Closing Arguments In Defense of Olly

Posted: August 18, 2015 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, Opinion, TV
Tags: , , , , ,

This is the fifth part in a series talking about the wee crow Olly, from Game of Thrones. These posts have been discussing why people don’t like Olly (and why I’m not really on board with the Olly Hate.) Should you want to read my Team Olly series from the beginning, go here.

If you aren’t caught up on the show, this post really won’t be all the relevant to you, and I’d hate to spoil some of the major things that happen in Olly’s storyline should you happen to start watching. (You should be caught up though. Game of Thrones is an excellent television show.)

OllyPTSD

Don’t spoil me! I’m only up to Season 4 Episode 9, when no one was hating on me yet!

Disclaimer: even though I usually focus entirely on show-details for my blog, because Olly wasn’t a canon character from the books, I felt the need to at least contrast the events in the books with the show’s adaptation. If you’re a show watcher and not a book reader and you plan on reading the books one day, I understand your reluctance to keep reading my work here. But I feel pretty confident that nothing I say in my defense of Olly will be so spoilery that it lessens your enjoyment of the books.

Closing Arguments

Straight up, Olly isn’t innocent. He stabbed Jon Snow. I totally get that. What I just didn’t understand was the tremendous focus of hate applied to Olly, eclipsing (in my estimation) the hate for his grace, King Joffrey. I admit, there were seasons and seasons of hate for Joffrey, and we’ve only had Olly with Most Hated Status for a few months, so maybe I’m blowing the Olly Hate out of proportion.

Regardless if the hate was genuine or not, I am intrigued in the audience’s very public reactions to Olly. Do people really hate Olly? Or (as I suspect) it’s just really fun to bust on him?

OllyAndJon

My defense of the little murderous orphan probably stems from a similar sense of fun. I like defending him.

But I also feel sorry for him.

I have a soft spot in my heart for child soldiers, who are forced through circumstances to abandon their childhood and take up arms. It’s always tragic.

Arya’s story is probably one of the most tragic stories. She’s definitely on a path to badassery, but that’s actually a shame.

Arya-Stark-arya-stark-29916693-864-486

Pfft! Who needs a childhood? I have a list!

It’s only a matter of time until Arya will be so far down her dark path, that she’ll be strongly motivated by circumstances into killing someone whose death she will clearly have cause to regret. When that time comes, she’ll be in the same boat of Olly, and I’m planning on exercising sympathy. Sympathy that I think Olly deserves as well, and not so much scorn.

WWJSD

Possibly no one will be surprised when I say that I hope Jon Snow, who might be “deader than dead”, doesn’t stay that way. That isn’t a book spoiler, the last book left Jon Snow stabbed and dying as well. (In fact, the show made it seem more fatal and definite than the book did.)

Jon-Snow-Game-of-Thrones

At some point, I’m willing to have an intellectual exercise involving the premise that Jon stays dead (boo), or that Jon wargs into Ghost and is a direwolf for the rest of the series (ugh.)

But for now, I’d like to imagine that Jon is resurrected by Melisandre, who is:

  • at the Wall
  • knows that the power of R’hllor has the potential to bring someone back to life
  • knows that Jon Snow is special (c’mon people. We all know Jon Snow is important.)

So, what would a resurrected Jon Snow do? For purposes of this series of articles, I’m not worried about what Jon will do in regards to the Wildlings, or the White Walkers/Others, or the Boltons. Or even Alliser Thorne.

What would Jon Snow do in regards to Olly? There are a host of possibilities of course, but I’ll be a pain in the ass and break it down to two choices:

  • wreak classical back-from-the-grave vengeance on Olly
  • forgive him

I’m on Team Forgiveness. Revenant Jon Snow would have more pressing concerns. Winter is Coming and as Ned said:

When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives. Summer is the time for squabbles. In winter, we must protect one another, keep each other warm, share our strengths.

The rest of Westeros needs to figure out that the time for squabbling is past, and Jon should set an example in that regard. Killing Olly won’t make anything right. It would just be a distraction from the real threat. If Jon can show sympathy for Olly, who stabbed him, then we’re going to have some cognitive dissonance happening for anyone fully committed to blaming Olly.

This does make me wonder what Jon’s plans should be in regards to Ramsay Bolton and the Bolton forces. It’s easy for me to say “hey, the White Walker threat is pretty bad, so everyone team up” without acknowledging that “everyone teaming up” includes those asshats too.

But that might make for a different post.

Okay, I’m done. Five posts was probably four posts too many to spend on little Potato Olly.

