You probably think that the title of this article is either arrogant or just flat out untrue. Or maybe you're just curious to see if it's true. Either way, any opinion about this article is likely to be subjective. As with anything that has people critiquing its quality, there will be a large amount of subjectivity in any review. Some people will love it, some people won't, but the key is to get more people to enjoy it than hate it. Seems simple enough.
But In this final season of Game of Thrones, the reviews have been pretty split, which is in stark contrast to every previous season before this one. Now, I came into the GOT universe late, really late, like late 2017 late, and I loved it. I realized that binge-watching changes the experience slightly, but that's nothing new with shows these days. I still loved it. This season was different of course, I watched it weekly like everyone else. But I was still pretty satisfied with the series. Despite all the complaints, I personally enjoyed it. I've defended it online against vocal friends and less vocal associates. I've always maintained that with ANY series, there will always be people unhappy with the final product. People will often mix their expectations with their desires, and if those don't happen, you can end up with a very conflicted fanbase.
Now, before you go on a rage fest thinking that I'm dismissing every valid criticism of the show, calm down, I'm not. I do believe that the petition to reshoot the series is ridiculous as with the cries about Dany being ruined or whatever. Look, I loved Dany, she was my favorite character, but if you didn't see even a hint of her becoming female Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan with dragons, you just weren't paying close enough attention. Dany isn't the only character that people have complained about, there have been plenty about Tyrion, Cersei, Jamie, and others. Hell, don't get me started about the Night King and the complaints that followed the end of that storyline. Basically, you can look for criticism, and it's there. But again, overall, I still loved the show, but some things are definitely different this season.
I could go on about what I liked or didn't like about this season, but everyone else does that, so I'll try to meet somewhere in the middle and describe what was different, you can determine whether it's good or bad, I'll just try to paint a picture of the differences I noticed.
This seems like the most obvious and is probably the biggest issue. Even people who enjoyed the season are pointing to this as a sticking point. People wanted 10 episodes instead of 6. That's fair. When you consider that it seemed like scenes were stretched out, and dragged along, seemingly to fill time. Think of Tyrion's long walk dramatic walk after the destruction of King's Landing when you assume that he's going to find Dany but instead goes to look for his brother and sister. This isn't wrong, it makes sense, and it should happen, but it just seems so long and drawn out, especially the walk. The need to build up the drama of the scene and have a firsthand look at the damage caused by Dany and the dragon is necessary. It adds weight to the inevitable confrontation between the parties. But it all seemed like it just lasted a little too long and then his encounter with her lacked the emotional response for someone who had just witnessed the destruction of his home and saw the bodies of his brother and sister. But people act how they act, so who am I to say how he should've responded? But it's mostly the pacing. This season is riddled with examples of long drawn out moments that designed to build the drama but ultimately take time away from the political intrigue, scheming, and backstabbing that we've come to love. Sure, we got some of that, but we also got a little bit of filler.
Another example is Dany's furious burning of innocents. It was a good idea to have everything happen from the perspective of the victims on the street, we got a good sense of the terror and the unpredictability of the destruction. But did it have to take place as long as it did? Perhaps we could have gotten some verbalized expression from the other significant characters in the show as it was happening. I honestly don't know what else would've been right to fill that time if the scene had been shortened, and I HATE playing Monday morning quarterback on TV shows. Fans everywhere rip things and act as if they could do better and talk about what SHOULD have happened. I don't want to do that, I just want to point out that many scenes and events took up so much time, it was a departure from some of the previous seasons. Of course, there's Dany's arc. Although it's clear that Dany is getting more and more ruthless if you watch the past seasons, this season would've benefited from more time with her descent into the power-hungry mad queen.
Building up the drama
In between these final episodes, I've been going back and watching the entire thing over, one thing is clear, GOT has previously done a fantastic job of building setting the scene and creating the drama for some surprising and amazing moments. They knew how to end an episode at just the right movement, and a critical aspect of this has been the music. The score for GOT has always been tremendous and has thematically matched the significant events perfectly. But some of that seemed to be missing this season. There were no big cliffhanger moments to end the episodes, no significant moments that made you wonder what was coming next. The music just wasn't applied in the same way. It was still good, but it only wasn't used like it was previously and that can impact the sense of drama the viewer experiences.
The Extensive Political Maneuvering
I mentioned this earlier, but the reality is many of the characters involved in the politics were just gone. But then many of them weren't and were only too concerned with other things…like the White Walkers and war. But Cersei didn't do much of anything in her last moments, maybe there just wasn't much for her, but that could be one reason that people are disappointed with her arc. Most of the politics we got centered around Dany's fear of losing everything to Jon's secret and then others trying to push Jon to the throne. Sansa deliberately snitching to Tyrion and causing chaos was a big thing, but it's almost all we got from a show that's usually filled with political plotting and back moves. But again, the circumstances were different as this season had two battles with everything on the line.
Arguably, the other most prominent complaint is writing. The writers don't have the books as a guidepost anymore. Honestly, they haven't for a while. This isn't the first season they didn't have the books as a guide, and supposedly they have his outline, and he's still a consultant. But along with the pacing, there does seem to be something different about the writing. The characters, in my opinion, are consistent for the most part but it lacks some of the classic dialogue and lines that make you go "damn, that was dope" or "the writing on this show is so good."
GOT will go down as one of the greatest shows of all time regardless of this season. But on the internet, everything grows once a seed has been planted; valid criticism become full-on hate campaigns, and they take on a life of its own, and it becomes to cool to hate something whether it's valid or not. Good or bad this season is absolutely different in major and minor ways, and people don't like change. Change will continue to divide people until the end of time.
One thing that I believe everyone can agree on is the memes from this season…are golden, and when they stop, you will have witnessed the real tragedy in all of this.