1968 and The Red Wedding: Mad Men vs. Game of Thrones
If you haven’t seen the most recent episodes of these shows and don’t want to know what happens, don’t read this.
I suspect you’ve noticed that two epic seasons are playing out right now in two TV shows that are arguably two of the best ever created. This is the sixth and final season of Mad Men and we are seeing Don and company in 1968, with the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and the protests at the Democratic National Convention. The world is in turmoil and the characters lives are a pretty good mirror of the times, as they struggle with a multitude of personal and professional issues. Game of Thrones is set in a different world that, if nothing else, shows it is possible to have even more cultural and political upheaval than the 60s. This show is now coming to the end of its third season with drama that is almost too excruciating to watch.
In the case of both these great shows, it has been possible to anticipate events somewhat. Game of Thrones is quite faithful to the books on which it is based, so it’s possible to know some of what’s coming if you have read the books beforehand. In the case of Mad Men, we know the historical events that happened in the world in 1968 and some of the genius of the show is seeing those events unfold through the eyes of the characters, and experiencing those things with them. In both cases, however, nothing prepares you for the full impact of seeing the events play out with these characters that you have come to know and love.
Many questions have arisen in this season of Mad Men, including: What will be the fate of Don Draper, this semi-fictional character that Dick Whitman created in a horrible moment during the Korean War? But the more immediate question is: Who is Bob Benson? We have already caught Bob in at least one lie, as he has at different times claimed that his father is both dead and recently recovered from an illness. He is too smooth and too smarmy and too good to be real. There is something going on there that we just don’t know yet. What is your theory?
In Game of Thrones, the biggest questions surround the fate of the Starks, the family at the center of the show that has now lost its father, mother and oldest brother. Their story seems to oddly mirror that of House Targaryen a generation earlier, whose last remaining member is now on course to reclaim the throne that was taken from her family when she was just a child. The Stark children seem ill-prepared to survive in the world without their parents, but Daenerys shows what’s possible with a little luck and some unlikely powers. What’s your prediction on the fate of everyone’s favorite family?
Have you been watching these shows? Has Mad Men made you break out 60s music, hairstyles or clothing? Have you learned to speak Dothraki or Valyrian? Did you design your own sigil and motto yet? What are your favorite parts of these seasons? Favorite characters? Finally, are these the greatest shows ever, and if so, whish one is better? Or would you rather just talk about season 4 of Arrested Development? (Did you think Jason Bateman was going to make out with Justine for a second?)