Spoilers up through episode 8 of season 4. Insights provided by the books, which I haven’t yet read, are not discussed.
The story of Game of Thrones has reached its halfway point, and the last shot of the series finale is becoming clearer with every passing Sunday: some unlikable antagonist will be sitting victoriously on the Iron Throne while the camera dollies backward to the tune of some dramatic, ‘bet you didn’t see this coming’ music.
Such an outcome is nearing on inevitability.
Every Season thus far has culminated in losses for the favorable, would-be heroes. Ned lost his head, Stannis’s rebellion was quelled, Cat and Robb were slaughtered, Oberyn... let’s not talk about what happened to Oberyn... and Tyrion has officially been sentenced to death.
At this rate, I’d almost comfortably bet that the main story thread will conclude in the same way. A glimmer of hope will shine for the good guys before that door is shut violently and without mercy. The majority won’t see it coming because the good always win - Harry Potter vanquishes Voldemort, Frodo destroys the ring, and the Skywalkers defeat the dark side of the Force.
That trope isn’t the George R. R. Martin [Game of Thrones](movie:817617) way though.
Yes, the good guys got a big win this year with the murder of His Disgrace, Joffrey of the Houses Baratheon and Lannister, the Embarrassment of His Name, Punk of the Andals and the Better Men, Lunatic of the Seven Kingdoms, and Offender of the Realm.
But I can’t help but notice the timing of that win. According to formula, the real winner of the season sees their victory around episode nine. Season four’s eighth episode saw Oberyn Martell, the new favorite character of so many viewers, get handed the most violent death yet. Tyrion, who at this point is basically the show’s protagonist, appears to be on the brink of suffering a similar fate in this season’s final two episodes.
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Granted, I might have held on to a bit of hope for a happy ending if The Purple Wedding had been positioned as the climax of season four. As it stands, however, that not-insignificant victory has been swept under the rug by all further momentum going against the good guys.
Everything up to this point has added up to me being unable to see any of the good guys coming out on top. Of course, I could be wrong. I want to be wrong.
But what do you think? Will Voldemort kill Harry Potter and gain the ever-elusive immortality he so desires? Will Sauron reclaim the ring and conquer Middle Earth, naming Saruman Warden of the Shire along the way? Or are we going to see Rickon Stark claim the throne in four or five seasons’ time?