[These GoT pieces will always contain TV spoilers but never novel spoilers as I have not read a single sentence of any of the Song of Ice and Fire novels]
Season four of Game of Thrones wrapped up last week. It was, almost without a doubt, the best season of the show to date. It had family intrigue and drama throughout, show-stopping scenes usually reserved for movies and threw in some hope for good measure.
However, I can’t help but feel disappointed, not with the finale itself, but with where the show appears to be headed.
It was just a matter of time before the fantasy portion of this sci-fi/action/adventure/fantasy/drama reared its head. However, all of a sudden, Westeros and the North appear more like a young-adult novel than the character-driven epic is was just an episode ago.
Bran made it to the blossoming tree and the three-eyed raven, which turned out to be some sort of weird man living in said tree who’d been spying on Bran his whole life. He was also protected by at least one tiny girl with magical flash grenades who saved Bran and (most of his) company from undead skeleton warriors.
Now, I am all for fantasy stories. I just wasn’t expecting Game of Thrones to turn into one so hardcore and do it so quickly. For much of the first four years of this show, the White Walkers were on the periphery; something we’ve been expecting, but always a sideshow to the drama between the families.
The fact that certain characters could enter the minds of animals was also acceptable. It didn’t dominate the plot. The same went for giants and dragons and everything else. The fantasy element actually added to the excitement of the show, without taking it over.
I would say this was still the case if Bran’s storyline was the only development in the season finale, but King’s Landing had a bit of an overhaul.
Jaime and Cersei outed themselves, ruining the reputation of the Lannisters. Tyrion escaped and fled, but not before murdering his father, the defacto ruler of the seven kingdoms. The Lannisters are no more. Westeros is now ruled, both officially and literally, by a young boy who’s name I still can’t remember. That’s how unimportant he’s always been.
With apologies to the Starks, the most interesting family of the series, the Lannisters are now no more. To make matters worse, the two characters who could be termed anything close to heroes, Tyrion and Arya, are both fleeing to parts unknown. And to top it all off, Khaleesi chained up her dragons and appears to be staying put on the other side of the sea for the foreseeable future.
If you’re doing the math, that leaves GoT with Winter approaching and Stannis Baratheon (AKA, Snoozy McNoPersonality) as the only logical ruler of Westeros. Where’s the character-driven drama going to come from? Where are the intrigue and political dealings going to come from? What’s preventing this show from being Ice Zombies versus the Tree People?
That is what has me disappointed.