Game of Thrones. GoT, or whatever you want to call it. I suspect that I won’t be winning any monetary rewards or any kind of recognition for this article because this article does NOT praise Game of Thrones. I loathed it. Now fans of the show will say that it’s because it’s not like The Lord of the Rings—well, of course it’s not like Lord of the Rings—and let’s face it, Aragorn is so perfect that the reader often feels the need for a vomit bag, and Tolkien’s own relationship with women is certainly a bone of contention; after all he subscribed to the pale, passive heroine languishing upon a daybed in the Lord of the Rings, although he does write better fleshed-out heroines in The Silmarillion in both Elwing and Luthien. No, it’s the fact that his heroes are not just deeply flawed, but that they act on these flaws. Ned Stark killing Sansa’s direwolf because he can’t kill Arya’s—and instead of doing the right thing, he does the easy thing. This man is the Hand of the King for God’s sake! There are a myriad of other things he could have done, but instead he chooses to do his duty—and for what? Does it improve relationships with Cersei? Does it improve the relationship with his daughter? I would say "no" on both counts. Now that’s he’s betrayed his daughter to obey his Queen, Cersei knows that Eddard Stark will put duty before anything else, which means she knows exactly which buttons to push.
Now when I say that I don’t like Game of Thrones many people (who do like it) tell me that’s it’s because of the dragons—I like dragons. I loved the Dragonriders of Pern, series so it isn’t the dragons; I’ve often felt that I could write a fantasy series about dragons being benevolent rather than malevolent. Others have suggested that there are too many characters. I understand that George R. R. Martin is trying to world-build here and that a world is comprised of many, many different strata, and compared to our history (which tends to congregate on the upper middle class and nobility), he wanted to tell a story that encompasses all strata of society; but in this case, there are too many characters to keep track o,f and as a reader (and watcher), you cease to care.
Now that the final episode has aired, I would also like to state that now that everyone knows the ending to the series, I am disappointed in how Daenerys was portrayed. Others have pointed out that Daenerys’s descent into murder and mayhem was foreshadowed—and who knows, maybe they’re right. But must every woman who gains the status Daenerys does become some power-crazed harridan? Is that what male authors (and some female ones) think that powerful women are? Power crazed nutjobs who should be chained to the kitchen sink and not allowed any freedom? It’s the same trope again and again. Women can’t be trusted with power because if you give them any power, they’ll go off the rails. Their little brains are too fragile to deal with it. Before it ended, I thought it might end thusly: Jon Stark (or Aegon Targaryen if you wish) wins against the White Walkers and marches on King's Landing, where in a pitched battle, the Starks eventually win, with Arya dying to take Cersei down. Sansa and the others "bend the knee" to Jon and Daenerys, and they become the new King and Queen, although Sansa refuses to become the Hand of the King, becoming instead "Lady of Winterfell."
My final point is that in the end, most of it seems futile. Game of Thrones has ended now, but all I can think is—So what? For what? Now that the series is finished, I can see that I was right about some things, and wrong about others. Jon kills Daenerys and is then condemned by the people who were too cowardly to do it themselves, much like "Stoneface" Vimes in the Discworld series, and they banish him to the Night's Watch for the remainder of his life. And they let Arya go without any punishment? Arya kills the entire Frey Clan—and you could argue that she had cause. Well, Jon had cause too. Tyrion persuaded him that Dany had gone mad with power, but we condemn Daenerys and Jon but not Arya? I'm sorry, you can't play it that way. That inconsistency really hacked me off.
At least Jon turns round and refuses because the Night's Watch no longer exists, nor is there a need for them to exist any longer, and decides to take the Free Folk north. I was right about Sansa becoming Lady of Winterfell though—although I was surprised that Bran becomes King. But I still feel that it was mostly for naught; in fifty years things will be the same. Old wounds will never heal, treaties made during this time will not hold, and in the end, everyone will betray one another. The whole exercise seems like one in futility. It always seems that whatever the good guys do, however well intentioned they are and what they do —even if they begin with the best of intentions, in the end, they’re going to lose and the bad guys will win, in which case, what’s the point? Now I know in the real world that the bad guy often wins; he has more money, more friends, more muscle, or he can get them, and he has no qualms about how he will get them, but humans NEED Fantasy. We need to believe in Justice and Mercy and Right so that we can make them come true.
And if you were to sift the universe down to its basic components, you would not find one ounce of Mercy or a grain of Justice, but we as humans are called to be better than this; better than the universe, which really doesn’t care about humans in the slightest. As Thomas Paine wrote over a century ago, "The Life of Man is nasty, brutish and short," and to a degree, he was correct. George R. R. Martin has taken this concept to it’s logical conclusion in my opinion, that everything we do is futile, and in the end, nothing matters.