Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Monday, August 28, 2017

Game of Thrones and the Fantasy Ghetto

Okay, the critics are being harsh on this season of Game of Thrones. And to be fair this season has had a lot of plot contrivances and internal inconsistencies but I can't help but feel something else is going on.

This season has been the most "fantastical" season of Game of Thrones We get zombies, we get fire breathing dragons finally breathing fire. We got pirates.

More so than any other season of Game of Thrones this season has broken open the fantasy toy box.

And I love it. Like a lot of the reason why I like Game of Thrones this season, in particular, is because this is the season it decided to stop trying to pretend that it wasn't a fantasy story and just decided to go nuts. Seasons 4 & 5 are the best seasons of Lost.

(Then it fell off the rails in season six but in the moment it was good times.)

And while it's fun watching the "normies" clench their teeth over who's going to get roasted by a fire-breathing dragon reading the reviews I can't help but wonder why folks are surprised by this.

I mean "when is Game of Thrones going to stop dicking around and give us the dragons and ice zombies we've been waiting for" is a joke so old South Park was making it like 4 years ago.

And the critical reactions as the seasons have gotten more and more magical have crystallized a thought in my mind.

I like Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire. George R.R. Martin is a great writer but he didn't invent epic fantasy.  Game of Thrones is one of the better examples of it and one of the best executions of it on television but especially as this season went on I became more and more uncomfortable with Game of Thrones place as some sort of revolutionary never before seen take on the genre.

I don't blame the show but the culture around the show. Sometimes it feels that the reason why Game of Thrones gets the acclaim it does it because it resists the use of its more fantastical elements allowing the audience to forget that at the end of the day we are talking about a show that since day one has been hinting at an apocalyptic  battle between ice zombies and dragons.   And this is the season where that dynamic broke down.

After The Loot Train Battle, nobody can pretend that this show is just high brow historical fiction anymore. And I'm okay with that since I was ALWAYS on board with the idea that while inspired by history as more or less the entire fantasy genre is, the show was very much in line with what I would expect to see in other fantasy stories.

Blackwater Bay ripped off LOTR so bad it's kind of funny. Let's just say I skipped my DVD of Two Towers to Helmsdeep a lot as a kid (And replayed that level a lot on the game.). I know the Hornburg when I see it.

It's a shame. I don't want Game of Thrones to be a lightning in a bottle moment the same way Lord of the Rings was because nobody takes its genre seriously. There is a slew of books and D&D campaigns, and folk legends, and the rest of it that deserve a big budget adaptation of their own just as much as the Song of Ice and Fire.

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