In response to Kerry & Bush “Dirty Work”
Stephen Miller has an excellent piece on how [SPOILER DELETED] in last night’s Game of Thrones is problematic. I think he’s wrong.
Okay, I’m done with the spoiler warnings. If you keep reading and didn’t see last night’s episode it’s all your own fault.
Snow’s resurrection now opens the show to more cliché plot devices. Why not bring every character or every Stark back to life? We might as well have an entire army of undead Starks (Lady Stoneheart, anyone?) vs. undead Whitewalkers.
By leaving Snow in the snow permanently, the show could have reset the board, which is what it’s best at, and focused more on the plights of Sansa (still lost in the woods), master assassin-in-training Arya, and Bran, who has always been the key to the family. Now a coming Stark renascence seems to be on the horizon before winter ever arrives, and Jon’s revival will be the focus of the rest of the season.
John Podhoretz offered similar complaints on Twitter.
I get why bringing people back from the dead strikes many as a major cop-out or pandering to the audience. But I just don’t see it that way in this case (This is Middle Earth equivalent of Star Trek III: The Quest for Spock). First of all, as Steve stresses, the show has been relentless in hammering the viewer with the fact that good guys can — and usually do — die. The honorable path leads straight to the grave very often. On these grounds alone, I think the producers have earned the right not to go that way if they don’t want to. Indeed, it was getting a little tedious the way they killed off beloved characters. Worse, it became predictable. For instance, you knew the second the lovely Wildling woman told her kids she’s be following on the next boat off Hardhome, that she’d be toast. In other words, actually bringing a beloved character back to life runs against the clichés of the show.
Second, the writers laid the groundwork for this a long time ago. The Red Woman (aka Melisandre aka the Woman Who Should Never Remove Her Choker) was shocked to discover that Thoros could bring Dondarrion back to life. Again, I get the misgivings about this plot device, but it was clearly established well in advance to avoid the charge of being a Hail Mary writing gimmick (now, if Jon Snow taps her as his running mate before the battle of Indiana, that’s something different entirely). I was much more annoyed with how rushed last night’s episode was in clearing the decks of Lord Bolton and Balon Greyjoy.
Also, concerns that the Red Woman will now go around reviving dead people willy-nilly strike me as overblown. She clearly didn’t think she could do it and my hunch is that the God of Light agreed to this one special request because of unique circumstances — namely that Jon Snow is necessary for badassery to come.
We also needed Jon Snow to live because there was no way to get the Wildlings to help take Winterfell without him. We also need him because I want to see Ramsey Bolton’s dogs run like frightened kittens from a direwolf.
Oh, and that reminds me. The most ridiculous thing this season so far has nothing to do with re-animated corpses, dragons, giants, zombies or dire wolves. In the season opener, Ramsay says he’s got his “best hounds” tracking Sansa Stark. Until this season, his hounds have always been vicious pitbully beasts. But the hounds tracking Sansa and Theon were bloodhounds. That’s fine. Bloodhounds are the best trackers in the doggy world. But, they are not vicious, and yet they tried to make it seem like they wanted to kill Sansa. I’ve seen stuff like this in numerous movies and it always drives me nuts. If a bloodhound caught an escaped convict, he’d slobber him to death. “Attack bloodhound” is a contradiction in terms.
It’s little things like this that make the rest of it so unbelievable.
Update: My apologies. I had missed David French’s clearly more thoughtful reply to Miller here.