Watching Game of Thrones for the past eight seasons has definitely been a journey filled with dragons, political moves and treachery. Until the most recent seasons, Game of Thrones has been a forerunner on the premium network HBO, drawing in millions of viewers each Sunday evening.
Game of Thrones was always known as having very complex writing and pragmatic series of events, if at times hard to swallow. It's not so much that fans 'built up expectations,' but rather there has been a noticeable drop in the overall quality of writing. The show has been known for killing off prominent characters in situations that mirror reality in order to further develop the storyline, character development, and move the overall plot of the show. George R.R Martin, the author of source material Fire & Ice, himself stated that his characters shouldn't be able to just escape such situations, so either kill them or don't put them there.
This is what I think makes Thrones so popular because it subverts the audience’s expectations and keeps them on their toes. The writers put the character in realistic situations, play on the audience's expectation that the hero always wins, then kill the hero in front of the audience and desecrate their legacy. It was one of Martin’s reasons for killing off characters constantly, for the purpose of good storytelling. Once the showrunners wrote beyond the books and ran out of source material, it followed basic TV Hollywood tropes rather than the Thrones that had broken the mold.
The writers didn’t understand the source material, so once they ran out of it they were left with their own ideas. It went from being a show about character driven choices, political backstabbing, betrayal, and power struggle to a Hollywood fairytale into everything but once the show once was.
It’s slipped because of the pacing of the past couple of seasons. The showrunners have rushed the pace of the show considerably the last few seasons because they feel they need to finish it, due to several factors and that’s the key difference. It feels like the writers got bored after season 6 and decided to shift their focus on cheap thrills and wrap up the show as quickly as possible for their own benefit.
The earlier seasons were once criticized for being too slow paced and meticulous. It almost seems as if it is a combination of lazy writing and that the writers are just condensing too much content in a short amount of time. The series could and should have easily been a ten-episode season. For example, Missandei was captured in an ambush, held hostage, negotiated for, and executed all in a matter of minutes in the same episode in order to move the plot. Daenerys follows the Mad Queen prophecy in the past couple of episodes, without insight on who her character is. Jaime, who has grown to follow his gut over his feelings for Cersei, has returned to King’s Landing in order to save his sister. All of these make no sense based on the plot that has been built for the past decade. It’s crazy when the audience looks at the past couple of seasons past at face value just how rushed it is.
But now I’m indifferent because nothing on the show makes sense anymore. It's a real shame that I spent a decade watching it, but I'll watch the finale this Sunday anyways because I've come too far.
Tune in on Sunday at 9pm to see what the finale has in store and tell us your opinions down below in the comments!