The Dany Divide: Mixed Emotions, Fan Engagement and Reaction to Game of Thrones Season 8

Dany Divide header

by James Rivers

It is known: this season of Game of Thrones has been highly divisive, with Twitter ablaze, critics critical and YouTube comment threads unpleasant. The actions by Daenerys Targaryen in Sunday’s episode only added more fuel, ahem, to the fire.

But evidence shows that viewers already had mixed, even lukewarm, views about Dany. And the ongoing online argument, full as it is of heartfelt reactions, involves a fraction of the viewing audience. What does everyone else think? There’s no easy way to know for sure, but there’s a good chance they’re enjoying this final season more than highly engaged viewers.

Entering Season 8, Mixed Feelings on Dany

To go forward in analyzing perceptions of Dany, we must go back: one’s reaction to her torching King’s Landing depends partly on what one thought of her going in. You may recall last spring’s survey of 2,500-plus fans, discussed here and at Con of Thrones. In it, 73 percent of respondents saw Dany as “good,” as opposed to neutral or evil. That’s a good number, albeit lower than most other surviving characters that happened to be measured:
Good SurveyGood-ness aside, respondents were split on liking Dany: She ranked as both the fourth-favorite AND fourth least-favorite character. Respondents were also increasingly viewing her violent actions as not justified, especially executing Mossador and the Tarlys.

favorite

arya dany

The Dragon Queen also fell into the middle of the pack in a list of 29 characters for whom respondents wanted a “happy ending.” She was on par with the late Jaime (64 percent) and ahead of Theon (46 percent – sorry, Petra) and Cersei (5 percent).
Happy EndingBut she was well behind most of the 16 alive for the final episode:

Arguments about foreshadowing, abruptness and show quality aside, then, even if viewers largely didn’t expect Dany to incinerate half a city, they also don’t place her on the same plane as most of the show’s other lead characters. Which means that for many, Sunday’s episode may have been horrifying, but the arguable character assassination less of an issue.

Viewer Engagement and Dany’s Actions

Level of engagement or investment in GoT/ASOIAF appears to play a role in perceptions of Dany, but in an unusual way. For comparison, I sliced off the two ends of the “viewer engagement” spectrum:

-“Immersed” respondents, or those who read at least one ASOIAF book before seeing the show and spend a lot of time reading about or discussing GOT/ASOIAF (About 120 people)
– “Isolated” respondents, who haven’t touched the books and spend little to no time discussing the show. (About 185 people)

These are subsets of the “book first” and “show only” groups analyzed last year. The vast majority of respondents fall between Immersed and Isolated; those 2,200 people generally were skewed toward online activity, given the survey was distributed online. The same is almost certainly the case for most “snap poll” type surveys taken after episodes air.

We can break down the above “Percent Seeing Character as Good” chart into Isolated vs. Immersed respondents. Five of the surviving 11 characters had notable differences, Dany among them:

Percent by Group

The fact that the Isolated respondents had Dany further up in the “good” rankings could mean her actions in “The Bells” were more stunning to Isolated viewers. But they also named her their favorite character less often than Immersed respondents (8% of the time vs. 13% of the time), so her destruction of King’s Landing may not have otherwise overly affected them.

Viewer Engagement and Opinion of Season 8

There’s an obvious larger question at play here: How do the views of those isolated from Thrones-talk online compare with those immersed in it?

I’d posit that the Isolated folks are more positive toward this season, being less engaged and less apt to spot apparent plot holes and the like. It’s a corollary of Oz’s recent speculation that it may be easier “for viewers-only to take and accept the show as-is” than book-readers.

Many aspects of Dany’s attack have been criticized online, as have other events in Season 8, such as how Rhaegal died and the Winterfell battle plan.

Of course, a number of plots in other seasons were also lambasted in reviews and on social media, for instance the “wight hunt” beyond the Wall. But last year’s survey found that Isolated fans had a far more positive opinion of those denigrated plotlines:

Effective

Yes, you’re reading that right: There’s a seemingly absurd 40-point difference regarding how Isolated vs. Immersed survey respondents felt about last season’s Littlefinger/Arya/Sansa plotline. Of the five plots listed, only Stannis/Shireen had equal footing across the groups — but Immersed respondents found it the most effective listed, while Isolated folks placed it fourth.

A similar, if less extreme pattern, holds with how Immersed and Isolated respondents ranked the first seven seasons from top to bottom.

Average ranking

Season 1 and Season 5 were best and worst for both groups, but the others are jumbled. The Isolated rankings are more tightly bunched, meaning their opinions were more all over the map while Immersed folks marched mostly in lockstep.

While those of us highly immersed in the show’s final season virtually (and literally) shout and debate after each episode (Full disclosure: I was initially appalled by much of “The Bells” but have since warmed to it), there’s millions of others who tune in Sunday night or later, maybe text a friend and then forget about Westeros for another week, or year – or after Sunday, even forever.

Evidence suggests the two groups have long had differing experiences with Game of Thrones. There’s little reason to think it’s any different with Season 8.


James, aka Chris Wright, is an occasional WOTW contributor who particularly likes analyzing how people consume media. He once wrote a book about this regarding Survivor. He works as an editor in Washington, D.C.

167 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. With such a huge fan base having wildly opposing views of what consists of good vs bad storytelling, it was inevitable that the conclusion was going to be divisive. Reporting that some fans of the show are unhappy is like reporting that the sky is blue and the ocean is wet, and the ones who are unhappy always scream the loudest. Having all of this being played out on the ballroom dancing championship dance floor megaphone of vituperation that is the internet makes it seem more prevalent than it really is.

      I, for one, am loving this season and am hyped for the final chapter tomorrow.

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    2. I think it is almost inevitable that online communities for large fanbases will become toxic at times, and that will affect how episodes are viewed. You see this in sports all the time.

      I’m a sports fan and I used to be an active participant in the online communities for my teams. But I found that the more involved I was online the less I actually enjoyed watching my teams play. Instead, I would watch dreading that my baseball closer would blow a save or my hockey goalie give up a bad goal because I knew it would lead to meltdowns online and much aggravation for me arguing with the melters who are all convinced they know how to run the team. I finally realized that if I wanted to enjoy watching the games again I had to stay out of the online communities which are always going to be filled with toxic negativity.

      So I expect the same is true with GoT. The people who just watch the show without getting involved in the online discussions which frequently turn negative are actually enjoying it more than the ‘rabid’ fans. Ironic.

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    3. Hah! I expected an article like this. I’ll never understand the desire for happy endings in adult fantasy. If it happens, hooray. If it doesn’t, sally forth, adapt and debate why.

      The recoil from all fan sectors is stunning to observe, but not horrible, imho. I hope folks have grasped the amazing amount of humor being streamed around the ether. Even the HBO GoT twitter feed is consumed by memes and quips regarding subversion and disappointment. And it’s really funny! Lots of people have put a ton of effort into their love/hate. It’s like the sudden release of steam from a pressurized cooker.

      I have never laughed more than I have this past week. Even Preston Jacobs and Linda (!) had me chuckling. The default Koolaid-drinking, kneebending reviewers are not even remotely interesting compared to the manufactured bile and faux rage that the sniveling contra/counterculture has spewed.

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    4. Great post!
      The negative backlash is getting out of hand. I keep seeing sites that say George isn’t happy about the ending, basically twisting his words from the recent 60-minute interview with Anderson Cooper.
      I’ve read a lot of stuff and watched a lot of people on youtube saythat George RR Martin said he wasn’t happy with the final season, with certain characters getting more screen time because they’re popular and that the writers only went by his house to talk about the ending. This is all untrue. George has said the endings to the show and books won’t differ that much, besides the fates of minor characters. He also said that the endings won’t differ that much because the writers visited his house on several days three years ago to extensively talk about the ending with him. So it’s not like he told them a few things and the rest is stuff made up by the writers. I think it’s important for people to know this because George recently did a blog post about this, how some sites twists his words and say stuff that simply isn’t true. George also didn’t say that he didn’t like the way it ended, he said he doesn’t like that the show ends because it’s a sad occasion for him. The comment about there being 15 seasons if the show would be true to the books was him basically saying that the books are way more dense with even more characters. He didn’t mean he actually wants 15 seasons. It’s basically saying that to be 100% true to a book you should make a 6 hour movie, which is impossible

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    5. While I don’t doubt I would enjoy what I’m watching more if I didn’t scrutinize it, I’m never going to watch something like this in that way. It used to hold up to scrutiny. If it never had, I probably wouldn’t care, but I also would not have loved it so much in the first place. What made it special was the attention to detail, extraordinary in the world-building, but still great in the character construction and plotting.

      My wife showed me a Redditor-edited video of Rhaegal’s death yesterday, in which all they did was change the order of scenes. Daenerys sees the Iron Fleet round the bend, because she’s a thousand feet in the air and of course she would. She thinks she can take them on, so dive bombs for it, has 20 bolts fired at her, narrowly dodges, but one hits and kills Rhaegal, which is believable as we saw how weakened he was and he probably could not maneuver as well as Drogon. It’s also much more believable that a bolt could even penetrate his scales badly enough to mortally wound him in the first place from a few hundred feet rather than a few thousand.

      Just a slight change and what we see on screen holds up to scrutiny. But it loses the shock value of seeing three bolts come absolutely out of nowhere and Rhaegal dying with no warning. Set aside that weapons and weapons holders that are so obviously overpowered one week become completely ineffective the next for no reason other than that is what the plots needs. They could have hit exactly the same plot points, but lost some shock value. The shocks the show used to spring on you were earned in the past, not cheap. They didn’t clearly prioritize shock over all else.

      To me, that is the biggest problem and maybe even the only problem, but it’s an overwhelming problem. It’s not about bad things happening to characters I cared about. The characters I care about the most have always been the Starks and they’re clearly going to come out of top. The characters I think are the most “good” and deserving of good ends would be Sam and Gilly, Brienne and Pod, and Davos. It seems very likely they’ll actually all remain alive and somewhat happy or at least hopeful of a good future by the end.

      That doesn’t make the ending satisfying. The journey matters as much as the destination. I can’t really fault the showrunners and production staff for doing what they did. They obviously aren’t suffering. They’re still hitting viewership records. They became the biggest premium television show ever with viral shock moments and breaking their own record for number of people set on fire in a single scene repeatedly, so it’s hard to blame them for prioritizing that over all other things. Incentives matter. I wish the show could have been more than tits and dragons because it legitimately had that chance. It was never going to be The Wire, but it could have been as close as high fantasy could ever get to something like that. It had the chance to be the Godfather of genre fiction, incidentally another story where a basically good person gradually becomes increasingly evil until he has lost everything that was ever good about him in the pursuit of power, but it’s believable, tragic, earned, and by the time he is sitting alone in a room remembering what he used to have as his men are murdering his own brother on the lake, it is one of the most satisfying endings any story has ever had (ignoring that they kind of ruined it later by making a third movie).

      It’s not like it’s impossible to do this. But granted, it is hard. Not very many stories can be The Godfather. Not many can be The Wire, either, and I doubt that’s what D&D would even want. David Simon continues to get plenty of work and always will, but he’s kind of an outcast, whereas they just got Star Wars and will probably get a billion dollar exclusive deal to go write future television for a single network. Good for them. And good for the fans that don’t care if what they’re watching makes any sense at all when you think about it for more than a few minutes.

      I’m not going to say it’d be nice to be one of those fans, though. There is enough entertainment out there that holds up to scrutiny and frankly, I can still enjoy stuff that doesn’t. I absolutely love the Fast and Furious franchise even though it’s end-to-end nonsense. But it’s been that way from the beginning and wears the nonsense on its sleeve with pride. It never pretended to be prestige filmmaking. Game of Thrones was prestige television. It’s still a prestige book series.

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    6. I don’t have any hardcore ASOIAF book fans in my social circle, but I know plenty of show only watchers. They have mostly enjoyed this season. The two biggest complaints I’ve heard were about Rhaegal dying and Cersei’s death not being gruesome enough.

      The ones who love Dany still do. The ones who were indifferent towards her seem to like the turn the character took.

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    7. Red Viper,

      In a way, it doesn’t matter if objectively speaking the show, or a particular episode, has been “good” or “bad.”

      Depending on your preferences, there are enough stellar moments in 72+ hours over eight seasons to compile a 10-hour masterpiece. For example, Petra could – and most likely is – assembling “A Tale of Theon Greyjoy-Stark.”

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to work splicing together Arya Stark and the Hound scenes for my personal “A Song of Arya and Sandor” compilation.*

      * I may need a subtitle. Any suggestions, anyone?
      Under consideration so far: “The Cold Little Bitch and the Worst Sh*t in the Seven Kingdoms”; “The Dog and the Wolf”; “Little Lady Wants a Pony”; “The Princess That Was Promised and The Warrior of Light”…

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    8. Ten Bears:
      Mango,

      Oh, my condolences.
      He was a golden lion, and now his fire has gone out.
      We shall never see his like again.

      I love y’all.

      I’m just gonna go crawl back under the covers until air time.

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    9. Daenerys didn’t seem to care about killing all the Unsullied, all the Dohraki, Her nephew Aegon and remaining Northern Army… because Daenerys didn’t know Jon Snow told all Daenerys army to fall back.

      The view from the Red Keep shows Drogon completely obliterating every inch of Kings Landing with Dragonfire and Wildfire… Kings Landing is now Queens Landing of Ashes.

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    10. Adam,

      Lots to agree here.

      I love the Godfather although it has a tragic ending. I love the Wire that also ends with nothing changing. The happy ending is not the point.

      The story must have internal integrity. It must hold itself together to the end. The Godfather series ended sadly but it is not a nihilist tale. It remains life-affirming and therein lies its greatness. (I have rewatched the series on numerous occasions despite the sad ending.) Godfather is a high standard so perhaps we are asking too much.

