This article will kick off a series of posts defending Olly, the farm boy and raid survivor turned Night’s Watch recruit in Game of Thrones. If you’re not up to date on the series through the end of season 5, you probably don’t want to be reading this article.
If you really really hate Olly, I assume you’d not want to read this article either. Poor Olly.
Things seemed to be a bit simpler a few seasons ago, when nearly everyone was on board hating Joffrey Baratheon. (The team that runs The Joffrey of Podcasts would no doubt say otherwise.)
But with Joffrey’s death in season 3 by poisoning –
– or possibly as the result of a fatal leech-centered magical ritual, the show lost its focal point for villainy.
Ramsay Snow (or Bolton, if you must) was a fine runner-up as show villain, but after Stannis Baratheon sacrificed his daughter, people were actually rooting for Ramsay to defeat Stannis in their upcoming conflict. And maybe flay Stannis as punishment for the crime of filicide.
(It’s a dark day when people are rooting for the Bolton bastard.)
But then little orphan Olly, as part of a team of conspirators, lured Jon Snow into an improv performance of Julius Caesar.
Boom. Olly was the new show villain.
Now, I might be over-exaggerating how Olly is perceived, and I shouldn’t imply that everyone feels this way. But Olly does seem to attract a disproportionate amount of hate compared to Stannis, Joffrey, and Ramsay. Why is that?
I’ve always felt sympathy for the little northerner, ever since his family was murdered before his eyes and put on the dinner menu by Thenns. So it seemed like a reasonable topic for me to explore.
People seem to have three reasons for hating Olly:
- He killed Ygritte
- He killed Jon Snow
- He’s… a lazy narrative device, combined with being a non-book character? Something abstract like that.
I’ll address those in turns. I’ll try to articulate the charges against Olly and how I feel about them. (I’m pro-Olly, by the way.)
To be clear, it’s not a case where I support Olly because I don’t like Jon Snow or anything like that. I love Jon Snow.
I practically started my Game of Thrones blogging career defending Jon Snow when he was not as universally beloved as he is now. (I catch a lot of abuse from my friends for writing six blog postings about Jon. At least I didn’t write six defending Olly.)
Hopefully I’ll be able to convince one Olly-hater that Olly might not be that bad. Or maybe this reflection will bring me over to the anti-Olly camp.
I’ll start things off with the next post, but I’ll bring up a disclaimer here.
Ironically, because Olly is not a book character but is a show-invention, I’ll be mentioning some book details in regards to Jon’s story and Ygritte’s story at least. I won’t be dropping future spoilers because, well, the show has pretty much caught up with Ygritte and Jon’s story.
I think we’re all pretty much on the same page. But if you don’t want to read any book detail comparisons for what’s already been show, I understand you not wanting to read more.
If that’s the case, we’ll just assume that you agree with me. Boom.
Next Post: Regretting Ygritte.
(Comments are always welcome. Super welcome! But if you want to talk spoilery Game of Thrones talk with me (also welcome) I’d invite you to visit my Safe Spoilers page on my backup blog. That way my non-book-reading friends won’t be shocked with foreknowledge.)
Images from HBO’s Game of Thrones, obviously.
I make no claims to the artwork, but some claims to the text. So there.
If you liked this article, thank you! I have all of my Game of Thrones related articles on my handy-dandy Game of Thrones page should you want to read more but don’t want to navigate around my site.
© Patrick Sponaugle 2015 Some Rights Reserved