Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

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Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-16 10:30pm

This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately. There was a big backlash against the awful writing of Game of Thrones' final season, and a lot of it was very richly deserved, but I also feel that a lot of it was and is deeply misplaced. Because the depressingly common (yet entirely predictable) takeaway is some variation of "It was good as long as they had the books to follow, and then it started to suck", or "It sucked because they cared more about subverting expectations than giving the fans what they wanted" (as though "the fans" are a homogenous group who can be simultaneously placated). In short, the takeaway seems to be "Shows will fail if they ever deviate from the source material/what "fans want"". The status quo is God, and that is the measure of quality.

I want to argue an alternative case: Game of Thrones did not fail because it deviated from "what fans wanted". In fact, if anything, its sin (besides the obvious misogyny and latent racism) was to try to give every faction of the fandom a bit of what it wanted, with the result that none of them actually got what they wanted. Seriously, all through the season, at point after point, I had a strong impression that amounted to "this is basically bad fanfic". Let's run it down:

-Canonize Arya/Gendry out of virtually nowhere (seriously, their last encounter was several years ago, when Arya was a pre-pubescent girl- I have no idea why this ship is popular other than their being a lot of pedophiles on the internet, or people treating Arya and Gendry as next-generation surrogates for Lyanna/Robert).
-Ship-tease (though thankfully not follow through on) both Sansa/Tyrion and Sansa/Sandor.
-Jaime/Brienne, and then it goes right back to Jaime/Cersei in a sudden reversal.

Its like they were trying to canonize as many fandom ships as they could- just be glad we didn't end up with Jon/Sansa or Jon/Arya before it was done.

Then there were a bunch of other plot points that, while not necessarily individually bad on their own, seemed like they were designed to placate different portions of the fandom. Arya kills the Night King, not Jon, for the people who want female empowerment. Daenerys turns into a monster at the last minute, on transparently sexist rationals, and then gets killed by Jon, for the misogynists. Cleganebowl happened as the fandom wanted, and Bronn got his castle. The main thing that seemed completely out of left field and aimed to please no particular faction was Bran becoming King- something so random I feel that its probably the most likely thing to have actually been in GRRM's notes.

Above all, whether it was done for "subversion", a racist/misogynist/anti-progressive agenda, pandering, or all of the above, the whole season felt incoherent, choppy. That is one possible result of diverging from the source material, but it isn't a necessary or inevitable one. And it is certainly also a potential result of writing to give a diverse and often conflicted fandom "what it wants".

Try to do a bit of everything, and the end result is, nobody is happy. What lacked here, and what lacked painfully in numerous recent series, was there clarity and courage to make creative choices, and stand by them.

Or to sum it up simply: "Written by committee" is seldom if ever a compliment, and a fandom is simply a committee of millions.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-17 01:22am

Debatable. Arrow, for instance, varied wildly from it's comic book source material. It also never really gave the Green Arrow comic fans what they wanted, while at the same time, listened to their mainstream fans who loved the idea of Oliver Queen pairing with fan stand-in character Felicity Smoak instead of Black Canary. While at the same time, The Flash has been highly praised for it's adhering to the comics with it's spirit of fun and and adventure(something missing from Arrow), and being considered a very fun show that is outliving the show it span off of. While it has brought Green Arrow into the popular culture, most people think he's a tough and "gritty version of Batman with a bow and arrow", as opposed to "social and economic liberal crimefighter who has an air of a swashbuckler". This is why the Flash has been more beloved, as "fast guy with a heart of gold saves the day" is both true to the comics and the TV show, and has brought in more fans.

Why do I bring this up? Because Barry's reaction to Jon Snow, while also showing why people love his character:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exMEbRsh ... breakfast



I think the major issue is, "Is this in the spirit of the work we're adapting?"

For Game of Thrones, the work was "Politics and life in a medieval fantasy world nearing a doomsday scenario". Sometimes George RR Martin would delve too deeply into the inner workings of this world, so that it felt rather pointless following any of these people. The show, when following that theme, seemed to work. But by deleting those subplots that drove characters, they made the characters make illogical steps and denied them their character motivation. If a character is supposed to be in place E by the end of the story, and you only know steps A and B, with A.1, A.2, and A.3 giving context, and those were cut from the show because you're already spinning a bunch of plates already, then it might get hard to follow. One example, Dorne, added nothing to the story, didn't really go anywhere after Oberyn died, and just ate up screentime. The show cutting them wholesale would have been a much better choice than bringing in the Sandsnakes, the arranged marriages, and the general Klingon nature of how their House supposedly works. On the other hand, Varys support of the supposed Aegon Targaryn(supposedly an impostor, as Jon Snow is the real Aegon), being deleted and changed to supporting Dany contrasts with his trying to kill her back in season 1, makes his actions to get to point E in season 8 really weird and nonsensical.