      A simple example with GOT those does not require greatness but sense. Jon is preparing for war but does not know where the AOTD is until Tormund tells him. Yet, Bran is there at WF with Jon. They know the Wall is broken yet no-one is tracking AOTD. So we think maybe there are no ravens available for Bran’s use. Nope. During the AOTD fighting, Bran wargs into a bunch of ravens. Or did I misunderstand this?

      I am not a Daenerys fan but I feel for her fan base. A mass murder in the penultimate episode. Well.

      GOT has a great cast and good techinical content.

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    11. Adam,

      It would be nice if people making these criticisms bothered to examine what is going on on screen. It is plainly evident that Daenerys is watching Rhaegal before the scorpion attack which kills him. She is concerned about him because of the wounds he took in the north. She is not looking down at the sea. Are the complainers confusing Drogon with a modern military jet and all its sensors and alarms? Because Rhaegal is wounded his flight is not as strong as would be normal. Both dragons are flying at what might be termed cruising speed. During Dany’s attack on the Iron Fleet and King’s Landing, Drogon is by contrast at attack speed. Once he’s past the scorpions they take time to turn, and they are no way as manoueverable as he.

      It’s always possible to moan about how speedily Rhaegal is killed, but even with the extra budget and longer episodes, there isn’t unlimited time for every little scene.

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    12. Dyanna,

      And of course it has a ton of dislikes because god forbid anyone has a different opinion than they do, everyone has to agree this is the worst thing ever or the best thing ever because the internet sheep culture said it is ! Let’s make more videos with out of context interviews from the cast and spinning stories around to our liking and also make more ridiculous fan petitions because that is definitely a sane and logic thing to do .

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    13. I think a key component here is that “Immersed” people simply care more.

      That shows most of all in the season rankings. The Immersed and Isolated have comparable opinions on which season was the best one and the worst one. But the Isolated group tend to cluster around the middle, indicating they don’t have strong opinions either way. The Immersed group are probably able to offer a lot more reasons why Season 7 absolutely sucked, not least because the costumes were all dreadfully black. Hence the Immersed group are inherently less likely to go “well, it was okay, give it a 5.”

      For the record, I’ve only read the first two books, and only after Season 7. So I’m a show watcher. And I friggin’ hated that ridiculous Wight Hunt plotline and that “how does this make sense?” Littlefinger ending.

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    14. Ten Bears: . Any suggestions, anyone?

      “No One Shits” – No, not really. I just had to play on the “Everybody Poops” title. ☺

      “The Faceless and the Half Face”
      “Chicken Needle Soup for Your Soul”
      ——-
      Can I change my poll answer to Bran being 0% good? 😜

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    15. Ten Bears,

      Subtitle suggestions:
      – The Pair that was Promised
      – The Hound and his Wolf Girl
      – The Wolf and The Hound
      – Revenge and Salvation
      – Every Hurt is a Lesson
      – The Road Trip

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    16. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-real-reason-fans-hate-the-last-season-of-game-of-thrones/ was also posted to the After the Con of Thrones Facebook group. I’ve tried my best but this woman is a better writer than I am and this is the best articulation I’ve seen yet of not just a huge problem with how Game of Thrones has turned, but with writing in general, not even just fiction but news media as well.

      And a better explanation than any I’ve ever seen of what made The Wire so special. Oh well. I have said here many times before that a much better end for Daenerys that is equally bleak but actually tragic rather than just evil is she wins, earns the throne, but finds it even more impossible to rule and actually do any good as a Queen, not because she’s an inherently evil person, but simply because it isn’t possible given the incentives and institutions in place in her world for a conqueror queen to do good. That is likely the real message George is trying to get across, not that it’s tragic for the kingdom that the wrong person got her hands on some dragons, but that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who sits the throne. The throne itself is evil. Even the child of prophecy who brings the dawn and has every good intention and a good heart to boot can’t overcome that. Not that she can’t overcome her crazy genes.

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    17. Ten Bears:
      Mango,

      Oh, my condolences.
      He was a golden lion, and now his fire has gone out.
      We shall never see his like again.

      I mean, after what he did to brienne, I wouldn’t call him a golden lion, he nutted then he bounced lol, he’s a cretinous freak who fornicated with his twin……

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    18. There should be no surprise.

      • Dany has been (unfairly) isolated, suffered disproportionate ingratitude, prejudice, backstabbing and sabotage (yes, I’m referring to you, Little Bird), sacrifice, loss of loved ones and confidantes, heartbreak, and a confluence of just plain bad luck and weird circumstances (e.g. your hot new boyfriend with the six-pack abs is really your nephew… and the actual heir to the throne, not you). The people she came to protect from an existential threat of extinction in the North treated her like sh*t (sorry again, Little Bird, that includes you).

      At the same time, her competent and loyal aides (e.g., Jorah, Missandei, Selmy) have been killed along the way, and her formerly-clever advisors (Tyrion, Varys) have turned into ineffectual and conflicted dummies. Even Jon Snow has become a neutered, worthless “Yes, My Queen” automaton.

      It’s enough to trigger anyone into the fictional equivalent of a road rage incident. Dany – and most any human being – has the capacity to go full-on fire and blood after being pressured and provoked.

      • As Tyrion had told Cersei in S7e7, the difference between Dany and Cersei is that Dany had chosen advisors to rein in her worst impulses. We saw an example of that in S6e9, when Tyrion still had a brain and influence, and before his string of failed plans:

      (Tyrion and Dany,S6e9, during the Masters’ bombardment of Mereen)

      Tyrion: “Commerce has returned to the markets. The people are behind you. (Explosion) Well, not all the people, of course. No ruler that ever lived had the support of all the people. But the rebirth of Meereen is the cause of this violence.
      The Masters cannot let Meereen succeed.
      Because if Meereen succeeds, a city without slavery, a city without Masters, it proves that no one needs a Master.”

      Dany: “Good. Shall we begin?”

      Tyrion: ” Do we have a plan?”

      Dany: “I will crucify the Masters. I will set their fleets afire, kill every last one of their soldiers, and return their cities to the dirt.
      That is my plan. … You don’t approve?”

      Tyrion: “You once told me you knew what your father was. Did you know his plans for King’s Landing when the Lannister armies were at his gates? Probably not.
      Well, he told my brother and Jaime told me. He had caches of wildfire hidden under the Red Keep, the guild halls, the Sept of Baelor, all the major thoroughfares. He would have burned every one of his citizens. The loyal ones and the traitors. Every man, woman, and child. That’s why Jaime killed him.”

      Dany: “This is entirely different.”

      Tyrion: “You’re talking about destroying cities. It’s not entirely different. I’d like to suggest an alternate approach.”

      • Unfortunately, at a critical moment, Dany didn’t have anyone to “check her worst impulses” and convince her to stand down. (By contrast – and of course because I can’t help injecting ASNAWP into every thread – had Sandor not been there to stop her, Arya would’ve continued on with her single-minded objective to snuff out Cersei. regardless of the consequences.)

      • I wanted to quote lyrics to a song, but forgot them. 🤢 So, to be continued?

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    19. btw was there an entrance exam to this poll?

      I think anyone who doesn’t know Daenerys’ real name and can only call her “Khaleesi” should be relegated to a third outlier group of “just here for tits and explosions.” Their presence would skew the Isolated group in an unfair direction.

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    20. Ten Bears:

      Depending on your preferences, there are enough stellar moments in 72+ hours over eight seasons to compile a 10-hour masterpiece. For example, Petra could – and most likely is – assembling“A Tale of Theon Greyjoy-Stark.”

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to work splicing together Arya Stark and the Hound scenes for my personal “A Song of Arya and Sandor” compilation.*

      If you haven’t seen them, go watch some of the Zurik23M tribute video edits of Game of Thrones characters on YouTube. His are the best I’ve seen and his Theon tribute titled “Home” is among the best of them. One way or another, we are left with more than enough great single moments.

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    21. Emily:
      I think a key component here is that “Immersed” people simply care more.

      Well, many ‘immersed’ people definitely think they care more.

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    22. Emily,

      Just to note, with the season rankings people literally placed them from best to worst, as opposed to say rating them on a 1 to 10 scale. (They did get to rate every episode from 1 to 10)

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    23. Jack Nabble:
      Dyanna,

      …Let’s make more videos with out of context interviews from the cast and spinning stories around to our liking and also make more ridiculous fan petitions because that is definitely a sane and logic thing to do .

      And my favorite – let’s urge people to downvote the episode on places like IMDB and then use the low rating as ‘proof’ that the episode is bad. Just childish and silly.

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    24. Emily,

      Your condescendency is showing, there are no “fans” better than others just because some people are choosing to call a character in a certain way, stop thinking you’re more special than others ! Way to generalise an entire group of people just because they are casual viewers !

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    25. I think this analysis, however helpful, drills down a little too deeply.

      Come up to 30,000 feet and look at the lay of the land:

      – There are Dany fans (yay Danny, hope she is Queen);
      – There are Jon fans (the true Hero, hope he is King)
      – There are Jon and Dany Fans (D+J= IT, they should marry)
      – There are ABT (Anybody but a Targ, Jon fans perhaps, but content if neither Dany nor Jon end up on the IT)

      The ones who are upset THE MOST are the Dany fans and, to a somewhat lesser extent, the D+J=Throne who are upset here.

      From 30,000 feet, there was no way the vast majority of fans were going to be content unless Jon married Dany. And that “happy ending” was something GRRM was going to tease, but ultimately takes it away (after teasing it) to subvert the happy ending, love conquers all trope for something more dark and sinister.

      So Dany will die, Jon may or may not live, may or may not be King. This makes the Dany and D+J fans unhappy. There are a lot of them. So we see 1m signatures on a “petition”.

      My guess is

      IF GoT was a monster, world-spanning show in S 1 with 23 million fans watching S 1 Ep 9;
      AND the books had never been released;
      THEN we would have seen a STORM of controversy over the Beheading of Ned.
      AND The Red Wedding would have sent fans screaming, too.

      But that didn’t happen, because the books had been written and those fans who had read the tale knew that was going to happen. You don’t appeal for a rewrite when you know that’s supposed to be the tale.

      Here, we don’t have the official story to act as an arbitrator of expectations. We just have a “general” sanction of the end point by GRRM. The path GRRM will take to get there is unknown. (Hell, it’s possible that we may never know). So, in the meanwhile, we have pissed off fans.

      Bottom Line: they were always going to be pissed off. Without a D+J ending, there was going to be a high degree of unhappiness. Imagine that? A tale without a happy ending.

      An unhappy ending? That is, after all, what GoT has promised it would deliver from the get go. If you thought otherwise, you were not paying attention.

      So now we see what a tale without a happy ending looks like. Feast your eyes upon it, in all its naked glory.

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    26. Opps, I dittoed the wrong comment. Red Viper, I agree with your post. Whatever anyone says, this show has been entertaining and a great ride!

      I also think Lord Coffee makes a good point, sometimes some online communities can get to be too intense and when that happens, step away and just enjoy the show or the game.

      Red Viper,

      onefromaway,

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    27. Emily,

      Also i know a lot of people both online and in real life who are casual people and literally not one of them calls Dany Khaleesi anymore, i don’t know where you got that, it seems you just wanted to take an exaggerated claim to try to prove……whatever point you are trying to prove .

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    28. Steel_Wind,

      Speaking of this, i also love how some people think that HBO and D and D should have taken a break until GRRM finishes the books, even if Martin was a fast writer, do these people have no idea how television contracts work ? You can’t expect hundreds of cast and crew members to take a sabbatical and somehow be available whenever that hypothetical thing would happen and the show would return, the most rational thing to say is that GRRM should have never sold the rights until he finished the series and if that meant we would have never got the show, at least he and we wouldn’t be in this situation that we are right now !

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    29. Ten Bears,

      (Continued from above)

      Dany’s only human after all.

      “Human” (1986) The Human League

      “I’m only human
      Of flesh and blood I’m made.
      Human,
      Born to make mistakes.”

      I’d go full-on fire and blood – and might feel impelled to burn down the house – of anyone who hurt my parakeet. It’s good that I have people who care about me to talk me out of doing stupid things.

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    30. Adam: If you haven’t seen them, go watch some of the Zurik23M tribute video edits of Game of Thrones characters on YouTube. His are the best I’ve seen and his Theon tribute titled “Home” is among the best of them

      Thank you for posting this recommendation. The tribute is wonderful.

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    31. I’m still amazed at how little criticism GRRM receives for not finishing the books. Does anyone truly believe the final seasons would have been shortened if George had just finished the books? Do you think we would be left with so many questions about the supernatural elements of the series? Would the characters motivations and actions have been the same?

      Yes, D&D deserve criticism, but it was natural that the story would start to feel much different when they lost the blueprint. They set out to adapt the books, and I’d say they’d get good marks on doing so, when there were actual books to adapt.

      D&D have always had some issues when they created plots that weren’t in the books. So why do people act so surprised that they would struggle whenever they ran out of books?

      I have sympathy for the amount of criticisms D&D are likely to get for the remainder of their careers. They probably won’t get to have much fun attending any cons or public cast reunions. All of this is likely avoided if George just finished the damn books in time.

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    32. Hammer,

      I don’t disagree with you. I was just trying to show a little compassion for Mango, because I know he’d do the same for me if (heaven forfend!) anything happened to Arya.

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    33. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I agree with some parts of your comment but not with the whole thing, they are getting hate right now but people are usually forgetful and they move on once the hype dies down, one example is Damon Lindelof, the showrunner of Lost, people hated his guts for some time but as years passed by, people got mostly over it and he has created another critical darling show in the Leftovers and he is on board with the Watchmen series. And also let’s not pretend everything GRRM is gold, the last two books aren’t exactly stellar at least imo, the quality decline is also prevelant in the books .

