(Guest Post by Blanca Le Duc @LeDuc65 of Mexico City, Mexico)
Why I hated season 5 of game of Thrones and why I will not watch season 6.
Season 5 of Game of Thrones started out with a daring promise: we will go “beyond the books” was the promise.
Tall order for a story that has a plot as complicated and as large a number of characters as the A Song of Ice and Fire books. Then add the references to the rest of th Westeros stories and the difficulty of not having the writer of all doing the TV rewrites of his own story this season.
It was obvious from the start that there were bound to be adaptations on both plot and characters to make a TV show, as well as computer graphics for the fantastic beasts and fantasy landscapes. This was acceptable for some at first, unacceptable for others right fromm the start, and became an invitation for disaster in the end.
While seasons one through four had finished books from which to draw both a storyline and characters, it was obvious that come season five, the book story would run out and the show would have to either incoporate the storylines that were left out on previous seasons, or start showing advances on the next book (or two). For book readers like me who love following plots and feeling part of the development and growth of each character in a book either of these options would have been aceptable, maybe even good.
For a reason I can only describe as short sighted, the decision was made to redraw the characters, skip the storyline, ignore the concept known as “plot” and transform what was a show based on literary fiction into a teenage pleaser, absurd overly fantastic and illogical TV show (Did I mention I HATED the shole season?).
Here’s what happened to the characters (in order of awful worse to simply awful) and how each one along with the storyline was destroyed thus creatng an allternate story (also known as “Fanfiction”) to the enormous universe of lierary Westeros and A Song of Ice and Fire:
Now, I am not against people writing fanfiction, specially when a good story comes out of it. However, I am against watching illogical stories and against trying to pass off fanfiction as an adaptation of an original story. If your story is very loosely inspired by someone else’s writing, say so instead of claiming you are adapting the tale.
On to character destruction:
- Jeyne Poole and Tywin Lannister: While book Jeyne is released from a dungeon to be sent posing as Arya Stark to Winterfell to secure a Bolton alliance by marrying her off to Roose, all this being a master play to secure the North/Twins/Kings Landing alliance, and is then subjected to full torture by both Roose and Reek, TV show skips the importance of the alliance, removes Tywin’s planning completely from the mix, and Petyr Baelish offers up not the fake Arya but the real Sansa for sacrifice to the Boltons. This idea works only if Baelish is trying to create his own kingdom through offering favors in the shape of women. Kinda not making sense in the last part.
- Sansa Stark used to be a naive girl who has been forced to give up her innocent childhood fantasies one by one and each one against her will. She is finally in the tender kidnapping care of Petyr Baelish, whose primary trade is women, and secondary is intrigue. Though the current books stop at Sansa defending Baleish’s intrigues over the death of Lysa Arryn and keep us wondering if Lysas’s son will “accidentaly” fall off a cliff, season four gave us a Sansa that was all grown up and a mistress of intrigue. This was actually a delight. Then season five came along, and Sansa became Jeyne. Sansa is no longer a woman, she reverts to to innocent and continues all the way along to helpless victim, destroying the character’s evolution within the TV storyline.
Before going on, this new Jeynsa character bears no resemblance to Sansa or to Jeyne, so we will see a new character on season 6 that will be so different from the books it will be unworthy of comparison or review.
- Brienne of Tarth never gives up. She’s something between a Cocker Spaniel and a Rottweiler in stubborness and size. Well, following this “honor your promise and your liege to death” philosophy, Brienne rides all over Westeros looking for either Sansa or Arya. TV Brienne meeting Sansa and refusing to join the guard that is surrounding her is beyond out of character for her. Not only that, she follows in some sort of stealth with no plan, and is totally unable to figure out a way to get into Winterfell to search for Sansa while there is a battle going on. At this point, TV Brienne is so far away from Brienne, the female knight that I can’t care anymore. She then does what she does to Stannis in the last episode and I don’t know how anyone could watch that and think its was still Brienne or even a serious scene on a TV show made for adults.
- Danaerys Targaryen started out also as a little girl, with a head full of dreams put there mostly by her brother, who would have been the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. She originally expected to be the queen because as a Targaryen she would marry the king, Viserys her brother. This has been a point ignored completely when making her TV character. Apparently, Danaerys has no idea she as a female has no claim to the throne. However, if book Dany knows this, there is a perfect reason for her to stay in Mereen, a city she has already conquered and tried to keep with much difficulty.
The other important point being ignored is Targaryens have it in them to be magnificent, mad, or both. Magnifically mad Targaryens (Like Danaery’s father) are the reason the dynasty was almost wiped out.. As Danaerys develops, she will have to go either the madness or the greatness way. She started out for greatness breeding dragons, but has now gotten herself stuck in Mereen going mad, locking her dragons away. Her forced wedding and attempt to murder her as well as the wildest hugest baddest dragon (at least book Drogon is all this) removing her from the Mereen situation is a way to give her the chance to be the magnificent dragon mother. Instead of doing the Aegon Targaryen thing and returning to Mereen on dragonback to burn her oppositors, she walks back because she cannot tame the dragon, but she still has her bloodriders, she is still Khaleesi.
In the books she is either about to descend into madness, rise as a conqueror above all odds, or just die.
