Game of Thrones: Hope Springs Eternal

Sure. Jon is dead. Bets on for how long?

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 24th. If you’re a fan, go check out our artist Jenny’s many wonderful GoT fan art pieces. Seriously. She’s amazing.

 

Valar Morghulis, my friends. The season of ice zombies, murder and gorgeous costumes approaches with the inevitability of winter.

I have a… complicated relationship with this series — both the books and the show.

I am not among the faithful who had to wait for Feast for Crows, but I caught up well before we got the show or Dance with Dragons and am ensconced among those waiting for Winds of Winter. I remember where I was when I read the Red Wedding the way one does with traumatic events (I threw the book across the room and my roommate, Saint Jean-Luc bless her, listened to my half-coherent feelings without the slightest idea what I was talking about). For awhile I recommended Storm of Swords as the best epic fantasy of our time.

I’m less in love with the series now. I have issues with Dance and there are books and writers I would recommend more highly. As to the series as a whole, I reserve judgement until we get the rest of books.

Now, the show. The show has done great things for high production value adaptations of fantasy. That’s a fairly specific trend to reference, but look at the goodies we fantasy/scifi fans are getting: The Magicians, The Expanse, an American Gods adaptation, The Dark Tower, etc… By showing that well-crafted fantasy has a mainstream audience, they’ve changed the way speculative stories are treated by mainstream producers.

I’m pretty pleased by that.

The show itself has some great moments. I particularly like season three. But season five got pretty rough. I know that grimdark is about a gritty horror-filled world — but when you have nothing to compare it to, no ups so to speak, the downs are a plateau of meh. When my reactions are ‘… another rape scene? Really guys?’ or ‘is he going to burn her alive? Yup. Burning her alive’ we have a problem. Also: that is not how religious zealotry vs. an entrenched noble class works. I could keep going, but I think you get the idea.

And yet…

And yet. My unqualified, first reaction is: “AH! Bran’s back! Davos is a badass! Franken-Gregor lives and Cersei is cray! Maybe this season Sansa will get to do something! Anything! Hilarious grasslands road trip and more ice-zombies and Kraken banners! Dragons! Hell yes!”

The doubts come later. That’s still not how religious zealotry vs. an entrenched noble class works.

But it says something that the imagery and characters can still pull me in. I’m in for the season. Hope springs eternal. Maybe it’ll be great. Maybe…