Aristotle was one of the greatest philosophers of Ancient Greece. A philosopher loo ks for ideal forms, and tries to
explain the nature of reality. Even more so, he is famous for his interpretation of tragedy in story telling and the purpose it brings to the spectator. Aristotle conveyed that, the aim of tragedy, is to bring about a “catharsis” of the spectators — to arouse in them sensations of pity and fear, and to purge them of these emotions so that they leave the theater feeling cleansed and uplifted, with a heightened understanding of the ways of gods and men.
This element of story and character is depicted in the tragedy of one of the most beloved character in Game Of Thrones, Robb Stark. Almost all the criteria of tragedy is laid bare: a character of high nobility, and a man who is, not perfect, but is good and relatable as a normal human being. Robb Stark’s character in Game Of Thrones, more than any other, is one who acted from a general and perfectly sympathetic perspective. I don’t remember him making a decision that I, myself, felt like I would make in his position. His character was written in such a way that he is completely sympathetic to the audience, while also maintaining a sense of superiority that was ultimately, above our reach. This is where George R. Martin really comes into his own, as a writer. He’s able to capture the worst parts of humanity without restraint, while also providing us with a glimpse of beauty in that darkness, which serves as a glimmer of hope for the tragic characters of his world. The elements of tragedy which Aristotle spoke of in his poetics did not come as ramifications for a character who got what was coming to him, but were summoned by an error of judgement and decision-making that a man in his position would have made given the same situation.
The red wedding is the darkest moment in television history. Like his father, Ned Stark, who was known for his nobility, Robb Stark was a man known for his heart. And like his father before him, Robb Stark died for that strength. When Robb Stark chooses to marry someone he loves rather than marry the daughter of a key ally, the events that unfold come with a sense of inevitabilty given the world in which George R. Martin introduces. Its inevitabilty doesn’t take away its shock though, but rather, it emphasises it to a higher degree. The tension in those lighthearted scenes of merry and camaraderie give the red wedding such darkness that unfolds which by no means diminishes their impact. The appeal of following one’s heart is blatantly disregarded in just one short scene, and the warmth and stillness of the previous scene helps the impact of the darkness and bloodshed that follows. The general story ideas are completely subverted in the show, and this deconstruction is mirrored in the fall of the Stark family. The death of Ned Stark set in motion a gruesome turn of events that would befall all members of the family, leading up to Robb himself. The clues of his fate were there in his attempts to avenge his father and and save his siblings. His small triumphs could never account for his major losses. His winning of the small battles could never favour his quest to win the war, as they rather brought him closer and closer to his death. Now, I could say the same for almost every GOT character, but Robb’s story is kind of harsh and rather perplexing in its shock value. His was not a story of the rise of a hero, but the fall of an idea that could never manifest itself in the cruel world in which he was at mercy.
The Geek Writer.