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    34. Jack Nabble: Also i know a lot of people both online and in real life who are casual people and literally not one of them calls Dany Khaleesi anymore, i don’t know where you got that, it seems you just wanted to take an exaggerated claim to try to prove……whatever point you are trying to prove .

      According to one commentator on here, at least one enthusiastic viewer calls Dany “Kelsey and her dinosaurs”.

      I don’t object in the least to anyone enjoying the adventures of Kelsey, but they probably aren’t the best people to quiz.

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    35. Emily,

      Well that makes it even worse then, you’re generalising an entire audience just of a third account of what one commentator said, also did it ever occur to you that maybe just maybe that person was joking ? I’ve also seen some people calling her Kelly C but that mostly comes from Dany haters who are doing it as a mockery, not actual people who think her name is that .

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    36. I said in another post, all dictators started somewhere, some did couple of good deeds (still with violence and showed troubling behavior), gathered support and then started doing horrible atrocities. When I see people excusing dany’s behavior I become worried, because that reflects the true colors of our world, I wish the discussion would change from D&D to these meaningful topics and themes that the show still delivers.

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    37. Jack Nabble: Your condescendency is showing, there are no “fans” better than others just because some people are choosing to call a character in a certain way, stop thinking you’re more special than others ! Way to generalise an entire group of people just because they are casual viewers !

      That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m a statistician. I’m critiquing the data. If you want a meaningful answer, you need to start with good data and a sensible question. What I am saying is that I suspect there is a big engagement discrepancy between the two groups being analysed. The article doesn’t mention what measures they took, if any, to ensure a fair representation.

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    38. Emily: According to one commentator on here, at least one enthusiastic viewer calls Dany “Kelsey and her dinosaurs”.

      I don’t object in the least to anyone enjoying the adventures of Kelsey, but they probably aren’t the best people to quiz.

      That was my aunt! She wouldn’t be the best indication of a casual viewer — that’s just her 😉 She’s the sweetest lady and intelligent! But she first watched the show by binging the whole series in like a week while drinking wine!

      Mum and I have done our due to correct her 😉

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    39. Jack Nabble,

      The difference is that ‘Lost’ was Lindelof’s creation. The brunt of criticism D&D receive is from diehard fans of George’s books. D&D’s version is quite possibly the only ending the series will ever receive. So some people will always hold a grudge against them because they feel like they ruined George’s story and his characters. Most of that is avoided if George would have simply held up his end of the bargain.

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    40. Jack Nabble: Well that makes it even worse then, you’re generalising an entire audience just of a third account of what one commentator said, also did it ever occur to you that maybe just maybe that person was joking ? I’ve also seen some people calling her Kelly C but that mostly comes from Dany haters who are doing it as a mockery, not actual people who think her name is that .

      You asked where I got it from. That’s where I got it from. Yes, there are very casual viewers out there, I can guarantee it.

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    41. Also, I’ve read the books and am one of those ‘immersed’ fans, I hated season 7 so much that I’ve only watched it once, everything I didn’t like, I associated it with bad writing, but eventually I came around, forgot my expectations, and focused on the story. Trying to nitpick a tv show wouldn’t allow a person to enjoy it. So many have worked so hard on this show, they don’t deserve all these attacks. (there is a big difference between attack and criticism)

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    42. Emily,

      Well just like any polls ever of course it’s not a 100% based statistic, even professional political polls made by big corporations aren’t one but it’s the best thing we can get, certainly better than pulling things from the ass and alternative facts made by bias people, i’m not talking about you in particular btw, just a very specific part of the fanbase who constantly in the past few weeks have been trying to manufacture a war between the cast and the writers to make themselves and their feelings towards the show more legit .

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    43. Adrianacandle: That was my aunt! She wouldn’t be the best indication of a casual viewer — that’s just her 😉 She’s the sweetest lady and intelligent! But she binged the whole series in like a week while drinking wine!

      Thanks! Truly I wish I was watching the series with her instead; she sounds like a hoot!

      I hope she’s all set for the finale!

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    44. Emily,

      She is! When I told her to watch out for the Red Wedding, she was like, “Okay! I like weddings! I’ll look forward to it — it sounds fun!”

      Didn’t think it was so fun after she saw it 😉

      But she’s definitely ready for the finale! I… have anxiety cramps again…

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    45. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      Lindelof wasn’t the only Lost creator but i understand what you mean, Lost wasn’t an adaptation but it was still a very polarising series towards the end of it’s run and the ending was parodied and made fun of by people who didn’t even understand it, they just wanted a piece of the hate train because that’s how unfortunately some people work, however like i said, once years passed by, people become more accustomed to it and let go of the bitterness, sure there will still exist bitter people forever angry at something but most of the people will move on to something else .

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    46. Jack Nabble:

      I agree with some parts of your comment but not with the whole thing, they are getting hate right now but people are usually forgetful and they move on once the hype dies down, one example is Damon Lindelof, the showrunner of Lost, people hated his guts for some time but as years passed by, people got mostly over it and he has created another critical darling show in the Leftovers and he is on board with the Watchmen series. And also let’s not pretend everything GRRM is gold, the last two books aren’t exactly stellar at least imo, the quality decline is also prevelant in the books .

      Yeah. Fandom and critics alike will forgive plenty if what have you done for me lately has a positive answer. I never actually watched Lost, but hated Lindelof for a long time for basically doing the same thing with everything else he wrote (most recently Prometheus). He’s a man with clear talent but attempts to confuse everything just left everything confused. Then he hit it absolutely out of the park with The Leftovers, one of my favorite shows of the past few years and possible ever at this point. It got better with every season and totally stuck the landing, pulling off what seemed impossible: both explaining the central mystery of the whole story and leaving it open-ended whether he really explained it.

      Of course, it took him many mulligans to get there. I hope he does as well with Watchmen.

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    47. Steel_Wind,
      I’ll admit that while reading and up to this past episode I always either expected, hoped and desired for or wanted Jon and Daenerys to be the saviors of their world, together. What happened in the end to either in doing so was my main worry. I preferred what people call the “Disney ending” though. I don’t care – I’m one that loves the underdog winning story and simply ‘feel more’ about those.

      Having said that though, I still watch every episode multiple times, like this last one, because with just a single viewing I feel like my thoughts and perspectives on what happened are stunted and fixed on what they were initially. I’ve always said that everyone needs to watch them more than once. I stand by that, but I don’t think a lot of the ‘raters’ do that. I don’t even want to mention the ones that rate episodes before or without watching.

      This story obviously isn’t ending the way I had hoped. However, I’m looking for consolation in taking as much enjoyment as possible out of it through certain characters and aspects of the show as a whole rather than focusing on being bitter that some things aren’t matching my preference. 👍

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    48. Hodors Bastard:
      ….. If it doesn’t, sally forth, adapt and debate why.

      Well said. That’s been my problem with the reactions not just this week but throughout the entire season. Instead of debating about what actually happened and why, the majority of reactions has basically been to complain and whine and put down those who do try to offer some sort of discussion.

      Like that whole thing with all those hundreds of thousands of people signing a petition to have the season redone? My goodness… people need to grow up and check their sense of entitlement.

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    49. Stoneheart,

      I don’t think it’s about the dictators; it’s more about women. Not only Dany, Sansa and Arya – two other female protagonists – have also been destroyed at the end of the story. Sansa used her tongue as effectively, as Dany used dragons: destruction of KL falls on both of them. Arya hasn’t done anything particularly bad yet, but her line about not needing allies sounds feasome and the white horse she mounted is not the horse of hope. Male protagonists have suffered, too: they were turned into fools, but honorable fools nonetheless. They struggled with conflicted loyalties in the chaos created by all those women, but neither Jon, nor Tyrion or Jaime has dropped the code of honor. So, what’s the message here? Abort feminism, back to patriarchy ASAP? All you spoiled and self-entitled brats back to the spindle and let men rule what’s left of the world after your silly catfights? I’ve never been a fan of feminism, but that’s too much even for me. LOL

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    50. Tim:
      Adam,

      It would be nice if people making these criticisms bothered to examine what is going on on screen. It is plainly evident that Daenerys is watching Rhaegal before the scorpion attack which kills him. She is concerned about him because of the wounds he took in the north. She is not looking down at the sea.

      I agree with what you wrote about Daenerys, but you also missed the point that the scorpion’s bolt flew in a curve behind the cliff island, like it’s a bullet from that Angelina Jolie movie Wanted, with how it was originally edited for shock value. The only real edit needed in that scene was to show the fleet emerge from their hiding spot before the shots fired, or to show them more ahead of the islands, but to hell with logic, they wanted to surprise us.

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    51. Thank you James Rivers for your most informative post. It was a pleasure to read and easily digested. The information offered therein reaffirms my beliefs that the most interesting persons in stories are not necessarily the most popular or simply the “good people.” Good people exasperate me in literature, also. Dany’s character has always, for someone of my temperament, been the most fascinating and interesting character in the story. Jon and Sam are good and boring and dull; Jaime, Breinne and Ramsey are the most tedious, with Olenna, Tyrion, Tommen and Margaery being the most enjoyable characters.

      For years I mistook the show to be as good as the sum of its parts: great visuals, fine and exquisite costuming, stunning sets, brilliant cinematography, and really fine music and so on. Initially, disappointed after season 7, I decided to give them the benefit of my doubts. I felt reassured that with taking nearly two years before presenting the finale season, any and all fears would be fully assuaged and we’d have a return to the old and usual Game of Thrones quality which to cherish forever. The verdict: The show has delivered unmatched and spectacular visuals. Episode 5, last week, is a brilliant symphony in sight as well as sound and is simply spectacular in this regard. The storytelling is not in the same league and this is what most diehard fans can see and what they are depressed, saddened and outraged by. It fails for all of the regurgitated reasons. The most hurtful reason is why? How is this possible??? It should be so much better than it is and it is not! It used to be much, much better! I feel conned. Everyone of the fifty or so people I know who are fans of the books and show feel the same way. My neighbor across the way, whose name I cannot remember, is disappointed. The young man wearing a “I drink and I know things” tee shirt I passed shopping the other night is disappointed. I saw the shirt and started a conversation by saying ‘Love the shirt, ” and we talked about the current season. Like me, he is blown away by the visuals and disappointed by the story/writing, but loved seeing Dany torch Kings Landing last week. LOL Ah! Some people… “They rushed it” was his summation. Horrified, I asked “the torching?” No, he replied, the story.

      Dany’s arc rings hollow and that is the simple truth of it. This hollowness will only add to “the Dany divide.” I dare anyone to tell me I feel this way because “it’s not what you were expecting.” I don’t expect and have never expected anything in a story except that it be well written. I did not expect the sleepwalking of Lady Macbeth; I did not expect the death and denigration of Hector nor the melodramatic deaths of Rome and Juliet; but these things “shook” me to my core and they “ring true” and are unforgettable and horrifying for the right reasons. It is horrifying and I did not expect that I, or anyone, for that matter, would compare Game of Thrones to Homer and Shakespeare. Somebody slap me!

      “The fact that the Isolated respondents had Dany further up in the “good” rankings could mean her actions in “The Bells” were more stunning to Isolated viewers”.

      Dany’s actions last week were sadly for the wrong reasons (“unearned”), or worse, no reasons (shock) at all, and this what makes them so “stunning.” Her actions here were not organic as those of “The Red Wedding,” Tommen’s death, or any of the other stunning events in the series. It is not believable and makes no sense, based on what we know of her, that she’d be motivated to commit the horrors we saw her committing last Sunday; even if Stephen King disagrees with me. It is even more unbelievable (and also senseless as well as silly) to expect the most casual of viewers to accept such rubbish without question. “The Bells” is subterfuge gone awry and this is really distressing and it cannot be defended. It makes me fear the story has no point. I believe someone here wondering about its “point” uses the phrase “existential nihilism” as a possible descriptive. Who knows? If this proves true, then this will prove to be the truest “subversion” and the divide will only grow larger.

      There is always Sunday’s finale to disprove such feelings. But hey, it is only a TV show, after all, and in the grand scheme of things, to quote Commadore Vanderbilt, “that amounts to nothing.”

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    52. To be clear to those criticizing people who are criticizing the show, most of us aren’t bummed because of what has happened this season, it’s how it happened.

      It’s not that our plot expectations weren’t met, it’s the jumps forward, the seemingly randomness of some twists and the many loose ends that will now dangle until eternity (or at least until the books come out – if they come out).

      It’s not the actors, or the story, it’s the storytelling.

      One example: Jon rehoming Ghost. If Jon planned to be in KL for an extended period of time, he couldn’t take Ghost. That made sense. While I would have preferred Ghost stay with Sansa, it doesn’t offend me that Jon wanted Tormund to take him. What *does* offend me is the execution of the scene. Jon dismissing Ghost without much apparent regret or sadness just ruined their entire relationship for me, going back to Season 1. I mean hell, who knew Jon cared so little about him all that time, when Ghost was nothing buy his loyal companion through thick and thin?

      That kind of crappy writing and execution can undo years of fantastic storytelling. This is a small example, but one of many this season.

      I still believe GOT is one of the greatest series ever. And there is a lot to love about this season. For example, the cinematography, the music, and a lot of the acting. But these things don’t negate the problems that fans are vocalizing.

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    53. Mango,

      When talking about “The Godfather”, are you sure you’re not referring to The Sopranos? The Godfather III certainly featured a classic tragic end to the film set, but was not really a series in the sense the The Sopranos (or GoT, BB, Mad Men etc.) was. Just wondering.

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    54. DavidQ: Instead of debating about what actually happened and why, the majority of reactions has basically been to complain and whine and put down those who do try to offer some sort of discussion.

