My thoughts on Game of Thrones Season 8.
Hello lovely people,
Welcome back to ReservoirBlogs!
I know I don’t usually discuss TV series’ on this blog but today I want to talk about Game of Thrones Season 8 because I have a lot of thoughts on this.
With that in mind, I also want to say that this post will be full of spoilers, so do what you will with that information.
If you’ve been watching the latest season of Game of Thrones and following the reactions online, you will not be surprised to hear that a lot of people did not like the way it went down. Of course we can blame the plot holes, the loss of direction or the Starbucks cups, but I think at its core, this season failed for a more conclusive reason. In seasons 1 through 6, following the books by George R.R Martin, the series felt very much like what it was supposed to be, a game of thrones. I have always felt that Game of Thrones was interesting and original because it was like watching the many cogs many kingdoms ticking (much like the opening credits of every episode). As an audience, we watched events and situations unfold and have impacts on many different characters from all over the map, and it was interesting to see how this sociological system worked. However, in seasons 7 and especially 8, D&D seem to have displayed a more physcological warfare approach, which is the way most Hollywood series and film stories are told. The map was condensed to merely Kings Landing and Winterfell and the characters were dramatically reduced, which led to predictability and repetition. Of course, another reason for failure that we all spotted from a mile off, was that they were simply too overambitious for 6 episodes.
I think the first episode was a fair take off, though it was a bit slow at places, but it took the audience back to the script and the relationships between the characters which for me, is the heart of this series and what makes it so intricate and interesting.
Then with the second episode I felt the tension rising a lot between characters. I liked the dynamic between Sansa and Dany and of course Jon’s true heritage coming to light, even though it ended up meaning fuck all.
So then the was ‘The Long Night’, which might as well have been a bloody podcast because I had to cover the windows in the room with blankets and still squint the entire time to even see what was going on. But this episode was a mixed bag for me. I really enjoyed the action sequences and the fight felt as grand and intense as Jon had warned us it would be. I felt anxious whenever a favourite character of mine was on screen and kept thinking to myself “don’t die, don’t die, don’t die”. I was also very much here for the amount of girl power this episode gave us. Lyanna Mormont and Arya Stark are fucking legends.
However, the episode as a whole was messy and felt rushed beyond belief, as did the rest of the season. I was so confused by some of the ridiculous decisions like Tyrion’s dumbass idea to hide all the women and children in the crypt, a place where they bury dead people, to protect them from…dead people. And why were Dany and Jon just having a romantic dragon ride mid war? I was honestly waiting for them to stand up and start singing A Whole New World.
When I watched ‘The Last of the Starks’ I was shook that Arya didn’t even get a “yeah thanks by the way” for literally destroying the entire dead army and their leader, but cool. I liked that she turned Gendry down though, ‘aint nobody got time for marriage when there’s enemies to assassinate. I’m not sure how I felt about Jaime and Brienne. On the one hand I think it’s bit cliche to have them both want to breach that emotional barrier and it felt a little out of place for both characters, but on the other hand, I loved it.
As for Euron’s navy ambush on Dany and her fleets, I actually quite liked that Rhaegal was shot down from the sky, because it gave Dany some vulnerability and proved that these dragons didn’t make her indestructable. But I still don’t understand why these dragons were never equipped with armour in the first place and I was utterly confused in the next episode, when she plummets headfirst into the exact same situation and somehow flips the odds, despite having one less dragon and zero extra precaution.
Missandei’s death did upset me and I think it was valid reason for Greyworm to flip his lid in the last two episodes but I don’t think it justifies everything.
Look, my favourite thing about Daenerys from the offset, has been the strength of her character and her ability to reason. She has endured so much and still kept a level head, so that she can provide justice for the evil and liberation for the innocent. Her mass genocide reaction in ‘The Bells’ episode left me torn. It’s not that I didn’t like that decision by the writers, but more that there was not enough leading up to it. I can comprehend that Dany felt as though she would never be accepted by the people of Kings Landing and that Jon would be better received throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Moreover, the poor woman has been assaulted, had her dragon children murdered and watched her best friend beheaded. So I believe her decision to burn the city, especially from that position of power and in a moment where she felt disconnected from the situation, could have felt justified. But it didn’t. We needed more time to see that madness develop in her mind.
