Recently, Ian McElhinney voiced his disappointment about the fate of his character, Barristan Selmy in season five of Game of Thrones. One of the top comments I saw on social media stated “It’s Game of Thrones. They’ve got to kill someone.”
That might be a problem. After watching season five, you could imagine that same comment coming from the writer’s rooms. “Well, it’s Game of Thrones. We’ve got to kill someone.”
Let’s leave the differences from the books out of it for now. Focus on that perception of the show. If you’re constantly trying to raise the stakes and shock the viewers by eliminating characters, you’re entirely missing the point. What you want to do is put your characters is more dire consequences.
Okay, I lied, I’m going to talk about the books. This is exactly what happens to Barristan Selmy towards the end of the A Dance with Dragons. Daenerys is missing and as the Lord Commander of the Queensguard he left not only to uncover a conspiracy by her husband Hizdahr zo Loraq (Also killed off) but prepare for oncoming armies head for Meereen.
The show should be building tension and not desperately trying to shock. That is what felt off about season five of Game of Thrones. They’re are, in a sense, desensitising us all to the shock that shook us in all when Ned Stark and Khal Drogo died in season one. No one is going to care anymore if all you do is kill off characters.
Featured image: Ser Barristan – by Mike Capprotti ©
2 thoughts on “A Problem: “It’s Game of Thrones. They’ve got to kill someone.””
I think it’s not so accurate to say that the only reason they killed Ser Barristan was because they have to kill off someone.
Since Tyrion is currently in Meereen (in different circumstances than he is in the books) his position would be undercut if Ser Barristan was alive and keeping Meereen running.
Instead the show has arranged a triumvirate of Grey Worm, Missandei, and Tyrion. That wouldn’t work as well if Ser Barristan was around.
You’re right, I was being hyperbolic. I would have liked to have seen Tyrion as a point of contention for Barristan that Tyrion would eventually win over. This was more a worry, based on the deaths of season 5, that death on Game of Thrones will become more meaningless and more of a cliche or trope considering the show started out circumventing alot of tropes and cliches of fantasy.