It’s been three days since the finale of the world’s most popular (and most pirated) show, the epic fantasy Game of Thrones, and people are still talking about it. And not everyone has pleasant things to say about the “The Iron Throne.” Actually what was a pretty united fanbase has been slashed down the middle with a Valyrian steel sword regarding the quality of the finale and Season 8 as a whole.
So Redmangoreviews has decided to throw its crown into the ring and give you not one, not two, but three reviews of season eight and the finale. With a Drogon-sized SPOILER ALERT let’s get to it:
Julien Neaves, Editor
You ever had a major final paper to do and you wait until the very last minute to do it? Well GoT Season 8 felt just like a sloppy and rushed final paper. Now after a wasted premiere episode that felt like “previously on Game of Thrones” things looked up with “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.” Then we had the much anticipated “The Long Knight” which delivered more B-horror than big battle and was just a way to kill off a bunch of characters and clumsily wrap up the Night King story line WHICH HAD BEEN BUILDING FROM SEASON ONE, EPISODE ONE! Sorry for the caps but I am still very, very sore about it. By the time Arya offed the Night King in two seconds and all the wights and useless White Walkers went all Phantom Menace my years of emotional investment blew into the wind along with them. But the showrunners were not done yet!
The penultimate episode “The Bells” has to be biggest affront this season. After capturing King’s Landing Dany decides to go all mass murderer in a mad rush to mad queen faster than you can say Usain Bolt. Lena Headey’s Cersei (one of the show’s best characters and best all-time TV villains) was wasted all season and in this episode she is boringly killed via falling bricks along with her brother Jaime, who showed in the end he was really “the stupidest Lannister.” And then Arya ran around with a bunch of people dying and found a horse for no particular reason. The episode was so bad the cool Clegane-bowl, stunning visuals and haunting music could not save it.
By the time I had emotionally trudged my way to the finale I felt like I was in a loveless marriage, just going through the motions. But surely D&D would redeem themselves with an amazing finale? Right? Nope. After Dany’s inexplicable turn to villainy, a cool shot with dragon wings and a rousing speech she gets killed in the first 15 minutes by Jon, which EVERYONE saw coming. And then the rest of the episode is a drawn-out epilogue.
Everybody line up! Arya, you like to travel. Why you don’t become a killer Dora the Explorer. Bran, you know all our stories but have zero leadership experience or people skills. Let’s make you king! Tyrion, you were a Hand, so become a Hand again. Unsullied (who have no penises but multiply like rabbits) and Dothraki (the most unruly warriors ever) you all forget about avenging your beloved queen and go ship off and hope Jon Snow stays in the now defunct Night’s Watch and never returns or has children. And Jon, forget about Azure High or whatever and being the rightful heir to the throne and go back to where you started, a wandering bastard in the snow.
Other than Ghost finally getting petted and Sansa becoming Queen of the North the entire finale was a wash for me. It was so incongruously neat, bright and upbeat I half expected the Stark children to jump and do a freeze frame at the end and then have the theme song start playing. Thanks a lot D&D. I used to tell some of the one per cent of people in the world who have never seen GoT that it is one of the best TV shows of all time. After Season 8 and that finale I can no longer in good conscience say that. Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Finale Rating: 2 out of 5 (not been this disappointed since Lost’s finale).
Sommerleigh Pollonais, Senior Writer
The lesson to take away from Game of Thrones Season 8 is, if HBO offers you ten episodes to finish your story, don’t say you can do it in six. While it’s not a total loss, with strong episodes like “Winterfell” and “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” two strong stories out of six is not the way you want to go out especially when you’re talking about a saga as epic, as loved, as internationally-known as Game of Thrones.
Two other well-known shows closed their doors around the same time as GoT: The Big Bang Theory and Arrow. And with a much smaller budget and cast, they both delivered heart felt, satisfying endings to their fans. With its finale, “The Iron Throne,” all the creators of arguably HBO’s most watched show of all time managed to do was leave their fans divided and disenchanted. One could argue they had this planned all along, but all I can say is, let’s be glad the Song of Ice and Fire is yet to be sung in the pages of George R.R. Martin’s books. In them, we may find the satisfaction we were robbed of, in this sad send-off of a finale.