Here's another famous book series adapted into media that ran into a similar problem. The Harry Potter series. Things from the books that weren't put into earlier films that become crucial in later films. Namely, the mirror Sirius gave Harry as a fancy phone device became a big thing he carried around in films 7 and 8. Even more importantly, Dumbledore's mysterious family members that are either not referred to at all(his dead sister), or his brother who lives in Hogsmeade, which we visited in book and film 3, was not to be seen. You'd figure Dumbledore' younger brother might be someone we want to establish early on, as opposed to "Hey, yeah, I'm your dead mentor's younger brother, and have been hanging out at this bar you've visited multiple times the past few years. Here's some exposition and a plot coupon to finish the story." Finishing the books before starting the films might have led to the movies setting that up better, as the film adaptors didn't really know what was important(The Grey Lady's artifact/horcrux, Severus's backstory, Ron's importance as a character), and what wasn't(Colin Creevey's obsession with Harry, quidditch, etc.).
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Avrjoe » 2019-08-17 03:06am

I have to agree with Faxmodem1 but would expand his point. The change from highly political near soap opera that clearly showed each character's growth and how they evolved and why the decisions they made had internal consistency given their in character knowledge was what hurt the show.

The books and show were both good at showing how we judge others by their actions while we judge ourselves by our intentions. Working on limited knowledge, we assume a model of people that might be inherently inaccurate. Ned Stark knew the Lannisters to be power hungry and ruthless from what he as a boy knew of Tywin. In the books we learn something of why Tywin worked on that model: he was over correcting for a father who was too soft and gave the house a reputation for weakness that lead to rebellion of its vassals. Ned didn't see his better traits, like that he often would work with formal rivals once they "knew their place" rather then destroy them utterly. Ned then assumed Jamie had power as a motive for his murder of the Mad King a man he himself knew to be deserving of death without even knowing the further horrid details of his plans. This sort of knowledge, told via multiple view points, explains the wedge between houses that drives the early seasons.

I don't think the writers were able to weave so many threads with just the outline of the tapestry. They cut threads, distorted the shape and required the audience to make vaults of logic based on the earlier seasons. This left the feeling of people acting out of character or decisions they made coming from left field.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by ray245 » 2019-08-17 05:58am

Basically it requires patience story writing. Don't rush things, let the plot play out in a more logical but slower manner. But the writers were adamant that they must finish the show by season 7, and cut out a lot of important plot development that allows the audience to understand the actions and motivation of the main characters.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Lord Revan » 2019-08-17 06:04am

Yeah from what I've gathered some of the storylines in the final seasons could used more development and seemed the producers were in too much of a hurry to get to the conclusion to fully develop those stories.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Vendetta » 2019-08-17 08:49am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-16 10:30pm
I want to argue an alternative case: Game of Thrones did not fail because it deviated from "what fans wanted". In fact, if anything, its sin (besides the obvious misogyny and latent racism) was to try to give every faction of the fandom a bit of what it wanted, with the result that none of them actually got what they wanted.
I don't agree. These, among others like Cleganebowl, are certainly things that only happened because of the fandom response to them, but they aren't the substance of the problem with the show. They're things that get noticed as awkward because the actual substantial problems have caused story collapse and the required trust that the storyteller knows what they are doing has disappeared.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Majin Gojira » 2019-08-17 06:05pm

Honestly, I think Lindsay Ellis' 2 "Post-Mortem" videos on Game of Thrones cover what went wrong very well. It's not just what people are complaining about, it's a bit more complicated.

But I wouldn't dismiss it.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-17 06:39pm

Lord Revan wrote:
2019-08-17 06:04am
Yeah from what I've gathered some of the storylines in the final seasons could used more development and seemed the producers were in too much of a hurry to get to the conclusion to fully develop those stories.
Yeah, this is a big part of it. Its no secret that HBO actually offered them more and longer seasons, so this wasn't the network forcing them to wrap it up quickly under threat of cancellation. This is the show-runners half-assing it because they wanted to move on to their Star Wars gig.

That's not to say that you necessarily needed more time to tell a satisfying conclusion, though. A good writer can convey a lot succinctly, and remember that even the short final season was equivalent to three or four feature films in the air time it had. That's more time than the entire Star Wars original trilogy, for example, got to create its world and tell its story from start to finish. The problem is less lack of time, and more them using that time very badly, by rapidly switching course on major character arcs in a way that felt very forced.
Vendetta wrote:
2019-08-17 08:49am
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-16 10:30pm
I want to argue an alternative case: Game of Thrones did not fail because it deviated from "what fans wanted". In fact, if anything, its sin (besides the obvious misogyny and latent racism) was to try to give every faction of the fandom a bit of what it wanted, with the result that none of them actually got what they wanted.
I don't agree. These, among others like Cleganebowl, are certainly things that only happened because of the fandom response to them, but they aren't the substance of the problem with the show. They're things that get noticed as awkward because the actual substantial problems have caused story collapse and the required trust that the storyteller knows what they are doing has disappeared.
They may not be the substance of the problem, as I said, some of the fan servicy moments I actually liked (Arya shanking the Night King, for instance). But they are symptoms/illustration of what I feel one of the main underlying problems is, which is a fundamental incoherence of story-telling, whether you want to attribute that to over-subversiveness or pandering (or, more likely a bit of both, because again, lack of coherency).
ray245 wrote:
2019-08-17 05:58am
Basically it requires patience story writing. Don't rush things, let the plot play out in a more logical but slower manner. But the writers were adamant that they must finish the show by season 7, and cut out a lot of important plot development that allows the audience to understand the actions and motivation of the main characters.
Again, I wouldn't say the problem is that there wasn't enough time per say. Its that the time was used badly, because of a fundamental lack of coherency to the narrative.

