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Game of Thrones: A Cautionary Tale in Narrative Conclusions

There’s been much criticism regarding the later seasons of Game of Thrones, as they began being almost completely original instead of adaptive. But the final season in particular has drawn a considerable backlash. I think it would be beneficial to conduct a ‘postmortem’ of sorts into the final season of Game of Thrones: why exactly was it inferior to prior seasons and what could be done to avoid the same pitfalls in the future?

  • I think this would be a great article idea! It would definitely pique many people's interest, and I personally would love to know what went so wrong! – CelineTsang 9 months ago
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  • This is especially relevant now that George R.R. Marting has announced the ending to the book series will be different than the end to the TV show. There's speculation that the reaction to the end was the cause of this. – kennethabaldwin 9 months ago
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  • The discussion is always in review - a post-mortem could assist and also extending this by developing some understanding of the context of the 'right now' mentality which led to this being done. Increasing our ability to postpone immediate gratification was reflected in the decision here to complete GoT. Good idea. – tamaraholmes 9 months ago
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Game of Thrones: Daenerys' Backlash

The massive outcry against GoT’s last season centered not only on a rushed job of tying up loose ends, but in particular of Daenerys Targaryen’s turn towards genocidal tyrant in the last season. Was this turn simply more male dominated writing casting female leadership as stereotypical depictions of a hysterical woman who could not handle the pressures of ruling when her BFF was executed, her dragon baby shot out of the sky, and her silver fox butchered (all before her eyes)? Or was this turn perfectly aligned with the nature of power that GoT had been warning from the beginning? Is there anything redeemable in Daenerys’ legacy after such a fall?

  • I think Dany's tyranny had been foreshadowed in her "blood as right to rule," plotline dating back to the start and really began to show in Season 5 when she showed a proclivity towards acts of extreme violence as a leader. While the ending was sloppy for a number of reasons, it would be perhaps harsh to assume that her plotline was playing into "hysterical woman ruler" tropes when a) her family history as a Targaryen made this a distinct possibility from the beginning (as they say, the gods flip a coin on those: given that John was the other one and he was not a genocidal despot, this was likewise foreshadower) and b) she wasn't shown to be "hysterical" so much as falling victim fo the "game of thrones," that the average citizen cares not about (as discussed very early on). The warning had absolutely been there. I think her legacy is mostly in her assistance with defeating the White Walkers and unifying various factions with John's assistance; but in the end, she became just as her father, The Mad King had been. – benjamindmuir 1 year ago
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  • This is a good and complicated topic. I don't want to be that person, but Dany's full name is spelled "Daenerys" for anyone looking to write on her. :) – Emily Deibler 1 year ago
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  • Emily- fixed that. Thank you! – williamnolen11 1 year ago
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  • I think this is a super interesting topic to explore, and something that we can now more rationally analyze since some time has passed since the finale and it's easier to do a retrospective. I think this one will really boil down to whether or not you think this has in fact been set up from the start. In the final episode Tyrion listed out all the reasons why we should have seen this coming; should we have, or was that a convenient excuse for the show runners to use to wrap up the show? I think it would also be worth trying to explore what fan response would have been if her character had been male. It's easy to try and claim that some of her behaviors were just hysterical, but a male character in the same position could get away with the same behavior and no one would have questioned it to the same degree I feel. – InvertedMobiusStrip 1 year ago
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  • This is a really awesome topic. I think everyone was too focused on the ending not being what they expected/wanted, that they had to make it a social issue. There’s tons of evidence foreshadowing Dany’s insanity. But you could also make an argument for the other side. Definitely explore this! – galogsdon 1 year ago
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Why do some television series finales succeed while others seem to fail?

The furor over the series finale of Game of Thrones is only the latest iteration of the phenomenon of long-running television series that unsettle, disappoint, or even enrage a show’s devotees. What did such programming as M*A*S*H or Downton Abbey do right that other popular shows like The Sopranos or Game of Thrones fail to accomplish in order to satisfy their audiences?

