The theme to Game of Thrones was composed by Ramin Djawadi. According to Apple Music, the title is called, “Main Title.” This isn’t very original. Then again, no one asked me. If they had, I wouldn’t have given a peasant’s shit, because I wasn’t a fan of Game of Thrones up until about three months ago.
That said, another perfectly acceptable theme song for this epic series could have been lifted from the Mel Brooks musical, The 12 Chairs:
“Hope for the best,
Expect the worst.
Some drink champagne,
Some die of thirst.
No way of knowing
Which way it’s going.
Hope for the best,
Expect the worst.”
Those lyrics perfectly encapsulate the central themes of this epic series about war, sex, dragons, more sex, more war, family, more sex, political nihilism, more sex and a little magic thrown in there.
Now, I won’t try to recap Game of Thrones, because even those who aren’t fans of the show have a basic understanding of what it’s about. Like its predecessor, Harry Potter, Thrones was a cultural black hole that swallowed everything else in its orbit. Sufficed to say, it’s about a mythical world where several large and powerful houses compete to sit on the Iron Throne. It’s kind of like a grand reality television show, but with dragons, swords, graphic sex, medieval sensibilities and no Donald Trump.
My purpose in writing this is to address the conclusion of the show. When it aired on May 19 of this year, I was probably about half way through the fourth season. Yet, I couldn’t help being spoiled. My choices were either to be spoiled on the ending, or to avoid Facebook and Twitter for a solid month. Since I am a pathetic, shameless social media whore, I chose to be spoiled.
What sparked my desire to write this was a petition on the internet that actually *demands* that the powers that be rewrite and reshoot the final season of Game of Thrones. This is due to overwhelmingly negative feedback from fans over the trajectory of the final story of Jon Snow, Arya Stark, Cersei Lannister and especially, Daenerys Targaryen.
The ire of the fans is mostly righteous. The entirety of the season was not true to the original spirit of the series as envisioned by the author of the source novels, George R. R. Martin. The plotting was rushed and sloppy, the character notes rang false and the sex wasn’t nearly as gratuitous as it was in previous seasons. In short, it blew great big dragon balls! That said, the fans have about as much chance of getting a do-over of the final season as Tyrion would have trying to successfully peg The Mountain.
Look, you little wussbags just need to relax and get the fuck over yourselves. I loved The Sopranos and invested five years of my life in it. The black screen pissed me off too. But I celebrated the series by inviting my ex-girlfriend over to my apartment and nailing her on the kitchen floor. I got up, wiped off and moved on with my life. I know some of you reading this who are of the feminist persuasion, and who are pickled in your own bitter bile of rage of the ultimate fate of Dany, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains and Fucker of Nephews, may not be able to relate to my decidedly masculine perspective on the virtues of impulsive kitchen sex as a soul-cleanser, but give it a try sometime.
You know who really needs to get laid? Some guy on YouTube named, Think Story. He actually took the trouble to rewrite the final season of the show in his head. Then, he posted it on YouTube, where it currently has 4,871,306 views. So that’s nearly five million nerds, geeks, angry feminists and a few amateur film critics who could be spending their energy burning calories with some Shae equivalent, rather than signing some internet petition that has less value than a spent condom.
So this guy rewrites the season. I won’t recap the whole thing because you can look it up for yourselves if you’re that desperate. In short, in Think Story’s version, the White Walkers win the battle of Winterfell and lay siege to King’s Landing. Dany doesn’t go mad, but kills the Night King and becomes queen, Jon Snow dies heroically in the final battle, Jaime kills Cersei, who was faking her pregnancy all along, Arya gets wounded, and Brienne never gets laid by anybody. Oh yeah…and Eleeria Sand (anyone remember her?) plays some part in it all, but…ahh, screw it!
No offense, Mr. Think Story, but I would’ve had about as much fun watching your version of the finale as Tywin Lannister would’ve had at an Occupy Braavos protest.
There are two main problems with Mr. Story’s Kelvin timeline version. One is that, no matter what they do, The White Walkers will always be the most boring characters on Thrones; with the possible exception of Bran the Broken. Yes yes yes, I know they were in the books and are therefore part of the GRRM source material, but there was absolutely nothing compelling about them. The Night King was a dull, uninspired villain who felt like a knockoff of The Walking Dead. Whether they were vanquished at Winterfell or King’s Landing, The White Walkers had not built up enough emotional capital to serve as a satisfying final antagonist for the ultimate conflict of the series.
This leads me to the second reason why Mr. (or is it Mrs?), Story’s scenario. It was even less true to the original spirit of the series than was the hot mess cooked up in a cauldron by Benioff and Weiss.
