Warning: A few spoilers imminent!
As the Game of Thrones finale screened on Sky Atlantic tonight, I couldn’t help but wonder what the writers, and George R.R. Martin, were thinking. To follow the Red Wedding episode which sent Twitter into overload with angry, shocked and severely depressed viewers was always going to be hard but this… It just left me feeling disappointed.
Robb’s headless body being led out of the castle whilst men chant ‘here comes the King of the North’ was the biggest visual shock of the show, but there was no comparison to the Red Wedding – the finale just didn’t deliver the same intensity. In my opinion, they should have culminated the series with Catelyn and Robb Stark’s elimination from the game. That would have left us all thirsty for more. Instead, everyone who’s had the fortune to read the books will be hushed and shunned from social circles for the next six months at the risk of divulging any secrets, whilst those who are blissfully unaware of the epic events in store may be left wondering if Game of Thrones is worth watching any more.
The most shocking part of the finale was perhaps a revisit of Theon Greyjoy’s (Alfie Allen) castration which occured a few episodes previously. I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t understand that ‘a few alterations’ actually meant turning Theon into a eunuch, because they’re in for a nasty surprise. For weeks I’ve been wrestling with fear for Theon yet I couldn’t help but think of that Lonely Island song Dick in a Box when his manhood was delivered to his father and sister on the Iron Islands.
For the rest of the episode, I felt hardly any shock or fear, and at the end, when Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) was lifted up by the recently released slaves of Yunki, I couldn’t help but shake my head and wonder when she’d be running for President. It had too much of a rehearsed and cringe-y nature to it. It may have been meant to lift my spirits and look forward to the new series, but it turned me away. Which is frustrating because I’d been looking forward to a finale with the same violence and shock as the penultimate episode.
Sure, everything tied in, Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) returned to Kings Landing and Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) found out that her brother and mother were murdered, but both of those seemed like non-events. A few tear stained faces can’t make up for the series of misery they’ve been subjected to, yet there was more time spent saying ‘Lannister’ than there was focusing on their pain.
Maybe it’s because I know what happens in A Storm of Swords that I’m so disappointed. It didn’t happen. In the end, instead of feeling elated at a momentous turn of events and even more shock and awe, I found myself visualising shaking George R.R. Martin by the shoulders and asking ‘why?!’. A few hours later, it dawned on me. At the risk of sounding too sexual, and you’re free to disagree, we’re in a pseudo sado-masochistic relationship with Game of Thrones. No matter what they throw at us, even if it’s this disappointment of a series finale, we’ll be back for more. We’ll spend the next six months going out to buy the book, or making up plausible and implausible story lines for each character. We’ll look at the finale as a waste of an hour, but we’ll still be there, huddled in our lounges, surrounded by friends or family, watching the first episode of Season Four with bated breath. We’re in it for the long run now. Part of me can’t help wondering if this was their plan all along.
Game of Thrones series 4 is expected to be broadcast on US screens in Spring 2014.