Friday, 13 November 2015

The Problem with Game of Thrones

I think I've got Game of Thrones worked out.

We're raised to believe - at least in art - that bad people will get their comeuppance. It's a fairly simple idea.

So the belief is that the more bad things we see people do, the bigger the comeuppance. The promised retribution becomes the carrot that draws us on after the stick of watching rape, torture and abuse. If someone does bad, they get punished. It's how art has always been.

The problem is that the networks are run by sociopaths who just see two things. Firstly, because they don't really understand human emotions, they think that we like torture porn because they made a violent show and it's selling millions. So they try and outdo each other in terms of how bad it gets, misunderstanding why we're watching.

Secondly, they realised at some point that the longer they draw out the retribution, the longer they keep us watching, and therefore paying.

And so Game of Thrones has become an experiment in delaying retribution, so that by the time one character gets their retribution, there are another five or six that have done far worse who we're even more desperate to see get their comeuppance.

But they never do. The story never reaches a conclusion, and we keep getting drawn on by the promise of a retribution that never arrives. 

And is it just me, or do we still have to watch a bunch of awful shit to even GET to that? Like with The Hills Have Eyes or Kill Bill - I get that the retribution is satisfying, but I still had to watch a whole bunch of awful shit to get to it. It all still happened in that world, a world the creators try their hardest to draw you into. We still had to watch it.

What it is, is manipulation. Playing with the expected tropes that someone will save the victim before the worst comes to pass, and that the perpetrator will suffer for what they've done. They take hope, possibly the greatest human virtue, and they play with it for money.

I stopped watching the shows after season 2 and reading the books after Winds of Winter precisely because I realised there was no justice coming. I realised I was being played like an idiot.

Basically i'm saying the human mind is broken and easily manipulated, and the people who make shows like Game of Thrones know it.