Last night’s second to last episode of season 4 Game of Thrones was a little disappointing. Though there were some powerful moments during the battle between the wildlings and the Night’s Watch at Castle Black, devoting an entire episode to one storyline felt a bit like being ripped off.
For one, the fight scenes, as in many action movies, were too dark and disorienting to watch. More importantly the motive behind the two sides at odds with each other doesn’t seem strong enough for me to care that much about. It may seem huge that thousands of ruthless cannibals have decided to attack and conquer The Wall, but that alone is not what makes Game of Thrones such an amazing show. One major component of the series is the many interesting characters and story lines. Usually each week’s episode spends a fair amount of time on most story lines. (Some shows focus on one more than others for the sake of furthering the arc of the series as a whole.) Jon Snow has always ranked in one of my top favorite characters on GOT. He’s one of few seemingly decent human beings, and as the sympathetic “bastard” of Ned Stark I’ve been routing for him from the beginning. But imagining an entire show about him, his wolf and the ex-wildling lover who tried to kill him seems week considering the weight of everything else that’s going on: Daenerys and her dragons, the slaves she’s freed, her army; Sansa and Little Finger; Tyrion’s pending execution, etc.
After several months of waiting between seasons 3 and 4, we are now left with one episode for the year. As season 4 comes to a close, limiting an entire show to the war between the wildlings and Castle Black left me wanting much more. The show is still fantastic, so we’ll just have to take what they give us.