*** Caution: Here There Be Spoilers… ***
Of all the visceral emotions Game of Thrones evokes in its viewers, ‘relief’ is rarely amongst them. George R.R. Matin’s dragon-filled soap opera is often cruel and treats even its biggest fans with borderline contempt. First, Ned Stark was beheaded at the behest of sniveling King Joffrey while his daughters helplessly watched. The road to avenging his death seemed like it was well paved for young Robb Stark, King of the North, until he, his mother and pregnant wife were massacred by the Lannisters at the now infamous ‘Red Wedding’. The modus operandi for both the novels and the series seems to be providing a sliver of false hope for those willing to immerse themselves in the sex and violence stuffed world to cling to; a hero that stands tall as many snakes slither in the grass at their feet. Only when those snakes strike, Martin (along with show-runners David Benioff & D.B. Weiss) seem to revel in watching your champion die a slow, painful death, knowing full well that you’re in just as much agony as the fictional character you’re mourning. It’s a mean-spirited streak not found in most mainstream media, black-hearted to the core and a big part of what makes the HBO series so special (or despicable, depending on your threshold for suffering).
But what happens when one of the villains finally gets their just desserts? Is it such a shock that the story would finally give us what we want? Or are there strings attached, as Martin & Co. just can’t help but add a caveat to our catharsis? Ladies and gentlemen, I present The Lion & The Rose, a detailed guide to how Game of Thrones doles out justice for its audience.