“You must put these dreams aside, they will only break your heart.”
-George RR Martin: A Game of Thrones (Song of Ice and Fire, Book I)
Let’s be real, the only certainty in Game of Thrones is uncertainty. The series has been slowly crushing our souls since Season 1 when our beloved Ned Stark lost his head, through the Red Wedding, ending with this most recent massacre during The Bells where our beloved Queen has finally gone mad. I have personally had to purchase two new television sets for unceremoniously throwing objects at the horrible injustices that have made up one of the most incredible if not the best series ever produced on television.
While fans argue that Season 8 is the worst ever, with plotlines abruptly ending and character arcs taking wild 180-degree spins, the truth is far more terrifying. This is exactly how it was all supposed to go. These storylines have been set up for the last eight years with foreshadowing clearly evident in many episodes of previous seasons. So why are fans so terribly upset?
In order to fully satisfy the tone and pace which the audience has become accustomed to, a few things needed to happen:
- An entire season was needed to properly set up for the Battle of Winterfell. For years it has been beaten into our minds that “winter is coming,” and in a matter of three episodes, it was all over. While it takes nothing away from the amazing ending of Episode 3, the quickness of the episodes resulted in a feeling of strange plot twists or seemingly uncharacteristic behaviors, even though it wasn’t. Had there been a season dedicated to this journey, it might have left fans with a lasting epic surge of joy in their desirous bellies when Arya Stark plunged Valerian Steel into the Night Kings gut having watched 10 juicy episodes to get us there. Then having to wait an entire year to see what happens next would have been the
pièce de résistance for those who live and breathe the world of Westeros.
- We also needed a final season just for taking the Red Keep. Perhaps this imagined season could have been shorter but least 8 episodes would have been necessary to set up an epic showdown between two very powerful women both equipped with fierce armies, and murderous inner demons urging them forward to covet the most desirous seat in all the realm. Watching them both plot and plan to destroy one another would have left fans salivating for the final showdown.
- We had heard so much about the Golden Company “the largest and most skilled sellsword in the free cities, whose word was as good as gold,” and yet we didn’t really get to see them as being a superior army that could quite possibly take down the Unsullied and what was left of the Dothraki. As a matter of fact, we watched Drogon turn them into backyard BBQ without even so much a sword drawn (which was very cool) but again a bit of a letdown. With more time to allow for expanding the plotlines of the story, we could have had a satisfying ending that even if we didn’t agree with, at least we could understand.
- The deaths of Cersei and Jamie Lannister while they were certainly dying in each other’s arms (a very bookending way to finish them off considering how they’d come into the world) for fans who have wanted to kill Cersei since Season 1, it felt like a bit of a letdown. A face-off with Dany, or Arya or even Sansa whom she tortured mercilessly would have been mighty fun to watch, even if it didn’t exactly end in her demise. With a whole season devoted to completing character arcs and setting us up in the gradual, nail-biting way we have become accustomed to with GOT, many fans might have been understanding when faced with Dany’s trauma-induced personality twist. The writers could have eased us into embracing her dark side as we came to understand that even the kindest of hearts can turn cruel when besieged by inconsolable loss.
- Jon Snow has suddenly become more passive than active which is a little disconcerting considering his rise from bastard to king. Had we had more time, there might have been some smaller battles setting us up for him to reign victorious demonstrating once again why he should rule the seven kingdoms. Yes, he has bent the knee to his Queen however he is still technically dead, the best warrior that ever lived, oh yes and true heir to the Iron Throne, which if it’s not melted to scrap metal is still up for grabs. So when are we going to see some epic shit coming from him? I still have hope for the finale.
Is there an alternate ending out there that the writers DB Weiss and David Benioff failed to execute properly? Only George RR Martin knows for sure, but my guess is no. They’ve stayed on course with this version of the story (which does have its differences from the book) and while we hate to see Dany on Drogon burning women and children, we can’t really say it wasn’t in her. Dany was surrounded by some of the best thinkers and warriors whose sound advice kept her undesirable genetics at bay for most of her journey. However, even they could not stop her from burning the Tarlys for not bending the knee, a sweet subtle hint at the massacre that was yet to come, and now that the majority of them are dead or have betrayed her, it would seem our queen might be f**ked.
To answer the questions as to why fans are upset is something as simple as a matter of time. Time is a mystery but timing is everything. Without the proper time to set things in motion for our beloved characters final battles, and ultimate fates fans feel as though they were somehow cheated. It was as if the writers hit fast forward and jumped through time portals to get to the grand finale without doing the work of getting us there. It’s not that they suck, they’re great at what they do, it’s just that in moving on from this series, they inadvertently left the fans in the dust.
So as Sunday approaches, I as I am assuming all of you, are wondering what will become of our dear friends of Westeros. Some things we can predict, some we certainly cannot and while hearts are breaking everywhere over the horrible realization that our two star-crossed lovers might not live together in perfect co-existence ruling Westeros with a kind and peaceful hand for all of eternity, we must consider this:
Disney movies end with the happily ever after lie, while in a Game of Thrones, you either win or you die.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Angelique Letizia is a writer, director and producer living and loving all things television and cinema. She is the mother of one baby dragon.