The Final Season Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ Made The Entire Series Unwatchable

Written by on May 22, 2020

Bassem “Bear” Dahdouh was hopeful when “Recreation of Thrones” first premiered on HBO in April 2011. Though he hadn’t learn a single phrase of George R.R. Martin’s “A Tune of Ice and Hearth” e book sequence, he was a fan of actor Sean Bean and determined to present the medieval fantasy sequence a shot.

He was instantly hooked.

“The sequence premiere had every part — motion, drama, horror and a twist,” Dahdouh, an esports skilled from Las Vegas, instructed HuffPost, noting that the present’s performances and considerate pacing saved him coming again for extra. 

And he wasn’t alone. A legion of devoted followers grew to become enraptured with “Recreation of Thrones,” a compelling story about highly effective households — the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons and Targaryens — preventing for management over the fictional world of Westeros. By the ultimate season, which aired final 12 months, a mean of 44.2 million viewers have been tuning in per episode.

Though the ultimate installment noticed record-breaking scores, many critics and followers agree that the conclusion torched every part to the bottom. Arya Stark (performed by Maisie Williams) killed the Night time King, beloved heroine Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) turned dangerous, Jon Snow (Equipment Harington) — the rightful inheritor to the Iron Throne — was shipped again off to the Night time’s Watch, and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) — the all-seeing Three-Eyed Raven — grew to become king. (As a result of “who has a greater story than Bran the Damaged?”) 

The abbreviated season, which consisted of six prolonged episodes, threw character arcs out the window and rendered all of the moments that got here earlier than it meaningless as showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss made a mad, lazy sprint towards the end line. 

Regardless of prior seasons receiving widespread acclaim, Season Eight bought the lackluster opinions it deserved. Many viewers agreed that it felt rushed, and that huge battles and spectacular visuals took priority over plausible storytelling. Although it took dwelling the Emmy Award for Excellent Drama Collection, the ultimate season was ignored by the Golden Globes and has now been principally disregarded. 

Two months after the sequence’ finish in Might 2019, HuffPost caught up with followers at San Diego Comedian-Con, a lot of whom mentioned issues like they “misplaced friendships over what occurred” and that the ultimate season was a “slap within the face.”

A 12 months later, reactions to the finale don’t appear any higher.

“I used to rewatch the present outright yearly a minimum of twice earlier than every season’s begin, however I haven’t rewatched a single episode because the finale a 12 months in the past,” Dahdouh mentioned. “I can’t abdomen the present realizing how dangerous it ends.” 

In a HuffPost-YouGov ballot of 1,000 respondents, 66% of individuals mentioned they haven’t watched or rewatched the present because the begin of quarantine two months in the past — they usually don’t plan to. In the meantime, solely 9% of respondents have watched or rewatched the present over the identical time interval.

It does really feel unusual that “Recreation of Thrones” isn’t having fun with a resurgence when streaming information reveals that common TV viewership has been rising throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Binge-watching on Hulu has gone up greater than 40% because the starting of March, with reveals reminiscent of “Misplaced” and “Scrubs” doubling in engagement since final 12 months, a Hulu spokesperson instructed HuffPost. And based on the piracy tracker Muso, visits to movie piracy web sites rose 41% in the USA over the last seven days of March in comparison with the identical time interval the earlier month. 

It seems that the end result of “Recreation of Thrones” may need been so disappointing that it was capable of erase the rewatchability of some superb episodes.

Like Tyrion strolling among the many smoldering ruins of King’s Touchdown, it’s surreal trying again at what grew to become of Season 8.

The primary two episodes of the season had their faults, however the actual issues popped up in Episode 3, which featured the Battle of Winterfell. This explicit combat between the residing and the undead White Walkers had been teased because the starting of the present. The episode, which was ominously titled “The Lengthy Night time,” lasted simply 82 minutes. And though viewers have been excited to observe the epic conflict unfold, the No. 1 criticism of the episode was how darkish it was. It was so laborious to see the motion in “The Lengthy Night time” that cinematographer Fabian Wagner needed to defend his work.

Sheer devastation was teased, however the White Walker risk turned out to be extra of a bluff. Many characters comically averted their demise — ahem, Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) — and in a stunning twist, Arya destroyed the Night time King with one thrust of her dagger. Fairly than a triumph, this transfer was seen as manipulation since Jon Snow’s seasons-long journey to destroy the chief of the undead grew to become irrelevant.

Utilizing Arya for shock worth underscores the principle drawback with the ultimate season: showrunners Benioff and Weiss went for model over substance. 

Daenerys burns King’s Touchdown as a result of the present spent years hinting at it as a result of she sees her dad’s previous home? And after being utterly worn out by the White Walkers, the Dothraki are all gone the Dothraki present up once more within the last episodes.

Time touring water bottles apart, the ultimate season simply didn’t make sense. The battle technique towards the White Walkers didn’t make sense. Character dialogue and choices didn’t make sense. And can somebody please clarify why Daenerys was ingesting espresso so late at night time?

The present’s lack of logic was uncovered by the showrunners in HBO’s “Contained in the Episode” movies. To justify Daenerys shedding a dragon to Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk), Benioff gave the reason that launched 1,000 memes, saying the Mom of Dragons ”form of forgotconcerning the Iron Fleet. This was after a earlier scene within the present that confirmed Daenerys particularly being reminded of Euron. (Did the showrunners form of overlook about that, too?)

