I was never known for my ability to be on time so sorry, this is about a year late.OK, so Game of Thrones was one of the most-watched TV shows of all time. With incredible
I was never known for my ability to be on time so sorry, this is about a year late.
OK, so Game of Thrones was one of the most-watched TV shows of all time. With incredible storylines and the most immersive world-building you could imagine; the finale should have been a slam dunk right?
Well not quite, read below as I discuss the final season of the most polarising show; Game of Thrones.
OK so I’m sure you’ve all read this to death, the Game of Thrones ending wasn’t quite what we expected, the dropped or rush plotlines, the unnecessary bloat and the apparent misunderstanding by D&D of the entire theme of Game of Thrones. There is a lot to unpack there, but this article will only be discussing season 8 of Game of Thrones, and the rest of the seasons will be reviewed in due course.
So what happened? Everything was set up to be one of the best final seasons of TV in a long time, gigantic budgets and longer episodes should have lead to a climax that made us all clamber to re-watch this.
The end of the previous season, even with all of it’s flaws, lead us to believe that the final season was going to be nothing short of epic. The Night King had a dragon and was ready to conquer all of Westeros, I was absolutely pumped for a solid 2 years waiting for season 8.
But anyway, if you’re reading this then you probably know what happens in season 7, and don’t need a recap. Just know that I was looking forward to this more than anything you could imagine.
So this is more difficult to talk about, so it is probably much easier to discuss the season asa whole.
Lets start with one of the first aspects of this season; The Night King.
The Night King
Grandaddy Ice as I like to call him was criminally misused. Let’s think about how much mystery has been surrounding the Night King, he was created by the Children of the Forest to fight against man but he turned on his creators as all monsters would. They repelled him somehow and he was trapped behind the wall until the enchantment could be broken. This demon has been waiting for thousands of years and he wants to lay waste to the entire world and cover it in darkness. He had a vested in Jon Snow (for some reason) and was shown to be calculating, intelligent, and extremely powerful. Taking down a dragon with a single spear is not an easy feat to achieve.
He was set up to be the biggest villain of the show, and it was made explicit to us that he is pretty much invincible. He was going to kill everyone and no one could stop him. All of this was set up in previous seasons extremely well, my issue; why?
Why did he want to destroy all of life in Westoros? Why did he want to kill Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven? What was his goal after he killed everyone? Why did he seem to have such a vested interest in Jon, taunting him all the time? What were his motivations?
The Night King was set up to be nothing short of Satan throughout the show, but they did absolutely nothing with his character. What’s worse, is that he wasn’t even the main villain, he wasn’t the second main villain, he was the third main villain. After all the suspense and build-up we get a season where the white walkers are dealt with in a single episode.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that Arya killed the Night King, although that has some logistical issues. You know, like how she jumped 30 feet through the air past rows and rows of the Night Kings lieutenants without making so much as a sound.
It felt like, throughout the entire episode, that the Night King had his intelligence completely nerfed. Even in the previous season, he had a long term plan to break past the magic of the wall by drawing Dany and her dragons out.
But this season? He just waltzed into the battlefield knowing that he is basically allergic to Valyrian steel, why was he not miles away from Jon, who he knows has a Valyrian steel sword. His intelligence was nerfed into oblivion, and he didn’t do anything in the slightest bit cool, no awesome kills or anything. Just smirked walked away because of his obsession to kill Bran.
Absolutely nothing was discovered about this character, nothing was known about his motivations or what he ultimately wanted.
I think they created this problem when the created the character of the Night King, because all we then proceeded to do as fans was speculate on his motivations.
If there was no Night King and it was essentially a swarm of zombies, we wouldn’t think twice if they made dumb mistakes or just had singular motivations.
All in all, I think the Night King, his sudden departure and waste of the build up of 8 seasons was the first major issue of this final season.
Mad Queen Daenerys
Yeah OK so this is something I straight up hated from this season, and I don’t think any amount of set up would have helped the transition.
Going into this season; one of my top 3 favourite characters was definitely Daenerys, she went from riches to rags back to riches again and had the most compelling storyline.
Now people like to point towards the earlier seasons where she committed violent acts, but there is a difference between violent acts against awful humans like the slavers and systematically mowing down innocent civilians.
What made this worse was the lack of explanation on her part for her madness. If you are a fan then you may have read my take on how a villain should be; like Thanos from Infinity War. Thanos was a deliciously complex character who made for a fantastic villain because we understood his motivations.
What was Daenerys’s motivations in this season? After she massacred the majority of Kings Landing she didn’t even attempt to try and explain herself to the audience, to anyone in the show.
It felt like D&D just said; “Listen she’s mad now, lets move on with the story.”
Imagine a slow build-up to this point, where we see her closest friends all lose their lives for this war and how that would take a toll on her psyche. Imagine if we saw her trying to reason with the people of Kings Landing.
