WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE LATEST SEASON OF GAME OF THRONES UP TO THE PENULTIMATE EPISODE “BELLS”
In just three more days, we will get the final episode of Game of Thrones, bringing to a close HBO’s record-setting 47-time Emmy Award-winning adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series. It’s taken eight years to the get to this point… and holy crap are fans pissed off about it.
Following intense backlash to how the most recent episodes have played out, a Change.org petition was created, demanding that HBO remake the show’s eighth and final season without showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss whose writing stands at the centre of all the criticism. Usually, we don’t pay too much attention to online fan petitions around these parts, as they’re generally as effective as farting in the wind. However, this is different as at the time of writing the petition has garnered a jaw-dropping 718 000 signatures and is still climbing at a rapid pace. That is, quite frankly, insane. I cannot recall when last – if ever – I’ve seen a petition get this type of response, with the petitions initially silly goal of 1 million signatures now suddenly looking plausible.
To be fair, this scope of anger feels justified for a show of Game of Thrones’ stature, a true pop culture phenomenon that has gripped the globe. But after six seasons (well, some would actually say five, which is when the show overtook Martin’s novels due to the glacial pace he writes at) of meticulous plotting and character work that saw the show earn mountains of acclaim and become literally the biggest TV series in the world in terms of both fanbase and budget, all of that promptly got tossed out the window for a nonsensically rushed pacing due to a massively slashed episode count in its final two seasons. As we mentioned earlier this week, it was Benioff and Weiss themselves who insisted on reducing the episode count leading to the show just hopping from one big spectacle to the next with ridiculous time gaps and abrupt character changes in between.
The last two seasons have also been plagued by poor writing that runs the gamut from just irritating (how is Sam still alive?!) to downright insulting (wait, so Sansa thinks that being raped and grossly abused made her a better person?!). This weekend past’s penultimate episode, Bells, appears to have been the breaking point for many though as Daenerys Targaryen, driven mad by grief and anger, turned into a villain as she unleashed her fire-breathing dragon on King’s Landing, turning the city and its innocent citizens (well, somewhat innocent, they did cheer for Ned to be beheaded after all) into cinder and ash.
I would just like point out here though that I was fully onboard with this about-face. Anybody shocked by Dany’s turn into the “Mad Queen” has somehow not been paying attention to the fact that in between her magnanimous deeds of freeing slaves, she’s literally also mass-murdered her way across the world all because she fervently believes – despite evidence and common sense to the contrary – that she’s meant to rule everything simply due to her last name. That’s generally not how heroes operate.
Either way, whether you agree with how things have turned out or not, it’s probably still a very safe bet that you shouldn’t get your hopes up for a do-over. Despite the high numbers of signatures in this instance, the book of internet petitions that have actually worked is basically a one-pager with a few hastily scribbled lines. I’m sure that Benioff and Weiss have shot a lot more footage that was left on the editing room floor though, and maybe that will get spliced back in when the latest seasons hit home release, but even that is doubtful. This is the Game of Thrones we have until George R.R. Martin eventually decides to stop hopping around naked on the trampoline in his backyard (or whatever the hell else he’s been doing) and finally publishes the last two books.
Last Updated: May 17, 2019
May 17, 2019 at 10:54
May 17, 2019 at 10:54
Online petitions are pointless. Yes.
Meddling with the creative process is arrogant. Absolutely.
But still. THAT MANY PEOPLE still decided to sign that petition. And I have to ask the question: At what point can we talk about the “why” of it, rather than the fact it’s happening? Because I have a lot of words for the writers of the past few seasons, and I feel like I’ve been getting drowned out by the “I AM ENJOYING IT SO SHUT THE FUCK UP” crowd, and damn if this isn’t the first time I’ve felt validated about my frustrations with the way this series has been written into the ground.
May 17, 2019 at 11:02