Game of Thrones still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, up until around Season 7 it was in my opinion not just the best TV show of all time, it was shaping up to me favorite story of all time. Sure, I know book fans know it started to go downhill and away from the books in Season 5. I always felt it had to cut out some of the content from the books and it was still continuing to be well written and engaging for me.
But, after Season 6 and despite the protestations of HBO and book author George R.R. Martin, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss made the decision to end after Season 8. Not only that, but have both Season’s 7 and 8 with fewer episodes than previous seasons. Looking back now, it seems like they were rushing to make the start date for their new Star Wars movies, the first of which is due to hit theaters on December 16th, 2022.
I genuinely think as artists they will one day look back on Thrones and realize that their legacy was somehow tainted by the rushed ending of the show, and that they rushed it for all the wrong reasons. One man who agrees with the fans who felt the final two seasons were rushed is former Thrones director Neil Marshall. Marshall helmed both Season 2’s “Blackwater” and Season 3’s “The Watchers on the Wall.” Both these episodes featured big battles, and whilst not quite on the scale of Season 8’s “The Long Night,” I feel like both were far better directed episodes in terms strategy and emotion. Now speaking with Metro Marshall has admitted he would have done things a little differently and that he too feels like the ending was rushed.
“It’s very difficult to second guess those guys (Benioff and Weiss) because they are geniuses and they have done such an amazing job. Inevitably, I would’ve taken a different approach to directing. One of the greatest experiences I had with working on both those episodes was that they were so open to bringing my ideas, particularly about battle scenes and how battles worked. ‘I would’ve definitely added my strategy and knowledge to that. I kind of agree with a lot of the criticism that it was really rushed. Everyone ended up where they were meant to end up but they got there in a little bit of a rush in the end.”
This is really on the nose for me, Benioff and Weiss seemed to be so focused on ending with a very specific episode number, that certain development of characters were left behind in the rush to get to the end. That’s before we even get into some of the plot conveniences and downright holes that presented themselves. I’ll never forget (like Dany) about the Iron Fleet, but most of all I’ll never forgive them for butchering the arc of Jaime Lannister. They thought a cool ending for Jaime and Cersei would be to have them get back together and then die with one another. Horrible writing.
I’ve seen many fans say that they can no longer watch even the earlier, better quality episodes of the show any longer, because they know the ending is so disappointing. I’m not sure at this point, I had been waiting on the full box set to release before getting them on Blu-ray, and until I start watching again, I don’t know if knowing the bad ending will affect my enjoyment of the phenomenal early seasons? I just wish we were currently anticipating and speculating about Season 9 sometime next year.
What do you think of Marshall’s comments and are you still upset about Thrones ending? Leave your comments in the usual spot if you have any input on this one.
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