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‘Game of Thrones’ Stumbling to Series’ Finale (Mostly Spoiler-free)

Brett Davis

Posted on May 13, 2019 20:00

2 users

HBO’s epic fantasy show has jumped the Stark, er, shark.

“Game of Thrones” fans – this writer included – are passionate about what used to be the best show on television. Past tense, because the writing on the show has fallen faster than a dragon shot out of the sky. Next Sunday (May 19) marks the merciful conclusion of the series.

The show should be reveling in its moment of glory. Instead, “Game of Thrones” has collapsed into the same tired and lazy writing that is the hallmark of lesser television programs. Shame! Shame! Shame!

Ironically, “Game of Thrones” has become a victim of its own high-quality standards by failing to measure up to said standards. “Game of Thrones” spent some six seasons establishing complex storylines full of rich character development, byzantine machinations and Machiavellian intrigue, all while maintaining historical, geographic and logical consistency. It was no easy feat for a show featuring dragons, magic and armies of the undead, but the folks behind the show managed to pull it off masterfully.

Somewhere in the seventh season, things started to go awry, especially in terms of fast travel and hurried plotting. After spending years establishing the world in which “Game of Thrones” takes place, geography and the vast distances between one place and another seemed to matter very little. It was a jarring experience for viewers accustomed to the show’s previous deliberate pace to see what appeared to be characters essentially teleporting all over the place.

This sped-up narrative is impacting the show even more negatively this season, with developments that feel rushed, important plot points left unanswered and characters behaving stupidly only because it (clumsily) advances the series to its endgame.

How did this happen? First, last season shrunk from 10 episodes to just seven episodes. This final season is a mere six episodes. These truncated seasons don’t give the impression of urgent action so much as corner cutting.

Second, the show has eclipsed the novels on which the show is based, given the glacially-slow pace at with author George R.R. Martin apparently writes. Still, this is hard to understand, since the showrunners obviously work closely with Martin. Was there really no plan for when zero books remained on which to anchor the show?

Third, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss seem to be in a rush to end “Game of Thrones,” even though by all accounts HBO was willing to give them carte blanche to properly wrap up the series in epic fashion. That Benioff and Weiss declined for reasons unknown is maddening.

We are now left to watch cringe-worthy nonsense like this.

Nevertheless, the final season of “Game of Thrones” has managed to include some touching moments, dazzling battle scenes and trademark major character deaths. Still, show writers should be stood in front of Daenerys Targaryen’s last remaining dragon as she utters, “Dracarys!” for robbing these moments of more meaning due to a compressed storyline that feels like a mad dash to the series’ finale.

Oh, what might have been…

Brett Davis

Posted on May 13, 2019 20:00

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