Spoiler Alert: massive Game of Thrones spoilers ahead.
They killed the wrong dragon.
Here’s the deal. As we’ve gotten farther and farther into Game of Thrones this season its clear to me that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are just making this stuff up as they go along, and as a result, the show is drifting farther and farther away from what made it great in the first place. The last episode, Beyond the Wall is a clear example of this.
First, don’t get me wrong, I know that the show is ahead of the books and there’s zero chance the books will ever catch up. And I could accept this, comforted by the fact that the HBO writers were still working off of George’s outlines and under his guidance.
For instance, at the end of The Door, in the interviews they do with the writers, they referenced a meeting with George where he told them about Hodor’s final stand. This was a good thing. It told me that, even though the show was ahead of the books, it was grounded in the same canon and stewardship.
Fast forward to Beyond the Wall.
In the post-show interview, we have Benioff and Weiss explaining how they had to devise a way for Jon and his crew to survive, surrounded by an army of the walking dead, which led to the writers concocting the island in the middle of a frozen lake.
So now we know. We know that the writers are working from the thinnest of plot outlines, to the point that they’re constructing entire scenes and situations completely on their own, and the show and story are suffering as a result.
Take Thoros for instance. Mauled by a bear, on the brink of death, Beric touches him with his flaming sword, and Thoros walks another 3 miles in the snow just to die of exposure.
Contrast that to Hodor and the end of The Door where Hodor’s final stand is a crash of emotions; sadness, loss, pride, anger, all intensified by the simultaneous revelation of how he became Hodor in the first place.
It felt like something. Thoros just dies on the ground. What a wasted opportunity.
The same goes for Benjen. “Here, Jon, take my horse. I’ll swing my flaming ball a few times and go down without a fight.”. Seriously? We haven’t seen this guy in ages and he just goes out with a whimper?
Which brings me to Viserion. As New Rockstars explains in their ep 7 breakdown, in the books Viserion is characterized as the most loving and attached of the three dragons; the “baby” if you will. In the show we barely see him, so the loss just feels shallow and like the writers are merely the “ok, we gave the Night King a dragon” box.
I remember when I first started watching Game of Thrones it was so exciting because no one was safe; anyone could be killed at a moment’s notice. Now that suspense is gone. If they really wanted to do something right, they should have killed Drogon.
Nobody would have seen that coming. It would have dealt a real blow to Daeny and given the Night King a real edge. Not only would he have a dragon, he’d have the biggest one, and the one Daeny was closest to. It would have been a great, “oh, shit, I did not see that coming!” moment, like the ones that put the show on the map in the first place.
But nope, instead we get more shallow moments as the show continues its slide into mediocrity.
If the show wants to get back on track, they need to put the fear back in the viewer’s mind. Give us back the unexpected. Jamie losing a hand, Ed losing his head. Give us something that makes us think we can’t figure it all out in the first five minutes.