Like, instead of trying to tell one story from start to finish, they tried to tell bits of five different stories, so they all sucked. If that makes it clearer.
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-17 01:22am
Debatable. Arrow, for instance, varied wildly from it's comic book source material. It also never really gave the Green Arrow comic fans what they wanted, while at the same time, listened to their mainstream fans who loved the idea of Oliver Queen pairing with fan stand-in character Felicity Smoak instead of Black Canary. While at the same time, The Flash has been highly praised for it's adhering to the comics with it's spirit of fun and and adventure(something missing from Arrow), and being considered a very fun show that is outliving the show it span off of. While it has brought Green Arrow into the popular culture, most people think he's a tough and "gritty version of Batman with a bow and arrow", as opposed to "social and economic liberal crimefighter who has an air of a swashbuckler". This is why the Flash has been more beloved, as "fast guy with a heart of gold saves the day" is both true to the comics and the TV show, and has brought in more fans.

Why do I bring this up? Because Barry's reaction to Jon Snow, while also showing why people love his character:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exMEbRsh ... breakfast



I think the major issue is, "Is this in the spirit of the work we're adapting?"

For Game of Thrones, the work was "Politics and life in a medieval fantasy world nearing a doomsday scenario". Sometimes George RR Martin would delve too deeply into the inner workings of this world, so that it felt rather pointless following any of these people. The show, when following that theme, seemed to work. But by deleting those subplots that drove characters, they made the characters make illogical steps and denied them their character motivation. If a character is supposed to be in place E by the end of the story, and you only know steps A and B, with A.1, A.2, and A.3 giving context, and those were cut from the show because you're already spinning a bunch of plates already, then it might get hard to follow. One example, Dorne, added nothing to the story, didn't really go anywhere after Oberyn died, and just ate up screentime. The show cutting them wholesale would have been a much better choice than bringing in the Sandsnakes, the arranged marriages, and the general Klingon nature of how their House supposedly works. On the other hand, Varys support of the supposed Aegon Targaryn(supposedly an impostor, as Jon Snow is the real Aegon), being deleted and changed to supporting Dany contrasts with his trying to kill her back in season 1, makes his actions to get to point E in season 8 really weird and nonsensical.

Here's another famous book series adapted into media that ran into a similar problem. The Harry Potter series. Things from the books that weren't put into earlier films that become crucial in later films. Namely, the mirror Sirius gave Harry as a fancy phone device became a big thing he carried around in films 7 and 8. Even more importantly, Dumbledore's mysterious family members that are either not referred to at all(his dead sister), or his brother who lives in Hogsmeade, which we visited in book and film 3, was not to be seen. You'd figure Dumbledore' younger brother might be someone we want to establish early on, as opposed to "Hey, yeah, I'm your dead mentor's younger brother, and have been hanging out at this bar you've visited multiple times the past few years. Here's some exposition and a plot coupon to finish the story." Finishing the books before starting the films might have led to the movies setting that up better, as the film adaptors didn't really know what was important(The Grey Lady's artifact/horcrux, Severus's backstory, Ron's importance as a character), and what wasn't(Colin Creevey's obsession with Harry, quidditch, etc.).
I do agree that there needs to be something of the spirit of the original work that is retained. Otherwise, why not just write an original fantasy story (other than piggybacking on a popular brand, I mean)?
Avrjoe wrote:
2019-08-17 03:06am
I have to agree with Faxmodem1 but would expand his point. The change from highly political near soap opera that clearly showed each character's growth and how they evolved and why the decisions they made had internal consistency given their in character knowledge was what hurt the show.

The books and show were both good at showing how we judge others by their actions while we judge ourselves by our intentions. Working on limited knowledge, we assume a model of people that might be inherently inaccurate. Ned Stark knew the Lannisters to be power hungry and ruthless from what he as a boy knew of Tywin. In the books we learn something of why Tywin worked on that model: he was over correcting for a father who was too soft and gave the house a reputation for weakness that lead to rebellion of its vassals. Ned didn't see his better traits, like that he often would work with formal rivals once they "knew their place" rather then destroy them utterly. Ned then assumed Jamie had power as a motive for his murder of the Mad King a man he himself knew to be deserving of death without even knowing the further horrid details of his plans. This sort of knowledge, told via multiple view points, explains the wedge between houses that drives the early seasons.

