Thursday, 25 April 2019

Game Of Thrones And The End Of History

My thoughts on the HBO'a cultural juggernaut, Game of Thrones and where it's headed as we enter the last round of battles, betrayals and murders. How can a show which thrives on having no moral or ethical compass be brought to a satisfying conclusion? 

Transcript via Katana

Hello again there folks. So I had a couple of comments recently, from a couple of lads saying:

“Can I lighten it up a bit? Can I give them some white pills? There’s been too much doom and gloom!”

And I thought:

“Well, alright.”

So I do like to dabble my toe a little bit in pop culture. And we’ve headed in a Game of Thrones season, so why not? And I do like to get in on pop culture, because I think that we should be part of this, of the discussion. Use these big sort of pop cultural events as a springboard to get our ideas into the general discourse, become part of the discussion.

And so we’re heading into the very final season of Game of Thrones, and what everybody talked about when they get into Game of Thrones is that nobody’s safe. Your favorite characters can be killed off at any moment. And that definitely was when it started, the first few seasons it was like that. And as it’s got on, they run into a problem. And the problem that they’ve run into and “Distributist” did a great of video on this, is that there is no moral absolutes in Game of Thrones. So there is no sort of definitive good, or definitive evil, it’s more of a sort of Nietzschean way of looking at world, where the best murderer, the best schemer, the best liar, is the one who’s left standing at the end of it. And that’s all well and good. But the problem that you run into as you get further in, ... And we’re past the point of the books here, so we don’t know how George RR Martin, would have wrapped this up.

But the problem that you then get into, is that if you look at something like Star Wars, the drama is centered around, ... You do definitely have an absolute good, or sort of light side and the dark side in Star Wars. And then let’s say in Lord of the Rings, you do have a good and an evil. And drama is centered around the, ... When a character loses it’s way, when the character doesn’t know which side he’s on anymore. So that would be like Fodo being corrupted by the ring, or it would be Darth Vader to the dark side, or Luke being tempted by the dark side.

But in Game of Thrones there is no moral absolutes, so there isn’t a pole on the character to go one way, or the other. And it’s a sort of very Nietzschian, nihilistic way of looking at the world. But the problem that they get into — it’s really just about surviving! And that is the game! Who gets to sit on the Iron Throne. But the problem that we get into as the season runs on, is that how do you then draw it all to a close? How do you wind it down? Because whoever gets to sit on the throne, at the end of the day, at the end of the show, it is going to be disappointing! Because, what right, why should Daenerys have the throne and not Cersei? And I mean, Jon Snow is one of the few nice characters in it. And maybe it’s him? But either way it is just another character who will be sitting on the throne, and the fans of the other characters are going to be disappointed. There’s not really gonna be any catharsis there. It’s gonna be disappointing no matter what, if the carry it on.

The other way to look at it would be what Daenerys said some seasons back, where the game itself has to be broken! Where they’re spinning this wheel. And this is a constant symbol in the show, of the wheel, now of the spiral. So what they have done of course now, is bring in the White Walkers. And the White Walkers are an objective evil. So to get around the problem of not having an absolute, a moral absolute, they’ve injected an evil into the story and he’s become more more powerful as that’s went on. And now everybody has to settle their differences and team together to fight the White walkers!

But that still doesn’t solve the problem, I don’t think. Because what are they then gonna do when, if the Night King wins, that’s gonna be pretty depressing, because it’s just the end of the world, and a sort of nighttime, wintry, Zombieland forever. Or, they beat the [05:01] Night King and then they’re still gonna have the problem who gets on the throne. [chuckling] And so that there’s, that’s still gonna be a problem, because there’s no absolute good. They may well have brought in an absolute evil, but there isn’t an absolute good! There’s just a bunch of selfish nihilists! And one, or the other is gonna have to sit on the throne.

So, the way I think they’re gonna go around this, the way I think, ... Like, you know, this is my theory I’m just kind of tossing it into the ring. And I think what they’re going, ... And I’ve seen a couple of the nerd channels talking about this. Is the idea that they’re gonna break magic, essentially. They’re going to, where all of the mystical, spiritual, metaphysical, forces in Westeros, will be then neutralized themselves. They’re all like mutual destruction. Maybe even in the episode which is coming up, which is going to be — I’m told — the biggest battle ever depicted on television! And what they’ll have is then where Westeros would, ... Essentially an enlightenment would be ushered in, and magic and mysticism would be, ... So there’d be no more Night King, ice zombies. The Dragons would be killed off for good! Anybody who had any kind of spiritual connection to Dragons would be dead! The red woman would be dead! Everything about magic, and mysticism, and the supernatural, would be neutralized in this world! And then, they’d move forward into a new age, into an age of enlightenment.

