Greetings and Salutations
I’m Warning you now…. This may have Spoilers.
Not since the Red Wedding has the show featured such a high body count of longtime characters, and not since the Red Wedding has that body count included a character thought to be a central hero of the series. Jon Snow’s fate left somewhat ambiguous in the books looks more clear-cut onscreen. Those who believed that Jon Snow would be key to the final story arc are now hanging on to the slimmest reeds of hope. Not only did the show deal with the assassination attempt on Jon Snow in a more pessimistic way than the books, it left Daenerys in a far more precarious position. In the books for what I’ve read on line, she at least confronts the Dothraki with her dragon by her side (the only way I’d like to confront the Dothraki). In the show, she’s alone surrounded by virtually the entire horde.
I’m not going to recap the entire episode (the web is awash in Thrones recaps). Instead, I thought I’d share a bit why I appreciate the Thrones universe so much, well the screen version anyways. Putting aside for the moment the key artisitic elements of any good book or show outstanding writing, plotting, and performances, George R.R. Martin’s relentless fidelity to the brutal moral logic of his world helps illustrate an important truth: Evil and savagery are horrific not simply on their own terms, but also because of their effect on the virtuous. In other words, evil renders virtue far more difficult. Ned Stark was an honorable man, but foolishly honorable, trusting the wrong people. Jon Snow was an honorable man, but he failed to win over his brothers. Too much blood had been spilled to quickly to embracing the “greater good.”
Daenerys has long been idealistic (the “breaker of chains”) but has so far proved inadequate to the task of building a free state out of a slave society, and has been forced to be far more brutal than she hoped. Stannis had noble inclinations, but his “by any means necessary” faith in the rightness of his cause ultimately made him a monster. The best fiction doesn’t just entertain, it makes us think, sometimes in ways even the author doesn’t expect or intend.
As a whole, the fifth year of Game of Thrones was the most violent and grimmest 10-hour chunk yet. This could not be ever fully avoided since it was the season where characters like Cersei and the Boltons came into complete power, and it was also the year that could not end in any other way than with Jon and a red gush.
Still, as a whole, season five cleared the series’ stormiest weather from the source material. The show seems a little battered compared to the superior, previous four seasons, But that is a discussion for another Blog for another day. In the meantime, I will say for all the bumps this year met, watching and reviewing Game of Thrones season five has been a genuine pleasure. Thanks to My Friend Kris for turning me to the show.
Give me your thoughts in the comments below and then share this with your friends and become part of the conversation.