Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ve by now heard all about the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones.
HBO’s ratings juggernaut has become as much a cultural phenomenon as it has a successful television show, complete with everything that entails. From merchandise, cosplayers, and of course internet memes that rival the Star Wars fandom, to the millions of loyal viewers each week, to the millions of others who claim to have “never seen a single episode,” yet can’t seem to stop talking about it, Game of Thrones is unquestionably the biggest thing in fandom today.
And with any fandom this huge, there’s bound to be more polarizing responses to the series than there are swords and shields in the fantasy epic. Indeed, it seems everyone has an opinion about this show, and especially its final season, so with that in mind, let me be the next to toss in his unsolicited take as I review Game of Thrones: The Final Season!
WHILE THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT “SPOILER-FREE” ONLY APPLIES TO THIS SEASON!
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS FOR SEASONS 7 AND EARLIER.
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!
The eighth season kicks off in Winterfell, now once again firmly controlled by King in the North: Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Lady of Winterfell: Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and the rest of House Stark, as Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and her now massive army joins them as they prepare to take on the Night King and his army of undead wights, who have breached the wall and are marching towards the Westerosi kingdom of The North. Meanwhile, further south in Kings Landing, Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) continues to reign over the Seven Kingdoms and is preparing for the Targaryen army to make its final march to take the coveted iron throne of Westeros. As the story unfolds, and everything comes to a head, viewers are treated to (or tormented by, depending on who you ask) the epic Great War at Winterfell and the Last War for the iron throne. But what happens to everyone? Who survives? And what is left after all that eminent destruction? And of course, who sits the throne when all is said and done? Well, this is a SPOILER FREE review, so you’ll of course have to go watch and see for yourself – assuming you haven’t already, or otherwise will just continue to claim to be part of some self-proclaimed “1%” who allegedly has no interest anyway.
Now, as many of you are already aware, the show has long since eclipsed the original books written by George R.R. Martin, and the show-runners have only had the cliff notes to go from for a couple seasons now. As to whether or not we’ll ever see the rest of the books completed, well, that’s easily the biggest mystery of all. Either way, the writing of the series has very noticeably went downhill since the departure from the source material (or lack thereof), and has become much more of your typical TV show than the epic it began as. As a result, the final season, much like the previous one, has seemed very rushed and even at times force-fed just to get us all (I’d assume especially the cast and crew) to the ending so we can wrap this thing up. This didn’t honestly do as much damage as some fans claim, but it was definitely noticeable.
What remains, however, is the absolutely stellar acting by the entire cast. The now-star-studded lineup continues to turn in incredible performances as their respective characters, and really carry this final season on their respective backs. I for one would be shocked if Peter Dinklage, in particular doesn’t take home some major awards for his portrayal of Tyrion Lannister, who manages to shine even bigger and brighter than his also-outstanding co-stars.
From a production/visual standpoint, HBO clearly spared no expense, which shows in the stunning landscapes, epic battles, and incredible use of both practical and digital FX throughout. Perhaps this should go without saying, given a budget this big, but it still deserves credit for all it’s done. Particularly, the two epic battles, which made television history by reportedly being the single most massive scenes ever filmed for the small screen. The night may have been dark and full of terrors, but it most certainly made an immense impact.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, the final season of Game of Thrones is a fine conclusion to the series, but definitely not the one you probably wanted, or even possibly expected. Ultimately, it makes sense, and fits well enough into place, yet it is hurt by the rushed pace, a drop off in the quality of writing, and will most certainly leave you wanting more. I suppose that’s the point, really, but after eight seasons, and such a rabid fan base, was there ever even a way to please everyone? I suppose we’ll never know.
– Season Eight: 7.0/10 – Overall Series: 9.0/10
Editor/Staff Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine