Game of Thrones Final Season: Should there be a do-over?

jon-greywormThis past week, a petition has been circulating online calling for a remake of the entire the eighth season of HBO’s epic saga “Game of Thrones.” So far, its been signed by over a million fans. So as a fan of the show, here’s my take on this protest.

According to the petition posted on change.org:

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on.

This series deserves a final season that makes sense.

Suffice to say that this is a definite 360  from the overall excitement over the expected epic end to the series when it premiered on April 17. Now, some five weeks later, fans are literally raising the pitchforks at the showrunners who have basically helmed the series since its beginning.

I must admit that up until the fourth episode, I was still on board the sequence of events that have been unraveling in the Seven Kingdoms. I was far from impressed about how the Night King was dismissed and felt it was a cop out after several seasons of setting up his rivalry with Jon Snow but “The Long Night”, despite its challenges with the lighting, was still a great episode.  However, Episode  5 and 6 were quite problematic because it was obvious that the show somehow found themselves twiddling their thumbs after they successfully served up the biggest battle in Westeros history. No matter how abrupt, their new mission was to discredit Dany (much as they did Jon Snow after many seasons of build up as the savior of the people),  destroy years’ worth of evolution for Jamie, end Cersei in the most pathetic way, and get people on board the anti Dany train now that she’s finally laid claim to the Iron Throne.

Of course, the show is doing damage control with the amount of articles being released justifying Dany’s strategy as well as the potential end for the show. But no matter how they wax poetic about the events that just unfolded, what’s done is done. Nobody will really get a satisfying end to the show that meets the standards of fans who have taken ownership of the saga as if it were their own.

For this, I lay the blame solely on the feet of George RR Martin because the show was doing great when there were still books to follow. It means that DB Weiss and David Benioff were great when they had the complete backstory and they had an entire universe to explore. They were great at translating but it turns out they suck at filling in the blanks, which was what they were burdened with from Season 7.

Writing wise, Season 7 was already a disaster because they kept going over and over the same things again, but it was saved by the revelations and the effective build up to the Great War between humankind and the Night King’s Army. If you would recall, there was heavy foreshadowing of a child between Jon and Dany, something that was never even mentioned in this season (maybe in the last episode).  But fans were still on board, excited even leading up to the final season, and making them wait two years for it only amped up the excitement and the expectation. D & D should have known that.

Believe me, as a fan who gets invested on shows, I have been disappointed quite a lot. But to petition to scrap an entire season just because it did not cater to one’s expectation is a bit of overboard, especially when Game of Thrones’ worst episode is better than half of the sh*t that qualifies for TV these days. Sure, the final season overall was subpar because of the glaring disconnect from the first six seasons but without the books to enlighten the fans, there’s really no choice but to end it this way, except to hire better writers. That’s on D & D.

Its a given that books can explore a character and his/her motivations extensively through the writer’s description, whereas on screen, you can’t really do that (except with a couple of flashbacks? That could work). And this is handicap that D & D has struggled with since the books ran out. Perhaps, they too, felt overwhelmed by a sense of ownership for the show that they felt they had to end it rather than hand over the writing to other people, who knows?

For me, loving a show means loving it for its entirety, just not when it delivers to one’s expectations. Now that I’ve calmed down somewhat from last week’s episode, I can safely look at the bright side. We can talk about what Game of Thrones could have been and appreciate the show for being an imperfect, almost epic adventure for many years to come. But to disregard the hard work of all the people who made this season happen? a big resounding no. Just no. Learn your limits, people.

At the end of the day, no one can do a better job of ending the series than its author George RR Martin — even when there are better writers. Now, all that’s left is to actually wait for the books to see if they are any better, that is after GRRM makes time to write after consulting for the three GOT spin offs in the works. That’s where you get your do-over. Not HBO.

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