It’s official – Game of Thrones is the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread.
It has more blood and guts than American Horror Story, more familial rivalries than The Sopranos and more zombie legions than The Walking Dead. It has more flashes of sideboob than Eurotrash and such a fondness for our favourite word it might as well be called Game of Cunts.
It’s also high time to put it out of its misery.
The HBO phenomenon has dominated TV listings over the past six years, and rightfully so. Criticisms have been levelled at the show for its tendency to show pretty young things in the nip with little to no pretext, but the writers have managed to maintain audience interest over seven seasons – or more than 70 hours of television – which is certainly no mean feat. George R R Martin seems to enjoy wrong-footing his audience just as much as he does chopping off people’s heads and immolating them, often killing off characters just after you’ve fallen in love with them.
But though ropey writing hasn’t been unheard of in previous seasons, things have stepped up to a whole new level with the latest one. It’s almost as though the writers have realised that the show’s best trick is hoodwinking its audience and have decided to pursue that agenda at the expense of all semblance of credibility.
You might argue that one should disbend their susbelief when tuning in to a TV show containing dragons, giants, wargs and White Walkers, but surely there’s got to be a limit. Westeros might be a brutal, blood-stained fantasy land with more make-believe goings-on than the US President’s press office, but until now we’ve been led to believe that (most of) its inhabitants are card-carrying members of the human race, whose emotions and reactions are ultimately relatable to our own. Their motives, though often dubious and frequently despicable, are at least always identifiable and intelligible.
Then Jon Snow and his Survivor Series tag team of misfits and fuck-ups set off on a jolly expedition north of the Wall. Apparently a crude plot device to keep the show from petering out, Operation Get Cersei Onside made zero sense from the get-go and only proceeded to descend into further hogwashery as the season unfolded. Sansa and Arya’s theatrical fall-out was a similarly contrived piece of scriptwriting, while Cersei’s pretence at a position of strength when facing down the nostrils of two fire-breathing behemoths was impressive posturing, but ultimately came off as more audacious and less credible than the UK’s approach to Brexit negotiations.
Once the TV series had overtaken the books in their thematic content, such a drop-off in quality was always on the cards, though turning its back entirely on reality has still come as quite a shock. It’s almost as if the show started off as a pleasant trundle round a safari park, before the driver fell asleep at the wheel with the rest of the passengers either intoxicated, imbecilic or unable to reach the pedals. Instead of calling for the ranger and postponing the rest of the tour until the man at the wheel regains consciousness, the tourists have opened the doors and scattered about the park to be torn to pieces by yawning lions, showered with faeces over by the monkey enclosure, and probably something to do with a dragon. Of course a dragon.
So, what to do with this bus wreck of a show? Despite its increasingly alarming behaviour, the show has fostered such a following that the final season is likely to break even more records than before. It resembles the beloved family dog who has always been a little bit on the wacky side – chasing his tail, bringing home various forms of roadkill, pooing in the fireplace and shagging the fridge – but who’s really gone off-kilter of late. Now he’s positively rabid, foaming at the mouth and in danger of mauling the vicar every time he’s let out of the house.
Surely it’s kinder to put the bugger to sleep. You might want to squeeze every last drop of life out of him for your own benefit, but it’s clear at this point that he hates you and is making no secret of it as he confusedly circles a pile of his own excrement like it’s a bowl of brown.
Forget about the existence of the Iron Throne altogether. Eternal Sunshine of the Starkless Mind. But if you really must watch the show limp towards its predictably incoherent conclusion, just be prepared to not only disbend your susbelief, but kick it in the cunt on the way out the door.