Game of thrones returned to our screens for the final season, where we would discover the final outcome of all of the events that had passed and whether life would win over the white walkers and just who would sit upon the iron throne as the dust settles at the end. However whilst the previous seasons had followed storylines established in the books this season was left up to the show writers to decide the fates and outcomes of our favourite characters, and as a result this has lead to a lot of controversy over the way things played out and how characters have acted in manners different to we have come to expect throughout the series’s lifetime.
The final season itself was only over 6 episodes where the previous seasons all had 10 episodes each filled with so much action and intrigue that it held everyone’s interest throughout the entire saga, filled with intricate plotlines and subplots as well as characters all acting with their own secret interests not so subtly hidden from viewers. I believe this was in part because the show writers didn’t want to introduce any new plotlines, but also because it was difficult for them to imagine how they could playout events as they were unfolding with character developments which had been occurring in the show, as a lot of these seem to have been ignored and thrown by the wayside, much as the episodes of the show seemed to simply put a wet cloth over everything and bring all of the events to as an abrupt end as possible just so there were no loose ends and they could consider the show closed and over.
Many of the main characters which were left in the show had began to unveil specific changers which were apparent in their nature and demeanour changes on screen in the previous season which was unveiling a path towards certain outcomes, however in season 8 any character development seems to have been thrown out of the window as though a big reset button was hit leaving all of the characters returned to an earlier state of mind just so the show could draw to a close without creating further plotlines or developments which could have lead to further episodes or seasons requiring filming.
In the final episode itself events were very unclimactic which was very disappointing for a show that had gained such a following for it’s spectacular action and highly intriguing plotlines, however things felt rather flat and dull as the events played out landing with as muffled an ending as daeneris dying softly and quietly in john snow’s arms. There seemed to be very little going on in the episode as daeneris began a speech in front of her armies (which had somehow risen from the dead after the battle with the white walkers where all of her dothraki forces and most of the unsullied were wiped out by the white walkers) and then john snow simply being allowed alone into daeneris’s chamber even though it was stated at this point she wouldn’t trust him and may want him dead as he’s a threat to her reign, yet allowed to simply assassinate her quietly. Other than this most of the episode revolved around cringe worthy politics and establishing how rule would be decided, even going as far as to having the most awkward scene where the show literally breaks the fourth wall and rubs dirt in the face of the book writer for not mentioning tyrion in the least in the first book. I realise this may be intended as a play to say an explanation for why he’s not in the books but really it comes across as an unnecessary dig at the book writer, which after the terrible writing and plot of this final season just leaves me feeling very awkward watching the show.
There are quite a few subtle character differences I would like to raise where I feel certain events seemed to be playing out towards which were completely ignored in this final season, often flipping personalities of characters entirely upon their heads. Starting with arya stark who in the last season had been acting out of character much like she was dead inside and simply there to fulfil her deathlist, and this seemed to play towards a plot where arya had been eliminated by the female many faced god servant and was simply fulfilling the bargain made with the many faced god to wipe out those on her deathlist, where ultimately it would be revealed that arya was just a face on the many faced god’s wall all along and her persona was being worn to fulfil this promise of servitude. Instead the show had her return to a more carefree state wishing to explore and become more human again, with a seemingly pointless sex scene doing nothing other than reveal Maisie’s boobs to the world and doing nothing for plot or character development in the show.
Another character who had made significant progress in their personality arc throughout the show was Jamie Lannister who had discovered essentially his soul as he had fallen for brianne of tarth, and had changed everything he did in his quest to ensure that she was kept safe and alive, even trying to manipulate his sister into sending her forces north to protect winterfell against the armies of the undead, and through sleeping with her he was hoping to manipulate her to desire to keep him alive, and he was working with the idea that having the armies of the capital there brianne’s chances of survival increased, however in this season whilst there are still redeeming moments like him knighting her, he simply reverts to “I’m just an arsehole” and rides off to save his sister and run away with her which doesn’t seem to fit in with how things play out in this show.
Daeneris herself was twisted to be an evil dictator rather than the true ruler of the 7 kingdoms which had been the entire story arc of the show to date, and a lot of her actions within the show this season were very questionable in my opinion. I realise they had to follow this path in order for her not to be ultimate ruler over the seven kingdoms, however it feels that simply they have done this in order for the least likely potential candidate to be the one who ends up ruler of the kingdoms, almost to the degree that it feels someone has placed bets on the longshot and thrown the fight in order to make a lot of money on a rigged gamble. Even her final scene just seems so anti climactic like a puff of smoke as a matchstick is extinguished, which isn’t how such a pivotal character deserves to go out in the finale of the show.
While there are a number of other things that don’t fit with the show’s established lore like her advisor who was destined to betray the one true ruler of the seven kingdoms and be reunited with his testicles in a magical manner he ends up simply being eliminated for betraying daeneris who turns out not to be the true ruler of the seven kingdoms, as established bloodlines would make that john snow but neither ends up on the iron throne anyway, especially as the throne itself gets melted symbolically during a scene in the finale. They did do some things right like arya fulfilling her prophecy to eliminate many white walkers and at least that got fulfilled in what seemed to be correct, which maybe makes it worse as some established lore and prophecies are followed whilst others are twisted or ignored in a show that’s always had this magical lore as an underlying backbone to it’s story.
I feel that the final season has been very disappointing overall and hasn’t fit in with the rest of the show in the slightest, however this could work out very favourably for the written works of game of thrones, as many may turn to purchase the books in order to discover how the plot actually plays out and how the show was destined to truly end. I understand that the show wanted to hold it’s momentum and finish off the series having already delayed a whole year for the final season as it was, however I would have preferred to wait until the books were written and released and had the show follow the ultimate true storyline and watch the true ending of the show. I doubt that the show writers would ever return to remake the show should the books plotlines differ vastly from how the show did end, however I’m sure that there will be many people who would wish it to be so especially as many are already petitioning for the final season to be changed and how much disappointment there is all over social media at present.
Game of thrones has been a show I have enjoyed through it’s lifetime from having watched the first 6 seasons on binge 10 hours a day before season 7, then having been hooked since, and everything but the final season has been of a vastly greater quality which is probably why so many people are disappointed and raising all of the issues they’ve had with the final season because it just doesn’t live up to the rest of the show’s history, and the finale especially being filled with so much politics and drivel rather than being a true climactic ending with a satisfying outcome is why I feel the show just ended with a fizzle rather than the dragons fire it had held throughout the rest of it’s lifetime.