But on the show… Danaerys is no longer a ruler (she lives luxuriously but there is angoing revolt against her) or a queen, or a khaleesi. Her loyal boodriders who are the royal guard for Khals and thus the reminder of her experience in the grasslands, her journey through he red waste, etc. have evaporated and instead she is head of the useless boy fan club, conformed as follows:
- Daario Naharis, the once adventurous mercenary who hs been tamed as her lover
- Grey Worm, the by fan who found love in the fan club
- Missandei, the only female in the fan club and secretary-confidant of the president.
- Jorah Mormont, the eternal admirer whose love will stay unequired. Basically, a loser.(in TV)
- Tyrion Lannister, the latest addition and one who is more interested in dragons than in Danaerys so far.
So what we have here is Dany, the character written to keep teenage fan girls watching the show. Ratings Dany. Nothing to do with the last Targaryen, the end of a dynasty and much more.
- The Night’s Watch. All of them. The Night’s Watch started as some sort of Foreign Legion (Elite corps far far away) after the first Long Winter, these were the guys honor bound to defend Westeros from the horrors from beyond the Wall. After a couple thousand years of no horrors showing up, this is now the place to get rid of the unwanted remnants of humanity. Some like Tarly and Jon Snow are decent human beings, most are the lowest of the low, yet they have found a place that wil take them. In a way this is a separate kingdom as they serve no king and no house. But the story goes on to many of them still being interested in getting the position of Head Commander. Preeeeety much like the Roman Senate in Julius Caesar. There are vested interests at play, like not allowing foreigners (wildlings) into their troops and allying with the proper house to get proper benefits.
This corrupted Nightwatch is emphasized by the assasination ofJon Snow, Julius Caesar style done because of vested interests meaning Bolton promises (on paper we do), The poin is this corrupted Nightwatch has made itself vulnerable to the same threats it was created to stop as it is divided in itself. The threat is NOT the people on the other side of the wall, it is the Other things.
TV Nightwatch is de-evolving into a ragtag band of superheroes that fight zombies enhanced by computer animation. TV zombies make it worse. They have murdered their commander for no good reason (the whole vested interest thing was never mentiioned) and the conflict regarding the command may or may not be shown next season. The worst possible way to go on would be to save the life of Jon Snow. This is highly probable on TV as Jon Snow is a ratings booster. If he resucitates he may turn into Jon James Bond, or Jon Thor, or whatever. This whole ragtag band of superheroes I won’t watch.
- Tyrion Lannister is one very deeply complicated character. This is the guy who would have been left to die if he had not been born into nobility. His mother died giving birth to him. And has been blamed by all of his family for that for the rest of his life. He is cultured and well read, because he has no other choice, he cannot joust, or ride in battle as is the current way to establish himsel as worthy, so he relies on sarcasm and wit and money to get his own way. He can deal with the family hate but turns to murder when he is betrayed by his father. He is not innocent, but can be gallant at times.
What I found most enjoyable about Tyrion, as did a lot of people, is his speech. He is one of the best spoken characters in the book and his phrases are like him: short and to the point. He never babbles unless he is looking for a way out a problem and is buying time, and speaks as if each sentence was his last, so each one makes a point. This was kept up fairly well until season 4. Sadly by season 4 Tyrion was the viewer’s favorite underdog, so we could have known we would lose him eventually.
Then season 5 happened. Tyrion’s plot went away, and after that in a twist that never happened in the books, he becomes a member of the Dany fan club. As this never happened on the original storyline, then we got new writers for Tyrion. That was actually painful. Tyrion’s wits turned into baby babble on subjects that make absolutely no sense.
- The Others or Whitewalkers as they are called on the show. The name is non important, it is what these imaginations are meant to be. These Others have always been found in the icy regions of the North. Whatever they are, they are NOT zombies. Or have the look of 80’s punk rockers. As they can only show themselves under tremendous cold, they carry the cold with them. These are a frightful vision, so unnatural most people in Westeros believe they are not real. Yes, they can SOMETIMES raise the dead to acts as slow. clumsy wights as some sort of army. They also are destroyed by anything that contains the nature of fire (such as dragonglass), and will NOT come close to fire.
Enter the TV deformation of the above. Get punk ice zombies. Get a World War Z scene in the show and a meaningless battle on Hardhome, also known as the misplaced in time Fist of the First Men, to show off computer graphics and missing the point of just how dire the situation is for the Night’s Watch now that the long winter is almost here. No problem, everyone will sit through great computerized senseless battle. Lots of light and sound for you.
Now, all the rest of the characters have started their descent into teenage fandom ratings pullers by now, and for each caracter destroyed or kept alive beyond their time or killed out of time, a part of the books storyline is destroyed as well.
Except for everything and everyone found in Dorne. THAT had no time to devolve, as it was trash from the first scene.
My read into season 5 and going forward to season 6 is the high rating characters will be rewritten according to TV fandom, doing what TV fans want them to do, regadless of their actions being illogical, in accordance to the overall storyline, or even possible. There are wizards in Westeros, let’s hear it for a flying Jaimie.
The dragons will continue to vary in size from scene to scene, Danaerys wil triumph over all because she has a real big fan club here in the real world, and we will be seeing more of Jon Snow and Tyrion for the same reason.
In order to recreate fanfic characters out of the ones that are already dead, they will be rewritten as younguer versions of themselves in horrid flashbacks. And for the ones killed off to early, they will be sorta written into other charachters (like the Tywin turned Baelish to create Jeynsa) so the general storyline is followed and the TV show ends just like the books.
Only it won’t. It already can’t because each character rewritten has taken a large part of the plot with it and the storyline is beyond repair.
And that is why I won’t be watching season 6. Or 7. Or 8.