Three Reasons Why Game of Thrones is Overrated

Game of Thrones is Overrated

Game of Thrones is Overrated

Everyone’s jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon these days. It’s a geek’s dream come true because we finally have a serious attempt at transforming a well known fantasy series into a watchable TV show. Most shows end up doing a horrible job like the terrible “Legend of the Seeker” based on the Sword of Truth books. This is a trend. TV shows usually end up mauling the source material. So when geeks see a classy production closely following the Song of Ice and Fire book series, they go overboard praising it. And they’re right to do so. HBO makes awesome shows and it’s clear they’ve done Game of Thrones with a lot of love and respect for the source material.

Unfortunately none of that can make up for the shortcomings of the series itself. Warning: I’m not shy of giving away lots of spoilers, so read this at your own risk and peril. So here’s why the entire story line of Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire) sucks hard.

Good Guys ALWAYS Lose

I keep hearing how this series is a “breath of fresh air” where Martin isn’t afraid to kill off his main characters and that in “real life”, the good guys don’t always win etc etc. This is true. In real life, the bad guys win some and the good guys win some. Except that in Martin’s world, the good guys never win. Character after character bites the dust without gaining a victory. Ned, Robb, Catelyn, Bran…they all get shitty deals. All of them without exception betrayed. Even our darling Arya gets royally screwed.

And the baddies? While some shit happens to them, they’re essentially self goals. Joffrey gets his comeuppance not at the hands of any hero, but from within his own side. Cersei self destructs. Tywin gets it in the gut from his own son. In other words, revenge is tragically missing from the entire Game of Thrones series. All the good guys (and wolves too!) die horrible and humiliating deaths and the bad guys essentially slip down some stairs and break their neck. Like I said in “real life”, both goodies and baddies will have victories. But Martin is just a sadist.

I get the feeling that whenever Martin feels like his plot is losing its way or is in danger of being resolved, he just sits down and thinks “Hmm..this can’t happen. Let’s kill someone!” In other words, he uses the death of his characters as a substitute for plot development and for sheer shock value hoping that others will laud him for being “gritty” and “real”.

No New Engaging Characters

I wouldn’t mind Martin polishing off his characters if he comes up with new ones at the same rate with which they exit the stage. But he doesn’t. Instead, he gives us lame creatures like Davos who no one really cares for. And then he kills him too! So who the hell is left? Brienne?

So while the initial books were riveting for the sole reason that tragedy and betrayal abound, Martin pays the price for his carelessness by not having a plot to carry the story forward. No wonder he took five years to come out with “Dance with Dragons” and openly admitted that he was working on other stuff in the meantime. He didn’t know what to do with the story! He’d killed off or crippled every single person of interest to us on Westeros so what more was left?

Moral of the story: Don’t be so casual with your main characters. We were emotionally invested in them and you chose a single big payoff by disposing of them at the cost of future story lines. Congratulations. You now have colorless remains. I haven’t even bothered to pick up Dance with Dragons because I saw nothing in the previous book to interest me further. My wife started reading it, and gave up halfway. Too boring. Did anyone expect differently? When your main characters are missing it’s like trying to squeeze water out of a rock.

It’s not Real Fantasy

At the most, we can say that the series has a passing acquaintance with magic elements. A couple of dragon scenes and veiled references to “walkers” do not a fantasy make. I initially picked this up because I was told it was one of the best fantasy writings ever. The truth however is that it’s basically fictional history. The fantasy elements are kept down to a minimum or are even non existent. I felt pretty cheated.

So much potential. All wasted by lazy storytelling. The solution to the current hysteria is to have more good fantasy novels converted into TV series with the same attention to detail and production quality that HBO is showing the with Song of Ice and Fire series. Only then will we get a sense of perspective and finally stop mooning over Game of Thrones simply because it’s all we have to look forward to at the moment.

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  1. CZ says:

    I’ve been watching the 3rd series and to be fair, it is a bit better this time. There’s not so much boring stuff and the characters are stronger. The torturer is especially interesting and I hope there is some good reason (plot wise) for his sadism.
    I think part of my problem with G.O.T. is that it is not really a fantasy “adventure”. The plot has to move slowly because the series is so long. And to be fair, there is a lot of time spent developing the characters. Some of them are interesting (mainly the ones in king’s landing) and some of them are a bit dull but there are simply SO MANY characters.
    In terms of the action, there isn’t that much, because clearly they cant afford to spend that much on stuntmen and CGI. The times they do have it, it is not bad. The scene where the wildlings climb up the wall is actually very good, but after it the tension disappears and they are back to the normal walking and talking.
    Other things that are a bit silly- 1. The blong girl goes from city to city in the hot desert, but the inhabitants dont seem to be arabs, but a funny mix of americans, brits, some arabic people and some black guys. It all seems a bit fake and hard to stomach as they put on silly costumes and try to pretend they are from some desert nation. 2. The White Walkers and the dragons are not even slightly scary! They need to take a look at the Alien movies and work out how to make monsters a bit more scary. Ideally they should spend a whole episode in the snow, and kill off a few of the characters in a creepy way

  2. James says:

    I have seen all three seasons of GoT and am currently finishing up Dance of Dragons, and the work HBO has put into this series is simply fantastic. There are hardly any deviations from the original books to the shows. It seems to me, however, that you have no issue with the production, but it is the novels that you critique.

    First of all, the good guys do not ALWAYS lose. As a matter of fact, who are the good guys? The Starks? Targaryens? Lannisters? There was never any point where GRRM said these guys are good and these guys are bad. That is for the reader to decide. Some want to see Daenerys upon the Iron Throne, while others may think Stannis to have the best claim. There have been plenty of deaths on every side, it is a war after all.