  • I cannot say I watched Game of Thrones but I did follow Downtown Abbey and I can tell you that a lot of empathetic people watch great series and are invested in the characters and even more so than identifying with or relating to the characters, we choose to spend our time watching. This is our life; we expect a payoff, satisfaction, a well-written ending. It is obvious when writers have put a lot of time and energy into the finale. It is equally obvious when the writing is poor and they can not pull it together. An example I will use is Orphan Black. I am not a sci fi fan but I enjoyed the concept of the show because it was not that far fetched. I decided to watch it and noticed the writing waning with each successive season. Unfortunately it was due to the demands of the actress. Hollywood in the last fifteen to twenty years has copped to the demands of the actors rather than the actors collaborating with the writers or actually just shutting up and letting the writers do their jobs, hence sometimes it is no fault of the writers but the executives who limit the writers by giving in to demands of actors who are often narcissistic and want to make their characters more like themselves which ruins the character arc and the show. In the end, what fans expect is something momentous because of the time invested. People watched Game of Thrones for several seasons; that is a lot of time in one's life spent.:) – youngmollflanders 1 year ago
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  • This is a really interesting question, I think there are several things to note here, first of all unlike the other series mentioned Game of Thrones was a book series before it was a TV series and with this becomes a harder situation, when you read a book you have already decided an ending before you have got to it, you have decided how the characters would look and act even noticed things that would never be captured on screen and so that when a TV series is created, it is tough to compete with the books and it will almost never satisfy everyone. There are other issues such as budgeting and also when the show was cancelled and also issues of cutting down series for the final series. I think many people did not enjoy the finally as it was a twist that people were not expecting and with so many people invested with both the main characters it was always going to be hard on them for a twisted finally. I also feel them cutting down the episodes meant they did not have enough episodes to cover it whilst in comparison Shadowhunters which was a success got an extra two hours to cover everything. I also think it will always be hard to please everyone particularly a show with such a huge following. Also, the fact that the books are not finished but the series is also making it hard. – ezara 1 year ago
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  • Moll, like you, I loved Orphan Black but elected not to finish the series because the narrative arc seemed to have lost its forward momentum. Your response almost begs for an additional topic -- why do series fail before they even have a chance to reach a finale! – MarkTodd 1 year ago
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  • Moll, like you, I loved Orphan Black but elected not to finish the series because the narrative arc seemed to have lost its forward momentum. Your response almost begs for an additional topic -- why do series fail before they even have a chance to reach a finale!Ezara, I also really like the nuances you add to this topic. The pressures of production, budget, and creative direction are very real factors in the success and failure of a hopefully long-running show. And, of course, the book-before-the-movie/series could really be a separate topic -- even though it's clearly a factor for this one. – MarkTodd 1 year ago
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  • From my understanding of Game of Thrones' finale, it was cramming too much into too few episodes, rushing everything without development. You could explore other series finales that make this mistake. – OkaNaimo0819 10 months ago
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Petitions and Internet Rallies for Altering Products

Recently, the online outcry over the horrific design of Sonic and the very poor execution of Game of Thrones’ final season lead to a) a total redesign of Sonic commissioned by the film studio and b) over a million people signing a petition request a complete re-make of the final Game of Thrones season. This seems to be a new trend; people massing online to demand corporations adapt a piece of art (I know it seems a bit iffy to call the Sonic movie art, but hey, what else is it?) post production to suit consumer needs. What does this trend signify? How could it go wrong? Should we really have this power? Is it democratization, or making us somehow even more subservient to capital? Could be cool.

  • Since seeing these responses to Sonic and GoT, I had a very similar reaction, and I would love to see this topic explored more fully. I think the question of creator vs audience power would provide the best, narrowed focus if someone chose to approach the topic with depth instead of breadth. The pressure of the audience can be intense for creators, especially when they are working with franchises that have such a large following, and I imagine this has an impact on the process of creation and final quality of the art itself. Artists compromising their visions to cater to the demands of the large portions of the public could set a dangerous precedent in which art becomes more of a product with the intention of making the most money by reaching the most people instead of reaching them with a new perspective, idea, or story that means something more than the dollars and cents. Excellent topic! – Aaron 1 year ago
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  • Part of the reason GoT ended the way it did was to showcase the tyrannical nature of power, regardless of gender, with Dany representing a feminist sentiment and, though valiant in her acts, ultimately becomes corrupted by absolute power. Maybe touch on how even though this message may have meant to be informative about absolute power corrupting absolutely, it was still a political message that made the show seem weak in the end by focusing more on a political angle. This could also comment on overarching moral in good stories vs. political ideals. – Emiris 1 year ago
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Why HBO failed the women of Game of Thrones

The last season of Game of Thrones has garnered significant audiences as well as criticism in its handling of the fates of its female characters. However the abuse of Westerosi women for ratings has not been a fresh take from the showrunners. Analyse how the use of sexual violence and patriarchal narratives disguised by capitalist feminism has always led to the bitter defeat of the women in Game of Thrones.

