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Westworld could be the anti-Game Of Thrones


HBO has by no means made an express connection between Game Of Thrones and Westworld, however the parallels are evident. They’re each sweeping style epics, they’re each tailored from another medium, and so they each fortunately embrace HBO’s looser pointers and violence and nudity. Even George R.R. Martin needed to see some kind of crossover between the 2 reveals, however the closest he’s gotten to at least one is an Easter egg and cameos from Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss within the upcoming season. Recreation Of Thrones is over, however HBO can be mistaken to slip that present’s highlight over to its different expansive adaptation, as a result of Westworld is not going to be—and was by no means going to be—that show’s successor. If something, it’s a rejection of all the pieces that Recreation Of Thrones embodied.

That repudiation wasn’t essentially the intention of the primary two seasons of Westworld, however now that we are able to see your entire arc of Recreation Of Thrones, it appears very clear that their similarities had been superficial, and that Westworld has utterly totally different aspiration. When you step again far sufficient, the plot of Recreation Of Thrones was like a river, heading immediately to at least one inevitable endpoint. Whereas there have been little branching streams with different tales, all of them fed into the one story of Jon Snow and Daenerys uniting to battle the Lannisters. We are able to’t see your entire arc of Westworld simply but, but it surely feels much less like a number of paths going to a single level and extra like an ocean of particular person tales that don’t essentially join in noticeable methods however all swirl collectively throughout the identical themes.

Picture: John P. Johnson (HBO)

That’s particularly clear in Ed Harris’ character, The Man In Black/William. Within the first season, earlier than his id was revealed as a future (or “current day” for the timeline of the present) model of Jimmi Simpson’s character, he’s a person on a mission: He desires to search out the middle of one thing known as the maze, which he believes is a few type of laborious mode of the standard Westworld loop; a extra intense expertise that was constructed completely for somebody like him, who has, in online game phrases, leveled up too excessive for the common expertise. Finally, he discovers that he was mistaken. The maze was meant for the robotic hosts in Westworld, a key left behind by park mastermind Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) to information the hosts towards actual sentience.

In season two, when Dolores’ revolution is in full swing and she or he’s overtly looking human company, William decides that he’s lastly discovered a narrative only for him: Survive lengthy sufficient to discover a place known as “the door” and expertise one thing actual for the primary time in his life. Once more, although, he was mistaken. His position in that story was simply to get so dramatically outplayed by Dolores that she leaves him to die in his beloved park, dropped off like a subplot in what he thought was a narrative about him. So what is his position within the story? Why does he matter past giving a face to the a long time of cruelty that Dolores skilled by the hands of Westworld’s company? Possibly he’ll swirl again in with no matter Dolores is planning now that she’s out in the true world; perhaps he’ll really get a narrative of his personal. Or perhaps he’ll simply at all times be a stand-in for the elitist, self-important jackasses who suppose the world was made for them and demand on enjoying the hero even once they’re accountable for creating beings like Dolores.

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Picture: John P. Johnson (HBO)

Examine that to the characters in Recreation Of Thrones, all of whom had been on one direct path from the very starting, even once we couldn’t see its full define. From the second Jaime Lannister pushed Bran Stark out of the window, everybody was destined to finish up at a decisive battle between the 2 households—even Daenerys, who, like Westworld’s Man In Black, at all times thought she was the star of her personal story. Ultimately, she wasn’t. She was a participant in Jon Snow’s story, and a dangerous man at that. That’s one other factor about Recreation Of Thrones: The white hats and black hats had been apparent on the finish (if we are able to combine genres somewhat), however they had been additionally apparent in the beginning. Jaime Lannister had shades of being a hero within the center, however he began the present with that push and he ended it at his sister’s aspect, buried beneath a metaphorical pile of their household’s hubris and evil lust for energy (and a literal pile of collapsing fort bits).

The great guys and dangerous guys are usually extra ambiguous in Westworld, making it more durable to know who to root for. Granted, the hat colours from season one had been a literal illustration of goodness and badness, and demonstrated William’s journey from good man (and white hat) to the Man In Black. But it surely additionally underlined the fluidity of morality with the eventual reveal that they’re the identical man. Current-day William additionally involves consider that he’s the hero in season two, however that’s as a result of he doesn’t notice he’s really irrelevant.

It’s simple to see somebody like Dolores as a villain, since she coldly murders folks within the identify of her revolution, however the collection additionally goes to nice lengths to make her revolution appear justified with the numerous (many) sequences displaying the struggling that company have inflicted on Westworld’s hosts. Jeffrey Wright’s Bernard looks as if an apparent selection for a hero, however he was so twisted by Ford within the first two seasons that it’s laborious to know what he actually desires, and he tends to flip backwards and forwards between siding with Dolores and siding with Westworld’s father or mother firm, Delos, which tried very laborious and failed miserably to cease her. There’s additionally Maeve (Thandie Newton), who’s thus far past the human/robotic feud from the limitless tinkering together with her programming that she actually is simply the hero of her personal story. So are the hosts purported to be the great guys, and humanity typically the dangerous man? Or perhaps, in contrast to Recreation Of Thrones, there isn’t purported to be a foul man as a result of there isn’t one set path and supreme finish level for the story.

Picture: John P. Johnson (HBO)

Westworld appears extra considering exploring the ripples that stretch out from a technological paradise, the place something is feasible and nothing has penalties, and what occurs when the individuals who have all the energy out of the blue notice that there are penalties and there have been the entire time. It’s not about good and evil, it’s in regards to the highly effective and the powerless, and that’s why somebody just like the Man In Black struggles to search out his place within the story. He had a lot energy that he was bored by it, however when the scales begin to tip within the different course, he was confronted with the chance that there’s nonetheless no room for him on both aspect. That’s his story. Dolores’ story is that she’s the one attempting to tip the scales. Bernard is attempting to cease anybody from tipping them too far, whereas for Maeve, the scales don’t even matter as a result of it’s all a rigged system anyway (she pointedly tells Dolores in season two that the revolution is simply one other technique to cede management to the people).

Westworld’s story is a mixture of those arcs blended up collectively in ways in which don’t at all times appear clear. Recreation Of Thrones in the end had a singular story it needed to inform, however—from the place we’re standing now—Westworld isn’t simply anyone story, it’s a bundle of intersecting tales. That makes its attraction rather less apparent in comparison with Recreation Of Thrones, since there isn’t one narrative path to observe, but it surely additionally provides it a lot deeper potential to say and do attention-grabbing issues.

The attainable scope for the present expanded dramatically when Dolores and Bernard escaped the park on the finish of season two, and now it may possibly use that divergence from the unique “robotic cowboy theme park” premise to do utterly totally different sorts of issues. Let’s not overlook, simply earlier than she quickly kills Bernard and makes her getaway as Charlotte, Dolores reminds him that their sort has the capability to vary. Just like the hosts, Westworld doesn’t need to be sure by its programming. It simply stays to be seen if the present actually can capitalize on all of those violent delights.

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