I don't think the writers were able to weave so many threads with just the outline of the tapestry. They cut threads, distorted the shape and required the audience to make vaults of logic based on the earlier seasons. This left the feeling of people acting out of character or decisions they made coming from left field.
I think only a very few tweaks would have been needed to make the season, if not brilliant, at least tolerable.

Basically, it comes down to not clumsily reversing direction on Jaime and Daenerys's arcs at the last minute, and not having King Bran come out of nowhere. There are other things, but that would have made it tolerable.

Perhaps streamlining the season into focusing on fewer plot points would have helped, but it would have potentially left a lot hanging.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by streetad » 2019-08-19 06:04am

I am absolutely certain that certain things were in GRRM's notes regarding how the series ends. Bran being king, Dany reverting to type and unleashing 'fire and blood' on the realm, Jaimie rejecting the concept of redemption and going back to Cersei.

The problem was, the show runners wanted to retain these elements for the ending, but have spent the last few series writing what they want without any plan on how to get there. None of these characters were in the places, physically and emotionally, that they needed to be in at the start of S8 for any of the payoffs to come across as anything other than jarring and random.

In addition there was definitely an element of trying to pander to the shows fans that has been happening since well before S8. The continued baffling relevance of Bronn, the decision to bring Gendry back out of nowhere, most things involving Sansa and Arya.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-19 06:31am

streetad wrote:
2019-08-19 06:04am
I am absolutely certain that certain things were in GRRM's notes regarding how the series ends. Bran being king, Dany reverting to type and unleashing 'fire and blood' on the realm, Jaimie rejecting the concept of redemption and going back to Cersei.
I'm skeptical of the last two, because they feel like such about-faces, but maybe that's just a wishful thinking and the ineptness of how the show handled them. I also really hate the "All Targaryens are insane" bullshit. There are plenty of sane Targaryens in canon (Jon, the Night Watch Maester, some of the other pre-series Targaryens).

I could see Jaime going back to Cersei, yeah- there's enough ugliness in Jaime's character that in the end I could see him going that route. Daenerys... well, if that was GRRM's plan, he's between a rock and a hard place now, because what happened to Danny is the single most reviled aspect of the series' conclusion, widely (and frankly, justifiably) lambasted as not only out of character but misogynist. Even if he had a different plan for the particulars of how it happened, one that might have been more acceptable to fans, the show has basically poisoned the well. He's now got to contend with a large portion of the fan base basically pinning their hopes on him decanonizing that particular twist- and all that anger is going to erupt again if he doesn't. Seriously- one whiff of Mad Queen Danny in the next book and the internet is going to fucking explode again. Sucks to be him, I guess.

I do think King's Landing is probably going to burn, though the details will likely be different. I just hope its something better than "Danny decides to murder a bunch of innocent people because women are cray-cray." Though honestly, one of my thoughts for the show until they had Danny go off the deep end was that Cersei would try and pull an Aerys and set off the wildfire rather than surrendering the city.

I do think King Bran is going to happen, just because its such random thing even in the context of the show that it feels like the show runners basically got a note saying "this happens".
The problem was, the show runners wanted to retain these elements for the ending, but have spent the last few series writing what they want without any plan on how to get there. None of these characters were in the places, physically and emotionally, that they needed to be in at the start of S8 for any of the payoffs to come across as anything other than jarring and random.
Maybe. I'd really like to know what notes GRRM gave them, and what they came up with themselves.*
In addition there was definitely an element of trying to pander to the shows fans that has been happening since well before S8. The continued baffling relevance of Bronn, the decision to bring Gendry back out of nowhere, most things involving Sansa and Arya.
I could see Gendry coming back, maybe. Bronn... yeah, he felt like he got more screen time than GRRM would have given him because the writers/fans liked the character, but maybe that's just my impression.

Arya and Sansa I fully expect to have major roles, and I expect Sansa will still be the one to do Littlefinger in, one way or another. Arya's story will obviously be somewhat different, simply owing to the fact that there is no Night King in the books.

*Edit: Sadly, we'll probably never know, or at least not until GRRM finishes the series, if he ever does. Any confidentiality agreements there might be aside, I wouldn't trust one word on the subject out of the showrunners' mouths. Every single thing they've said since this debacle aired stinks of ass-covering.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Vendetta » 2019-08-19 11:54am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-17 06:39pm
They may not be the substance of the problem, as I said, some of the fan servicy moments I actually liked (Arya shanking the Night King, for instance). But they are symptoms/illustration of what I feel one of the main underlying problems is, which is a fundamental incoherence of story-telling, whether you want to attribute that to over-subversiveness or pandering (or, more likely a bit of both, because again, lack of coherency).
I agree that the problem is that the storytelling was incoherent, but it wasn't because of any of the things you've suggested.

