(Warning: Major spoilers below)
If you’re one of the very, very few people left in civilization who hasn’t seen any of Game of Thrones, I want to express my extreme envy.
I wish that I too could remain apathetic to Jon Snow’s trivial conversations with even more trivial characters. But alas, I was sucked into this whirlpool long ago, so here I must spin, comforted only by fleeting images of dragons and ever-growing empty promises of ‘winter’, that is apparently, although supported by minimal evidence, coming.
And I’ve ultimately come to the conclusion that Game Of Thrones is simply not worth the time and energy.
Testing our patience
The viewership of Game of Thrones has, for all 5 seasons, been eagerly awaiting the arrival of supernatural bad guys The White Walkers into known civilization and the inevitable war that will ensue; an event known as ‘Winter’ by everyone in Westeros (Game of Thrones land), but heeded by nobody. This ‘Winter’ is the ace up the sleeve and it plays heavily upon that. Granted, in the latest series we actually see the White Walkers in military action (it only took them 5 years and 7000 mentions of the mythological beings), together with an army of animated corpses.
At the beginning of the first series we are introduced to the idea of the White Walkers (who seem to be used as a weird metaphor for global warming by George Martin), and whenever the script writers ran out of ideas they would give us a glimpse of a wrinkly, pale face.
But it isn’t good enough. These White Walkers have no purpose within the plot; they are not the antagonist, or even a major threat; they are simply there. Plus, maybe more importantly, it doesn’t matter when they do finally climb the wall and attack, because we all know that Daenerys Targaryen will simply burn the lot of them with her dragons. I’ve seen through you Martin.
Which leads me onto my next point: the events in Game of Thrones, as presented in the TV series, are completely cliched and predictable. If these events were taking place in any other TV show, the entire earth would be in uproar over how ridiculously bad the plotlines are.
Debates would ensue: “Two Broke Girls vs Predictable Medieval Rubbish”. Game of Thrones would be the butt of everyone’s joke when it comes to TV, but much like every celebrity that has ever existed, it has been granted immunity from the general public.
Its name protects it, but the point stands. Anyone who tells me that they didn’t expect Ned Stark to be beheaded as soon as Joffrey put on that crown needs to watch more Sean Bean movies.
Cheap shock tactics
I am aware that the TV series of Game of Thrones follows George Martin’s books rather closely, and therefore cannot be fully blamed for the deaths of certain characters. However, my qualm is not with the deaths themselves, it is with the way that they are built up and presented, and in that sense, liability falls completely on the directors.
I’ll teach you a lesson about Game of Thrones: when they have no ideas left, or when they feel like people may be losing interest in the show, they just kill off a main character.
They do it, because the makers of Game of Thrones just want your attention, and nothing gets your attention more than our beloved on-screen hero being stabbed to death by a bunch of bigoted dweebs in black feathered cloaks… *repressed heavy crying, but not really – because we all saw it coming five episodes before it actually happened*.
Characters we don’t care about
Do we really care what Bran is up to anymore? I know I don’t, and it doesn’t help that the writers insist on running what seems like 15 storylines all at once. The fact is, most of these characters we just aren’t bothered about.
Bran – who has been touted as the ‘chosen one’ through many desperate hints and nudges from the writers – didn’t even appear in season five. So by the time season six rolls in and we hold a parade, we won’t have seen Bran on screen for two whole years. Is this really the way to tell us his story?
I’m sure that the people over at HBO think that these numerous parallel storylines will keep us interested for longer, but in truth it just dilutes what is an otherwise interesting canon. No offence Isaac Wright.
There is no protagonist
On top of the problems with constant character deaths and a million and one people all fighting for screen time at once, Game of Thrones has another problem: there is no protagonist.
The viewership definitely picks its favourites. It started with Ned Stark, then for a while it was Tyrion, then Oberyn came in for a few episodes and charmed us, before having his skull crushed by the appropriately named Mountain (that one hit me the hardest, I will admit).
These were the characters that we associated with. Once Tyrion was scarred at the battle of Blackwater and ultimately removed from his position of power (thus dowsing our interest in his character, as he is not in a position to affect real change), Jon Snow is eventually named Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, consequently taking Tyrion’s place as our ‘hero’. Convenient.
“Oh but now Tyrion is back in Merreen and advising Daenerys, and therefore has regained his former power and our interest? Nice one, now let’s kill Jon Snow so they don’t get too complacent!”
Game of Thrones angers people, because sometimes the deaths of these main characters are not sufficiently justified within the plot, and just happen to keep us on our toes. That is not a good enough reason to kill a main character.
“Winter is coming….. and so is spring, and after that summer. Beach parties all night long – woohoo!”