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Why Game of Thrones Sucks Now

by Darshan Desai 4 years ago in review / tv

Yes, for real.

About halfway through the fifth season of Game of Thrones, we were given a glimpse into to what the show would become. We were introduced to the Dornish plot line and the consequent downfall in the writing of the show. We didn't realize it then but this was our first warning that the writers had given up on intriguing, complex and logically sound storytelling.

Now before I carry on, I understand that to many, this post amounts to blasphemy but it's not. It is simple truth. The writing on the show has devolved from something deep, complex and intriguing to illogical, boring and predictable. To prove this point, we will be looking at various plot beats from the first three episodes of season 7, specifically dealing with episode 3, which has committed some of the most egregious writing decisions I have ever seen. I shall do this by focusing on three main areas where I believe the show has committed the worst sins of all. So, without any delay, let's dive into the rabbit hole...

Sin #1: Lack of narrative logic.

Map of the known world

Going into season 7, I expected this to be a problem mainly because it was such an issue throughout season 6. So many plot lines from the first three episodes lack so much narrative logic, I sometimes wonder whether the show runners actually know what they're doing. From the fact that Euron sailed past an empty castle and did not take it to the simple fact that these characters should not be able to travel at the speed of light, there exists various examples of how the show has just thrown narrative logic out the window. How it was possible for Euron to be in Kings Landing in one scene and then literally on the other side of the continent to destroy Dany's unsullied fleet is baffling. How it was possible for Jorah to be cured of one of the most deadly and famously incurable diseases that has ever plagued Westeros is completely unbelievable (and here I thought Arya's super healing abilities in season 6 were extreme). How it is possible for the citizens of Kings Landing (and Westeros as a whole) to be okay with Cersei blowing up the Sept of Baelor (which in our world would be the equivalent of the Queen blowing up the Vatican) is just down right unbelievable. There still exists no valid reason why Jon is not telling people he came back from the dead. If anything, it would only rally people to his cause (especially believer of the Lord of Light). And while we're on the subject of Jon's resurrection, why has the show apparently forgotten that Jon died. It is quite a big deal. GRRM himself has described people who have come back by the Lord of Light "fire wights" as opposed to "ice wights" like this animated by the white walkers. That to me is a pretty big deal. How the show can just ignore such a massive plot beat is baffling, to say the least. How it was possible for the Lannister army (which as far as the viewer is able to discern, is of comparable size to the Tyrell army) to defeat the Tyrell army who had the added advantage of a fortified castle is again completely unbelievable. And no, Highgarden does not suck at fighting like the show would try to have you believe. This is the same Highgarden army that saved the Kings Landing at the battle of Blackwater. The same Highgarden army that Loras Tyrell was in charge of. There is literally no excuse for the Tyrells to be "bad" at fighting. And then worst of all is Dany's insistence that she not take Kings Landing because "too many lives will be lost." But then at the end of the last season, she's willing to do just that and then Tyrion told her no, she could just coordinate a more precise attack at a strategic location. The same can be done here, why not just attack the Red Keep in Kings Landing with the Dragons. That would drastically minimise the lives lost and she would sit upon the Iron Throne. Quite simply, the writers have just abandoned narrative logic in favor of cheap tricks and thrills. It's sad to see a show that once prided itself in doing what no other show would devolve itself into, basically doing what every other lesser show would do.

Sin #2: Baffling characterizations and even weirder character motivations.

How Euron can pass an empty castle, not take it and then sail past it again and not see Dany and her army

Over its first 4 seasons, Game of Thrones did an impeccable job of establishing its diverse cast of characters giving us an ever widening glimpse into their lives. And then the show just abandoned all of that. Braavos, a city built and established by former freed slaves is now, apparently, in the slave trade. Littlefinger, the man who was part of the team that orchestrated Joffrey's demise, the man who turned on Ned Stark and then went on to marry the sister of his true love and subsequently kill her to gain power over a major house, is now reduced to a side character who is useless at almost everything. Bran, who when last we saw him, was perfectly normal and then, quite jarringly, he is cold, distant and talks to his sister about her rape (like wtf). The list goes on. The point is, the writers don't seem to care anymore. They basically change the characterizations to fit what they want to happen in that moment by basically ignoring everything that came before it. It is quite frustrating too, as a viewer, to see this from a show which, at its beginning, made such a point of establishing the roles of these characters and giving them life.

Sin #3: The lack of any coherence between scenes.

This one is a problem that sort of falls under sin one but is so egregious, I decided to give it its own section. It's a problem that has plagued the show since the start of season 6. The fact that a character can be on one side of the world in one scene and then on the literal opposed side of the world in the next and then halfway back to the other side of the world is pathetic. The viewer is forced to just accept scenes happening one after the other without any sort of cohesion between them. It is again another revelation that the writers have just given up on giving us a nuanced and well thought out show. Instead, we just get an amalgamation of scenes put together with the odd battle thrown in here and there to thrill the audience and then we're supposed to return the following week for the same rinse and repeat session.

What I have highlighted above is just the tip of a very large iceberg that is the pathetic writing in the past two and half seasons of Game of Thrones. There is still quite a lot that I have not touched upon (like the way Dorne was handled, the way Theon is portrayed, how Brienne serves no purpose anymore) and then still much more. The point here is that Game of Thrones is not the darling show, with nuanced and well thought out writing, that people think it is. It may have been that show in its earlier seasons but in its present incarnation, it just isn't and that is a truth people need to see.

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Darshan Desai
Darshan Desai
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Darshan Desai
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