In the beginning, there were Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss, two men eager to turn George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire into an epic TV show. They won over the author with their answer to the question “Who is Jon Snow’s mother?” and sold the concept to HBO.
It was intended for each novel (of which there were four at the time) to create content for a season’s worth of episodes. And it started well. A Game of Thrones was turned into Game of Thrones‘ first season, and was met with high ratings and critical acclaim.
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But the seasons kept coming, and they didn’t stop coming. They fed to the rules and Martin hit the ground running. Slowly but surely, the showrunners (dubbed D&D) grew drunk on power. Drifting further and further away from Martin’s source material, the duo created a world almost unrecognisable by the fifth season.
Sansa Stark’s trauma was deemed not enough, and fans were forced to watch her become a pathetic pawn trapped in the only place she felt safe, raped and abused for the furthering of Theon Greyjoy’s manpain. (Because he didn’t suffer enough, either.)
Tyrion Lannister was no longer a morally grey, often unlikeable character, but the hero of the show, spouting monotonous wisdom through lines I’m sure D&D high-fived each other about in the jacuzzi they use to write.
And this is all before considering the Martells, the only powerful non-white family in the novels, having their empowering story ripped to shreds. Or even season three closing on white saviour Daenerys Targaryen rather than the epic Lady Stoneheart.
And now, D&D are just over a month away from the second season they wrote without source material to back them up. The trailer, released Wednesday, promises a season of more action, sex and suspense than ever before — but it also promises shallower characters and straightforward plot.
The Daenerys Targaryen from A Song of Ice and Fire was young, and frightened, and worried of what her heritage meant. She knows her father’s history of madness, and knows others are worried about it too. The Daenerys in this trailer is empowered, unworried, and declaring that she “was born to rule the Seven Kingdoms.”
Game of Thrones’ latest trailer promises a season of more action, sex and suspense than ever before, but shallower characters and straightforward plot
Homegirl hasn’t set foot in Westeros since she was a toddler. She doesn’t even know about the threat of white walkers yet. But the show doesn’t allow its poster child a second of fallibility or doubt. Daenerys is a force. She’s more of an excuse to pretend Game of Thrones promotes feminism than an actual human being.
The trailer promises many a battle, but few subtleties.
One of the reasons A Song of Ice and Fire has attained a cult following for so long is that it is so complex anyone you meet could be hiding something massive. But D&D have painted the show with one brush stroke, and there is little room for surprise. No one is questioning whether or not Daenerys or Tyrion or Jon Snow will cause their own demise, because they have never set a foot wrong before. They’re heroes.
D&D have grown so sure of themselves that they have happily pushed Martin overboard, but they have left gaping holes in a story that may now be irredeemable. What was once a promising, complex political show has turned into something easy to digest, and easy to bore. Now if they killed Tyrion and Dany in one episode — that would be a show I’d be excited to watch.
Until then, no trailer will convince me.