Westeros is an unforgiving land. Good people meet their demise in ways gruesome enough to make Mel Gibson squeamish. Bad people prosper. Part of what makes Game of Thrones such a fascinating entity, in print and on screen, is that it cares not for likability or its viewers rooting interests. Its dedication to an all-encompassing narrative has resulted in many fans attempting to draw real, modern subtext from the show in regards to both political and social concerns.
While I understand the value in formulating relevant critical theory as a response to a work, I must ask, is Game of Thrones really the “right” work to analyze to such an extent? Are there not core flaws in using THIS show as basis for dialogue? THIS show; a show that featured a regicide committing black smoke monster emerging from a sorceress’ genitalia?
We’re currently living in a social landscape obsessed with identity, vocally aware of privilege, and quick to use words like “problematic” to describe any statement that may have the slightest bit of unintentional insensitivity attached to it. It’s a PC world. Naturally, a popular show like Game of Thrones is going to come under the gun.
The latest gripe, partially fueled by the comments of Emilia Clarke (Daenerys), is the imbalance of nudity on the show. In layman’s terms, there are a lot more tits than there are dicks. Many feel this is, wait for it, problematic. How do I explain to the daughter I don’t have because I’m awkward and unattractive that on GOT women show their privates while men generally do not? GOT being met with controversy due to its use of nudity is nothing new. “Sexposition” -a term used to describe the shows tendency to mask its weaker, more expository moments by having the characters be naked- has long been a common critique. A fair critique, in my opinion. The show using nudity as a crutch to limp through its lulls is a legitimate fault with a palpable impact on its ultimate quality. The show having more naked ladies than naked dudes is not.
When exactly did the brunt of our anger shift from “there’s too much unnecessary nudity” to “there aren’t enough penises”? I’m not sure. But I do know GOT’s handling of sex has held it back since its inception and the answer isn’t to simply add more male nudity so to strike a balance. The show is set in a world where women who aren’t born into royalty lack options. A lot of them become prostitutes and work in brothels. Odd as it may seem to some, prostitutes in brothels are often naked. It’s that simple.
So, no, I don’t think GOT needs more peen/dong/main vein/bologna pony/schlort/skin flute/yogurt slinger/etc. With that being said, the producers owe us at least a momentary Affleck-in-Gone Girl style glimpse on Podrick’s peen, since it’s apparently quite something.
The book is not always better. Shut up, you pompous asshole. Congratulations on being able to read. Maybe you can teach Davos since Shireen Baratheon was burned alive in a ritualistic manner.
Now heading into its sixth season, GOT will steer away from the books entirely and go off original material the showrunners came up with based around George R.R. Martin’s very brief outline. This is great for a myriad of reasons, including:
- The book readers can no longer put themselves on a pedestal and act as if their opinions are more valuable than everyone else’s.
- There is no indication that Martin is anywhere near the finish line yet.
- Game of Thrones works better as a TV series than a series of novels.
As for that third point, I’m not saying the show is “better than the books”. It’s pointless, moronic even, to say that a story in print is “better” than the same story on screen, or vice versa. They are two completely different mediums with completely different time constraints. The film version of your favorite book cut out some scenes you really liked? NO FUCKING SHIT. There is no worse school of thought than “the book is always better”.
As a GOT viewer and reader, I genuinely believe these stories work better on television than they do in novelistic form. Part of that is due to my personal distaste for Martin’s writing style. His imagination and imagery are incredible, but at times he’ll focus so much on a specific detail that doesn’t really matter. GOT, with its expansive collection of characters and places, is difficult enough to follow as is without a Wiki open. Martin’s extremely detail-oriented style can be distracting. While it may take Martin three pages to describe a room, something he does very well, the show can throw us into a vivid setting with a single frame. Martin’s ideas are so grand and compelling that he needs an outsider to hone them in a bit. As for the show omitting certain scenes and even entire storylines/characters, well, something has to get cut. Any fiction as lengthy, not mention dense, as Martin’s is going to have to undergo an intense abridging process in order to be fit for the screen. Deal with it. Or don’t watch TV/movies.
Is Ted Cruz actually King Joffrey?
I’m not necessarily saying that in a prior life Ted Cruz was a psychopathic product of incest masquerading as a boy-king who enjoys torturing prostitutes with crossbows and tormenting his bride-to-be by subjecting her to the presence of her father’s decapitated head whilst he feigns orgasm. I’m merely suggesting it as a possibility. There are many faiths that believe in “second lives”; that one’s spirit can be transferred into an animal or another person after death. Of course, you can easily refute my theory by pointing towards Duke’s Grayson Allen as Joffrey’s spirit animal of sorts. Is it possible that Joffrey’s spirit lives on through both Grayson and Cruz simultaneously?