Now the irony here — that sounds a bit mundane — but that we have to remember that George RR Martin is very much a liberal! And he would see this as being the naturally, ... He would see this as being progress. He’s a progressive. And so his world, his fantasy world, which he’s always had a postmodernist take on it. He’s always set about to deliberately to deconstruct the fantasy genre! So the reason why there are no moral absolutes in Game of Thrones — the way there isn’t Lord of the Rings — is, because George RR Martin set out to deliberately undermine, and deconstruct that. It’s the postmodern fantasy!

But, of course, it’s running into the problem where there’s no way to end it, because it could just go on, and on! You could get your hero on the throne and then somebody else would just kill them, and set themselves on the throne! It will just go on forever.

And, in fact, that seems to be where they have, the magic, this seems to be that the sort of meta narrative of the entire series. And then the Night King seems to be aware of it, which is why we’re seeing them spirals. History in this world is just a spiral going round and round! So if somebody, the Night King gets pushed up, because of man, he comes back down, and then he’ll get pushed back up again, and there’s a war, and there’s this thaw, and there’s spring, and there’s winter. So you’ve got this cycle going round, and around.

But I think that Daenerys Targaryen’s rule, for example, or somebody else’s, in this saga is to break that! :

“Break the wheel!”

As she said. Break the cycle! And how we can do that is to end permanently the supernatural, and the mystical. Magic, and magical creatures would all go extinct! But that, and yes, a progressive or a liberal may well think, well finally they’re going to head into an Enlightenment of reason, and rationalism, and scientific materialism.

Well that seems kind of depressing to me! Because, what are they gonna do? Are we then gonna see them have like parliamentary democracy, and women’s rights? Are we gonna see them have insurance brokers, and pension plans, and Walmart’s, and MacDonald’s? Because that’s how it turned out in the actual real world! Is the Hound destined to be a sort of middle management PR executive for an insurance company? Or is Cersei destined forever to be working Burger King?

Because that’s the world that they’re gonna usher in, at the end of the day! They’re gonna take this age of heroism and mysticism, and magic, and fantasy, and it’s as if they’re gonna lock it onto a historical path, where they will always end up sitting in front of a television watching fantasy, and thinking about how boring their hum-drum lives are!

This is an anti-progressive view of the world, of course. This is as they say in dissident right circles, “men against time”, “rage against the modern world”. Because all fantasy and all mystery has been removed from the world. If the characters themselves would be on a path where they could watch a fantasy show on television, which sort of spirits them away for an hour every week. And which sort of tweaks something inside of them, and makes them yearn for it. Or at least gets them thinking, just takes them away, because it hits them deep. And that will be gone!

And it’s like the spiral within Game of Thrones, it’s a sort of meta-narrative on it. And I just think it’s depressing to think of it that way! That they’re going to set this world on course to be just bunch of consumers! And maybe they can sort of have diversity seminars, and we can get there, the Dothraki horde to work in kebab shops?

And I mean, they’ve already got the feminist angle taken care of, by far and away in Game of Thrones! And so this is me, kind of tossing my hat into the nerd theory ring, and saying:

“I think that Game of Thrones is gonna end by them breaking magic, and that a new age will be ushered in!”

And like I say, somebody like George RR Martin — a progressive — would see that as being a good thing! But a sort of a right-wing throwback — like me — views it as being depressing! Because they are now on the path to be where we are in this world! And I just ask, is that always to be the destiny? Is that itself like a sort of grand “Groundhog Day” meta-narrative? Where you move from the magical, and the mystical, into materialism. And then you end up deep, deep, into a sort of consumer, materialistic society, watching television about the fantasy genre! And you can say, wouldn’t it be wonderful! Isn’t that a strange thing? Why do I find it so fascinating to watch this stuff?

Just my theory. We’ll see how it pans out. This has been more of a ramble than I normally do. I didn’t script it, or anything. But we’ll see how it goes. And we’ll see in a few weeks time where we are.

I’d like to say thanks very much for people that have been chipping in. And the links are below. I like doing this a hell of a lot more than slumming it in the factory jobs! And we’ll see how it goes.

Okay, we’ll catch you later.

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