Even though the title says “massive spoilers,” I feel the need to reiterate: THIS BLOG POST WILL BE SPOILING THE HELL OUT OF THE LAST SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES. SO IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT AND ACTUALLY WANT TO WATCH IT, GO DO THAT.
Got it? Good.
So first of all…Oh my God, the writing for this show has gone down the crapper! I don’t mean a modern day toilet, either; I’m referring to those outhouses that people set up over a big hole in the ground. This is an old-fashioned sh*t show.
The truth is I’ve been worried for a while about the turn Game of Thrones would take once it passed George R.R. Martin’s books.
The A Song of Ice and Fire series was a crucial foundation for determining many events in the show. While Game of Thrones did choose to deviate from the books in some important ways, you always had the sense that with those books to follow, the TV series had something to pull from that would guide it towards a fulfilling conclusion.
When the show passed the books, there was a noticeable dip in both storytelling quality and logic. But things didn’t IMMEDIATELY go off the rails. Was I happy with every decision? No. But there were a few big things that the Game of Thrones series got right.
For example, the show creators validated at least one crucial fan theory. It also gave us some of the most poignant moments in TV history (“Hold The Door!”). So I’m not going to sit here and say that EVERYTHING that happened once Game of Thrones passed the books was godawful. That wouldn’t be fair or true.
Heck, not everything that happened in the next-to-last episode of the series was bad! The special effects were good and there was one character arc I was very satisfied with.
But having said that, it really looks like Game of Thrones is about to be ruined forever with a terrible ending—all thanks to bad writing.
You’re probably thinking that can’t happen. There’s no WAY a series finale can ruin an iconic show, right?
If you really think that, both Lost and Dexter send their regards. Additionally, I went ahead and read the leaked final season spoilers (because I have zero intention of watching the series finale at this point), and if even half of what’s shared happens, this show is F**KED.
I don’t say that lightly. I know some loyal fans are misunderstanding criticism of the show. Some people think “bad writing” is getting used as a blanket term for show events that people aren’t pleased with just because they wanted something else to happen. While that might be happening, I mean bad writing as in…bad writing. You know, plot holes, irrational time jumps, characters acting OOC. The stuff that takes a great story and well-developed characters and utterly ruins them.
There’s also an assumption that some viewers are upset because they were “hoping for a happy ending.” By the way, I’m a little peeved at people implying that unsatisfied viewers are too stupid to understand that Game of Thrones is known to have terrible things happen to good people. Because we ALL freaking understand that and have understood it since the show’s first season. Or, to be even more accurate, since the first BOOK dropped!
The problem isn’t the possibility of the series having an unhappy ending for the characters involved. Please don’t misunderstand; the REAL problem is the likelihood that Game of Thrones will have a terrible ending entirely due to bad writing.
If you want examples of storytelling where the ending or circumstances themselves are just so painful you can never watch the movie again, look no further than Graveyard of the Fireflies, Sophie’s Choice, or Dancer in the Dark.
To suggest that people cannot cope with painful story endings is very arrogant because if done right, yes, viewers most certainly can. It’s precisely because these movies so well written and acted that people will sit through them, cry, and remember them for many years.
So, once again, the issue isn’t that Game of Thrones doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s that the ending promises to be one BIG middle finger to the show’s fans.
(And an even bigger one to book fans…)
For instance, the Daenerys Targaryen heel turn was so lazily crafted, you’d think they hired WWE writers. Even if the showrunners wanted to explain it with “she’s totally crazy because she’s a TARGARYEN,” the justification is immediately knocked flat by the revelation that Jon Snow is himself a Targaryen.
Like, you can’t say that being a Targaryen makes you bonkers and then reveal that someone who was largely honorable and heroic ALL DAMN SERIES is also of the same bloodline. Jon kept it mostly together despite having a father that’s about as inbred as Charles II of Spain.
Even if Dany being driven mad by bells writing is a call back to “The Mad King,” I’m sure it’s not the first time she’s heard bells ring in her entire life. Also, Jon (Aegon) heard the bells, too! Why didn’t he wig out? Varys (RIP) mentioned the gods flipping a coin to decide what type of person a Targaryen would be. Now if that’s true, the gods flipped coins that had both Dany and Jon being otherwise decent people up until this season. So what are writers do to? I guess, throw that sh*t out and flip coins again for the sake of convenience.
But the BIGGEST telegraph that the writers just do not care was Cersei Lannister’s demise.
