I’m re-watching season 7 of Game of thrones and it’s been interesting to analyze the story as a writer instead of as the average consumer enjoying some great content.
Warning, if you are yet right watch this particular season, please don’t let me spoil it for you. Come back and read this once you’ve indulged.Anyway, I’m trying to learn writing lessons as usual and have paid attention to the story arc of one particular character- Daenerys Stormborn.
The previous season ended with a grand culmination of her endeavors. She’d managed, despite the odds, to build a magnificent and powerful army with allies that had significant forces of their own at their disposal.
I remember when I watched the season for the first time, I went into it expecting the mother of dragons to kick ass and take names. Instead, we watched her face defeat after defeat. And some advice from Olenna Tyrell (one of my favorite characters in this series) suggested she stop listening to men and become the firmer cell Dragon queen she was born to be.
Events forced that very reaction from Daenerys after her well-paid plans were reduced to dust.
I enjoyed the surprise of her stunning defeats at the hands and machinations of the Lannisters. They were unexpected. It was good, in a twisted way, to see her allies fall one by one. That served to humanize the mother of dragons and breaker of chains. She wasn’t so bad ass after all, huh?
And the way the second arc began (IMO with episode 4 and her charging into Westeros with her Dothraki horde as she rode her Dragon was fabulous (that last part sounds funny, I know. Please get your mind out of the gutter). The Dothraki charging. Daenerys saying “drakaris” – the order for her Dragon to spit deadly flames at her enemies. Even watching Bronn stumble around in a war scene that was loud, covered on dust and orange blazes was delicious and inspiring. That battle scene was excellently presented.
But I digress.
My writing lesson from this season and this particular character arc was that it is crucial to wow your reader throughout the story. Not only in the last part of the tale (something I’m often guilty of). Give your character stunning defeats – insurmountable hills to surpass. Bring him/her to their knees early or in Daenerys’ case (well sort of), frustrate the character so much that they make a Brash move that only brings more failure.