Final Thoughts on Game of Thrones

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So, Game of Thrones. Ever heard of it? Just ended, I’m sure you have thoughts. I have some, as well. I went back an forth on whether or not to even post this, because, as I said, everyone in the world has their opinions and everyone in the world has already written their think pieces and everyone in the world has already told everyone else in the world how much they hated this season. There’s really nothing original or thought-provoking or worthwhile I can add to the discussion surrounding season 8 and the end to the saga, but I feel like I have to try, anyway. It’s Website Law, after all. I found the final two seasons relatively disappointing and didn’t love the ending, but it was far from the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Anyone saying as such is likely just a prisoner of the moment and got caught up in the hype and theorizing, has never watched a TV show from start to finish before, or is just looking for affirmation online.

In the grand scheme of the fandom, I’m an early GOT adapter: the first season is the only one I didn’t watch live. I’ve read the books and the companion books. I know more about Westeros and Essos than any one man should know. If there’s anyone who should be personally offended by the ending to all of this, it’s me. And I just….don’t really care that much. It was a crappy ending. That doesn’t erase the hours upon hours of amazing television or the pages upon pages of amazing storytelling. Just because you found the ending underwhelming doesn’t mean the show itself is now worthless or can’t be appreciated. It’s completely absurd that a TV show had the kind of production value Game of Thrones did. Set mistakes aside, this season was mind-blowing visually. The acting, as usual, was top-notch. Yet another dominant season from Peter Dinklage, whose work as Tyrion, even though the writing let his character down, has to be put into the all-time great TV performance pantheon. TV is only getting bigger and more expensive and drawing bigger directors and actors and producers, so maybe this becomes the norm. But it probably won’t, so even if you didn’t love the pacing or the writing or the characterizations or whatever (I didn’t, either), there’s still so much to appreciate. It wasn’t a perfect ending, it’s not the end of the world.

When they look back on this ten or twenty years from now, I think the showrunners (if they even care) will be kicking themselves over the truncation of seasons 7 and 8 and the two-year gap between them. Granted, I’m sure they didn’t have much control over the delay, but it only increased the fervor and the theorizing and the hand-wringing and allowed more and more people to catch up and get hyped up for the finale. It would have been nearly impossible to come up with an ending the majority of people liked, but shortening the seasons like that tied one hand behind their backs. They kept saying it was only a 73-hour story. What? You knew that specific number when you made the pilot? That seems fake and lazy. But you know what? In a way I don’t really blame them. They signed up to adapt George R.R. Martin’s brilliant world into a television show, and, before they knew it, they ran out of world. Guys who aren’t fantasy authors had to now finish a master’s story. That would be like if Gordon Ramsey did the first 80% of an extravagant meal and then told me to finish the dish I’d never even heard of previously. It was always going to be rocky. It’s so hard to finish any massive story like this. It’s even harder when it’s not yours and you’ve been thrown into a stormy ocean with no life vest. I can see pretty clearly why those two just wanted out. They’ll always have the first six seasons.

So now we just hope and pray that Geroge can finish the books. To be honest, they’re so long and deep and there are so many different threads and plots that I don’t even know if it’s humanly possible to wrap it up in a satisfying way. His meandering style doesn’t exactly lend itself to speedy completion, but I’m sure everyone would rather wait to have as good a version as possible than some rush job. I’m worried for his health, and the amount of pressure he’s now facing is incomprehensible. I’m rooting for him, mostly because this has become one of the most formative stories in my life. As someone currently writing my own books, his world building and narrative style are inspirational. So take your time, George, but uhh, yeah. It’s kind of up to you, now.

Those are pretty much my thoughts on the ending of the show. It sucks there’s no more episodes to look forward to, but there’ll be something new eventually. There always is, and that’ll be what’s kindest to the show moving forward. People will eventually forget how much they hated this, because they’ll hate something else even more. Now, let’s rank some stuff.

Book Power Ranking

  1. Storm of Swords
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Dance with Dragons
  4. Clash of Kings
  5. Feast for Crows

Best Characters (show only)

  1. Jaime Lannister
  2. Tyrion Lannister
  3. Bronn
  4. Arya Stark
  5. Brienne of Tarth

Best Acting Performances (have to go top 11 because there are just too many)

  1. Dinklage- Tyrion
  2. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau- Jaime
  3. Lena Headey- Cersei Lannister
  4. Charles Dance- Tywin Lannister
  5. Alfie Allen- Theon Greyjoy
  6. Jack Gleason- Joffrey Baratheon
  7. Jerome Flynn- Bronn
  8. Liam Cunningham- Davos Seaworth
  9. Maisie Williams- Arya
  10. Gwendoline Christie- Brienne
  11. Carice van Houten- Melisandre

Best House to be in (before events of show)

  1. Tyrell
  2. Martell
  3. Dayne (need to get my hands on Dawn)
  4. Lannister
  5. Hightower (imagine being king of Chicago)

Best place to live

  1. Sunspear
  2. Anywhere in the Reach
  3. Qarth
  4. Everywhere else

Season Ranking

  1. 4
  2. 2
  3. 1
  4. 6
  5. 3
  6. 5
  7. 7
  8. 8

Biggest unanswered questions

  1. What was the point of the Night King?
  2. What can Bran actually do?
  3. What about the Faceless Men?
  4. What does Varys want/what’s his origin?
  5. What happened to Tyrek Lannister? (shoutout to the book readers)

Best Moments

  1. Hot Pie browning the butter
  2. Cersei destroys sept
  3. Tower of Joy
  4. Wildfire ships in the Blackwater
  5. Jaime-Brienne bath
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Game of Thrones is Officially Back Tonight

Before you read any more, press play on this

Winter is here, bitch!!!! Feels like it’s been 8 years since the last episode aired. I can barely even remember what happened anymore. Oh, yeah, 60% of the relevant characters died. Gonna be tough to top that.

As someone who’s been on the GOT Express since season 1, I’ve experienced every off-season, and, as is natural for what is now the most popular show in the world, the hype surrounding this season is at an all-time high. Literally everyone in the world is talking about it. From the fantasy geeks cool people like me to the trendiest socialites. It’s pretty much the only show left with such a massive following. It’s probably the most culturally-important thing on TV right now, and, naturally, people are excited for its return. And this season is going to be awesome. It has to be. There’ll be dragons and White Walkers and Sam reading books and lots of death. What else could you want? But, deep down in places I only talk about in my Safe Space (www.briansden69.com), I’m a little disappointed. For a show that prided itself on re-writing all the classic fantasy tropes and blurring the lines of morality more than Robin Thicke, I can’t really see a scenario where the series doesn’t end with a pretty standard “good vs. evil” final battle. It’s already taking shape: Jon Snow will inevitably join Daenerys when she arrives in Westeros, which will mean literally every good guy will be on the Targaryan side while every bad guy is either with the Lannisters or a White Walker. Doesn’t that feel kind of cheap? In the earlier seasons there were no good guys or bad guys (outside comic book villain Joffrey), just people whose unique circumstances surrounding them shaped their actions and outlook on the world. The whole point was that you had no control over your life and viewing morality as just “good” or “bad” was pointless because anyone could become the hero or villain. Now it’s going to end with all the good guys teaming up to fight the bad guys? I mean, it’ll still be awesome and I’m going to love it, but I can’t help but feel a little cheated. I don’t even know how I’d end it. Maybe George R.R. doesn’t either, and that’s why it’s taking him so long to finish the books. Either way, I wish the show writers hadn’t just taken the easy way out. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, though. This is Game of Thrones, after all. And as the old saying goes, anything can happen on Game of Thrones.