Comparing conclusions and, most of all, options

Game of Thrones and Vikings spoke to a similar fan base and inspired passionate fans. Ironically, also shot at the same studios in Ireland. Game of Thrones said goodbye in 2019, and Vikings came to its conclusion right before 2020 was over. The big difference is in its ending. While Game of Thrones opted to surprise the fans, Vikings were respectful, tidying loose ends and leaving the plot open for a sequel.

They have basic differences. Game of Thrones was sustained by best-sellers and investment by Warner Studios but had two newcomers as showrunners. Vikings was a project by awarded and experienced Michael Hirst (Elizabeth, The Tudors) and inspired by true characters and events, produced by MGM for History Channel.

Maybe because Vikings was actually a true story it helped Michael Hirst to come up with twists that would not be believed if they weren’t actually History. The closer to reality that Game of Thrones could do was to allude to the War of the Roses somehow. In any case, both series kind of touched on the topics that were at the heart of Lord of the Rings, which is how Power can ruin the best person’s soul.

Below are some comparisons of how the two series differ.

Most of the Game of Thrones fans’ upset was about Daenerys Targaryen’s ending, who, in a surprising twist, became someone very different from who she was for seven seasons before. Personally, that was the one thing that I saw coming for a long while and I thought it was a great twist. Was she right doing what she did? Was she “mad” all along? Was Cersei Lannister right about the Targaryens? The twist brought Daenerys depth and showed Emilia Clarke‘s range as an actress.

However, Emilia Clarke apparently was not only shocked but frustrated with what she called the last taste of what people would have of her character, and that angst made the actress walk alone in shock for hours.

Tyrion Lannister, that gave many well-deserved Emmys to Peter Dinklage, was also damaged in the end. He, who was the one character who moved between Houses with wit and cynicism, ended up almost being gullible. For a guy who “drank and knew things”, he knew nothing, really.

The one who got the worst treatment was Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington. Jon Snow is the BEST hero on TV for a long time. These are the years in which anti-heroes have the fans and leadership so having as loyal, generous, serious, and essentially good as Jon Snow, not ever being ridiculous, was impressive.

It isn’t easy playing the hero. The best lines, plot, and strategies are usually dedicated to the bad guys, and having the world stop at this death was a sign of his importance.

From Season 1 we expected Jon to end the Dead Walkers and later, the Night King, the apparent real threat to the world. However, the showrunners decided that it would be best not only that Jon didn’t kill his enemy, but that he would be very far from him at his dismissal, screaming at a dragon. Yeah, literally. It was as if Bjorn Ironside escaped from Ivar and when it came to the final face-off with the Rus he’d be stuck in his bed and Ingrid would do all the work. Why decline to your hero his victory? Bjorn had his. Thankfully.

Fans invested 10 years supporting Jon, the only one that was aware and worried about the Night King just so Arya, who only came home weeks before the final battle and had no clue of what was going on, would fly (yes, fly) in to easily kill three thousand years being that not even Dragonfire could melt. The showrunners said after the episode that they thought it would be something we’d never see coming. True, but only perhaps we all thought it would be a lousy idea.

The parallel with Vikings can compare Arya, Ivar, and Hvitserk too. Again, against GOT. For example, from Season 4 on, Ivar promised to kill Lagertha to avenge his mother’s murder. It was only his right according to Viking culture. She was tough to kill and he spent the whole Season 5 dreaming it. In his turn, Hvitserk apparently wasn’t too concerned about it, and instead, announced it was his fate to kill Ivar. Comes Season 6 and, shock! Hvitserk kills Lagertha thinking she was Ivar. Not the best, but not the same as Arya killing the Night King instead of Cersei.

Vikings, even with its flaws, kept it coherent while Game of Thrones became a “surprise for the sake of surprise” thing. The complexity of Ragnar’s sons’ relationships with one another would justify their changes of heart. Although Jon and Arya were close, to invert their purpose made no sense. It was easy for Arya, upsetting for Jon, and annoying for us. To Jon, it was left to betray and kill Daenerys, who everyone loved. It’s again as if Bjorn had killed Lagertha instead of Ivar or even Hivtserk.

And Bran Stark? Hello, Ivar! For a disabled person in medieval times overcoming his difficulties would be even more inspiring. Ivar was often a mix of Ramsay Bolton meets Joffrey Baratheon, but he was beautifully redeemed in the end, even being cruel and violent. Bran was a robot.

Nothing really wrong with Bran ending as King and Jon choosing exile, but Jon was useless, lost, and punished with exile, even after saving all from Daenerys. It was pointless.

So, when we see Ivar sacrificing himself to save Hvitserk it’s emotional and surprising. His bones breaking and his rage high was true to the character. Being stabbed by a random soldier was fitting.

The comparison between Vikings and Game of Thrones can have more items. Both have spin-offs in production and are expected for sometime in 2022. Valar Morghullis.


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