For Millennials. By Millennials.
Game of Thrones season 8 has been termed as a trainwreck by many of its viewers. The final season ended the show on a pretty bad note, which has tarnished the legacy of arguably the most famous TV show of all time. But, Game of Thrones showrunners and writers are insisting that they didn’t do as bad a job as many believe they did. They’re now making excuses for their bad writing for the final season in James Hibberd’s new book, Fire Cannot Kill A Dragon.
Game of Thrones showrunners try to justify their bad writing
There were a lot of plot holes and incomplete character arcs, especially in Game of Thrones season 8 and 7. But, there were three that the showrunners tried to make excuses about. They were namely Little Finger Petyr Baelish, the Mad Queen Daenerys Targaryen, and Bran Stark.
In the case of Bran, the excuse that the Game of Thrones showrunners made was that because the Night King invaded the cave in the midst of his training sessions, he couldn’t utilize the knowledge given to him by the Three-Eyed Raven. The parallel they drew was with Luke Skywalker from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, where he couldn’t finish his training.
That said, Bran was still massively underutilized in the final seasons. For instance, the entire time travel plot with Hodor had no use except for how Hodor got his name. Even with Luke’s lack of training, his skills were the pivotal reason why he was able to beat the Emperor. However, there is hope for book readers who have read the A Song of Ice and Fire series. That is that George R.R. Martin has said that this entire subplot will be different in the books.
Petyr Baelish “Littlefinger”
The other character the Game of Thrones showrunners touched on was Littlefinger and how he got done by the Stark Children. They termed it as poetic justice since Littlefinger played such an important role in the killing of Ned Stark and he got outwitted by his very children.
The problem with that argument is that Arya and Sansa did not outsmart Petyr Baelish at any point. They were only able to apprehend him because of their literally omnipotent brother, Bran, and how he handed him over to them on a silver platter. And only we as viewers know that he’s omnipotent. To Arya and Sansa, he’s just a cripple who talks weirdly on his chair. And they took him for his word. That was literally how the showrunners disposed of Littlefinger and in hindsight, it doesn’t look well written at all.
The last bit of writing that the Game of Thrones showrunners tried to defend was of Dany. They found it particularly odd about how the audience perceived the way Dany dished out punishments to her foes. About the scene where Randal Tarly was burnt alive along with his son, writer Bryan Cogman had this to say:
In our minds, we thought the Randal Tarly scene was disturbing. Then I watched it with a crowd of people at a friend’s house and they were cheering. Weirdly, the audience just didn’t care, they loved Dany.
What Cogman and other showrunners and writers miss out about this point is that they literally used music to tell the audience who to root for. They always used optimistic and glorious music as background for Dany was burning people alive, apart from the final burning of King’s Landing. That’s just disingenuous of the writers to shift the blame on the audience rather than their own doing.
Unfortunately, it is too late to make these excuses. The biggest show in human history had an ending that was “rushed” and there’s no denying it. All we can do is hope that HBO rectifies their mistake with House of the Dragon. And of course, that George R.R. Martin gives us closure with The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.