The breakdown happened because in order to hit the bullet points that had been laid out for the ending, characters were required to act in ways completely at odds with their previous development and there was no path mapped out for how the people they were roughly at the end of season 5 would become the people they needed to be at the end of season 8. They just started doing the things they needed to do to hit the bullet points without bothering to change into the people who would do them.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Raw Shark » 2019-08-22 07:51pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-19 06:31am
streetad wrote:
2019-08-19 06:04am
I am absolutely certain that certain things were in GRRM's notes regarding how the series ends. Bran being king, Dany reverting to type and unleashing 'fire and blood' on the realm, Jaimie rejecting the concept of redemption and going back to Cersei.
I'm skeptical of the last two, because they feel like such about-faces, but maybe that's just a wishful thinking and the ineptness of how the show handled them. I also really hate the "All Targaryens are insane" bullshit. There are plenty of sane Targaryens in canon (Jon, the Night Watch Maester, some of the other pre-series Targaryens).

I could see Jaime going back to Cersei, yeah- there's enough ugliness in Jaime's character that in the end I could see him going that route. Daenerys... well, if that was GRRM's plan, he's between a rock and a hard place now, because what happened to Danny is the single most reviled aspect of the series' conclusion, widely (and frankly, justifiably) lambasted as not only out of character but misogynist. Even if he had a different plan for the particulars of how it happened, one that might have been more acceptable to fans, the show has basically poisoned the well. He's now got to contend with a large portion of the fan base basically pinning their hopes on him decanonizing that particular twist- and all that anger is going to erupt again if he doesn't. Seriously- one whiff of Mad Queen Danny in the next book and the internet is going to fucking explode again. Sucks to be him, I guess.
This is actually some pretty classic GRRM behavior. He takes the old writing axiom about murdering your darlings quite literally, and he crafts his own darlings well enough that they become the darlings of his readers as well. This is probably the single most defining aspect of his body of work that either appeals to or unpleasantly jars new readers.
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-19 06:31am
In addition there was definitely an element of trying to pander to the shows fans that has been happening since well before S8. The continued baffling relevance of Bronn, the decision to bring Gendry back out of nowhere, most things involving Sansa and Arya.
I could see Gendry coming back, maybe. Bronn... yeah, he felt like he got more screen time than GRRM would have given him because the writers/fans liked the character, but maybe that's just my impression.
Gendry and Bronn are two favorites of a lot of book fans, and the show runners were wise to observe that. Whatever their intended role, the fans had already responded positively to both characters before the show started. This tends to fall into two camps, being Gendry / Arya "When they're grown up / not creepy because lots of time and life experience happened" shippers, and the people who love Bronn because he's the funniest and most shamelessly pragmatic regular dude in Tyrion's narrative and definitely not a peripheral character. His entire book career is really pretty exceptional.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Darth Yan » 2019-08-26 11:49pm

Dany's problem was that she was rushed; the clues to her going bonkers have been there from the beginning.

Incidentally I proposed my own version of how I would have done the entire show.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Vendetta » 2019-08-27 05:54am

Darth Yan wrote:
2019-08-26 11:49pm
Dany's problem was that she was rushed; the clues to her going bonkers have been there from the beginning.
Not really.

We already know what Daenerys does in a position of power because she has had power throughout the last few seasons and what she does with it has been consistent overthrow of iniquitous power structures and markedly not random burnination and being fantasy hitler.

The show is not a rushed path between previous idealism and final tragedy, the path was not taken at all, the character was merely yanked to a destination which did not make sense, just like everyone physically teleports around the world in the latter seasons.

Foreshadowing is not character development, assessing previous words and actions in context of the ending does not justify the ending without that character development being present.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Darth Yan » 2019-08-27 04:07pm

https://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/game-of ... ueen-clues

She abandoned Mereen to fall into chaos to claim the throne of Westeros even though they didn't want her, she crucified people at random and when told that one of them was actually benevolent her response is "I don't care". Takes joy in killing her enemies because she feels if they oppose her they deserve to die etc Hell look at her "I will take what is mine through fire and blood" back in season 2.

Darth Wong pointed out that

"Yes, she has shown a good side as well, but so what? Many villains have shown a good side. Adolf Hitler hated cruelty to animals. The insane cult leader Jim Jones was an activist against racism. For the first six months of his rule, the infamous psychotic Roman emperor Caligula was beloved: he granted amnesty to political prisoners/exiles, and he gave generously to the people. Bad people can have a good side. Daenerys always had one disturbing trait: she has no sympathy for those whom she has judged. Nice people will have some sympathy even for an enemy, but Daenerys never did. When she gets that cold look in her eyes, it is over. You mean NOTHING to her. You are worth less than the dust beneath her feet. Many viewers enjoyed that, in a vicarious fantasy way, and I was one of them, but you would have to be delusional not to realize that this is realistically a frightening personality trait."

and

"Let me repeat that: she could have stayed in Meereen. She should have stayed in Meereen. But she chose to invade a distant land and conquer it, because she felt entitled to it. She chose to START A WAR against an distant enemy, just because she felt entitled to their land.
People need to understand something: every time you start a war, even if you believe your cause is just, innocent people will die. EVERY TIME."

