Hot Poppin' Culture News From New York City

Game of Thrones: Renly Whacked by Magic; Cheap Plot Device?

Gethin Anthony Renly Baratheon Game of Thrones

Renly Baratheon’s death through magic was a cheap plot ploy. (Photo: HBO)

The death of Gethin Anthony’s “Game of Thrones” character Renly Baratheon at the hands of a mysterious shadow creature is taking magic too far in the series.

If you watch Game for its political intrigue, the injection of mystical elements seems like a cheap way to move the plot along.

The mysterious shadow creature, spawned by Melisandre (Carice van Houten), kills Renly, while loyal guard Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Lady Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) are taken totally by surprise. Most viewers probably were caught by surprise as well.

His death comes on the on eve of his battle with Stannis (Stephen Dillane) and is a major game changer in the battle for the Iron Throne.

But far worse, it defeats all of the human machinations that really make the series interesting. The Robb-Renley alliance Catelyn was trying to forge gets taken out as well. How interesting might that have been had it happened?

The series is like a multi-sided game of chess. Each move triggers a counter-move. Alliances are won, advantages are gained through political skill, brute force or even technological innovation.

Adding Magic to the mix is like someone moving pieces on the board when no one is looking.

It negates, with one fell swoop, all the human interaction that makes the series so compelling. When you take out a major character with magic, it’s like cheating.

Author George R.R. Martin incorporated the fantastic into the books on which the series is based, so in that sense the television drama is staying true to the original story. But it’s still creates a feeling of being short-changed.

Subscribe To TheImproper's Email Newsletters, Free!