Monday, June 15, 2015

GOT- Why Season 5's Finale is the Most Depressing Episode Yet

Will he return?


Another season of Game of Thrones has come and gone...and damn did it go out with a bloody bang.

I've been a huge fan of the TV and book series for a few years. I've loved the dirty, uncompromising portrayal of Medievalist politics and war in a fantasy setting. I've been through it all: Ned's Stark beheading, Winterfell's burning, Khal Drogo's death, the Purple and Red Weddings.

Yet Season 5's finale, which aired yesterday, may have been the toughest episode I've ever had to sit through. That's saying a lot. Especially when in Season 3 an entire wedding party was massacred and unsavory acts were done involving decapitation and a wolf.  (Here comes the King in the North!)


There's a few reasons why this season's finale was as depressing as it was. First, practically all the story-arcs needed to be tied up in one episode. In past seasons, the pattern was to have a final battle or traumatic event in the ninth episode. The last episode of the season was then used as a climax or resolution in the aftermath of the previous week's event. This gave the viewer time to process and come to terms with what had happened. This season, however, broke the mold. Instead, not only did we have several important character deaths, other characters suffered new traumas or were left in precarious positions. Oh yeah, and on top of all this there was a massive battle at Winterfell. 

All of these events happened in rapid succession without any time to absorb the emotional impact of what we were seeing. And we saw a lot of heavy stuff.

Even for a book reader like me, who knew where each story was likely to end this year, it was difficult to watch so much horrible stuff happen in a fifty minute time period. It's one thing to read all of this in a book, it's quite another to see it happening in front of your eyes. Watching Cersei's walk of shame, Sansa's desperate leap from the wall and hardest of all, the possible death of Jon Snow was like getting hit by several different cars one after the other.


What made it harder was the fact that there was no silver lining. Usually in past finales at least one of the story lines ended on a positive or slightly uplifting note. In Season 1- Dany rose from the flames with her dragons. Season 2- Robb married Talisa and Dany recovered her dragons, Season 3- Astapor's slaves were liberated, Season 4- Arya sailed into the horizon after escaping the Hound. 

Season 5's finale had no such ray of sunshine in an otherwise overcast world. The closest we came was Tyrion reconnecting with Varys. Everyone else is either dead, likely dead, or in a far tougher spot than they were before the episode. 

Now, all of this is not to say I will stop watching the show. This isn't a 'I'm done' rant like the many I've seen on Twitter. Game of Thrones remains one of the best TV series ever created and I intend to keep watching until the series concludes.


This is only meant to say, damn I wish there could have been some ray of hope somewhere to help offset the trauma.

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