The clues WERE there from the beginning.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Solauren » 2019-08-27 09:53pm

A note about Arya and the Night King:

There has been no Night King, as of yet. If the 'Others' really are immortal, then the Night King could still be active/alive.

I do agree, however, until the Night King shows up in the books, Arya's role is likely to be very different.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Darth Yan » 2019-08-28 01:42am

One thing that should have been done with the Night King is emphasize the tragedy. Think about it, he was a human forcibly converted into a weapon and all the joys of humanity are forever lost to him, so instead he's determined to drag the rest of the world down with him. That's still more sympathetic than Ramsay and Joffrey ever were.

This might be off topic but if I was doing it (in addition to more seasons) I would have had the final battle occur at the Eye of the Gods. Bran would be on the Isle of Faces and after an aerial dragon duel (Because that would be AWESOME) Jon and the Night's King have a final duel in front of the Massive weir wood tree. The Night's King, rather than being silent, would give Jon a rather brutal hannibal lecture, pointing out all the murder and betrayal that's occurred over the show, and how Jon himself only exists because Rhaegar and Lyanna were so thoughtless and selfish that they failed to see the consequences of what they did and how the realm bled for their actions. Ultimately Jon does triumph over the Night's King.....but it's still a hollow victory. Westeros has been ravaged by both the War of the 5 kings AND the Night King's March through Westeros. When we get the council to determine the ruler Jon gets chosen as a compromise candidate but Dany kinda snaps at this point because she feels personally betrayed (she assumes Jon told Varys about his parentage) and sees her birthright fleeing. So she instead decides to arrest the lords. Arya kills Dany instead, with the same dagger used to try and kill Bran.

Jon would take the throne instead of Bran, determined to prove the Night's King wrong.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-29 02:24am

Darth Yan wrote:
2019-08-28 01:42am
One thing that should have been done with the Night King is emphasize the tragedy. Think about it, he was a human forcibly converted into a weapon and all the joys of humanity are forever lost to him, so instead he's determined to drag the rest of the world down with him. That's still more sympathetic than Ramsay and Joffrey ever were.

This might be off topic but if I was doing it (in addition to more seasons) I would have had the final battle occur at the Eye of the Gods. Bran would be on the Isle of Faces and after an aerial dragon duel (Because that would be AWESOME) Jon and the Night's King have a final duel in front of the Massive weir wood tree. The Night's King, rather than being silent, would give Jon a rather brutal hannibal lecture, pointing out all the murder and betrayal that's occurred over the show, and how Jon himself only exists because Rhaegar and Lyanna were so thoughtless and selfish that they failed to see the consequences of what they did and how the realm bled for their actions. Ultimately Jon does triumph over the Night's King.....but it's still a hollow victory. Westeros has been ravaged by both the War of the 5 kings AND the Night King's March through Westeros. When we get the council to determine the ruler Jon gets chosen as a compromise candidate but Dany kinda snaps at this point because she feels personally betrayed (she assumes Jon told Varys about his parentage) and sees her birthright fleeing. So she instead decides to arrest the lords. Arya kills Dany instead, with the same dagger used to try and kill Bran.

Jon would take the throne instead of Bran, determined to prove the Night's King wrong.
This seems a very conventional, by the numbers plot, basically: take the most common/popular fan theories before the final season and give them what they want. As fan service it would therefore potentially be effective, but aside from Arya killing Danny it might have been too predictable.

I can see the appeal to making the Night King a deeper character, but he also works at this point as just an impersonal force of nature, who's humanity is so long gone he may not even remember it any more.

Admittedly, after the finale I sometimes joke that the Night King was actually a hero just trying to save Westeros from the reign of the Dark Lord Bran. :D

Not a fan of Rhaegar and Lyanna bashing. I will never judge a woman for refusing to stay with the husband (read: owner) that her father assigned her. Though it might be an effective psychological weapon against Jon, maybe.

I don't think Arya instead of Jon killing the Night King is something that needs to be "fixed." I found that a fairly effective twist. Having Arya use her assassins training to save her family from someone too powerful to vanquish in direct combat, and harking back to "Not today", was a fairly effective way of bringing her journey full-circle. Plus, while I'm not saying anything about your motives, I can't shake the feeling that a lot of the objections boil down to the fact that Arya wasn't the Traditional Male Chosen One. Any foreshadowing of Jon being the Prince Who Was Promised is ambiguous (Danny was also a prime candidate), and even if it was Jon, I'm not sure where it was ever said (besides genre conventions and fan expectations) that the PWWP would personally kill the Night King. A Prince is a leadership position, and it could be that Jon's role was to form the alliance that would beat the Night King, not to personally wield the blade. Plus its not like prophecies are terribly reliable in this setting.

I do think it would have been nice to have an actual fight between Jon and the Night King, just for the fans who will now wonder forever how that fight would have gone. If it had been me, I might have had Jon come running in after Theon was cut down, fighting the Night King one on one, a moment of hope where it looks like Jon will save the day- only to have him lose, with Arya striking at the distracted Night King just as he's about to kill Jon. So it would be a bit of a team kill between Jon and Arya.

