By Joanna Mendoza
A few days ago, I read a very interesting article on EW.com. It’s a TV Fight Club pitting The Walking Dead against Game of Thrones. I’ve always felt that Game of Thrones fans–at least those who are so hardcore that there’s just no room left in their pop-culture-loving hearts for another popular genre show–in some ways look down on Walking Dead fans and on the show itself.
I think that’s mighty unfair, but to each his own.
Anyway, back to the EW.com article. The author tried his best to be fair. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and, to me at least, it was pretty obvious which show he thought was better, and I felt that was unfair. But then maybe I’m just sourgraping because he did raise some pretty good points.
So now I’ll try to do the same.
Unlike the vast world of Game of Thrones (politics, Seven Kingdoms, dragons, creepy Children, wights, people vs. people, people vs. fantastical creatures), The Walking Dead‘s scope is very limited (people vs. zombies). And yet it has done so much with so little.
It said in the article that GOT characters are more interesting. It has cooler creatures, and it has more beautiful places. (Why settle for a prison or a farm if you can spend your Monday nights in King’s Landing or wherever Dany is?)
I think that general story-, settings-, and character-wise, GOT has an unfair advantage. It’s set in a fantasy world created specifically for the series. TWD, on the other hand, is set in our world as we know it. Which is why it’s unfair to compare King’s Landing, The Wall, Slaver’s Bay, and the Riverlands with the prison or the farm. TWD is not being boring; it’s just staying true to what it really is. Not ordinary and unimaginative, mind you, but as of-this-world as possible.
The same thing can be said of the characters. The author pointed out GOT has much richer characters. Tyrion is more hateful and vengeful and clever. Because so many different things are happening to him. Because there’s so much more opportunity for all kinds of evil in that world. In the TWD world, however, evil (from both the zombies and humans) is pretty much predictable, and yet the characters continue to grow from their quite limited experiences. I think the challenge for character development on TWD is more difficult, and more gratifying for viewers to experience.
And now the creatures. My argument here is pretty much the same as my argument two paragraphs ago. TWD is not being boring; it’s just staying true to what it really is. It’s unfair to compare “zombies plus White Walkers plus direwolves plus dragons” to just zombies. TWD, after all, is a show about the zombie apocalypse. I’m pretty sure critics would call for a boycott if TWD suddenly featured a dragon.
Terminus and Dorne are both make-believe settings. But the former sounds way more exciting than the latter.
I’m pretty dang sure that the next seasons of GOT will be quite challenging for me. To this day, I am still trying to force myself to finish reading A Feast for Crows. I didn’t like that world at all, so when I heard that Season 5 would be primarily set in Dorne, my heart sank. I don’t like quitting shows! I was able to sit through all five seasons of 90210, so I’m pretty sure I’d be able to stick with GOT, but I don’t want it to be a chore.
I think the level of my commitment to both shows has something to do with how much I loved their respective pilots. I don’t remember anything about the pilot episode of Game of Thrones, but the Walking Dead pilot has stuck with me. That little zombie girl with the doll still freaks me out. And I still can’t walk by myself in deserted hospital hallways.
I love Tyrion, but I have a feeling Peter Dinklage has a lot do with it. Unlike Tyrion, Daryl doesn’t have the benefit of being played by a great actor (though I do love Norman Reedus). And yet Daryl seems to have resonated stronger. I’m not saying I’ll join the riots if Daryl dies, but I’ll definitely feel a lot emptier than if Tyrion is offed.
The fifth season of The Walking Dead premieres in October.