      Thx, but don’t give me too much credit. I’ve spewed my fair share of nonsense over the seasons. 😉 As the passionate banter escalates, I’ve found that the apocalyptic humor regarding the coagulation/capitulation of ice and fire to be especially entertaining. On the WotW link (at the bottom of this page) of the Official GoT twitter feed (Beautiful Death thread), the humor has gone ballistic. The gif of an official rapidly issuing KL death certificates is disturbingly hilarious.

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    55. Sue the Fury,

      I edited my post to take out the stuff about the PR people – you would know better than me :). Thank you for all you do – at a big picture level, this is the most intelligent commenting board I participate in on the Internet – not only for GoT, but for any topic.

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    56. Steel_Wind,

      I would simplify your fan categories even further:

      -those who care about who is on the throne at the end to which your four sub-categories then come into play and are interesting
      -those who don’t give a shit about who “wins” and just like watching a well-written tv show with better-than-99%-movie production value and intriguing characters/storylines

      I fall in the latter category. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the way this season (and partially last season but mostly this one) has gone has added to me not caring about the ruler of the seven kingdoms at the end of the show. I didn’t feel strongly one way or another about who would rule at the end in the past and was just enjoying the ride.

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    57. DavidQ,

      Actually, I know one case when an author has changed the ending after being petitioned by readers:) It was back in the Soviet times, and it was a Romeo&Juliett type novella set in modern times, and it ended with the boy falling out of the window after seeing his lost love comming to him. In the initial version, the boy died, but after numerous pleas the author made him survive, and the novella was turned into a movie and it became one of the most popular (and loved) Soviet movies:) So, sometimes authors should listen to the audience and give their charracters hope, instead of doom and gloom, because sometimes doom and gloom may seem contrived and just for shock purpose.

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    58. Zen-Face:

      When talking about “The Godfather”, are you sure you’re not referring to The Sopranos? The Godfather III certainly featured a classic tragic end to the film set, but was not really a series in the sense the The Sopranos (or GoT, BB, Mad Men etc.) was. Just wondering.

      I brought up The Godfather and Mango was just responding to me. I was definitely not thinking about The Sopranos, which was a great show but not at all a story in the same vein. Tony was a rotten person from the beginning. I’m aware The Godfather is not a television series, but it’s still a story and it’s the story of an underdog who was the younger sibling and did not expect to inherit anything, who had to spend several years in exile being hunted by assassins and watching his beloved spouse killed, who returned just to get stronger and stronger and take back all that had been taken from him in the name of his family that he loved more than anything, but in the process crossed the line from a good, honorable person to questionable and then to basically evil, all while gaining every bit of power he hoped for and more but losing the family he was originally fighting for and ending up alone and empty. He won but it meant nothing.

      It is basically the story George is clearly trying to tell with Daenerys and maybe he will. The show tried, too, but I think it failed miserably and comes across like a cheap copy.

      My point was that maybe it is not fair to compare something like Game of Thrones with something like The Godfather, widely thought of as one of the crowning achievements in all 20th century fiction in any medium. As the post here demonstrates, there is still plenty to enjoy and I enjoy a lot of other entertainment that is nowhere near the level of The Godfather, including plenty of stuff that is stupid and implausible and ridiculous but still fun to watch.

      But I also don’t think it’s fair to malign fans like me who aren’t having the greatest time this season because we can’t just let go of what we hoped for and enjoy what we have. Like a lot of other people are saying above, I didn’t hope for a specific ending. I’m not disappointed that Daenerys breaks bad. This happens in a lot of stories I’ve enjoyed immensely. I’m unhappy because this could have been The Godfather of high fantasy. The first few season and the first few books had that potential. It might still be great entertainment and fun for the masses and plenty of people who never cared that deeply in the first place can still enjoy it. But it could have been so much more than that. The central tragedy of the show is not what happened to any character; it’s what happened to the show itself.

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    59. James, excellent post. Interesting how different the two groups are, but not surprised. I was a huge fan of Castle and started dabbing in their discussion groups from time to time. Man, talk about toxic! I felt like they were nitpicking everything good about the show, and so stopped visiting. But when the show did jump the shark and became ridiculous and unbearable, I got back on and suddenly found my self agreeing with much of the critism – I rememered how good the show was in the beginning, and was sorry that it had taken such a wrong turn. same here i think

      I have wondered, since D&D wanted to cut short the show, why didn’t they just find someone else to take over? Some new fresh blood might have kept the show on even keel.

      Anyway James, thanks for that post

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    60. Emily: That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m a statistician. I’m critiquing the data. If you want a meaningful answer, you need to start with good data and a sensible question. What I am saying is that I suspect there is a big engagement discrepancy between the two groups being analysed. The article doesn’t mention what measures they took, if any, to ensure a fair representation.

      You mean an engagement discrepancy between the isolated and the immersed viewers? Of course…that is the point of the post. The immersed group were the most engaged of the 2500 people. The isolated group were the least.

      This wasn’t a political survey or a random sample so I wasn’t about to try and weigh the results somehow. Plus who knows what percent of viewers qualify as highly engaged vs. casual. For the purposes of this survey, though, I am as interested in what Sue the Fury thinks as I am someone who thinks Dany’s name is Kelly C. So no entrance exam.

      That said, last year I wrote four articles on here based on the survey. Part 1 compared results from book-first respondents with show-onlys. If the opinions of highly engaged fans interest you the most, I’d take a look at that one.

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    61. Sue the Fury

      I manually approve all new commenters- negative ones are far outweighing the positive ones lately so I think this is a matter of your perception.

      I suspect part of the reason for that is because the negativity is driving some positive and middle ground people away. I mean, you have some commenters here who just cannot seem to get past the fact that not everyone agrees with them that the show is terrible now, so they bombard every post with the same negativity over and over again. It gets old.

      For example, I thought episode 3 was fantastic, a thrilling combination of tension, horror, bravery, and victory. I immediately came here to discuss it and first thing I see is about four or five negative comments in a row so I closed this site. Nope, wasn’t going to let the complainers ruin it for me.

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    62. Inga,

      That’s your interpretation of the situation, how is destroying of KL Sansa’s fault? Dany made that choice, and she alone should be held accountable for her actions and decisions, it’s so frustrating when people make it about gender. it’s so much more than that. if a female character makes a mistake it’s not an attack on women or feminism.

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    63. Adam:
      https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-real-reason-fans-hate-the-last-season-of-game-of-thrones/ was also posted to the After the Con of Thrones Facebook group. I’ve tried my best but this woman is a better writer than I am and this is the best articulation I’ve seen yet of not just a huge problem with how Game of Thrones has turned, but with writing in general, not even just fiction but news media as well.

      And a better explanation than any I’ve ever seen of what made The Wire so special. Oh well. I have said here many times before that a much better end for Daenerys that is equally bleak but actually tragic rather than just evil is she wins, earns the throne, but finds it even more impossible to rule and actually do any good as a Queen, not because she’s an inherently evil person, but simply because it isn’t possible given the incentives and institutions in place in her world for a conqueror queen to do good. That is likely the real message George is trying to get across, not that it’s tragic for the kingdom that the wrong person got her hands on some dragons, but that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter who sits the throne. The throne itself is evil. Even the child of prophecy who brings the dawn and has every good intention and a good heart to boot can’t overcome that. Not that she can’t overcome her crazy genes.

      Great link! Thank you. I’m a Dany fan and The Bells gutted me. Would I sign a petition to re-do the season, no. It’s done. I agree with you about how they could have gone with the character. I have to add the change of GreyWorm from composed to berserker was more convincing because the show took a few seasons to get him to love Missandei then have little time to feel anything but a need for revenge on a people and place that rejected him and took his love away.

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    64. ThisGirlHasNoName,

      I took Jon sending Ghost with Tormund as a sign that the last of the Starks had a major conflict after the revelation at the godswood. Jon decided not to come back to Winterfell and Arya made a similar decision, but she went to KL separately, and we saw no good-bys between the Starks.

      But I agree in general: all those catastrophies of Ep 4 and 5 were brought upon us in junp-scare fassion, which made them extremely hard to stomach. Moreover, there were just too many of them. In earlier sasons, catastrophies happened to some protagonists, but they were outweighted by successes of others. Ned’s death was at least partially outweigted by Robb’s victory; Red Wedding by Dany’s victory at Yunkai, etc. “Mother’s Mersy” was the most depressing, but at least Tyrion got to rule Meereen and Jorah and Daario went to help Dany. But now, Ep 4 and 5 brought catastrophies on every single charracter we routed for and all at once and without a proper warning. That’s why it looks so forced and contrived and nihilistic, I guess.

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    65. Dany is the only main character that remained in Westeros.
      There are so many problems with how Arya, Sansa, Jon and Tyrion behave.

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    66. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      George Martin is not my, your’s or anyone’s bitch. And yet. And yet…
      ASoIaF is a fully integrated series: including long lead threads, themes and arcs. Cliffhangers abound. In terms of world building and sheer mass of material comprising that world, it is unprecedented. GRRM asks the reader to invest significant time and effort as they engage the story – the story demands it. Due to the scope and intricacy of the series, one works the books as much as one reads them. This is to say that ASoIaF quite literally tasks the reader to fulfill certain responsibilities; which in turn obliges GRRM to hold up his end of the bargain. In the meat of the material, in the pages of the books themselves, GRRM does this quite well. Over time – not so much.
      For your consideration: Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series consists of 21 novels. O’Brian didn’t start fully linking the books until the fourth volume; but even then, each work stands alone quite well while relating to both previous and future books. O”Brian’s readers could rely on getting a substantial fix every one-two years while still being engaged in the bigger story that was being developed and revealed. Obviously, Martin has a different work style, methods and vision than that of O’Brian. No one is asking or expecting Martin to publish a set of 250-300 page books every three or four years, but the fact remains – O’Brian asked and enticed his readers to engage in a long term project that was going to be delivered in a given set of intervals and he rewarded that interest by delivering the goods in something like a reasonable span of time.
      I’ll put it to you, the posters of Watchers. Is a ten plus year gap between volumes of a series such as ASoIaF a reasonable span of time?

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    67. Inga:
      Stoneheart,
      Arya hasn’t done anything particularly bad yet, but her line about not needing allies sounds feasome and the white horse she mounted is not the horse of hope.

      I think that the white horse at the end is exactly supposed to symbolize hope and salvation. However, I did initially think it might have represented the pale mare and that of Arya riding to kill Dany, but no more. After more thought and hearing others’ take on it (namely In Deep Geek and History of Westeros) specifically call out that white horses are also symbolic of purity and salvation.

      Further evidence of this can be seen with Arya bathed in light as she approaches the horse, with the a very serene rendition of the Stark theme playing. I see it as a rebirth; of Arya choosing life and light over death and darkness.

      Also, placing blame on Sansa for the destruction of KL is wildly unfair. Her actions did certainly contribute to Dany’s isolation, feelings of betrayal, being unloved and unaccepted, but there is no way Sansa could have known that Dany was capable of what she did.

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    68. stoneheart:
      Inga,
      That’s your interpretation of the situation, how is destroying of KL Sansa’s fault? Dany made that choice, and she alone should be held accountable for her actions and decisions, it’s so frustrating when people make it about gender. it’s so much more than that. if a female character makes a mistake it’s not an attack on women or feminism.

      Precisely!

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    69. stoneheart,

      Sure, when a female charracter makes a mistake, it’s not an attack on feminism. And I really hate, when charracters are identified as women, or POC, or white male or atributed to any other group irrelevant to the specific story. But when three main female protagonists fail (each in her own but archetypically feminine way) in two penultimate episodes, IDK how to call it.

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    70. Zen-Face:

      I’ll put it to you, the posters of Watchers. Is a ten plus year gap between volumes of a series such as ASoIaF a reasonable span of time?

      I don’t think it is. Of course, Tolkein took even longer to write Lord of the Rings, over 30 years, but he didn’t publish any of it at all until it was complete, so readers didn’t have to wait 30 years to get the conclusion. Of course, it isn’t reasonable or realistic to expect a person trying to make a living doing this to put off publishing something until it is complete. Providing he does finish it, it should remain a classic for many generations to come and at least future generations won’t have to endure the waiting game we have.

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    71. Adam,

      Just a slight change and what we see on screen holds up to scrutiny. But it loses the shock value of seeing three bolts come absolutely out of nowhere and Rhaegal dying with no warning. Set aside that weapons and weapons holders that are so obviously overpowered one week become completely ineffective the next for no reason other than that is what the plots needs.

      Have a group of hunters patiently aim and shoot at an unsuspecting lion and they are all likely to hit it no problem and the lion will go down before realizing what is going on.

      Have a lion catch those same hunters by surprise and there is little chance any of them will hit the charging lion.

      That is also why every now and then in combat zones some random guy with a handheld grabade launcher can bring down an attack helicopter caught by surprise.

      It’s all about the element of surprise.

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    72. Adam,

      Thanks for clearing that up. I’ve have gotten so used to thinking of Sopranos, BB Deadwood etc. as series that I scarcely even think of the Godfather as such. I guess I think of pts 2 and 3 as a pair of sequels more than a series.

      I like the Michael-Dany parallel.

      “But it could have been so much more than that. The central tragedy of the show is not what happened to any character; it’s what happened to the show itself.”

      I still say that D&D painted themselves into a corner by shortening s7-8. That alone has bitten both them and the viewers in the ass. It really does feel as if they’re selling the whole thing short.

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    73. Lord of Coffee: I suspect part of the reason for that is because the negativity is driving some positive and middle ground people away.I mean, you have some commenters here who just cannot seem to get past the fact that not everyone agrees with them that the show is terrible now, so they bombard every post with the same negativity over and over again.It gets old.

      For example, I thought episode 3 was fantastic, a thrilling combination of tension, horror, bravery, and victory.I immediately came here to discuss it and first thing I see is about four or five negative comments in a row so I closed this site.Nope, wasn’t going to let the complainers ruin it for me.

