What else can one say about Game of Thrones?
The medieval fantasy series has captured global imagination to become one of the biggest TV series ever. It has actually surpassed the Lord of the Rings movie adaptations in reach and influence over the last seven years of its run. It has made stars out of previously unknown actors and has made HBO millions. A cultural phenomenon.
Strangely enough, it has even overtaken the original source material by author George R.R. Martin, with new plots and characters derived from Martin’s sketched out stories beyond his currently delayed Song of Ice and Fire novel series.
Season 6 was the first season to do so and there has been a marked decline in the overall quality of the writing since then. The latest Season 7 is no different.
That said, the latter third of Season 6 saw many plotlines being resolved in favour of the protagonists of the series. Finally.
Thus, the true identity of Jon Snow – now the new King in the North – was revealed via Bran Stark (now the three-eyed raven), Arya Stark became a faceless man, Ramsay Bolton was defeated and killed and Daenerys Targaryen sailed towards Westeros with her allies, the Unsullied, the Dothraki and three dragons.
Season 7 was a truncated season, down to only 7 episodes from the usual 10, with season 8 to only 6 episodes. While in the past, the complaint about Game of Thrones was that the plots moved too slowly, this time the plots seemed to move too fast.
The seven episodes whizzed by, with many fans noticing that characters moved from point A to point B at fantastic speeds, almost as if ignoring the actual size of Westeros.
Although primarily the conflict appeared to be between the two queens Cersei and Daenerys, Jon Snow was more concerned about the danger to the continent from the White Walkers, as they lingered beyond the Wall.
The show did its best to demonstrate the highs and lows of war as early Lannister successes were tempered by Targaryen gains when the dragons were brought into play. The suspension of disbelief was threatened a few times especially in episode 4 when Jaime Lannister and Bronn were able to cheat death even though they appeared to sink into the river depths after a close shave with the dragon Drogon.
Again, in episode 7, the manner in which Daenerys (and her dragons) rescued Jon Snow and company from White Walkers beyond the Wall and the short time lapse between Jon giving instructions to Gendry and Daenerys’ arrival despite the great distances between Jon’s location and Eastwatch and then Dragonstone was hard to swallow.
However, the endgame of Season 7 was simply to deliver a dragon into the hands of the Night King, so that he could use the reanimated Viserion to bring down the Wall in the finale.
A convoluted plan (concocted by Jon Snow) to convict the Lannisters about the danger of the White Walkers to all Westeros and to bring about a truce. Which in the final analysis, may be all for nought, considering the deceitful nature of Cersei.
There was also something simmering beneath the surface at Winterfell where the Stark children – Sansa, Arya and Bran – were reunited. In the end, a satisfactory conclusion – the execution of Littlefinger (the prime instigator of the Lannister-Stark war) – was achieved in an unsatisfactory way. Especially in a scene where it appeared that Arya was threatening the life of Sansa – all rather confusing.
So, definitely, while the main story elements were intriguing, some of the writing was sloppy with gaps in logic evident. An added twist in the tail concerning Jon Snow’s heritage was a discovery by both Bran and Samwell Tarly that not only is Jon the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna Stark but his real name is Aegon Targaryen (!), and is in fact NOT a bastard and thus is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
Which sets us up well enough for Season 8, due for release in mid-2018. It has been an entertaining ride so far but it is definitely time to tie up all those plotlines and resolve the big question – who will sit on the Iron Throne come the series finale?
… still there’s more …