I didn’t want to write this today. I don’t want to keep piling on a show I used to love about how it’s failed this season. It’s just … “Game of Thrones” has failed this season. It was uneven, and it was bleak, even by the standards of the show. The first seven episodes were boring as hell. It felt like we spent a ton of time rehashing why the bad people were really, really bad. I’ve spoken about using rape as a plot point to establish why someone is a bad guy and lingering on the effect Sansa’s rape had on Theon instead of her.
The issue with the finale for me (and yes, there are going to be SPOILERS HERE, so don’t read on if you haven’t read it) wasn’t the major death at the end, whether or not that character is coming back. That’s in the books. I expected it. My issues, aside from the usual “please, someone turn on the lights” was the Arya murder scene and Cerise’s walk — perfect examples of piling on the misery past the point of good storytelling.
First, Arya. She is hands down my favorite character. Even if I didn’t think they did her “House of Black and White” story justice, I still love her. The scene where she murders Meryn Trant in the brothel was overkill. We know he’s awful. We know he’s a pedophile. We know he totally deserves what he gets. Adding in the other two little girls to be beaten was overkill. We get it. Not necessary. So, why was it there? I’ll let you answer that for yourself.
Cersei was another issue. I know actress Lena Headey has defended her saying that she’s done terrible things, but she didn’t deserve that extra, ultra, mind-numbingly slow walk of shame. A walk of some sort, yes. I mean, lady, you murdered the King. You murdered Ned Stark. You raised a monster (re-watching the first season and she’s pretty complicit). You were cruel to one brother. You sleep with the other one. You’ve built a zombie (at least, ordered it done), lied, gotten people arrested for being gay and being your son’s wife with influence over him. You definitely deserve something.
That said, the way it was shot was an issue for me. I have no problem with nudity. I don’t care about her body double. Guys, she’s preggers. Leave the woman alone! The scene in the book makes perfect sense. Headey did a fine job with her performance. My issue is how long they lingered on it. Aside from the fact that there were other storylines we could have seen more of (Tyrion, Brienne), it was absolutely overkill. How long do we have to watch a woman be humiliated and spit on? I’m not talking about too much nudity here. I know what show I’m watching. I’m talking about the beating a dead horse to a bloody pulp. Then why do it? Shock value.
Here’s the thing. You’ve created a trope to break down cliches in television. No one is safe. Things are shocking. Great. Brilliant. However, when you overdo it, you become your own cliche. You have to have some sort of balance in a show. If it’s all doom and gloom and there is never a light, you’re pretty much just showing us sorrow porn.
I’m still going to watch. I’m just hoping for a better run in Season 6.