With regard to GRRM, I would hope he has the motivation to fix the story with his own book ending. It would be a proper “fuck you” to D&D, and what I think is Martin’s distaste for how the story went off course. On the other hand, he still has a massive job in front of him, and he stated that he killed off one of the characters he needed to end the story. So it may not happen.

Watching GOT has kind of turned into watching the Lakers — I still love the players and am loyal to the team and its championship pedigree. That’s why I’m upset at the thought that the best characters won’t survive, while the worst ones may win.

I still watch all the games, and will be just as thrilled when something amazing happens.

But I no longer give the team (or the show) the benefit of the doubt when I see terrible errors on the floor or by the front office. Instead of being 100% invested in the action as it’s happening, a part of me is now seeing the mistakes and thinking “I can’t believe that player has been doing the same shit for the last month, and the coaches still haven’t fixed the problem.”

For example, I loved the spectacle and cinematography of “The Battle of Winterfell.” I jumped up and screamed when Arya came out of nowhere to kill the Night King. But as soon as the adrenaline stopped pumping and I watched Melisandre walk out into the fields of snow to wither away and die, I was totally disappointed by the fact that the show runners had ended the second most important element of the show — introduced in the first scene of the first episode as discussed by professor Jackson — without giving any answers to the clues that had been sprinkled throughout the show for the last seven seasons.

The whole goal of a writer is to create an imaginery world, fill it with depth, rules, and relatable human issues so that the audience suspends its disbelief. If that world maintains its internal logic, then the strength and complexity of the characters draw us in, and there is the chance the story will be compelling.

Very few authors or directors create this perfect storm of art the way GRRM did in his book and throughout the first five seasons of GOT. Think about the show’s effect on popular culture and the intensity of the fans who embraced the story. Think about how many movies or TV shows have had their own dedicated fan conventions. Does that list go beyond Star Wars, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones?

So when D&D announce to the world that the Night King has no real motivation other than being death, every mystery dangled in front of the fans for eight years (What about the deal with Craster? What about the crazy symbols made of body parts? What about those same symbols found inside the dragon glass mine on Dragonstone? Why does the Night King look at Jon Snow but never engage him in battle?) is thrown away as if it meant nothing. The prophesy of the Prince Who Was Promised — also pushed on the fans for years — means nothing. We are asked to believe that the significance and power of the Lord of Light as a religious force ceased to exist.

Without The Force, and the redemptive story arc of Darth Vader, Star Wars becomes Starship Troopers, a campy, senseless B movie (or much worse) that viewers forget as soon as the movie ends. Except to make jokes about how bad it was.

Without paying off our years’ investment in the prophesies, foreshadowing and consistent logic of that fantasy world, we become more concerned with seeing a Starbucks cup during a feast scene in Episode 4 than the fate of the characters or the plot, and Game of Thrones deteriorates into a medieval soap opera with some tits and dragons.

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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