It’s almost impossible to end a hit show in a way that makes everyone happy. But thanks to rushed execution, frustrating character choices, and other inconsistencies, a number of diehard Game of Thrones fans are pretty annoyed with how everything shook out. Here’s a spoiler-filled examination of what we think went wrong with the final season of Game of Thrones.
For the first five seasons, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were able to mostly follow Martin’s books as a direct template, and many of the show’s most beloved and infamous moments, including the execution of Ned Stark, and the Red and Purple Weddings, were directly out of the source material. Benioff and Weiss did make some welcome adjustments; in the fifth book, Tyrion wanders around for what feels like years before meeting Daenerys, whereas in the show, they team up pretty quickly, but for the most part, they stuck to the literal script in front of them.
However, once the show’s fifth season ended, so did the source material; the next book in Martin’s series, The Winds of Winter, is still unfinished. And once Benioff and Weiss ran out of source material, that’s around the same time many fans started complaining about being unsatisfied with the handling of the show’s overall story and writing, even though Martin himself guided them through the final acts of the series. Obviously Benioff and Weiss aren’t without talent, since they built the show fans grew to love. But Martin is naturally better at manipulating his own story, and problems began to arise when the showrunners were left to their own devices.
It’s understandable that, as Game of Thrones went on and became a bigger and bigger hit, HBO would want it to continue as long as possible. But in 2015, Benioff and Weiss had a public dispute with the network over how long it would run, expressing a desire to close out the show after just seven seasons. Even though Martin himself said the show should be at least 13 seasons, the showrunners and HBO eventually forged a deal for an eight-season run that would abbreviate seasons seven and eight; the former would last for seven episodes, while season eight would only consist of six.
Many fans critical of the show have come to proclaim that cramming years’ worth of buildup and anticipation into a shorter set of episodes created a new set of problems, making it all the more baffling that the showrunners insisted on these short seasons. Without room to let the story breathe, the final batch of episodes felt really rushed. As a result, they stand in stark contrast to the show’s earlier seasons that focused on epic journeys, character development, and long throughlines. Keep watching the video to see why Game of Thrones fell apart at the end!
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No more source material | 0:19
Abbreviated seasons | 1:18
Sloppy execution | 2:55
Poor character development | 4:04
Buildup without payoff | 5:29
Forgetting prophecies | 6:47
Forgoing huge stories | 8:02
Vanished characters | 9:08
And the king is… | 10:07