Rick and Morty’s latest episode featured a subtle defense of Game of Thrones’ ending. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the animated series follows the insane adventures of mad scientist Rick Sanchez and his worrisome grandson, Morty. The show debuted on Adult Swim back in 2014, garnering a passionate fanbase and widespread acclaim. Rick and Morty has since been renewed for 70 more episodes - which will air across multiple seasons, including the truncated season 4 currently airing each week. So far in season 4, the homages and parodies have come thick and fast, with everything from heist movies, Netflix, and elements of the Marvel Cinematic Universe targeted. With “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim’s Morty”, however, Rick and Morty aims their singular brand of humor at the fantasy genre.

Game of Thrones, meanwhile, was based on the extremely popular novels of George R.R. Martin. The fantasy epic debuted on HBO back in 2011. Though it opened to moderate acclaim and buzz from audiences, the show became an outright cultural phenomenon over the course of its proceeding seasons. The show ended with its eighth and final season earlier this year. Despite Game of Thrones season 8 including some truly impactful moments - such as the shocking destruction of King’s Landing - the show concluded with an underwhelming whimper as far as many fans were concerned. Some even went as far as to sign a petition begging HBO to remake Game of Thrones season 8 without showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.

Rick and Morty’s latest episode saw Rick begrudgingly make a deal with a wizard to honor Morty’s demand for a dragon. What followed was an adventure that led ultimately to a medieval-style world of magic, mythical creatures, and soul-bonds.  The defense came, however, when Rick’s story finally dovetailed with Jerry’s subplot centered on a mysterious talking cat. Using it to make an escape from an awkward moment with Morty’s dragon, Rick meets with Jerry and resolves to figure out why the cat can talk. As he prepares a mind scan, the cat reiterates that Rick and Jerry “shouldn’t overthink it” and “just have fun”. Equally, trying to dissuade them, the cat states that he is from outer space. When Jerry reveals that he’s not happy with that answer, the cat replies, “Exactly! Because no answer would ever be satisfying.” Obviously, the cat was merely trying to protect his secret but his words have distinct parallels with many of the counter-arguments offered regarding Game of Thrones’ ending.

The points made could actually apply to a number of different shows and movies, including the likes of Lost. Given that Game of Thrones replaced Lost as TV’s punching bag, however, it’s no doubt a singular pointed intention. Especially since the episode is laden with Game of Thrones references. Morty’s new dragon, Balthromaw, is voiced by Liam Cunningham - who played Ser Davos Seaworth. There was a scene of the wizard repeating the word “shame” as he punished Balthromaw for soul-bonding with Rick. The adventure was surprisingly more sexualized than usual Rick and Morty adventures, right down to open incest and orgies, reflecting Game of Thrones’ subversion of Lord of the Rings. And, well, there was an abundance of dragons - one of the most renowned and popular elements of Game of Thrones.

Roiland and Harmon both publicly defended Game of Thrones season 8 in real life. As such, it’s unsurprising that those attitudes would seep into their work. Despite that, the writer didn’t go easy on the genre. In his customary fashion, Rick spent the entire time mocking magic, fantasy, and everything associated with it. Equally, Rick sided briefly with those who do question things and theorize - stating that it’s possible to question things but still also have fun. Regardless, though, it’s evident that Rick and Morty believe that that the journey is more important than the destination and that art doesn’t always lend itself to satisfying everybody.

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