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This first thing I said after finishing the Game of Thrones finale last night was “Whoa.” Then, in the minutes before sleep, I thought about everything that made me mad about the episode, and ended up falling asleep frustrated, confused, and scared for the final season. This was my thought journey:
1. The Big Meeting should have been an entire episode.
Dropping from 10 to 7 episodes impacted this season way more than I’d expected. Scenes were shoehorned into episodes that didn’t make sense and while a “lot” happened (more on that later), the whole season seemed like a sprint to the finish rather than a methodical storytelling experience. For example, the meeting with Cersei would’ve been a full episode had it happened in seasons 1-6. There were so many enormous characters in one location for the first time, and I would’ve savored every chat, insult, and flirt while everyone hung around before and after the larger plot points. A minor gripe, really, but I’m just warming up.
2. Basically no one died.
In a show that is so heavily invested in stomping my hope and happiness into Flea Bottom’s muddy/poop covered ground, every major character (aside from Littlefinger – thoughts and prayers) seems to have a force field around them at this point. Nothing about the finale had me actually worried about any character’s life – not Dany during the meeting, not Tyrion while meeting with Cersei, not Jaime while meeting with Cersei, and not Arya during her fake sentencing. Even Littlefinger had been petering out all season, and his final “Say WHAT?!?” moment was pretty clearly seen from a mile away. Also, there’s no way that Tormund and Beric are dead – obviously.
3. Bran is the ultimate example of deus ex machina.
Bran’s storyline is making me entirely lose hope on the show, in general. He knows and sees all, but only bothers to tell Sam about Jon/Aegon, and somehow didn’t know about Raegar’s secret wedding (WTF?). They even missed a chance to give Bran some sort of emotion – during Littlefinger’s sentencing, he could’ve spouted “I’m Lord of the Viel – harming me will bring chaos to the North,” with Bran responding “You forget, Lord Baelish: Chaos is a ladder.” Hammer that shit home. Anyway, if the show wraps up with some sort of Bran Goes Back in Time to Fix Things bullshit (a la Hodor), I’m going to lose my mind.
4. No shit the Wall was coming down.
“The Wall has stood for eons,” and all that crap – we all knew it was coming down. What especially irked me was that the Wall is supposed to harness magic to keep the AotD (Army of the Dead) North, right? How does chipping away at a coastal edge somehow remove the magic and let the whole undead army through? And why didn’t the people on the Wall have dragonglass-tipped arrows and at least start firing away when they had a chance? Did they not know that the army has been on their way since season 1?
5. They wasted their “N” on Jon’s butt.
Another trope of GoT is unnecessary nudity (hooray!). Aside from the fun of staring at boobs, I feel like the excess of nudity, sex, etc., added an element that made the show seem more Adult and less “fantasy” (read: “nerdy”). It had grittiness and was more realistic – characters were horny, bored, and clothes were apparently uncomfortable. As for our “N” scene, I’m not sure what Benioff/Weiss were going for with the Jon/Aegon reveal occurring simultaneously with the Jon/Dany sex/incest scene besides making every viewer squirm. I get it that Targaryens bang relatives, and that Dany just needs to get pregnant so that Cersei Baby vs. Dany Baby can be a spinoff (HBO ‘gon be throwing paper for decades), but the whole scene seemed like a “Next Time on…” clip from Below Deck: Westeros.
6. Did anything actually happen all season?
Besides 1) Dany reaching Westeros, and 2) Night King getting a pet dragon, did anything notable happen during the season? Almost all “major” characters are still alive and only slightly shifted around on the map, no progress has been made at all against the Night King/global warming, and I had to endure that godawful Ed Sheeran scene (my reflex response after “It’s a new one,” was “UGH – are you fucking kidding me?!?”). Obviously, the show needs to leave the cliffhanger for next season, but other than the Loot Train battle, I seriously feel like “so much”/”nothing” happened and most viewers will see this season as forgettable, in general.
7. What comes next?
We’ve got one season left for our heroes to 1) beat the Night King/end winter, and 2) decide who is in charge. There are theories everywhere, and we’ve got almost two years to discuss who will live and die/win and lose the Game, but the season will start and end in a blink, and I just hope I’m not writing “Did Game of Thrones (whole series) actually suck?” in 2019.
Also, listen to Oyster, Clams, and Cockles – I have no involvement it whatsoever, but it’s terrific.
Also, recycle – otherwise, the Night King/global warming wins..
Image via YouTube / HBO