Game Of Thrones Season 5 Did Not Win Me Over

I don't fucking get it.

I got the first couple seasons of Game of Thrones. I wouldn't say I enjoyed them as such, but I got why they were popular. They were some of the best produced fantasy ever made. Solid acting, great sets, great costuming, and given the nature of the source material, it was fairly compelling narratively. For a while.

The problem, as I said on You Are Dumb, I believe, after bingeing on the first four seasons over the course of three weeks, is that if you thwart tropes ALL THE TIME, it's eventually as predictable as never subverting tropes at all. And Season 5 of Game of Thrones not only subverted tropes in the most predictable way possible, it did it while accomplishing almost nothing.

Spoilers follow, because if you care, you already know, and if you don't already know, I'm going to try and convince you not to care.

At one point in the season 5 finale, I found myself in a classic Game of Thrones situation. After one scene ended, the next scene started in a place I didn't recognize with people I didn't recognize. I knew I was still watching Game of Thrones, though, because the first thing that happened was that a guy with a beard was whipping three young girls. The scene I'd left featured a tortured, maimed, broken man and a raped-nightly-new bride either committing suicide, Thelma and Louise style, off a castle wall, or defying physics. The Internet seems to believe it's the latter.

Two horrible people got their comeuppance in this episode. Stannis Boratheon's claim to the throne petered out into anticlimax, so, you know, good thing we watched him burn his daughter alive a week or two ago because that was totally worth it. It's not even portrayed as the failure of hubris. It was just a completely dramatically unsatisfying "Oh well, guess that plan kind of sucked after all. Goodbye."

They killed John Snow, because, well, he stuck his head up above the seven foot layer of shit that covers Westeros long enough to think that maybe everything shouldn't be covered in shit and so he had to pay. The writers think having the final blow come from a child who doesn't understand moral complexity is morally complex, when it's merely representative.

And then there's Cersei Lannister, walking naked through the city for ten minutes, having shit thrown on her by peasants as the "justice" of a band of religious fanatics who aren't any better than she is, and are, after this scene, arguably worse. This scene basically starts with an Onion article about "the most misogynistic scene ever in Game of Thrones" and then one-ups it in every possible way, and then realizes it and airs it without the slightest bit of self-awareness or irony.

If the point of this scene was to get me, the viewer, to fully support Cersei if seson 6 starts with her Joker-style plan to poison all of King's Landing, and cheer wildly when she succeeds, then mission accomplished.

Tyrian Lannister, still my favorite part of the show, spent nearly the entire season snarking at people in a boat. Daenaerys (fuck it, I'm not gonna look up the spelling at this point) spent nearly the entire season in the same city. Arya Stark spent nearly the entire season being riddled at and told what to do amongst the Faceless. The Wall people went through a lot but largely ended up where they started the season at. At least during the first four seasons, the horribleness played out as part of momentous, world-shakig events. This season, very little happened to change the status quo in Westeros, so it was just horribleness.

At one point around the middle of Seson 3, I decided the only satisfying ending to Game of Thrones was Arya Stark, riding a nuclear bomb Dr. Strangelove style, en route to wiping out all of Westeros so that the cockroaches could start improving the place. But I've changed my mind. As of right now, I'm rooting for the White Walkers. Westeros, a land whose only product is corpses, being conquered and destroyed by corpses? Show me a spoiler featuring that on a Monday morning and I'll On Demand the shit out of it.

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The Power of Myth

From what I've read, you basically just don't want to have to memorize another damn mythology. You boast about being an old nerd do you have to remember that taun tauns smell worse on the inside, that Frodo went to the Grey Havens, how many Infinity Stones have been found, how to beat Goser, whether Chris Redfield survived the last zombie monster attack as well as speculate whether Jay Garrick will show up on season 2. Your brain is swamped and you don't have the gray matter left to remember that it was Meryn Trant who had his eyes poked out by Arya Stark. I love the show even better than the books so that's the only thing I can figure as to why you don't. It's either that or different people have different tastes.

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