Monday 20 May 2019

Narrative Rebellion: The Last Song, Or, How A Song of Ice & Fire & A Game of Thrones Should End (But Probably Won't)

What A Song of Ice and Fire was always about for me.

So, that's the end of A Game of Thrones. I've written about it a few times on the blog, often quite sceptically, but generally more against the pundits than the show itself.

I, like I'll wager a great many other people, had my own idea about where the series was going. I'm sure many of us had our own theories about how the great struggle for the Iron Throne was going to end. Now, while 25-year-old Aly might've gone into rage over some of the decisions made over the course of the series - by Martin & the showrunners alike - 35-year-old Aly has mellowed out somewhat. I've realised that not only is it OK if a story makes decisions you find bad or terrible, it can be an essential creative spark.

When J.R.R. Tolkien experienced Shakespeare's Macbeth, he couldn't help but be deeply disappointed in its treatment of the Weird Sisters' prophecies: Birnam Wood didn't actually march on Dunsinane, a bunch of soldiers just tied sticks to their bodies to make it look like the forest was marching. Similarly, the entire justification for MacDuff killing Macbeth based on a painful semantic point over the definition of "born" was total weaksauce. As such, two of the most important & beloved elements of The Lord of the Rings - the Ents march on Isengard, & Eowyn's prophesied defeat of the Witch-King - could be traced back to Tolkien's displeasure at Shakespeare's perceived cop out. Whether you agree on that point - wordplay like this was a popular conceit in Shakespeare's time - is somewhat beside the larger point that, rather than complain about what he didn't like about the story, Tolkien did something creative about it.

Hence, while I'm not going to sign the petition making the rounds to remake the last season of A Game of Thrones (and certainly without presuming to be J.R.R.T. to Martin's Shakespeare!), I think creating our own alternate takes is a great creative outlet for any frustrations one might have, as well as possibly inspiring more productive, creative possibilities for the future.

So here's how I would've written the final stretch of A Game of Thrones.