And here we go again – a season of fire and blood has started. Game of Thrones Season 6 premiered yesterday on HBO. And I watched it – no, wait, let me correct that: I rage-watched it.
I wasn't supposed to, honestly. After the horrors I witnessed during Season 5 (see, the butchering of the Sand Snakes from books to show and Sansa Stark's entire story line) I told myself that I was done. Enough of torturing myself with terrible arcs for some of my favorite characters in the world! Enough with sobbing and angsting and yelling mindlessly at the computer screen! Let the GOT-detox commence!
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "Ah! You fool, you really thought you could escape the bloodied lands of Westeros!". And look at me, I really couldn't. I was too curious, too dreadfully pessimistic and stupidly optimistic.
So I watched The Red Woman and I was baffled and mildly intrigued and predictably raging. (I had given up a long time ago on anything good coming from the show version of Dorne, but the writers managed to disappoint me and enrage me to incredibly new levels; gotta have talent for that, right?).
My problems with Game of Thrones are huge and spanning back to Season 4 at very least. I find it majorly triggering how female characters are treated on this show, as well as how a lot of scenes were adapted from books to screen. An original source such as George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series is material to deal with carefully, and the show doesn't do a stellar job at that.
But I've been too deep into this world to leave it behind now that the show is the only new material we've got (thanks, Uncle George). So if you've found yourself in a similar situation, too attached to Westeros to let it go, here's five rules I keep in my mind while rage-watching Game of Thrones.
1. Forget the books
Trust me, it you've read the ASOIAF books, don't keep them in mind when watching GOT. It took me ages to get to the point were I consider show and books two complete separate texts (thanks, my beloved semiotics!), but once there I was able to enjoy the show way more. Or at least to rage more comfortably.
2. Pick a character you truly like and rage for them
Raging for a character is great. Personally, I'm one of those foolish people who fell in love with the Stark kids, even if I'm definitely not a Stark-like person myself. Wrong pick, I know. I'm currently raging and screaming for Sansa and Arya to destroy all the people that hurt them and get back to Winterfell to rule over the North like a hardcore version of Susan and Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. Try raging for a character, guys! It's way funnier like that!
3. Pick a character you absolutely completely hate
99% of the people in Game of Thrones have made bad choices and committed horrible actions. Also a good 80% of said horrible actions took place in stressful situations that could probably excuse (in the world and workings of Westeros) said horrible actions. Take me: I've never liked Cersei and always have been opposite and critical to her choices, but I recognize that they were shaped by her past and present character's journey. Then there are characters like the Boltons, that you feel absolutely justified to hate all the time. Find those characters and rage against them with your whole being. Hope for all your favorite characters to tear them down and obliterate them. I know it sounds petty, but it's part of the fun!
4. Remember the issues without taking out of the text's pleasure
Game of Thrones has a lot of issues, and by issues I mean women are too often treated badly, violence is too often used as a shock-inducing plot device, and characters in general are too often stereotyped and transformed in caricatures. Don't forget this kinds of problems, it's important to underline them, but never blindside yourself to different opinions. Keeping the debate open and polite is the best way to approach a show as complex as Game of Thrones, and make both the viewing and the fandom experience the most enjoyable.
5. Remember this is all fiction
You'd think there should be no need to specify this, yet I keep seeing people raging against the actresses and actors when they're dissatisfied with the characters. And I'm the first to crumble at bad writing choices, but never forget that this is a work of fiction. As much involved as we may be, never forget that we're talking about a tv show narrating the woes of a fantasy fictional world.
But look at the bright side: it's fiction, and that means you're allowed to rage at characters and plot at your pleasure! Me, I'll be in my bunk, low-key waiting for Valerion and Rhaegal to come out of the woodwork and start burning stuff down.