Everyone Will Find Something to Hate

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After listening to the podcasts for a few years now, I thought I would write in and see what you thought on my post-mortem for Game of Thrones. I don’t have time to write this the way I’d prefer so I’m gonna try to make it as concise as I can.

First, let me just say that I am and have been a “TV Person” for the entire 34 years of my life (only 6 more months of being in the 18-34 Target Demo). When I had more time, I used to make in depth TV schedules each Fall and Winter for my friends to keep track of and check out new shows for the year. I’m an avid watcher of quality TV but I try not to hate. I have too many shows to watch so if I start to hate or dislike something, it just gets dropped from my schedule. Just as a reference, my top Dramas are The Wire, Battlestar Galactica, The Sopranos, Justified, Lost, The Shield and Breaking Bad. So that leads me to my first point.

-This is not the END OF TV.
People are talking like the fact that GoT isn’t on anymore means the end of all TV. Now I get that it’s been a part of our lives for 10 years and it has, in my opinion, been consistently one of the most solid shows in regards to writing, production and acting. Adapting a book into a movie or show is always a challenge and for some “Fans?” to completely bash the show and diminish all the great moments it’s given us over this past decade is an insult to all the people that worked on the show and to the fans who aren’t trying to hate our favorite show.

-Everyone’s expectations can’t be met.
I understand that the hype and fandom for GoT was undeniable and totally justified. It is a phenomenon. I’m the kind of person that would rather watch a show week to week as opposed to bingeing. With shows like Lost and GoT, a lot of the enjoyment comes from theory-crafting, reading and listening to recaps and reviews. So even though it slightly bothers me, I get why people are so frustrated and annoyed at Season 8 and the ending. The hype and the theory-crafting ruined the experience for a lot of people. And I think I figured out why. Everyone NEEDED their ending to come to fruition. Everyone, including me, had an idea in their heads about how the show would end and what would be the fate of their favorite characters. And since there was ample time for people to discuss these theories with their friends and fellow fans they started to convince themselves that their ending(s) were 100% going to happen. Whether it be a certain character sitting on the Iron Throne or a couple getting together or dying in each others arms. I’m not claiming that I predicted Bran being the King at the end of all this but I’m not surprised and I’m not disappointed or furiously complaining. I was in the camp that thought we would get a huge battle at the God’s Eye with all the Howland Reed stuff but that wasn’t what they planned. Maybe the books will but not GoT. I personally would have liked some more backstory about the Night King, some more episodes in the past two seasons and/or a big twist about the Children/Bloodraven manipulating Bran or the events this whole time. But that didn’t happen and I’m OK with it. Basically, a lot of the people that feel like the show was ruined for them, partially have themselves to blame for hyping themselves up too much and thinking that their the ones that are writing this story.

-Have these people been watching the show this whole time?
I’m not trying to be a troll or insult the fanbase of our beloved show but I’ve had a bit of an issue with the level of surprise and shock that I’ve seen over these past weeks. Let’s start with Dany. If you asked me, I’d tell you that her turn into madness or whatever you want to call it was not only seeded throughout all 8 seasons but I feel like it’s totally in character for her to do what she did. First of all, we should remember that she’s only supposed to be in her early 20s if that so it’s not like she’s some wise leader who’s learned diplomacy over 20-30 years. Besides her losses of Drogo and her baby in sesaon one, she hadn’t had too many devastating losses, either emotional or in battles. Yes, she was stuck in the desert before she got to Qarth. Yes, her dragons were stolen and she was betrayed in Qarth but made it out of there basically unscathed and better off than when she got there. She got all the Unsullied for free plus her most trusted friend in Missandei. In Mereen, she didn’t have much patience for diplomacy. She dealt with the Masters and yes, she lost Baristan to the Harpy’s but escaped and then killed a bunch of Khal’s easily and got the rest of the Dothraki to follow her again. Then when she got to Westeros she beat the Tarly’s and the Lannisters with the Loot Train before things started going bad for her. In a short period of time, she lost allies in the Sand Snakes and the Queen of Thorns, then lost Viserion to the NIght King and the Dothraki, Unsullied and Jorah in the Battle of Winterfell. Add to that the paranoia that she had never had to deal with in Essos plus the death of Missandei and her turn to Evil or Madness isn’t that surprising. I wasn’t sure her execution by Jon was 100% going to happen but once we saw her giving her victory/conquest speech, it seemed inevitable. It may not be what people wanted or what they expected but it was definitely fitting to her character arc. And Jon stabbing her was also right in line with how this story has been told. My prediction before the finale was that Jon would have to do it or that Dany would realize the horror of what she had done and kill herself, possibly by having Drogon burn her and the throne. But that’s not the mentality that Dany had given all that she had just been through.