      This is how I feel. I’ve enjoyed the show all the way. Yes, there are parts that weren’t done as well as they might have been, and I would gladly have traded spectacle for more character scenes, because I’m not really into action movies. But it’s still been the best series I’ve ever watched. Just because we don’t shout as loud or as long doesn’t mean that those of us who appreciate the show are in the minority.

      It’s really depressing seeing all the negative stuff and the hatred and abuse everywhere. It’s driving me away and it’s probably having the same effect on other people who feel more positive. It’s a shame because normally it’s interesting to discuss the show, but it just isn’t fun any more so I won’t let these people spoil it for me.

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    74. Zen-Face,

      I still say that D&D painted themselves into a corner by shortening s7-8. That alone has bitten both them and the viewers in the ass. It really does feel as if they’re selling the whole thing short.

      But what was the alternative? Have 2 years between seasons 6 and 7, and 3 or longer between seasons 7 and 8?

      If they’d shortened the seasons in order to shorten production time and have the seasons out sooner that criticism would be valid, however production times actually were longer than in previous seasons.

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    75. Solar,

      We’re getting into time management and resource allocation on all this. HBO was all in favor extending full production assets to at least extending s.7-8 regardless of when those seasons would be ready for start date. They also wanted more seasons, but that’s a different story.

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    76. Solar: But what was the alternative? Have 2 years between seasons 6 and 7, and 3 or longer between seasons 7 and 8?

      No, just be less ambitious with the more spectacular passages. This would have shortened production and post-production time, and made time for all those intimate character scenes we would have liked.
      Back in the early days we didn’t see battles at all – they happened off-screen. I would have been happy with a compromise. Hardhome was none the worse for taking up only half of a one-hour episode.

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    77. For good or ill, basically Dany just applied the old Roman maxim of “Murum Aries Attigit”, i.e. “The Ram has touched the Wall”. In antiquity, the Romans would always peacefully accept the surrender of a city and would thereafter administer the city much as it previously had been, without wholesale murder and mayhem. However, if the Romans were forced to fight, take the City by storm, and spill their own blood in the process, there would be no mercy from that point, once the ram had touched the wall. While it offends our modern sensibilities, this had the practical effect of saving lives in the long run, because many more cities and towns surrendered peacefully than may otherwise have done so. The decision of whether to resist or not was weighed carefully by rulers (and in many cases by the people ruled when their rulers wanted to act foolishly and fight back, as Dany pointed out regarding Meereen) because everybody knew that if they thought they could withstand the Roman assault and guessed wrong, then they paid with their lives. The Romans by far were not the only people to exercise this philosophy, however they did have the best name for it. GRRM is very attuned to history, and what happened is a very accurate reflection of the history of our own world, across multiple continents at multiple times. It fits with Martin’s statement about history being a wheel, and the basic state/character of man being unchanging, so that what has happened before, will happen again.

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    78. Oh I absolutely love how you’re using that survey!

      Very simply put, the more we care, the more critical we get. I can’t but feel it corroborates the old saying that people living a simpe life live a happy life, people who think too much end up depressed.

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    79. The ending was probably going to be divisive no matter what they did.

      I agree with many things said in this thread, especially Steel Wind and Tyrion Pimpslap’s posts.

      D&D signed up for an adaptation, not this “fill in the blanks of my story I haven’t written yet” deal that they were forced into because of GRRM.

      The reason I am still enjoying the show is not because I’m blind to its missteps or because I’m too invested (or not invested enough), it’s because of my general mindset towards fiction.

      I don’t approach GoT with the assumption that I perfectly understand all character motivations, no matter how good I think I know the characters or what I would do in such a situation.

      Is it annoying that Rhaegal got shot out of the sky without anyone noticing an enemy fleet? Sure, it’s borderline stupid. But people do let their guard down and do stupid things or make mistakes (even massive ones) for various reasons.

      My default reaction is not “it’s those darn idiot writers” whenever something odd or seemingly inexplicable happens. Instead, it’s “this is what happened, even if I don’t immediately understand it”.

      This immensely increases my enjoyment, for obvious reasons.

      So when something like Dany going ‘mad’ happens, I don’t immediately second guess it. I don’t instantly resort to meta analysis of the writing. Rather I look for ‘in story’ explanations for it and just go with it.

      That’s not to say I’ll accept anything, but it’s generally how I approach fiction. For me it’s the difference between just going with the (story) flow or focusing on mistakes.

      Ultimately, even a quality piece of fiction will have a ton of mistakes, if you look closely enough, but that’s not what I’m interested in.

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    80. Brandon:
      For good or ill, basically Dany just applied the old Roman maxim of “Murum Aries Attigit”, i.e. “The Ram has touched the Wall”. In antiquity, the Romans would always peacefully accept the surrender of a city and would thereafter administer the city much as it previously had been, without wholesale murder and mayhem. However, if the Romans were forced to fight, take the City by storm, and spill their own blood in the process, there would be no mercy from that point, once the ram had touched the wall. While it offends our modern sensibilities, this had the practical effect of saving lives in the long run, because many more cities and towns surrendered peacefully than may otherwise have done so.

      That works and is accepted as a strategy because the cities you’re taking know ahead of time that you’re going to do that. The Romans never told the leaders of a city hey, surrender and you’re good to go, took a surrender, and then burned everything to the ground anyway. The fact that Daenerys had not been doing this up until this point is exactly why anyone has an issue with it.

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    81. Grandmaester Flash: No, just be less ambitious with the more spectacular passages. This would have shortened production and post-production time, and made time for all those intimate character scenes we would have liked.
      Back in the early days we didn’t see battles at all – they happened off-screen.I would have been happy with a compromise.Hardhome was none the worse for taking up only half of a one-hour episode.

      Yes, this exactly. The clear answer to how to fit more episodes in is don’t spend 55 nights just on the shooting of a single sequence. Was it really worth it? Was that episode five times better than one with a less spectacular battle? Of course not. Hardhome was a flat-out better episode and they didn’t need to stamp their crew into the ground to make it. Of course it isn’t possible to produce two full seasons in any reasonable amount of time when your greatest focus is how many times you can break your own record for most people set on fire in a single scene. So don’t do that. Put a little bit less effort into the prosthetics, building entire castle and cities, and finding amputees as extras, and put a little more effort into the story.

      The best episode they made this season took place in a bunch of rooms with characters talking to each other. That has always been Thrones at its best.

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    82. Grandmaester Flash,

      That may be your opinion, but we’ve got people whining that the Long Night wasn’t a whole season full of battles and wintry devastation and continent-wide destruction. There’s no way the producers could’ve got away with a half hour Hardhome style battle and all the rest of the action happening off-screen.

      Ironically, there were people moaning after A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms aired that it had just been another functional, character focused episode and an apparent waste of precious time in the shortened season.

      The Long Night and The Bells were absolutely incredible spectacles that we might never see repeated on a television show again. And I really could not see the same vocal minority that are currently running the show down accepting anything less spectacular, even if in hindsight they’re now insisting that things would’ve been better if they had been done this way or that way.

      Everybody was in awe of what they’d produced right up to the moment Arya killed the Night King and a million theories went down the toilet.

      Aside from that, I think the bigger problems have arisen with their handling of Daenerys’ heel turn, Jon’s passivity, Tyrion’s complete ineffectual existence and Jaime’s sudden regression. All of which I think could’ve probably been solved without scaling back the spectacle or adding more episodes; just tweaking the plot, motives and behaviour of those characters to make them more consistent and credible.

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    83. Inga:
      DavidQ,

      Actually, I know one case when an author has changed the ending after being petitioned by readers:) It was back in the Soviet times, and it was a Romeo&Juliett type novella set in modern times, and it ended with the boy falling out of the window after seeing his lost love comming to him. In the initial version, the boy died, but after numerous pleas the author made him survive, and the novella was turned into a movie and it became one of the most popular (and loved) Soviet movies:) So, sometimes authors should listen to the audience and give their charracters hope, instead of doom and gloom, because sometimes doom and gloom may seem contrived and just for shock purpose.

      Interesting case. Does that really apply to thrones though? It is already one of the most popular and loved series even before the tv show. As far as doom & gloom or a happy ending, that wasn’t my point. My point was really aimed at why so many people are simply just whining and complaining rather than debating and discussing like what Hodors Bastard said. Because like the comments both in this article and the one written on this site yesterday by Patrick Sponaugle titled “Daenerys Targaryen: For the Throne”, the discussion can be sooooo good and engaging.

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    84. Sweet Baby Hodor!

      Say what you will, but the last season of GOT has been entertaining in more ways than one – particularly the fan reaction. The article’s fan stats illustrate beautifully what we all probably know: Fans gonna do what fans gonna do – argue, practice a bit of snobbery and devote a whole lot of love and attention to something they adore.

      Speaking for solely for myself I’ve loved every last second of GOT, the books and the series. GOT broke the wheel for cable series television, but we know that. Personally, I will miss the series after tomorrow’s finale, but am looking forward to the ‘prequel’ everyone’s buzzing about. I also look forward to GRRM completing ASOFAI ASAP! (I pray he does so before we BOTH die of old age!)

      GOT been one of those rare phenomena that succeeded in uniting a wildly diverse group of smart, witty, insightful folks for great conversation, scholarly written observation & verbal slap fights. I don’t have blue lips; the BBQ flames just means too much marinate on the chicken; ravens exist to poo on my car, but I can foretell GOT will continue to spark controversy and discussion for some time to come. Raise your drinking horns and toast a Grand Finale, Watchers!

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    85. Adam,

      I saw this on the same FB page earlier today (and what I assume is your comment!), and shared it on my own Wall. I’ve been having spirited conversations about it with my daughter and a couple of friends for much of the day. An excellent analysis!

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    86. DavidQ,

      Well, I guess people whine and complain simply because they feel hurt. I feel hurt and even physically: I have a gastric ulcer and it has sored badly after Ep 5 and it will take me months to fix it.
      Sure, one can say: that’s just a fictional show and there’s no point to invest into it to the point of gastric ulcer complications. But it’s also true that the show wouldn’t have gone anywhere far without a really invested fandom. And I suspect that a good portion of the fandom would have kept away from the show (and books), had they known what kind of story it was. Unfortunately, GoT has always been presented as an adult version of LOTR, not as a new version of Ragnarok/Poetic Eda. Moreover, the stress has always been on jump-scare shocks of catastrophies, rather than on a careful step-by-step revelation of how catastrophies happen. It’s the writing style – yes, and it’s a rather original way to present uncomfortable truths. I give them that and I’m even growing to appreciate it in a way.
      Yet on the other hand, the number of catastrophies crammed into last season, especially into Ep 4, 5 and probably 6, just went over the top and without any hope for things to get better for any of the charracters. Therefore, there’s no surprise that the fandom is vomiting venom after being fed venom covered under the promise of bittersweet. That’s how organisms deal with venom – they vomit and it’s not fair to demand to withhold vomiting or vomit in a pretty way. Creators reap what they’ve sowed.

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    87. This is an excellent post! I will briefly share below a summary of the opinions from my circle of aquaintances, which is not a serious survey, more like a restricted point of view.

      So, all the people I know personally, talked to and/or follow(writers, musicians, part time film critics, PhD historians, political science Uni professors, literature professors, linguists) who followed the show across all the seasons, but not all of them read the books, were dissatisfied with basically the same thing:the script. Which is weird because all these people do not agree on a single thing, ever. I posted on some other review my somewhat detailed personal opinion and I am not going to reiterate it again, no point in criticism on such a well developed website dedicated to fans. I did not hear or saw any complaint from these people regarding Daenerys’ fall into madness, or Jamie’s character arc or whatever, these people did not expect happy endings and fairytale blond princesses in white wedding gowns flying into the sunset with their Prince on a red dragon with a ‘Just married’ postcard on his tail. They did however expect a well thought storyline, complex dialogues, character development, strong narrative build up, etc, etc. I did not hear any dissatisfaction regarding the cast and crew, cinematography, music, visual effects, acting skills, etc.

      However, some of my students (15-16 y.o) who occasionally watched the show for the explosions, the naked women, the realistic brutal killings, were absolutely thrilled with the past episode, they were raving all week about it! I mean for them it was Michael Bay with dragons, what beats that? 😁

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    88. I’ve read and love the books, and I also have loved this last series. I can see that some aspects of the story can be scrutinised, but personally I don’t feel the need to do that at all. What if more budget was assigned to the story and we had a few more episodes which elaborated certain narratives, but consequently that money was taken from visual effects, set design, etc. How many people would then be outraged that the world of Game of Thrones was just no longer convincing? Dany would still ultimately burn down Kings Landing, except this time it would look underwhelming and fake due to lack of budget. The reality of making a TV show involves striking a balance and making compromises, I happen to keep that in mind and I enjoy the show throughly. The people who are complaining to such an extreme degree sound totally unreasonable. Maybe just try to not take this so seriously and scrutinise everything until it’s lost all its magic, and you might start to enjoy it a little.

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    89. I love the books and I love the show, can’t wait for tomorrow although I will be upset it’s the end.

      Up until this season I have always really enjoyed the comments on social media, the plot ideas etc but this year it seems as though fans have gone extra crazy with conspiracy theories and setting themselves up to not enjoy a TV show. And I feel its extremely insulting to the show runners, crew and actors to see the petition and some of the google/twitter tirades towards a season that everyone worked so hard on.
      Don’t like it, don’t watch it. It’s a piece of fiction that none of us wrote or own in any way.

      Oh, I have a goddam PhD, not sure what that has to do with anything-this is entertainment, not a paper that has come in for review.

      I am have never been team Dany-to me her descent into becoming a tyrant has been there from very early days. That last episode was horrific and incredible, we will not see this standard of TV again for a while.

