Arts, Television, Column

‘Game of Thrones’ Accelerates In Action, Not Quality

Another season of everyone’s favorite show, Game of Thrones, has come and gone. I’ve been a longtime fan of the show. I started watching around the time season three aired and I’ve tuned in weekly to the show ever since. I’ve also read all the books, and while that may mean I’m better than the rest of you so-called fans, that’s not what I want to talk about today.

There are a few things I’ve noticed with the last season—the season which has most notably departed from A Song of Ice and Fire book series—and not all of these things are good.

In its current form, pacing is a huge problem for this show. It seems that these last two seasons, especially season seven, have begun sprinting to the finish. While this is good for fans who are impatient for the resolution of their favorite story arc, I don’t think this falls in line with the show as a whole.

From its nascent season, Game of Thrones had been jam packed with content. But in the early days, it was packed with minutia, not major plot upheavals.

In the series’s first episode, the White Walkers are seen by a few men on the Night’s Watch, Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is married off to Khal Drogo (Jason Mamoa), Ned (Sean Bean) accepts the position as Hand of the King, the Lannister plot to kill Jon Arryn is uncovered, and Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) uncovers Cersei (Lena Dunham) and Jaime’s (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau) incestual relationhip and is pushed from the tower. Those are very important plot points. The show, however, has always been a slow burn. A lot happens in each episode, but it seemed that the writers were taking their time with the overarching story. This made for a better show altogether.

Season seven on the other hand is jampacked with those incredible scenes that are usually saved for an impactful season or episode ending.

For example, in episode six of season seven, almost every event could have been one of those “gasp” moments. There is the capture of the wight and the moment when the White Walker army descends on the group. There is the moment when Gendry (Joe Dempsie) collapses in front of the Wall … Daenerys arrives on her dragon … the Night King (Richard Blake) kills the dragon. Jon (Kit Harrington) is dead again … until he isn’t … then he bends the knee to Daenerys. After all of this, the episode ends on the resurrection of Daenerys’ dragon by the Night King.

This was one, single episode.

Though enjoyable, I feel like the show is losing a lot of its suspense and character by forcing so much into each one. No one can relish in the small and big changes alike as everything has enormous implications on the plot.

Space and time were another issue many fans noticed this season. Let’s recall when Arya (Maisie Williams) and Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) were travelling companions. These two walked and rode for two seasons (at least months in the world of Game of Thrones) trying to get across Westeros. The world seemed massive and inexhaustibly large.

In season seven, Arya hears that Jon is in Winterfell and she is there by the next episode.

The speeding up of travel seems to go against precedents set in previous installments. There are more major plot points every episode and less of the little scenes and details that help build the Known World, as they say.

Another concern with the show stems from time. Season eight has six episodes planned, and while some of them may be over two hours long, I think that this production schedule will only exacerbate the problem I described earlier. I believe that audiences will be overloaded with “gasp” moments in every episode. The season seven finale had so many scenes that made viewers scream with anticipation, delight, and horror, that it’s almost sensory overload.

I think that the rumored wait until 2019 for season eight might actually be a good thing. Fans have time to really let the show settle, everyone can really gear up for the last hurrah, and maybe George R. R. Martin will finally release that sixth book.

Perhaps I just like to savor my television shows, but I think that everyone is so eager for the show to be over, that they don’t stop to think about what will be left when it’s gone.

Featured Image By HBO

August 30, 2017