Now that season 7 is done and dusted, we’re facing a long wait till Game of Thrones season 8. Various reports suggest that the final season of the high fantasy drama won’t air till 2019 – which hopefully means the showrunners have enough time to fix all the problems that surfaced in season 7.
We at Geek Crusade have been GOT fans from the very beginning of the series, and have read all the books (are you done with the “Winds of Winter” yet, George?). Which is why the penultimate season frustrated us so, and why we feel qualified to suggest the following to showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
1Fix the bad writing
Here’s a theory Hand of the Geek Gillian Ang proposed that we can all get behind: now that the TV series has exceeded the books, the showrunners can no longer look to George R. R. Martin’s writing for guidance. The nuanced characterisation, the stunning plot developments, the beautiful turns of phrase, the tantalising teases of much more to come – that all disappeared in season 7.
Exhibit A: the inexplicable deterioration of Tyrion Lannister and Littlefinger from the two most strategic minds in Westeros into two of the most stupid.
Exhibit B: Jon Snow coming up with the worst heist idea EVER, not to mention the ridiculous notion that we could count on Cersei’s rationality.
Exhibit C: Arya and Sansa going all Bad Blood on each other for NO DAMN GOOD REASON. The only thing missing was Taylor Swift playing in the background.
I could go on and on, but I don’t have seven seasons. While Martin has told Weiss and Benioff the final ending of “A Song of Ice and Fire”, we don’t know if he has shared his as-yet incomplete “Winds of Winter” manuscript with them. It certainly wouldn’t hurt, we reckon.
2Fix the pacing
One recurring comment about season 7 is that everything feels so RUSHED. The slow burn, patient (sometimes infuriating) build up of previous seasons always had a payoff that was worth waiting for. Perhaps this has to do with the shortened length of the final two seasons, with the producers having several episodes to tell the story.
The result is that ships in Westeros are apparently now nuclear-powered, allowing Jon Snow to travel miles and miles in a jiffy. The Unsullied evidently also rode the dragons from Dragonstone to Casterly Rock, given how quickly they got there (fun trivia question: how many people can a dragon carry?)
Conversely, Sam takes multiple episodes to travel from Old Town to Winterfell. This means that the pacing is wildly uneven, and liable to give viewers whiplash. This badly needs rectifying.
3No more contrived plot devices
Here’s a fancy term all you literature students will recognise: deus ex machina. It’s a plot device from Greek tragedy, where playwrights would write themselves into a corner, and then literally use a god to come into the story and save the day. I’m looking at you, Viserion and turbo-powered raven, and Bran the Three-Eyed Raven (who clearly doesn’t know everything).
The beauty of Martin’s writing in the GOT books was that he never went for the predictable or the easy solutions. This resulted in beautiful/horrific moments like the Red Wedding and the deaths of key characters such as Ned Stark and Renly Baratheon. You literally never saw it coming.
But in season 7, contrived developments were as obvious as a dragon setting an ice wall on fire. Sansa turning on Littefinger? Cersei failing to keep her word? The Battle Beyond the Wall? It’s never a good sign when your audience can predict the next moves of a series that has always kept us guessing.
4Stop the fan service
Sometimes, giving the fans what they want is the worst possible idea. After the coupling of auntie/nephew (let that sink in again) Daenerys and Jon, we now live in fear that the showrunners will start shipping couples just for the hell of it. What next? Tormund and Brienne? Or maybe Brienne and Jaime? #shudder
It wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been a proper build up to their relationship, but the chemistry-free Jon and Dany are one of the worst things about season 7. Not to mention cringeworthy moments like Littlefinger begging for mercy, or Davos’ “still rowing” quip to Gendry.
I swear by the old gods and the new: if we go into Game of Thrones season 8 and Jon is happily calling Daenerys ‘Dany’, I’m going to set something on fire. Like maybe my GOT DVDs and books.
5Give us a good ending
Admittedly, there were some wonderful spectacles in season 7, from the Loot Train sequence to the Suicide Squad taking on masses of white walkers. But we haven’t come this far just for a cop-out ending, where everyone is happy and paired up.
There’s a reason Game of Thrones has such a cult following. It deserves an epic, magnificent, satisfying ending, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a happy one.
What else do you think needs fixing in Game of Thrones season 8? Tell us!