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    90. James Rivers: For the purposes of this survey, though, I am as interested in what Sue the Fury thinks as I am someone who thinks Dany’s name is Kelly C. So no entrance exam.

      That’s fine. By deliberately going for the two extreme ends of the distribution, you are definitely going to include the “Kelly C” outliers, was the point I tried to make. If that’s your intention, no problem.

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    91. Jack Hamm:
      Thank you James Rivers for your most informative post.It was a pleasure to read and easily digested. The information offered therein reaffirms my beliefs that the most interesting persons in stories are not necessarily the most popular or simply the “good people.”Good people exasperate me in literature, also. Dany’s character has always, for someone of my temperament, been the most fascinating and interesting character in the story.Jon and Sam are good and boring and dull; Jaime, Breinne and Ramsey are the most tedious, with Olenna, Tyrion, Tommen and Margaerybeing the most enjoyable characters.

      For years I mistook the show to be as good as the sum of its parts:great visuals,fine and exquisite costuming,stunning sets, brilliant cinematography,and really fine music and so on. Initially, disappointed after season 7, I decided to give them the benefit of my doubts. I felt reassured that with taking nearly two years before presenting the finale season, any and all fears would be fully assuaged and we’d have a return to the old and usual Game of Thrones quality which to cherish forever. The verdict:The show has delivered unmatched and spectacular visuals.Episode 5, last week, is a brilliant symphony in sight as well as sound and is simply spectacular in this regard. The storytelling is not in the same league and this is what most diehard fans can see and what they are depressed, saddened and outraged by.It fails for all of the regurgitated reasons. The most hurtful reason is why?How is this possible??? It should be so much better than it is and it is not! It used to be much, much better!I feel conned.Everyone of the fifty or so people I know who are fans of the books and show feel the same way.My neighbor across the way, whose name I cannot remember, is disappointed.The young man wearing a “I drink and I know things” tee shirt I passed shopping the other night is disappointed. I saw the shirt and started a conversation by saying ‘Love the shirt, ” and we talked about the current season.Like me, he is blown away by the visuals and disappointed by the story/writing, but loved seeing Dany torch Kings Landing last week. LOLAh!Some people… “They rushed it” was his summation. Horrified, I asked “the torching?” No, he replied, the story.

      Dany’s arc rings hollow and that is the simple truth of it.This hollowness will only add to “the Dany divide.”I dare anyone to tell me I feel this way because “it’s not what you were expecting.”I don’t expect and have never expected anything in a story except that it be well written. I did not expect the sleepwalking of Lady Macbeth; I did not expect the death and denigration of Hector nor the melodramatic deaths of Rome and Juliet; but these things “shook” me to my core and they “ring true” and are unforgettable and horrifying for the right reasons.It is horrifying and I did not expect that I, or anyone, for that matter, would compare Game of Thrones to Homer and Shakespeare.Somebody slap me!

      “The fact that the Isolated respondents had Dany further up in the “good” rankings could mean her actions in “The Bells” were more stunning to Isolated viewers”.

      Dany’s actions last week were sadly for the wrong reasons (“unearned”), or worse, no reasons (shock) at all, and this what makes them so “stunning.”Her actions here were not organic as those of “The Red Wedding,” Tommen’s death, or any of the other stunning events in the series. It is not believable and makes no sense, based on what we know of her, that she’d be motivated to commit the horrors we saw her committing last Sunday; even if Stephen King disagrees with me.It is even more unbelievable (and also senseless as well as silly) to expect the most casual of viewers to accept such rubbish without question. “The Bells” is subterfuge gone awry and this is really distressing and it cannot be defended.It makes me fear the story has no point.I believe someone here wondering about its “point” uses the phrase “existential nihilism” as a possible descriptive.Who knows? If this proves true, then this will prove to be the truest “subversion” and the divide will only grow larger.

      There is always Sunday’s finale to disprove such feelings.But hey, it is only a TV show, after all, and in the grand scheme of things, to quote Commadore Vanderbilt, “that amounts to nothing.”

      Respectfully, I disagree. I’ve read all 5 books more than once,

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    92. George: Respectfully, I disagree. I’ve read all 5 books more than once,

      read Fire and Blood, and watched the series more than once and I find Dany’s actions entirely consistent with her character in the book and series. She’s Genghis Khan, had he adopted an anti-slavery stance in Central Asia. Heck, the Dothraki culture is meant to mimic Mongolian nomad culture at the time of the Khans! And you know, the “Mad Queen Theorists “ have been around since the first book came out in 1996. We have been waiting for Dany to “ Break Bad” for quite a long time now…

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    93. I’m pretty sure that as soon as voting on IMDb opens for the last episode, the “1” votes will pile in, as they did last week 🙁 – but then again so will “10” votes.

      Whatever happens, whether I’m happy or disappointed, I’m just going to be glad to see a conclusion. I won’t judge it completely until I see what plays out in the true ending in the books ( I live in hope the last one does get finished before I shuffle off this mortal coil, I could go long before GRRM does). I think we have at least a few months before TWoW sees the light of day judging by the most recent notablog posting on the matter, I think a 2020 publication date is on the cards though.

      Who knows, maybe George’s idea of bittersweet is 90% bitter and only 10% sweet and one big ironic fingers up to the readership (ha-ha you old fox, thanks for the ride so far anyway!).

      Will definitely complete my GoT BD box set collection no matter what!

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    94. A bit off topic, but perhaps not: ‘Game of Thrones’ Is Going Out Fighting. So Will Its Audience.
      ‘ from this morning’s NYTimes.

      “Game of Thrones” began, with the execution of the seeming hero Ned Stark, by telling us that a good heart gets you only so far in this world. It made us confront a victory that we’d rooted for, over the conniving and greedy Lannister dynasty, by giving it to us as a war crime. It told us that constructing a just society for the living can be more difficult than defeating an army of the dead.

      It took the easy part out of the way first — the Tolkienesque quest we could all agree on — and focused us on the trickier problem of what comes after. You can dispel every evil spirit and slay every dragon. In the end, we still have each other to worry about.

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    95. Ser Pounce,

      The more I think, the more it looks like we should address the very storytelling style of GoT. Most of the stories are told fair and square: if it’s a story of catastrophe, creators tendt to give a clear hint to that and then concntrate on revealing the recipee of disaster. However, GoT has never been straightforward: the storytelling used faux protagonists, red herrings, false promises and every other creative mean to mislead and trick the viewer (reader). Moreover, catastrophies were intentionally presented in a jump-scare shock style: hints were given, but attention was continuosly diverted from them by other plotlines, by cutting the dialogue at the crucial moment, etc. And the essence of the story itself was also carefully masked: for 70 episodes it was presented as a story of people uniting against the external threat, and then it took an abrupt turn back to political and psychological drama implying that external threats matter far less, than we were led to believe. So, the story itself is a trixter intentionally build so that its recepients could be fooled time and time again.
      Therefore, it works better for cassual viewers who like gotcha shocks but more invested viewers are getting irritated, cause people just don’t like to be tricked time and time again. At the end it’s just stops being funny.

      Sure, after all the dust settles and we’ll manage to collect the pieces of our broken hearts, we might start to appreaciate GoT for the brutally realistic experince of disillusionment it has provided. However, there’s also a good chance that all this experience of disillusionment will turn against the creators: disillusioned fans will be nitpicking every flaw, until they prove that these were the creators (including GRRM) who were the fools and not them. And indeed the story has many flaws: two main building blocks providing foundation to Dany’s snap, namely the northern xenophobia and Jon’s rejection of the incestuos love, felt very forced, contrived, and artificial. It’s impossible to buy them without suspending disbelief, and due to that the whole twist loses believability tuning into a shock for shock sake and undermining the whole story.

      So, in short the creatosr (including GRRM) have chose to play a dangerous game by tricking fans and subverting their expectations: there is a limit of how much subverted expectations one can stomach before turning the table. But they are brave people; I give them that.

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    96. Ten Bears,

      t’s enough to trigger anyone into the fictional equivalent of a road rage incident. Dany – and most any human being – has the capacity to go full-on fire and blood after being pressured and provoked.

      True, dat. And btw I want you to know how much I have enjoyed reading your comments here over the years. You analysis has been spot on, and your ability to not take yourself too seriously is esp enjoyable. They have added to my knowledge and my enjoyment of the story. I will miss you when this is over….

      King in the North East,

      My default reaction is not “it’s those darn idiot writers” whenever something odd or seemingly inexplicable happens. Instead, it’s “this is what happened, even if I don’t immediately understand it”. This immensely increases my enjoyment, for obvious reasons.

      So when something like Dany going ‘mad’ happens, I don’t immediately second guess it. I don’t instantly resort to meta analysis of the writing. Rather I look for ‘in story’ explanations for it and just go with it.

      That’s not to say I’ll accept anything, but it’s generally how I approach fiction. For me it’s the difference between just going with the (story) flow or focusing on mistakes.

      Ultimately, even a quality piece of fiction will have a ton of mistakes, if you look closely enough, but that’s not what I’m interested in.

      Yes; without wishing to be called a book purist, I will say that indeed this started with books, and while they existed, the writers were at the top of their game. When GRRM pulled the rug out from under them, well, the story had different authors (even if they knew Martin’s game plan) I do also enjoy fiction, and agree with you that unless you are in a literature program, there isn’t the need to pick every crack and glaring hole. The story itself is the ultimate goal, the enjoyment of the art (thats not to say that I accept it all; ver the years I slammed several books against the wall in disgust or disbelief or anger. Heck, the Red Wedding caused that book to stay on the floor for a while before I picked it up again) I do accept less as I have gotten older (the old ‘Ill give it 50 pages’ is now just not having the patience to put up with bad writing) but in the end my enjoyment of the story and satisfaction after reading it is, well, what brought me to reading to begin with.

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    97. Adam,

      Of course it isn’t possible to produce two full seasons in any reasonable amount of time when your greatest focus is how many times you can break your own record for most people set on fire in a single scene. So don’t do that. Put a little bit less effort into the prosthetics, building entire castle and cities, and finding amputees as extras, and put a little more effort into the story.

      The best episode they made this season took place in a bunch of rooms with characters talking to each other. That has always been Thrones at its best.

      I have admittedly enjoyed the CGI; the development of the dragons alone as given me profound respect for those artists involved. But that is not what draws me in; its indeed the small moments that work best for me.

        Quote  Reply

    98. Inga,

      Ramsay Bolton summed up the essence of the show in what was probably the most significant line of all.

      “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.”

      Surely the message couldn’t have been any clearer.

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    99. I understand the Dany fandom feels really hurt. I do. Their favourite character and couple are in shambles. I used to love Daenerys but I always watched her storyline with a critical mind and I wasn’t surprised of her choices in the end.

      However, I’d prefer that these people found another way to cope, like writing their own fanfictions where everybody’s allowed to pass their headcanons as fact, instead of shitting on other characters (I’m sick of all the images of Sansa sporting Hitler mustaches).
      I mean okay, season 8 is not the stuff that dreams are made on (even for us who don’t want a Targ restoration) but the petition is an absolute joke and an insult for all the people who worked hard for months to give us these episodes.

        Quote  Reply

    100. Great survey, thanks. I don’t find the results for the Littlefinger plot to be surprising. It was very badly done, and required a lot of out-of-show patching up.

        Quote  Reply

    101. Grandmaester Flash,

      Yes, you are right. I wish I had paid more attention, but I’m a simple person who tends to trust the creators, rather than fictional baddies. And when I write, I try to satisfy expectations of my readers, rather than subvert them. So, this game is simply not for me and I’ll quit as soon as I’ll get my due for waisting my time on it (as well as for buying a highly expnsive and otherwise completely unnecessary TV set).

        Quote  Reply

    102. Steel_Wind,

      Us Jon fans are pretty upset at what they’ve done with him as well, like he’s pretty much been neutered. I don’t quite understand why he’s no longer acting himself and we aren’t getting to see his POV much.

        Quote  Reply

    103. Tim,

      Also it’s noteworthy that every time we’ve seen a dragon take a hit from a projectile since the loot train attack it’s been a riderless one.

        Quote  Reply

    104. ygritte: Us Jon fans are pretty upset at what they’ve done with him as well, like he’s pretty much been neutered. I don’t quite understand why he’s no longer acting himself and we aren’t getting to see his POV much.

      I’m pretty upset about that too. It feels like Dany’s storyline is the only thing center stage and ate everybody else’s. It makes us not care about Jon anymore, only Dany, Dany and Dany again and it hurts.

      My only explanation is that Jon’s been suppressing his reactions because antagonizing Dany has proved to be too dangerous: he has a family to protect and his death will achieve nothing. She needs to be weakened, and the pack will strike together. I hope.
      I mean, would Jon Snow truly fall in love with a woman who burns people alive because they don’t bend the knee to her? The answer should be obvious. GoT LIVES on off-screen deception, but I wish Jon’s character hadn’t suffered that much just so that they can postpone the reveal.

        Quote  Reply

    105. Inga:
      Ser Pounce,

      And indeed the story has many flaws: two main building blocks providing foundation to Dany’s snap, namely the northern xenophobia and Jon’s rejection of the incestuos love, felt very forced, contrived, and artificial. It’s impossible to buy them without suspending disbelief, and due to that the whole twistloses believability tuning into a shock for shock sake and undermining the whole story.

      Interesting point and one I have seen argued elsewhere. I have to disagree though, and offer a view that is, I believe, well supported by evidence provided by multiple previous episodes.

      1. Northern “xenophobia”, or shall we more charitably say suspicion of strangers, is very well documented. Note the language which Greatjon uses back in Season 1 to advocate the cause of Northern independence: strongly referring to inherent cultural differences and the north-south divide. Note that Tywin Lannister in Episode 10 of Season 3 frames the Northern rebellion as “North marching on the South”. He seems to imply that the North is in some way distinct from the more unified, or at least more closely related southern kingdoms. Which is, of course, true because the North is the only kingdom worshipping the Old Gods with its population being descended from the First Men. Finally, there is Stannis explicitly saying to Jon in Season 5 how much trouble Robert had controlling them, even with Ned’s help.

