Frankly, it wasn’t as bad as everybody made it out to be.
I am talking, of course, about the final season of Game of Thrones.
Don’t worry, whether you are hard-core fan, a casual watcher, a non-watcher or absolutely can’t stand everything GOT, this column is for you and that is a testament to just how far-reaching this show was. I can’t tell you how many times over the last couple of months, as I have been diligently avoiding spoilers by ignoring the media chatter, social and otherwise, that people have brought the show up in conversation, only to turn around and say, ‘oh, I’ve never watched it.’
Speaking of spoilers, this column contains them. So, if you haven’t watched Season 8 (and haven’t been scared off it by all the negative hype), you may want to clip this out (thank you people who still read the print edition) or bookmark it (thank you people who read the online edition) and read it later.
Also, don’t worry, this column is not going to be an exercise in over-the-top self-indulgence. Unlike Episode 3.
Honestly, there is no earthly reason for a 72-minute battle scene except to be able to claim that you made the longest battle scene in cinematic history.
I knew I would hate that episode because I am not a fan of battle scenes, unless they are short and serve the only purpose for which they should exist, to advance the plot. This particular one could have served that purpose in seven minutes.
I watched it anyway because, well, I am a fan of the show. I was invested in it to the tune of seven seasons, all of which I have watched more than once. It may very well be, Season 8 notwithstanding, the best serial—not entirely sure what to call these things in the modern age of multiple delivery platforms, but let’s go with TV show—ever.
For that reason alone, the ending was almost always guaranteed to be anticlimactic.
I am not what you would call a hard-core fan and perhaps that is why I wasn’t as disappointed as so many others.
Also, I am a hyper-critical consumer of narrative entertainment. Yes, one of those annoying people, but I think that gives me the advantage of a certain level of detachment even when I am really into something. Despite the high standard GOT had set for itself, going in I didn’t have a lot of expectations.
I’m not sure what other people were expecting, but in the end, I think events unfolded pretty much as they should have.
Westeros is saved from an existential threat, but immediately goes back to its petty ways.
Dany fulfills her destiny by becoming the mad queen, but still ends up breaking the wheel in the process.
Jon does the right thing, but doesn’t get to sit on the iron throne.
Cersei dies, but does not receive the justice she so richly deserves.
In that way, Game of Thrones is kind of like life. Good things happen to bad people. Bad things happen to good people. We achieve victories and endure disappointments.
Yes, the Season 8 writing was a bit forced in places. Yes, the producers made some questionable, perhaps inconsistent choices. Yes, overall, it was the worst of the eight.
Winter has come, and we are reminded that nothing lasts forever.
Life marches on, on its own terms.