I have seen every single episode of Game of Thrones. I began watching when it was in season 2 and have since watched every episode within a week or two of its release. I even watched Alt Shift X videos on YouTube to understand it better and prognosticate about The Theories. Well, I’ve had a week to think about the final season’s third episode and now I see that I was sold down the river for a sock full of pennies.
The Night King was a mythical character we knew little about. He was a First Man and was stabbed with dragonglass by a Child of the Forest named Leaf, turning him into the first White Walker. From the Wiki: “thousands of years later, Leaf tells Bran Stark that her people created the White Walkers to defend themselves when Westeros was invaded by the First Men, who were cutting their sacred trees down and slaughtering the Children of the Forest.” That backstory took on a real Guns, Germs, and Steel vibe.
Anyway, fast forward to episode three of the final season, the Night King is approximately 10,000 years old and represents the darkest, deepest fear anyone could possibly conjure. His task is to consume all light and bring about the never-ending night. He wants to take revenge against the people who made him and erase every form of life from the planet.
An ice wall hundreds of feet tall was built and kept erect with magic to keep the Night King away from the masses. He has at least a dozen White Walker guards who possess great powers and can manipulate ice and cold at their whim. The Night King turns babies into White Walkers and raises the dead to fight for his army of wights, for which he’s gathered at least 100,000 bodies. He is able to raise one of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons from the dead and can ride it as well, a skill only those with Valyrian blood are supposed to be able to execute. With this dragon’s fire, he destroys the massive impediment keeping him from moving south and marches his army toward the living.
For EIGHT YEARS we have been led to believe that the Night King and his minions are the walking manifestations of Death. They are bringing about the apocalypse and several disparate nations put centuries of war behind them to fight these beasts knowing that only with total cooperation would they stand a chance in surviving the onslaught of the White Walkers.
How is this concluded? Oh, the FIVE FOOT TALL, 90 POUND GIRL SOMEHOW RUNS PAST AN ARMY OF WIGHTS AND THE WHITE WALKER BODYGUARDS IN A WIDE-OPEN AREA OF THE FOREST AND JUST STABS THE NIGHT KING WITH A DRAGONGLASS DAGGER. YUP. THE END. EVERY SINGLE WIGHT AND WHITE WALKER IS GONE. NOT A WORD WITH BRAN. NO DISCUSSION OF WHY – ABOUT ANYTHING AT ALL. THE MOST TERRIFYING VILLAIN IN RECENT MEMORY WAS REDUCED TO A PLOT DEVICE FOR ARYA TO BE A KICK-ASS WOMAN AND BEAT UP THESE ARMIES SO CERSEI STANDS A CHANCE IN KEEPING THE THRONE. THAT’S IT. FINITO.
The worst part is, millions of people think it’s badass. Episode three got 17.8 million viewers (an absurd number for a premium cable channel that requires a subscription) and I’m sure the ratings will hardly take a dip before the finale shatters every HBO record. I wasn’t mad in the moment, partially because of the shock, but as I’ve had time to digest this travesty I see how terrible it is. This show masquerades as high-brow fantasy for people to pretend they aren’t watching the adult equivalent of cartoons. The whole damn thing is CGI, so it’s basically a cartoon. Shut up. It was sold to us as diplomatic chess with dire consequences. I mean, they lopped off Ned Stark’s head in the first season. This was a show that brutally murdered every character who made even the slightest mistake in strategy.
Alas, I was duped. The show continued with a bit of the old stuff in seasons 5 & 6, although not anywhere near the level of the first couple seasons (I won’t even get into the injection of modern politics, even though Arya murdering the Night King is obviously in this category). I let David Benioff and D.B. Weiss pull me along in a little red wagon, only to find out they were leading me off a cliff. And if the Reader has ever watched the little shorts after the episodes with the writers, it makes it all the worse. They’re so serious and speak with such gravity, as if they hold the fate of the world in their hands. And, well, they hold the fate of the entertainment world in their hands for the time being. But, they absolutely screwed it up.
While the show has undoubtedly decreased in quality since the early seasons, this is an utter betrayal of the fandom. This is what happens when the source material is purchased with hundreds of millions of dollars by massive studio enterprises (see: Star Wars). You are supposed to continue to lap this stuff up as if it is merely an extension of the original content, not a product that was purchased, rewritten, and remolded by a corporation. Consume product, shut up, consume next product. And smile, will ya? Benioff and Weiss thoroughly shat the bed and deserve our scorn. I’m not going to say that what happened to the Night King should happen to each of them, but I would not bat an eye if I watched either of them get this treatment, preferably on live television. Allegedly.