      In my mind all this paints a picture of a region with wilful, independent people strongly loyal to their own and mistrustful of strangers and foreign rule. Moreover, many online seem to assume that Daenerys’ help with the Walkers automatically makes any opposition to her rule of the North “forced” or “unbelievable”. To that I will say only this: maybe the UK should have become 51st US state in recognition of US role in saving Britain during WW2. Humor aside, the fact that Dany helped is all well and nice, but that shouldn’t be construed as a carte blanche to annex the North or, once that annexation happened, as a blanket argument to delegitimize viewpoints favoring independence, that are grounded in historical and cultural reality.

      2. Jon’s rejection of Daenerys. Again, not sure what is so forced and contrived here. Jon’s personal moral code and his understanding of familial relations obviously makes it difficult for him to engage in a romantic and/or sexual relationship with his aunt. This development is never contradicted by on-screen evidence. In fact, it is explicitly stated that Northerners frown upon this practice even though it seems more common in the southern kingdoms. Therefore, Jon growing emotionally distant from Daenerys is grounded in both established worldbuilding and Jon’s character traits.

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    106. ash,

      “…And btw I want you to know how much I have enjoyed reading your comments here over the years. You analysis has been spot on, and your ability to not take yourself too seriously is esp enjoyable. They have added to my knowledge and my enjoyment of the story. I will miss you when this is over.”

      _______
      Aww, what a lovely thing to say! I’m blushing. Thank you.

      However, I’m hoping this site, and all the intelligent contributors and commenters, remain active even after the show concludes.

      If I may borrow a scene from “The Notebook”, a movie which I half-liked (the story involving the younger couple played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling; I didn’t much like their older versions played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands):

      “It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over!”

      (at 1:35)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKYXD-u6jPM

      I still enjoy reading different perspectives about everything touched on in the show. Everyone views characters and events from their own lenses shaped by their own life experiences. It’s been enlightening for me. And unlike just about every other internet site, there’s very little back and forth name-calling and juvenile nonsense. Everyone is respectful, even when they vehemently disagree.

      Since the site founders have said watchersonthewall isn’t going to shut down, I’m hoping that the interesting discussions will continue, and not just to focus on the prequel.

      I admit that I had an ultra thick, heavy duty, dual layer tinfoil theory about the White Walkers and Bran that was (over-)long; I’m kind of glad I never got around to editing and posting it because in one episode (S8e3) it got completely shredded. I really thought I had figured out the WW origins, the cave symbols, and everything else…. but no.

      Still, there’s a whole lot of not-so-far-fetched ideas that commenters have been posting. I’ve still got a few theories I wouldn’t mind sharing, i.e., inviting everyone to tear apart. And I’m sure the “divisive” ending in Season 8 will fuel spirited, intelligent commentary for many months to come.

      There are a handful of films and TV shows that I can rewatch and think about in perpetuity; I always pick up some new details and nuances upon repeated viewings. I hope GoT will become one of them. GoT did have a bit of “filler” and a few wonky story lines, but overall there are enough stellar scenes and fabulous acting over the course of 72 (soon to be 73) episodes to fill up a “perpetual rewatch” loop. And I’ve never tired of reading others’ perspectives, and nasal-spraying coffee all over my keyboard when someone writes something so witty and funny that it makes me involuntarily evacuate my sinuses.

      I hope I’m not alone in believing that the end of the show won’t result in the dissolution of the thoughtful community of fans, philosophers, and jokers. If the site founders and moderators are up to it, that is.

      (Which reminds me: I’ve got to give some cash to someone who’s tech savvy to contribute $ to the site on my behalf; I don’t use PayPal or transmit credit card information online.)

      Anyway, thanks again for what you wrote. “It warms the heart.”
      – B. Dondarrion.

        Quote  Reply

    107. Mr Fixit,

      Agreed. Many Dany fans say that the ‘Mad Queen’ story was rushed and had no build up and I didn’t hear them complain when Jon/Dany came out of nowhere. It’s disappointing to see some people’s reaction when the show doesn’t go their way anymore.

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    108. Adam,

      You’re right about the Rheagal part, that would have been better. But that’s not only D&D faults. There are many people working on the show that could have implemented the scene that way. Many times in film history a director or actor decides to take another route than the scripts said because it’s better to go that way.

      For instance in Harry Potter and the deadly hallows part 1, in the scripts Hermione gets tortured just like in the books by the spell “crucio”. helena bonham carter felt like that wouldn’t be something that work on screen, so she give her advice to change that to her carving the word “mudblood” in the arm of Hermione. Which the director liked a lot better. It was a change that made the movie better and more believable.

      Same could be said here, do we know for certain that one of the actors, director went to D&D and said: I know you wrote this wonderful script, but this is not going to work on screen, better change it that it happens in a battle way.
      If that happened and D&D said no go with what we wrote, then that’s their problem, if nobody noticed the mistake with the script-reading, filming etc it’s not only their fault but for everyone not noticing it.

      To add, I just watch the first part of episode 5 (I do it in 2, first before the battle then after, I want to know how it feels if it would have been 2 episodes. And I have to say I really think they should have add 1 or 2 extra episodes between 3 en 5. 4 could have been the aftermath of the army of the dead battle, maybe finding something out about the Army of the dead to give people answers. Episode 5 could have been what episode 4 was the second part (30 minutes) + some scenes with Missandei with Cersei (10 minutes) + having a wedding for Euron and Cersei or something else to fill the gab before Missandei was killed. Even Winterfell could have used some scenes with Sam, Sansa Arya before Arya left.

      Episode 6 could have been what we missed between episode 4 and 5. The road south for arya, Jon, Jaime (20/25 minutes 1 scene per character would have been enough), seeing Varys trying to poison Dany and seeing Dany slide into what she become at the beginning of episode 5 (15 minutes). Having the episode end with the first 17 minutes of episode 5, Varys death with the end of her saying: let it be fear.

      Episode 7 could have been what episode 5 was the second half, beginning with the preparation of the battle + Jaime tyrion etc till the end and having a 63 minute bells episode.

      and if they would have 1 episode more with the WW treat it could have been an 9 episode season (or 10 if the final should have split also but I think the final will be just fine as it is)

      What we got I’m happy with but I can see that the episodes were rushed so that people are having a problem with it. For me that problem is not episode 5 itself, but the missing link between episode 4 and 5, how did dany went from somebody who controls her emotion at the end of episode 4 (control as much as she could under this circumstances) to the depressed mess she was in the beginning of 5, yes we all can fill that blank in, but I would have gladly seen it, I like scenes like that where people change, that’s what GoT is about, change from trauma.

      Here end’s my problem with season 8, I still like it, and just enjoy it people. Later on when I finished episode 5 part 2. I will defend episode 5 once more with something I recognized at the beginning of the episode.

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    109. Mango,

      I think her fanbase doesn’t really care if Dany turned into for a better word “the mad queen” (which I think is highly exaggerated word here)

      What I think they care more about is that Dany was the hero in episode 3, yes she had tendencies to do bad things, and I think her fanbase saw that, and they went with it as long Dany fights for the good guys.

      episode 4 saw a slight different to the mad part, and at the beginning of episode 5 she is already much further, they skipped her transition big time, I think her fanbase has more problem with that, why Dany was not worth it to show her that change, she went from 30% mad at the end of episode 4, to 80% mad at the beginning of 5.

        Quote  Reply

    110. Tim,

      Agree with you

      Adam,

      Agree episode 2 is the best, my favorite of the season. (episode 4 got down on the list once I rewatched it).

      and episode 3 could have been bigger if they had chosen to do it 2 episodes a big WW 2 episode parter. And end the season with that treat and cersei for the next. Having 5 episodes total. Only problem is there isn’t a big cliffhanger so they should have made it 8a and 8b for convenience. I think a mini-cliffhanger with for instance Dany stated in winterfell that she will take the iron throne with Fire and blood with all of Winterfell to see would have been a major cliffhanger. We would talk all of the break if Dany will go fully mental or stay the hero.

      But we got what we got and it’s good enough for me, still better then what other shows give us.

        Quote  Reply

    111. kevin1989:

      You’re right about the Rheagal part, that would have been better. But that’s not only D&D faults. There are many people working on the show that could have implemented the scene that way. Many times in film history a director or actor decides to take another route than the scripts said because it’s better to go that way.

      As far as I can remember (and I’m not searching through my entire comment history, which is impossible anyway because multiple people post as “Adam”), I have never called out D&D by name, nor any other individual involved in the creative process. I have no clue what goes on behind the scenes and find assigning blame to be an incredibly boring and unproductive thing besides. Thankfully, I’m nobody’s boss and don’t have to do that. I just see a product that not only could have been better, but much more tragically was better for a long time. I don’t particularly care whose fault it is.

        Quote  Reply

    112. ygritte

      The more invested you are in something or someone (spending time, thought or money on) the more you will care about it/them. that’s just human nature.

      Spending time on fan sites does not necessarily equate to caring more. People who just watch the show can care every bit as much about what happens to the characters.

      I’ve seen this attitude on sports sites too. The ones who spend the most time complaining online about the team think of themselves as the ‘real’ fans, and they dismiss those that just watch the games as not true fans.

        Quote  Reply

    113. about the petition that it’s started I’m not taking it too serious, just like with the whole imdb downvoting, many people have probably entered 10x under different names. I think that only 100.000 people voted for it. I mean it’s just 30 seconds to fill in, so it’s not so difficult that some took a little bit more time and filled it in 10x or more.

      Adam,

      Oh that was not directed at you, more that I agreed with you about Rheagal death and that many blame D&D for it, the hype that is happening.

        Quote  Reply

    114. Adam,

      Stated another way, the strategy is as John Gotti said, “you kill one, and you scare a thousand”. The Romans made a number of examples of people to start with, that’s necessary to start with to use the strategy, and some of them didn’t always receive fair warning. That said, I am not sure it’s really accurate to say that people didn’t have fair warning about Daenerys though:

      “When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me, we will law waste to armies, and burn cities to the ground.”, S2 to The Thirteen

      That is 6 seasons ago, and that is exactly what has happened. Also, how long have they been foreshadowing the dragon flying over King’s Landing, since the House of the Undying, right?

      “I will take what is mine, with fire and blood, I will take it.” S2, to the Spice King

      More Season 2.

      “You’re a dragon, be a dragon”, Olenna Tyrell to Dany, S7, E3

      “I offer you a choice, bend the knee and join me, or refuse, and die.” S7, E5,

      Dany to the Tarly’s and the Lannister army, complete with her following through on her threat.

      “Perhaps it’s best that the people see that Daenerys Stormborn made every effort to avoid bloodshed, and Cersei Lannister refused.” S8, E4.

      The next time, she goes out to demand a surrender, people will know she’s not ****ing around (of course I doubt there’ll be one because the show is ending tonight), but the point has been made, to the extent the people in the back couldn’t hear the point when she burned Astapor and crucified the Masters of Meereen.

        Quote  Reply

    115. Really, this whole controversy lays bare that awful aspect of human nature, that we don’t seem to care about a lot of things, as long as it does not effect us personally. A lot of people didn’t react so emotionally to rape on the show, until Sansa was raped. A lot of people haven’t reacted to Dany’s violence until it threatened people they cared about or because her previous violence felt justified to them (would we have felt differently if the cameras had shown innocents die in Astapor? or the masters who spoke against the crucifying of the children, being crucified with the others? With the loss of their innocent children?). In Season 3 Jorah asked “Have you ever seen a war Ser Barristan where innocents didn’t die by the thousands?”. That’s what’s been going on this entire show, and it’s happened at the hands of the “good” guys as well as the “bad”, it always does, whether people realize it or not.

      What if the Bells had been a trap and we the audience knew it? We’d have all been cursing Dany for a fool as we watched her fall for it. What if Robb Stark had known the Red Wedding was a trap and went in and pre-emptively murdered the Frey’s? What if we the audience had been ignorant to the Frey’s plans and saw him do this anyway? There’s always two sides to every story, the broadway show “Wicked” is a perfect example of this, it’s one of the things I’ve always loved about the books.

        Quote  Reply

    116. Adam: Game of Thrones was prestige television. It’s still a prestige book series.

      Agreed! GOT, as a TV series, is second only (in my opinion) to Breaking Bad. I think BB had the advantage of being one person’s creation from start to finish. BB never had a misstep, never had an inconsistency, and never was affected by fan views. Bryan Cranston played a monster from start to finish, a monster with some vestiges of humanity.

      GOT has the disadvantage of having such a huge volume of stuff from GRRM that no one could have made it an entirely complete and consistent series, and it was also being adjusted to meet fan desires, even in small ways. D&D did the best anyone could in editing it down to TV-sized.

      I feel so lucky to have read the books and to have seen the series!

      I wish everyone a happy viewing tonight!

        Quote  Reply

    117. Lady MarMar: GOT has the disadvantage of having such a huge volume of stuff from GRRM that no one could have made it an entirely complete and consistent series, and it was also being adjusted to meet fan desires, even in small ways. D&D did the best anyone could in editing it down to TV-sized.

      It’s as well to remember here that GRRM was previously a TV screenwriter, and being frustrated by the limitations of that, he wanted the freedom to create something that he thought would be too big and complex for screen adaptation. And the result was ASOIAF.

