Game of Thrones vs. The Walking Dead

It’s a laughing matter for the rest of the world’s fans, but I have finished watching season five of The Walking Dead only on Thursday the 17th of September 2015…. Season 6 apparently starts (at least in Japan) in October already.
I’m so late because in the past, hulu Japan (of which I’m a subscriber) had The Walking Dead (TWD) “live” but then it got too popular and expensive and they managed to add season five to their program only a week ago. The more or less real time showing of the series happens in Japan via a pay-TV channel that I’m not paying for and for only one TV show of interest, I didn’t feel the inclination to subscribe.

The situation for Game of Thrones (GoT) is “even worse” in Japan. As far as I know, no pay TV or other channel is broadcasting it and also there I’m always lagging much behind and have to wait until the season is out on DVD.
When I finally get to watch the next season of GoT, I do so in a pace of maybe one episode per day, or one episode every other day. That was also the case for GoT season 5.

But now I watched all 16 episodes of season 5 TWD within a mere 5 days, more than 3 episodes per day! I even let it eat into my sleeping time, which I very very rarely allow to happen, because I just had to know what’s up next.
Then, finally finished with the season, I asked myself what was it that made me do a TWD marathon and why am I not inclined to do a GoT marathon?

The most striking thing that came to my mind is that TWD touches the heart more than GoT, at least my heart. Why so? Because the main characters in GoT are all lone wolves without significant attachments and relationships, while the core team of TWD exists for each other.
In GoT the characters are all more or less fighting for themselves, and more or less none of them would die for someone else. In TWD the core team members would sacrifice themselves for each other at any time. GoT is in that sense a “worse” and “sadder” world than post-zombie apocalypse TWD.

Sure, some of the GoT characters have friends, but the two biggest friends, King Robert and Ned Stark are long long dead. Tyrion and Lord Varys are kinda friends, but it ends at the kinda. Ser Jorah is in love with Daenerys, but not very successfully so far. Sam and Jon Snow were friends, but maybe that’s done now too, since Jon Snow looked pretty dead at the end of season 5. And that’s it. Other characters like Cersei have (of course) no friends at all, Arya and Sansa – do they have real, long-lasting friendships? Not really. The unit of family is completely dysfunctional as well. The Lannisters all hate each other, sort of, the Starks are half dead, the rest scattered. All others have no family to speak of. All that loneliness, betrayal at every corner and the constant threat of characters being killed off, creates a “detachment” in me that lets me watch the bickering, intrigues and atrocities with interest, but it doesn’t have me at the edge of my seat or emotionally invested.

In contrast to that let’s look at TWD. The core team around Rick with Daryl, Carol, Glenn, Maggie, Carl and Michonne, hell, they’re saving each other in every episode. There was quite a high death toll in season 5 too, with Beth, Bob, Tyreese and the new kid Noah now all gone. TWD killed off major characters in the past too, Andrea, most of all, or Hershel.
But the thing is that the core team of 6 is believing in each other, saving each other, willing to die for each other, whilst such “thick blood” doesn’t exist in GoT.

Watching TWD, I’m emotionally invested. I wanna know how the core team survives the next crisis. The people around them betray and are false like those in GoT but the core team doesn’t betray each other. Sure there are small squabbles and things they don’t tell each other, but they are a team and they hold together and that touches the viewer’s heart, at least mine, much more than the lonely fighters of GoT.
Congrats to the TWD team for a good season 5 and I’m looking forward to season 6 (no clue yet when I’ll be able to see it) – and please don’t kill off my two favorite characters Carol and Daryl! 😉

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