Season six of Game Of Thrones started this Sunday, and it’s the most anticipated season to date. It’s the biggest show to hit our TV screens since… I don’t know what. I think it’s safe to say that it’s been a while since Game Of Thrones stopped being a TV show and started being a phenomenon. And why shouldn’t it be so big? It has excellent writers and directors, a cast made in heaven and never ending drama. I myself have been a fan since its start in 2011. I was drawn into the exciting world of Westeros, where every decision literally has a life or death outcome. Every season I’ve watched it faithfully, always on the edge of my seat and with my heart in my throat. And yet I can’t make myself excited about this new season. I want to ignore it. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love the show and I will watch it, but I’m trying to put it off for as long as possible.
As an emotional TV and film enthusiast (to put it mildly) I am one of those people that easily feel a lot for the characters. I feel like I bond with the heroes, and the bond is usually strong. Wrong my favourite character and you will incur my wrath. Wrongdoers on the show get me screaming when they appear. But I know that when it comes to GOT I am certainly not the only one that desperately wants the Starks to succeed, that cares about the fate of Tyrion Lannister, and thinks that the Boltons should all die a horrible death. It’s an extremely dramatic show that makes the viewers respond equally dramatically.
Since the first season, GOT has given us the unexpected. By killing the main good guy in episode 9, you knew that this would be a show where the TV rulebook would be thrown out the window and never mentioned again. And on that matter they have delivered. Surprise after surprise is delivered, often like a punch in the face. Suddenly you realise it’s not a TV show, but an unexpected boxing match between your emotions and a sadistic behemoth in armour. And now you are in there without a way to defend yourself or the courage to get out.
Take for instance the infamous Red Wedding. If you are dedicated to this show and it’s characters in any way, that scene was a sucker punch that made you lose your breath. Just search YouTube for “red wedding reactions” and you will get nearly 150.000 hits. One look at those horrified faces and you’ll see what an effect this show has on people.
For me, that was the moment that I decided to never be sucker punched again.
So I started reading the books, and I now knew everything that was about to happen in the coming seasons. I was prepared and happy for it all to start again. It felt like I had finally won a round against the HBO giant. But, as in the show itself, every victory is but a short one and is usually followed by something worse than before. Soon after I spent almost a year reading those f*cking books, they ran out of book and they are now inventing their own story – which means I am once again alone and exposed in the ring. I will never be able to see what’s coming around the bend, because the bend is an endless loop of misery.
So my thoughts about the new and “best yet”-season of GOT is: “Great. Now I can look forward to having my face punched in every week.” “So quit watching!” I hear you say. Ah, would that it were thus. The show is, unfortunately for me, so good that it’s addictive. I need to know if Jon Snow lives. I need to know if Ramsay Bolton will die, like I hope he will. But I can hardly handle caring about yet another person, only to have them die in the most violent way possible, again.
I could bear it, if I felt certain of this: that good will triumph over evil, and that the suffering of the decent people in Westeros is for a just cause. I however no longer feel certain of this.
But I have found a way to cope, at least temporarily. Facing uncertainty may be harder to face than certain doom. So my beacon of hope amidst the sea of white walkers is the scientific algorithm at the website A Song of Ice and Data ( https://got.show/ ). The algorithm estimates the likelihood of a character dying, which, for me, will help soften the blows. But even with the blows softened I still feel like I am reliving the fight with The Mountain when it’s time watch a new episode – because I am sure that the creators will find a new and gruesome way to prove the scientists wrong.