(This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season 8)
Before we start any of this. I don’t hate Game of Thrones season 8. In fact, I’ve enjoyed this season, including most of the twists and turns that came with it. So, if you clicked on this article expecting to see a bashing criticism of showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, you will probably be a little disappointed.
Game of Thrones is an enormous accomplishment in its own right. I’ve never witnessed a television series have this much of an impact on our pop-culture. Lost and Breaking Bad may have briefly brushed with this intense level of popularity, but Game of Thrones has been one of the most talked about forms of entertainment over the past decade. Of course, the age of social media taking control of our daily lives plays a major factor in this. But, that’s not the only reason. Since Ned Stark lost his head, Game of Thrones has become the golden standard in regards to quality television.
I’m not someone who claims to be smarter than anyone else. If you dislike Game of Thrones season 8, I understand your frustrations and I would love to hear your take on it in the comments. I just hate this notion the season has become so bad that it’s worth signing a petition to reboot the past few seasons. That petition is ridiculous for 2 reasons. First, this isn’t our property. We can see it as a heinous end to the series, voice our complaints, call out the writers, and bang our fists on the table all we want, but they don’t owe us a new ending. I hated how Lost ended but I never thought to sign a petition asking to redo the final season.
Off of that, there’s been so much time and effort put into this season by everyone involved in Game of Thrones from D&D to Peter Dinklage to Emilia Clarke to the awesome crew members who have brought this incredible fantasy world to life. We care about this show because of them.
I’m not saying we can’t criticize anything. I’m just saying that we can critique something as big as Game of Thrones while still being respectful to those who have put everything they had into delivering the best story they could. These people deserve that praise.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Was Rushed
Don’t get me wrong, I have my own issues with this season. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been taking a huge amount of backlash from the GoT fanbase. Some of it is unjustified but even I agree with the notion that Game of Thrones season 8 feels rushed.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly back in early April, D&D discussed a lot of things that went into the development of the final season. What stuck out in the interview is this quote from David Benioff, stating that HBO was willing to shell out more episodes if the story demanded it:
“HBO would have been happy for the show to keep going, to have more episodes in the final season. We always believed it was about 73 hours, and it will be roughly that. As much as they wanted more, they understood that this is where the story ends.”
While I can accept everything that has happened this season including the one-off episode for “The Long Night” and Dany becoming the Mad Queen, I think almost everyone can agree that the final season would have benefited from some breathing room. If we spent 5 episodes watching Jon and co. dealing with the White Walker threat and we had another 5 focusing on who will be on the Iron Throne, this could have potentially quelled the complaints that the Night King was defeated too easily. It might have been able to feature Dany’s madness in more detail as well.
Euron Greyjoy Was A Walking Plot Device
Teleportation and the enormous plot armor put on our main characters are problems. However, I’m not sure they could have been totally avoided. Robb, Ned, Catelyn, Joffrey, Tywin, and anyone who has already bit the dust in Game of Thrones were essentially designed by George R.R. Martin to do just that. In an interview with Reuters, Martin spoke about his problems with stereotypical heroes:
“Nothing bores me more than books where you read two pages and you know exactly how it’s going to come out. I want twists and turns that surprise me, characters that have a difficult time and that I don’t know if they’re going to live or die.”
Martin later went on to say:
“I like grey characters, fantasy for too long has been focused on very stereotypical heroes and villains,”
“And when I look around, I don’t see pure white shining heroes and absolutely black villains, I see a lot of flawed human beings who have it in them to be heroes or villains; it’s a matter of the choices that they make in crucial periods in their lives, in moments of stress and emotional turmoil.”
Yes, season 8 was rushed but every major beat that has happened this season pretty much falls right in line with what Martin told Reuters. From that quote above, I’m fully expecting Dany to become the Mad Queen in the books too.
Moving on to characters teleporting. Due to all of the major deaths, we’ve downsized how many places we can visit per episode. The only way to advance the plot is with a little fast travel. For someone like Euron, both of these unavoidable issues were amplified. Unlike Jon, Dany, or Tyrion, Euron was expendable. It was absolutely ludicrous for him to A. Be able to fast-travel wherever the plot demanded him and B. To survive almost every dangerous encounter he had over his tenure on the show.
This show means a lot to me personally. Back in 2015, my father passed away, it was by far the lowest point of my life and I found myself thinking about it at almost every opportunity. In a last-ditch attempt to put my mind to anything else, I started watching Game of Thrones due to all of my friends telling me how great it is. I binged this entire series up until the season 5 finale in the span of a few weeks. It may sound silly to say but it gave me this escape from my, at the time, nightmare reality. I’m not telling you this to garner sympathy or anything like that. I just wanted to illustrate where I’m coming from.
I am a huge fan of this show and just like you, I want it to stick the landing. Do I have my own gripes with this season? Sure, but I have more of an issue with the backlash itself.
Not because of what was said but how it has been presented. It is all focused on the “negatives” without pointing out any of the amazing moments in between. You don’t like that Arya killed the Night King in one episode? That’s fine, but we had those purely intense final 8 minutes with Jon narrowly avoiding death at every turn with that suspenseful music ominously playing in the background. Did you hate Dany’s turn? That’s cool but you gotta admit that the CGI for all of the destruction she caused was excellent. On top of all of this backlash, we had Cleganebowl. A fight that has been the most-requested duel from fans since the early seasons. Unfortunately, Cleganebowl feels like an afterthought right now and that’s a shame because it was ridiculously awesome.
Like I mentioned before, everyone on the Game of Thrones crew deserves some love as they’ve created something special. Game of Thrones is the most popular TV series in history and its mostly due to their hard work and dedication. Love it or hate it, that finale Sunday night will go down as a historical moment for television.
Are you enjoying Game of Thrones season 8? Let us know in the comments below!
Avid gamer and placeholder of what is now the worst selfie of all time. Mostly an Xbox/PS4 player but I have been known to destroy friendships in Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.