A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about the fact that I was having trouble watching Game of Thrones – not because the show was bad, or I didn’t like the source material (quite the opposite, on both counts) – but because knowing what was coming, the loss, the pain, it was all a little too… real. I watched the entire season, but it wasn’t a show I exactly looked forward to watching.
Fast forward to the present. Game of Thrones is now absolutely a show I look forward to watching every week. And I’m not exactly sure what’s changed. Have I just become more hardened and heartless?
It’s not just the TV show, either. A few months ago, when I finally read the fifth book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, A Dance with Dragons, I felt… lighter, somehow. But without spoiling anything, ’cause that’s not how I roll, I know that based on the events the book is not any lighter than the previous four.
I’ve been puzzling over this for awhile now. In the case of the TV show, I’ve wondered if perhaps it’s that we’re not at the beginning anymore, when everyone is shiny and happy and reasonably clean and has no idea of the horrors that await them.
Then I wondered if perhaps I’m used to general level of gore, in both the books and the TV series. Has it perhaps lost shock value? But I don’t think so – watching last week’s episode, “Blackwater,” I still cringed at particularly gross bits. And can I just say, that episode was a-ma-zing? My jaw literally dropped when my screen lit up with green, and memorable lines and performances were flying fast and furious. Stellar.
Finally a friend pointed out something that I think might be the best explanation. You see, I had been recommended the books for years, and with the first season of the TV show quickly approaching, I decided I ought to finally get on it. So I read all four books, one after another, in the span of a few weeks. A few weeks after that, the series premiered. Everything was still fresh in my mind.
Then a few months later the fifth book came out. I still feeling a little angsty about the whole thing and didn’t want to pay hardback prices, so I waited almost an entire year… until I cracked and paid the full Kindle price anyway, a few months ago. But I had time and distance. I was ready to dive into that world again. I wasn’t drowning in Westeros.
Similarly, with the TV series, I’ve had a year to brace myself. Things might not be as fresh in my mind (in fact, after waiting for something specific for most of the season I finally Googled it and realized it’s in the beginning of the third book – oops), but at the same time I’m not thinking about what darkness lurks around the corner as much. I’m able to relax and enjoy a little more. And enjoy I have. I’m actually contemplating re-reading all of the books!
Next Sunday is the finale – it’s extra-long, in fact – and I absolutely cannot wait. If you’re like me, and Game of Thrones was a bit much for you last year, you might want to ask yourself if things might be different now that there’s been some space. And then you can join me on the couch!
What about you? Have you been watching Game of Thrones? Are you finding the second season flat, or looking forward to the finale? And why do you think watching it is easier this time around?