Well, the biggest show in the history of television has finished after eight years, and nobody's happy. A lot of people have disliked this season so much that a petition to reshoot the entire thing has already reached one million signatures. Some outlets are calling the finale the worst ending of all time. It's not by the sole fact that it isn't Dexter, but I understand people's disappointment. You gotta give Game of Thrones fans this, they sure are passionate.
Now I didn't hate this season, or even the finale, and I was (more or less) satisfied with the ending, but I do think the ending could have and should have been better than it was. Daenerys going full villain and Jon killing her to save the wasn't the problem, how we got there was. Seasons 7 and 8, especially 8, were rushed. Too often it felt like Benioff and Weiss were barrelling towards the finish line without taking things like character development or common sense into consideration, and the result was a season full of style over substance.
Take seasons 1-6, there's plenty of twists and swerves, but they always come about as the result of decisions made by the characters that in retrospect, make sense. Daenerys being built up as the villain makes sense when you look at her actions throughout the show, but the way she went from Our Queen to Mad Queen felt like going zero to sixty in five seconds, and that's because there was almost no build-up this season, it just kind of happens. Her paranoia seems sudden, it needed to be drawn out, starting slowly and then getting worse. As I said last week, I feel her burning down King's Landing makes sense, but Benioff and Weiss skipped over several plot points to get us there. And that's what's traditionally made Game of Thrones stand out in the genre of fantasy, it's the meticulous set-up. George R.R. Martin is the master of this, whereas the show runners seemed to only be able to pull it off when working directly off of the books.
For this season it really wasn't one major thing as much as all the small things adding up. For example, in episode 3 the Dothraki are wiped out, then in episode 5 they aren't. In this episode, the moment that I found the most jarring was when Jon has a stand-off with Grey Worm over prisoners, he then leaves to speak with Daenerys about the situation while Grey Worm stays behind to execute prisoners. But when Jon arrives at the foot of the stairs to the ruined castle, Grey Worm is already at the top waiting for Daenerys, how did he get there? I guess he learned how to teleport. A mistake like that once is annoying but forgivable, but instead it happened constantly throughout this season, and it jarrs with the rest of the show, which has been so carefully crafted up until this point.
Everything about this season that I liked I'm certain comes from Martin, and everything I didn't I think probably comes from Benioff and Weiss. I don't say that to hate on them, but I think they're better adapters than storytellers, whereas Martin is a storyteller. When they didn't have a plan to follow, they lost the pace of the series, and it shows. The fact is that Seasons 7 and 8 should each have been ten episodes, and if I'm being completely honest? I think the show should probably have gone for 10 seasons with ten episodes each, and brought in Lady Stoneheart and Aegon VI, and not messed with the Dorne storyline the way they did. It's not like they didn't have the budget for it.
As for the ending of the show, I was mostly okay with it. It's not what I wanted or how I would have ended it, but I always knew it wouldn't end the way I wanted. That said, I'm still not convinced that the fates of the characters on the show will have the same fates in the books. I'm certain Daenerys will go full villain and burn down King's Landing, and I'm certain the Iron Throne will be destroyed. I'm 50/50 on whether or not Jon kills her, since they still haven't met in the books, and Jon is still dead. I don't think Sansa will become Queen of the North since her story is nothing like the book version. And I found it strange for her to say "the North will not accept a Southern King," considering the King is her own brother, a Northerner. It makes her look like a power hungry bitch who wasn't against Daenerys because of caution, but for her own selfish ambition. Jon going beyond the wall is, alright I guess. I'm just glad he acknowledged Ghost for being the very good boy that he is.
Personally I'm still eagerly anticipating Martin's final two books to see how he really intends to end it. I'm positive that everything that doesn't make sense in the show will make sense in the books and will be much more satisfying. Furthermore, I sincerely doubt this is the last we've seen of Game of Thrones. Obviously there's the prequels and spin-offs, but that's not what I mean. We live in an era of remakes and reboots and redos. HBO is already set to have a next major fantasy show called His Dark Materials, based off the books by Philip Pullman. This will be the second time it's been adapted. The first was a film of the first book, The Golden Compass, back in 2007. It tanked and no sequels were made, so I'm assuming this is the attempt to "get it right." I'm almost positive that in twenty years when the books are finished, I know that's optimistic just bare with me here, Game of Thrones will be remade "correctly." It will hew closer to the books and will include Lady Stoneheart and Aegon VI. The Sand Snakes won't suck and Dorne won't be botched. I would honestly bet money on it. Until then, I have my own fantasy series that I'm outlining with the eventual hope that I can sell out and make millions of dollars.
However one feels about the ending, there's two things you can't deny. One, this show changed television and is going to influence media for years, if not decades to come. Two, this show has done more to bring Fantasy mainstream than any other property, and as a humongous nerd who loves castles, dragons and horrific amounts of violence, for that I will always be thankful. To the cast and crew of Game of Thrones, thank you for everything. It's been one hell of a ride.