Joffrey Baratheon- Or Buh-Bye Game of Thrones.

Spoiler Alert–


The king is dead. Long live the king.

Joffrey Baratheon

Joffrey Baratheon

Yes, I read all the books way back when, back when each was released. The two most not-so-recent installments bored me beyond tears.

Regardless– Joffrey Baratheon’s recent demise might possibly be the least satisfactory death in literary/film history. Evil should suffer, if only to give satisfaction to the reader/viewer.

Frankly, if anyone was deserving of the Blood Eagle, (see Vikings), it wasn’t Jarl Borg, it was Joffrey Baratheon. The Blood Eagle episode, by the way, contains the most moving, beautiful, horrific execution scene ever filmed for television.

(Read this, you won’t be disappointed: Viking’s Creator on Frightening Spiritual Death.)

But it’s not my disappointment over the simplicity of Joffrey’s death alone that has robbed me of a pleasurable viewing experience. One can only take so much bad. That’s it in a nutshell. Occasionally a lighter hand is required.

Now, I’m well aware I’m swimming upstream here, paddling against the current if you will. I’ve read the books. I know Martin loves to kill off his characters. But the series (the books) lost me as a fan because:

1. Many of the characters I cared about were brutally murdered or morphed into something unrecognizable, or worse, were left dangling like participles – stuck in suspended animation, while other characters, characters who had little meaning for me and played only a marginal role in the ultimate story, took center stage.

2. Too many story lines. Way too complicated. And here is where Martin really irritated me when it came to the books. The HBO series only exacerbates this issue. A single scene of Bran or Arya or Danerys is singularly unsatisfactory, as is too much focus on the Lannisters.

3. The worst thing an author can do is take the well-seasoned meat of a gripping story and somehow lose track of time, wander aimlessly, forgetting he’s turned on the oven until he smells smoke and the meat is burned beyond recognition. Even sex and death, when constant, become flat out boring.

4. He’s changed Theon Grayjoy (never one of my favorite characters) from the bawdy tortured despised craven guilt-ridden under-achieving son and heir of Baylon Grayjoy and foster brother of Robb Stark into Igor (Marty Feldman) from Young Frankenstein.

You know, I really hate it when that happens.

Maybe it’s better to go out like Firefly. Leave the party early, before you drink too much and publicly humiliate yourself. Or throw up an entire bottle of red wine on your host’s new white carpet.

Now, as long as Vikings continues its stellar trajectory and if Orphan Black can maintain its brilliance and even improve with age– I’m happy.

P.S. Awful things happen in Vikings- but there are playful moments as well. Since today is the first night of Passover I’ll say this – one must mix the bitter with the sweet. The secret is finding balance. Ah yes, as Stoltzfus says to John Book in Witness“That’s the ticket, Mr. Book.”

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4 Responses to Joffrey Baratheon- Or Buh-Bye Game of Thrones.

  1. Steph Berget says:

    I haven’t watched any of those shows except a couple of episodes of Vikings. I’ll try Orphan Black and return to Vikings. I read today that someone is bringing Firefly back.

  2. Adding Orphan Black to the list of things to check out.

    I wonder if writers have more violent reactions to Martin’s work, both in print and HBO versions, than do non-writers. I haven’t even read it yet – except I see excerpts of gorgeous prose quoted in books on writing, showing how to execute some piece of craft.

    My time is so limited – and my brain so full of the stuff I read – that the thought of taking on something so major in the middle of finishing my WIP just leads to a cutoff of brain circuits, and the decision, again, ‘maybe later.’

    I can’t avoid knowing a bit about it – and my mind is open – but not now.

    It is the same with so many other things. We like certain shows on TV – and then watch them until the episodes are exhausted, for our evening TV break, which we keep at under a couple of hours – after all other work is done. Maybe when I can’t write – but I hope that is far in the future for now.

    We have committed to Justified, Orange is the New Black, The Fall, The Bridge (Danish/Swedish version), and others of that quality, slightly dark edge, and good production values. Husband watched Breaking Bad – I kept him company about half the time for part of it – well done, but too bleak for me. I loved Dexter – he didn’t care for it.

    I love having the flexibility of watching when we want, and, now that he is retired, at whatever time of day suits us. Go, modern world.

    There isn’t enough time for everything – but a lot of everything is crap, so it doesn’t matter.

  3. Hi Stephanie- Vikings has been pretty amazing this second season. I was very worried it would jump the shark, but nope. Close to perfect. Blood Eagle was one of the most engrossing shows I’ve ever watched. Could not look away even though I desperately wanted to. Yes, Orphan Black is THE most addictive show in history. Give it a try. Oh god no, you can’t bring Firefly back… Firefly was, well, Firefly.

  4. Well, Alicia, Martin writes gorgeous prose. Seriously. It’s jut that it doesn’t go anywhere. A story must move. Can’t run in place for 5-6 huge-ass books! I pick my shows. I treat television the way I treat restaurants – one bad meal and I’m unlikely to come back for another go-round.