Thanks for reminding me of Tolkien’s greatness. I read his works too many years ago to remember too much about his writing other than the black and white characters of a much simpler time (totally understandable, since he was writing in an era that saw the rise of Hitler and Nazism).
One of the things I liked about GRRM’s books was the complexity and ambiguity of his post modern characters, especially the redemptive character arcs of Tyrion, Jamie and the Hound and the questionable decisions of Daenerys and Arya as they choose a darker path.
And yet, your point about violence and our short sighted, personal desires to see the bad guys killed is also correct. In every case where someone acts selfishly in taking charge of their destiny — Daenerys, Littlefinger, Catelyn, Robb, Tywin, and Cersei — they cause massive damage and ultimately destroy themselves. Sansa, with her betrayal of Jon, should suffer the same fate, but I think D&D are going to let her get away with becoming a female Littlefinger because she was originally a victim.
On the other hand, the characters who risked their own personal safety to save other people had been given massive amounts of plot armor, like Jon, Arya, and even Beric Donadarrian.
It’s ironic how the final victory in Tolkien’s black and white universe was won by an unforeseen accident based on not judging and executing an evil character, while the seemingly more realistic shades of grey in GRRM’s characters made black and white choices in the short term that resulted in unknown carnage in the long term.
On the other hand, I have to question the decisions of Benioff & Weiss to trample over all the work done to create a consistent universe over the first five seasons.