If you watch HBO’s Game of Thrones, I’m sure many of you are still reeling from this past Sunday’s episode. Yeah, I was shocked by the brutality but not surprised about who died (more about that later). I was one of many live tweeting during the show, and I felt sad and empty once the credits silently appeared.
For the next two days, I was following all the blog postings and articles online discussing the shocking deaths of Robb Stark, his wife Talisa, and his mother, Catelyn Stark. Many expressed grief and confusion. Robb was a good man and he had to avenge his father, Ned Stark’s death, who was also a man of honor and also met a brutal death that came out of no where. Was there any hope for the Starks’ in Westeros?
Better yet, why is Game of Thrones so miserable? Why does this show seemingly celebrate amorality and lets the bad guys win? What is going through the mind of George R. R. Martin, the author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series which inspired the HBO show?
Those questions brought up something that has been on my mind for a while: must all stories be tales of hope, with a guaranteed happy ending?
My book, The Dark Proposal, certainly doesn’t fall into that kind of category. It ends with little resolution and doesn’t have much hope throughout the chapters. I know that sounds horribly depressing to some, but that was how I felt the story should’ve been told. Granted, it is the first part of a trilogy and the later books have more chances of hope and resolution in them. And no, I’m not selling out 😉
I know this goes back to the discussion of whether authors should write what they want and not heed their audience. I also know happily ever after stories are very popular and are almost expected among many readers. Maybe a part of me wants to rebel against that because I don’t buy into happy endings. I’m not cynical, but I also don’t see life as being all rosy and sunny. There’s always a downside to our actions, and sometimes we carry the consequences with us for many years. Furthermore, grace is sadly not something that happens easily.
Anyway, I’m not trying to make everyone miserable and depressed with my story ideas. I am aware that I have an interest in dark and serious themes, and I know that can rattle some. I say this because the other night, I was at a play reading group where a short script of mine was about to be read. When I was asked to explain to the small group what my piece was about, I got a little flustered when I realized I had written something that may be disturbing to some, or at least odd. It was about a psychopath looking to manipulate two naïve youngsters. I was nervous because what I came up with was certainly twisted. Luckily, there were some lines that everyone laughed at, so I must’ve done something right.
I’m not an emo and my motto is not, “life is a bitch and then you die”. I may have my moments when I think the world or life in general sucks, but I am not chronically unhappy. I am, though, fascinated with psychology and love to read about how the mind works, and what makes people tick. Maybe knowing that there is a dark side to the human mind makes me want to explore it and see how far can I go before even I get scared!
Plus, it is always awesome to read or hear about someone pulling themselves out of the depths of despair or anger. That is heroic to me, and I root for characters and real-life people like that. It is very inspiring for anyone to gather their inner strength, pick themselves up, and keep going.
OK, I think I’m getting off topic here. I don’t think happy endings are a must in stories nor do I think every story needs to be inspirational. Unfortunately, humanity has a history of being very brutal and despicable. I think we need to be reminded about how twisted people can be to remind ourselves to never set out on that path that leads us to such darkness. Usually it is a complex path, since humans are very complex, so it is easy to forget what you’re doing. Just remember there is despair and depravity out there, and it is easy to get caught up in it.
As for my reaction to “The Rains of Castamere” episode, I figured Robb Stark would meet a brutal end. He had made a deal with Lord Frey, forming an alliance to fight the Lannisters’. But he instead married Talisa and thus, broke his promise to marry one of Frey’s daughters, which meant he broke that alliance. As Cersei said in Season 1, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die”. Sadly, Robb Stark didn’t play the game right, and he met a terrible end.
When that episode began, a feeling of dread came over me. I had to distract myself as it went on because I knew something terrible was coming. I had heard the rumors, and I knew they would possibly happen. But when those doors were shut in that hall, and the musicians began playing that ominous song…ugh, I felt sick with despair.
So sad, just so sad. I know on Sunday for the final episode, I won’t be as excited because three likable characters are gone. Arya was so close to her mother and brother, and now she’s back to where she was when her father was killed. Ugh, that poor girl! Sansa now has no one at all. I wonder if she had any hope left of her brother storming Kings’ Landing and saving her. Now she’s truly trapped. Oh, and what about Bran? Will he see his mother and brother in his dreams? Oh jeez…
I’ve heard interesting rumors about the remaining Stark children (yes, I know there’s Rickon, who strangely had lines in Episode 9! But we may not see him again for a long time). So it will be fascinating for them to develop. I hope for the last book, George R. R. Martin has them reunite. It will be great if they all did, but if only two met again, that for me would be a happy ending right there 🙂
On a more lighter note, has anyone seen Maisie Williams, the actress who plays Arya, reaction to this episode? Gotta like her sense of humor!