Note: This post contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, Toy Story 4, Frozen 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Downton Abbey, Mockingjay, and Grey’s Anatomy.
From Hannah: A year ago, Game of Thrones was airing its final few episodes. And, well, we all know how that went. And if you’ve listened to our Game of Thrones/TV finale show, you know that I was very upset about how the show treated Jaime and Brienne’s characters and their relationship. Jaime leaving Brienne doesn’t make sense. His death doesn’t make sense. Her appointment to the Kingsguard isn’t satisfying either because of facts or personal growth. It’s all very sad! And the strange thing is, I didn’t even care about Game of Thrones or the books that much, but I can’t get over how terribly the show handled this storyline and the implications of it. This is just one example of plots tearing apart iconic pairs for no good reason (see Toy Story 4 and Frozen 2 which I’m also still not over for similar reasons).
I feel like everyone experiences something horrifying in popular culture that sticks with them — untimely deaths (Jaime), poor character development (Jaime), plot lines that don’t make sense (Brienne), lack of respect for the audience (the whole Game of Thrones experience at this point tbh). People are still a mixture of heartbroken and infuriated that J.K. Rowling killed Lupin and Tonks and Fred Weasley. Or that Matthew and Derek died on Downton Abbey and Grey’s Anatomy, respectively. Can we forget that Rose Tico was sidelined in Rise of Skywalker? Or how The Pirates of the Caribbean sequels somehow made Jack Sparrow unwatchable? Or how the Gilmore Girls revival made Rory not only unlikable but seemingly incompetent?
Bad things happen in popular culture for lots of reasons, not just bad writing or actors wanting to move on. Sometimes, things are truly upsetting because they’re well-written, tragic, and shocking, like Prim’s death in Mockingjay. Sometimes, we just want to watch a movie where the dog doesn’t die. Sometimes, everyone else seems happy with a film (Toy Story 4), but we feel a deep loss.
So I want to know: What are the things in pop culture that you can’t get over because they’re TERRIBLE or because they’re achingly good? And why, specifically, do these moments stick with you so much? How do we move on … and do we even want to?