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Game of Thrones Season 8 Review

May 19, 2019 at 10:20pm
By Jason Stettner

It’s often hard to balance the ending of a show, especially one that has built up a massive following over many years. Instead of trying to find a proper balance, or even something clever we’re instead given what feels like an incredibly rushed conclusion. It’s somewhat sorrowing to be honest considering the wait involved in getting to this point and it really lacks any sense of a cohesive narrative. The actions, motivations and general plot of this season felt like a series of notes being ticked of a checklist. It’s almost insulting to the fan base, and rather disappointing. By the end of this epic story I was certainly underwhelmed. It was a mix of things that led me to feeling this way.

The fact that characters became illogical, that movement was knocked down to just teleportation and that there were so many contradicting situations. The dragons are weak in one episode, then they’re invincible. Certain people die in hilariously bad ways, some live despite a clear situation where they shouldn’t. At times it looks like there’s twenty people left, then all of a sudden there are thousands. It’s strange, and oddly there are strong moments layered in there as well. The heroics of Lyanna Mormont (Bell Ramsey) alongside the hilariously fun Tormund (Kristofer Hivju).

Some of the action was also well done, there was a glorious scene that followed Arya (Maisie Williams) for an extended period of time. It’s just weird that something shined so brightly, yet at the same time was so rough to sit through. I was constantly puzzled by actions, the decisions of historically cunning characters and just how weak the built up opposition was. At times I said out loud, “this doesn’t make any sense” during moments of the show and this was across a number of the latter episodes.
Game of Thrones Season 8 Wallpaper
It really is just odd how poorly this season was executed. The writing truly failed the remarkable cast, and generally those that have watched the show over the years. It just felt like a lazy output to shove this show out of the way, a perplexing situation quite honestly. You’re given some wonderful performances here as Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) shines with strong speeches and a deepened sense of sorrow in those latter episodes. Sansa (Sophie Turner) came into her own as she battled with some sense compared to the others, making sure the people were looked after above all.

Even Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) delivered what I felt were some of his best moments. You also can’t forget the brave work from Theon (Alfie Allen) that had one hell of an overall tale across this series with a proper conclusion. I try to word these carefully, as to not spoil anything for any of these characters. I felt that many of these characters didn’t get a chance to really showcase themselves. Varys was just cast aside, even Jon Snow (Kit Harington) didn’t quite have much of a chance.

He was there bringing some emotion, yet at the same time didn’t stand out to me like in the past due to his role this time around. I thought Emilia Clarke’s Daenery’s was great in performance, yet very poor in setup. You could tell what was happening in the past, but here it felt so off and it didn’t feel earned. She gave one amazing speech towards the end. There are many others to note, but I’d probably be writing forever. The key point to take is that this is a dedicated cast with great performances.

Whether the show used them properly really did vary in this final season of the series. I would also like to mention that this was one beautifully shot show. While the events taking place made little to no sense most of the time, the backdrops were stunning. The use of ash, the burning fire and the fights were so epic to watch unfold. The one episode was rather bleak to the point that you couldn’t tell what was happening. I didn’t have a huge issue while viewing it as it felt epic, but upon the second viewing I can certainly agree that it was too hard to follow.

You also never send in your cavalry at the start, everyone knows that. To follow that, how were there any of them left considering they all charged out there. Moving past that, yes this was a spectacle in terms of how great this looked and how well everyone performed. I will note that some of the CGI was rather awful, the whole King’s Landing outside area wasn’t great though I feel some of it should get somewhat of a pass considering everything else.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Targaryens

The Conclusion

Game of Thrones Season 8 is a spectacle in terms of the visual presentation and the performances, but its narrative fails to deliver anything remotely satisfying. The structure, decisions and narrative of this season were really quite pitiful. It’s a shame as it’s backed by such a stunning showcase of what premium TV can be. There’s so much talent here, and so many stories that could have had more interesting dynamics to them. The season just wasted so much time. To break it down, there’s a whole episode of saying hello. Another one where they just drink, that’s followed by a pitch black one.

I can’t recall much of the one after, other than chatting with a hilarious boat scene. Following that was some intense fire, gruesome action that looked great with no substance behind it. This was all finished by an episode that carried a deep speech and then smoothed right out in a low way. Generally I just feel this was a weak season, I was expecting more for the build-up. I was onboard and even fine with the opening segments, it takes time to establish where everyone is. I just thought with such extended times for the episodes that it would pay-off. Whether that was with interesting political moves, crazy action or just a narrative that made sense.

The motivations are so weird in this one and it’s hard to understand why so many actions were taken. Again, this looked beautiful. The sets, the costumes and the world are really well done. It was even beautifully shot, gorgeous cinematography for the most part. You can have all that though, and just have something that makes it hard to witness. The story matters, I’d rather have a better structured tale that made sense in comparison to something that looks stunning to the eye.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Review at Home with Streamed Viewing

Rating Overall: 4.0

Gamerheadquarters Reviewer Jason Stettner