Last night's episode of the popular HBO TV Show Game of Thrones has everyone in a frenzy. If you have not seen the episode, beware:
The gruesome massacre of Robb Stark (Richard Madden), his mother Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), his pregnant wife Talisa (Oona Chaplin), and the rest of the Stark army at the so-called "Red Wedding" has caused its loyal watchers to dive into a deep depression only to be treated by venting on social media. After the episode, Twitter and Facebook exploded with fans expressing two differing opinions. For non-book readers, the reaction was largely one of anger and sadness mixed in with utter shock. For book readers, the reaction was directed towards the "ignorant fools" who did not know what was coming.
"The Lannisters send their regards."
However, no matter what group of fans you fall under, there is an overarching conclusion that Game of Thrones as a TV series breaks many rules of modern TV. Let's start with just this last episode's conclusion. The "Red Wedding" scene is already being called out by critics as one of the bloodiest scenes in TV history. In fact, some believe it goes way too far. Joe Concha of Mediaite.com comments that the show does the unspeakable by not only killing Robb's direwolf (you never kill the cute animal) but also shows the repeated stabbing of a pregnant woman in the womb. Not to mention that Catelyn's throat-cutting was shown in more gruesome detail than any in Sweeney Todd. For even some book readers, this extremely graphic visual depiction of this scene seems over the top. Did they really have to show the pregnant lady being stabbed more times than Caesar, right in her babymaker?
In one fell swoop (this cliched, overquoted Shakespeare phrase is actually wildly appropriate here), the heads of the Stark family are no more and a major plotline has been suddenly ended. For modern TV, the abrupt ending of several main characters and an entire major plotline are inherently shocking. Usually TV shows do not have that many plot lines to spare, but in Game of Thrones's case there are far too many. Because it is aired on HBO, Game of Thrones's has more creative freedom (for TV sex and graphic violence of course) and it is now reaching far beyond the wall of normal modern TV expectations.
For now, we fans highly anticipate the season finale with only our nightmares to tell us how else Game of Thrones can shock us. It seems that when playing the Game of Thrones, there is less winning and more dying. But for the time being, I will be looking at the following gifs over and over again for comfort.