We’re a few weeks out from the ending of Game of Thrones and the finale to the eight-year investment has been, well rather flat to put it gently. I was never a hardcore fan of the show; despite reading the books and being literally in the show as an extra, the series was just a good thing to watch for me and even I found it flat. The world as a whole seems to be in mourning for the show and how poor it was.
(Author’s note: I will be getting into mild spoilers; so, watch out. There are many great videos breaking this down in graphic detail. Mauler’s stuff is great on YouTube. So this is a general view of the decline of the show.)
Season 8 was a cinematic spectacle with big battles, tons of action and visuals to marvel at. But that’s the issue, right? GOT was never about that. It was a character study; life and death were a hairsbreadth away from each other. The old fantasy rules went out the window and it was for a period the best thing to watch on TV.
So, what happened? Easy! It was rushed. Like, a lot. While the ending of the show is more than likely what will happen in the books. It will be more fleshed out and make sense. That’s not the question, the question is why it was rushed?
Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were announced to be writing and directing the new Star Wars movie series focused on the Knights of the Old Republic game. This broke just before the series aired and it looks to be a huge factor in this. But also, Weiss and Benioff apparently always said they just wanted to keep it at 8 seasons of TV from the start.
Many have stated that the show was at its best until Season 5 (when the books ran out). Season 7 saw both time and space shrink for plot’s sake. Season 8 saw every main character have plot armour so thick you’d swear JK Rowling wrote it.
The tight, sharp wit and political tension of a world that felt real was replaced with a poor playthrough of Skyrim and it felt just like that. Main characters just dying for no reason, other surviving when they should have been dead and huge swings in motivation to cartoon super-villainy. You need to give people something more to have a woman of peace to Dragon Stalin pulling a firestorm campaign on a city of innocents.
Characters were forgotten or just ignored to move things along and make everything tie up. And it flops very hard indeed.
How could this have been fixed? Well, the show could have given at least two more seasons to explore the themes and stories of the show to make everything feel earned and have the ending make sense. The next would be to wait until the books come out and follow those after an extended break.
What do both of those have in common? Time. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss wanted out. The third option would’ve been to hand to show over to new show runners. It is sad none of those were done. Thus we have the biggest decline in a show’s quality maybe since Lost.
Not to fear; the next book in the “Fire and Ice” series is set to release this year. And, we might get a remake in a decade.