Author: Benjamin K. Smith

Game of Thrones Predictions

Until quite recently, I thought Game of Thrones was headed for a straightforward conclusion: Jon and Daenerys would get married and rule as king and queen, with Tyrion (the other secret Targaryen) as Hand, the three of them as the three heads or riders of the dragon. That now seems unlikely, for a number of reasons:

  1. Dany has gone to the dark side. She has committed an act so heinous that her reign in King’s Landing can not possibly be peaceful.
  2. Dany’s power ultimately comes from Drogon. Drogon will not obey anyone other than his mum.
  3. Jon has good bloodlines and he’s not a homicidal megalomaniac, but he has made some very poor leadership decisions. It seems like he lost the Northmen in the last episode.
  4. Jon is a Stark and led the army of Winterfell. He would not be welcomed by the remaining Westerlands army, or for that matter, the people of King’s Landing.
  5. This is kind of a weak ending for Tyrion.

OK, so let’s address these problems and make predicitons:

  1. Dany needs to die. I nominate Arya.
  2. Drogon needs to die. No Dany, no Drogon. More on this later.
  3. Jon probably needs to die. He could get asassinated or die heroically fighting Drogon. Remember when he was going to fight Viserion, but then he didn’t? Maybe it was because Jon had a bigger task ahead of him.
  4. Come to think of it, who can lead King’s Landing? Anyone? Is there even a King’s Landing left to rule? The main problem with Jon (he’s a Stark) also preclude the other Starks from ruling. (Sorry, team Sansa.) Both Starks and Lannisters recognized Robert Baratheon as King. If all of the Targaryens were gone, the next logical person in line would be the heir to Robert Baratheon, namely the now legitimized Gendry. Gendry was not part of the raid on King’s Landing. He did help defend from the undead hordes. His ascension would mean that Ned’s efforts were not in vain. He’s not blond. Maybe Arya will even give him a second chance.
  5. Tyrion is the only competent potential hand, but he really fucked up backing Dany. He may have to die to clear space for Gendry, or simply to have a dramatic murder in the finale. Personally I would rather see him leave King’s Landing, either as Lord of Casterly Rock (his longtime ambition) or as consort to the Queen in the North, Sansa Stark.

Yes, Queen in the North. Why? Because Sansa is already Lady of Winterfell, but it doesn’t seem like quite enough. And because as much as I like my Gendry theory, there is another theory I like even better:

Remember when I said Drogon needed to die? What better way than a direct parallel with one of the first scenes in the book and show? A direwolf choked to death on a stag, foretelling the death of Ned Stark. What if Drogon choked to death on the Iron Throne itself? Remember that King’s Landing is the Targaryen city, and that it is in ruins. Why not finish off the Targs altogether, and scatter the remaining population? Then we end up with “seven” kingdoms again:

  1. The North, ruled by Sansa.
  2. The West, ruled by Tyrion, or maybe Podrick Payne.
  3. The Stormlands, ruled by Gendry, who also takes over most of the Crownlands.
  4. The Riverlands, ruled by some Tully or another (Edmure? Is he alive?), or maybe just annexed by the North in Sansa’s name.
  5. The Reach, ruled by Ser-Not-Appearing-In-This-Show Tyrell, or maybe Samwell Tarly.
  6. The Vale, ruled by Robin Arryn, according to the wikis. Man, they just dropped the Vale entirely from the show when Littlefinger died. Sansa should probably annex the Vale too, for good measure.
  7. The Iron Islands, ruled by Yara Greyjoy. My hope is that the books will be published someday, and that they will differ so greatly from the show as to be unrecognizable. So this is not a prediction for Asha Greyjoy.
  8. Dorne, ruled by Worf, son of Mogh.

Convert mp3 to CAF

I’m learning Swift, using the book Hacking With Swift.  The author suggests using audio files in the CAF format because they load quickly.  This is a format I had never heard of before, and there are not a lot of tools around that seem to export to it.  I made a little Automator service that gets the job done:

make caf.workflow

(Then while writing this post I re-read the relevant section of Hacking With Swift and realized that CAF is just AIFF with a different extension.  You can convert to AIFF in Audacity or whatever.  But you know what?  I will probably use the Automator service anyway.  It will be handy for converting already edited mp3 files to CAF.)

Black Holes and Vacuum Cleaners

An article I worked on was published in the August 2017 issue of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.  I am the second of the four Smiths on the author list; the second Smith is traditionally the one who figured out how to implement a complex design using Survey Monkey.  The study is about labels for astronomical images.  It includes the sentence:

Interestingly, participants with higher levels of self-reported expertise reported knowing more about the nonexistent objects than those with less expertise.