P.C. the featured image above is courtesy of @thronesdragons on Instagram.
Warning: (Readers are advised to note that that the following piece contains spoilers)!
Game of Thrones graced our television screens again, for one final season, just over three months ago. Which begs the question – Fahmida, why are we discussing it now?
Well, I had exams and simply put: my brain isn’t set to multitask like that – it’s either I memorise statute and the facts of 500 odd legal cases or, I swoon over the dreamy hunk that is Jon Snow. And while I know which one I’d rather have been doing, this spring, my exams were waiting for no one and my course leaders were taking no prisoners.
So, exam season came and went and with exams having officially ended just over six weeks ago, I had finally gotten my chance to sit down and watch the entire Game of Thrones series, from start to finish. And while I really want to say the series ending blew my socks off and left me marvelling at the ingenuity of George R.R. Martin and the screenwriters alike, I just can’t do that because the ending was shit. Remarkably so.
You might be reading this and be thinking “No shit, Sherlock”. I mean, they gave Bran the Iron Throne.
Do you know what this means?
It means we sat through Season 1 to Season 8 witnessing countless deaths (some of which were those of our very most favourite characters), helplessly looked on at a truly terrifying ‘Battle of the Bastards’, endured a clash of Queens (albeit from the comfort of our sofas and beds) and rooted for our faves to survive Winter. And we did all of that for Bran to just come along, as the only surviving male Stark, and take over the Iron Throne?
Bran who wasn’t even present for most of the first few seasons? Bran, who if he wasn’t two limbs short, could have otherwise been described as a backup dancer in the whole Game of Thrones?
The boy was one of the unlikeliest contenders for the Iron Throne. He waged no war and he was no leader for goodness sake! And I’m not the only one who believes Bran was undeserving of the Iron Throne.
In fact, criticism of the series finale was reflected in a recent poll which suggested that 50% of viewers deemed it to be the disappointing end of an era. And indeed, over 750,000 of these disappointed fans have taken to petitioning for a remake of the final season of the show.
So, where did it all go wrong?
Well, one could contest, as many others have, that the plot was just dead. I mean, I alone, could sit here and offer you at least five other alternative and most importantly, much more satisfying endings to the series. And I’m no acclaimed screenwriter.
I guess what irks me the most, as a viewer, about the ending, is this: it was a lazy one.
I almost feel as though the screenwriters, Benioff and Weiss, looked down at their Bic pens, realised they were running out of ink and thought “Shit, forget popping to a Ryman’s, might as well call it a day with this and give Bran the throne”.
It’s annoying because the show had so much potential and in taking arguably one of the laziest narrative paths in the history of television, as viewers, we’re not only left dissatisfied, we’re left with lots of unanswered questions.
For instance, in his speech to the Lords and Ladies of Westeros, Tyrion, in stating his case for Bran becoming King argues: “What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Stories. There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived”. And while, sure enough, Tyrion may have heard the whole of Bran’s story off-screen (think back to Episode 2 of Season 8 where Tyrion asks Bran about his journey), the viewer is left without this insight.
Rather crucially, this means that without having heard Bran’s story, we don’t have the necessary knowledge to decide if he is the best person to take the Iron Throne or say that he’s done anything to merit being the King. And with an ending that random, I feel like if the screenwriters gave us a little bit of context into why Bran was chosen to become the Three-Eyed Raven (which might have been indicative of why he deserved to sit atop the Iron Throne), this could have been the redeeming factor in making the series finale all the more acceptable.
Instead, the ending was just disrespectful.
And, to add further insult to injury, Jon Snow got sent off to the wall.
No respeck. That’s what the screenwriters put on the viewing time I invested in this series. And with such an underwhelming series finale, I can’t help but feel as though I sat through every single episode of every single series in complete and utter vain.
Nevertheless, this disappointed viewer is still holding out hope. Because George R.R. Martin is yet to complete the books, and there remains the possibility of an altogether different ending, if only just in the books.
And if, in the unlikely event that word should suddenly reach him that Fahmida is being frank again on her blog, and discussing her disappointment with the ending of Game of Thrones, I’d like to kindly ask the big man to reverse this shambles. We need you to fix it bud. The television series was unbearably underwhelming, please don’t offer me the same fate with the books.