Warning: Contains Spoilers
For months, Game of Thrones fans looked forward to the final season, speculating about where the story would go, and who would end up on the Iron Throne. Everyone had their own ideas; as did the show’s writers. But just because the plot wasn’t how you imagined it doesn’t mean the final series was bad.
Of course, it’s natural for us to take guesses at the plot of a TV series or film. We’ll often share our thoughts with whoever we’re watching with, and there are countless internet threads dedicated to taking tiny details of story lines and following them to every possible conclusion.
But you have to admit, correctly guessing a plot doesn’t say much for the show’s writers. If fans can predict the outcome, then it’s too easy. A show should surprise viewers by giving us the unexpected, and most of the time big twists are met with awe from fans.
So why are Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss coming under fire for not giving viewers the story they wanted?
The final season began airing in April, and came to an end this weekend (May 19). But even before the series was over, viewers were petitioning for it to get rewritten ‘with competent writers’. At the time of writing (May 20), over 1.1 million people have signed.
However, what those who have signed don’t appear to have considered is that you can’t please everybody. One person’s idea of ‘competent writing’ won’t be the same as another’s, so even if the show was rewritten, some people would still be left disappointed.
Some fans wanted to see more major deaths at the Battle of Winterfell, others called for Sansa to be the Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, and many hoped Daenerys would rein in Drogon as soon as the bell started ringing at King’s Landing.
But some, believe it or not, were happy with the outcome:
Real talk, I wanna have a discussion, am I crazy to be happy that Dany burned all of Kings Landing?
I was basically begging for her to do it. AND I don't think she should be be punished for it. She is the ONLY choice for the throne in my eyes #GameOfThrones #DanaerysTargaryen
— Aleksei Isay Barrera (@iasyy) May 14, 2019
After seeing these petitions regarding the final season of #GameofThrones I feel like I’m the only one that’s actually enjoying it and pretty statisfied with what we got so far. pic.twitter.com/WhgGoqlCkD
— Andries Claes (@AndriesClaes) May 16, 2019
I am actually enjoying the #GameofThrones season. I guess I'm not so hung up on what it could be that I can't appreciate what it is. Anyway there is so much going wrong in the real world for me to complain about someone telling a story.
— Evil Dallas (@evil_dallas) May 17, 2019
All hail Bran the Broken,
First of his name,
King of the Andals and the First Men,
Lord of the Six Kindoms and Protector of the Realm.
— Emerald 💋 (@yourgirlishere_) May 20, 2019
I’m not saying you can’t be disappointed with the way the show panned out, but it’s unfair to take it out on the show’s creators – because the fact of the matter is, the final six episodes of Game of Thrones were great television.
There were twists and epic moments, like when Arya took out the Night King once and for all, or when Jon plunged a knife into his Queen’s stomach, as well as romance, fights, devastation, conflict, and emotion – not to mention the incredible cinematography.
It had all the qualities of a brilliant show, and this is clear to me because – drum roll – the final season of Game of Thrones is all I’ve seen of the series.
I know that’s essentially a crime for the hardcore fans out there, but as a new viewer I wasn’t distracted by expectations derived from the previous seasons, and I was able to appreciate the show for what it offered in the final season.
I admit, I can’t say much for character arcs or longtime themes, but the first episode of season eight reeled me in, and I was hooked from then, because every week I got some great TV.
Along with many fans, George R. R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire books which the HBO series is based on, admitted he wasn’t happy with the way the show turned out, and wished there were more seasons in which to tell his version of the story.
The author said in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes:
The series has been… not completely faithful. Otherwise, it would have to run another five seasons.
But at the end of the day, Martin hasn’t yet finished his book series, and five more seasons would be a big commitment for the creators and actors who have already put eight years of their lives into the project.
So when the Game of Thrones creators decided to bring the show to a close, they had to do it in their own way, and although some have argued the final season felt rushed, it’s clear the writers were trying to go out with a bang by offering lengthy instalments which they considered to be epic.
The final series might feel different to others because it hadn’t been guided with the intricacies of Martin’s writing, but the writers had to do what they could to bring it to an end.
Like with any book-to-film adaptation, there isn’t time to include every single detail, and even if season eight had been a few episodes longer, it certainly wouldn’t have been enough to pack in everything Martin had wanted in his ending.
The creation of Game of Thrones season eight was the screenwriters’ vision coming to life, and as important as viewers are to a show, what the creators say, goes. Unless you’re watching Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch, fans can’t choose how TV shows pan out – that’s just not how it works.
Jacob Anderson, aka Grey Worm, reiterated that point as he spoke about the petition, pointing out that those involved in the making of the show had given it their all:
I think it’s rude.
Obviously, the show feels to people like it belongs to them. That’s really good – I think it’s really important when people take something into their heart and it means something to them.
However, it doesn’t. I just mean that in the sense that I was there and the crew, in particular, are like the hardest working people I’ve ever met. I think to trivialise their work in that way – I find it quite sad.
Actor Lili Reinhart also argued against the petition, and likened the show to a painting. It might not be to everyone’s taste, even if they were previously a fan of the artist, but that’s not to say it’s a bad piece of work. As a first time viewer and new fan I can confidently say that Benioff and Weiss did a great job in creating their TV show.
— Adam Waltz (@Adam_Waltz) May 18, 2019
From just watching the final season, I’ve been inspired to go and watch the show from the beginning. Yes, afterwards I might agree that season eight was the weakest of the series, but it would still be the one that got me interested in the show, which is definitely a sign of success for the final episodes.
Demanding a rewrite is just plain ridiculous. Even if the petition was a success, I’m sure the majority of the one million-plus people that signed would still find something they disliked about the plot.
The final six episodes of Game of Thrones had all the elements of a great TV show; there’s no denying it. It’s all well and good speculating about a show, but you can’t then be disappointed when the writers don’t cater to your exact wishes. That’s what fan fiction is for.
The watch is over for Game of Thrones fans, and it would be a shame to let unexpected story lines bring the journey to a sour end. Just accept that it was great TV, and appreciate the show for everything it’s given fans over the past eight years.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.