4 reasons last episode of Game of Thrones did not meet expectations

HBO’s “Game Of Thrones” has become a smash hit with critics and fans over the past seven years.

The critically acclaimed drama was awarded 12 Emmys, more than any other show last season, and this year’s Season 7 premiere, “Dragonstone,” attracted10.1 million viewers, smashing all previous cable and streaming viewership records.

The series’ most recent season did not disappoint fans who were eagerly awaiting the show’s multiple plotlines to finally intersect.

Highlights included Lady Olenna’s death due to an alliance gone wrong, the loot train attack, featuring the full force of Daenerys’ dragons, and of course the infamous salvaging and resurrection of the ice dragon.

Fewer Episodes

After the season 6 finale in 2016, “Game Of Thrones” showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss informed Deadline that the show would only have 13 more episodes.

This meant that season 7 would only contain seven episodes, three fewer than every previous season.

The loss of episodes resulted in an expedited plot, with characters rushing to rejoin each other from the far reaches of Westeros, changing the show for the worse.

For example, this season sees Tyrion Lannister travelling from Dragonstone to King’s Landing.

This trip means a lot to Tyrion, as it is the first time he returns home since he murdered his father, yet we only spend a matter of minutes with Tyrion in King’s Landing.

Tyrion’s emotional return to his home would have been the perfect time to flesh out his dark side, which Vanity Fair points out has been missing from the past few seasons.

“After he’s killed Tywin, Shae, and escaped King’s Landing, Tyrion is a much darker figure. We haven’t really seen the same depths of bitterness in Peter Dinklage’s performance these past few seasons.”

No more surprises

“Game Of Thrones” became so popular because it refused to play by the rules of the standard television narrative.

Season 1 shocked viewers when it killed off characters we were sure would be around for the duration of the series and took surprising risks the audience did not see coming.

The problem with Season 7 was that the show’s unpredictability created high expectations and set us up to expect an ending that would follow the same unforeseeable structure, yet the events this season were very predictable.

While in previous seasons it seemed that any character, no matter how significant, could be killed at any minute, this season’s main characters were seemingly immortal as demonstrated by the episode “The Spoils of War,” where Jamie Lannister is saved from burning to death at the last minute, and by the episode “Beyond the Wall,” where Jon Snow evades almost certain death twice in the course of 15 minutes.

Fast travel

In previous seasons, “Game Of Thrones” characters could spend an entire season travelling from one location to another.

Jaime Lannister spends all of Season 3 travelling from the war torn north to his home of King’s Landing.

On this trip, he befriends an enemy, goes on a journey of self discovery and gets his hand chopped off in the process.

Here the show establishes that anything can happen when you venture out on the open road.

This season, however, when our heroes are trapped beyond the wall, Gendry sprints back to the wall – what seemed like more than a few miles – and is able to send a raven to Dragonstone.

That raven then flies across the entire continent, toward Daenerys, who then mounts an attack with her dragons across the continent all before our heroes even blink.

 

Not as original

When “Game Of Thrones” first began, it was not your typical fantasy story.

The series succeeded in subverting the fantasy genre and showing us the dark underbelly of this fantastical world.

The young charming prince is actually a tyrant and a sociopath, the noble king is killed because chose not to play dirty, and magic is not glamorous and mystifying, but involves animal sacrifices and murder.

On GOT, the knight who fights for the love of his queen is a story of incest.

This original take on the fantasy genre made us fall in love with the show, and has captivated millions of fans.

Yet, the show is now descending into the boring chasm of genre tropes it tried so hard to subvert.

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen are nothing more than morally righteous leaders preparing to save the world from a seemingly unbeatable evil force.

This a classic old fashioned tale of good versus evil, and while that is an exciting story, it’s one that we’ve seen time and time again.

 

by Daniel Kestenbaum

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