  • It expresses an ironic reality that we live in. An aspect that woman empowerment highlights upon. But after all, it's just a show. – Zoran 1 year ago
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  • I really like this topic. Keep in mind one could go back to the very first episode of season one to get a sense of the misogyny and brutal treatment of women as predictors for the series' final portrayal and fate of female characters. In this sense, the show has always seemed to me to retain a very 1970s feel in its use and abuse of women as disposable commodities. – MarkTodd 1 year ago
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  • I see a lot of people countering this argument with evidence like "Sansa became queen of the North as an independent country, and Arya got to go explore a new world all on her own, so the women weren't treated that badly" but I have to agree with this topic. If you take every woman in the cast and summarize their story arc, they were not treated fairly or with respect as individuals with potential to make great stories. – MissAila 1 year ago
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  • I am part of that 1% that has never seen or been interested in GoT. At first it was because I thought it was all explicit scenes and that was the premise of the entire movie because that first season oomf, very hard to even get passed the first episode. Not my type of genre. Then I realized that the plot line is actually interesting. Instead of watching, I looked through recaps and understood what the story was through that. Not the words of a fanatic, but even I was disappointed by how they painted the characters. If we focus on the women specifically, we were given poor character development (rushed for Daenerys) she was made to be the villain so quickly. Sansa and Arya deserved so much more. Arya defeated the night kind for crying out loud and all we get for her closure is that she goes exploring. – njavaid 1 year ago
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  • Good idea for a piece, but keep in mind that some of the show's characters, Arya in particular, escape or carve a place for themselves outside the patriarchal power structure. She is the ultimate special forces operative--solo, brains over brawn, the only one in the battle against the White Walkers to learn (via the famous scene in the library) to learn about her adversary in order to penetrate their ranks--how else could she have maneuvered into a position to kill him? Unfortunately, the only logical conclusion was her own self-expulsion--she literally did not fit in any Westeros order and needs to find/explore her own brave new world. – barbarafalk 1 year ago
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  • At the end of the final season, Tyrion's motivation for choosing Bran as the new king begins with this line: "There's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. " And this line summarizes how the writers have failed the women of Game of Thrones--particularly Daenarys, who by all rights should have been Queen. When you think back to the earlier seasons (and when you read the books) you get a clear sense of the larger story from the perspective of many different characters. In fact the novels are organized around events told from the varying perspectives of the major characters. We can see the world through the minds of Cersei, the Starks, Tyrion, Daenerys, and others. But, when you compare this narrative strategy to the final season, it's clear that the narrative loses this quality and predominantly focuses in on a few narrative perspectives: Jon's, Tyrion's, and Jaimie's. For this reason, we don't really know why Daenerys chooses to burn King's Landing to the ground because we are never privy to her perspective. We are only told that she is "mad" and are forced to accept it. And when the characters reflect on Daenerys's past actions, her reasoning for her actions aren't included, her perspective is erased. And in that sense, Daenerys's story is stolen from her--rewritten by those who would rather see Jon on the throne because he is thought to be the "rightful heir." Thus, the power of story, indeed! On a final note: George R. R. Martin makes it pretty clear in Fire and Blood that the rightful Targaryen ruler is always the one with dragons. – bsumpn 1 year ago
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The Post Game of Thrones Landscape: The Rise of Blockbuster TV

Game of Thrones demonstrated that shows can be bigger than the movies being watched in the theater. With the ending of Games of Thrones, it seems like networks are investing more and more resources into big event shows. Netflix has The Last Airbender and The Witcher in active development, Amazon is working on Lord of the Rings show, and Disney has its Star Wars and Marvel shows that promise to have the production value of the films. With Game of Thrones’ massive success, are big budget blockbuster shows becoming the norm?