    Now as a result of all the inevitable deaths, the amount of characters will of course dominish. I agree that it would be nice to add more main characters as previous ones die, but you can’t exactly conjure up someone out of midair and throw them into a plot insisting that this person is important. Adding new characters means adding new plots which ASOIAF has no shortage of.

    Now as to the series being try fantasy, I don’t see why it would be considered anything else. You can’t expect the focus to be completely on the dragons. They are newborns no bigger than dogs throughout most of the series, there’s not much they can really do. Also they are not “walkers” don’t confuse them with Walking Dead zombies. The Others are an intelligent species of their own. GRRM said to think of them as a type of elf. The Wights are zombies though. Reanimated dead. Also let us not forget things like Mellisandre or the Faceless Men or Wildfire. Fantasy has played a huge part in the series, some of it more behind the scenes, and sometimes as a main plot.

    Also, in regards to the comment proceeding mine, the “blonde girl” in question is Daenerys Targaryen. You should at least know the names of the people you refer to, otherwise your statements aren’t very credible. And I see no reason why all people living in the desert must be Arab. Keep in mind this isn’t taking place on Earth so nationalities are completely irrelevant. And the purpose of dragons and the Others is not to be scary. The Others have a certain sort of beauty to them, when you take the time to appreciate it. And dragons are dragons… They might not look scary but they can melt your flesh.

    • Hrishi says:

      Starks are clearly the good guys.

      • EricE says:

        What about Tyrion, Dany, Davos, Samwell, Brienne,? If you have read the books, are The Martells good or evil, what about Connington and Aegon? The distinction between good and evil is blurred by shades of grey in GRRM’s world. “Bad guys” have redeeming qualities and “good guys” do not always make the best choices. While the Starks are generally “Good guys” they are also rigid, inflexible, and prone to make stupid choices. “The Starks, quick tempers, slow minds” could not be more accurate and they pay the price for this flaw in a very harsh and unforgiving world. We don’t even know the history of the Others (white walkers), while what they do seems evil to us, they could easily be the remnants of a society that was wrongly destroyed and is seeking revenge on its destroyers (that’s speculation, but in GRRM’s world I would not be surprised if this was the case). The main character of A Song of Ice and Fire is the story itself and I personally cant wait to see this characters development.

    • Leslie says:

      I agree with you, James, on all points. Very well expressed.

    • Jared Townsend says:

      Great reply. Took the words right out of my mouth. I would only add that, in addition to not truly knowing which characters fall squarely into the “good” or “bad” category (if they even fall into either), we don’t even know the true nature of the supernatural forces guiding the characters. The “One True” God of Light, the Seven, the Old gods, etc. Also, the use of fantasy can be just as much a substitute for plot as the persistence (or lacktherof) of characters. When it comes to those characters who get axed in the series, i would say it’s less about who is “good” and more about who is unable to bend and adapt. Tyrion and Lord Balish being the ultimate conformers to a given situation and Ned being the as bendable as a sheet of glass.

  3. Hrishi says:

    I agree that it shouldn’t be categorized as a fantasy series.. It is actually a political thriller, with elements of fantasy in it.

    • Chris M says:

      So it’s a fantasy series that’s also about politics. Therefore it’s not a fantasy series. Even though it has Dragons, magic, a man who comes back from the dead repeatedly, warlocks, an ancient evil kept out of the kingdoms by a huge, enchanted wall built thousands of years ago, giants, people seeing into the future, people inhabiting animals and spell forged steel. Good thing that it’s got “elements of fantasy ” to it! Are you kidding me? You don’t like it because it doesn’t fit a very formulaic idea of what constitutes’ “Fantasy” . Maybe it needs more Magic missile spells!

  4. Big Dick Anderson of Oregon says:

    HBO is ruining the series, and, I wish GRRM never agreed to let it happen. He needs to write, not let HBO massacre major subplots like Arya hating Melisandre? What book is that from? I’ll answer that” no book. burp.

  5. Brian says:

    Davos isn’t dead. One of many holes in this ridiculous trollfest.

  6. Ek says:

    Who is writing these articles? Each new one is more horrendous than the last. What kind of illiterate jackass argues a point such as “it’s not real fantasy”… Are you aware of what the fantasy genre entails? Clearly you should pick up a dictionary prior to writing anymore of this filth. I especially enjoyed the one about “5 reasons you won’t tip a waiter”.

  7. Jbxdavis says:

    Man, your article about not tipping was bad enough, but if you wanna come at Game of Thrones there’s something deeply disturbing about you. I don’t know if this whole thing is a troll account, but if it’s not, you’re an asshole who’s as close-minded as the people you berate.

    • Serpentor says:

      Someone’s a close minded asshole for stating an opinion? Hypocrite projection much? Typical fanboy loser.

  8. Jordan Mumford says:

    If I’m honest it doesn’t sound like you’ve read the books at all. Firstly Davos isnt dead, you think that leads me to assume you’ve only watched the first two series and read about what happens online or something. There is a huge amount of depth with characters like Brienne, Martin discusses bullying, body image and gender stereotyping through her struggles and sweet personality. There is a large magical element in the series if you read past book two/three and get into a string of prophecies and magical characters. Its called creating tension, a fundamental aspect of writing. Yes Martin kills alot of characters and alot good but that IS reality, in the situation of the first four books the bad guys are winning because they are cleverer but things change in the latter books. Plus Martin is constantly making us ask the question of what is good and evil. You don’t like Game of Thrones thats fair enough (I personally prefer the books to the show) but at least make sure you know the content well enough and back it up with valid points.

  9. LordAskean says:

    You’re telling me a world where giants exist, dragons are real, and a woman can give birth to a man made of darkness is not fantasy? I must’ve been born under a rock.

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