A Brief Note on Game of Thrones

As you all know, the final season of Game of Thrones starts Sunday. If you’re like me (and most everyone else I’ve spoken to on the subject), your level of enthusiasm for this final season grades out somewhere around “meh”. Suffice to say, starting in earnest with season 7, Game of Thrones seems to be sacrificing its rich character and thematic development in favor of shotgunning through the remaining plot lines, much as the undergrad shotguns through cans of Beast Light. It reminds me, to an almost spooky degree, of the last season of Battlestar Galactica, another show that created more plot lines than it could reasonably be expected to resolve, thus guaranteeing that most everyone would come away from the final season unsatisfied. (For more on this idea, see this article, which seems to be saying more or less the same thing, and is written by one of my heroes.)

Therefore, I say both to myself and to my fellow Game of Thrones watchers, don’t worry about it. Your choices are as follows: forget about it entirely, and spend the next six Sundays doing whatever the fuck it is you want to do, or suck it up and dutifully plow through the remainder of the show. The best mindset to adopt for either course of action is not worrying about it.

If you choose not to watch, you’ll miss out on some dull-ass internet debates for maybe a month or two (or perhaps longer – people will still bitch about the ending of The Sopranos when the opportunity presents itself, and that was over a decade ago. Still, even if that happens here, the likelihood you will feel as though you missed out on something will become negligible over time), and maybe you’ll waste some mental energy wishing people would just shut the fuck up about Game of Thrones already. In the scheme of things, that strikes me as not so bad a deal.

If you choose to watch, you can still save yourself a lot of anguish by simply taking the show as it comes. Yes, we’ve all invested far too much time in this dumb dumb show about fucking and dragons, but that doesn’t mean we need to continue to burn away our emotional reserves being all that concerned with what happens next. Just relax, sit back on the couch, and submit to the broken-ass storytelling logic and brushed-aside character arcs. It is always, always better to like things than to dislike them, and while I strongly suspect these last episodes will test our collective capacity for enjoyment, wallowing in our complaints and disappointment will bring us neither happiness nor satisfaction. Speculative fiction is pretty much always about the journey, not the destination, and I am encouraging myself to accept that. I suggest you do likewise.

All of that said, I am still going to watch. It’ll be fine. I made it through three Star Wars prequels, for fuck’s sake, and it can’t be worse than that.

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