Game of Drones


I’ve never seen a show self-sabotage itself quite the way Game of Thrones managed to do in its unwatchable final season, pleasing nobody and upsetting millions. Sad to see such promise let national identity politics define what was initially ground-breaking.

After the dust from the belly flop has ended its first round (and the whispers begin), I realise that few are even surprised, knowing the creators, (whose names nobody will recall with gratitude) began actually filming the show back in 2011 without the final book of George R.R Martin’s fantasy serial being written or published. If you are a loyal fan of the show, if you say it satisfied you in a way American classics like The Sopranos or Breaking Bad stylishly did, you probably work for HBO.

Game of Thrones went from being the show that could do anything for anyone, (a prestige piece for Sky Atlantic in the UK that converted thousands of people to buying Sky TV) to a show that was forced to blame Kit Harrington (Jon Snow’s) “alcoholism” for the doomed finale. As the years passed and Martin’s careful, detailed and epic series of books drew closer to the end without a published final book, the blocked author said it was “like laying tracks in front of a speeding freight train.”

By 2016, when President Trump made politics both more unbearable and more entertaining for the American public, the Hollywood elite attempted to conceal their impotence by rigidly imposing identity politics on anything they owned, thus proving the problem that lay deep in their million dollar Californian mansions and sunken swimming pools: they stopped listening to the audience, who in turn were desperate for anything that could undo a democratic vote.

The multitude of these geeky, fashionably socialist fans (for whom GoT was a touchstone in atheist realpolitik) were actually banking on a TV show to save them from the reality they were living in, where Donald Trump was somehow president. The reality was most of them just found the show to be a way of legitimately objectifying naked women. But with dragons too.

South Park did a few episodes when it first started, presciently named “Titties and Dragons”, which is the closest approximation of the debacle yet, but predates the final series by years. And that’s the curse of GoT. It was actually terrible all along, but big, CGI medieval battles are cool and so are fit naked girls and pseudo-serious “political” scheming and weird torture scenes. And dragons too?

In a fit of manic depression, both the fans and the filmmakers lost contact, both missing what the other was thinking, but both needing each other more than ever as the Left crumbled in the West, first with the rise of Trump, then Brexit, then Boris, and the ongoing exposure of socialism for the trap it has always been.

Like the idiots who still harp on about Star Wars forty years later, the fans should be grateful for the wake-up call. For anybody who’s seen the final season, were you particularly surprised, thinking about the way it creaked to its stalemate and died on the TV screen before you?

An eleven-year-old who has bothered to read the books could have written the ending better, and this is what happens when you rush into action without a plan. Martin is not a screenwriter, but he was contractually forced into being one despite the books being dense and long enough to pass months for an avid reader, and clearly having taken decades to write. In the end, the main culprit is George R.R Martin, who should have known better than to trust that celebrity cannot change to ignominy should you fail to do the job. If he had sat down in 2011 and written the final book in time for the show to stylishly bow out, it would have been legendary.

Follow Andrew Moody on Twitter @VoguishFiction