As far as Bran goes, I think it’s a great outcome and if you wanna call it a twist for him to end up ruling. He’s been through his own struggles and even though I may not have predicted that he would be ruling back in season 4 or 5 it makes sense to me. I thought that it would be the end of feudalism and the beginning of Democracy but since D & D used that as a meta-joke made by Sam, I’m fine and it makes sense to me that Bran is King. People say Sansa was the only clear choice. Well she acting totally in character as well. Caring more about her people from the North than the endless fighting from the south over lands or titles. Others say that Jon should have reluctantly taken the throne. He never wanted it and even though some people in the world of GoT wanted it and a lot of fans wanted it, Jon never wanted it. Fans want, or sometimes need bad or unhappy endings for their characters. Jon, after all he’s been through over 8 seasons, had to kill his queen and love for the good of the realm. He is going to have to live with that forever just as he lives with the fact that his initial betrayal of the Free Folk led to the death of his first love, Ygritte. He like Ned is stoic and will beat himself up over that for years but in the end he will live freely with people that are his equals and whom of which respect him even though he is technically an outsider.

As for the some other character endings, which I’ve heard a lot of complaining about, I’ll quickly address them.

Bronn – Though he showed loyalty to Tyrion and Jamie, we always knew he was in it for himself and money. It’s only fitting that now, being smart and staying out of both wars, he’s in charge of all the money in the kingdom as the Master of Coin and is also the richest man in the realm by being in control of the Reach. We know that though this will make him wealthy and comfortable, it won’t be the easiest job. But he played it smart throughout the course of the show so good for him.

Sam – Has his dream job, a wife that loves him and a baby, He will most likely use his and Bran’s knowledge to improve the way people rule and live.

Arya/Sansa – Possibly the best arc even if it wasn’t as fleshed out as it is in the book. Arya is a warrior. She trained under many different masters and learned many different styles. She used all that training to kill the biggest, most feared villain in the world. Then, like a lot of older more seasoned warriors, decided that there’s more to life than killing. She reverts to that sense of wonder that she had as a child before she became jaded by her misfortunes. But for people to say that her training was for nothing is just silly. Everything she learned from everyone from Syrio to the Hound to Jaqen was used to get her where she needed to be and to kill the NIght King. I really liked the way she appeared next to Jon while he was watching Dany’s dictator speech, putting a little bookend on her sneaky assassin nature and maybe quieting the critics that complain that she too easily snuck up on the Night King. Arya is a physical warrior just like Sansa is a mental warrior. Sansa used all she learned from Cersei to Littlefinger to Ramsey to get where she needed to be. It’s fitting. If Sansa just died or something than her journey would have meant less. Of course not every good character can have a happy ending but she was smart and was always learning even if we as fans didn’t like every move she made over 8 seasons.

Greyworm/The Unsullied – We all knew the ending would be bittersweet and I think that Greyworms is one of the most. He loses his love and his queen but instead of starting a new war over Dany’s death or just going back to live in peace, he and the rest of his men are going to try and fulfill the dream of their queen. They will liberate slave but hopefully in a less dictatory manor. And I think he will be successful because he is smart enough to use his own experience as a slave and Dany’s wishes of freedom for all and combine the two into a more peaceful liberation for the planet do Dany lives on through his actions.

I’ll end it there for now. I’m sure any of the other points or character analysis that I would make will be made by you guys or other listeners. Thanks for the great recaps, theories and breakdowns, especially the open-mindedness of your reviews. It’s refreshing to listen to a podcast where the hosts actually know the deep details of the story while also not being straight haters who are just searching for things to complain about or criticize. There will always be something that some of us will dislike but I’m not a hate-watcher so it’s nice to hear your initial thoughts and then when you sometimes reconsider those initial thoughts once you rewatch or think more about an episode. Looking forward to the rest of your GoT thoughts and then on to Westworld S3, Watchmen and the spin-offs. Thanks again.

Brett Rubenstein from Marlboro, NJ

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1 Response

  1. Gene Lyons says:

    We definitely weren’t blown away by Season 8, but we don’t regret watching it or think it ruined the series. I’m actually itching to rewatch without any podcast responsibility to see if I enjoy it as much as a spectator.

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