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Meet a bloody end with Game of Thrones

Last spring the TV series Game of Thrones ended its fifth season on HBO. While I’m usually a huge fan of the series I didn’t much care for last season. I think that’s partly because this season seemed to be building up to … something. Previous seasons of the show told a long, complex story whereas this season seemed to be leading to another season.

Stephen Dillane and Liam Cunningham

Stephen Dillane and Liam Cunningham

To be sure this year there were stories of characters consolidating power and others where they made plans but a lot of the story felt mostly static. I’m not one of those people who demands action and battles from series like Game of Thrones but I think there should be something interesting happening to keep the viewer’s interest. Which I think was sorely lacking most of this season.

I do wonder how much the creators of Game of Thrones series were hurt that they had to follow the Game of Thrones novels? What I mean is that if they weren’t following the story set by the novels I think this season would’ve gone in a different direction altogether. That rather on focusing on a lot of lead up and not a lot of payoff they could have instead told something else altogether.

I don’t think it helps matters that each episode of Game of Thrones tells stories of multiple characters. Since there were many different storylines and characters that were being followed meant that most characters only got a few minutes of screen time each episode. Meaning their season-stories probably only covered an hour or so of television at most per character.

And how can characters grow and change in just an hour each year?

Worst of all I don’t think it had to be this way. Looking back on the season it seemed that several storylines could’ve easily been cut. These stories had no value other than to take characters from A to B then back to A again without much happening. I get the sense that some of this were in place just to keep all of the actors working and having equal screen time but I think that really hurt the overall quality of the show.

Jack Gleeson and Natalie Dormer

Jack Gleeson and Natalie Dormer

All of which is bad, but what just might have turned me off to Game of Thrones for good was the cruelty on display this season.

To be sure Game of Thrones has always been a show that depicted humainty’s cruelty towards humanity. The series has never shied away from characters being killed, maimed and mutilated. In fact this has been one of the hallmarks of the show. But recently some of that cruelty seemed to be in place for shock value alone.

This season character of Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) was raped by her cruel and malevolent husband Ramsay (Iwan Rheon). Which was upsetting especially since we’ve known the character of Sansa since the actress was 15. And the creators of the show didn’t shy away from depicting the act on screen, later defending themselves by saying that these sorts of things happen in real life.

Which is true. Except that of all the acts of cruelty that happened OFF-screen over the years why was did one have to be ON-screen?

And then another character Shireen Baratheon (Kerry Ingram) whom we’ve known since the actress was 14 was taken by her father and burned alive at the stake this season. She screams for him to stop but he won’t since he’s seeking to be granted a favor from the gods. Ugh.

Jason Momoa and Emilia Clarke

Jason Momoa and Emilia Clarke

Which makes me think of a show like The Walking Dead. I used to like The Walking Dead just fine and was a big fan of the show up until a few seasons ago. That’s when I realized that it’d become little more than “bad things happening to good people” the TV series. If you like becoming invested in characters only to see them meet a brutal, gory end then The Walking Dead’s for you! It’s a series where characters are seemingly introduced one week in order to die screaming the next.

And that’s kind’a where I think Game of Thrones is right now. For some reason the creators of that show think that showing bad things happening to good characters makes for good TV, but it doesn’t. It’s a cheap way to get people talking about a series for all the wrong reasons.

I lost the stomach for this sort of thing with The Walking Dead and stopped watching it and feel like I’m starting to lose my stomach for it with Game of Thrones too.

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