Most of all; imagine if she had a reason for doing what she did, it would be extremely forgivable if she caused the deaths of a few innocents during the sack of Kings Landing. These deaths would then be cause for the population to view her as the Mad Queen over collateral damage. An interesting storyline that could evolve, with her having a tough time ruling over the Seven Kingdoms.
I just feel as if the Mad Queen concept was extremely rushed, with no motivations properly defined for her sudden turn to genocidal rampage.
I am not even going to attempt to try and cover all of the dropped plotlines, that will be reserved for another article.
What I will do is try and cover the dropped plotlines from season 8.
So why did we fall in love with this show? Because it is an immense political drama that spanned across multiple seasons with sometimes perfect payoffs.
Not so for this season, there were so many plot points that were created in this season alone to cover.
Jon Snow vs The Night King
This was absolutely promised to us throughout the entirety of the show, Jon Snow vs Grandaddy Ice.
The Night King had a vested interest in Jon from the start, taunting him by raising the dead to send a clear message: I’m coming for you.
During the battle of Winterfell, Jon had a choice; save his best friend Sam or try to win the war. When he left Sam I was convinced that the showdown was coming. Imagine a well shot battle sequence between these two characters, we know they can do it, Hardhome (one of my favourite episodes of the entire show) showed how they can incorporate madness with impressive coreography.
Imagine a battle scene where Jon is trying to take down the Night King, and since we know that the Night King shows hints of arrogance he decides to take on Jon on his own. This would have made much more sense for the distraction; a beaten Jon about to be slain when the super sneaky Arya drops down from a tree in the Godswood. This would have made more sense as to why Bran did absolutely nothing.
I honestly believe the picture above is how this should have gone; Jon Snow was an integral part of the White Walker storyline. It was poor to have him off screaming at a dragon while the main villain of the entire series was fighting Theon.
Remember that prophecy of the Prince Who Was Promised? That good prophecy that drove a large portion of the plot?
At one point I was hoping that this legendary figure would be Jon Snow; born of ice and fire to bring peace. I mean, he was brought back to life for some reason right? Bit of a short section it just bears mentioning that apparently this meant nothing in the grand scheme of things.
The Three Eyed Raven
The ultra powerful being known as the three eyed raven was the only person that the Night King ever wanted to truly kill (for terrible reasons as it turns out).
Ultimately powerful, arguably the most powerful human character in the show.
With all that power, how did Bran try to help stop Satan? He warged into some crows. Not the undead dragon who was wreaking havoc, not an undead giant not even Drogon for some help. Just some crows.
This honestly felt as if they had no idea how to write this character, or to use his powers in any imaginative way. Instead we got the insulting notion that the Three Eyed Raven now has nothing better to do so he decided to become king.
While sometimes erratic and terrible in her decision making process, Cersei was arguably one of the smartest people in the show. This is saying a lot when the show includes Tyrion Lannister. But this season she seemed to have no battle plan or strategy. After foolishly taunting Dany she then proceeded to drink and stare out of the window for the entire season.
It was a poor send off for an absolutely awesome character.
Euron, Just Euron
So as a primarily show watcher, I was curious when everyone was so excited for Euron Greyjoy to join the show. I was even more curious when all we got was a horny pirate who had no motivations other than a ridiculous crush on Cersei.
Then I decided to delve into the book version of this character and I understood the fans outrage.
Euron is meant to be the kind of character that comes onto screen, and we all collectively go terrified because of his presence.
This is more a criticism of the series as opposed to the final season, but having this guy kill a dragon and take out Jaime Lannister is no way how any of those characters deserved to go. Speaking of Jaime…
Jaime’s Redemption Arc
This is the plotline that made me think the writers didn’t watch their own show.
Throughout the entire show, for 8 full seasons, they have been building this character for his redemption arc. Not just for throwing Bran out of the window but as a whole, and they definitely exceeded.
Jaime Lannister is a Deliciously Complex Character and has been since we saw his capture by Robb Stark.
Famously known for killing the Mad King and gaining the title Kingslayer, he’s always been looked down on by the “honourable” characters like Ned Stark. But its not known by many why Jaime killed the Mad King; to save everyone in Kings Landing from the Mad Kings tyranny. He cared about the innocents and always tried to protect them.
So to suddenly have this character do a complete U turn and suddenly claim that he doesn’t care about the innocents? Seems as though they forgot to watch the show.
So that was my Overdue Review of the final season of Game of Thrones. I know this one was a bit long-winded but there is a lot to unpack with this season. There is so much more which I didn’t get to cover here; the consequences of Arya’s mass killings, the Dothraki, the Unsullied, the Iron Born, the Nights Watch, Varys’s intelligence, Tyrions intelligence and so much more. Don’t worry though, I’ll be reviewing all of these in more detail in their own articles.
For now, thanks for taking the time to read this article, I hope you enjoyed it!
Did I miss anything that you would have preferred to be discussed? Do you think that I’m too harsh on the final season? Please leave a comment below or contact me on email@example.com.