Articles on Game of Thrones recently have mainly focused on the TV show’s deviation from the books and where they should go with the show seeing as its overtaking etc… but I’m looking at it from a broader perspective – I’m looking at everything, and what it all amounts to, and why I’ve soured to it.
— SEASON 4 SPOILERS — now that it’s dead and buried I can analyse it in its entirety after the last piece I did, which admittedly came after the fateful events in Episode 8 in a mental state of disturbance. For those wondering, no, I have not read the books though I have done some ‘investigating’ into what’s coming. In my last piece on GoT I wrote that those events put me off the show, if only temporarily, but after seeing the last two episodes, I must say they’ve failed to change my misgivings.
Let’s look at them individually for a moment:
Ep 9) Perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments in television history, the fantastical elements – giants and mammoths, giant-killing arrows, the battle sequences, that massive swinging anchor, Ygritte (& Jon)… they all added up to an episode that felt more cohesive and practiced since Blackwater. This episode is no small feat and deserves praise. However, and it is a real pity that I (like countless others) felt winded by the previous episode, so I actually wasn’t, and still am not, that invested in the show to care enough.
Ep 10) What was claimed by some as ‘the show’s best Finale’. There were some ‘resolutions’ in that Bran finally “arrived”, even though more questions were raised than answered. Tyrion got some bittersweet vengeance (because there is no other kind, especially in Westeros) and Arya is now, as she’s always sort of been, her own women (perhaps just prematurely so). I have to say though, that the storytelling of the finale was weaker than in the past and its by the nature of the way they’ve constructed the seasons that it felt anticlimactic. It doesn’t need a typical climax, but even the Brienne/The Hound fight felt forced (also NOT in the books). I’ve learned that the scene involving Arya leaving The Hound actually felt better in the show than the books though… What this also taught us is that Arya has lost the ability to tell good men from bad (or women in this case); she trusts no one, but that’s not necessarily a good thing as we’ve seen here. Even The Hound told her Brienne was good – but Arya’s simply too far gone to care. So yes, that could just be the natural progression for her character, but in the greater scheme of things its not surprising at all, in fact, if I’m to be harsh, it is its own kind of predictable.
In his mission to go against the grain and the genre cliché, has George R.R. Martin created his own cliché? The worst will happen, and even when we’re given some bite sized morsels of good, they inevitably have a bitter after taste. The only major redeeming factor of this episode, surrounded Varys, whose earlier betrayal now makes sense, though he himself remains somewhat indecipherable after all his ambiguous answers surrounding his service to the throne, only to then leave Westeros (I am intrigued by this by the way), bearing in mind he played as adviser to the Mad King as well.
These episodes are fine on their own, though they’re still anticlimactic. It’s sad because Watchers on the Wall really deserves more attention and critical acclaim. Some would say that it has received just that, but in the context of the show, bearing in mind where we’re at as an audience; suffice to say I watched it more as a casual unfeeling observer and thus I wasn’t as invested in it as I (along with many others) should’ve been. That being said for me the highlights for both episodes, involved Jon Snow (Ygritte’s death being a well handled downer, and then in Ep 9 his meeting with Mance and then Stannis).
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