Assuming Jon is resurrected, I’d love to hear what people they think will happen (or want to happen?) I’ll open up the poll to be something other than just Kill/Forgive.

If you legitimately read my entire series, I am deeply humbled and appreciative. Even if you read it to make fun of me. That’s cool. Hopefully these articles won’t get me banned from the Game of Thrones-centric Facebook groups I frequent.

I keep worrying I’ll go there and see this:

Traitor

Team Olly 4ever.


(Comments are always welcome. Super welcome! But if you want to talk spoilery Game of Thrones talk with me (also welcome) I’d invite you to visit my Safe Spoilers page on my backup blog. That way my non-book-reading friends won’t be shocked with foreknowledge.)

Images from HBO’s Game of Thrones (obviously.) 

I make no claims to the artwork, but some claims to the text. (The text I wrote specifically, not the quote from Ned.)

If you liked this article, thank you! I have all of my Game of Thrones related articles on my handy-dandy Game of Thrones page should you want to read more but don’t want to navigate around my site.

© Patrick Sponaugle 2015 Some Rights Reserved

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Comments
  1. kwrenb2 says:

    I think Jon is going to come back as a Targaryen. There is so much foreshadowing towards it. But as said before, the gods flip a coin when it comes to Targaryens they can be as awful and crazy as Viserys or as compassionate and as sound of mind as Dany! Great posts interesting insight!

    Like

  2. haley says:

    I quite enjoyed these! I was baffled by the very Olly-specific hate too, but I’ll concede that it was more of a tragic Brutus-esque betrayal on his part, as opposed to all those other crows who never really liked Jon to begin with. I just rewatched the scene (it still stings, by the way): we even get that little swell of music as Olly comes forward, and the protracted, sad stare-down between the two of them. Showrunners pulling on our heartstrings!
    Maybe we’ve been spoiled by a few strong “obvious” villains over the past few seasons… Ramsay, Joffrey, Walder Frey… we get irrational when faced with these grayer characters. Since the series has a wealth of gray people, I’m sure the coming seasons/books will challenge us and our loyalties even more… yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m very pleased that you enjoyed them! Thanks for the insight on contrasting reactions when known villains do bad things and when gray characters do bad things. I think you’re on to something.

      Divided loyalties certainly seems to be a pattern in the books, where we are either rooting for both sides in a conflict, or am despairing the outcome since neither victor would make us happy.

      Thanks again!

      Like

  3. KG says:

    Was fun 🙂
    I think one of the reasons (and since I read your series over a couple of days, I forgot if you already addressed this) is because it was ‘JON SNOW’. And ‘everyone’ loves him (I like him..but love….nah!!!..) He is important, yeah. I was upset when he died , yeah. I was shocked to see this kid kill him, yeah. But then at the end of the day , I guess there are better things to do than to think of Olly. Err… the white walkers and their come hither looks ? My hate towards Jofferey will never leave, even when he is dead… I wish there was a way to kill the dead ! My bet is on Jon Snow warging into Ghost. I read somewhere how Ghost came to rescue Sam but didn’t bother with Jon! Probably was getting ready for Jon to warg I guess 🙂

    But really appreciate your effort and your passion Patrick 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bagga2007 says:

    Very interesting , made me think a lot more than i had at first. To be honest the only thing that i felt was wrong happened after your article was written. When Olly was about to be hung and Jon asked for last words you could see the hate on Ollys face. I thought that seemed wrong , yes Jon had brought in the wildlings you killed his parents but he had been killed and come back to life , wouldnt that start to give you doubts about killing him the first time had been a mistake and Jon had the blessings of the gods or something. Thats what i would have thought anyway. I was never a big Olly hater . I can understand both points of view, but the show makers set him up to be hated with those long angry looks at Jon .
    Great article, liked it a lot. When the series is over i will be able to get into a lot of the other stuff that you have written, im looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. writingjems says:

    Clearly, your hopes for forgiveness didn’t follow through. I will admit that you did actually manage some good arguments. I still don’t like the kid, but my vitriol has lessened a bit. It’s not like he was ever my most hated character though. Ramsay and Joffrey have such a head start that there’s no catching up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading all the Olly articles! When I get a chance, I’ll respond, also to my Ser Alliser post.

      I kind of cheated in some ways in defending Olly, since I didn’t try to really absolve him of stabbing Jon, just in some of the ancillary charges.

      Thanks again!

      Like

      • writingjems says:

        I had to read them. I considered it a challenge! Well, there wasn’t really any way to absolve him of backstabbing – or front-stabbing, rather – Jon Snow. But you did manage to address just what his part in the treachery was.

        Liked by 1 person

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