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When I first saw Peter Dinklage’s comments on the final season of Game of Thrones, I have to say, I felt a little tingle up my leg. For those of you who haven’t heard, Dinklage said that there is an epic battle scene in the final season that “makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park.” It took 55 days to shoot and will be the biggest battle in the history of the series. I have to say, nothing gets my adrenaline pumping like some good old Game of Thrones bloodshed, and Battle of the Bastards was probably one of the best episodes in the series, but Game of Thrones has definitely turned a corner in terms of quality of storytelling. It’s become its own fan fiction, so as excited as I am to see how the story ends, I know it’s going to suck.
The show set such a high bar over its first 4 to 5 seasons as the body of work as a whole was spectacular, and had a lot of depth thanks to the fact it was based on a great story George RR Martin had already written. In fact, he recently complained that if he had continued to write the story himself, the series could have spanned up to 13 seasons, but the show runners wanted to max out at 7. I guess that explains why the story has sped up significantly since the end of season 6. Because of this, the story has become little more than fan service to make up for the fact that the story has become extremely shallow.
Besides flexing its muscles with cameos from the likes of Ed Sheeran and Noah Syndergaard, the show also gave us convenient story points. Arya got revenge on Walder Frey, which admittedly was badass. They threw a plot armor-smothered Jon in a pointless, ridiculously dangerous mission north of The Wall just so we could see our favorite warriors go against the Walkers, see a dragon set wights on fire, and then see how the White Walkers are going to get south of The Wall—using their own zombie dragon. Guess what’s coming next? Dragon versus dragon dogfights! Kind of stupid of the good guys to let that happen, but hey, it’s going to be cool to see! After the Lannisters conveniently took Highgarden, supposedly the second most powerful house in the Seven Kingdoms, without much of a fight, we got to see another dragon battle and the Dothraki mow over Lannister soldiers like weeds. Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome battle scene, but it doesn’t fit the story pattern we’ve come to know and love. It’s fan service. Just like Tyrion being dumbed down as an advisor so Daenerys could look like a great leader in comparison. The parley between the Lannisters and Daenerys was idiotic, and only really served to foreshadow the coming Clegane Bowl and give Jon an excuse to go north of The Wall. It all seems very convenient, very fast, and very…thin. But hey, we’re getting almost exactly what we want, right?
I got into this show not for special effects and sword fights, although they are a nice bonus, but because it was the best epic storytelling I’d seen in a TV series. It was a nice mix of human history and fantasy. Now? We’re going to get what we want, even though that hasn’t always been what the show is about. The show gives you a little of what you want, then lets a character get consumed by their fatal flaw, just like in the great Greek tragedies. But now? We’re getting a huge battle scene that will likely be full of dragons and ice zombies. We’ll get to see the Clegane brothers face off. Jon will finally be revealed as the true king but probably die at the end in a try-hard twist after killing the Night King. We’ll get to see dragons fighting in midair. Yeah, the story is going to be shallow and suck, but we’re all going to watch it because we know we are going to get exactly what we want..