TV Review: Game of Thrones

By Maria Comerford, News Editor, Junior

So, who ends up on the Iron Throne? That’s a question people have been waiting to find out since April 17, 2011, when the HBO fantasy serial drama Game of Thrones, first captivated viewers. Inspired by George R. R. Martin’s book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, fans had to wait eight years to find out, and when the show finally came to an end, it concluded not with a blast of dragon’s breath, but with a whisper.

The final season of Game of Thrones faced great criticism from die-hard fans. As seasons seven and eight were not based on Martin’s novels, fans were highly critical of the writing, specifically in season eight. Condensing the season into only six episodes, many felt as though characters were being wiped off the screen without a proper farewell. The producers have been under constant fire for this, but a series as renowned as  Game of  Thrones would never find the perfect ending to satisfy all of its fans. It felt as if episodes four and five of season eight attempted to cram all of the drama and plot lines into two episodes; this backfired, making them extremely unpopular. A show famous for its well-developed story line should have made sure every conflict was thoroughly finished. Daenerys Targaryen’s shift to insanity served as the greatest example of this. Her destruction of King’s Landing came as a shock, a sharp departure in character development that was not foreshadowed. Then again, in a series that includes dragons, magic and assorted mayhem, perhaps one should expect no logic in the personality shift of one character.

Because Game of Thrones has achieved such enormous acclaim, the producers felt pressure to keep up the popularity, resulting in even more abrupt deaths and plot changes. The series finale, however, tied up all of the loose ends, and compensated for ridiculed episodes four and five.

Brandon Stark, a crippled boy who can see into the past as well as the present, seemed like the perfect candidate to sit upon the iron throne for producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, one that almost no one saw coming. Perhaps that’s because the new ruler of the seven kingdoms is unsuitable: he lacks “people skills.” How can someone who is no longer human understand the needs and wants of the people? So, while some are satisfied with his choice, it lacks the charismatic scope that seven previous seasons have led up to.

Additionally, in a series full of bloodshed and unexpected twists and turns, a dramatic ending, one where a protagonist would turn antagonist and wind up ruling all of Westeros, would have been more acceptable. The series finale was far different from any previous episode created, as was the season as a whole. Main characters who we expected to face their imminent deaths ended up in a place that was seemingly fit for their personality traits, which was a new and positive change. Jon Snow, for example, ended up back in the Night’s Watch, and Sansa Stark became Queen of the North. This peaceful end to a shockingly unforgiving storyline was reminiscent of the ending of The Hunger Games series — plaintive, hinting at a hopeful future, but a bit sad and lacking in excitement — a disappointing end to what had been a cultural phenomenon. Of course the ending also left open the possibility of a continuing story, so there may be more games yet to come for Game of Thrones.