KARACHI: Disappointment is usually the result of inflated expectations and so it was in the case of Game of Thrones final season. The hype and following the show acquired over its previous seven seasons does make for a strong argument that no finale would live up to the expectations. Every now and then though, you end up disappointed without expecting anything.
With the disaster that was episode five and a season chock full of bad narrative choices, all hype going into the finale had been violently laid to rest. As Tyrion and Jon walked through the ash and ruins Danaerys left in the wake of her rampage in King’s Landing, there was a sense that we the viewers were walking through the devastated remains of the show’s promises.
Even in this dissociated state though, the finale manages to shock by showing how badly a story can be told. If after episode five, you thought there could be no more disappointment, you would be wrong.
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As fans go through the five stages of grief and come to terms with the ending, they might point to the various very obvious plot holes, dangling narrative threads and out-of-character characterisation as examples of what went wrong.
But as someone else on the internet has pointed out, perhaps the most grievous sin the showrunners committed was in their treatment of the themes of the saga. Yes, the show taking cue from the books opted to subvert viewer expectations whenever possible. But in doing so, it threw every theme the books sought to explore out the window.
The fate and role of the Night King is one example, as I explored in a previous review. But take his killer, Arya. Where she was perhaps intended as the prime illustration of the trauma conflict inflicts, especially on children and how violence begets violence, the show reduces her character to what is effectively a superhero. Her murders, rather than a study on the tragedy of innocence lost, are presented as something to be celebrated.
The show's obsession with subversion above all is also at the root of everything wrong with the final episode as well. No, Jon will not be king and will be sent back to whatever remains of the wall. Yes, the final winner of the game of thrones will be the unlikeliest of characters: Bran in this case. On their own, there is nothing wrong with these choices, per se.
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The problem arises in the context of what viewers have been shown. These twists, like several others ever since the show moved beyond the books, feel unearned and appear to pop up out of nowhere. There is no attempt to set any of these up.
In the end, as a viewer and a fan, one feels all investment in the show was for naught. The lazy storytelling on display throughout this entire season makes one wonder if seeing all previous episodes ever really mattered.
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