Bad tactics in sports and 'GoT'
May 9, 2019
Tactical errors are a part of sports. A perfectly executed game plan by two opposing coaches would be fun to watch, once, but after that, it’d get quite boring. Human error or miscalculations are what adds to the excitement. There’s no entertainment value in watching computers play chess. (Although, we might not be far off from the robot apocalypse if those goons at Google and Facebook don’t knock it off with their A.I. experiments.)
The only reason I got to thinking about bad tactics in sports was because of the latest “Game of Thrones” episode. “The Last of the Starks” was chock-full of terrible, downright offensive game planning. I’m not claiming to be a military mind or that well-versed on battle tactics of the Middle Ages. But I’ve got a basic understanding of what you should and shouldn’t do based on reading, the History Channel, when they had shows about history, and playing a fair amount of real-time strategy games.
To take shots at the bad moves during last Sunday’s GoT episode I’m going to use similar sports blunders as a comparison.
The bad moves from the sports world will focus on tactical moves that were weighed against other ideas and specifically chosen. There won’t be errors that happened in the heat of the moment; so you won’t see Chris Webber’s timeout flub.
A spoiler alert warning is in effect. If you haven’t kept up with the latest season of GoT or are strictly a book reader and trying to avoid what’s happening in the show, there are spoilers dead ahead.
If you haven’t watched the show and don’t care about spoilers, a lot of this is going to sound insane. Just remember, this is an Emmy award-winning juggernaut and the most popular show of the decade when you add its ratings with the number of times the show is pirated.
Daenerys wants to move on King’s Landing and Cersei’s well-rested army not long after defeating the Night King and his undead army (Emmy-winning series with 38 wins and 132 nominations)
Sports comp: Grady Little sticks with Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS
Daenerys, Dany for short, has been dead set on retaking the Iron Throne since Season 1. She put a pin in her conquest plans to help out Jon Snow and his forces to battle the Night King (essentially evil incarnate) and his undead army at Winterfell. It was a brutal battle and Dany, Jon and crew won the battle they took heavy losses.
Adding to the heavy losses Dany’s dragons also got beat up pretty good during the battle.
Rather than allowing her armies and dragons to rest, she calls a meeting and demands that everyone marches south to take the capital and remove Queen Cersei. Even when others point out, rightfully, it’s best to take a breather before we jump into another war. She throws some stank eye at those dissenters before they ultimately back down.
If Dany had only known that former Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little pushed things too far with a tired Pedro Martinez and lost the ALCS and his job, maybe she would have listened to those asking her to rest her forces for a bit.
Nobody thinks to scout ahead to make sure Dragonstone is clear to land and free of an obvious ambush
Sport comp: Popovich leaves Tim Duncan on the bench during the biggest possession in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals
This error by Dany and her team was the worst of the bunch. In the previous season, Dany’s army was ambushed twice by Euron Greyjoy and his fleet. So you’d think they’d be more alert and determined to not be ambushed by the same dude for the third time. But you’d be wrong because Dany’s group doesn’t learn from their mistakes and doesn’t think to scout ahead.
Dragonstone isn’t far away from King’s Landing, like at all. It’s basically like from here to Cody, so if you’re in Dany’s camp it’s essential that you scout ahead. You’ve been gone from your place for a stretch and you’re not far from enemy lines. Make sure the coast is clear.
Sadly there wasn’t a scouting party and Dany didn’t think to ride her dragons (38 Emmy wins is the highest ever for a scripted show, all-time they only trail Saturday Night Live) high enough to look for anything fishy. As a result, she loses another dragon as Rhaegal gets hit with giant bolts and Dany’s last friend Missandei is taken prisoner.
It was like when the Spurs were battling the Heat in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. Gregg Popovich left the greatest power forward of All-Time Tim Duncan on the bench during the game’s biggest possession. If the Spurs grab the rebound, the series is over. Instead, the Heat kept the ball alive, Chris Bosh grabbed the rebound, kicks it to the corner to Ray Allen who drains that iconic shot. It forces overtime that the Heat win and they go on to win Game 7 as well. Just a real head-scratcher from one of the league’s greatest mind.
Cersei doesn’t wipe out Daenerys’ forces during the attempted peace talks
Sports Comp: Carroll throws on second and goal in Super Bowl 49
I’ve been dumping on Dany and her group’s bad decisions a lot but now it’s time to throw Cersei in the mix. After the successful ambush, there’s a push by both sides to force the other to bend the knee.
Both sides meet outside the gates of King’s Landing. Dany and her group are far, far too close to the walls of King’s Landing and were within the range of Cersei’s archers. Dany’s last dragon is also in the back and on the ground. He’s far closer to being taken down by a giant bolt than Rhaegal ever was.
Enough about Dany, Cersei had this prime opportunity to wipe out the competition and passed on it. For any other character left in “Game of Thrones” it fits that they wouldn’t try to murder the other side during peace talks. But Cersei is the most heartless and ruthless individual in the story. It’s perfectly within her character to pull a move like this. She doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. After all three of her children died at various points during the show’s run, all that matters to her is gaining power and holding onto it at all costs.
She became queen because she blew up a place of worship with all her enemies inside. Just like a honey badger, she’s crazy and doesn’t care. So why she doesn’t takeout Dany then and there, also doesn’t make sense because she went against the nature of who she is.
It’s like when Seahawks coach Pete Carroll threw for it on second-and-goal with a chance to win Super Bowl 49. He went against the nature of his team which was defense and running the ball. The Patriots picked off the ball to win, adding to the legacy of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.