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The Long Night is here, everyone. Game of Thrones Season 7 bowed out with an epic final episode in which we learned of Jon‘s true parentage and saw The Night King and its Ice Dragon break down The Wall and move on Westeros.
But we‘re looking forward to Game of Thrones Season 8 already, so here‘s absolutely everything we know about the show‘s final episodes, including release date, casting news and trailers.
Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, indicates that all human characters will die in Season 8
Kit Harington gives more hints about the series‘ ending
Is Bran Stark The Night King?
Harington says that the last season of Thrones seemed to be designed to break. the cast.
Season 8 has been compared to six movies.
We‘ve seen another clip and it provides the unsettling sight of Daenerys Targaryen meeting Sansa Stark as she enters Winterfell with Jon Snow
Harington and Emilia Clarke have spoken about what kind of impact the impending discovery of Jon and Daenerys‘ familial connection will have on events in season eight
Jason Momoa gives an update about rumours he will return to Game of Thrones
Iain Glen has described the final season as absolutely phenomenal.
Richard Madden has offered up his own thoughts on how he thinks the next season will end
Could we see giant ice spiders. next year? A picture shared by George R. R. Martin has fans speculating
Actress Gwendoline Christie says fans will need therapy.
In 2015, as Game of Thrones entered season 5, the show had the opportunity to introduce the last major kingdom of Westeros, Sunspear — the capital of Dorne — and its ruler, House Martell. The region and its people were interesting for at least two reasons: they were the only ones who had never been conquered by the Targaryens, and unlike the prevalent customs in the six other kingdoms of Westeros, women weren’t excluded from the rules of succession in Dorne. Game of Thrones’ most famous Martell, Oberyn (Pedro Pascal), said as much about the latter bit on his arrival in season 4. His horrific death at the end of that season was what dragged House Martell into the central ongoing conflict, but the writers just didn’t seem to care about the Dornish angle, as season 5 showed.
Oberyn’s paramour, Ellaria Sand (Indira Varma), and her daughters, collectively dubbed the Sand Snakes, just hung around the Water Gardens for all of seasons 5 and 6. Their biggest achievements were the poisoning of Cersei Lannister’s (Lena Headey) only daughter, who had been a non-player on Game of Thrones, and a coup against the established ruling authority of Dorne. But the characters had little time on-screen, didn’t grow in any significant direction, and were ultimately side-lined and forgotten by the writers. Ellaria was captured and imprisoned in King’s Landing in season 7, and Game of Thrones essentially let her character die off-screen. To make matters worse, an unnamed Prince of Dorne was mentioned in season 8, who showed up in the series finale to utter a single one word: “Aye.”
Was the first major warning sign that the writers were incapable of successfully deviating from the written word. In George R.R. Martin’s books, Dorne and House Martell have a much larger presence, with additional characters and storylines that were never introduced on the show. A cynic might conclude that Dorne has hence no influence on the bigger picture, given the Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss saw fit to get rid of much of the Martell narrative, but that’s missing the point then. It’s about the journey not the end, as a slightly modified version of a hackneyed old saying goes. More importantly, with hindsight, the show’s treatment of Dorne now feels like a ‘told you so’, that we should have all seen this coming.
At least back then, Benioff and Weiss had the benefit of stuffing their shortcomings under a mountain’s worth of captivating narrative and character development, thanks to Martin. But starting with season 6, Game of Thrones didn’t have that luxury anymore as the various storylines in motion largely went beyond what Martin had put on paper. (The author has said that there will be two more books, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, the events of which have already been depicted on screen in seasons 6, 7, and 8.) All that the showrunners had was the information — an outline of the future — that Martin had revealed to them before they set out to make Game of Thrones, in the event the show caught up. Nobody expected it to happen, as Martin had released five books in 15 years, but it did.
The writers were essentially left on their own as Game of Thrones approached its last few seasons. And faced with that scenario, Benioff and Weiss chose to work with what they had — the outline — in lieu of crafting in-depth plots for the characters. The first casualty of this approach was pacing, as storylines that would have usually taken half or an entire season were rushed out in a few episodes or less. Some suffered from a lack of logic and characters behaving idiotically to serve the narrative. And yet others were written as an afterthought. Examples in season 6 include Arya (Maisie Williams) nonchalantly roaming around Braavos, being repeatedly stabbed and miraculously surviving, and Jaime’s (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) Riverlands excursion that saw the Blackfish (Clive Russell) being killed off-screen.
Though, and hence the further it grew away from the books, these issues have become much more glaring and obvious. Part of the reason was also Benioff and Weiss’ decision to opt for a shortened runway as Game of Thrones came in for its massive landing. In a break from the first six seasons that consisted of 10 episodes each, the two co-creators chose to have just seven on season 7, and six on season 8. Sure, most of these episodes were longer than an hour — more so in the final season — but that’s only in theory. In practice, it meant several weeks’ or months’ worth of storytelling was compressed in a single episode at times, which gave the feeling that characters were teleporting, or reacting on a whim, which hurt character development.
It’s not fully clear why Benioff and Weiss pushed for a total of just 13 episodes to wrap up a story that would form a big chunk of Martin’s two remaining books. It was their decision and theirs only, as we know. HBO would have loved to have the world’s biggest TV show to go on for as long as it could. After all, the network already has three to five spin-offs in the works, with one of them — set thousands of years prior to Game of Thrones, which will “chronicle the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour” — set with an ensemble cast and likely to premiere in 2020. That said, HBO must also bear the blame for Game of Thrones’ failings in its last few seasons, for ignoring the warning signs of seasons 6 and 7, and overly trusting Benioff and Weiss to deliver a good ending.
As the show’s producer, HBO would naturally get a look at the scripts of any season before it would go into production, which means its executives must have read through the final season and thought everything was fine and dandy. But given what audiences have seen over the last few weeks, it doesn’t seem like they pored through it properly before signing off a cheque for $90 million to make season 8. They really should have. Game of Thrones’ final season didn’t just retain the problems that had emerged in the past couple of seasons, from pacing to idiocy, but it compounded them by adding even more issues to the mix. Season 8 reduced characters to caricatures, didn’t earn its character development and the shift in their arcs, baked in several plot holes, and did away with internal logic and consistency.
We’ve covered much of this previously in detail over the last month or so. Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) transformation from a slave-freeing ruler who wanted to “break the wheel” to a spontaneous mass murderer who became a tyrant herself wasn’t convincing at all. Her advisor Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who was picked for his intelligence, only made uncharacteristic bad calls for the past two seasons. Game of Thrones entirely botched the endings for Cersei and Jaime and turned genre-subverting characters such as Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Sandor “The Hound” Clegane (Rory McCann) into clichés towards the end. And Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) was essentially a plot device, which is the only explanation for the incredulous imbalance between the dragons and the Scorpions, the dragon-killing weapon.
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