Despite an avowed renewal of focus, I just couldn't let the final episode and season of Game or Thrones (GoT) go by without some comment. That just wouldn't be right, especially in the face of some howling and gnashing of teeth from long term fans of the show who have nearly a decade of their lives invested into the characters and plots.
Some have even called on HBO to reshoot the entire final season, apparently.
I waited a decade for THIS?? (Aggrieved Fan)
With such venom from diehard fans, one has ask: did Season 8 of GoT monumentally suck on a galactic, time-space ending scale? I do not think so. Before you start calling on the Fire Lord to have his ammoral way with me, let me explain why. Let's be very clear: by saying that it did not suck on a scale that rivals inter-dimensional measurements does not mean that it was a great end to a great series.
What I DO mean is that it could have been better but it was not too bad. The final episode especially suffered from what the rest of the series frequently failed on: things were wrapped up as if the producers were on a tight deadline and needed to get to the pub at 5pm. The first hint of this was the death of the Night King (icy dead dude), which was over in a flash, despite the build-up of an entire battle that saw some memorable characters die. He was there one minute and in the very next second he has crumpled up and fallen to pieces, along with the entire army of the dead.
In the final episode, there were at least 3 events that should have had entire episodes devoted to them. The first was the death of Danaerys Targaryen. Another one of those "Oh crap, what do we do with her? Kill her off!" moments. It was dealt with so perfunctorily that one might be mistaken that she was a speaking extra. I think the end did not do either the character or Emilia Clarke justice. Clarke was really getting a good vibe in the way she portrayed the character and that delicious Targaryen edge was just coming through. What a waste. The rise of Bran Stark and Sansa Stark to political power were two more events that really should have been dealt with much more in depth. It was a good choice, but the way it was handled made it all look like a desperate, last resort move to wind up a plot that was beyond the writers to end. It just did not come off well and again failed to exploit what would have been intricately detailed and interesting scheming and plots from different characters.
Arya Stark's decision to head off and go beyond the maps to the west of Westeros was the one good thing that left her story unfinished and full of potential. Right from the start, Arya Stark has refused to play by the rules and endured as one my all-time favourite characters. Maisie Williams brought her to life perfectly and really gave off that edge that comes from one who has endured a lot and been made a much stronger person for it, as well as not losing their balance.
While the final season did not live up to expectations and left a hell of a lot that was unsaid, under-said or just plain forgotten on the dust heap of GoT history, I did not think it really sucked all that much. However, as a late-comer to the series (I started watching it in 2018), I do not have a near-decade of emotional investment in it. So, I can come away a little more easily from it and see some of the good points.