Posts tagged with: Game of Thrones

Endings and Fan Ownership

Ever since the finale of Game of Thrones (and to a lesser extent Avengers: Endgame), I’ve been thinking about endings.  About what makes a satisfying one – and also whether it is even possible for a franchise that built itself around the shocking and unexpected to have a satisfying ending. 

See, here’s the thing.  To me, what made Game of Thrones so compelling, what had people talking about it so much that you HAD to watch it live or you risked spoilers, was not the fact that it was perfect or satisfying.  It was the unanswered questions everyone was speculating about – and the fact that it flew straight in the face of what the “rules” of the genre said would happen.  When Ned Stark lost his head and the Red Wedding decimated the cast, the viewers (at least those who hadn’t read the books) were stunned.  People couldn’t stop talking about it because characters we loved weren’t safe.  Anything could happen.  Those were the new rules.  And so the bar had been raised.  Anything had to happen, because we were no longer satisfied with the expected.  But when you build a story around shock value, breaking conventions, and unanswered questions, how can you possibly craft an emotionally satisfying ending?  Those are two completely different skill sets.

What I Learned About Storytelling from Game of Thrones

I’d like to put this out there right now.  I am NOT cool. I’ve often longed to be cool, but after 40 years on this planet, I recognize that if I do something that seems cool, it probably started out as someone else’s idea, or it was an accident. And so it goes with my recent obsession with Game of Thrones – the HBO TV show.  My husband put the first disc in his Netflix queue and I happened to be in the living room when he popped it in the DVD player. However, the reason we watched the whole disk and then haunted the mailbox until the second disk showed up was that it is so, sooooo good.  And also, fortunately, we discovered we can watch it with HBO-Go, so now we don’t have to maul the mailman every third day, for which he and the USPS are very grateful.

With the first episode in Season 3 to air this weekend, I feel like one of the “cool kids” because I know what all the hype is about and I share in the excitement – and not just because there are suddenly all sorts of random commercials with baby dragons.

In case you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, (In the words of Inigo Montoya) “Let me esplain… No. There is no time… Let me sum up.” Game of Thrones the TV show is based on a fantasy series by George R.R. Martin called A Song of Fire and Ice (which, for the record, I have not read.  All observations are based entirely on the TV Show). The series  takes place in a medieval-fantasy/alternate-reality universe that’s filled with a crazy amount of intrigue and so many twists and turns you need a deep breath and an elephant tranquilizer after every episode. (If you want more details than that, you can check out HBO’s Game of Thrones website.)

So here’s what I have learned about compelling storytelling from Game of Thrones. (Note, if you have not seen the series, Spoilers will be given below. Stop reading if this will upset you.  You have been warned.)

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