Finale Rating: 2.5/5. Points for visuals, editing, costume design (LOVED the costumes) and the score and Queen Sansa. -2.5 for everything else.
Matthew Bailey, Guest Writer
Personally, I won’t call myself the biggest fan of HBO’s fantasy drama “Game of Thrones” but like millions the world over, I invested years of my life into the violent and treacherous power struggles between Houses Targaryen, Lannister, Greyjoy, Arryn, Baratheon, Tyrell, Tully and of course, Stark. However, after the airing of Season 8’s third episode (“The Long Night”) which I enjoyed mostly for its epic scope and tense battle sequences, fans vehemently expressed their dissatisfaction with its climax. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) didn’t fulfill his destiny by killing the villainous Night King? Why did Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) deliver the final blow and not her brother Jon? From there (some fans say long before “The Long Night”), things went downhill.
And yet for some strange reason, I didn’t feel anger or absolute disappointment (some, yes, but not absolute) with regards to the creative decisions made by writer/directors David Benoiff and D.B. Weiss. Even after the airing of the season’s penultimate episode “The Bells,” which left viewers furious over Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) “sudden” decision to incinerate the citizens of King’s Landing with her dragon, I wasn’t pissed. Why, you may ask? Because I was hoping the series finale would at least wrap this admittedly sloppy and uneven season neatly enough for me to feel satisfied. Did “The Iron Throne” succeed in doing so?
Well, yes and no. Yes, in the sense that it was clear since Season 6 (some say earlier) this TV adaptation of author George R.R. Martin’s still-unfinished source material was following its own narrative path. Clearly, Benoiff and Weiss tried to please die-hard fans of the show and stay true to Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series of novels (referenced in a “Ha ha! See?! We do remember the books” moment in the finale). That being said, I felt “The Iron Throne” wrapped up GoT’s made-for-TV narrative in a neat-enough, albeit formulaic by series finale standards, fashion. And no, in the sense that even in its alternate timeline, there were questionable elements that may have played out as “closure” in Benoiff and Weiss’ minds, but thematically made little to no sense.
Why send Jon Snow, who was destined to be king since Season 7 (some say earlier), back to the Night’s Watch? Why pick Bran, the person with the least “kingly material” in House Stark, to rule the Six Kingdoms? And what was with the unanimous decision to have the Three-Eyed Raven be King? Was Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) THAT good of an influencer? Imagine if he used his power of persuasion to get Jon on the throne. SIGH
Unfortunately, Game of Thrones is yet another example of what happens when TV programme creators lose sight of their narrative and thematic endpoints and wind up figuring things out on the way towards the series finale. Don’t get me wrong. There’s much in GoT for me to marvel at, enjoy, and dare I say, compel me to buy the complete series on Blu-Ray at some point in my life. However, thinking about the ridiculously short, six-episode run-time of its final season, along with its quick and improperly thought-out twists and turns, unnecessarily rushed character arcs and unrewarding outcomes, may make me reconsider clicking the “Add to Cart” button on Amazon’s website.
For me, Season 8 wasn’t the godawful, smash your plasma TV to pieces, fan-betraying experience many people consider it as, but far from the well-deserved culmination of eight years of ground-breaking television it could’ve been. I’m currently indifferent to Season 8, and perhaps after watching ten more YouTube videos about how much of a failure this season was, I may lean a bit slightly towards hating it.
Finale Rating: A strong 2.5 out of 5 stars (“See it if you have to”).
So that’s our thoughts. Feel free to post your own in the comments and feel free to disagree with us. Our backs are very broad. And here is where you can find the contributors to this article:
* Julien Neaves (Me) can also be found at Movieville on Facebook
For Julien Neaves’ article on In Defense of Rape Scenes: My Two Cents on Westworld and Game of Thrones Controversy you can click here.