Chaos is a ladder. A means for the conniving Petr Baelish to ascend further up the political hierarchy. Chaos is also evidently some fans reaction to Game Of Thrones sudden manipulation of time and the accelerated travel habits of Westoros more prominent residents. Questions concerning instantaneous mobility of GOT characters has been this seasons most divisive topic. How for instance was Tyrion Lannister able to sail from Dragonstone to King’s Landing, organise a covert meeting with his brother in the bowels of the red keep, and return back to Dragonstone within one episode? It’s a fair question considering the logistical encumbrances that would prevent such a prompt voyage from occurring quite so readily. But the fault lies in our inability to comprehend the rapidity of this series and the writers deficiencies in conveying the hastening of character mobility. In previous series the individual stories would be afforded time to ferment. In this instance Tyrion would’ve spent several episodes boarding a ship, lounging on gilded cushions sipping wine, cavorting with a paid acquaintance, ruminating about his nobility, stunted growth and how his treacherous family despise him. We’ve been there, seen that and literally bought the T-shirt (Keep Calm and Demand Trial By Combat). At this stage of the story, with such a limited capacity for narrative elaboration what do you expect? Jaime & Bronn sauntering through a glade discussing the pitfalls of acquiring a castle in a time of such economical uncertainty? Jon Snow and the rest of his improvised contingent trekking North of the wall for half a season, stopping occasionally to clarify the many vernaculars of the word “Dick” in all of its colourful usage? Cersei discussing the most appropriate colour scheme for the nursery to lodge her unborn child, the consequence of an incestuous union of brother and sister? How can you not miss those carriage episodes where they talk about radishes and urine? With so much presumably left to tell there really isn’t a lot of room for elaboration.
I’ll attest that the sudden expeditious nature of principal story threads has been dramatic and jarring, which is owed to the pedestrian velocity of season 5’s more laboured proclivities. This award-winning season (seriously Emmys, go to bed) seldom found it stride outside of the exquisite “Hardhome” episode, and slowed the momentum of the show considerably. The source material provided by author George R R Martin though immensely detailed, often compelling is where much of the inspiration is derived and is startling bereft of progression, preferring long protracted exchanges between characters that builds firm foundations to eventual conflict but no immediate relevance. Alternatively simply ignoring prominent characters entirely! So it shouldn’t come a surprise that the television adaptation doesn’t accurately adhere to the same oblique disposition. Compromise is an intrinsic part of any adaptation, particularly literature. Whether it’s embellishing specific elements or the absence of others, deviations to subsidiary plot points are inevitable as well as necessary. It simply isn’t practical to have a series of this magnitude lingering for 20 seasons just to conciliate the glacial like momentum of the characters?!
You also have to consider that prior to the announcement of the reduced seasons, most of the cast were contractually obliged to fulfil 7 seasons not eight. Logistically HBO would’ve had to renegotiate those contracts to retain the services of the cast, at the same time likely amend their wages to reflect the commitments of individuals looking to develop their respective careers beyond Thrones. The likes of Lena Heady, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harrington don’t want to be performing the same roles for the rest of their lives, so certain logistical caveats are bound to upset the conclusion of the series. Nobody wants to see a 40-year-old Kit Harrington portraying a character half his age.
I’m not blindly accepting or encouraging plot holes; I’m actively cognizant of them. Jon and Danny’s sudden infatuation is a little forced considering their marginal interactions together, but I’m okay with that. Sure a more earnest report developing between two of Westoros most morally conscious singletons would have been great to have seen, established over several seasons. But there’s no time for courtship. Love doesn’t work to the constraints of time. We don’t have half a season to demonstrate an accurate passage of time it has taken Gendry to return to Eastwatch. I can’t say I’m overly concerned by the ravens, Westoros principal means of mail delivery service, seemingly upgraded from Royal Mail to Amazon Prime. If anything I’ve found Tyrian Lannisters gradual affinity for sobriety rather unsettling. His impish wit that made him such an enduring delight has succumbed to the pressure of being Danny’s chief consort on all things “Iron Throne” related. Such abbreviated details have been deliberately abridged to expedite the story in a more condensed, streamlined package. It’s not ideal but it’s what we’ve got.
What amuses me is that people can instinctively ridicule one isolated flaw, but can ably ignore the fact that Bran now looks more like an accountant than a child? They don’t quarrel Daenerys dark eyebrows that clash with her presumed natural blonde locks? Nor Little Fingers distracting Irish cadence that suddenly materialised between seasons? The underlying issues that have inspired such fanatical ire is less to do with the narratives rhythm or longevity and more to do with the writing. Season 7 has been a demonstration of why GOT needs to finish sooner rather than later. George R R Martins writing influence during the earlier seasons, particularly when it came to dialogue was so integral to character identity. His absence since season 4 has been distinctively apparent to the scripts casual and overly basic interactions between characters. Conversations feel less like organic musings, but more necessities to detail important exposition. D&D, the chief executives have done an admirable job of adapting much of Martins Tomes into succinct entertainment. Brilliantly exacerbating moments like the wildlings attack on castle black while remitting some of Martins more laboured predilections that compromise the natural fluidity of the story. But it’s clear without Martins material to appropriate from D&D are merely interpreting the knowledge accorded by Martin’s vision for A Song Of Ice And Fires conclusion.
Game of thrones has always been more than just tits and wine. It’s about the people who inhabit this macabre and twisted continent. It’s about Ned Stark extolling the virtues of nobility that egregiously results in his demise. That despite Jon Snows insistence on being honourable, ultimately he will be betrayed by his closet allies. That virtue, honour and bravery though commendable merits to you or I, they don’t win battles or put Kings and Queens on the Iron Throne. But it’s deceit, greed and duplicity that supersede the intentions of what is deemed right with the effectiveness of dishonesty. The good, or a perception of good don’t prevail simply because it’s right. And it’s the proclaimed righteous that suffer. And even though season 7 has had its issues with pacing, story and creatively the principles that good will overcome evil is not something any of us should keep faith in. However quickly this story ends be prepared for the worst outcome, because as a cruel sadistic Bolton once mused “If you think this will have a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”