The idea of it happening at the Eye of the Gods has some merit, maybe, although you'd have to rewrite things extensively to get that result, mainly because nobody who's at Winterfell is realistically surviving a defeat. They're humans, retreating through winter from a foe that doesn't need to rest or eat. If Winterfell fell, no one who was there is ever getting out, except maybe on dragon-back.

Hmm, that would have been an interesting plot. Have Jon and Danny still be on the way North when Winterfell gets hit. Maybe they rush back up there by dragon but without their armies, but arrive too late. Even have Jon see Winterfell fall from the air and be forced to turn back, for maximum tragedy. I might have Bran go South with the civilians in advance in this scenario (because he's seen what's coming), with Arya and Sansa remaining with the rearguard at Winterfell, Sansa out of a sense of duty and Arya because she won't leave Sansa. Arya would be the sole survivor of Winterfell due to her supernatural stealth skills, slipping out after Sansa and the guard are killed and making her way South on foot. Alternatively Sansa and Arya could flee as well.

I don't think any Mad/Evil Queen Danny plot would have been palatable to me, or to a lot of fans. They'd built her up too much as a hero and even a feminist icon, and while she was often ruthless, it was usually toward genuinely evil people, or legitimate military targets. And any change to that at the last minute would have felt like pandering to a very specific (and often misogynist) part of the fan base. In theory a situation where neither Jon or Daenerys was really in the wrong, but they were forced into a tragic conflict by circumstances/the machinations of others/misunderstandings, but it would take a good writer to do convincingly, and I feel like the controversy around Mad Queen Danny even before last season poisoned that whole concept.

I'd probably keep Bran as secret evil/morally-ambiguous mastermind, too.

If you don't want Queen Danny, I'd have had her die heroically against the Night King. At least let her die with a little dignity if you want Jon on the throne.

Hmm, you haven't said what you'd do with Jaime/Brienne, and Cersei.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Darth Yan » 2019-08-29 02:06pm

I posted an outline on Reddit. I included a link.

Also as I posted earlier Mad Queen Dany was telegraphed from day 1. If she decides someones an enemy she declares them dead and damn any consequences. She abandons Mereen to chaos to get a land she feels entitled to. She gets pissy when they don't accept her as the messiah. Back in Season 2 she was all "I'll take what I want through fire and blood".

A lot of people were disappointed but not surprised. It's like in the imaginarium of dr parnassus. At first I was shocked when we learn that a certain character is actually bad....but on going back the clues where there from the very beginning. Same with Dany.

As for Lyanna.....it's complicated. Rhaegar DID have a family who he abandoned to run off with her and Elia was by all accounts a nice woman and devoted wife. So while Lyanna's reasons were sympathetic it was still unwittingly cruel on both their parts.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Raw Shark » 2019-08-30 03:50pm

I'm leaning toward DY here. Lyanna and Rhaegar maybe did not consider the consequences to their families more than their teenage love and/or apocalyptic beliefs, but they weren't exactly trying to fuck up everything, they were two crazy kids with strong senses of identity that maybe didn't jibe with everyone else but translated into serious magnetism. By all book accounts, Elia Martell was also a true believer in the phrophecy or compliant enough with her husband to play along, so the real victim here is arguably the Realm, which endured the last big war over a romantic and religious dispute that certain other people (who were very good at it) felt necessitated armed conflict.

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Solauren » 2019-08-30 07:51pm

It's also entirely possible that R + L sent some kind of communication to her father explaining the situtation (Rhaegar wouldn't really have needed to), and someone intercepted it.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by Darth Yan » 2019-08-30 08:49pm

Possibly. But Romulan, much as I like him, is in denial over the fact dany was never going to be the hero at all. It wasn’t pandering to have her go evil

I linked an outline I did. What did y’all think

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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-30 09:45pm

Honestly, I think Dany was almost written to be a critique on American foreign policy. FInds a wrong in the world, sees it as unacceptable, moves in to fix it via violent war, and has no exit strategy or policy beyond killing those at the top, and is utterly flabbergasted when things keep on going wrong after that.

Mostly, Dany wanted power, but had no idea what to do with it. She ended slavery, yes. But then she grew bored and moved on, leaving her former boytoy in charge. A mercenary who has even less government experience than she did, how will that pan out? She doesn't institute reforms to rebuild their economy, Tyrion does that. She doesn't build guilds for the more academic slaves, she merely has them resell themselves into slavery, overriding her drive in the first place. She may want power, and have noble goals, but she had no idea what to do after. If we had seen Dany poring over city plans for building a new road for trade,planning out farmland for the next planting, or looking over granary counts, I could buy that she has everyone's best interest at heart. Instead, it comes off, in the show at least, that ruling is hard and Dany alienates everyone in Meereen because she didn't consider that her actions have consequences.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2019-08-30 10:48pm

Darth Yan wrote:
2019-08-30 08:49pm
Possibly. But Romulan, much as I like him, is in denial over the fact dany was never going to be the hero at all. It wasn’t pandering to have her go evil

I linked an outline I did. What did y’all think
The problem is, as I noted in the other thread, that the show built her up as a hero at least as much as they built her up as a villain. And that season seven and the first of half of season eight showed her making a choice to put the good of the people above her ambitions or blood lust. It felt like they had set her on a path toward a more heroic role- and then they suddenly changed course at the last minute, in about the most ham-fisted way possible, and justified it in part via overtly sexist tropes.

