Sat. Sep 24th, 2022
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Warning: This story references events in the HBO series guards and Game of Thronesincluding their latest episodes.

“Just do it. We don’t want to hear your little speech. Damn it.”

“Do what?” Lady Trieu questions her gathered audience of white supremacists.

“You’re going to kill us, aren’t you?”

“Oh yes, of course I am.”

And with that, the best show of 2019 went out with a literal atomic bang. guards conspicuously closed its nine-episode run last night, simultaneously tying up several loose ends (how does Veidt fit into all this? What’s Lady Trieu’s plan? superhero/villain who killed millions to actually deal with an arrest? .this show killed it.

Still, I only watched the show from my couch, and only a few co-workers and a neighbor seemed ready and excited to talk about it today. There were no red carpet screenings, impromptu community viewing parties, or neighborhood bars advertising a highly anticipated viewing as some other HBO season finale this year.

That’s a shame, because one of these series is arguably the network’s best work of the decade — and the other is Game of Thrones.

game of shadow

Both thrones and guards benefited from a new TV era. Executives were not only open to, but thirsty for, genre, and they sought the kind of material that might only appeal to a small fraction of fans – but it would be a rabid, passionate, subscribed-yesterday-and-forever type of fan. Both shows started off with a bit of a blast, some high-profile misleading casting, and unexpected character endings. And, perhaps most importantly and most obvious, both series grew out of existing (and paper-based) IP.

The differences start from there. thrones generally it stuck with the source material until it literally couldn’t. And even the most supportive fans agreed that the show lost something when George RR Martin’s roadmap reached its (perhaps still pending?) conclusion. Suddenly, the compelling female characters the show had become known for took actions that more stereotypical characters would do, considering whether love was the main motivator (see Brienne and Jamie) or acting out of raging hysteria, even if it contradicted previous character traits ( farewell to the merciful and justice champion Queen of Dragons, Freer of Slaves). The show still delivered spectacle like nothing else, but it seemed to lack storytelling. The “anything can happen” feeling suddenly disappeared, allowing things like Jamie to stay alive despite heavy enemy (dragon) fire or for the wildly successful conqueror Daenerys to suddenly make a puzzling decision after a puzzling decision with her scaly, strategic advantages .

But perhaps more frustrating than his storyline flaws, thrones also seemed to lose its ability to provoke deeper questions and thoughts without Martin’s source material. This was a show that had interesting things to say about gender in society and politics, the weight of history and family, and the ability to make decisions despite fate. Heck, even The Night King might have represented something much deeper (the inevitability of mortality?) than a zombie ogre. did thrones’ last two seasons that complicate questions or advance the ideas in any significant way? At least in Ars’s eyes, the show revolved around more of a saccharin delivery system. Is the show Annalee Newitz wrote about in her review of? Game of Thrones S7 fancy a monumental work of art?

Watching Game of Thrones now feels like arranging some CW shows like Arrow or Vampire Diaries– or even, sometimes, Jane the Virgin† The pace is so fast that there are multiple fortunes in a single episode, and people go from “hey, so we’re kind of friends” to “we’re screwing” in 40 minutes. I have to say I love a lot of CW shows, and I’m certainly not against fast paced. But part of Game of Thrones‘ appeal was a stately, complex layering of circumstances that gave us a sense of the tragic loss so many characters have suffered. So this season’s picks felt like stylistic whiplash.

By akfire1

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