Game of Thrones Has Lost its Integrity

Warning: this article contains a) spoilers and b) me caring way too much about something nerdy and I will seriously talk your ear off about it. If you don’t care about GoT then I would highly recommend not reading this.

 

HBO’s Game Of Thrones is like the drunken, offensive, messy member of your family who you keep in your life because you love them and not because they do you any good.

Fans of the books were faced with an unprecedented dilemma last year when the television show overtook the books, creating a reversal of origin and adapted material. I’ve given up on this show many times, but I always come crawling back in a way akin to an addict but I’m not going to run with that metaphor because it’s cheap and a little offensive to people with real problems.

Season 7 episodes 6 and 7 were just a bit… crap, which was a real shame after the first 5 mildly sloppy but riveting episodes. Epic fantasy is one of my greatest obsessions, and over time I’ve come to realise this obsession builds through the integrity with which fictional worlds are built on a massive scale. George R R Martin’s novels envelop you with:

Integrity of character

Integrity of space

and

Integrity of lore

He is a master of creating his own rules and limitations, then forcing his narrative to work around them. This is what creates the unexpected sense of authenticity in a world of dragons and the un-dead.

Once written down this seems incredibly obvious, yet it’s the one aspect of the series which writers of the television show have abandoned. Small, forgivable transgressions of ‘travel time’ have evolved into a total disregard for time and space, with armies covering a continent in the space of a day and wars that should take years flopping to an end in a matter of weeks. Westeros appears to have shrunk from the size of the Americas to the size of Warwickshire, all for the convenience of lazy writers without the tact, intelligence or commitment of Martin.

I had to Google which of Dany’s dragons had died in the last episode, because no one had bothered to make it clear. It was Viserion, by the way. No big deal. There was a reason Daenerys took so many years to travel to Westeros – her character demanded she resolve what had begun in Essos and impose her sense of morality onto another culture. This is all part of her learning curve and her weakness as a leader and colonist.

‘The wall’ was built to defend the South of Westeros from the horrors of the deep North, and the White Walkers have never been able to pass it. Whatever magic enables them to raise the dead is powerless South of the wall, meaning their only hope of invading South is to destroy the wall. This is also why the Night’s Watch struggle for so many years to prove the existence of the White Walkers, as any ‘evidence’ they try to bring South is defunct. Yet now, suddenly in HBO land, Jon Snow and his ragtag fan-fiction gang are going to bring a zombie South to prove everyone wrong in one fell swoop. What a convenient and utterly boring way of solving a generation’s problem in one clunk.

I’ll continue watching, of course, but in the knowledge that the fabric of this universe has been irreparably torn by a lack of patience.

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