I have spent a long time this morning mulling over the Game of Thrones ending, and trying to find the best way to structure my review. First off, I would just like to put it out there that I have very few complaints about season eight, and I am thoroughly in the camp of, “I enjoyed it, but there are a few things that could have been better.”
***SPOILERS AHEAD, OBVIOUSLY***
I have not read the books, as I’m not a fan of purple-prose writing; however, I am aware that there are differences between the books and the TV series. One of those differences being Bran’s page/screen time. In the books, it appears, Bran’s story is much more central to the world of A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF), whereas the series pretty much cuts off his story for a couple of seasons and the brings it back for the final season and a half. This has created one of my few issues with the ending. Bran being the new king would have been far more impactful if his story was more central to the Game of Thrones world. If we had stayed by his side the entire time, much like we have with Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Arya Stark, etc., I think I would have enjoyed him sitting on that throne a lot more than I did. As it goes, I was rooting for a Jon Snow King, and was left disappointed when he killed Dany and I realised he was never going to be king; otherwise it would have just been another tyrant on the throne.
From a purely character development point of view, I have LOVED Daenerys’s journey, and that hasn’t changed with the developments of season eight. She’s been descending further and further from the moment Khal Drogo died way back in season one, and I have loved watching her slowly become the villain. The moment she decided to burn King’s Landing to the ground, I couldn’t stop smiling. It was so right for her character. And if you didn’t see that coming, you haven’t been watching close enough. She’s someone who grew up in a rather protected environment due to her brother (in a weirdly, GoT-twisted way), so when she’s suddenly thrust into this world of kings and wars, she’s unsure how to handle herself. And then comes Khal Drogo, her new protector. But he dies, and she’s left with nothing. Absolutely nothing. The only replacement being her anger, and then George RR Martin gave her three dragons. From then on, she’s been conquering the world city by city, and slowly descending into madness as she loses more and more of her beloved friends and family along the way. That character was so well written and acted. And I just wanted to take the time to praise the writers for that. We so rarely see villains becoming “evil”, and it was nice to see the varying the shades of grey that truly make up the human disposition.
However—there’s no easy way to say this—this season should have been two seasons, and not one. One season for dealing with the Night King, and one season for Dany’s final decent and her defeat. This would have allowed us to connect with the changes ripping across the screen throughout the season. Also, the devil of this show is in the detail, and that, for me, is where the beauty lies, and I think one thing that lets this season down slightly is the lack of beautiful detail. I also think this is where many people’s problems with the season have come from, whether they realise it or not.
In conclusion, a good season finale, but a few tweaks to the overall show could have produced a better ending. I would give season eight a 7/10, compared to my usual eight or nine for GoT, but I still enjoyed seeing everyone’s ending and the way their characters progressed.
Now I’ve given an example of what a review should look like, let me rant for a bit. A writer’s job is not to appease a fan base, it’s to write. Writers do not owe readers/viewers anything. It is your CHOICE to watch/read. You are free to put the book down or turn the TV off. No one is forcing you to input your time and money into Game of Thrones. And I, for one, have found the backlash to the writers of GoT abhorrent and disgusting. Even if you disliked season eight, they still wrote seven fantastic seasons, and deserve a bloody medal for translating those mammoth books into a wonderful TV show that you have spent 90% of your time enjoying.
If one of the writers suddenly died tomorrow, how would you feel then? If your disgustingly personal comments caused the death of a great writer, would you still act like a wild animal who’s been given too much of a voice? I bet most of you reading this would say no. I know it can be hard to see people you don’t know as human, especially across the internet, but they are human. They’re no different to your father, sister, aunt, or friend. They’re human, and they deserve to be treated like one, not like some entertainment monkey being poked with a stick through a set of iron bars. So I’ll say this again (as I’ve said this in plenty of blogs): Stop judging others for their preferences! This was the writers’ preference. Deal with it.
As a writer, I don’t pay attention to what my readers want. I’m sorry, but I don’t. And I’m not alone in that. JK Rowling was once asked if having the massive fan base that she does ever affected her choices over the Potter world and the ending? And she replied with no, although it certainly had the potential to do just that. She wanted to remain true to herself and to the story she was writing, regardless of whether the readership enjoyed her words. Because writing is a primarily selfish career. We write what we envision, and if people love it, then great. But if they don’t, then that’s fine, too; there’s plenty of other stories to write. I enjoy entertaining readers with my stories—watching them cry and laugh at the words I put on the page—but those words are not going to change just because the reader feels as though they are entitled to a different sentence.