Even though it hasn’t finished yet, the final season of HBO’s hit show Game of Thrones has already angered quite a few longtime fans of the series. And while many of them are talking about the reasons it failed, artist Benjamin Dewey has illustrated the scenes that could’ve made him enjoy it more. And judging by the comments under his appropriately titled series The Scenes I Wish We’d GoT, others couldn’t agree with him more.
Benjamin’s love affair with the series started over a decade ago. “In 2008, a friend of mine, Wendy (who has since passed away) worked at a local book retailer (Powells). When I told her that I liked dragons, monsters, and knights, she said, ‘You’ve got to read this series of books; they’re amazingly detailed fantasy’ and she gave me a Game Of Thrones,” Benjamin told Bored Panda. “I will admit I didn’t totally get it at first but by the end of that book, I was a fan. Now I’m a super-fan and I’ve read as much of the supplemental material as I can get. Like most folks, I cannot wait for Winds of Winter.”
“I am a sucker for fantasy in general but I especially love when stories build their momentum from the nature of their characters,” the artist said. “I like a spectacle as much as anyone but I tend to dislike it if it’s just for its own sake. George R.R. Martin understands that the fantastical should be pressed into the service of illuminating the tragedies and triumphs of everyday life.”
“Daenerys rides a dragon but at the end of the day, she is seeking comfort and safety of the house with the red door. We like her because we understand her motivations. That amalgamation of the quotidian and the spectacular is in perfect balance in A Song of Ice and Fire.”
Benjamin believes that a huge reason why the last season of the TV show is declining is story compression. “It’s just what happens sometimes. Actors get older, budgets are set, contracts run out and shooting locations become unavailable. George R.R. Martin wants to do two more books that have fifteen hundred-page manuscripts. He takes a long time because it is difficult to structure such an intricate web of characters.”
“The showrunners are out over their skis and faced the unenviable task of trying to compress two novels worth of story into six episodes of television. Adapting great books with a fresh cast produces better results than trying to hastily tie a bow on an unfinished epic.”
After all, Game of Thrones is a show that is in competition with a superior earlier iteration of itself. “I Just Called To Say I Love You is a fine song but when you compare it to Superstition there’s no contest regarding which version of Stevie Wonder is preferable. Bad is relative. I think it’s not all the things that fans wanted and there are probably a ton of reasons for that. I am torn between sympathy for [the writers of the HBO series] and frustration that some of the choices being made feel truncated and undermining of all the set-up we were given. There’s one left so maybe they’ll pull off an amazing finale but I’m measuring my expectations.”
“My wife has taught me that it’s possible to just enjoy that parts of a cultural artifact that moves you and not write off the whole thing just because it’s imperfect. It’s a good lesson. Everything has flaws.”
Benjamin’s disappointed that we’re speeding past important stretches of the story “to land the plane before it falls apart.” He said he understands it but it feels avoidable. “Most people don’t have creative jobs so they don’t understand the pressures and vulnerability involved in creating art for others but even though I make stories for a living, I can only imagine what it feels like to be the people working on the show. It’s a global phenomenon. Billions of people have opinions but due to lack of access to a deep knowledge of the process, most of them are uninformed and unproductive when it comes to writing, film or art. Audiences feel many things about the media they engage with and even when they love a thing, it’s not always a positive relationship. I made my comic as a cathartic exercise but also to try and put something positive and fun out there for like-minded people who might feel similarly about how the show is coming to an end.”
But Benjamin thinks there’s a silver lining to all of this. “I like that more people are starting to talk about story, plot and character arcs and I’d encourage anyone who has a ton of ideas about ‘what they should have done’ to go produce your own stories,” he added. “I’m really hoping that instead of people just offering an endless deluge of bitter critiques that we might get some really cool and fun new worlds to explore. I feel inspired to make the best things I can and I’ve learned some important lessons, to apply to my own stories from watching this final season.”
Part of what allowed the Oregon-based artist to offer such a refreshing take on the situation is his experience. “I started drawing recognizable things (as my parents convey it) by age three. I have been drawing my whole life and it’s something I still feel excited about.”
“I’ve been a full-time professional comics artist/illustrator for the past 11 years,” he said. “I’ve worked for almost every major publisher, done creator-owned projects, covers, interiors, and webcomics. Right now, I’m drawing a series about magical mystery solving dogs called Beasts of Burden for Dark Horse comics.”
Image credits: benjamindewey
Benjamin said that he avoided a specific style for a long time and at the moment tries to combine drawing systems with a careful observation so it doesn’t fall on the side of overly goofy/cartoony or too stiff/realistic. “I change how I approach the visuals depending on the tone or the context. This Game Of Thrones piece was done for my webcomic, Meowskertown, so it is more abstract.”
People had a lot to say after seeing Benjamin’s series
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