Here’s part 2 of my extended Game of Thrones rant. Enjoy!
P.S. Fair Warning, part 3 is gonna take a while to finish.
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oh no George still hasn't come out with the next game of Thrones book what are we going to do I know let's make only eight seasons and then cut the final one in half so we have even fewer episodes to write a properly satisfying conclusion brilliant that sounds perfect get right on it boys I'm sure this is all gonna turn out perfect off the top of your head what's one of the main things that you personally tune in to watch Game of Thrones for be honest with yourself it's the characters Game of Thrones has some of the most memorable interesting layered and engaging characters that I or anyone has ever seen in fantasy fiction or fiction in general another terrible trap that the show fell into over time was compromising the personalities and intelligence of its characters and this is something that started well before the final season in my opinion pretty much since season 5 the characters have slowly become less and less engaging whether by having the life and personality sucked out of them or simply by acting like complete and utter morons just take the dawn subplots in seasons five and six which pretty much everybody that I've spoken to about the subject hated I personally didn't love it as much as anyone else aside from the fact that the book handled it a lot better until the sand snakes went and slaughtered the surviving members of house Martell oh yeah were totally going to avenge the deaths of Oberyn and Elia Martell by killing the only two Martel's in the world essentially bringing their house to the brink of extinction that makes sense this is just one example of the kind of character butchering that I'm talking about having characters make decisions that are this stupid this poorly thought-out just speaks to the slow degradation of the writing as the show progressed and this example is just with characters that we don't really care all that much about we haven't even gotten to the assassination of counters that we've known since the first season just take the most blatant example with tyrion tyrion lanister the tactician the strategist the political mastermind the single smartest character in the whole show Jews to a fairly unimportant side character who stands by and watches as everyone else goes around burning the entire country to the ground nice Tyrion was practically the de facto main character of the whole show I mean his intelligence and playful personality was what propelled a lot of the earlier seasons forward and to see him be reduced to such a forgettable unimportant role in the later seasons was just tragic let's just compare and contrast in seasons 1 through 5 he manipulates his way out of execution in the Eyrie thereby winning a very talented cell sword to his side wins the allegiance of the hill tribes to his cause and uses them to help his father win a battle against the Northman his named hand of the king in his father's absence tricks pycelle into revealing his allegiance to Cersei discovers a secret supply of wildfire being brewed by pyromancers figures out Stannis's plans for attacking King's Landing engineers a brilliant plan to use the Wildfire to cripple Stannis's army manages to motivate the entire Lannister army even when all hope is lost and their king has abandoned them and even leads them into a final charge against their enemy and survives a severe slash across the face delivered by one of his own presumed allies engine is a way of keeping his position in government secure even though everyone wants him dead sides with Varys and Windsor position as Daenerys advisor using nothing but his power with words and even does a half decent job at keeping a handle on things while Daenerys is burning cows alive now compare this to season 7 through 8 Tyrion he is repeatedly outwitted by Cersei someone that he has always prided himself on being a lot smarter than and has proved that on several occasions engine is one of the dumbest plans in Westeros history by sending the king in the north over the wall and endangering his life just to bring back one single zombie from an army of the bloody things tells the nurse that she can trust his duplicitous backstabbing sisters word that she'll send reinforcements to fight the White Walkers continues to hope against hope by standing by Daenerys aside even after she demonstrates her ruthlessness and disregard for people multiple times rats on his best friend and confidant after he rightly makes the assessment that John might make for a better ruler completely forgets about Euron's iron fleet and to top it all off comes up with the dumbest most illogical and baffling excuse as to why bran Stark is the perfect candidate to rule the six kingdoms that is giving the middle finger to one of the greatest characters in fantasy and television history there's no other way to put it than that and then those Queen Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen first of her name queen of the Andals the rightful queen of the Seven oh no wait sorry six kingdoms and protector of the realm unless it's King's Landing Khaleesi of the great grass sea the unburnt Aaronic title considering what she did breaker of backs owner wait sorry I mean chains and mother of dragons singular oh and mass