  • This is a very interesting topic! I hope you would also discuss the consequences if these kind of shows became the norm--what might the repercussions be for small budget shows, fantasy lovers, or cable tv networks? What might be the pros/cons of this becoming the norm? I'm super stoked to read this. – Eden 1 year ago
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  • On Last Week Tonight on May 4, John Oliver commented that HBO is f****d after Game of Thrones finishes. He may be overstating it, but he brings up a good point: the landscape of TV is still changing. It had to change when streaming came into the picture, but now it's changing with the arrival of bigger and bigger quality TV. The Sopranos was a different kind of show. Then The Wire. Then Breaking Bad. Mad Men. And now Game of Thrones didn't just up the ante; instead, it went all in. Supposedly, the latest season cost $15 million per episode. If that's the going rate, a 10-episode season of a television show will cost $150 million.Can streaming services keep up with such costs? Does their business model even allow for such costs? I know Netflix is worth around $20 billion, but $150 million for a TV show season is the cost of a blockbuster movie that can expect to make way more than that through theatrical releases, etc. Can Netflix really see an uptick directly linked to such an expensive production that makes the $150 million outlay worth it?These streaming services are going to have to make a lot of changes in their models, methinks. – ChadW 1 year ago
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  • This is a very interesting topic! I hope you would also discuss the consequences if these kind of shows became the norm--what might the repercussions be for small budget shows, fantasy lovers, or cable tv networks? What might be the pros/cons of this becoming the norm? I'm super stoked to read this. – Eden 2 weeks ago – cwlsmelbourne 1 year ago
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Published

Why do strong women suffer in Game of Thrones?

There’s no disputing that Daenerys Targaryen, Sansa and Arya Stark, and Cersei Lannister are all forces to be reckoned with. They’re women with power and they know how to wield it. However, despite their political successes, personally and emotionally, the women of Westeros lead very oppressed lives.

  • I feel like it may be an intentional reflection of the modern world and how much women do suffer, even in the most privileged/powerful positions. Like, no matter what, being a woman is inherently harder than being a man. That said, considering we're in a fantasy world, it would be nice to have women lead lives that aren't bound by real-world sexism. – Dimitri 2 years ago
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  • I agree somewhat, but in order for a narrative to be compelling, a protagonist needs to have an obstacle to achieving their goal. Sexism can certainly be an obstacle, but it doesn't also have to be the go-to for writers either. – RebaZatz 2 years ago
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  • I've had some quite conflicted feelings about GoT on this front. I still love the show and kept watching, but Sansa's experience upon marrying Ramsay was a particular example of this. I understand the desire to depict real-world sexism, and perhaps the writers were motivated by a genuine desire to do this, but it felt problematically voyeuristic (even pornographic). We've been making art for hundreds of years about women's suffering - isn't it time for a change? – SarahPearce 2 years ago
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  • Fantasy is the perfect place to tell these new stories and motion for change. It's a shame more stories don't take advantage of it. – Dimitri 2 years ago
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  • I really think this topic could be expanded to include women in fantasy overall. I recently listened to a talk by fantasy author Victoria Schwab, who discussed how fantasy does not necessarily need to follow the power dynamics that already exist in our world - for example, sexism or elements of patriarchal traditions - but that fantasy can flip the power dynamics as well. We could use the women in Game of Thrones as a starting point for a broader discussion of power dynamics in fantasy? – Zohal99 2 years ago
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  • It has a simple answer. Martin depicts the medieval world as it was - knights aren't clad in shinging armor and they are'nt prince charming. No, they murdered and were murdered. And most women in this time period were oppressed. – RyderVii 2 years ago
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  • Beneath every strong woman lies a broken little girl who had to learn how to get back up and never depend on anyone. – matadorbuildings 2 years ago
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The Physiognomy and Psychology of Westeros' Geography

Consider the map of Westeros as a human body: ‘The Neck’ is located centrally, at Greywater Watch. Perhaps the farther North you go the closer you move towards the mind, and the farther South you go the closer you move towards the genitals. Contrast the frankness and unapologetic polyamory of Oberyn Martell and Ellaria Sand (from Dorne at the most southerly point of Westeros) with the celibacy expected of the Watchers of the Wall and the shame they associate with physical desire (at the most northerly point of Westeros). Near and beyond the Wall, sex acts occur literally underground (Mole’s Town and Jon’s and Ygritte’s cave). The Wall is more than a pile of frozen blocks; it is frequently described in the novels as a living thing which ‘weeps’ and ‘defends itself’. What if the Wall represents the human mind’s need to protect itself from the madness which would result from a direct confrontation with its most profound fears?

