With the concluding episodes of the last season of Game of Thrones, all the great fans of the series had a field day expressing the most varied of opinions. One thing is for certain: the series didn’t leave anyone completely cold, and this is a definite indication that testifies in favour of its unprecedented success.
However all things considered, what legacy has Game of Thrones left us? We have attempted to take stock of this below.
From season six, HBO put its food down on the accelerator pedal
Despite the various spin-offs and prequels already in progress, it is undeniable that from season six onwards, HBO had to speed things up to conclude a series which was beginning to be weighed down by its various difficulties. Indeed, the difficulties were supplemented by the various engagements of an increasingly successful cast, and the lack of literary support from which to draw inspiration (the last two novels by Martin envisaged for A Song of Ice and Fire were late arriving), David Benioff and D. B. Weiss were forced to invent outright the plot and development of the characters and announce a hasty conclusion of the series over two seasons… to limit any damage. In our opinion, this decision was more wise than disappointing.
Benioff and Weiss wanted to “shake off” GOT
Without a doubt, 13 episodes in two seasons (7 for season seven and 6 for season eight) are very few considering the quantity of what Benioff and Weiss had to follow on from. What is certain is that the two screenwriters, without the silent support of George RR Martin, were in serious trouble and probably preferred to be rid of a brand that was beginning to affect their professional lives – which were by now trained on new horizons – too much. Indeed, it must be remembered that before filming for season eight of Game of Thrones began, the creative duo were already at work on what was to be announced as the new Star Wars trilogy in 2018.
In any case, it is undeniable that to conclude quickly a TV series characterised by unprecedented complexity, Benioff and Weiss had to forego, often quite abruptly, those character chiaroscuro effects and that thrilling temporal continuity that had made Game of Thrones such a success up to that point.
Season eight of GOT creates contrasting feelings
Fans of Game of Thrones welcomed the many “unexpected” narrative twists presented in season eight with a lot of criticism. Certainly, there was no shortage of quality moments, such as the epic battle in episode three (perhaps the most incredible ever shown on the big or small screen), the symbolic strength built around the character of Arya, or the last unforgettable lines spoken by Tyrion which sum up the very essence of the character in just a few words. Generally, though, it is undeniable that this last season does not do justice to the fantastic work of Beinoff and Weiss in the previous seasons:
- the Night King, who had always constituted an overwhelming threat, dies too easily
- Cersei, from an able and cynical strategist, is suddenly transformed into a woman incapable of making any sort of decision useful for herself
- Jaimie, after dumping a spectacular character like Brienne, provides no inkling as to how he managed to get to King’s Landing so quickly to reach Cersei, demonstrating a somewhat obvious inconsistency with the character he had become
- And do we want to talk about the massacre at the hand of Daenerys? Don’t you think it was a little excessive culmination to finish off a decidedly “sudden” change?
Luckily, the last episode manages to put things back in place and focus on the characters again, providing one last beneficial focus on their complex human characteristics.
The strength of Game of Thrones was time
Despite the fact that the big screen still benefits from that validating attention from critics which TV series don’t appear to attract yet, what Game of Thrones has taught us is that a well-made TV series can have a very important element on its side: i.e. time.
It is true that at the cinema it’s normal to see lots of major events condensed into a very short space of time and to take everything that happens off-screen for granted, but when you can count on two top-level screenwriters such as Benioff and Weiss, the fact of having an extensive period of time available to develop a story can truly make the difference and, in some cases, even exceed film productions.
This is why certain hasty passages stood out in particular: because they were in stark contrast with that narrative and photographic magic, which has made Game of Thrones a masterpiece that appears, for now, unrivalled.
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