Okay, Game of Thrones is, thankfully, over. My girlfriend loved the show, as did millions of others. I am not among their number. Before I dive into this I do want to be clear about a couple of things; (1), the acting was first rate, not a single character rang false. (2), George R.R. Martin, for good or ill, used every fantasy plot trope he could find. That was enough for many. My problem is that creating such a stulted universe automatically means the people living in it have to be idiots. I’ll give you a simple example. They built the wall to keep out the white walkers and the free folk eight thousand years ago. They have seven kingdoms in various stages of war, and a history of genocide when the “First Men” are considered. They also have horses. Which means they have horse piss. Which means they have saltpeter. That’s a prime ingredient for making gunpowder.
Yet, after all that time, the best weapons they could come up with were variants of pointy sticks.
Some very nice pointy sticks, I’ll grant, but still just pointy sticks.
Oh, I didn’t forget the “green fire.” Which was forgotten until Tyrion found someone who hadn’t forgotten it and then, suddenly, they were making that shit like they got the ingredients at a Family Dollar store.
But, and this seems important, no one used it. Not really. Tyrion used it to stop an invading navy and then no one did anything else with it. Cersei blew up the sept with her enemies in it and then had wine. We know more was made since, in the penultimate episode, we see caches of it exploding all over the city. And yet, despite having a weapon that could destroy all who opposed her, and having an amoral group of mercenaries at her beck and call, all Cersei did was drink wine and watch her world burn.
She’s not smart, not conniving, not anything useful. She’s barely reactionary.
And she was the shrewd one.
Her brother, Mr. I Drink and Know Things, suddenly stopped knowing things when he wasn’t allowed to fuck whores. I’m not sure what the corollary was but it seems like something that could have been easily rectified. However, even when he knew things, they weren’t very helpful. He just sounded cool saying them.
Other clever people ran armies. They did this by throwing large quantities of humans at other large quantities of humans. The one guy who used tactics, Rob Stark, would have been laughed out of any military school on Earth but was a certifiable genius compared to his opponents.
These people weren’t smart. Brutal and occasionally opportunistic, yes, but not smart.
Quick aside; The Night King: he couldn’t be burned, could ride a dragon, and led an army with a legitimate eye on the Iron Throne. In other words, he had to be a Targaryen. But he wasn’t. Why not?
This doesn’t even begin to address the litany of plot holes, many of which you could drive a dragon through, or the plethora of unanswered questions.
I will answer one for you. The punchline to Tyrion’s joke.
Tyrion walks into a brothel with a honeycomb and a jackass.
Madame: What can we do for you?
Tyrion: I need a woman to lay with, for mine has left me.
Madame: Whatever for? And what’s with the honeycomb and the mule?
Tyrion: My woman found a genie in a bottle, and he granted her three wishes. The first was for a house fit for a queen, so he gave her this damn honeycomb. The second wish was that she have the nicest ass in all the land, so he gave her this damn donkey…
Madame: And what about the third wish?
Tyrion: Well … she asked the genie to make my cock hang down past my knee.
Madame: Well that one’s not so bad, eh?
Tyrion: Not so bad!? I used to be six foot three!
And, just to be a picker of another nit, the damn dragons weren’t actually dragons. They were wyverns.
Yes, I know they’re all mythical creatures and there is no reason that George can’t call them whatever he wishes. The problem is that, in the books, he differentiated between dragons and wyverns. In the show they just ignored that.
You know what? I’ll cede the dragons. They looked bad ass and that’s all that really matters for a TV show.
The second thing that irked me was the acceptance of the casual racism in the show. All of the people of color were slaves or outlaws. Even the black prince in season two was an outlaw who faked his way into society.
Yes, Dany “freed” the Unsullied and Missandei. Kind of. Well, not really. She bought the Unsullied and they stayed bought until her death. Missandei went from being treated like a slave to being treated like a well kept slave. That’s not freedom, that’s just a better life than she knew before and that’s setting the bar low.
Plus they were all happy to be enslaved. And that’s an ugly trope that’s been making the rounds again. I’m a little surprised there wasn’t more made of this. Sure, there was a Duke University paper on it, but it dealt with blood lines and royal incest, not overt racism. The Guardian took a deeper look at it, and did a great job too, and Vanity Fair took a stab at it, parsing the problem nicely, but that’s about it.
Being blunt, if you can create a universe with dragons, green fire, a zombie army, giants, and three eyed ravens, you could have found room for a person with extra melanin. Maybe even more than one.
There’s a part of me that thinks the casual racism may have been planned. Or, considered normal. Even when they had the Fender guitarists show up to do a “shred version” of the theme, they only found four, middle aged, white guys.
For the record, given how varied Fender’s endorsed artists are, they actually had to try and avoid people of color or any who had two “X” chromosomes.
In summation, Game of Thrones was a show about stupid people produced by casually racist white guys who wanted to do a show about what the world would be like if the south had won the civil war.
You know what? Maybe the racism wasn’t that casual after all.
Still in all, I’m glad I watched it. It was a cultural touchstone for many, and a fount of glorious meme material.
For me, it was just acknowledging I like boobs. I wasn’t surprised to find this out about me, but it did bear admitting.
I mean, I really, really like boobs. And dragons. I’ll put up with a lot for boobs and dragons.
And I did.
But I doubt I’ll watch any more.
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