The Corner

Farewell for Now Game of Thrones (Spoilers)

In small part because I was bedridden for much of the weekend and in larger part because I’m a geek, I watched not only the season finale, but I re-watched much of the second season.

Note: There are spoilers here but I am going to try to write this so that you can’t catch them simply by scrolling past the text. If you watched it, you’ll know what I meant.

First the finale. I enjoyed it immensely, but like the whole second season, it felt rushed to me. This is a tricky criticism to offer because part of the problem might be my insatiable desire for more. It’s similar to the tension one finds in gluttons who complain about the portions being too small at a restaurant.

Still, I doubt I’m the only one who felt like this season sprawled out in too many directions for the show to give all of the story-lines justice. I know, I know, the hardcore GOTers will tell me I should read the books. And I should. But that response is not a defense of the show, it’s a criticism. There are simply times when the show clearly slips into “truncate the book” mode or “solve a less-than-TV-friendly book problem” mode. The whole business with Dany and the warlocks last night seemed like it was either 200 pages reduced to 2 or a total divergence from the book itself. The most egregious example was the rush to get the Stark boys heading North after the troubles at Winterfell. I’m sure they’ll try to smooth over the story next season, but it didn’t work for me. The Maester is the only living soul when the smoke clears? How did that work?

Likewise with the whole second season. There was just too much going on to do all of the plotlines justice. Season one sort of had the reverse problem. Yes, it took you a few episodes to figure out who was who (in part because of the odd choice to cast so many actors who look alike), but once you did, the whole thing was rather straightforward and you got to know the characters as you needed to. This season you know who everyone is but you want nearly everyone to have a little more room to develop their motivations and plotlines. That’s even true of Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) who actually does get plenty of time, but he’s just so enjoyable to watch that you want him to have more anyway.

I don’t have any grand thoughts about it that haven’t been offered by countless others already. Though I will say that the much commented-upon theme of “honor is a dangerous luxury” is almost over done at this point. We certainly go that message with a thud from Ned Stark last season (and Little Finger et al). And Arya alone could have hammered the point home this season.

Anyway, I’m really pretty dyspeptic that there will be no more episodes until next year, which in itself is a sign that I’m basically nitpicking.

And, yes, yes, I’ll read the books.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now. @jonahnro

Most Popular

Culture

Staying on the Path

Dear Reader (Including those of you who are no longer my personal lawyer), Almost 20 years ago, I wrote in this space that the movie A Simple Plan was one of the most conservative movies of the 1990s. In case you haven’t seen it, the plot is pretty straightforward, almost clichéd. It focuses on three men ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Radical Turn

One indicator of progressive hatred of Donald Trump that deserves more contemplation is this: The Democratic party is moving left with breathtaking velocity. Not only is it far to the left of Bill Clinton, it’s well to the left of even Barack Obama. Two and a half years before the next presidential election, ... Read More