So unlike most of the planet, I didn't watch the season finale of Game of Thrones until last night. That's because I go to my friend Bill the Elf's apartment to watch it: he has one of those awesome full-wall projectors, surround sound, plus the guy is a top-trained chef who cooks something fucking amazing every single week. All this adds up to me being willing to postpone satisfaction for 48 hours, often at great risk of spoilers, just for the whole-package experience.
Anyways, now I have watched it, and it was good, but you know what my first thought was as the final credits rolled? Not "oh my god they killed him" or "what a disappointing fucking end for that guy", or "wait, are those two just dead, then?" or "are those guys going to enslave her or make her their queen again?" or "jesus fuck Arya is a badass".
No, the first thought that spontaneously came to my head was "Not bad, but my Dark Albion campaign is better right now". I kid you not. I did a bit of a double-take right after that, but it's true.
Of course, Albion has a few advantages: it's happening in the theater of the mind, unlimited budget in imaginationland, etc. etc., but special effects has never been a weak spot for GoT. It's based on real history, which to me at least is if anything more interesting than putting one's own spin on real history; but of course others might not agree.
Mostly though, it wasn't really so much a question of praising my own Albion campaign, however excellent it's been going, as it has been on how, in spite of still being really awesome, this season of GoT was undoubtedly the weakest one yet. It felt like an intermediate season; while other seasons often started slow and built up to really huge events at the end, this one felt like it was going at a middle-pace all season long and built up to nothing; or rather, it is probably building up to whatever will happen NEXT season. In all likelihood there's no more than two seasons left to GoT after this, and now that's quite clear, particularly with this season finale where a number of major players were taken off the board. The endgame is approaching, but at the point where the season cut out it was like the storylines were more rambling and disconnected than ever. Nothing had very much to do with anything else this season, and I think that somewhat hurt the pace and feel of the show.
I get it though, where they're at is the lull, the equivalent in the Albion campaign of that period from 1472 to 1481 where the Rose War wasn't actually being fought in any significant way. When I was DMing my campaign, I was worried that this period would end up going glacially and feeling very blase, but instead it turned out to be hugely productive, and has had a steady if slow buildup to the climactic period of the campaign from 1483-85 (we're on 1481 right now). So in that sense, again noting that as a GM rather than a director I had way more freedom blah blah blah, I think I handled the "slow period between major events" quite a lot better than GoT did with its five utterly disconnected plotlines.
Not saying I didn't have fun, though. Just really wondering if next season this will end up quickly shifting into going somewhere and building up intensity again, or if we're going to have another season of this.
Currently Smoking: Masonic Meerschaum + Image Perique