Look, if I were David and D. B., I’d be embarrassed. I mean, really humiliated. We’re talking Reek territory here. The GOT crowd wants their heads on a spike, and they did themselves no favors with the Star Wars crowd. They seemed to forget the basic idea that the central appeal of Game of Thrones is not the magic, or monsters, or even the sex. It was the machinations, manipulations and perfidy that occurred between the human characters in an effort to rest power from one house to another. My earlier commentary about reality television wasn’t based entirely in jest. Thrones really was a competition to see who the ultimate winner would be. The White Walkers, The Dornish, The Brotherhood, The House of Black and White and all of the other B-plots were instrumental in world-building, but they were mere trappings that served as obstacles along the path toward the final goal. And that goal was The Iron Throne.
That’s what makes the arc of Daenerys Targaryen so tragic. She probably would’ve been a better ruler than Robert Baratheon, or Cersei Lannister, or maybe even Jon Snow, but the seeds of her own destruction were planted centuries before her birth. The only way for fans who want to impose their politics on their pop culture would come to realize that is to watch innocent men, women and children burn under an onslaught of dragon fire. The way David and D. B. handled it was inexcusable, but the end goal was legitimate. Dany ultimately learned the same harsh lesson that many real world tyrants, and many male fictional characters such as Darth Vader and Michael Corleone have learned to their detriment. In the words of Lord Acton, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Like it or not, the universe carefully constructed by Mr. Martin is based on a deep cynicism. That doesn’t mean that individuals can’t find happiness within his giant wheel of misery, but most folks are destined to be crushed under it. If a benevolent ruler like Jon Snow, or even Tyrion Lannister, were to seize power for a while, it would serve only as a rest bit until Gendry decides that his papa had the right idea. The whole notion of a democracy with Bran the Broken as a king in partial absentia and Tyrion as his hand is just fake butter on stale movie theater popcorn. Arya the Explorer, Jon Snow the Wildling King and Sansa the drop-out queen may feel good, but they are about as realistic as The Hound in a corset.
Sidebar: Have you guys ever watched behind-the-scenes videos where Benioff and Weiss give commentary? It’s very telling. I mean it. Go watch interviews with David Chase, Vince Gilligan or David Simon. If you have two weeks to spare, go watch David Milch. Those guys are really smart guys who understand the universes they created. This doesn’t mean that the creator of an alternate world can’t fuck up his own recipe. Ronald D. Moore is Exhibit A in the bed-wetting department. But Benioff and Weiss are clearly as mentally capable as Hodor on an abacus. Without George Martin’s source material, their grayscale of the brain becomes obvious through clunky dialogue, contrived situations and climaxes steeped in Stevia.
Look, I’m not a hypocrite. As a wannabe author, I sometimes rewrite stories in my head. I too have ideas of what would’ve made the Thrones finale better. In my version, George R. R. Martin gets off the podium at whatever comic nerdfest he’s lecturing at in between glasses of wine and lobster tail drenched in real butter, and he writes the rest of the Goddamn story!
As for Thrones, we’re stuck with it. We’ve got six seasons of excellent television and two subpar seasons to wrap it up. As far as the final story itself, I would’ve done two things differently. I would’ve flip-flopped the killings done by Jon Snow and Arya Stark. Let Jon take out The Night King, and let Arya kill Dany. Had I watched the show in real time, that would’ve been my prediction based on Arya’s exit from the smoldering ruins of King’s Landing on her horse. Arya’s assassination of Dany would’ve been a fitting end to Dany’s character, all while paying tribute to the show’s ability to subvert expectations during the Martin years. Besides, who doesn’t like a little girl-on-girl action? I’m sure Littlefinger would have smiled from one of the seven hells.
Finally, I want to pay tribute to my favorite character on Thrones, Jaime Lannister. I really do feel that he had the most satisfying arc of any of them. He was a callow, incestuous, child-murdering, entitled twat when we first met him, but even before he lost his hand, we began to see the man of honor underneath. Once he became disabled and began to be rejected by his family, his true character shown through. His journey parallels that of Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad. Both men were pompous jerks at the beginning, but after they faced a life-altering disability, we learn that they were men of honor at their core. Yet, once again I have to disagree with Think Story. Jaime’s actions in season eight were the only ones I found true to character. Despite his honor, and despite the fact that she had shunned him, he loved his sister. In the world of GOT, emotion trumps all. His choice to try to rescue Cersei, and ultimately to die with her, was perfectly in character.
In closing, I should say that Think Story has millions of viewers. This blog entry will probably get two hits; Mags and maybe…maybe Dana, if she’s bored enough.
Hi, Danamonster. And hi to my other GOT buddy, whom I don’t want to embarrass by naming on this conservative-based website.
I’m off to bed. The night is dark, and full of terrors, like the next three Star Wars movies.