with the cliffhanger of why Frank killed Lila for Sam, but all questions about the night of Lila’s murder were answered. This season failed to do that as we are left with way too many unanswered questions about the night of the fire. Why did Annalise call the Keating 5 to the house? Who did Wes call in the taxi when he referred to himself as Cristophe? Did Wes go straight to the house after riding in the taxi and placing that mysterious phone call? Who was the anonymous source who helped frame Annalise? Hopefully all these questions will be answered. The problem is some of these questions feel more like plot holes than cliffhangers.

The reveal of who killed Wes: I have mixed feelings about the reveal that Laurel’s father was the engineer behind the death of Wes. I like the reveal because of the tantalizing prospects it creates for season 4. There is finally payoff for the frequent mentions of Laurel’s father, what a dangerous man he is, and his meeting with Laurel earlier in season 3. Also, the reveal was shocking to me. My main suspects were Nate and Bonnie. I never even considered Laurel’s father. There’s something satisfying about experiencing genuine shock about a work of fiction.

Yet, the shock is also one of the reasons I dislike the reveal. Despite frequent mentions Laurel’s father has barely been in the show. Thus, Laurel’s father being the engineer behind the death of Wes feels a little bit too much out of left field to the point that it’s the kind of shock that doesn’t totally make sense. The reveal felt more real when juxtaposed with Annalise’s palpable grief and raw honesty in the final scene of the season.

What to look forward to in season 4:

  • Discovering why Laurel’s father wanted Wes killed
  • How and when will Laurel discover that her father engineered the death of Wes? How will she react?
  • The same questions but regarding Annalise . . . And what is Annalise going to do with her life now?
  • What is Denver’s connection with Dominic and Laurel’s father?
  • Does Laurel’s father have any ties to the Mahoney family? What role if any does the Mahoney family still have to play?
  • Connor is one of the only core characters we don’t have much backstory for yet. It was hinted at in the season 3 finale, but will we finally receive more of Connor’s backstory?
  • The future of the Oliver-Connor and Michaela-Asher relationships

What did you think about season 3 of HTGAWM? What are you looking forward to most in season 4? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!