A moment in The Expanse season 6, episode 5, “Why We Fight” resembles a questionable plot choice in Game of Thrones season 7, though the Amazon Prime Video series rejects this mistake in a sort of mockery. The Expanse and Game of Thrones both reach the pinnacle of storytelling through intricately written characters and complex political developments. The Expanse takes place in a colonized solar system 300 years from now — a far cry from Game of Thrones’ setting in the fantasy world of Westeros, though the two series share the element of an existential threat to humanity that drives much of their conflicts. The Expanse’s protomolecule and Game of Thrones’ White Walkers parallel each other, but each show and universe handles the threats differently.
Upon arriving on Ceres as preparation for a decisive assault on Marco Inaros ramps up, James Holden meets with Chrisjen Avasarala and suggests they share their findings on the dangers of ring gate transit with the Belter terrorist. Avasarala vehemently objects, calling him naive to expect Marco to listen or care. The exchange feels like a subtle jab at Game of Thrones season 7, when the North and Daenerys Targaryen’s contingent bring a wight belonging to the White Walker army to Cersei Lannister in hopes that she will accept a truce allowing them to defeat the dead without interference from the Iron Throne. Unsurprisingly, Cersei refuses to concede and later bluffs that the Lannister army would contribute to the fight. The Expanse hints at a similar concept but doesn’t fall into the trap of letting its main characters be fooled so easily.
The Expanse season 6’s reference to one of Game of Thrones’ most laughable plot points serves as a reminder of how its writing has remained true to its intelligent foundation in comparison to the initially brilliant HBO show’s fall from grace in its later seasons. The revelation that surpassing a certain mass-energy threshold causes a ship to disappear while passing through a ring gate heightens the threat of the awakened protomolecule artifacts and Holden justifiably expresses his concern for the universe’s well-being. However, Avasarala’s refusal to reach out to their enemy proves that she has a more accurate and pragmatic view of their world than the naivete of Game of Thrones’ apparent heroes.
Game of Thrones‘ meeting between foes missed the mark. After seven seasons of the show, Cersei’s disregard for anyone beyond her close circle had been established from the very beginning. Cersei was never going to relinquish an ounce of her power for the greater good and she fittingly capitalizes on the opportunity to use the threat against her enemies. Jon, Tyrion, and Daenerys were incredibly shortsighted to think they could convince Cersei to come to her senses and compromise.
Avasarala’s objection in The Expanse season 6 embodies the appropriate response to such an idea. Similar to Cersei, a manipulative egomaniac like Marco would never change his ways for the good of all humankind. If Marco learned how to trigger the ring entities, he would certainly employ the phenomenon against the Inners instead of cooperating with them to ensure everyone’s safety. This is a man who killed millions by hurling asteroids at Earth The Expanse season 6. Thus, in no way would it be reasonable for any character in The Expanse to assume Marco’s best intentions — a contrast to Game of Thrones season 7’s careless writing mistake.