I loved the Game of Thrones series when it first got started. I watched it on the recommendation of Greg Hood’s Counter-Currents reviews of Season One and Season Two. I was so taken with it that, when I ran out of episodes, I actually picked up George R. R. Martin’s books to see how the stories continued, which is very unusual for me, since I don’t have time for contemporary fiction.
I like the idea of fantasy as a genre, but in truth, I only care for Tolkien. Martin does, however, have a remarkable imagination, and I appreciate his twist on the genre: depicting a world of magic in which most people are too vulgar, petty, and flat-souled to see it. I also liked Martin’s emphasis on Machiavellian Realpolitik, his strong psychological realism, and his firm grasp and application of the logic of pre-modern religion- and honor-based societies, which even at their most decadent and cynical are very different from modern liberalism.
Of course, Martin has lots of flaws. He’s needlessly coarse and vulgar, traits only magnified in the TV series. He’s laughably repetitive, although in his mind he probably thinks his prose is musical. The repeated themes of castration and incest are distasteful, and the violence and cruelty he relates become farcical after the nth repetition. I read one of his novels, then half of the sequel, then tossed it aside in disgust.
I eventually came back to the series, though, just to keep an eye on one pop-culture franchise the continued popularity of which frankly bewilders me.
Based on my limited reading of Martin’s books, I thought the series was a creditable adaptation. Yes, a lot had to be left out, and some characters and plotlines were amalgamated. But the surgery was skillfully done. Yes, a lot was vulgarized for television. And when the series ran out of Martin novels to adapt, I came to appreciate Martin much more, for it was clear that the producers were not capable of maintaining the integrity of Martin’s universe and characters or of extending and resolving his byzantine plot. Instead, the series increasingly depended on cool-looking set pieces and effects—often just ripping off elements of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings movies—and vulgar pandering to contemporary ultra-Leftist values, as if Martin’s novels were not already subversive enough, with their swarms of marginal anti-heroes.
Watching the final three seasons was like losing a loved one to dementia. They look the same on the outside, but increasingly they just aren’t there anymore. Matters were not helped by the fact that the younger cast members all aged rather badly. In fact, I take back the senility metaphor. GOT became like a bad marriage, in which one’s spouse becomes both physically repulsive and psychologically alien with the passage of time.
Frankly, I am just glad the whole thing is over, and the final episode was so dumb and dramatically flaccid that it made it really easy to say goodbye to Westeros forever. As a cheat and disappointment, the Game of Thrones finale rivals the end of Lost.
In the penultimate episode Daenerys Targaryen, who claims the Iron Throne of Westeros once occupied by her father, led armies of racial aliens and Westerosians to lay siege to the usurper Queen Cersei in King’s Landing. Cersei’s allies and armies were defeated. Her defenses were breached. The city surrendered. And then Daenerys did something shocking: She and her single surviving dragon reenacted the firebombing of Dresden, incinerating the city and countless innocents whose terror and suffering are depicted with great pathos.
Daenerys is the supreme avatar of Left-wing feminist white savior fantasies. She is a heroine of the SJW Left. Indeed, quite a few cats—and perhaps even a few human babies—have been named after her. But in the end—as if I had managed to sneak in and write the script myself—she reveals herself to be an egalitarian humanist mass murderer, just like Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill.
Countless feminists were so triggered that their pussyhats shot clean off their heads. There was much screeching and Tweeting to have the episode re-shot. Since some of these protests issue from the same Left-wing quarters where Bomber Harris is praised, one wonders about their motives. Perhaps this plot twist revealed too much, too soon, to too many.
The one person who predicted Daenerys’ behavior and could have prevented it was Lord Varys, who wanted to put Jon Snow on the Iron Throne instead. Snow would be a better ruler, and he also has a better claim to the throne, as he is actually Aegon Targaryen, the son of Daenerys’ older brother Rhaegar. But the dwarf Tyrion Lannister, the Hand of the Queen, betrays Varys to Daenerys, who has him killed.
Before Varys is killed, however, there is a conversation between Varys and a kitchen girl that strongly hints that he is trying to poison Daenerys. Based on my reading of the characters, I expected in the next episode that Tyrion would try to persuade Jon Snow to overthrow Daenerys, but since Jon Snow is an effeminate, waffling modern anti-hero, his face perpetually rumpled in confusion and self-doubt, I predicted that he would not have it in him. And while Tyrion argued and Snow dithered and an increasingly paranoid and megalomanical Daenerys plotted to kill them both, the kitchen girl would set things right by poisoning the dragon queen. And why not? She probably had people in King’s Landing. I think this would have been a much more satisfying story than what we were served up.
At the beginning of the finale, Daenerys assembles her troops before the ruins of the Red Keep. The racial aliens, the Dothraki and the Unsullied, who were pretty much killed off a couple episodes back, are somehow present in vast numbers. Daenerys addresses them in their native tongues. The war, it seems, is not over. For now Daenerys will go on to “liberate” all of mankind by conquering them and bringing them under her rule.
The staging is clearly meant to call to mind Triumph of the Will, which means that GOT is staking out the broad “liberal” political center by declaring that the far Left—including its legions of adoring SJW fans—and the far Right are essentially the same in their evil.
Disgusted by the slaughter at King’s Landing and appalled at the prospect of endless wars of liberation, Tyrion tenders is resignation as Hand of the Queen and immediately is given the “Seize him you fools, he’s getting away” treatment. Amazingly, though, Jon Snow is allowed to visit him in the dungeon, where Tyrion naturally tries to enlist him in treason. Also amazingly, nobody was appointed to listen in and report this to the Queen.