murderer power-hungry delusional nutjob and the one person who killed Game of Thrones completely and utterly in the span of one episode the butchering of Daenerys his character in the final season was the straw that broke the camel's back in the span of one episode the writers managed to irredeemably eradicate everything that made the show great simply by virtue of what they do with this one character Daenerys Targaryen has always been a bit divisive among the fanbase some people like her other people think that she's boring and lifeless I myself have always been on her side in some way shape or form even during some of her shall we say dodgy Oh moments but the season 8 episode titled the Belles is almost impressive in how dedicated it is to fucking this character into the dirt Daenerys has demonstrated her sympathy in consideration for the common people multiple times over the course of the show I mean she literally crucified a bunch of slavers and Lords for the sake of the people that they had put into bondage her main supporters have always been the common people and more importantly no event happens in the course of the show that changes that sense of Allegiance if a character is going to have a sudden inexplicable change of morals there needs to be a sufficiently believable reason why it is happening this ties back in again with my point on the sense of realism you can have as many dragons and fights and explosive deaths as you want as long as the character motivations are solid and believable and realistic Daenerys is motivations for suddenly roasting King's Landing are never explored make no sense and completely clash with everything that she has been up to that point it's just as bad if not worse than Tyrians character switch because it just comes out of nowhere and it's the exact opposite of the person that we've gotten so attached to for so long and this kind of character butchering goes for pretty much everyone in the final season bran and Sansa are given nothing to do Cersei spends the whole time staring out of a window because it was such a cool shot in the season six finale that we've just got to use it again a hundred times in the final season Jaime seven season arc comes to a shuddering halt when he suddenly decides out of nowhere he's gonna go crawl back into his sister / lovers arms for no apparent reason Arya's only contribution is to stab and kill the night king an enemy that she has never met or seen before so this conclusion makes really no sense from a character perspective even Jon Snow the guy whom the show has been building around for the last little while what does he do in the last season now really think about it he's not the one who kills the night king he's not the one who defeats Cersei he's not the one who restores his house or brings peace to the realm he's not the one who becomes king his biggest contribution is to underhandedly slide a knife into Daenerys his stomach when she's not looking Wow you've spent something like eight nine years building up this guy who's the son of a Targaryen and a stark and you give him jack shit to do in the final season that's just great the characters and their interpersonal conflicts have always been the main reason people watch Game of Thrones we aren't as interested in the big battles as we are in the characters who are fighting them what's Rob gonna do next what's Tyrians plans for dealing with this big catastrophe well Jon make it out of this recent betrayal alive by sucking the life and personality out of the characters Weiss and Benny off essentially shot themselves and the show in the foot because they killed yet another thing that made the show so great for so many people I mean knocking down one pillow that was holding the show aloft that being the sense of realism that was bad enough but if you go ahead and knocked out a second foundational pillar that being the integrity of the characters are you really gonna act surprised when the whole thing comes crashing down to the ground set up and pay off are two fundamental principles of film and television writing in both plotting and character the basic principle goes like this some elements is introduced in the plot or some desire or need is introduced in a character it can really be anything you like and can come into play at any time during the narrative it could be say Bruce Wayne seeking feast or it could be a new serial killer is out and about cutting up hookers in Miami or it could be some great and terrible threat to the safety of the world or the security of our characters the most important thing is that a plot point or a character trait is introduced in the story number two said plot point or character trait is developed as the story goes on again this can take a variety of forms in the narrative there are many different ways that a plot point could develop after all and depending on the importance of the elements in the narrative it can receive as much or as little development as is needed for the story to remain fresh and engaging for instance in Lord of the Rings the plot point of get the ring out of the Shire is resolved about half way through the film the initial driving force behind our main characters journey is concluded and replaced with another far larger quest whereas in something like say season four of Dexter the whole plot from beginning to end is quite simply stop