That ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale Was a Real Stab in the Gut
If you haven't watched the episode, which aired last night (June 15), *MAJOR SPOILER ALERT*: The episode closed with (yet another) shocking death, because the show's creators and author George R.R. Martin REALLY want you to know that no one is safe in the fictional lands of Westeros and beyond — not even your favorite character.
Jon Snow was too trusting, and it led to his undoing — a fate not unlike that of his maybe-father Ned Stark (a fan theory had him as the secret child of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Ned's sister Lyanna, but maybe now we'll never know). As Lord Commander of the Night's Watch, Jon's alliance with the wildlings led to mutiny among a faction of his men — and as a result he was stabbed, and stabbed, and stabbed again. Jon's fate is also unclear at the end of the most recent GoT book, A Dance with Dragons, but readers had hoped that he would make a return in Martin's next installment, Winds of Winter (if he ever gets around to publishing it, that is).
Sadly Kit Harington doesn't give us much hope for his characters' return, telling EW, "I’ve been told I’m dead. I’m dead. I’m not coming back next season." Here's hoping he's being coy, as Jon Snow wouldn't be the first Game of Thrones character to make a supernatural return. Jon wasn't the only one who suffered a miserable fate last night: Jamie and Cersei's daughter Myrcella was poisoned, Arya Stark was blinded, Stannis Baratheon was probably murdered, Daenerys seems to have been captured by Dothraki (haaay, Dothraki!) and Cersei was given the worst, longest walk of shame ever. Game of Thrones is about a brutal, bloody and unsentimental world, to be sure, and last night's episode couldn't make that more clear.
As for this writer, I'm pretty much all set with Game of Thrones as of last night. I read the riveting first three books prior to the show, but I stopped before book four because it felt like I was just in for 3,000 more pages of people riding around on horses looking for each other, with countless near-misses (like last night, when Brienne missed Sansa's candle-signal by mere seconds). I've been watching the show with friends, but I've found Season 5 exhausting and demoralizing: There was another rape that didn't exist in the books (Sansa), a scene of a little girl being burned alive that also didn't exist in the books (Shireen), the poisoning of a teenage girl that didn't happen in the books (Myrcella), and the brutal beating of young girls by perv Meryn Trant that didn't happen in the books. Are you sensing a pattern here? Because I am. A gratuitous, gross pattern that's fairly lazy from a writing standpoint.
I understand that it's a story of war, and that women arguably suffer the agonies of war more than anyone. But that doesn't mean I need to voluntarily watch so many invented means of torturing young girls for the sake of furthering a frankly unwieldy plot (tortures that, again, are not even in the books). Like Stannis' men, I feel a line has been crossed, and I won't be sticking around for the next battle. AND you tell me I'll never see Jon Snow's face again? No thank you, Game of Thrones. No thank you.