How does this happen? You wait all year for a Game of Thrones season to come, and then it’s gone in a flash. And we have another year to wait (And that’s just for the DVD release… -Ed).
Season five seems to have been one of the more controversial of the series. Barely an episode seems to have gone by without some new outrage gripping the internet. For me, though, I think it’s been the best yet. Dark, bleak, serious, and with an edge of storytelling with no regard for what anyone wants.
I’ve seen more than a few people say that they’re no longer watching Game of Thrones, for more than a few different reasons.
Some I can understand. If you actually don’t enjoy it, then fair enough. One of the most common reasons is dislike of the violence, particularly towards women, that the show displays. I get the discomfort, really I do. But I also question what they thought they were watching, when they first set out. It isn’t a new facet, at any rate.
The other, even more perplexing, reason that I’ve heard is that it’s too bleak, it’s too hopeless. Which is, frankly, bizarre. We are coming to the end of the fifth season in what looks set to be a seven-season story arc. Of course things are bleak and hopeless now. We’re coming into the darkest moment before the dawn. That’s how basic conflict in storytelling works.
We’re at the halfway point in the series now, and so far this is shaping up to be the best season yet.
There is so much going on that these reviews seem to be getting longer and longer, still with subtleties woven into the story. I’m impressed at how well they seem to be coping with the myriad strings of story, and how distinctively Game of Thrones it still feels.
At the same times, it feels for the first time like we’re into the real meat of the grand story. I can feel it deepening, without undue haste, with each episode. Mainly it’s through the fact that not a second seems to be wasted, no more time spend plodding about with insignificant characters doing not much at all.
It’s amazing what a phenomenon Game of Thrones has become. Even in our fad-ish world of viral whatevers, it really does seem to have taken over.
Especially amazing given that it’s a fantasy series about dragons and knights, packed to the rafters with sex and violence.
Actually, these days it’s more violence than sex. I like to think that the story has gotten so interesting and labyrinthine that even “sexposition” can’t untangle it. I shudder to think how impenetrable this would be to anyone coming in cold to the fifth season.
You know what, though? Good.
You wouldn’t come into a book at chapter seventeen and start complaining that you can’t immediately pick up the plot threads, so it’s a mystery quite why for years that same arguemnt was used to stop TV shows from having extended story arcs.
(Yeah, we may have stumbled on a bugbear that needs a whole blog post of its own, here. How about we just get on with the review? -Ed)
Not to go all hipster on you, but it wasn’t that long ago that I could mention A Song of Ice and Fire, and would be still be greeted by a room of blank expressions. That is still, to a degree, true, but if I mention Game of Thrones almost everyone has a theory and opinion.
It’s not, no matter what anyone tells you, a bad thing. Game of Thrones has thoroughly earned its popularity, by being incredibly bold for a mainstream TV show. It has kicked (…and stabbed. And shagged -Ed) its way into common cultural awareness.
My praise for it isn’t unfettered. I think that season three, for instance, dropped the ball on the story, turning into a plodding, dull lead up to the Red Wedding. If nothing else, Game of Thronesneeds an urgent direction to its story, rather thank just to kill time.
I was discussing earlier this week with Ash how Game of Thrones has shifted in terms of its cultural perception. It has, in a few short years, gone from “obscure fantasy book series”, via “that show I haven’t seen, with all the sex”, to the sort of compulsive viewing whereby talking about it in any way leads to someone swearing a blood vendetta against you for “spoilers”.
I say that as a segue into this; beyond here are spoilers.