Tonight marks the series finale for Game of Thrones … but did it really have to be that way?
Even though eight seasons is a long time for a primetime series to run, what’s so interesting is that in some ways, entering this season the demand for more had never been higher. Maybe that’s a little bit different now after a polarizing past couple of episodes, but this is a show that had done an exceptional job of finding a way for its viewership to stay thirsty for more, even if it’s been on the air since April 2011. How has it done that? For starters, by keeping some of its seasons so short leaving everyone wanting more — and beyond that, having so much time between them. The largest Game of Thrones season had ten episodes, and the final season is airing a good year and a half after the last season did.
The truth of the matter is that Game of Thrones probably could’ve used a ninth season, or at least longer versions of seasons seven and eight. It’s not so much to extend the story beyond where we are in the finale, but instead to just draw out some of the stories leading up to it so things don’t feel so rushed. One of the biggest complaints that is out there with the final seasons of the show is one of pace — that things are moving along far too quickly and they really didn’t need to do that. More episodes would have actually allowed more time to build up to some of these battles, and maybe also given us more of a sense of the larger world. Remember when there were several parts of Westeros visited in a single season? It’s basically all just Winterfell and King’s Landing now, without there being anywhere else really being touched on that much.
Of course, there’s another, more specific benefit that further episodes could’ve provided: More time to actually set up the show’s most controversial twist in Daenerys effectively burning most of King’s Landing to the ground right after she won the battle and was finally going to get everything she had been working towards. Her motivations for doing so, especially after the bell was rung and the battle was over, certainly remains confusing. This was at one time a person who was about liberation from evil and trying to be a good ruler. We understand she hated Cersei and wanted to ensure she took back what was once her family’s, but why kill so many innocents when you didn’t have to? Why not give yourself a chance to prove you are a better ruler? why not just fly over to the red keep and burn Cersei? If the show was going to go this route with her, we simply needed more time and further examples that she wasn’t connected with people on this side of the sea — an awkward celebration scene in Winterfell is not enough.
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We know that at one point, George R.R. Martin did feel like the show could have lasted for more seasons, and HBO probably was more than open to it. The decision to conclude Game of Thrones is likely just one that stems from executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss having a very specific place that they wanted to end the story. Doing this show is insanely hard work with long hours, incredible battles, and immense stress. The fact that there is an enormous petition out there asking for a season 8 re-do is effectively proof of the expectations that are out there and how demanding working on this series can really be. It’s a lot that any one person has to take on. We understanding ending it on the basis of that, though of course we do still wish there was more of the story to share.
What we will have moving forward…
A spin-off! Or, to be more specific, a prequel series. There are many in development, with one that could premiere either next year or in 2021. It’s too early for firm details, but one rumor suggests that this show could explore more of the origins of the White Walkers.
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