I don’t want to hear “well they didn’t technically include her death prophecy in the series so they totally were free to have her die a different way!”
The show writers went out of their way to bring Jon back from the dead because PROPHECY! They killed all of Cersei’s kids before her because PROPHECY! She was usurped by a younger queen because PROPHECY!
And then suddenly, when the prophetic nature of her story matters most, “rocks fall, and everybody dies?!” I cannot tell you how stunned I was when that happened. Please let me walk you through the scene.
Jaime and Cersei are trapped, virtually buried alive. The horror of the situation is that they’d be left to die a slow and agonizing death via suffocation or starvation. It’s the best POSSIBLE call back to Jamie speaking about preferring a clean death after he pushed Bran out the window. Forcing Jaime to murder his sister/lover and their unborn child under such circumstances both satisfies the prophecy and is just utterly devastating in the way one would expect from Game of Thrones.
After all, this is the show where
- A pregnant woman got stabbed (in the gut no less) to death.
- A mother and her newborn baby were eaten alive (off-screen) by dogs
- A child was burned at the stake (also off-screen, but the screams admittedly felt real and disturbing).
- A pre-teen was crushed by a giant.
- Children were brutally killed by ice zombies.
The idea that killing Cersei in such a way would have been anything other than par the course for this series is laughable. “Rocks fall, everybody dies” is what happens when you’ve run out of ideas and you’re so burned out, you don’t give a damn. Not about the development of your characters or how their situations are resolved in the context of the overarching narrative.
Speaking of “burned out,” I will give credit where credit is due for the “CleganeBowl,” which was for me, the only bright spot of the episode.
I am happy for the Hound because he went out the ONE character whose character arc was allowed to fully develop from beginning to end. By the time he died, it was in a way that fit everything about his character and how far he’d come. It’s amazing how this single character was allowed to be fully fleshed out and meet an end that made sense. While not exactly happy, the Hound’s fiery end was somehow satisfactory based on everything we knew about him and his brother, the Mountain.
Like Hodor, The Hound as a character seemed to possess some idea that he would die badly and had an inkling of the circumstances. And yet, the Hound put that fear aside to face his fate. In fact, I’d say the deaths of Hodor and the Hound had the strongest parallels out of everyone in the series and so were among the most poignant.
I just wish I could say this parallel was entirely on purpose, but the writers have shown that they just aren’t interested in being that clever. I sometimes think back to fan theories surrounding Arya’s training that were infinitely more interesting than what we got on-screen. That and how Ayra magically recovered from deep stab wounds to the stomach within a day despite similar stab wounds (Talisa Stark?) killing other characters.
By the way, I am not going to talk about Arya in this episode because I might actually start breathing fire and burn down my home. I’ll just summarize by saying, “LOL, WUT?”
I read a comment which stated that Game of Thrones had devolved into a parody of itself and I agree.
It’s trying to shock us with beloved character deaths despite the series’ calling card being that fan favorites can get iced at any minute. Sorry, but character death has nothing on the death of proper characterization.
What really hurts most is how a show that people have loved for nearly a decade is about to end in a way (if the spoilers are right…PLEASE be wrong!) that is bound to disappoint so many people. Including those who are still trying to defend it. I feel the worst for those people because they’re about to get the biggest slap in the face. And there will be no justification.
It’s not just that they had two years and a monster budget with which to bring Game of Thrones to a graceful end. Ultimately, what will haunt the legacy of this series is the many bad writing choices and character choices that were made in the later seasons, all the way up until the final episode. The biggest clue for me was the treatment of Ghost in Episode 4.
I refuse to believe that money spent on dragons prevented Jon from saying a proper goodbye to what was essentially a part of himself. Arya could do it for the long lost Nymeria, but Jon couldn’t do it for freaking GHOST?! It was unbelievably cruel to do to the character and it shows how far the show has drifted from understanding the significance of character motives and symbolism as established in A Song of Ice and Fire.
It was at that moment I truly understood that Game of Thrones is doomed. I hoped against hope heading into the next to last episode, but I’ve seen enough. And after checking out finale spoilers, I also know WAY more than enough.
I’m not going to spoil the (alleged) ending, although part of me wants to in order to save the people still fighting for and defending Game of Thrones the trouble. Instead, I’ll just go ahead and schedule some time to attend the funeral because fans are going to absolutely BURY this series when it’s over.
Rest in peace, Game of Thrones, you deserved so much better. With more competent writing you could have been so much better. </3