It’s been more than a year since the last episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ released, and yet most fans of the HBO fantasy-action-drama cannot get over the disappointment it generated.
Game of Thrones was a show that had everything going for it to become the best show to ever hit our screens, but with that last season, makers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss made sure that wasn’t the case. Social media exploded with hatred during the run-time and after the end of its last season. Some fans even started a petition for the show to be remade, but alas, it wasn’t to be. ‘Game of Thrones’, for all its past brilliance, will have to live as the one that left its fans disappointed. So, let’s take a quick look at EVERYTHING that went wrong.
Fans of ‘Game of Thrones’ first started getting wary about where their beloved show was heading when the makers initially started drifting from author George R. R. Martin’s original plotlines, written in “The Song of Ice and Fire”, the books that inspired the onscreen adaptation. But David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had done a brilliant job till then and deserved to get the benefit of the doubt. Then, during the 6th season itself, they announced that the 8th season would be the last and final season of the Game of Thrones, while also mentioning that the season will include fewer episodes. This clearly caused panic among loyal fans of the show. Though they still had faith in the makers, they were aware that there was a lot of ground to be covered, plot lines to be explored, conclusions of those plotlines to be met, and the cut-short two seasons wouldn’t be sufficient. The way in which the 7th and 8th seasons were rushed towards the end, their doubt became a dreaded reality.
The one thing ‘Game of Thrones’ deserved was more time. After all, one of the reasons for its success was the amount of time it spent on character development, interpersonal development, and changing dynamics between characters, sub-plots, etc which allowed for the show’s intricacy. The last two seasons showed complete disregard for the very qualities that made GOT such a masterpiece, and, in doing so, it gave up on giving meaningful conclusions to a lot of theories, characters, and sub-plots that had taken entire seasons to build.
So much was made of Jon Snow (Kit Harington) being a Targaryen that Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) almost spent all his learning years at the Three-Eyed Raven College of Dark Arts on unravelling this truth. But, eventually, what was the point? Jon could have easily been a bastard of Ned Stark (Sean Bean), killed the Queen, and be sent to the wall. Although, since Jon went beyond the wall with Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) and friends, what was really the point of having a wall and nights-watch now? The threat was long gone, the white walkers were dead, and no one even knew why the Night King wanted to rule over Westeros. GoT left many such questions unanswered. Take the Children of the Forest for that matter or even The Lord of the Light! What were these tribes, what was their purpose, and where did they come from? No explanation, nothing! Zilch! Jon’s brother, Bran, who spent most of his time training to become the three-eyed raven, contributed nothing with his power either. Honestly, the guy could warp into anyone’s head and learn their past and present while making them do things. But his contribution was completely inconsequential. For a boy that said he could never sit on the throne because he was now the three-eyed raven, jumping at the throne at the slightest suggestion by Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) was so out of character. And everyone agreed with Tyrion, the man who spent the last two seasons making one bad decision after the other. And, for a man who was the Hand of the Queen, and had played a direct role in her killing her, Tyrion was surely recruited too soon by Bran as his Hand. Maybe Bran saw the future. But with that logic, Bran shouldn’t be asking about Dragon’s whereabouts at the end of the show. Someone should have reminded him of his warping powers!
Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick) spent precious time saving this crippled man from every danger, for at least two seasons; running for him to turn out as a total dud, and only to be completely dumped from the roster of the show in the final season. But the disappearance of her character, who probably deserved to be the Hand of the King to Bran, is not that surprising. After all, she is just another female character in the show, with an ill-treated arc, and for that matter not even a major character. The kind of conclusion the makers managed to give to some of the show’s most powerful female characters can only be described as atrocious. Meera should probably just thank her stars that she was spared of more humiliation.
So, let’s start with Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) then, shall we? Cersei is a character we grew to love and hate at the same time. A woman who loved her family, more importantly, her children, so much that she could go to any sinister length to keep them safe. What was this powerful character reduced to during the final season? She was made to become merely one-dimensional, a villain who gives smug looks, and drinks wine as she looks out her balcony, waiting to destroy the enemy that steps at her door. Even her death was so unlike her character. She was scared to death dying under the only rubble that was formed under her castle with her brother and lover Jamie Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) – another character who was a victim of a disastrous character arc.
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Talking about Jamie reminds us of another female character, and probably the strongest female character when it comes to sheer physical strength and also the character with the most integrity, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). After giving its viewers one of the most empowering scenes with Jamie knighting Brienne, the show goes onto make a mockery of it and of the relationship that the two share. As Brienne consummates her long-standing love for Jamie, after their victory over the Night King, the very morning Jamie leaves for King’s Landing to save Cersei, leaving Brienne behind in her robe, crying like a heartbroken teenager, and probably making Jamie seem like nothing but a glorified “fuck boi”. And honestly, neither Jamie nor Brienne warranted to be treated this way. Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams), considering the kind of treatment other female characters received, still managed to get the good end of the bargain. Although one could argue that Sansa pretty much playing a hand in saving Jon’s ass every time, alongside her strategic skills, should have made her the strongest contender for the throne. But no, brother Bran wants to be King, so elder sister will let him have it; and all she asks in return is for an independent North to rule. Additionally, it’s a decision Yara Greyjoy (Gemma Whelan)does not even oppose or want for the Iron Islands. After all, a free state is what her father always wished for, since season one. Arya, on the other hand, just wanted to travel and got her high point in killing the Night King. But she should really be complaining about why her skills of changingher face were not used for more high-profile killings. The girl spent a painful amount of time and effort in learning and honing those skills. Moreover, her decision to spare Cersei, the woman she despises the most, came with absolutely no explanation either. So much for character-building!
But, the one female character that got the most unjustified conclusion with the finale of GoT is Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). The woman spent the entirety of the series to achieve one goal, and that was to rule the seven kingdoms and sit on the Iron throne. During this course to achieve her dream, she fought patriarchy, prejudices related to her mad-father, and her lineage; nurtured dragons, strategically conquered worlds, and expanded her army, created loyal alliances, all while empowering the weak and overcoming painful personal losses. And when she had actually achieved it all and had truly won the Iron throne, they made her go mad! Conveniently playing into the trope that the Mad King’s daughter has to go mad and consequently playing into the dangerous misconceptions about mental health. Yes, Dany did lose one of her most trusted person in Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), but there was only one person to be blamed for that loss, and that person was Cersei. And Cersei was completely defenceless at that moment. Dany’s decision to burn King’s Landing and roast innocent people was so very unlike her character.
The short time which was used to get to this character transformation did not help either. Yes, with some of her close associates showing a lack of trust, and Jon revealing his Targaryen bloodline added to her mental health disintegrating. But the consequences and her eventual actions remain highly questionable to what Daenerys stood for. Eventually, she was stabbed by the man she loved, and her body taken away in the claws by Drogon, the one creature who probably loved her the most. What came as another surprise was Jon’s life being spared by every Dany loyalist. The Unsullied, who were killing everyone in their sights in King’s Landing, surprisingly wanted a fair trial and punishment for the man who killed their saviour. Even the Dothraki, who are known for having no moral compass, spared the man who murdered their Queen. But the most surprising reaction comes from Drogon, a dragon who, for some reason, decides to burn down the throne in a metaphoric show of anger, rather than roast the man who killed his mother to ashes. Daenerys, you truly deserved better!
The only hope there is now is that George R. R. Martin is still to finish writing his tale about Westeros. The fact that he was the actual brain behind it gives all the fans hope that we’ll get the ending and closure to plot lines that we were craving for from the onscreen adaptation. Do let us know if you agree with the disappointing turn of events that GoT took. You can drop your views in the comments section below!