Image via HBO / YouTube
Maybe it’s just me, but it sure feels as if Game of Thrones has taken a deep dive straight off the wall in season 7, with the hit HBO show veering off creator George RR Martin's manuscript, and, ultimately, losing a lot of its muster.
To some degree, it’s to be expected, as plot lines come crashing together and the show begins it's descent into its final season. But it's clear that GoT has transformed from stories that are sound and logical into this action packed, condensed monster we have today, and it’s all the sake of quickly wrapping up storylines because, for some reason, HBO doesn’t want to keep its best performing show on air any longer than it has to. What it all means for viewers is that, before it’s all said and done, this is going to end with a shitty fantasy trope — the same kind of trope GRRM has avoided for the better part of 8,000 pages.
Just look at this most recent season, as the expansive world of ice and fire is starting to fold on itself.
Every episode, it seems you have main characters from across vast territories instantly coming together, with the whole space and time thing being completely thrown out the door. We can start with Euron. When we leave him at the end of season 6, his niece, Yara, has stolen half his fleet, half his men and taken vanguard the best ships in his fleet. He’s left on the Iron Isles with his thumb lodged firmly in his ass, plotting his revenge.
Somehow, by Episode 2, Euron has the biggest fleet in Westeros. He goes from the Iron Isles to King’s Landing to persuade Cersei to lock it up and get the Kraken, then sails his fleet to cut off Yara and the sand snakes near Dorne. What happens when they get there? Oh, Euron’s just got the most badass ship, equipped with pyrotorches and a killer plank… no big deal. He grabs a couple hostages, returns back to Kings Landing and takes his fleet to Casterly Rock, where he sets fire to unsullied’s ships, effectively leaving them stranded. And, it all happened before Sansa could complete one full menstrual cycle. That’s speed.
Here is a visual representation of the pacing in Game of Thrones. pic.twitter.com/HObMQHagvr— TomSka (@thetomska) August 17, 2017
I was OK with suspending my belief... until last week’s episode; “Beyond the Wall”.
I had high expectations, you’ve got the most bad ass crew of bandits coming together to try and capture a wight with tensions galore. Jon, Beric, The Hound, Thoros, Gendry, Jorah Mormon It’s like the ‘92 Dream Team of Westerosi murders and brutes. And they’re all marching into insurmountable odds, ready to die because, fuck it, what’s better to do?
What should have been an action packed episode, full of death and murder, turned out to be one of the slower episodes of the series. It was full of long winded banter addressing all the tensions without driving the plot. Instead of dense dialog, we got conversations that fell flat, even for a family dinner party standards.
The payoff? They travel a helluva long way north of The Wall to only lose one insignificant character. C'mon, this is a show that’s killed its main protagonist, not once, not twice, but three damn times (granted, they brought Jon back, but still). We’ve come this far, you can’t be afraid to start murking dudes. If shit’s going to come to an end, let’s make sure everyone dies — it’s the only fitting way.
But, they bailed. Instead, they had newly turned Olympian Track Star Gendry run back to The Wall and save the day. In what felt like a day, they were able to send a raven-turned-eagle to Dragonstone to tell Dany that the boys were in trouble, she’s then able to mountain her dragons and fly into the devils icy layer about 4 million miles away at light speed and rescue our heroes at the sacrifice of one of her beloved children. It was at this point that I almost lost all faith, but I kept my shit together... barely.
The major problem is the timing of it all. Just take a look at how far Jon has traveled since he first ran into the Night’s King. The map above — created by Reddit user erterbernds67 — dives into Jon Snow’s travels. The solid green line shows the distance Jon Snow traveled in his time since he first encountered the White Walkers; the much shorter red line demonstrates how much movement the Walkers have made in the same time.
Anyway, I'm not here to persuade you to follow my lead and give up on Game of Thrones, too. But, given how shitty this most recent season has been, no one would blame you for joining my revolution and saying f-ck it.