I’m done watching Game of Thrones. This is not me telling you that I somehow got the final two episodes early, or that I’m a time-traveler. What I mean to say is that I’ve watched seventy-one full episodes of Game of Thrones, and I won’t be watching the last two. After a lot of careful reading of some other writers’ thoughts, reflection on what the show has meant to me over the past eight years, and ruminating on what the conclusion of the series would mean to me, I’ve come to a firm decision:
F**k this show.
But lest you think I’m just having an emotional reaction to this week’s episode (probably because of my period, amirite?), let’s delve into the reasons why this show can absolutely and thoroughly f**k itself
1) The Sexism. Clearly.
Game of Thrones has always had a sexism and racism issue. It’s been fully dedicated to making sure men are front and center both in front of and, curiously, behind the camera. They didn’t seem super excited to do any of the work required to actually present women or POC as fully developed characters, but, hey, Arya’s kinda badass, right? So why bail because of the sexism now?
— Dany being totally ignored even though she, her dragons, and armies just helped save all your asses.
— Tormund having the gall to talk up Jon flying a dragon, and Jon not saying a word in Dany’s favor.
— Dany having her closest (and only remaining) advisors turn on her in favor of a dude because he’s a man and more “level-headed.” *deepest of sighs*
— Dany, having lost a dragon, her oldest advisor, and her best friend within the span of a week is seen by the audience not as a woman dealing with a great deal of emotional turmoil (and a shitty, good-for-nothing boyfriend), but a Mad Queen on her way to destroying the world. Yeah, surprise! The internet made things worse.
And before anyone starts in about how hypocritical it is of me to care about the sexism now, just understand that this is a choice women make always. I mean, I’m a woman who exists on the Internet, and also, just, out in the world. If I want to consume almost any form of media, I’m going to have to deal with a certain level of sexism. It’s like the free cookie you get from KFC when all you really wanted was the chicken, mashed potatoes, and shame. What’s more important to understand is that the sexism used to be easier to deal with, but:
2) The Show Is Really Bad Now
This is just accepted, yes? The show has gotten demonstrably worse since season four? So even though we might have had to deal with a lot of rape and no female directors early on in the show, Tyrion was actually clever. And Arya and the Hound were doing fun travels. And the characters were acting in ways that were compatible with what we knew about them, and also in ways that were rational for alive human beings. Remember the Red Wedding? Yeah. Now, remember when Jon died? And how Jon dying didn’t feel the least bit compelling or surprising because we knew already that Kit Harrington had been signed for the next season? That might not be the showrunners’ fault, but the lackluster writing is. Davos would think to ask Melisandre if she can bring Jon back from the dead, but not, “Hey, where’s Shireen?” Does this Tweet feel absolutely right to you?
None of which really matters because:
3) The Ending Doesn’t Matter
So listen, I’ve been a bit of a jag for most of this post. That’s because I wrote that part yesterday, and now I’m writing this part today (writing is magic!). And while I stand by what Significantly-Angrier-Yesterday-Em wrote, I’m just not that raged out anymore (tips here). Instead, I’ve reached the sadness/acceptance stage of grief. So let’s reset with some mood music, shall we?
Hey, Game of Thrones, how’s it going? Good? Cool. I’m leaving you now. And I really just want you to know: It’s not me, it’s you. You let me down. You’re not the show I fell in love with, and you’re not the show I hoped you’d be. But that’s OK! Some of my favorite shows have broken my heart (Sherlock, I’m looking in your general direction). Endings are hard, dramas that go past five seasons are hard, and satisfying a fan base as diverse as this one is hard (you have both northeastern and northwestern white people to think about). I’m not taking this personally, and I hope you don’t either.
Because really, really when it comes down to it, the ending isn’t what matters. There aren’t a lot of classic TV shows where everyone agrees, “Yeah, it was horrible for 70 episodes, but then it really stuck the landing!” You’re more than your ending, and for forty glorious episodes, you were some of the best television I’d ever seen. I’ll remember our good times. But also, I am super hardcore bouncing because Barry is on now, and Barry is phenomenal. Don’t worry, I’m 90% sure he’s going to disappoint me, too.
Anyway, Game of Thrones, I wish you all the best that your remaining three hours of life can offer you. If you need anything, you should probably check with someone else because I’m totes gone.
Header Image Source: HBO