The three vilest groups of people are the Lannister’s, Duke basketball players, and staunch evangelical politicians.
With this photographic evidence, I rest my case.
Predictions for Season 6
As for the actual upcoming season of the show, I’m cautiously optimistic. Season 5 was my least favorite thus far due to its lack of thematic progress and cop-out finale that resembled some shit you’d see on The Walking Dead. But it still had moments –Hardhome, Cersei’s walk, Tyrion’s interactions with Dany- that stand with or above anything I’ve ever seen on the small screen. GOT’s fundamentally gigantic scope grows every season. With season 5, for the first time, it felt overwhelming. Ramsay Bolton is a seriously fucked up individual. We get it. Is any narrative progress going to come from his depravity? We ended with Sansa and Theon/Reek escaping his clutches by jumping from the Winterfell walls. What took so long? Is there any argument for not having that occur in the episodes preceding the finale when it would have made sense? They saved it for the finale so they could throw in another stupid cliffhanger; and it’s not even really a cliffhanger since the actors were confirmed to be returning.
I’m only going to talk about Jon Snow for one paragraph, so let’s just say that the decision to “kill” him and then bring him back somehow is the single worst thing that’s happened on this show. There are supernatural/magical elements, yes, but using his death as the “oh shit” moment for a season and then bringing him back makes it impossible to believe any deaths on the show moving forward. It’s a gimmicky slight to viewers who have proven themselves patient and intelligent over a half-decade of watching.
Anyways, here are some bold predictions:
- Absolutely nothing will happen with Daenerys’ character, again. She’ll stare people down and say things in an uber-serious manner. Then she’ll get cast in the next Zack Snyder movie.
- A female character will be raped. There will be public outcry. John Kasich will blame it on the presence of wine.
- By seasons end, the tits-to-dick ratio will come in at a whopping 15:1. That’s 15 individual nipples for every dick shown. And I mean any semblance of a dick. Blurry side-dicks count. Tip of the dick hanging just below the scrotum seen from behind between the legs counts. God forbid we see a direwolf or dragon dick, those count. Do dragons have dicks? Dwarf dicks count as two, since according to last season they’re very valuable on the black market. The only thing that doesn’t count is whatever Theon’s got left below the navel. And Varys, and Grey Worm. Now that I think about it, GOT has a lot of male characters who have cruelly had their peens removed.
- The Hound will return. He will be brought back to life because of some Gandalf-esque mumbo jumbo about his work not being finished. Doesn’t he sort of HAVE to fight The Mountain at some point?
- Arya Stark, now capable of changing faces and whatnot, will become the most proficient prankster in the land.
- The best non ultimate/penultimate episodes of the season will be #’s 5 and 6, because they’re directed by Jack Bender, and Jack Bender is a God.
- Ian McShane has joined the cast in a minor, undisclosed role. Whoever he plays, he will steal the season. Because Ian McShane is also a God.
- The Red Woman, or Melisandre, will give birth to another black smoke monster. Apparently, in order to have said monster slide out the holiest of holies, she needs to get King’s splooge all up in her. Who with royal blood, and splooge, could possibly get it on with Melisandre? Well, the only remaining Baratheon descendant is Gendry, who we last saw escaping to Dragonstone at the end of season 4.
- Sansa and Theon/Reek, on the run from Ramsay, will be the new “on the road” comedic relief traveling couple. Think Arya and The Hound or Podrick and Brienne. Only they won’t be funny. It’ll be a weird relationship. It’ll be an “esteemed lady and a guy who kind of used to be her brother but really wasn’t and then underwent psychological torture and lost his peen and then watched her get raped by the guy who took his peen but then rescued her” dynamic.
- Tyrion will not take a single sip of wine the entire season, in what’ll be seen as the most illustrious detox since that of Robert Downey Jr.
- Jorah, slowly turning into a rock zombie, will have to come to grips with the fact that Dany will never love him. But he wants her to know how much he cares for her. So he’ll make her a Celine Dion mixtape.
Last year I did a recap of every episode on Mondays. Those recaps were the most popular things I ever posted on this here blog so I’ll do them again. I look forward to another year of my love-hate relationship with show.