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The Fall of Daenerys Targaryen – a Video Essay

Inga:

AnnOther,

I can agree. Anyways, Camus is very different, so it’s hard to compare his existentialists stories with GOT, which has always been a tale about politics.

Thanks for your reply. Now, I think I understand better why I disagree so much with your various posts, and why you disliked the season so strongly: we have a very different assessment of what GoT was and is (about).

As I get it, you seem to consider it is centrally about politics, and you then expected political and historical verisimilitude. Which makes your violent disappointment understandable. It made me also understand why you can, in a previous post, write something like “ songs generally mean truth” while the books and show repeatedly questions the role of songs and tales, and I think, eventually presents them as largely untrue, potentially dangerous, but also partly true and necessary. (I honestly think a whole essay could be written on “Songs and stories in GOT/ASOIAF”!).

My own interpretation, and therefore my own assessment and reaction, are very different. For me, it never was a pure epic or heroic fantasy, but a bastard object fully assuming its own bastardy. I felt it drew from different genres (Heroic Fantasy, Epic, Philosophical Fable – in terms of moral, political and metaphysical philosophy -, Myth; Tragedy, …); that it explored multilayered themes and their interplay : for instance, power (rather, imo, than politics, because the power motives exceed the mere political sphere and I could find an echo, say, in my working environment), family (inheritance, brotherhood,…), or identity building. For me, it explored various philosophical stances through its characters’ decisions and confrontations (eg Aristotle and Kant vs consequentialism, Pascal and Hobbes about the state, Machiavelli and others about what “the Prince” should be and do, etc.). On a meta-literary level, I also felt it confronted different fantasy models: very roughly, an arthurian/Tolkien motive where a noble hero brings back a former, better order (it could have been Ned’s story), vs a Kull/Conan “barbarian” conqueror type (it could have been Khal Drogo’s story), that gave way to personal mixed “cross-overs” (a Khaleesi conqueror from the East wanting to restore a former Targaryen order while “breaking the wheel”, a (would be) bastard in charge of restoring some deeper human order). Also, for me, characters are linked to several of these layers at the same time, though with various stresses.

So, I never expected it to be “realistic” or even fully coherent about history, politics, climatology, sociology, psychology or whatever – no more than I expect a fable to be true to zoology, or a myth to be fully coherent or have a plain, straightforward, meaning. Rather, I expected it to propose a complex metaphorical material people can draw patterns from to think or muse about, like they do from myths. In my perspective, you can rightfully consider it fails in not delivering a Medea-type of pattern, just as I can rightfully consider, for instance, it succeeds, through Dany’s story, in delivering an open and complex Kali-type pattern, with its inner tensions (Kali/Parvati, Kali/Shiva, Kali/Mahakali, etc.). In this respect, the discussions here convince me that it fully succeeded in providing a rich myth-like material, a tale, allowing many entries (from pure entertaining story to metaphysical fable). And, given both the complexity of the material and the various constraints on tv-producing, I also think it did an incredible job in screening all this aspects at the same time, and I am very lucky to have been able to experience it. Not to mention cinematography or visual building. Compared to that, I can easily disregard some (imo) minor weaknesses (like Jon’s parentage not having been explored enough in my taste, piled up constraints making Jon & Dany’s love a writing and shooting puzzle, or some specific changes of perspective which, as Ser Pounce suggests, may be due to the number of intervening directors –in turn to a large part due to production constraints). I can understand that some people feel it fails at delivering a clear, simple meaning, but I never thought it was its point in the first place, on the contrary, so, I don’t have problems with it.

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