Game of Thrones, “Death is the Enemy”

I’m tired of watching interestingly complex female characters become mean and stupid—the Sansa and Arya thing is interesting, intermittently, but it’s also just so damned unnecessary, and requires them both to be maximally petty and mean and lacking in insight or compassion—and I’m SO SO SO tired of seeing Queen Daenerys cheerfully subordinate her entire life’s narrative to Jon Snow’s extremely not-clever plan on the basis of, well, we don’t have a show if she doesn’t. We were all, already, going to die anyway—death has a pretty much 100% success rate with all living things, to this point, across the entirety of time as we know it—but climate change is different, existential at the level of civilizations. But come on: we know that that’s never the real reason why things happen the way they do. And in the nineties, when this series of books was first running, global warming was one of those things we really need to get in front of before it gets too late; we need to get our shit together, people, we have the power to stop this! I’m tired of this show. We are just propping up the show’s stupidity. It makes a certain sense, then, if you think about it, that the end of the show merges so seamlessly into those godawful “The Creators Talk About This Week’s Episode!” segments, literally at the end of the show itself: the distinction between our reality and the in-show reality is becoming thinner and thinner, the suspension of disbelief increasingly notional. (Well, the answer, you see, is that they are falling in love! And this is the result! Why is Jon falling in love with his aunt? You knew better, but when you were watching, you didn’t care. The “War of the Roses” plots are long forgotten and we’re just watching a conventional High Fantasy story about zombies and dragons and Our Heroes in between. (I mean, for god’s sake, he tries to GIVE AWAY HIS SWORD IN THE MIDDLE OF A MISSION TO ZOMBIE COUNTRY, HOW CLEAR DOES HE HAVE TO MAKE IT. And then they were fucked, except what the internet calls “plot armor” intervened. But even those elements aren’t doing it for me. You can rationalize every decision if you want, and you can figure out, retroactively, how actually it made sense: see, he had to attack the one who was loaded up with fire because that was what killed it, if you rewatch the scene, you can see, etc. But he didn’t. It never was, of course, but HBO had good material to work with and they hurled enough money at the problem to make it hold together, just enough; it gave you just enough cover to suspend your disbelief. It’s been burning its furniture to keep warm for a while, but there’s a point at which you run out of places to sit, and we are way past that point. It was still a fantasy world, but its fantasy people did normal people things like talk, go to the bathroom, stand around waiting, and get killed; you understood that it was contrived artifice—that fantasy wasn’t real—but it had a kind of narrative hybrid vigor, where the “War of the Roses” historical fiction blended with the Lord of the Rings high fantasy elements, and all of that produced something that felt newer and more interesting than it ever really was. I can’t even bother to get mad about things like WHERE DID THE NIGHT KING GET THOSE HUGE CHAINS FROM. Twenty-one years of not getting in front of it later, global warming HAS THE BOMB. Instead, we’re stuck with HBO pandering to what it thinks viewers like, based on what people on Reddit get most excited about. It’s a nice day for the end of the world. For me, that frisson has run out. R. What happened was pretty much what was obviously going to happen: they found one wight by finding fifty of its friends, which was immediately followed by finding about a million of its friends. But I mean: how can we reconcile the show’s “Is Daenerys a Mad Queen in the Making?” question—which makes her cruel, authoritarian, ego-driven, and unpredictable—with the selfless way she puts all of her plans on hold so Jon and the Boys can have their mission, then rescues them, and then is explicitly glad that HER DRAGON-CHILD DIED? I’m tired of how an “anyone can die!” framework has become a show where, no, the named characters are impervious to hypothermia (Jon) and can also swim underwater with armor (Jaime, Bron) and “rescued at the last minute from out of nowhere” has become the basic narrative move of the show, particularly to save Jon “When Will This Show Let Me Die, I Want To Die” Snow. (What am I going to do, read a book?) But I’m tired of all the ways George R. If you watch the knuckle-dragging “inside the episode” featurette, you can actually hear Weiss and Benioff explain just how hard they worked to think of a contrivance