Game of Thrones: Watchers on the Wall

After the up and down of this season, I’m almost happy to see Game of Thrones take a season break. It kinda needs to get its shit together.

I watched the first two seasons of the show with my eyes practically glued to the screen. I couldn’t turn away from the characters and the drama that were unfolding. But last season, and especially this one, have had thinly stretched narratives, and I’m just not convinced that that works as well on a show as it does in a book. A huge point of interest of the novels is the myriad points of view that we’re allowed to experience, heads we’re allowed to go within. That doesn’t work the same way on film.

And although there’s a certain amount of gore that I enjoy, and I don’t mind horrible things happening to characters if they serve a narrative purpose and are handled well, the ways that torture and sexual violence have become so prevalent as to sometimes to background noise makes me want to look away.

Last night’s season-finale-for-the-Watchers was moving in a way that has become less common for the show. On the next episode: everyone’s season-long  story arc ends in a cliffhanger!



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  1. I haven’t read the books, but kind of agree. Aside from those crazy looking giants, and the giant claw that swept the wildings off the wall, I really wasn’t feeling the last episode. I thought Jon Snow holding Ygritte while she lay dying as the camera slowly panned out to capture the battle scene behind them was kind of corny.


    1. I haven’t finished them, but the show has gone downhill for me over the past season and a half or so. I was also pretty excited about the giants and their mammoths, and I thought they were well done. I actually mostly enjoyed this episode because I felt like we were making some progress in the story, rather than just wandering from character to character as they wander about Westeros.


  2. I’m still enjoying the show. Though I understand what you are saying. I could watch a whole series just on Daenerys because I love her and someday I’m going to marry her (my wife knows about this). And as I’ve said in comments before the books taken a meandering narritive style I find frustrating.


    1. I wouldn’t mind more Daenerys. And more dragons.

      The reason that I don’t mind the style in the books is that we’re getting the interior of the characters, which I think is really where the inventiveness of Martin’s story shines anyway. We’ve all seen dragons and men fighting and kingdoms at war in fantasy literature before. But we haven’t seen it from so many perspectives.

      In the show, this just reads as sloppy to me—the narrative is too thin and too spread out. We’re not seeing the interior of characters the way we can on the page, of course, and we get small, inadequate snatches of some stories mixed in with lingering over violence, torture, and rape. It’s so uneven.


      1. I do appreciate reading the internal lives of characters but I wonder if the show was to display a more reflective atmosphere would it maintain its popularity? Balancing what is popular with quality I’m must be a giant pain in the ass, especially when the two don’t coincide.


        1. No, I think that adding interiority in much of any way to the characters (which generally comes through in monologuing) would make the show drag. That sort of thing is never as interesting as it is on the page, which is why, I think, I wasn’t as troubled by the narrative in the books as in the show.


  3. Interestingly, as a non-book reader, I’ve really enjoyed this season. It’s been the most impressive season in terms of cinematography in my eyes. I also have a high tolerance for gore, so I don’t have that complaint as many do. I do wish the deaths would let up because I just expect everyone to die. :/


    1. I have a fairly high tolerance for gore, though I must admit that I have less of a tolerance than I once did. I’m just less concerned about who dies, as that is part and parcel with epic fantasy literature—and seems to be with Martin’s writing, too. I almost find myself bored, in fact, by the entire affair these days. Everyone runs about, everyone gets tortured, everyone dies.


  4. I’ve not seen last night’s episode yet, but I’ll be relieved that this season ends. I really liked the first three seasons, but this one just leaves me quite unsatisfied if not really annoyed at the show (I’ll spare you the rant about toture and especially sexual violence).


    1. The sexual violence and torture were part of what made these last 2 seasons less interesting to me. I don’t mind the death of characters. I don’t mind when they’re hurt, or sick, or wounded. But I do mind those things when they aren’t fully integrated plot points.


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