My darling readers, after 8 seasons full of death and drama, the final episode of Game of Thrones aired last night. And boy, do I have a lot to say about this season. I’ll try to keep my thoughts concise, but this post might turn into a bit of a longer essay. Oh, and there will be spoilers.
Anyways, please bear with me and share your thoughts on the final season!
All of Westeros is about to make its final stand against the Night King. Dany is still hell-bent on ruling the Seven Kingdoms. Will the bomb Bran dropped in the last season alter everybody’s fates?
I hadn’t been a GoT fan from the first minute. However, once I had watched my first episode, I was all in. I binged all season, devoured the books.
Needless to say, I was both excited and anxious about the final season. We could clearly see a decline in quality once the show had left the charted territory marked by George R. R. Martin’s books. So, I had dialed down my expectation for the final season. Nevertheless, Benioff and Weiss managed to fuck it up beyond my wildest imaginations.
About three episodes in, all I wanted was for the show to be over. It was almost painful to watch! So, what did Benioff and Weiss do to ruin it all? Welcome to my TED Talk!
What has Game of Thrones always been known for? Unforeseen plot twists, cleverly crafted stories, impressive characters along with intense character development, epic battles and (very important) strong female characters who seriously kick ass. Let me tell you in detail how all of that went down the drain with season 8.
I’ll begin with the amazing female characters as that is what pissed me off the most. I have thoughts on Dany, Arya, Brienne, Sansa, Yara, and Cersei so prepare for a longer rant.
Brienne had always been one of my favorites in the show. She was strong, smart, stood up for herself and others. I was cheering for her when she finally got to be a knight in this season. Well, my joy was short-lived.
After the big battle, Jamie, Brienne, Tyrion, and Podrick play a drinking game and Tyrion assumes that Brienne is a virgin. She stalks off into the night only to be followed by Jamie who ends up sleeping with her. The next he leaves a weeping Brienne behind as he heads for King’s Landing (and Cersei). Let dissect everything that is wrong here. First of all, the fact that Brienne is a virgin is presented as something that appears to be a problem. Problems need fixing. So, of course, good guy Jamie is there to help her out. Seeing her cry because of some dude is jab the character that was built over 7 seasons. Don’t try to tell me it was to make her human. We already know that. Brienne isn’t perfect, she’s also had her share of heartbreak. This scene only served one purpose: to remind us that in the end Brienne is a woman, weak and governed by emotions. No matter how amazing she is on the battlefield, she’s still just a weeping girl. The scenes I mentioned have absolutely no relevance to the bigger story, don’t do anything in terms of character development and were altogether simply unnecessary.
Also, I was rooting for Tormund and was really sad to see him cast aside.
Next, some quick thoughts on Yara. Well, where was she this season? We get to see her for half a heartbeat before she’s shipped off to the Iron Islands, never to be seen again. The fact that she was there in the final episodes, to say just about one sentence, felt more like a concession to fans than anything else. Her story arc doesn’t really get any form of closure. It’s like Benioff and Weiss had completely forgotten about her this season.
Just like Brienna, Arya had also been one of my favorites. I cheered when she killed the Night King (more on that later) but was somewhat flabbergasted during the penultimate episode. For the last 7 seasons, she trained to become this badass assassin and now she was headed to King’s Landing. Killing Cersei had been one of the main driving forces that have kept her going and in the penultimate episode of season 8, she was closer to her goal than ever. Anyhow, once she and Sandor get to the capital he basically tells her to skedaddle as there’s only death to be found here. Arya is like “K, bye.” Her whole story was building up to this and now she just turns to leave. One could argue that she finally overcame the hate inside her, her thirst for revenge or whatever. But this is not the way it’s presented here. A man tells her it’s too dangerous for her and ever the good and obedient little girl, Arya decides to leave. Something sound off here?
With Sansa, I think I get what Benioff and Weiss wanted to say but their writing is just terrible, so it comes across the wrong way. I love that she’s ended up as Queen in the North but before that, we have one scene that really irked me. She talking with Sandor and kinds of says “well, it’s really good that all this shit has happened to me. Otherwise, I’d still be a little bird.” So, I guess, what writers were going for was for her to come to terms with her past and embrace who she is now. How it came across: being a little bird is a terrible thing, (There’s nothing wrong with living a sheltered life, are you arguing that the only good way to live is to be mistreated?) ultimately all the shit that happened to her was okay anyways (it was not okay).
Now what you all have been waiting for: Dany. Benioff and Weiss really murdered her for good. She’s always been an intricate and complex character, not without flaws but with a desire to become a better person. Writers decided to take all that, wrap it up real nice with a bow and throw it out the window. What we get in season 8 is a mad Queen with no feelings and no remorse. I was so angry when Benioff and Weiss claimed it was foreshadowed that she’d go mad. Why? Just because the Gods toss a coin when a Targaryen child is born? It wasn’t foreshadowed that she’d go batshit crazy within the blink of an eye. We knew she struggled with her heritage, but in the past seasons, Dany always made a point to distance herself from her father’s actions, made a point to not be like him. Remember when she was heartbroken because her dragons had grilled an innocent child? Over my dead body is that the same character who burns down an entire city without thinking twice or without the slightest hint of internal conflict.
