Game of Thrones 8 is just a golden goose

Bhaskar Chawla

May 03, 2019 13:37:17 IST

If the term “instant sensation” were used literally and not hyperbolically, it would have accurately described Game Of Thrones (GOT) eight years ago. David Benioff and DB Weiss’s fantasy saga based on George RR Martin’s book series, A Song Of Ice And Fire, virtually revolutionised television writing.

This wasn’t because the show had dragons, zombies, and incest, but because it captured a bigger universe than any television series or film before. It was at odds with traditional screenwriting, but it worked because the makers created certain rules for their universe and followed them.

What this meant was no matter how unrealistic the show was, you expected consistency. Even elements that bent principles of screenwriting were impressed upon viewers early on. The audience knew that any character, no matter how important, could die at any point. One knew that the action could shift to any location across Westeros and Essos, incorporating new characters at any point. Viewers knew they had signed up to explore a vast world through an ever-shifting lens.

Then suddenly, Benioff and Weiss ran out of source material and decided to change the rules. All deaths had been permanent until Jon Snow died for no reason and was brought back to life the very next episode. A show that was always about journeys — where innermost feelings and conflicts emerged slowly — became about the destination. From humanising moments like Jaime Lannister breaking down before Brienne Tarth as he spoke of being called “Kingslayer”, the focus shifted to characters travelling virtually the entire length of Westeros twice in the span of an episode just to transport a wight to King’s Landing for a flimsy reason.

Had Benioff and Weiss invented a parlour game and changed the rules after people started playing it, they would be accused of cheating. The logic should also hold true for a show like GOT. The show’s highly anticipated eighth season has only been about underwhelming soap opera so far, riding reunions, sexual tension between characters who are finding romantic partners and, in the latest episode, about the ultimate war between the Army of the Living and the Army of the Dead predictably taking off, with a few supporting characters dying.

As episode three of season eight acts as a build-up to the clichéd war violence to come, you realise that the irony is that this is the same show where the first battle happened entirely off screen without detracting from the drama.

Game Of Thrones 8 is a far cry from what it used to be. Without good source material, it has become about cashing in on a cult following rather than commitment to creativity.

Updated Date: May 06, 2019 15:13:16 IST

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