Overtime, television series have grown to challenge ideas of plot armor, but no series is better in this respect than game of thrones and The attack of the Titans. Both are known for having the most heartbreaking deaths of several main characters, which is part of why both are considered exciting game changers as well.
Whereas game of thrones, Obtained long story short, became infamous for giving his fanbase the biggest trust issues, The attack of the TitansWhere AOTwas eventually called “the game of thrones of animeBoth series share similarities in their massive character kill counts, but in comparison, it’s clear that one series challenges the much-criticized plot armor trope more than the other.
Both series focus on victims of war
ObtainedThe emphasis on the political power struggle between the royal families is central to the progressive bloodshed between the main characters. Each character fights to keep control of their own perseverance and gain. Betrayals and character deaths heighten the dramatic story, and given that even the most central characters might not survive for long, the general idea is that no one is safe.
Typically, the “protagonist” title comes with the strongest plot armor; however, with Obtained, even these characters aren’t safe, as evidenced by the end of Season 1. The creators are taking their time to fully develop several characters with the dangling fear that at any moment anyone could be killed. This is how fans were scared to form a strong bond with the characters as the actors vied for the Iron Throne.
Similar to game of thrones, The attack of the Titans is also centered around dramatic tragedy of political warfare, but it opens the story with a clearer definition of good versus evil. The heroes face the definitive threat of the Titans – oversized creatures that feast on humans. As the mystery of the Titans unfolds, morality gradually falls into a gray area for several characters, and character lineups become blurred. The main cast put their lives on the line for what they believe to be their best course of action, most of them not living to tell their war stories.
Despite their optimistic hopes, nearly every character is killed one by one as they enter the battlefield as official soldiers. The anime continues its trend of fully developing its characters only to kill them off, often at critical moments. Throughout all the tragedy and suffering these characters endure, there is a sense of hope that keeps them going and also keeps the audience edified. Nevertheless, although some characters last longer than others, chances are they won’t survive long in their fight for freedom.
Each series’ success in using Plot Armor
By comparing the two series, it goes without saying that the two Obtained and AOT succeed in challenging the idea of plot armor, but that doesn’t mean there’s no plot armor found in both series. No high-stakes action show can last too long without some degree of trope, the idea being a great tool for storytellers to use with great care. There are plenty of moments in the HBO series and in the anime where the main characters are protected from death in a clearly drawn way.
In both series, characters like Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys Targaryen, Armin Arler, and Eren Yeager are protected by plot armor. During GoT Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion might have won the battle, but he was still slashed by the enemy in the face. While it should have killed him, he survives. In AOT, Armin is brutally burned from head to toe and slowly dies, but somehow getting injected with the Titan Serum and becoming a Titan saves his life. This is a much more outlandish use of plot armor and is rare for the series.
Daenerys Targaryen and Eren Yeager are among the few characters in their respective series who have survived impossible threats and proven themselves gifted in some way – with Daenerys it was his dragons, and for Eren it was the serum. Titan. While their “gifts” could be considered plot armor, they are nuanced enough to help support the plot and be overlooked.
Failed every streak when using Plot Armor
From its start, Obtained begins with the weakest plot armor, with many main characters being killed off regardless of role. Unfortunately, during the series, the HBO show ends with the strongest plot armor, designating certain characters as “protected protagonists”. Until Season 6, when Jon Snow was resurrected after his death, there was no main hero safe from death. Starting with Jon’s resurrection, the main characters slowly stop dying, and while multiple protagonists can make for an interesting series finale, the series gradually loses its edge.
In AOTIn the case of, the series begins with solid plot armor given only to its main trio. Although many characters die throughout the series, the “no one is safe” rule does not apply to the main protagonists. The concern of the series, especially among fans, is that the main trio survive no matter what. The strong dependence on this popular shonen anime trope is glaringly obvious. Despite AOTSuccess in deconstructing the shonen genre, adding heavy seinen and more mature elements to the story, the “main trio” trope removes the sense of danger.
Which series challenges plot armor the most?
Looking at the use of plot armor by these two series, both for better and for worse, the defining trait comes down to the general feeling of dread for the fanbase. In both stories, several characters die and the creators do a great job of developing each character, leaving audiences heartbroken. Although there is a sense of tragedy, horror and despair for the main characters in both game of thrones and The attack of the Titansthe first aggravates these traits because of a simple decision: game of thrones killed off its protagonist almost straight away.
In season 1 of Obtained, the subtle tensions rise more and more with each episode, and although there are many secondary characters who die, there is always a sense of hope with the character Ned Stark. It is clearly painted as the protagonist with other supporting characters behind him. This “heroic protagonist” status gave fans a false sense of relief that he had the greatest plot armor. At the moment of Ned’s death, everything changes – not just for the characters who seemed so comfortable behind Ned, but also for the show itself, which essentially states that there is no protected protagonist.
AOT comes very close to bringing the biggest challenges to its characters and having the weakest plot armor, but because it turns out to protect its main trio and doesn’t face the same challenges as Obtained fact, it pales in comparison in this regard. Even though Obtained slowly losing its edge by season 6, fans don’t know that certain characters will continue to be protected. Looking back, the last two seasons are a disappointment, but watching the show for the first time, the fear that “no one is safe” is still a good setup compared to AOT establishment of a clearly protected trio.