Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Karl Puschmann: Cheating death kills Game of Thrones' menace

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Jon Snow's resurrection is a 'jumping the shark' moment that killed GOT's menace.
Jon Snow's death in the final of season five was a jaw-dropping moment.
Jon Snow's death in the final of season five was a jaw-dropping moment.

The biggest threat in Game of Thrones isn't dragons, or snow zombies, or even that Lord Whasshisface. No.

The sad fact is that, after the events of this week's episode, there isn't any real threat in Game of Thrones at all any more. The moment Jon Snow blinked back to life is the exact moment the show frittered away all the good will of its hard-earned threat and menace to become a peddler of cheap, attention-grabbing stunts.

Jon Snow's returned from the dead in the new season of Game of Thrones.
Jon Snow's returned from the dead in the new season of Game of Thrones.

As a series it remains entertaining enough, sure. I'm gonna keep watching. But in that single moment all the danger was eliminated from the land. Death, which was once swift, brutal and terrifyingly permanent, has become little more than a slight inconvenience. As long as you're popular with the fans, the eternal night has been reduced to nothing more than a refreshing power nap.

Snow's resurrection was a "jumping the shark" moment. What a load of old rot. It instantly removed all the life or death stakes from the series. High stakes and gruesome tension is - sorry, was - what Game of Thrones did better than any other show currently on the box. That's gone now.

Throughout the series we've seen many good men and women stabbed, hanged, dismembered, burnt alive, raped, tortured, poisoned and killed. For the most part it's been sudden and shocking. One minute people have been enjoying, say, a nice wedding reception and then the next minute ... blammo! Death has rained down upon them with savage brutality.

Last year the show rocked the tagline, "All men must die", a grim portent and merciless reminder that the fate of our friends and foes was ultimately the same. Still, I didn't think it would apply to Snow. And then it did.

That startling cliffhanger, Snow betrayed and dying from a knife to the belly put there by those under his command, was a jaw-dropping moment. So it was a real bummer that it was instantly ruined by nerds and their spoilers.

Jon Snow was brought back to life in Game of Thrones.
Jon Snow was brought back to life in Game of Thrones.

"Snow ain't dead", they cried, citing fan theories dug out of George R.R. Martin's sprawling book series that the show is based on. But this season is the point where the screen overtakes the events of the page and I was really hoping they'd be proved wrong and that Snow would be left to rot and the show would keep a somewhat more believable perspective ... well, as much believability as a show with dragons and snow zombies in it can have.

Actions need consequences. Without them nothing matters. Why should I be concerned at all for the safety of these people?

Nope, the dude just got up. He's fine. Merely a flesh wound. Death, as they say, did not become him.

So it was either God who brought him back to life or that crone Melisandre and her magic, or something else we're not yet privy to. The Force perhaps?

Either way, I don't really care. Once the shark's been jumped the danger of the beast disappears.

Dude died. He should be dead. Once you start cheating death and bringing people back to life you've got problems. The main one being that nothing matters any more.

It's cheap, it's lazy and it's just plain stupid.

What makes matters worse is that this wasn't the only cheap flip-flop the show pulled this week.

Arya Stark, who in a moment of great dramatic tension, was blinded in that same season finale for disobeying the Faceless Man during her Karate Kid style training, had her sight miraculously returned to her. What a load of old cobblers.

Arya Stark didn't stay blind long on Game of Thrones.
Arya Stark didn't stay blind long on Game of Thrones.

This reversal was a total cop-out on a potentially interesting story development that only proved how pointless the cliffhangers of season five truly were.

I know we're dealing with a fantasy world, but come on. Actions need consequences. Without them nothing matters. Why should I be concerned at all for the safety of these people?

Blinded? No problemo! Dead? No problemo! We got magic that'll fix ya right up. Take a seat, I'll be right with you.

These two events prove the show is playing us for suckers. Snow's death and Stark's blindness were cons of the highest order.

Perhaps as winking explanation, the ever-likeable character Davos summed the situation up best.

"You were dead. Now you're not," he tells the recently resurrected Snow. "That's completely f**king mad."

It's completely f**king rubbish is what it is, because Game of Thrones didn't just cheat death, it cheated us. Most of all, it cheated itself.

Debate on this article is now closed.

- NZ Herald

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Karl Puschmann is an entertainment writer for the New Zealand Herald.

A pop culture junkie, Karl has spent his career writing about the important things in life; music, film, television, comics and video games. He was editor of a popular music rag for five years and has since written regularly for every local culture/arts/lifestyle magazine worth a damn. His recent expansion into travel writing has flung him far, far from the comfort of his couch and into that bewildering place known as the ‘outdoors’. He is also currently endeavouring to make sense of the world by reviewing it over at critikarlreviewstheworld.com

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