If Daenerys had been unambiguously portrayed as a villain and/or mad, or shown a clear trajectory toward that from the beginning, I doubt there'd be so much anger. There would probably (justifiably) still be some grumbling about how female leaders in general are so often portrayed as evil, mad, or conniving, especially with Cersei being the other main female sovereign on the show, but I don't think it would have been nearly as harsh as it was. But they didn't portray Daenerys consistently as a budding villain or lunatic, and her arc in the later seasons can easily be read as going the other way- until they suddenly changed course.
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-30 09:45pm
Honestly, I think Dany was almost written to be a critique on American foreign policy. FInds a wrong in the world, sees it as unacceptable, moves in to fix it via violent war, and has no exit strategy or policy beyond killing those at the top, and is utterly flabbergasted when things keep on going wrong after that.

Mostly, Dany wanted power, but had no idea what to do with it. She ended slavery, yes. But then she grew bored and moved on, leaving her former boytoy in charge. A mercenary who has even less government experience than she did, how will that pan out? She doesn't institute reforms to rebuild their economy, Tyrion does that. She doesn't build guilds for the more academic slaves, she merely has them resell themselves into slavery, overriding her drive in the first place. She may want power, and have noble goals, but she had no idea what to do after. If we had seen Dany poring over city plans for building a new road for trade,planning out farmland for the next planting, or looking over granary counts, I could buy that she has everyone's best interest at heart. Instead, it comes off, in the show at least, that ruling is hard and Dany alienates everyone in Meereen because she didn't consider that her actions have consequences.
Or that she's not good at economic management and political manuevering and knows it, so delegates that stuff to people who are. Daenerys has big ideas, the will to execute them, personal charisma, her Targaryen heritage, and dragons. That's what she brings to the table. She doesn't need to be great at micromanaging if she has competent subordinates she is willing to listen to. Which she did, most of the time, until season eight had them nearly all die or betray her.

I will acknowledge that the scenes of white liberator Danny being praised and worshiped by crowds of mostly brown slaves are cringe-worthy, despite the fact that the setting has a different historical context, and the actual reason for the racial differences is that they filmed in North Africa and took whatever extras were in the area IIRC.
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Re: Are people taking the wrong message from the failure of Game of Thrones' final season?

Post by FaxModem1 » 2019-08-30 11:18pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2019-08-30 10:48pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2019-08-30 09:45pm
Honestly, I think Dany was almost written to be a critique on American foreign policy. FInds a wrong in the world, sees it as unacceptable, moves in to fix it via violent war, and has no exit strategy or policy beyond killing those at the top, and is utterly flabbergasted when things keep on going wrong after that.

Mostly, Dany wanted power, but had no idea what to do with it. She ended slavery, yes. But then she grew bored and moved on, leaving her former boytoy in charge. A mercenary who has even less government experience than she did, how will that pan out? She doesn't institute reforms to rebuild their economy, Tyrion does that. She doesn't build guilds for the more academic slaves, she merely has them resell themselves into slavery, overriding her drive in the first place. She may want power, and have noble goals, but she had no idea what to do after. If we had seen Dany poring over city plans for building a new road for trade,planning out farmland for the next planting, or looking over granary counts, I could buy that she has everyone's best interest at heart. Instead, it comes off, in the show at least, that ruling is hard and Dany alienates everyone in Meereen because she didn't consider that her actions have consequences.
Or that she's not good at economic management and political manuevering and knows it, so delegates that stuff to people who are. Daenerys has big ideas, the will to execute them, personal charisma, her Targaryen heritage, and dragons. That's what she brings to the table. She doesn't need to be great at micromanaging if she has competent subordinates she is willing to listen to. Which she did, most of the time, until season eight had them nearly all die or betray her.

I will acknowledge that the scenes of white liberator Danny being praised and worshiped by crowds of mostly brown slaves are cringe-worthy, despite the fact that the setting has a different historical context, and the actual reason for the racial differences is that they filmed in North Africa and took whatever extras were in the area IIRC.
Problem is that she isn't shown as being 'on the ball' about the problems. In the Meereen arc, she has to have people come to her pointing out problems, with her not really knowing where to go with this. With the city pretty much devolving into civil war, forcing her to flee the city until she gets reinforcements via the coup she pulled on the Dothraki. A troop surge, if you will. Until she pulls out and moves back to military actions in other parts of the world.

Also, the reason I bring up comparing Dany to American foreign policy is, well, This:



Seemed to be an imitation of this:



Devoting an entire iconic scene like that seemed to be on purpose.
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