Sunday, June 16, 2013

Season Three Finale of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

An adventureous and daring three months of television is finally closed. Game of Thrones concludes the first half of "A Storm of Swords" with vigor, fearlessness, and a flat ending. I will share my thoughts on this last episode in the most spoiler free way as possible.

Episode nine has a tradition of being the "big event" episode. This is where the true climax of the show happens, while episode ten is the epilogue and setup of the next season. Season three is lucky to be taking on the most exciting and highly regarded book of "The Song of Ice and Fire" series, or at least its first half. The last episode was full of bugfuckery amazing storytelling. Honestly the highest point of the show, and that's an accomplishment as The Battle of Blackwater in season 2 is fantastic.

Book readers have been looking forward to this time since the show was announced. Show runners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss state that this book is what made them attempt this adaptation in the first place. It shows, because the night of episode nine, The Rains of Castamere, all social media exploded in a wave of emotions. I would like to interject here, if you are the kind wary of spoilers (and this is a gigantic game changing one), please do not search out reactions or even interviews with the cast regarding this season. It really is that good.

A week feels like a long time between episode nine and ten, but we persevered and our reward is... nothing out of this world. Here is the problem, after a legendary night of television, the followup can't be "good." Good doesn't cut it, it needs to be great, it needs to take advantage of its audience's passion. I regretfully have to inform you, the reader, that episode ten "Mhsya" is only alright. It's ok. In fact it's a little terrible.

One can walk outside at 10:05P.M. and hear a collective sigh carried off by the wind. Possibly a, "That's it?" followed its trail. The audience certainly doesn't need an epic cliffhanger, but surely there were better options than the perturbing  image of a clean and majestic white person being hoisted into the air by dirty brown beggars. This is the kind of thing that makes people shake their heads at the fantasy genre in the first place. Furthermore, no cathartic release exists for the audience that a finale should bring. If anything this felt like a season opener or episode two.

With the bruises and missed opportunities, Game of Thrones is still one of the best shows currently running on televison at the moment. Season three displayed a large number of improvements over season two, most notably how transitions and pace are handled. The maddening thing is just how close this came from being an incredible season to a legendary one.

Here is waiting for next year, or you know, picking up the books themselves.