I’m a fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the book series HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on.
I consider it superior to The Lord of the Rings.
It is the reason why I consider it superior to The Lord of the Rings that is also the reason why I made the choice to no longer watch Game of Thrones.
My reason why can be summed up by this quote:
An example of “life in all its light and darkness” can be seen in book 2, A Clash of Kings, where a knight (Sandor Clegane) demands a song from a young maiden (Sansa Stark):
“I’ll have that song. Florian and Jonquil, you said.” His dagger was out, poised at her throat. “Sing, little bird. Sing for your little life.”
Her throat was dry and tight with fear, and every song she had ever known had fled from her mind. “Please don’t kill me,” she wanted to scream, “please don’t.” She could feel him twisting the point, pushing it into her throat, and she almost closed her eyes again, but then she remembered. It was not the song of Florian and Jonquil, but it was a song. Her voice sounded small and thin and tremulous in her ears.
“Gentle Mother, font of mercy,
save our sons from war, we pray,
stay the swords and stay the arrows,
let them know a better day.
Gentle Mother, strength of women,
help our daughters through this fray,
soothe the wrath and tame the fury,
teach us all a kinder way.”
Here is the same scene — Sandor confronting Sansa — in the show:
No demand for a song.
No hymn sung.
None of the “light” that George R.R. Martin speaks of.
Another example of Game of Throne‘s lack of “light”: The Red Wedding.
After insulting Walder Frey by marrying a woman who isn’t his daughter, Robb Stark goes to the wedding of his mother’s brother, Edmure — who is also marrying a Frey — in order to make amends. The thinking being Walder was pissed about one wedding not happening, so maybe making another happen will set everything right.
In the show, Robb’s pregnant wife is stabbed in the womb by one of Walder’s men in the middle of the wedding feast, kicking off a massacre known as “The Red Wedding.”
In the book — book 3, A Storm of Swords — Robb’s wife isn’t with him at the wedding. He doesn’t want to insult Walder further by bringing the woman he married to the wedding that is supposed to make Walder not hate him anymore. So she stays behind. And she’s not pregnant yet, either.
So why have Robb’s now-pregnant wife at The Red Wedding if not for the shock value of seeing her get stabbed to death?
It is pornographic violence. i.e., Violence for the sake of violence.
The Red Wedding — in the book and in the show — is horrible.
But the show seems to amp up the horror for no other reason than “Because it can.”
There is a lot to admire about Game of Thrones.
The acting is good.
The special effects are good.
The sets, costumes, and props are good.
The music is good.
But the writing…
To sum up my issue with the writing in one sentence:
We have time to see Daenarys’ butt…
How that speech ends:
“…my brothers were all going, and I would not be left behind. William said I could be his squire, though Will was no knight, only a potboy armed with a kitchen knife he’d stolen from an inn. He died upon the Stepstones, and never struck a blow. It was fever did for him, and for my brother Robin. Owen died from a mace that split his head apart, and his friend Jon Pox was hanged for rape.”
“The War of the Ninepenny Kings?” asked Hyle Hunt.
“So they called it, though I never saw a king, nor earned a penny. It was a war, though. That it was.”