The outcomes are, pun regrettably meant, Stark. The ultimate season of “Recreation of Thrones” has a 31% viewers rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (To place that into perspective, even “Sharknado,” a film about shark-filled tornadoes, managed to squeeze out a measly 33%). Additionally, that viral petition calling for the ultimate season to be remade continues to be gaining traction to today, at the moment sitting at 1.Eight million signatures. The destructive on-line chatter was so relentless that it made its means into the forged’s WhatsApp chat, and the showrunners dropped out of a scheduled look eventually 12 months’s Comedian-Con apparently to keep away from in-person criticism. Benioff and Weiss additionally reportedly ditched the chance to work on “Star Wars,” partly to flee future backlash.

“I didn’t just like the ending as a result of it felt sudden and complicated,” Dahdouh mentioned. “[There were] plenty of holes and skipping round. And I feel the shift to extra motion was the issue. I didn’t tune in to the present to see epic battles each different episode. I used to be utterly fantastic with one battle each season.” 

Sure, Season Eight featured some unimaginable visuals. The manufacturing staff put collectively a spectacle of nonsensical set items, apparently assuming that’s what followers wished. (Episodes reminiscent of “Battle of the Bastards” are sometimes praised as a number of the present’s finest.) However “Recreation of Thrones” didn’t grow to be a world phenomenon simply because it seemed cool. Viewers have been gripped by the compelling characters and fantasy components. They got here for the storytelling. 

Lengthy earlier than the HBO present was even a twinkle in Weiss and Benioff’s eyes, followers have been poring over the pages of Martin’s e book sequence and stalking on-line message boards speculating about Jon Snow’s true parentage. However that was based mostly on detailed reasoning, not simply what can be stunning. The preferred theories, even a few story involving zombies and dragons, made sense.

In order that’s what we maintain onto: hope that Martin’s tried-and-true storytelling can repair what the ultimate season burned to the bottom. Provided that Martin created the sequence, his enter within the first 4 seasons of “Recreation of Thrones” was pivotal to the present’s success. By Season 7, the writing was clearly weaker because the present moved forward with shortened seasons. (Gendry ran quicker than Usain Bolt, and time appeared to not matter.) Sure, Martin instructed them how the story ought to finish, however with out his steerage, the showrunners’ scripts fell into dangerous fan fiction territory. 

“It positively felt off when the present bought previous the books,” Dahdouh mentioned. “From my perspective, if they’d Seasons 7 and eight with 10 episodes every, getting into on character improvement and the journey reasonably than the epic fights, I feel the present may have achieved a lot better.”

Martin continues to be set to launch the ultimate two books in his seven-part sequence, “The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring,” as followers have already been ready a really very long time for brand new materials — since 2011, to be actual. He had deliberate to launch each novels earlier than “Recreation Of Thrones” got here to an finish, however as a substitute it’s been a nine-year wait stuffed with Targaryen historical past books and prequel sequence discussions. (“Home of the Dragon” is transferring ahead at HBO, however with movie productions shut down because of the pandemic, who is aware of if it’ll hit its 2022 launch date?)

When HuffPost reached out to Martin’s supervisor, Vince Gerardis, for an replace, he mentioned the writer was “locked away and wholesome, writing his e book. Huge DO NOT DISTURB signal on his door.” 

Martin himself wrote a weblog publish at the beginning of quarantine, saying he was holed up in New Mexico.

“Reality be instructed, I’m spending extra time in Westeros than in the actual world, writing day-after-day,” he wrote. “Issues are fairly grim within the Seven Kingdoms … however perhaps not as grim as they could grow to be right here.” Final month, he up to date followers as soon as once more, saying he was nonetheless social distancing within the mountains and writing.

“I’ve good days and dangerous days,” he mentioned. “However I’m making progress.” 

How good wouldn’t it be to have “The Winds of Winter” to devour whereas caught at dwelling? Too good. When contemplating the tempo at which Martin works, a brand new e book may not arrive for a lot of extra months, and even years. However he did say that if the novel isn’t full by summer time, followers have permission to imprison him in a cabin on New Zealand’s White Island “overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, till I’m achieved,” he wrote on his web site.

In one of many first panels on the 2019 “Recreation of Thrones” fan conference Con of Thrones, The Ringer’s Jason Concepcion was frank concerning the state of issues.

“This story sprung from the thoughts of an individual who ostensibly may end it, and I hope that that occurs,” he mentioned. “I actually deeply hope that that occurs.”

Forward of the ultimate season, Benioff instructed Leisure Weekly, “ story isn’t a superb story when you’ve got a nasty ending.” 

Whereas rewatching “Breaking Dangerous” or “The Sopranos” solely provides to a fan’s understanding of the sequence, the eighth season of “Recreation of Thrones” soured the greatness that got here earlier than it. Why would anybody wish to watch all the present over once more — choosing by ineffective Easter eggs and theories — realizing the way it all involves an finish? They most likely wouldn’t. 

“From my perspective, if the Night time King killed everybody, that may have been a extra satisfying ending,” Dahdouh mentioned.

No conclusion was going to be universally liked, however the season finale backlash isn’t essentially about what occurred — it’s about how it occurred. The storytelling suffered, and the result’s unforgettable in all of the flawed methods.  

So for us, our watch has lastly ended. 

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