Spoilers through Season 7 of ‘Game of Thrones’ follow.
Last night’s Season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones was absolutely riveting.
While nobody of any importance died and there were no huge battles, beheadings, or dragons burning the world to ash, there was a ton of great character development and world-building. I wrote about all that in my review of the episode, which you can read here.
One thing I didn’t mention, however, was the episode’s biggest plot hole.
In my Season 7 predictions piece, I argued that Cersei would have a trick up her sleeve in her desperate attempt to stay on the Iron Throne in the face of overwhelming odds. In fact, I argued that this trick would likely be Euron Greyjoy who may or may not have a magical horn capable of subduing and controlling Danaerys’s dragons. While we still don’t know about that, it does appear that I was right about Euron.
And that’s great, because I think Pilou Asbæk does a terrific job at playing a really fun Euron. He’s mercurial, at times vicious and cruel and at times funny and charming. Asbæk has described the character as a “hooligan,” telling EW, “Every scene he’s a new guy. The guy you met on the bridge is not the guy at the Kingsmoot, and is not the guy you see with Cersei and is not the guy you see on the ship. He’s different he’s different with different people. This season he’s more charming. He’s much more f—ing enjoying himself. He’s such a f—ing idiot douchebag, an impolite selfish child.”
The problem with last night’s episode isn’t Euron. It’s his ships.
Back in Season 6, in an episode remembered primarily for Hodor holding that damn door, Yara and Theon Greyjoy escape the Iron Islands and steal a major portion of the Iron Fleet, leaving Euron with no immediate means to chase them. The newly anointed king of the Iron Islands tells his men to start building new ships.
In last night’s season premiere, Euron shows up at King’s Landing with a thousand ships (though the exact number may not be 1,000 as he could very well be boasting.) This is at most a few months after Yara and Theon’s escape. Even if he had half the ships already built and simply couldn’t get to them in time to chase his niece and nephew, that still leaves hundreds of ships to be built.
How on earth does he do this? Where does the labor and the lumber come from? And assuming each ship has a crew, how in the Drowned God’s name did he get enough men (and women?) to sail all of them? It’s logistically just not possible. If it was actually this easy to build a massive fleet of ships, Dany should have solved that problem a few seasons ago. Stannis should have quickly, cheaply and miraculously built a new fleet after his defeat in the Battle of the Blackwater.
The Iron Islands themselves would certainly not have the lumber necessary for such an undertaking. And there’s little chance that the Greyjoys command enough shipbuilders to get that many ships built in under two or three years. It defies explanation, and in this case it also defies magic. Yes you can explain a lot in Game of Thrones with magic. Arya’s impersonation of Walder Frey, for instance. That’s basically magic. But not this. This is a plot hole, and one that the show should have—and easily could have—avoided, by simply not having Yara and Theon escape with so many ships. Or by having Euron mention that he has a massive fleet that will be arriving soon, and they’ll chase them down with that. Something—anything—would have been better than this.
Oh well. Now that I’ve made my gripe known I’m going to do the responsible thing and stop worrying about it. The show is good enough to let a few misses slide. And Euron is a great new bad guy who, thankfully, isn’t just Joffrey all over again. (Ramsay was essentially just an even worse Joffrey, after all.) I hope he and Cersei form an alliance and crush their enemies. At least for a little while.
What do you think? Anyone with shipbuilding knowledge out there want to chime in? Simple viking longships certainly wouldn’t take as long as more complex Medieval ships, but to make this many would still take much longer than the time that’s elapsed. It just doesn’t add up.
P.S. My colleague Paul Tassi noted earlier that the Ed Sheeran cameo was one of the season premiere’s biggest problems. It’s funny because I thought I recognized the guy, but I just assumed I’d seen him in some other TV show or movie. I had no idea who he was, and still need to look up his music since I can’t think of any of his songs (though surely I’ll recognize it once I listen.)
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