There are some very angry people in the world right now who have a petition and are not afraid to use it.
The Change.org petition in question has already garnered more than 500,000 signatures from disgruntled Game of Thrones fans who are begging HBO, the network that produces the show, to “remake Game of Thrones season eight with competent writers”. According to the signatories, show-runners David Benioff and DB Weiss “have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers.”
Blaming the show’s writing has been a popular war cry from fans recently who believe the final season of the blockbuster fantasy series, which is based on George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series A Song of Ice and Fire, has under delivered its swansong.
But the writing is not solely to blame for the sharp and ill-formed twists and stumbles the series has taken this year. The missteps are instead much more to do with the culture that has sprung up around the show. A culture that has infiltrated both the inner workings of the series and the fandom that supports it.
In this final stage of its life, Game of Thrones has become shrouded in toxic ‘bro culture’ and that has been the crux of some elements of its storytelling downfalls.
Bro culture, which is sometimes also referred to as “dude culture” or “frat culture”, is explained by USA Today as being any type of behaviour that is linked to acts considered synonymous with “typical” traits of masculinity.
It should also be clear that the term “bro” isn’t a simple synonym for “male” or “guy”, but more to do with a way of thinking or speaking that invokes ideas of gender stereotypes, sexism, and even rape culture.
With Game of Thrones season eight, the bro culture problem started long before the first episode ever aired, back when the behind-the-scenes creative team was being assembled for what was always going to be one of the biggest and most-watched runs in television history.
For the final season of Game of Thrones, all six episodes were directed and written by men with show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss sharing writing and directing duties David Nutter, Miguel Sapochnik, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.
And let me just say, before you start crying out ‘but maybe they just picked the best people for the job! You can’t give people opportunities based on gender!’, allow me to clarify that acclaimed screenwriters Jane Espenson and Vanessa Taylor have both penned brilliant scripts for the show in the past, not to mention the legion of female screenwriters waiting in the wings who have never been given the opportunity to do so.
The women are there, they were just not hired.
With a lack of women in both the writer’s room and the director’s chairs, bro culture has reigned supreme in the final season of Game of Thrones with intricately constructed plot-lines and compelling character development shunned in favour of bro-tastic explosions and cliched hysterical female villains.
Clare Stephens and Holly Wainwright debrief on the latest episode of Game of Thrones on the Mamamia Recaps podcast. Post continues after audio…
Game of Thrones has always been a little murky with the treatment of its female characters, with gratuitous scenes of violence and nudity playing out across the screen over the years.