Three Lessons I Learnt as a Writer from Watching Season 8 of Game of Thrones

When Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, I knew that the show would be at least somewhat good. It wasn’t my kind of show (I’m not a fan of things staged in medieval times) but I started to regret not watching it when so many people recommended the show to me.

To be honest, I had to watch Game of Thrones for some work I was contracted to do so I watched summaries of seasons one to seven on YouTube before I watched the premiere of season eight.

Watching the first two episodes, I was overall fine. I knew we were all waiting on the fateful long night, but even as a newbie watching it, something felt… off.

Many things didn’t make sense and that would be a theme that would reoccur for the remainder of the season. Here, I will discuss three things that season eight of Game of Thrones taught or reminded me.

While some fans are okay with season eight and with the series finale overall, I cannot understand why. And I know I’m not alone in this sentiment.

Weiss and Benioff, the writers of the series, had excellent source material from the novels that George R.R. Martin wrote and which served as the basis for the series. But once the show surpassed the source material, the show took a noticeable nosedive.

As I’ve said, I didn’t watch the earlier seasons but that is the consensus from lovers and haters of season eight.

It is well-known by now that Weiss and Benioff are going to write a new Star Wars film and it feels as though their attention had been diverted to this new venture, because for what logical reason would they decline HBO’s offer to do as many episodes as they needed to conclude the story properly? Everyone was left scratching their heads as to how the writers were going to tie up everything in six episodes.

Here we see that the task to bring such an illustrious story to its conclusion was too great. That is forgivable. Let’s face it, not even Martin himself has found a conclusion to his story. However, this season (and the previous one) was done with such haste that it made a lot more sense to just pass the torch to someone else. Why hog the work that you don’t even want to do?

One style of writing is to create your characters, put them in a world and then see what happens based on their interacting traits and the environment. It is this style that allowed Game of Thrones to be as dramatic as it was. No one was safe because that was the world that these characters lived in and propagated.

Therefore, to make characters lose their signature traits is a strange choice on the part of the writers.

Tyrion is no longer shrewd, Dany turns on a dime and becomes wicked and Jon not knowing anything became fact rather than just a fun meme. And that’s just three characters. There are more who simply seem like shells of themselves or in the case of Arya, have plot armour so thick that they can get stabbed multiple times, have buildings crumble on top of them and still find a serendipitous pony to ride off on largely unscathed.

Again, it seems that with the desire to get GoT over with, the writers needed characters to be wherever they needed them to be to speed the plot along. The internal consistency was also woeful. How can a dragon destroy ships and castles in one episode and not be able to obliterate a slab of rock in another episode? How can an entire army disappear and then respawn as if they weren’t murdered three episodes before? How can a building collapse and yet there’s a walkway to the rubble inside the building? I could go on.

To have a job in the creative industry is like a dream come true. As a writer, to get up every day and decide what happens in a story is a special kind of work. Nevertheless, it is work. There are rules and there are people you work for.

You have a role to entertain, just like a musician, comedian or even an athlete. You have to put on a show and make us feel something. If you’re failing to do this, you are failing at your job.

I know I’ve been guilty of this. I don’t have any major projects under my name as a writer but sometimes to find the motivation to write is difficult. But then I remember that I’m seeing the short films, movies, TV shows and sketches play out in my mind. If I find them entertaining and I think other people will too, I have to put them on paper and share them with producers who can share them with other creatives who will share it with distributors who will share it with the world.

I think Weiss and Benioff forgot that, but the fans are reminding them with a petition to remake season eight with over one million signatures. It isn’t that people actually want a remake; it’s to illustrate how disappointed they were.

Then there are the actors on the show who are also fans. The compilation videos of various cast members pointing out errors and voicing their disappointment are making their rounds on the internet. They must’ve bled emotionally as much as they physically did on-screen.

Overall, this isn’t a post to lambaste the writing duo behind the TV series, but perhaps it reads that way. I must admit I got pretty swept up in anger for the lack of consistency from episode to episode, the disrespect for the characters and their arcs, and for the fans. Everyone deserved better than this, including the writers. This is a part of their legacy now.

Nevertheless, it is important to take a post-mortem of what occurred and to ensure that future projects never suffer like the finale of Game of Thrones did.

I’m definitely going to watch the earlier seasons as I’ve heard nothing but good things. But you see, if everyone watched Veep like I told them to, well, maybe everyone wouldn’t be having such a bad time.

Former Edu. Psychologist | Current Writer | Constant Learner | “By your stumbling the world is perfected.”

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