the Trinity Killer and while our main characters personal motivations shift from episode to episode that is still the overarching plot throughout the whole of the fourth season resolve whatever plot point that you have set up audiences crave narrative satisfactions so make sure that whatever element or elements that you've introduced in the story all the characters get some kind of a satisfying resolution again this rule can be subverted in a variety of ways something Game of Thrones did very well at the earlier seasons the war of five Kings does end in tragedy but there's no rule to say that the resolution to a plot point has to be a positive one it just has to make sense and make for an engaging narrative and that is your basic description of setup and payoff it applies to characters it applies to plot and it pretty much applies to every important aspect of your story setup development pay off set up development pay off set up development pay off etc etc keep to those rules and you have yourself a pretty solid story structure or you could just do what Game of Thrones did and throw the whole thing out of the window another major issue of the later seasons particularly the last one was that there was very little actual payoff for a lot of plot points that were set up in the earlier seasons or the payoffs that they did give were to plot points that weren't properly set up or resolutions that weren't at all satisfying take one of the most obvious ones brand being crowned king of Westeros when was this ever given any set up in any of the earlier seasons it wasn't which makes this a really unsatisfying resolution to one of the biggest questions of the show that being who's gonna end up ruling Westeros because it was given absolutely no setup it got the third rule of setup and pay off right that being resolved established plot points but it completely breezed over rules one and two that being the introduction and development of said plot point the resolution came before the plot point was even introduced there's nothing in the world more powerful than a good story nothing can stop it no enemy can defeat it and who has a better story and brand the broken so the guy who was born a bastard rose to become the Lord Commander of the Nights Watch literally died and came back to life became King in the north brought together the greatest coalition army in the history of Westeros to fight an apocalyptic army of the Dead turns out to be the actual heir to the throne and then killed the love of life for the good of the realm doesn't have a good story the woman who began her arc as a naive fair maiden injures terrible physical and psychological torture at the hands of some of the worst people Westeros has ever seen learns the art of political scheming manipulation strategy warfare and governance she doesn't have a good story no one else sitting at this little council has a better story than brand the fucking boringly broken the character who was so insignificant to the overall plot that they completely cut him out of one of the seasons he's the guy you say should be king and then we finally come back to Daenerys is turned to the dark side and subsequent death which was likewise an unsatisfying resolution in the grand scheme of the show now in fairness this was a plot point that was introduced and hinted outright from season 1 Daenerys his father and brother both exhibited signs of mental instability and both had cruel and manic reputations as such the seed was planted very early on that Daenerys may yet become every bit as despotic and insane as everyone else in her family but here's the problem this plot point was introduced set up and eventually resolved pay off but given nowhere near enough development which ultimately made the final payoff pretty underwhelming a lot of us were hoping to see Daenerys here over the people begin to slip down the rabbit hole of insanity that her father fell into to see this good righteous Queen become every bit as monstrous and villainous as her adversaries a resolution like that would keep in line with the themes of the show and the simple message of power corrupts absolute power corrupts absolutely in concept it made sense but as is so often the case the failure lay in the execution no bun intended we needed to see more of a gradual decline of her character to see her slowly fall from grace instead of randomly turning to the dark side on a dime and slaughtering countless innocent men women and children for no reason other van she's pissed this change felt so sudden and out of place because it wasn't given any proper development a crucial part of storytelling is building on the foundations of a plot point that you've already put in place but with Daenerys has turned to the dark side there was no build-up there was no development she goes from I am NOT here to be queen of the ashes to then there's the problem of having a ton of setup a fair bit of development but damn near no solid payoff the final season had a lot of that the White Walkers and defeating the night king the antagonism between the Greyjoy's Jaime's character development then there was the whole thing with John's lineage which was one of the biggest build ups and set ups in the whole series that eventually received absolutely zero payoff by the end at least with Daenerys his character there was an attempt to pay off her character