At one point in the latest episode of Game of Thrones, I actually exclaimed through sheer emotion to my fellow viewer and sister, "What are we watching here? I can't take this!" I didn't know what to do with myself. For those who watch the show, I don't need to spell out the moment. And no, this isn't like the 'Red Wedding' because I knew that was coming. Also, I didn't love Robb and Catelyn quite as much as I loved Shireen. Beautiful gem that she is (was). I kept thinking that the show was going to pull out some twist but no, as the creators *so love to do*, they allowed it to play out and we just watched as viewers, dumbfounded and aghast. I don't give two cents for whatever others think, whatever the show makers say about the 'necessity to narrative', or that it was going to happen to in the books anyhow. I don't buy it - and I'm about to say why.
|Not *sniffle* any *sniffle* more!!!|
It has no agenda. No sense. And of course, the world doesn't make sense and senseless things happen but this is a story here. GRRM has already given us a shit load of examples in which honourable people die horrible deaths and the world remains unfair and brutal.
We. Bloody. Get. It.
Now, how many times are you going to demonstrate that before it comes to the point where it no longer does anything but come across as ridiculous, as sadistic and...just plain stupid?! Where is our damn catharsis, release, KARMA? And no I don't buy that as a creator you just tell it and that you're not there to enforce an agenda or the *slimmest of slim* message of justice and/or karma or any universal goodness/decency. Bull. If you can persist on delivering a world continually grim, continually horrifying, then you can offset that from time to time. And by offsetting, I don't mean someone nasty also being brutally killed to somehow redress the justice (im)balance.
As a reader, I don't trot along a story with no expectations. That's physically impossible unless I'm an alien who's never encountered the concept of storytelling like we know it. What I struggle with (and more fool me, I'm sure), is how can there be so many characters introduced and then no meaning given to said character in the story? Direwolves! Cool. Oh wait, bloody fat good they were. Ghost doesn't appear enough to warrant anything. Same with Shireen - when first mentioned we understand she survived grayscale. Interesting. The fact she has and no one else has implicitly suggests something of worth, something of significance. Alas. More fool me. What's galling still is that in the show, a mere three or so episodes ago, Stannis says that he got every healer to treat Shireen - that she was his daughter, a Baratheon etc etc. It was touching. It was decent. Heartfelt. Oh wait, it couldn't have been that heartfelt after all because he willingly sacrificed his only heir for some magic voodoo clap trap. What. Was. The. Point?! In the same world where GRRM portrays magicness/superstition to be of little significance or anything worthy. Melisandre has 'failed' Stannis time and time again (Blackwater, right?), so this level headed leader is pretty stupid really.
AND he commits the crime of being exceedingly inconsistent in the *same season* of the TV show.
Serve the story through serving the character story - what the character would do in such and such scenario. I don't know the exact details of the book but in the show Stannis's relationship builds up with his daughter, he even claims that his men will need to ensure his daughter rules the throne if he were to die. I mean, come on! So what, are we meant to believe he had a memory lapse, or an emotional one? That kind of relationship is significant, it grounds a character. It does not then result in them doing something in opposition to that. That's the equivalent of crossing the 180 line in film. Though the latter is an aesthetic device, the former cannot be trivialised so. It questions the core of the character.
As my sis astutely observed, the show showed Stannis killing his daughter like he killed his enemies, like Mance Rayder. That's why I abandoned the books. I foresaw a seemingly endless sequence of such like harrowing events (and at however many books, why would I drag myself through that, ever worried that this bloated story will never truly be wrapped up satisfactorily since there's *too much of it*?). Surely, it's time for Daenarys to kill all of them with her dragons? I mean, who is left worth vouching for? And dare we vouch for them? (And no, it can't just be Jon. Don't give me six dozen books of bloated story and tell me there's only one or two characters to get behind).
I think what gets me is that Shireen was the last innocent left, the last precious little gem. Unloved but still so lovely. Bloody bastards. Sorry, this probably reads as petty, as over-thought, as plain silly. It is all of those things (and yes, the writer gets to do what he wants, blah blah bleurgh...). But it is also a result of being absolutely disturbed and realising this is why I could never get behind the books. Thanks for the reminder, I'm out!