Features and Columns · TV

How Daredevil Beat Game of Thrones At Its Own Game of Death

By  · Published on March 21st, 2016

Violence and death. Two hallmarks of some of the most popular shows on TV right now. There’s quite a bit of heat on the Internet about a big death on The Walking Dead last night. Death surrounds the audiences of television. And the most prominent deaths are the ones that drive the conversation in the most heated directions, which is good for these respective shows. Killing off a major character isn’t just a story thing anymore, it’s a part of a show’s marketing. Which brings us to a spoilery discussion about Daredevil, Game of Thrones and how a show deals with a big death after the final credits roll.

For this, we will need a spoiler warning.

Warning: Spoilers for Daredevil Season 2 Below

Have you seen all of Daredevil season two and Game of Thrones season five? Good. I’d like to talk about the parallels between the fates of Elektra and Jon Snow. These are two deaths that came late in their respective seasons and will likely be resolved in similar fashions the next time these shows grace our various screens.

What Daredevil did: In the season two finale, Daredevil killed off Elektra. It wasn’t the same death we saw for the cinematic version of Elektra, in which she confronts Bullseye and is killed, but the end result will be similar to what Frank Miller did with the character in the early 1980s: she’s going to be resurrected. We know this because the show makes no bones about it. Throughout the latter half of the season, we see The Hand toting around a giant resurrection urn. And in those final moments of the season, we see them with a freshly dug-up Elektra body, preparing to bring her back from the dead for the inevitable third season. What this accomplishes for the show is having the emotional weight of Elektra’s death weigh on Matt Murdoch, but also not playing coy with the audience. There will be no mystery going forward as Elodie Yung is spotting on set for season three, no talking around her demise in the press.

What Game of Thrones did: Game of Thrones murdered Jon Snow, the beloved, bouncy-haired Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, in the final episode of season five. It was an event taken directly from the books by George R.R. Martin, something many fans knew was coming. For everyone else, it was a shock. Where the Game of Thrones strategy differs is that they’ve spent their entire year off actively parading around lies and half-truths about Jon Snow’s ultimate fate, despite the fact that actor Kit Harington spent a lot of time on and around their set in Belfast, Ireland. Understanding their reasons for the lies isn’t particularly difficult, they thought that George R.R. Martin would deliver his sixth book by the time season 6 went to air. But Martin didn’t make the deadline and has lost his opportunity to explain Jon Snow’s fate on his terms. That doesn’t make the whirlwind of marketing double talk any less palpable for fans.

Next: Chaos Rules in Daredevil Season 2

The difference is that Daredevil doesn’t seem concerned with hiding things from its fans. It’s not going to leverage the mystery around a major character death to drive interest in its next season. It will make the marketing for Daredevil season 3 (or The Defenders) far easier. Instead of being marred by talk of will-she, won’t-she make it back, Marvel can march Elodie Yung out for press and talk honestly about the future of the character. Game of Thrones has spent a year planting stories about Kit Harington cutting his hair.

Related Topics:

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)