to keep everyone alive, which is basically the clearest articulation I’ve ever seen of this phenomenon: We wanted them not to die, say the creators, so we wrote it so that they don’t die. Martin actually finished the damned books. The answer: because the showrunners want them to. There are spoilers, of course, so don’t look directly at the sun during the eclipse. I will keep watching it, obviously, because I am much too far gone. And while I can’t stop watching this show, I find that all I want is to go blind. Season seven is every Rolling Stones tour after Steel Wheels. Sure, a lot of stuff can happen before that point. This show is no longer Game of Thrones; it’s now a tribute to Game of Thrones, like the point in classic rock band’s career where you really, really, really don’t want to hear any new songs (Euron) because the only reason anyone is paying for tickets is to hear retreads of the old favorites. So:
LET’S BLOT OUT THE SUN AND STARE AT IT UNTIL WE FIND SWEET RELEASE,
Aaron Martin’s vision of a fantasy world where everyone covers their head—because OBVIOUSLY YOU WOULD WEAR A FUCKING HELMET INTO BATTLE AND A HAT INTO THE ARCTIC—has become a show where the important thing is that we see our characters’ faces. I mean, I like DVD extras as much as the next person old enough to remember DVDs, but the first rule of extras is that you don’t put them in the show itself. Here’s the real ending, the only ending for me: the White Walkers kill everyone. White Wedding
by Aaron Bady
Dear Television,
So, let’s start with the basics. Oh, we just happen to be on a little island of stone in the middle of a frozen lake that the night king’s wights fall into, creating a perfect standoff. Going north of the wall to steal an ice zombie was, it turns out, a really bad plan, as Jon’s “I am so, so sorry” moment indicates he now realizes. Fans have been calling Daenerys “Dany” for years, so Jon uses that name as a wink to those fans; the Gendry rowing joke was translated into actual dialogue, ha ha; Tormund and Brienne’s improvised relationship has become something the show will never ever stop doing; and a goofy piece of fan art has become, literally, the actual show. But there is no more show itself, it’s only extra. R. Wouldn’t that have been nice? Or maybe it’s a spin-off series where we get to see all of our favorite characters inhabiting an imaginary timeline where George R. They have to. Lucky break for our heroes that they turned out to be the heroes of the show! The show is coasting. Just imagine what could have happened! This is the real ending because the White Walkers are a metaphor for Climate Change, and because we are all going to die. AUGUST 21, 2017

This week on Dear Television:
Aaron Bady and Sarah Mesle get a raven from Eastwatch saying some bad stuff that was obviously going to happen is happening, so they put on their white tailored fur coats, saddle up   their dragons, and talk about “Death is the Enemy,” the penultimate episode of the seventh season of   Game of Thrones. I’m tired of the show’s disinterest in what female power would actually look like, while we see yet another eighty-five ice zombies get smashed up. And why is Dany falling in love with her nephew? No matter how stupid you behave, the plot will intervene to protect Characters Who Matter To The Plot. I’m tired of all the characters who were briefly important who have subsequently vanished, because the show just doesn’t have time to explore what happened to Yara, what Theon has been up to, what Bran is doing, where Meera went, what Grey Worm has been up to, etc etc etc. In a way, the real drama in this show is Jon Snow’s increasingly desperate attempts to die and the creator’s sadistic refusal to allow him the sweet release of death.)
I’m tired of the tedious haggling over travel times that this show makes us do, after all the work it once put in to make a ludicrous fantasy story feel realistic. Thus: an indeterminate number of indeterminate red-shirt wildlings were killed, along with one named character—the least engaging person in the party, whose name I can’t remember—but, otherwise, the show worked really, really hard to imagine a way for Our Heroes to not be easily slaughtered. The Night King even chucks his ice javelin at the flying dragon, a much more difficult target, rather than the one who is literally just sitting there, all loaded up with personnel; close call for our heroes! I find it particularly rich to listen to them talk about the two characters who they have written into love as if they, like us, are just watching the show, instead of, you know, literally writing it.)
This show is now pure fan service. I mean, what are they going to do, not fall in love? Shipping and misogyny.