For those yet to see the finish I’ll avoid any spoilers. One of the most epic television shows in history came to an abrupt end Sunday night as HBO’s adaptation of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ book series finished its eight season run in a seemingly anticlimactic finish.
The last episodes were for the most part filled with high production value epic battles and such, but the measured pace that made the first seven seasons among the best television has ever produced, was totally absent in season 8. This final six episode run seemed rushed and forced. It felt like it was a bit of hurry up and end already. That seems a shame since they spent a reported $15 million per episode to finish the series out and that is a tremendous amount of money for TV episodes even for HBO. That works out to $90 million for the final lot of them. I think ten episodes at $9-10 million each would have been better.
Game of Thrones spent 7 seasons paying attention to the fine details in the sets, the characters, and the story. They went to painstaking effort to develop the characters with a depth rarely seen in movies or TV. We know these characters, we empathize with them, we hate them if need be, they are as real as a fictional character can be. And yet in the final hours of the show they just gave up on meaningful development.
Many fans are screaming for the producer’s head over the way things ended, but honestly, I am NOT among them. The final two books have not been written yet. HBO has improvised the story since they ran past the novels in Season 5. Sure they could have ended it differently with different characters in different situations, but they had to choose a path and end game for all the characters and I felt like they did a great job at that part. I don’t think too many fans saw this end coming for some of the characters. There was some irony, some shock, some predictable outcomes, and a few legitimate twists and surprises. So how they ran the characters to their close is fine by me, and if you think about it, the door is open for more Game of Thrones later. It wasn’t a Shakespearean end, well for some of the characters at least 😉
Where they failed in my opinion is pushing the story too fast. This is something they managed NOT to do for 7 brilliant seasons. What happened? Why the ‘rush’ to close it out. Why now did they decide to abandon the excellent measured story telling and deep emotional, and personal character development?
To be fair, this was not a terrible season, but it definitely was not as good as most, if not all of the others. I felt like most of the episodes fell a little flat. I like the 3rd episode and how they handled the Knight King. I am disappointed that they used three episodes to tell a story that needed at least five. I really didn’t mind most of conclusions for the primary characters. It just seems like the whole thing ran out of gas at the finish and they coasted it across the line. That is quite possibly why so many fans are irate.