HAJI MOHAMED DAWJEE: Game of Thrones and a philosophical ruler
Please note: This item contains spoilers.
It’s been a decade-long symphony, with two years of waiting in between. An epic orchestra played the Song of Ice and Fire, an opus of waged wars, thousands of fallen swords, two dead dragons and an iron throne. Some are calling Game of Thrones’s curtain call spectacular, but a lot of fans are unhappy with the finale, much as they have been throughout the final season.
The final instalment of the series comprised six heavy-hitting episodes, all over an hour in length. The writers took two years to deliver, and the audience was…. disappointed to say the least.
Story lines wore thin, narratives bore gaping holes and Starbucks coffee cups and plastic bottles of water could be seen during scenes. It’s as though the writers threw in the towel and in doing so, they threw the dragon queen out with the bathwater, perhaps the most ire-raising turn of events to date, that is: that Daenerys Targaryen would inevitably degenerate into the mad queen unworthy of ruling because she suddenly became mentally unstable due to a bout of PMS. Or at least, that is the narrative the patriarchy would have you believe, because after all, how could a woman rule the Seven Kingdoms?
As the series neared its end, there was little for viewers to look forward to. Theories about the throne were spawned faster than Cersei and Jaime’s children, but so were tweets of disappointment. In fact, the only reason many wanted to watch the final episode was so that they could put the previous ten years to bed and avoid being disappointed by the Song of Ice and Fire ever again.
And so, season six came, Bran, a white man who’s great at telling a long story but little else became king, Danni dies, Jon goes back to the wall and ultimately, in a moment of inspiration that long seemed to have escaped the writers for this season, Drogon claims the throne by laying waste to a hunk of metal that has seen hundreds of thousands of people die, including his mother. Poetry really.
The end, it turns out, is more predictable than we all would have thought. We could have guessed at the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms until, well, seven kingdoms come, but ultimately we would have been dissatisfied by any victory. Jon Snow’s innocence and purity would have annoyed us – I personally was ready to be rid of Jon in season five, Danni’s claim would have been too anticipated and to celebrate a throne seized by the other half of an incestuous couple would just have been… weird.
So here we are, with an almost meaningless victor and no actual physical throne, Bran the Broken, with all other surviving main characters walking off into their philosophical ends.
And so, it turned out that Game of Thrones at its very worst, is nerd porn but at its very best, its a meaningful middle-distance runner in the story of people who love knowledge more than power, because in the end, those are the only ones who survive, including the dragon.
Game of Thrones is a great story because what all the petitions and prodding and prying have proven is that it does more than just occupy attention. It moves the audience to start seeing a real world that’s not too far-fetched from the one on screen, to question and analyse how and why we live in it and it forces every viewer to admit that the importance of the embodiment of knowledge cannot be ignored, because ultimately, what we all thirst for is at least the option of being led by some Platonian leader, who physically exemplifies wisdom over power.
Haji Mohamed Dawjee is a South African columnist, disruptor of the peace and the author of 'Sorry, Not Sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa'. Follow her on Twitter.