Anticipated ‘Game of Thrones’ finale disappoints

Photo Courtesy of HBO

The final episode of “Game of Thrones” aired on May 19 and it may have been one of the most disappointing endings in television history.

“Game of Thrones” has been building up character arcs and plotlines for over seven years, and viewers have gotten extremely attached to each one and every of them. In hindsight, with the number of plot lines that the writers needed to resolve, the final season was doomed to fail from the start. 

Arya has a hit list of people that have done wrong to her or her family, Jon Snow is a Targaryen, the White Walker army is finally reaching Winterfell and Daenerys may finally be taking the Iron Throne. The list goes on and on. The world was finally going to see everything the show had built up over the last eight years come together in this hopefully epic, majestic final season.

However, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (the HBO writers for “Game of Thrones”) effectively took the intricacies of George R.R. Martin’s ­— author of “A Song of Ice and Fire,” the series that “Game of Thrones” is based on — deeply thought out story and ignored each and every thing that made the show special in the first place.

To be fair, there were some positives amidst the abundance of unforgivable inadequacies which mar season eight. The visuals were as crisp, colorful and jaw-dropping as ever. The grand scene where Dany’s dragon’s wings are shown behind her as she walks in King’s Landing is stunning and powerfully symbolic. The hard-to-see, dingy, gloomy visuals during the Great War accentuated the hopelessness that characterized the battle. The pillars of fire and the smoldering buildings during the war between Daenerys and Cersei matched the flaming fury inside of Daenerys as she finally got closer to taking her beloved Iron Throne. 

There were also a couple of heartwarming scenes throughout the season that amplified the love that the viewers felt for those characters. Brienne being knighted by Jaime before the Great War had to be one of the most emotional scenes in the entire show. It properly tied together Brienne and Jaime’s journey throughout the first seven seasons. Combined with Podrick gallantly singing a song, these two events made episode two of season eight an acceptable precursor to the fight against the Night King. 

Sadly, these few, ephemeral events in season eight came nowhere close to saving the atrocity that was the rest of the season.

The first two episodes of the season were set up to be the final reunion of all of the major characters. This was their last time to be with the family that they still had and to be happy before the Great War. While the episodes are slow, they are justified with the hope that the War will bring the kind of excitement and drama which has made the show great. 

Alas, when the Great War arrives, it brings with it several glaring flaws, the biggest being Arya somehow plowing through the White Walkers to come behind the Night King and stab him 
with a dagger.

This is a shocking writing choice, as throughout the rest of the series the writers set Jon Snow up to be the one to kill the Night King with immense amount of foreshadowing. In the episode, he runs to kill the Night King, only for Arya to ruin all the buildup and intensity by doing the
deed herself.

This was most likely a misguided attempt by Executive Producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff to try and make the ending unexpected without putting in the work and building a
proper backstory. 

Episode four was easily one of the worst episodes of the entire series. Most of the episode essentially does exactly what episode one and episode two do — give the characters another moment of celebration after the Great War. At the end of episode four, Daenerys somehow forgets that Euron Greyjoy’s fleet is near and one of her dragons gets shot down as a result. How Daenerys forgets about a whole fleet even though they were discussing the fleet earlier in the episode is a mystery that once again underlines the fact that the writers gave very little thought to the entire season.

We finally get to the last important battle of the entire show — the encounter between Cersei and Daenerys at King’s Landing, the final battle for the Iron Throne. While the first half of this episode makes sense with Daenerys easily destroying the enemy fleet with her dragon, the second half is a huge break in the plot that the season builds for her. 

Cersei surrenders by ringing the bells but Daenerys savagely continues to set the rest of King’s Landing aflame. She burns down the buildings along with the innocent citizens who have done her no wrong. While some may argue that Daenerys has always been excessive with her punishments to her enemies, this intense retaliation is a complete 180. The revenge is not foreshadowed at all during the first four episodes of the season, and it seems to be another lazy attempt by the writers to create an exciting ending.

The series finale is scattered with disjointed events that would bewilder fans new and old. The very first of these events that comes to mind is the fact that Bran Stark, often regarded as a boring and useless character, is crowned King of the Seven Kingdoms. Out of all of the characters that survive to the final episode, Bran is possibly the most
incorrect choice the writers could have made. 

Bran has had no influence during any of the wars and does not really affect the outcome of any of the events. This disappointment is worsened by the fact that the fanbase wanted to see someone as honorable and worthy as Jon Snow rule the Seven Kingdoms and alleviate all of its problems.

Accompanying these events is a total lack of pacing. At random moments, the show skips three or four weeks ahead of the previous scene. Similarly, much of King’s Landing, which is burnt completely during the final episode, is somehow quickly rebuilt without any one ruler sitting on the Iron Throne. These narrative breaks leave the viewer feeling confused and disoriented and takes them out of the show’s universe.

Overall, this season is little more than a series of bad writing decisions. This level of disappointment is without even considering the simple and frustrating mistakes that occurred, like having a Starbucks cup in one of the scenes  — simple mistakes which nonetheless break the illusion for the viewers. 

The writers showed complete disregard for everything that George R. R. Martin has built up and vandalized the beauty that had been “Game of Thrones.”