My friend Ben watches a lot of television—I have literally heard him talk about waking up at 5 a.m. so he could watch three episodes of the E! series The Royals before coming to work—but somehow he doesn’t watch Game of Thrones. It’s very confusing that he doesn’t watch Game of Thrones. The only thing more confusing than Ben not watching Game of Thrones is the show itself. Here I interview Ben and expose how stupid even very smart people can be when you ask them about this very complicated show. Somehow he’s pretty dead-on—maybe he cheated?—and, spoiler alert, he thinks “blond dragon lady” is still gonna win this mysterious game.
Warning: If you don’t want Game of Thrones spoiled, I don’t know why you’d want to read this. You shouldn’t read this.
This conversation has been edited slightly for clarity.
Amanda Silverman: First things first: What do you think is the point of the game? And how do you score?
Ben Dreyfuss: I believe the goal of the game is to get the throne. I am not clear if, as the title suggests, there are multiple thrones. But I imagine the winner of the game of throne(s) is to get the best throne. I am unclear if there is a game with rules like quidditch or hockey or if it’s a metaphorical game.
AS: Before our chat, you told me: “The only three things I really am certain of are that (1) Sean Bean dies at the end of season 1, (2) blond girl has dragons after killing a psychic and setting a fire, (3) in an episode called ‘The Red Wedding’ a pregnant woman was stabbed in the belly.” Tell me how you know this.
BD: When the show started everyone loved it and I tried to watch it because I like popular things and I really hated the first episode and kept falling asleep. Eventually I gave up on trying to see it again. But I was aware of the pop cultural moment it was having and knew Sean Bean was the star. Then when he died, I remember Twitter being very surprised. I know about “The Red Wedding” being an episode where the mother was stabbed in the belly because Twitter was very VERY upset about it. I didn’t know about the blond girl having the dragons until many years later.
AS: Who do you think Jon Snow is? And why is his last name Snow?
BD: I know he’s a main character, but I don’t know anything beyond that. I think he may be like the new star since Sean Bean died. I had never thought about his last name being Snow. Maybe he likes the cold? I’m not sure if they named people after their passions and occupations.
Also is his full name Jonathan Snow? If not, why is it Jon and not John? Oh, I guess it could be related to the winter is coming thing. I remember that was a line that people said for a while a few years ago.
AS: Do you think winter has come yet?
BD: If it hasn’t come yet, then HBO jerked you guys around! But I think maybe winter is what would come if the good heroes don’t win the final climactic battle, which I imagine is the thing in the last episode. So maybe it hasn’t come yet.
But on the other hand, winter is a season. You cannot stop a season from coming.
AS: You can in Trump’s America.
Who do you think is the hero of the show?
BD: Sean Bean was the hero. Now the blond girl with the dragons is the hero.
AS: You mean Daenerys. If she’s the hero, who is the villain?
BD: I don’t really know.
AS: Okay let me ask you some more specific questions. What do you think this dude’s deal is?
BD: He seems to be twitching a lot. He looks like not a human. And is probably related to the winter metaphor. He might be the villain.
AS: This dude is called the Night King. There’s this somewhat confusing situation in which winter is also called the long night a lot. This guy is involved.
BD: Oh right! I overheard Ari Berman a few weeks ago say something about the Night King and I laughed so hard because it sounded so dumb. I think the Night King is the villain. And he wants to bring about the winter.
AS: So he’s dead.
BD: Oh good!
AS: He was “a” villain. Now he’s gone.
AS: Of these people, who do you think killed him?
BD: The blond girl with the dragons or that old man. I can imagine a situation where no one thought the old man could do it. But then he did. Maybe he died trying and his kids are going to carry on his good name.
AS: Awww. What’s his good name?
BD: Clydill Baskenfield.
AS: Spoiler: Ole Clydill did not do it. But let’s move on. What’s happening with the creepy person here?
