This article contains spoilers for the Game of Thrones TV show and A Song of Ice and Fire book series. I will be doing more articles on this last season of Game of Thrones, this one will mainly cover episode 3, "The Long Night".
14th of April, 2019. The first episode of the 8th season of Game of Thrones (GoT) was aired. I had been following the show since 2016 after having read the A Song Of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) series(the book series that are being written by George R. R. Martin and that inspired the GoT). The ASOIAF series is by far my favourite book series, with A Storm of Swords being my favourite book, so I was very excited when I started watching the tv show (HBO was releasing the 6th season at the time), and I wasn't disappointed. I quickly fell in love with the show; the acting was great, the visual effects and sound effects as well, and the writing was excellent.
In 2017, season 7 was released and I was horrified. The storylines were silly, like going north of the wall to capture a wight, rushing the Jon and Dany romance , and so much more was wrong with this season. This really lowered my expectations for Season 8. However, when I finished season 8, I was extremely… disappointed. The writers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (who many fans call "DnD"), did an even worse job than I imagined. There are several things I hated in this last season, and it all starts with the Battle of Winterfell.
The Battle of Winterfell was the battle between the Others (known in the show as "White Walkers") and the humans. First off, I want to say that this episode was well directed, Miguel Sapochnik did a great job. Still, it didn’t out-measure the utter disorder of the episode, the reason behind the attack of the White Walkers on humans was terrible. Their reason being that they wanted to kill Bran to "remove the memories of this world" and destroy this world. It's a very 2D, underdeveloped "dark lord" type of plot, and this is supposed to be telling George R. R. Martin's story; Martin is a writer who was always against having a generic villain in a story, and the Others in the books are way more complex and mysterious, D and D were either lazy or didn't have the skills to come up with a reason behind the White Walkers' attack. These were the villains that the TV show had been building up to, that were supposed to be the biggest threat in Westeros, but instead, they were given a cliché evil backstory and were destroyed in one episode, which leads me to my second point: the "war" against the Others was very short.
The episode was titled "The Long Night" because of the first war against the Others, so how come it was so short? It would be better if it was called "The One-Episode Night". The writers had been building up to the Battle for the Dawn ever since episode 1, season 1;so how come it ended in one episode? I didn't expect it to last the entire season, but one episode is too little, and before you think that maybe they weren't allowed to have more episodes or more seasons, HBO (and even George RR Martin) wanted to make more of GoT, DnD were the ones who refused. There was enough source material for 10 seasons, even with the books not being finished. Instead, the writers decided to finish this arc in one episode and in the worst way possible.
Arya Stark killing the Night King was another terrible decision. Her story arc had nothing to do with the White Walkers, she never faced them before, she barely knew about their existence and she had done nothing to help in the War for the Dawn. The ones who should have killed the Night King were either Jon or maybe Daenerys. Jon's entire arc had been centred around the Night's Watch and the Others, he fought them at Hardhome and was the first person to kill a wight in centuries. He was the only person who managed to unite the Free Folk with the Night's Watch, and he did that to fight the Others, he died for the Watch and came back to fight the Others. Jon's story was always focused on the war against the White Walkers, so it would be much more coherent for him to kill the Night King than Arya Stark. Dany would have been a good choice too, but I still feel like her story is more focused on the Iron Throne.
Brandon Stark was also a complete letdown. His story was all about him gaining magical powers in an effort to fight the White Walkers (though we can't be sure about the goals of the Three-Eyed Ravens), however, when push came to shove, he did absolutely nothing in the Battle of Winterfell. According to Miguel Sapochnik, he planned on having Bran warg dire wolves and fight through them, but DnD cancelled that later.
The battle tactics in this episode were ridiculous. For some reason the trebuchets were outside the castle and in front of the soldiers, what are you supposed to do if the wights capture them? Also, the cavalry charge, in the beginning, made no sense, they just wasted the Dothraki. Instead of charging, they could have used the Dothraki as mounted archers to harass the undead army with obsidian arrows. What was their plan if Melissandre hadn't appeared? Before she showed up, they were going to charge at the wights with plain steel swords.
Jon's story in this episode was disappointing. He did absolutely nothing except for burn some wights with his dragon. Most of the fanbase (including myself) were expecting him to at least duel the Night King or kill some White Walkers, but he didn't. It was very disappointing to see that in the last half of the battle, all he did was hide then yell at Viserion. Why did he yell at Viserion? What did he think was going to happen? Was he trying to die?
Although I have only covered one episode, the TV show just goes downhill from here, so there's still a lot I need to talk about. But to avoid making this article too long, I will have to split it in different parts. Next article I will continue criticising Game of Thrones, focusing on the ruined character arcs and the siege of King's Landing.