Game of Thrones and “Justice”: Nope

From the "Lady Sansa ღ" page on Facebook

From the “Lady Sansa ღ” page on Facebook

In life, the monsters win.
A Game of Thrones, Chapter VI

There is no creature on earth half so terrifying as a truly just man.
Chapter XIV

If we have learned anything from Game of Thrones (the books or the TV series), it is this: the seemingly noble qualities of justice and mercy can have dire, even deadly consequences. (Spoilers ahead.)

I knew the Red Wedding scene was coming from the moment the show started its run in 2011, but I can still say I was surprised that the show presented it in such a brutal manner. The addition of Talisa, a character who does not appear in the books, as well as the news of her pregnancy, added an element of brutality absent even from the books. Much of the reaction I have seen (from people who did not know that the Red Wedding was coming) has focused on bemusement, or even rage, that the show would kill off its main character, Robb Stark.

I have two thoughts in response to that sentiment: (1) Have you learned nothing from the death of Ned Stark? That was not a narrative outlier. (2) Why assume Robb Stark is the central character, or hero? Continue reading