BD: I think that dude is talking to some evil spirit or something like a dark lord. Or, if he’s a good character, then he suffered some PTSD from a battle earlier in the show and has had a rough couple of years and started abusing whatever the GoT equivalent of opium is.
AS: What is a three-eyed raven?
BD: An omen? I bet someone once said, “Oh when the three-eyed raven comes that will mean the Night King cometh” or something.
AS: Sort of! What if I told you THAT dude with PTSD, who loves GoT opium, is the three-eyed raven?
BD: He has two eyes.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t see that coming.
BD: Did he kill an earlier three-eyed raven to gain such power?
AS: I can’t remember? The old three-eyed raven is dead. I don’t remember how. I think the Night King did it though.
BD: Sounds like something he’d do.
AS: Okay, so what do you think of this woman?
BD: I think she is a powerful queen or something but also evil.
BD: Because I think the author knows that when people think about old medieval times and queens and red they think of Lady Macbeth. If she isn’t evil, the red is something your brain has to overcome.
AS: And what if I told you this was the same woman?
BD: Oh snap. Okay, I think she was old earlier in the show but then made a deal with Night King or some other magic person and was made into that beautiful red woman, but the cost was her soul and now she has to do evil things.
AS: She made a smoke baby. What do you think a smoke baby is? This was a Thing.
BD: I have absolutely no idea what a smoke baby is. Is it a real baby? Like, is it GoT slang for bastard? Or is it a smoke monster like in Lost? No idea. I have never heard the term smoke baby referenced on social or overhearing Ari Berman talk about GoT.
AS: If Ari didn’t talk about it, it didn’t happen. Okay, it’s coming full circle: “Snow” as a last name indicates a bastard. Not exactly slang, but there you go. I didn’t watch Lost.
BD: Jon Snow is a bastard! Well, Jon Snow might be the hero of the show then.
AS: Why do you say that?
BD: If it’s a story about like powerful families and inherited rights, there is always a bastard who is scorned but who the audience loves and roots for.
AS: But what if I told you he’s not REALLY a bastard? He/the world just thought he was for a long time?
BD: Oh well, then he is definitely like going to win the game or whatever at some point.
AS: Score all the points.
BD: Like, the reveal is “Actually, you were the king’s son all along!”
AS: Maybe you should write the show. We may have gotten to some of these plot points much faster!
BD: “You earned this yourself, but you also are the special blood lineage king.”
AS: Right: “We want to honor you on merit but we’re also racist/sexist/old farts who only recognize you for your blood.”
Speaking of blood, a few seasons ago someone had to walk through the streets naked while a bunch of horrible townspeople yelled “Shame!” at her. Do you think she’s a good guy?
BD: Yes. They’re being very mean to her.
So you said you knew about the Red Wedding. This is part of it. What is happening here?
BD: They’re getting pumped for a battle!
AS: WTF do you think is happening with that animal head? It’s on a person.
BD: It’s an honor bestowed on the best knight. They decapitated some magic horse or something that the opposing king had and then the best knight wore it for honor. This is the best moment of that knight’s life.
AS: A human is wearing the head of something called a direwolf and he’s riding a horse.
Definitely the best moment of his life.
So you think that person is alive?
BD: Does he die ten seconds later in battle?
AS: I guess the answer is yes, you think he’s alive.
So you think the battle happened at the wedding? Or after the wedding? Or what’s your idea here?
BD: So piecing it together. The pregnant woman was killed at the wedding. These people killed her. Now the man on the horse wearing the head is celebrating.
AS: Hmm, no. The onetime hero of the show, Sean Bean’s kid, was killed at the wedding. His wife was the pregnant one who was killed. Then his enemies took him outside, plopped his pet wolf’s head on top of his head, and paraded his body on a horse through screaming crowds.
BD: So the man wearing the head is dead in that photo?
BD: Okay, I called that one wrong.
AS: Very. If you look his body is held up by a board!
So, what would you call the disease this guy has?
BD: Ice Legionaire’s Bumples Soar.