Speaking of the disregard to characters, I was not a fan of the arcs of either Jon or Tyrion in this season. Tyrion has famously been the smartest and wittiest man in any room since the beginning of this series, but in season 8 and even season 7, I felt that he completely lost vision and intelligence in place of blind loyalty. Peter Dinklage is a fantastic actor and I always remember the end of ‘The Laws of Gods and Men’ from season 4, when Tyrion lashes out at his father and the audience whilst on trial. His outrage felt so earnest and I was so invested in his character development at that point. Now, cut to season 8 and I really didn’t even care about where he was or what he was doing, which I think is a real shame.
Then of course, I had a similar issue with Jon’s character throughout season 8. He too has been a character of extreme intelligence, spoken wisdom and the ability to do what is right even when it hurts him the most. So why in season 8 did he become a massive wet flannel confined to three sentences, “the dead are coming”, “I don’t want it” & “you are my queen”.
I also felt that Jaime’s development as an individual was disregarded in season 8. I have always had a soft spot for his character despite his wrong doings, because it always felt like he knew boundaries and was inherently good at his core. Also, his relationship with Brienne was possibly one of my favourite character duos in the entire series and the scene when he knighted her was so beautiful it nearly brought a blimmin' tear to my eye.
I really strongly believed that he was heading to Kings Landing to kill Cersei and I was disappointed that they really just dropped all his character development like they did. However, in retrospect I can see that he believed he was an inherently bad person and that he deserved to accept the same fate as Cersei and their child that she was carrying. Moreover, I felt pretty satisfactory closure when Brienne wrote “died protecting his queen” on his Kings-guard page.
Finally. Lets talk about Bran.
Okay I’ll just say it, Bran is the most boring character. He had the potential to have some really interesting purpose and character arc, but much like his sister Arya, he literally never used his powers for anything substantial. That whole scene where they choose him as King felt bizarre. Why was Tyrion allowed to give such a long speech after Greyworm told him to zip it? Why was Greyworm in such a position of power anyway? Why Bran?
I mean I understand that he knows everyone’s past, present and future, but his actual story is mostly just hugging a tree underground and letting other people do all the hard work for him. Also if he knows everything, then that means he knew Dany was going to burn down Kings Landing and that it would result in him being king…so really this whole time he’s been sitting around looking smug knowing that this ends in his power and the mass genocide of innocents. Whats more, he kept going on about how he isn’t Bran Stark anymore and that he can’t be a lord of anything and that he doesn’t even want to be king and then suddenly he just changes his tune and says “what do you think I came all this way for”. That’s just sloppy writing.
I am also curious to know how anyone found out that Dany was killed by Jon if Drogon took her body away? I assume that must mean Jon confessed. And where was the reaction or mourning of her death? We just skipped right past that. Lazy.
Alright, so I’m aware of how mostly negative this post has been so far, so allow me to cool off by going over some of the stuff I loved from this season.
Firstly, the visuals were insane. As poor as the writing may have been, I think this season was by far the most visually impressive and I just want to highlight some of my favourite shots below:
Also, I did really like the endings for Arya and Sansa. I think they ended up exactly where they were meant to be and I felt wholesome watching the sequence of the Stark children going their separate ways. I also loved the more subtle character arcs, like the fact that Davos corrected Bronn’s grammar after learning to read and write from Shireen in season 5, (Side-note, Davos might just be one of my favourite characters).
Similarly, I loved that moment when Tyrion begins his joke, “I once took a honeycomb and a jackass into a brothel”, which is a joke he has tried to tell on multiple occasions throughout the series, but is always interrupted. I love little things like that. The Hound’s fight with The Mountain was pretty epic and I was so distraught when he threw himself and his brother through the wall and down into the flames, but I think there is something so poetic about that, considering their history and Clegane’s innate fear of fire.
I also loved that Drogon recognised that the Iron Throne is what killed his mother, rather than Jon, and that he burnt it down to essentially ‘break the wheel’ as Dany originally and truly intended.
Overall I think there were many great moments in season 8 and a lot of brave moves that could have been extremely effective and interesting had they been given enough build up and enough time to have a lasting impact, but the season was a few episodes too short for those overkill decisions. Unfortunately, this meant that the season as a whole was messy, poorly written and in my opinion was a dismal and hollow ending for one of the most masterful TV series ever created. Despite all that, the visuals and the acting were better than ever and I still love this series in it entirety.
So thats about it,
Let me know what you thought about the Game of Thrones finale.