Jon Snow visits Daenerys to try to reason with her. She treats him to more megalomanical global liberation talk. She knows what is right and will incinerate any city that resists her in order to liberate it. Jon replies with modern liberal mush: What if you’re wrong? What if they don’t want that? Then he stabs her in the heart. Which came as some surprise, because it simply isn’t in his character.
Then we’re treated to a few minutes of manipulative suspense as Daenerys’ dragon finds her body. Will he get angry and melt Jon Snow? Or is Jon immune to dragon fire anyway? But then, for no apparent reason—except that the directors thought it would look cool—the dragon decides to melt the Iron Throne instead. Then the dragon picks up Daenerys’ body and flies away, leaving Jon Snow free to make up any story he wanted. Besides, he’s the rightful king, so who would challenge him?
Flash forward a few months. It turns out that Jon Snow didn’t come up with a good story or assert his right to the throne. Somehow, he has gotten himself thrown in the dungeon of Obama, the alien commander of the Unsullied. The lords of Westeros and their armies have surrounded King’s Landing, and a parley takes place. At this point, if we were still in the world of medieval fantasy literature, they would negotiate the king’s ransom with Obama. After all, Jon Snow is the rightful king, being held prisoner by a racial alien. The logical thing would be to strike a deal to get him out of prison, and to get the alien off the soil of Westeros.
But for some reason, Obama does not make terms. Instead, Tyrion is marched out of the dungeon, still in chains, to address the assembled lords (and strong, independent ladies). Apparently, after eight seasons of savage wars, all premised on the idea that legitimacy flows from dynastic succession, they have suddenly had an attack of collective amnesia. Apparently, Jon Snow is no longer their king, simply because Obama strenuously objects. (Why come there at all, then, much less with armies at your back?) Sure, placate Obama by listening to his objections. Get Jon out of the dungeon and Obama out of Westeros. Then put him on the throne where he belongs. But no.
So Tyrion suggests that Jon be packed off to the Knights Watch (which has nothing to guard against, since the White Walkers are dead and the Wildlings are now in Westeros).
He also suggests that they appoint a new king themselves, from one of their number. (The suggestion that everybody be allowed to choose is laughed off.)
When Edmure Tully stands to speak, we learn that deliberations will follow the progressive stack. Sansa Stark simply orders him to “Sit down, uncle.” Because hierarchy isn’t real, manners don’t matter, and men don’t have a sense of honor, he meekly complies. So the future of Westeros will be decided by a dwarf, a cripple, and some strong, independent ladies.
The dwarf suggests that the best king would be Brandon Stark, a crippled boy who can sire no heirs, thus guaranteeing somewhere down the road a crisis—perhaps even eight seasons of bloody civil war—as rivals vie for the succession. But nobody thinks of that, and nobody objects, because they all have amnesia or are afraid to mansplain.
Brandon, we are told, has the best story, and that qualifies him to rule. Except he doesn’t have the best story, but nobody objects to that. And why is having the best story a qualification to rule anyway? But nobody objects to that either. Beyond that, Brandon is possessed by a figure known as the Three-Eyed Raven, who seems to know everything, especially about the past. But knowledge is not wisdom, and even wisdom is not leadership. So while Bran might be useful to keep around for information, he is not qualified to be king. But nobody thinks of this, and nobody objects.
In fact, the only objection comes from Sansa Stark, Brandon’s sister, who says that the North wants to remain an independent kingdom. She’ll be the queen, of course. To which there are no objections either. So it is all decided. Of course, if all it takes to secede from the Seven Kingdoms is to ask, then why didn’t any of the other kingdoms follow suit?
If the lords and ladies of Westeros are this agreeable, why exactly were there eight seasons of civil war?
Wasn’t it all caused by the desire of the North to secede in the first place?
If this episode is taken seriously, then everything that came before is simply a pointless farce.
But as with the Disney Star Wars franchise, the last seasons of Game of Thrones prove that people will still pay to watch stories that presumably meant something to them being deconstructed by people who despise them. But the producers calculate that there will be no pushback as long as it is packaged with enough CGI, nostalgia, and sops to the SJW blue-and-white check class.
And this gets us basically to the midpoint of the episode. The rest is occupied by long, sentimental leave-takings, perhaps setting us up for any number of spinoffs. Like the parley, the look (but not the substance) of many of these scenes were simply adapted from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rights movies. So we get Councils of Elrond, things being summed up with quill pens in big books, and departures from the Gray Havens, because they looked cool, and they worked in the originals, and maybe viewers won’t notice they are being manipulated by derivative, cynical schlock-meisters coasting on nostalgia for better stories. Hey, it works for J. J. Abrams, right?
Every life is but a knife edge, the twinkling of an eye bounded by two eternities, one in which we didn’t exist, another in which we will exist no more. Yet countless millions of human being choose to spend untold hours of their fleeting and irreplaceable lives watching crap like Game of Thrones: derivative, manipulative dramas filled with toxic propaganda. We pay people who hate us to pollute our minds with filth. It is utterly shameful.
But am I throwing away even more time by writing about it? Not if I can inoculate even a few people against the next Game of Thrones to come along. Not if I can help create a better culture, with better stories, for future generations.
That would truly be a happily ever after.
The Unz Review, May 30, 2019