AS: There’s quite a bit of incest in this show! I’m going to show you some pics. All of them show some sort of romantic relationship or romantic interest. I want you to pick which are incestuous and tell me what their familial relationship is.
BD: I do not think this is incest. I think it’s a red herring. They’re just longtime friends. She’s laughing about the idea of them hooking up but he loves her. But they aren’t related.
BD: This is incest. That old guy (her uncle?) is a pedo.
BD: I honestly have no idea what is going on here. They look like twins?
AS: So, incest here?
BD: Yeah. Twins is incest. Primo incest.
AS: GoT watchers call twin incest “twincest.”
BD: This one could go either way. He could be her brother in which case incest, or he could be her dead husband’s best friend/murderer.
BD: I don’t think the blond dragon girl one is incest because I actually know that her brother died in season 1 and “was bad.”
AS: So one of these couples is twincest. Which?
BD: The red-hair lady and the brown-hair man. One of them doesn’t have their natural coloring. The obvious answer would be the first one but I think that’s a trick!
AS: I don’t know which lady you seem to think has red hair.
BD: He’s like pushing his nose to her cheek.
AS: YOU’RE RIGHT. How do you feel about that?
BD: Proud isn’t the right word.
AS: Do you know who Dragon Lady is sleeping with there?
BD: No. He has facial hair.
AS: It’s Jon Snow!
BD: I’m glad they’re a couple. It’s always nice when the two crowd favorites get together!
Who is this and how did he die?
AS: Who is he? Was he good or bad?
BD: Bad. He was royalty and was not nice to Jon The Bastard. You can see his elitist rich asshole disdain as he lays there dying. He is sad about being poisoned but more sad that the commoner filth won.
AS: That’s actually exactly right. And, actually, we’ve talked about his parents in this conversation. Who do you think they are?
BD: It can’t be Jon Snow or Sean Bean or the Dragon Girl. So it’s one of the incester candidate couples. It’s that incest redhead and her brother who pushed his nose on her.
AS: Ding ding ding! Gross, right? They had several children.
BD: Ewww. Seems weird that he is a platinum blond? His parents weren’t blond.
AS: Both parents are supposed to be blond. She doesn’t have red hair. I think it’s the lighting.
BD: Oh, but they did dye jobs.
AS: They spent less on his hair dye as seasons went on.
Okay, one more question before we get into the end game. Here are a few names. I want you to pick if they’re a Kentucky Derby Horse or Dragon.
AS: You cheated. How the hell do you know so many Kentucky Derby horses?
BD: The horses all sound like things rich people would name their pets. The dragons are just gibberish. Okay wait, can I update one of my earlier answers?
Now with what I know: The Night King is dead and Jon Snow and the blond dragon are on the same side, so I think the villain of the show now is the incest parents we were just talking about.
AS: About to throw you for a loop: That was pretty correct. Now both incest parents are deaddity dead. How do you think they died? They just died last week.
BD: I think they died…violently?
AS: Surprisingly, not really. It was a letdown IMO.
Let’s talk about the endgame now that we’re here. You know incest parents are dead. Everyone I’m going to show you now is alive but you have to guess if they die in the finale and if they’re good or bad.
BD: I think she lives and is good.
BD: Lives and good.
BD: He looks evil in that photo. Dies.
AS: That’s the three-eyed raven! Same guy.
BD: Ohh! I think he dies.
BD: He is good, I feel. And I think he lives.
BD: I forgot this guy is in it. He lives and is good.
BD: That’s Jon Snow. If he dies, people will be upset. I think he lives. And is good.
BD: Lives and is good. Are all these people on the same side? Because if they aren’t then I’m not doing this right.
BD: The blond girl is the hero of the show so I think it would be veryyyyyyyyyy upsetting to people if she died. So, good and lives.
AS: This is interesting, given that you think they’re all basically good and all live.
BD: But I guess Jon Snow or blonde dragon could conceivably kill the other one.
AS: Why would they kill each other?
