From dragons to danger to death to deceit, series five of Game of Thrones follows the tradition of having it all. But this series seems to be lacking something. It is hard to say what. The characters are spreading out, the story lines stretching thin as more and more plots are woven together to create the series. Character deaths and story arcs being left out is making it harder to stay connected with the characters and therefore the show.
The show picks up where series 4 left off. The situation is growing more dire for everyone as winter threatens to consume the land, bringing with it horrors one can scarcely imagine. The Wall is under attack from without and within. Stannis has an army but the Boltons have the North. A new king is on the throne but a rising order of religious fanatics threaten to undermine everything that has been taken for granted over the last four series. Daenerys struggles to control the cities she has managed to take and finds ruling not the job she thought was.
There are other plots going on. But a whole review could be taken up trying to explain them all. Too many things are happening and a lot of the stories are now isolated from each other rather than interweaving as they did at the beginning. Although there has been room for character growth – Arya in particular finally seems to be doing something other than just travelling – becoming attached to your favourites is a bad idea. While it has been clear from the beginning that no character is safe from a violent death, now it becomes annoying. With so many favourites being killed every series, there is little to keep you attached to the show. Those who remain seem to change little until the finale, when so many things change it’s going to be hard to remember who is where next time.
In terms of violence, there seems to be fewer scenes than previous series. However, there are still enough to keep you on edge. Some are more graphic than they need to be. While it stays true to the theme of the show, it again feels unnecessary and keeps the viewer on edge rather than being able to relax and enjoy the show. The only thing that has improved is the need for every scene to involve sex in some way.
The show is still gripping. More than one episode leaves the audience on the edge of their seat and forgetting to breathe as events unfold. But the size of the cast and the multiple plot lines, plus the several deaths throughout the series, means it is becoming harder to stay engaged with the content. Now there is not the same guidance from the books, it feels as if the directors are seeing how far they can push their audience. While continuing to watch, it will not be with the same impatience as before.
Let’s just hope they don’t kill off anyone they are going to need in future series by mistake.