Game of Thrones season eight disappoints

Houlton McGuinn

I was stunned when Arya flipped her knife and killed the Night King- saving Winterfell. Daenerys burning down innocents while the Unsullied and the Dothraki pillaged King’s Landing was a WOW moment. Euron coming out of nowhere with his ballistas and taking down a dragon was another. Game of Thrones season eight was full of these dramatic moments– which make for impressive tv– but don’t fit the overall narrative cohesively.

Game of Thrones’ episode six two weeks ago was the compilation of eight years of TV for viewers… and it left me disappointed. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss managed to take the most popular streaming television show of all time and ruin all goodwill from the fans. Over 1.6 million fans signed a petition to have HBO remake the final season of Game of Thrones. I agree that the season should be re-made.

At the beginning of the season, I wondered how they would manage to wrap up all the loose ends in just six episodes, even though some ran 90 minutes. The White Walkers, Cersei, and the tension between Jon and Daenerys all had to be resolved in six episodes. Six! The second episode was the high point of the season for me. I actually liked “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” I think that they did a good job showing emotional moments and wrapping up characters’ arcs like the relationship of Grey Worm and MM, Brienne being knighted.  I went into the following episode, “The Long Night,” expecting a bloodbath and was left underwhelmed. Most characters did not have to survive, especially because they served no purpose later in the season. After episode three, I shifted to wondering how they would manage to fill the remaining half season with enough content. Episodes three through six felt both rushed and too slow at the same time.

The death of Rhaegal in episode four did not make any sense at all. Benioff later explained in the post-episode interview that Daenerys “forgot about the Iron Fleet.” Ignoring the fact that she was flying hundreds of feet in the air on a dragon and should have seen an armada of ships, there was a discussion about the Iron Fleet earlier in the episode at which Daenerys was present. The writers chose to ignore logic in order to fit the plot points they wanted. The issue isn’t with those plot points, but bulleted list progression of the season.

I can’t say that I entirely hate the plot of the season. The Night King being killed, Daenerys burning down King’s Landing, Jon killing Daenerys, and Bran eventually becoming king are all plot points that do make sense but felt forced in the way they were set up. I expect that George R.R. Martin will end the book series in a similar way but take more time to setup the resolution of the series.

Season eight left me with more questions than answers.Why is Jon sent back to the Night’s Watch when the White Walkers have been defeated? Who made the decision to make Bronn the master of coin when Tyrion had to explain to him how loans work in an earlier season? Why did Bran not use any of his Three-Eyed Raven Powers? Arya’s Faceless Man training and her ability to steal faces was not used at all to get into Kings Landing. The actions of the characters this season aren’t logical. As a result, the season feels dead of the intrigue that brought me to the show.
It’s inexcusable that Benioff and Weiss rushed this season. Game of Thrones has been a phenomenal show over the past eight years. It deserves all the praise it has been given. I went into season eight with high expectations and was let down. After Jon killed Daenerys, there was no focus on arguably the most significant death in the series. The choice was just made to cut to the council half-filled with unnamed characters who go un-introduced. HBO reportedly offered 10 episodes for the final seasons with a larger budget. The lack of attention to detail in the show is shown by the Starbucks cup in the background of episode four. In the finale of the series, a plastic water bottle is in the background of the council. These mistakes sum up the final season of an otherwise amazing show: rushed, sloppy, and nonsensical.