As good little nerds, we watched Game of Thrones Sunday night. Carjo has not read the books and was given the warning that something bad was on its way. Call me a sadist but that’s all the prep I gave her. I believe the take home quote from her was “Oh why do we even WATCH THIS FUCKING SHOW!”
She didn’t lose her shit like the videos of folks I have seen online. Years of watching horror movies has given her a fair amount of scar tissue. But she’s never seen major characters getting offed with no warning like this. It almost made Joss Whedon’s slaughter of innocents across the years seem timid. Not that you’re off the hook entirely Joss. I do still smart a bit about what you did to Hoban Washburne and Jenny Calendar.
But Martin really set the bar with this one. It came mid-book for one thing. At this point, we readers were used to something traumatic towards the end of the book. So GRRM threw us a changeup and damn, it hurt. I remember being reading that last pages of that chapter over and over, trying to find a way out for Cat and Robb. Hell, it even seemed for a moment that Arya might have bought the farm.
As a writer, this was a good lesson. Don’t be afraid to kill your darlings, or at least do them grievous harm. And while building to a climax is admirable, hitting your readers in the kneecap when they least expect is something they’ll never forget. So thank you George and Joss. Consider the lesson learned.