BD: Love is hard!
But like, that seems like a twist you could see the writers coming up with. Married but then at the last second the wife chooses to testify against her husband.
AS: They have the phone records! They followed his car!
BD: So, are those the only people left?
AS: No, there are others, but these are the main people.
BD: I did think each of them was good.
I officially have no idea who the villain is.
AS: Do you think one of them wins the Iron Throne?
BD: Yeah or else wins and melts it down because they decide the throne is too much power for one man/woman to have.
AS: Who wins it though?
BD: The blond dragon lady.
AS: So the twist was this past week, and that’s why People. Are. Upset. Well, “twist.” Dragon Lady is now bad. She is now the “Mad Queen.”
AS: She burned down a whole city with her dragons, and killed lots of innocents.
BD: She was Joan of Arc! People on Twitter used to compare her to Joan of Arc.
AS: And the kicker: She is Jon Snow’s aunt! There you go. It’s all out there.
BD: So, incest too?
AS: Yes! I’d call that incest.
BD: Are they still fucking?
AS: No, but she wants to. He’s not as into it anymore. They didn’t know when they first hooked up. Now they know.
BD: Yikes. Is Jon Snow friends with the other people you just showed me?
AS: Complicated question. Some are his “siblings.” He thought he was Sean Bean’s bastard. Some of these people are Sean Bean’s legitimate children. So he grew up with them as siblings, but he is in fact their cousin, not their brother. It’s confusing!
BD: I guess my main question is: Who is fighting who, why, who is the audience rooting for, and is it an actual game? lol
AS: Those are all very valid questions! I don’t really have answers anymore.
My question for you is, now that you know all this: What do you think happens in the last episode?
BD: Let me ask you a question first. Do the dragons have personalities? Or are they just following orders?
AS: I bet some nerds on Twitter would say they have personalities but I don’t think they do Also: Two are dead. Only one is left!
BD: But it’s not like one of the dragons is evil?
BD: Here’s what I think happens. The dragon lady is doing lots of stuff and then Jon Snow tries to talk some sense into her and she is killing lots of people but not Jon Snow who she likes and then in the middle of that some other character gets the drop on blondie and she ends up very wounded and the dragon fucks that person up real bad, and Jon Snow holds the blond woman as she dies and the dragon comes back and is with her, and then she dies, and now the dragon follows Jon Snow. And Jon Snow wins the throne.
If you had said that the dragons had personalities, I would have said that the blond girl was convinced by Jon Snow to be good and then she chooses goodness over badness and had to KILL HER OWN DRAGON.
AS: Shit. So was Game of Thrones just a love story?
BD: All stories are love stories if you end them at the right moment.
AS: Given ALL this what was the most interesting or surprising or confusing? And how does it change how you think about this show? Are you upset you didn’t watch?
BD: I’m still not clear why any of it is happening or what the game is or who the current villains are.
And is it a game? Like an actual game with rules?
AS: If there are rules, the show does not know what they are.
BD: Well, I hope the blond dragon lady becomes good again before it seems like she has to lose.
AS: I have one last question!! Beth and I were trying to figure out which character you were. We decided on this guy.
BD: How dare you.
AS: Who do you think he is and given that I say he’s most like you, what do you think his deal is???
BD: He’s ugly.
AS: Stop being so shallow, Ben. No physical attributes in common! He’s also a eunuch so.
BD: Haha. I think he’s a very good person to have on your side, maybe helps with plotting, but also you gotta keep an eye on him because he’ll kill ya for a quarter and can be inconsistent.
AS: Not too far off! Google says: “Varys, sometimes called the Spider, is a eunuch and was the Master of Whisperers on the King’s Small Council until he is forced to flee King’s Landing with Tyrion Lannister. He is a skilled manipulator and commands a network of informants across two continents.”
He’s the wisest man of the land and is the keeper of secrets. He’s Game of Thrones‘ Gretchen Weiners.
So, are you going to watch Sunday?
AS: This was useless.