When it comes to Cersei Lannister, I was equally disappointed. We barely get to see her this season, she has just about 6 sentences and isn’t quite herself. I was already pissed during the first episode. Euron Greyjoy (don’t even get me started on that twat) wants to bed her. And Cersei holds a more or less elaborate speech, basically telling him to go fuck himself. However, he cocks his head to the side and claims that he’d rather have a go with her. So, of course, Cersei gives in without further discussion and sleeps with him. That is not the Cersei we know. I talked with some people about it and they argued that she had to in order to convince him that the child in her belly was his. Well, I beg to differ. It’s just written terrible and out of character. Cersei has always been a strong character, she doesn’t bow to no-one. In this season she’s but a shadow of herself. Especially the penultimate episode was a letdown. Her life ends with Jamie holding her and Cersei keeps muttering that she doesn’t want to die and she doesn’t want her baby to die. Well, Cersei had faced death before and we know this is not the way she deals with it. She’s always held her head high, unwilling to give, strong to the very end. The Cersei Martin created never would have cowered like that.
As we were talking about foreshadowing with Dany. Does anybody remember the prophecy Cersei got back in the day before she was married? It stated that she’d have three children with golden crowns (Joeffrey, Tommen, and Myrcella) but Cersei would have to watch them all die. Thus I am convinced that however much she wanted the baby in her belly to live, Cersei knew that it wouldn’t happen. That’s another reason I am convinced her final scene is absolutely out of character.
I won’t even talk about the rest of the prophecy as Benioff and Weiss really fucked up that front. This leads me to one thought that was also expressed by Martin himself.
Writers nowadays try so damn hard to surprise the audience, they don’t even care that the stories often don’t make sense anymore. The fact that somebody might have guessed the correct ending isn’t a bad thing. It means that what you wrote/produced so far paints a picture of the characters it’s coherent. You can’t build a story, fill it with clues and then just take another route because you feel like. What you get from that is endings like GoT Season 8 (or Captain Rogers in Avengers: Endgame).
So, what else did I hate in season 8?
The battle of Winterfell. Sure, the battle scenes were rather epic but there were just so many things wrong in that episode. The first 20 minutes were almost black, meaning most viewers weren’t able to see a thing. I heard the explanation that you simply need a super expensive TV, then the episode looks fine, that’s what the colors were calibrated for. If that’s not a big fuck you to all the fans than I don’t know what is.
Next, there were so many strategic mistakes in there. We don’t have time to unpack all of that, but who had the brilliant idea to put all the women and children in the crypts? With the dead people. When the Night King is coming, whose best trick is to resurrect the dead.
Also, killing the Night King didn’t seem that big of a deal. After 7 seasons build-up for that battle, I expected him to be a bigger problem.
I mean, I love that Arya was the one to take him down. But one dagger was really all that was needed? Somebody could have sent a sharpshooter in season 1 and the problem would have been dealt with.
Finally, let me give you some examples for the lazy ass writing done by Benioff and Weiss. Do you remember that in the past seasons it was actually hard to kill a dragon? Well, in season 8 Euron Greyjoy kills a dragon with a single freaking bolt. Why does that happen? Because Danaerys forgot about his fleet (According to Benioff and Weis). Are those guys seriously trying to convince me that nobody in Dany’s council remembered that Greyjoy is still alive and kicking? What the fuck?!
Another example is the scene were Missandei gets executed. Had it been written by Martin, Tyrion would have held a smart speech and pleaded with his sister (nope). More importantly, Missandei would have had some inspiring last words for Dany. All she says is Dracarys. You know how that felt to me? I bet this was Benioff’s and Weiss’ thought process: “Well, we could let her do a speech. But then we have to come up with a speech. Let’s just make her say Dracary and the audience can come up with the rest.”
I’m sorry to say that it’s obvious how overwhelmed Benioff and Weiss were with writing season 8. They clearly lacked the skills to bring the show to a worthy end and I’m sad to see so much money being wasted on that.
Honestly, it felt like they didn’t even care anymore and just wanted it all to be over. HBO should have just hired some fanfiction authors to do the job. They would have done infinitely better.
I don’t even think that all the decisions made in this season were bad. They were just terribly executed. You know, I can imagine Dany going nuts even in Martin’s version, just not the way Benioff and Weiss portrayed it. It’s the kind of story arc you can only pull off if you are an excellent writer, otherwise, you just slaughter your characters. You need internal conflict, development – more than CGI effect and dragons.
As we are speaking of dragons: I had hoped the dragon would turn Jon into a piece of steak and grill him instead of the Iron Throne. But of course, the golden boy had to survive…
Season 8 is a really unworthy end to a show that had once been great. My only hope is that now George R. R. Martin has some motivation to finish his books. Hopefully, he’ll show us soon how it was meant to be and how you get the job done properly.
Did you suffer through the final season? Let me know in the comments what you think!