A Review of Ice and Fire: Staff member Sam Shi reviews the final season of Game of Thrones

Sam Shi

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Ever since I watched the first episode of GOT (Game of Thrones) and binge-watched it for two weeks during finals, I have been a huge fan of the series, putting even the rigors of academics aside to enjoy a good old night of GOT and popcorn. Needless to say, the show has left me and millions of others more thoroughly entertained and excited than any other project of such scale.

Thus, it was certainly a rude awakening when I realized GOT would conclude in disappointment with its eighth and final season.

One of the biggest flaws to Season 8 is that it feels rushed. It would make sense that the final, most hyped up season would be the longest, but disappointingly, it’s the shortest. According to Bingeclock, it takes about six hours to watch all of Season 8, and an average of about ten hours for the other seasons. This choice would be excusable if the final season was good, but it’s clearly not. The reality is that it’s impossible to fit both the conflict with the Night King and the fight against Cersei into a single, shortened season, and have it not feel rushed or with important scenes cut out. Given that GOT is such a success, HBO could have easily poured more resources into lengthening the season, or perhaps adding more seasons as many other fans have suggested (which is likely not realistic). For example, the lack of time for plot development caused there to be no dialogue between characters providing closure to the massive Battle of Winterfell. It was just the battle happened, and then an abrupt cut to Cersei’s plot with nothing in between.

Another thing is that season 8 is simply sloppily written. I could go into detail every single unsatisfying, annoying plot choice that was made, but for the sake of time I’ll just focus on the most important one: the final ruler of the seven (six) kingdoms. It makes no sense for Bran to become the king because he is emotionless and devastatingly uninspiring (he was even named Bran the Broken, as if ridiculing the writers’ own choice to put him on the throne). Though I understand he might be fit for king because of his wisdom and objectiveness, Jon should have been crowned the king as it gives purpose to the revelation of Jon’s background as both a Targaryen and a Stark and thus the rightful ruler, but of course, that would be too satisfying for fans, so he is instead sent to the now obsolete Night’s Watch where he will stay for the rest of his sad days.

This is not to say that Season 8 was totally uninspiring and boring. Of course, the Battle of Winterfell was marvelous from a purely aesthetic lense. And I can never forget the brutal (and cheaply earned) shock value of King’s Landing being burned alive by Drogon. But it is undeniable that the overall legacy this season leaves is of a great show gone wrong.