Game of Narratives: Game of Thrones
SO MANY SPOILERS
Levi Rogers and Sam Williams
LR: It’s finally here. Season 8 of Game of Thrones. Time will tell but this might go down as one of the greatest shows of all time--at least in the top 5-10 up there with Breaking Bad, Sopranos, The Wire, etc. And Episode 2 showed us exactly why. The characters! Forget dragons and ice walls and lots of gratuitous nudity and violence, the characters and their storylines keep us coming back. As episode 2 wrapped up and we were gifted with a montage of characters lounging in Winterfell while Podrick sang an ominous, possibly foreshadow-y song about someone named “Jenny,” I realized that it might be the last time we see many of these characters alive. Tears: shed. All the writers of the show--Martin, Benioff, Weiss--are giving us a masterclass in how to write, develop, and sustain characters throughout the lifetime of a narrative. But, sadly, not everyone can live.
SW (AKA the Devil’s Advocate): Sooooooooooooooooooooooo. Imma step in here and say, I am so frustrated with the first two episodes. They basically add up to a two episode prologue. Couldn’t we have gotten a two episode prologue a year ago just to tease us? I’ve enjoyed moments: Arya owning her sexuality, Brienne getting knighted, Bran being creepy, and of course the tension between Sansa and Danny, Danny and Jon, and Danny and...well everyone (Mad queen vibes people). However, I would have loved an episode where we discover the Night King’s motivation instead of, what, six sentences about why he wants to murder Bran. That probably could have been funded on the 10 seconds of dragon porn we got in the first episode. The send off to characters we love is lovely, but doing it at the expense of the grit and grime of what makes Game of Thrones amazing is, shall we say, discouraging. And am I the only one who thinks the writers on this show, while nailing every other aspect of storytelling in Westeros, actually struggle with the fantasy elements (i.e. Night King motivation, Three-eyed Raven storyline, etc.)
I’m actually not expecting anything truly shocking to happen at this point though. GOT has dragged us through so many twists and turns that to drop us on a cliffhanger or unearned death at the end would not contain a satisfying end at all. We need resolution. It doesn’t necessarily have to be happy or death-less, it most certainly will not be, but it should be satisfying. I think this will be the hardest feat for the show to pull of--one that will either set the show in the citadels of television history for years to come, or wash away into the narrow sea of white noise.
SW: So this is what scares me, it feels like we already know who is dying: Brienne, Theon, Grey Worm, people in the crypt. But GoT is built on subverting expectations. This feels like the episode where we all think one character is about to die and then someone we think has strong odds to win the throne dies instead. Think Brienne fighting off a horde of wights to save Sansa and just at the moment where Brienne is about to die, Sansa dies instead. That type of thing. I’m freaking out.
So, we asked some questions last Sunday. And honestly the response was sub-par at best, but that’s not your fault. We’re all busy people, and I myself was watching The Portland Trailblazers defeat the OKC Thunder. Maybe you were collecting easter eggs.
But some of you DID answer.
According to Instagram poll, 90% of you said The Hound wouldn’t die, 10% said he would. One of you commented that he “better not!” I think The Hound will go but in the best way possible--killed by Arya in an act of mercy once he succumbs to a wound from someone else--his brother, The Night King?
SW: Arya is surviving because the Red Woman told Arya that they’d meet again. It feels like the Hound is prime territory for hero we loved turned wight or White Walker, possibly saving Arya. Yup. That sounds about right.
Most of our readers also picked some combination of Jamie and/or Tyrion as the best character/character with the best story arc. I do agree that Tyrion and Jamie have some of the best character arcs in the series. Tyrion, for me, needs to do something else before the show ends in order for me to care about him, as most of his dealings and plots and tragedies seem over and he’s kind of besides the point. Jamie, to me, seems to be the exact opposite, as if his whole journey has led him North for a very specific purpose. I cling to the theory that he is The Chosen One from the Lord of Light.
DA: You know who doesn’t have the best story arc? Jon Snow. His story arc is beyond boring for most of the series. Why? He is the archetype of medieval fantasy heroes. I mean, it’s smart to include him in the story so people who like that type of ragtag to king storyline can latch onto him. But yeah, not a big fan of Snow = Targaryen storyline.
Tyrion has the single best story arc until he becomes Hand of the Queen. And honestly it’s disappointing. I love Peter Dinklage with all my heart. His acting is incredible. As is Tyrion’s evolution from whore mongerer to smartest man alive. Yet, he’s taking major losses and really hasn’t lived up to the whole smartest man alive status for seasons. That being said, I’m super interested in the SUPER LONG CONVERSATION he and Bran had off screen. WHAT GOT SAID? WHAT DOES TYRION KNOW??????
Jamie has had the best character growth since his hand got chopped off. It’s amazing that he used to be my least favorite character and now he is one of my favorites. Really, really big props to the show creators. It’s a masterclass in storytelling. Jamie is one of four characters this season that has changed, grown, or shown some sense that it’s not just about preparing for a battle (Daenerys, Sansa, Arya and Jamie). So I think Jamie and Tyrion are great choices for overall character arcs. (BTW Jamie is absolutely surviving the next episode as he still has to kill his sister, since she’s prophesied to be killed by her “little brother.”)
I’d peg the Onion Knight’s rise to super important positions, Arya’s change from spunky little girl to survive-on-her-own woman, and Danny’s season one fierceness as the best mini arcs in the series.
No one really seemed inclined to vote very strongly on who will “win” the “Game” of Thrones. At this point, I don’t really care. I mean, I guess I care but I trust the creators and writers to give us a “bittersweet” ending (As George R.R. Martin has described it) and also one that is “surprising, yet inevitable,” which is what one of our writing mentors once said is crucial of all endings. At best I picture Dany destroying the Throne and her and Jon “sharing” it to some degree, i.e., in my best case scenario, there will be NO ONE, on the throne, but it will be a egalitarian position of rule shared by two decent people who want justice. THAT would be a great ending. At worst i see it getting messy with Jon and Dany and one of them dying and that would just be unfortunate.
SW: Okay, so I know “bittersweet” is the word being thrown around a lot cause Martin said so. I feel like that means Jon and Danny can’t share the throne, that one will die or both will die. I’d put my money on both dying, but leaving a child behind, with either Tyrion or Sansa ruling as Protector of the Realm, ending in the way that it should have been with Ned. I think Arya will end up as Warden of the North if she survives, and I’m pretty sure Bran is the Night King, which has not that much to do with winning the Throne, but I just wanted the world to know.
LR: Bran as the Night King?! That makes no GD sense to me but okay. And I peg Sansa as Warden of the North, just FYI. I really hopes Dany doesn’t die because she was the one ruler of social justice and redemption and “breaking the wheel” but lately, as I read from another article, it seems the showrunner are throwing her under the bus. I hope this exploration of whether Dany is just or not is just a small thread we had to go down to examine what if’s.
Anyways, happy watching all!
Our fabulous blog team