  • I could see the Wall representing instead the Lacanian sense of the arrival of language. The open sensuality of the south would be the Imaginary that is repressed at the Mirror stage. – Aedon 2 years ago
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The "So Good" TV Finale: When Death Equals Praise

What would be interesting to analyze is how the growing trend of killing off major characters in TV seemingly out of nowhere in TV season finales makes a TV show "amazing" and "unexpected". What also might be intriguing is the buzz that comes about when a TV finale is about to air and, more specifically, the fans’ speculation on "who’s going to die" instead of "what’s going to happen". Game of Thrones depicts this perfectly; the countless deaths of its beloved characters has made the show extremely popular, where the high death rate in its season finales brings in many viewers and, subsequently, many dazzling reviews.

  • (Spoiler alert for Riverdale, Avengers Infinity War, the Divergent series, and the 5th Wave series) While I'm not too familiar with GoT, Riverdale just recently left their viewers on a cliff with the possibility of Jughead being dead. And, of course, if you've seen A:IW, you know that half of the main characters are "dead" at the end of the movie. I've always been a person to respect this choice--like, a lot! In the concluding book to the Divergent trilogy, the main character dies, and the same happens in the last installment of the 5th Wave series. As long as the deaths are dealt with in a realistic way for those universes, I always thought it was great. This would be a really fun analysis to read. Like, why do I like it so much? I don't even really know. – mkkeane97 2 years ago
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  • I think the expectation of who is going to die might and its popularity might leave any other events as less impactful as they become overshadowed by the deaths. Something to consider. – ZanderTJ 2 years ago
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  • This is a very interesting topic. I think with finales of any kind, we're primed to expect a culmination of a character's arc, one whose significance is ultimately encapsulated in how they die, why they die, etc. Death has a finality to it. I think, in expecting death, we become more inclined to appreciate whatever happens in the moments prior to it. Also, I think fan speculation on 'who's going to die' is a preemptive coping mechanism. Again, speculation might prompt extra awareness on how characters act in the finale, thus greater appreciation for their martyr's death, tragic death, etc. I'd argue that the 'who's going to die' and 'what's going to happen' are mutually linked—what really gets lost in the death-hype is how the finale's events will affect future seasons (if any). We'd become so focused on the 'dying' that the 'mourning' aspect of the story, the 'what'll happen after', doesn't immediately come to mind. Especially when there's a break between the finale and the next season. (I think The Walking Dead's S6 finale and S7EP1 is worth examining. Spoilers tho) – Starfire 2 years ago
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Crossing the line: 'Game of Thrones' treatment of incest

Incest is a fundamental taboo in society. We recognise this for many reasons.

Yet for some odd reason it has begun to rear its ugly head within television, and it does not seem to be demonised as much as one would expect. The perfect example of this is the relationship between the siblings, Jamie and Cirsei Lannister, in ‘Game of Thrones.’ This is ridiculed within the narrative and by other characters, yet it is shown in somewhat graphic detail in the first episode. They are both very attractive actors and the act, without context is an attractive bit of television soft-porn. How are we meant to interpret this? There are a myriad of other inferences by other characters, often used to symbolise the unhealthiness or negative representation of a character, yet this seems largely undermined by the treatment then of the characters within the narrative as redeemable heroes (somewhat). A recent episode of ‘Rick and Morty’, already known for its dark humour, but on the pulse cultural reflection, a "Morty" made a wish that "incest porn was more mainstream" – it was a line used to punctuate the scene with humour before one of the "Morty’s" leapt to his death. However, this is still an open discussion of incest in a somewhat positive manner.

Obviously, this is a highly contentious discussion and one that needs to be handled carefully. However, akin to the inclusion of "rape fantasies" in much of paranormal romance, it is a concerning trend that should be discussed.

  • https://www.hindustantimes.com/fashion-and-trends/super-gross-was-this-bella-and-gigi-hadid-picture-in-british-vogue-photoshopped/story-CHriBjKH9920aDWDxKFSJO.htmlCheck out this link... – Munjeera 3 years ago
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  • Why incest is taboo (and perhaps the best argument against it): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_II_of_Spain – J.D. Jankowski 3 years ago
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