SO Last Millennium

This post Includes Game of Thrones Final Season Spoilers

After reading the A Song of Fire and Ice books, I started following Game of Thrones. Been watch faithfully since Season One Episode One. Subscribed to HBO for ten years to get where we are now.  The last few episodes have rendered the entire exercise a colossal waste of time, money, and talent. Game of Thrones has become instantly outdated and irrelevant.

The show runners can talk all they want about having planted the seeds of what the Mother of Dragons would become from the beginning, but the point is, Daenerys, as played by Emilia Clarke, evolved and the writers didn’t.  The world we live in evolved and the issues we care about changed dramatically over the past 25 years. But the show runners chose not to adapt along with it. They made no attempt to weave our moral awakening into the storyline, instead, choosing to be blind to the forces and deaf to the voices that have blossomed in our society since then.

What was for a time, the bravest show on television, has taken a stance that’s conservative, fitting and safe in the face of the political regression we’ve seen around the world over the past five years. 

What it has to say could be filtered through, "we all need to witness the shit that can go wrong when women get too uppity." 

People can say, "Oh the show's not about that," and it almost certainly wasn't intended to be about that. But any impact that it makes or fails to make will be because the world is here and the show is there. Irrelevant. Stillborn. 

But I would prefer not to watch my favorite characters on television betray their own values.

Daenerys is not the only character to have outgrown the templates they were grown from.  As King’s Landing crumbled around her, Arya turned into a little girl who simply ran when her surrogate daddy, the Hound, told her to run. None of the Faceless Man skills she learned in Bravos amounted to anything, other than some very handy skills with the knife she showed off to the Ice King. And of course, much has been made of Brienne begging Jaime not to leave her. 

What is the writer’s defence? To paraphrase what he said in one interview, “if you plot a book where the butler did it, you can’t change your mind midstream and decide that the chambermaid did it. It makes no dramatic sense.”

Sorry, George, but emotional resonance is an infinitely more worthy goal than dramatic sense. The Daenerys you brought to life in the early 90s may have murdered thousands of innocents, but the Dany that Emilia Clarke brought to life would not have.

I will concede that this was all diligently foreshadowed. But clearly, if a story takes more than 20 years to tell, the world around it is going to evolve in the course of the telling. The world we live in now is one where half of what we learn in a four year degree program will be obsolete by the time we graduate. How is it surprising that a story arc that made sense in the 1990s makes no emotional sense whatsoever in 2019?

It seems absurd to accuse someone who has written tens of thousands of pages and imaged a world as rich and complex as The Seven Kingdoms of being lazy. But the story arc that define the Final Season of Game of Thrones for me seems both “lazy” and “inflexible.” 

Ultimately, Game of Thrones may still be a great work. Perhaps it’s even 20th century classic. But that’s also its biggest problem.  GOT is so last millennium.

After 8 seasons of devotion, I may not even bother watching the last episode. The next season of The Handmaid’s Tale starts June 5.


  1. Our mutual friend Do-Ming sent me to this post on Scientific American that proposed a very interesting theory as to why the storytelling on GoT became so dissatisfying:

    I've never watched the show (and have no interest in doing so) but I found the article well worth the read.

    1. It certainly is worth a read. Don't know that I have seen that sociological vs personal argument before, but it make abundant sense. If Trump wasn't handy, the American electorate would have found someone just as bad. And if Trudeau is looking particularly toothless, it's because of the power structure he's forced to work within than anything about him personally. He would have to dismantle that power structure before he could give his supporters what they want, and the fallout from that would destabilize everything and likely plunge the country into depression - which may be necessary to solve our problems, but nobody wants to think about that.


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