arc it may not have been a good one but it was at least an attempt with John though there is absolutely no payoff with him being a partial Targaryen it doesn't alter his character arc in any way it doesn't tie into where he eventually ends up with him going beyond the wall it's just a facts about him that is revealed that has no effect on either the plot or his character whatsoever and this was meant to be one of the big twists of the whole show Weiss and Benioff literally had to guess the identity of Jon Snow's mother in order to make this whole thing happen and the way that they incorporate it into the plot is by not incorporating it honestly the list of setups that got no payoff by the final season could take up a whole video in and of itself the prince that was promised the prophecy that that Crone in the woods gave Cersei is a child Jaime's whole relationship with Brienne Gendry being legitimized as a Baratheon in his relationship with Arya the whole brand walking time-travel thing everything to do with Dawn Cersei becoming pregnant and owing the iron bank a ton of money the fact that she you know blew up the Sept of Baelor and nobody in King's Landing seems to care while there were plenty of setups that got some kind of payoff most of what the show was building up to barely even got mentioned by the final episode it's one of the most common errors TV shows end up making they setup so much material that by the finale very little of it ends up getting resolved or if it does the resolution isn't all that satisfying for the audience setup and payoff are two of the most basic plot devices any story can have be it a movie a show a book or game if something is set up it has to have a resolution of some kind it can't just be forgotten about as if it doesn't matter and you can't just throw in payoffs the things that were not so much as alluded to just for the sake of wrapping everything up as quickly as possible and if you're going to set up a specific plot point you can't just have a payoff that had no development in between point a and point B you have to show a progression of getting from one point to another in order to have that plot point be satisfying and engaging these are the basic rules of story structure and was apparently something that Game of Thrones completely forgot about by the final season I've always been a pretty big TV fan when I was a kid I binge watch shows like Doctor Who Dexter's supernatural True Blood The Sopranos lost and many many others not all of them I should have been watching when I was a kid in hindsight and now I have gotten through Game of Thrones one of the biggest most popular and most expensive and financially successful shows ever made and you want another thing that all of those shows that I mentioned have in common they all ended terribly either that or they just kept on going and going to the point where we're just praying that they do come to an end now I'm not going to be a completely cold-hearted monster and say that it would have been easy to make a good ending to any of these shows Game of Thrones in particular writing isn't easy especially for television keeping up enough passion and dedication to make your characters engaging and your story fresh for years and years can be a Herculean task but the number of times I've watched a show grown attached to the characters become enthralled with the plot and the story only to have it all come crumbling down and have the rug pulled out from under me it's just too many to count hence why this latest example with Game of Thrones is especially disheartening I mean this is Game of Thrones we're talking about it has some of the richest and most engaging characters ever put to screen or page the fictional world that george RR martin created to house these characters as one of the most detailed and intricate ones out there it's a story which requires a special amount of effort to get sucked into because it is just so related and thick with law and history and character so to spend something like eight or nine years almost the full decade watching the characters grow and evolve learning more and more about the history of Westeros feeling as invested in the world as if I actually live there and have the whole thing culminate with this the writing in the earlier seasons was incredible and rightly recognized as some of the best television ever made and while that is still the case there is some terrible awful part of me that recognizes that I won't be able to watch it with the same appreciation and enjoyment as I could before the final season aired the final few seasons have now tainted my enjoyment of everything which preceded them how can I enjoy Tyrion and Varys as plotting in season two and knowing that this is where they're eventually gonna end up or the reveal of Jon Snow's true parentage how am I meant to really get sucked into that when I know that it won't have any satisfying resolution how can I get invested in who's going to be the king or queen of Westeros when I know that this is the schmuck that are eventually going to land all I know I'll be able to find some enjoyment in the earliest seasons even after this rubbish finale but it'll be in a sadder more nostalgic way from now on like I'll constantly be thinking about what might so easily have been and that'll be the subject of my next video bye bye [Laughter] [Laughter]