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    118. Tyrion Pimpslap,

      I’m still amazed at how little criticism GRRM receives for not finishing the books. Does anyone truly believe the final seasons would have been shortened if George had just finished the books? Do you think we would be left with so many questions about the supernatural elements of the series? Would the characters motivations and actions have been the same?

      are you fricking kidding me? The criticism has been happening since the beginning, causing one of my fav authors to pen the essay ‘GRRM is not your bitch’ People have stopped now because whats the point, but believe me, things would be much different if he could have cut back the over the top details, found an editor or two, and just finished the damn series

        Quote  Reply

    119. Ten Bears,

      However, I’m hoping this site, and all the intelligent contributors and commenters, remain active even after the show concludes.

      If I may borrow a scene from “The Notebook”, a movie which I half-liked (the story involving the younger couple played by Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling; I didn’t much like their older versions played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands):

      “It wasn’t over. It still isn’t over!”

      (at 1:35)

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKYXD-u6jPM

      I still enjoy reading different perspectives about everything touched on in the show. Everyone views characters and events from their own lenses shaped by their own life experiences. It’s been enlightening for me. And unlike just about every other internet site, there’s very little back and forth name-calling and juvenile nonsense. Everyone is respectful, even when they vehemently disagree.

      Since the site founders have said watchersonthewall isn’t going to shut down, I’m hoping that the interesting discussions will continue, and not just to focus on the prequel.

      Yes, and if that does indeed happen, I’ll be here!

        Quote  Reply

    120. Netheb,

      I didn’t hear them complain when Jon/Dany came out of nowhere

      you obviously did not hear me shouting at my tv. Ive heard lots of folks comment on the lack of chemistry and the way too quick shipping (hee, boat sex, no pun intended). Just one of the problems in the last two seasons, not enough time for that to develop natually

        Quote  Reply

    121. Brandon,

      There’s always two sides to every story, the broadway show “Wicked” is a perfect example of this, it’s one of the things I’ve always loved about the books.

      Actually I was very miffed what the show did to one of my fav books (tho the music was great) but as even the Bard took lots of liberties with various folklore and stories to write his plays, I can accept it as another story and keep them separate

        Quote  Reply

    122. Ten Bears,

      In defense of Dany continued
      (Apologies for any redundancy):
      Two additional thoughts (one based on the show; the other a strange analogy)

      •1. I neglected to reiterate that I gotta blame Jon for not getting out some favorable PR for Dany in advance of their arrival at WF. He knew – and admitted early in S7 – that the Northerners would not accept a Southern ruler, especially a Targaryen- considering what Aerys did to Rickard and Brandon Stark.

      The story of Dany’s heroic, self-sacrificing rescue of Jon and his Snow Patrol should’ve been trumpeted to everyone in the North. Her no-strings-attached vow to take her armies north to defend the Northerners from an existential threat they could not hope to defeat by themselves should’ve resulted in Winter Town streets lined with cheering and adoring crowds showering Dany with gratitude. Instead, she arrived to sneering and fearful people, and Jon’s distrustful sister obsessing over “Northern independence.”

      Jon’s naïveté was to blame. This scene between Jon & Dany from S7e6, aboard ship, shows that he blithely dismissed the very concerns that he’d conveyed to Dany when they met earlier in S7:

      Dany: “We are going to destroy the Night King and his army. And we’ll do it together. You have my word.”
      Jon: “Thank you, Dany.”
      Dany: “‘Dany’ Who was the last person who called me that? I’m not sure, was it my brother? Not the company you want to keep.”
      Jon: “Alright. Not Dany. How about ‘My Queen’? I’d bend the knee but…
      Dany: “What about those who swore allegiance to you?”
      Jon: “They’ll all come to see you for what you are.”
      Dany: “I hope I deserve it.”
      Jon: “You do.”

      That’s it??? Blind faith that “they’ll all come to see you for what you are”? It was bad enough that he didn’t wait to inform his people of his intent and reasons to bend the knee before doing so. (And since Dany has already agreed to ally with him to destroy NK, there was no urgency to abdicate his crown and surrender Northern sovereignty.)

      Jon ought to have remembered that his failure to “sell” the Wildling Resettlement Plan to the majority of the NW brothers got him killed. * Whether he had the authority as Lord Commander and KitN and rational reasons for his decisions to save the Wildlings and to subjugate the North to the Dragon Queen, were irrelevant. A prudent leader would go all out to convince skeptical followers to support his decision before finalizing it and announcing it. He didn’t do that.

      *(He could’ve benefitted from a tutorial from Syrio: “Every hurt is a lesson, and every lesson makes you better.”)

      So Dany arrived in WF with an army ready to fight and die to save Jon’s people, and yet they treated her like an unwelcome invader. Why Jon didn’t implore Sansa sincerely but sternly to treat Dany with respect instead of snark is another question.

      That distrust of Dany started a chain of events that led to Sansa undermining Dany and leaving her isolated, unwelcome and unappreciated – and eventually, caused her two remaining advisors to question her fitness compared to another Targaryen candidate for monarch they wouldn’t have known about had the sworn promise of secrecy been honored. After thousands of her loyal Dothraki and Unsullied gave their lives to save Winterfell, she was still treated like an interloper instead of a savior.

      If it were me, I’d be plenty pissed. Add to that the second-guessing of her decisions by the Lady of WF and Jon’s ineffectual support, combined with losses suffered from yet another ambush at sea upon her arrival at Dragonstone, after thousands of her allies had previously perished as a result of failed “clever plans” to capture KL with minimal civilian casualties, and I’d be at my “F*ck it: Time for Fire and Blood!” threshold.

      I understood that Tyrion’s most recent parlay outside the walls of KL was somehow intended to demonstrate to the inhabitants of KL that if Cersei didn’t surrender she’d be responsible for the carnage when Dany sacked the city. I doubt that the folks futilely running down the street to avoid being charbroiled by dragonfire saw it that way.

      I still maintain that anybody who suffered the setbacks and the pressures that Dany endured would depart from the “kinder, gentler” invasion plans that had failed so miserably so many times before, and just “be a dragon.” Or, if I can borrow a quote from my favorite character in my favorite movie:

      Now remember. When things look bad, and it looks like you won’t make it, then you got to get mean. I mean plumb, mad dog mean! Because if you lose your head and give up, then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.”
      Josey Wales (Clint Eastwood), in pep talk to his compatriots – women and an old Indian – holed up in a cabin preparing for an imminent attack, from “The Outlaw Josey Wales” (1976)

      The point there was that in the heat of battle you can’t be reticent or reluctant. Otherwise civilized, violence-abhorring folks have to resort to primordial fury and rage even if they wind up committing unintended acts of violence they never fathomed they were capable of.

      Former Confederate guerrilla fighter Josey Wales averted the attack by Comanches by riding out to parlay with their Chief, Ten Bears, and delivering one of the best speeches ever scripted in one of the best scenes ever filmed. Here’s how it starts out:

      Josey: “You’ll be Ten Bears?”
      Ten Bears: “I am Ten Bears.”
      Josey: “I’m Josey Wales.”
      Ten Bears: “I have heard. You are the Gray Rider. You would not make peace with the Bluecoats. You may go in peace.”
      Josey: “I reckon not. Got nowhere to go.”
      Ten Bears: “Then you will die.”
      Josey: “I came here to die with you…Or live with you. Dying’s not so hard for men like you and me. It’s living that’s hard, when all you ever cared about has been butchered or raped.”

      Here’s a link to the video of the complete spoiler-code covered scene.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBN_rvehodM

      Don’t click on it if you haven’t seen the movie – though it’s been around for 43 years, and a second-rate rip-off version of it, “Unforgiven”, won the Oscar.

      •2. Weird analogy: I couldn’t help but think about the comedy “Trading Places”, in which two tycoon brothers in a running nature vs. nurture debate make a $1 bet that if their well-bred, Harvard-educated genteel top executive (Dan Ackroyd) were put under enough pressure (e.g., framed for embezzlement, falsely accused of drug dealing, deprived of his money and privileged lifestyle), he would regress into a deranged, violent beast. Rejected by his fiancée and shunned by his yuppie “friends”, he does in fact devolve into a crazed, gun-toting psycho.

      • It’s not quite the same as Dany, except that she too, in a short time span, is unfairly placed under enormous pressures and suffers terrible losses: deprived of her friends and loved ones; left frustrated as her noble ambitions are repeatedly foiled and backfire into disaster; unappreciated and shunned; met with ingratitude by the beneficiaries of her sacrifices; treated with loathing and suspicion; estranged from her lover; deliberately provoked to anger; betrayed by her “supporters”; derided as untrustworthy; and left isolated as her efforts to regain her footing are thwarted by those pursuing their own agendas at her expense. Everyone truly loyal to her has been killed or compromised. Maester Aemon once said: “A Targaryen alone in the world is a terrible thing”, and that’s effectively where she found herself – or worse.

      It’d be enough to trigger unbridled rage and desperation in anyone. After laudable self-restraint (and losing her own allies) in attempting to avoid it, torching the city was a tragic yet entirely understandable culmination of her story (as I see it).

      Dracarys! 🔥

        Quote  Reply

    123. Brandon:
      That said, I am not sure it’s really accurate to say that people didn’t have fair warning about Daenerys though:

      “When my dragons are grown, we will take back what was stolen from me, we will law waste to armies, and burn cities to the ground.”, S2 to The Thirteen

      That is 6 seasons ago, and that is exactly what has happened. Also, how long have they been foreshadowing the dragon flying over King’s Landing, since the House of the Undying, right?

      I said the people she is using the strategy against have no reason to believe that is what she’ll do. How are Cersei and the people of King’s Landing supposed to know what Daenerys said to the 13 of Qarth 7 years ago? It’s easy to forget as a viewer that the characters in the story don’t have the god’s eye view we have. The threat of total annihilation only works if you actually threaten the people you’re going to annihilate. It’s not enough that the audience knows. The people you’re fighting have to know. She never gave King’s Landing or Cersei any sort of ultimatum implying that if they surrendered during battle, she would ignore it and destroy them anyway.

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    124. ash,

      I wish he would’ve just given up trying to write the books, and devoted his time to penning some scripts for S5 – S8. His scripts from the first couple of seasons were excellent.

      His heart’s not into writing the TWOW anymore. Nothing wrong with that. It’s understandable after what? A quarter century bogged down in the same fictional world?

      I don’t have the patience to wait five minutes at the grocery store checkout line. I can’t imagine trying to churn out a novel after so many years of sitting at a keyboard without making appreciable headway.

      I say let the guy take his victory laps and spend his $$$. Besides, in about 10 hours from now, any impetus to finish the books will likely evaporate.

      I’m just thankful be created a world that was transformed into eight seasons of must-watch TV. And Arya and the Hound.

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    125. I will say that one thing I keep hearing is that Jon should have ‘taken one for the team’ and slept with Dany. This would have tempered her impulse to burn everything.

      I find this horrific. It we reverse the idea and say Dany needs to sleep with Jon to temper his worst impulses there would be uproar. That would be an abusive relationship.

      For the record, I do think his rejection was the final straw but he wasn’t to blame for her burning the city. That was her decision alone. Just like Sansa being responsible for Varys death. She wasn’t. Varys made a choice with the information he was given.

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    126. Ten Bears: His heart’s not into writing the TWOW anymore. Nothing wrong with that. It’s understandable after what? A quarter century bogged down in the same fictional world?

      It would be interesting if he hired some fellow writers to give him a hand. See if he can find a successful collab.

      As a writer myself, I utterly shudder at the thought of sharing my baby, but perhaps it would be for the best.

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    127. Jack Nabble:
      Emily,

      Your condescendency is showing, there are no “fans” better than others just because some people are choosing to call a character in a certain way, stop thinking you’re more special than others ! Way to generalise an entire group of people just because they are casual viewers !

      Is “condescendency” a word? I hope so. It sounds nice. I thought the noun was condescension or something like that.

      I learn a new vocabulary word here at least once a week.

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    128. onefromaway:
      Lord of Coffee,

      Ditto! Plus, I learned a new word – vituperation, meaning a sustained and bitter railing and condemnation.Thanks!

      My goals for this coming week: Drum into my head the definitions of “insidious” and “invidious”; avoiding confusing “discreet” and “discrete”; and stop berating myself for guessing wrong on an elementary school vocabulary test when I didn’t know that “infinitesimal” means incredibly small – I figured it related to infinitely large.

      Very truly yours,

      Stannis B.

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    129. Danielle:
      Great survey, thanks. I don’t find the results for the Littlefinger plot to be surprising. It was very badly done, and required a lot of out-of-show patching up.

      If you don’t mind sticking around for a couple of days or weeks, a lawyer friend helped me construct a somewhat more realistic LF trial scene that didn’t rely on hallucinating boy’s “visions” or LF acting out of character and admitting his guilt right off the bat.

      The only problem with our little rewrite… was me. I got a little goofy and started inserting Stannis and Sandor into the scene. I’ve been trying to edit out the nonsense I injected. It’s taken longer than I thought.

      Seriously though, I really thought the show had set up an intricate way of nailing LF for treason without making him a whimpering idiot, and instead boxing him in with his own words. The show didn’t go that route.

      I wish I hadn’t screwed around with my friend’s input. Every time I’ve tried to excise the silliness I injected, I realize how long it’s going to take me.
      🤢

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    130. Mr Fixit,

      No offence, but you provide evidence from the show, and have a personal experience of fighting for the indpendence of my country, as well as several other nations. And to me it just rings false and beyond false: people can be xenophobic as hell but they value allies, when they are in grave danger, and they are capable of gratitude. And not only that: let’s take the show itself. The wildlings hate the Night’s Watch and everyone else on the other side of the Wall, but here comes Jon with an offer of a good will, and Tormund vouches for him and they decide to follow Jon; he fights for them, they fight for him, when the fighting is done, they part as friends. That’s simplified but believable, because that’s how homan psyche normaly works. Or take the Lannister soldiers Arya met in 701: they were trying to be good to a stranger, because that’s the obligation of hospitality. However, the North does something entirely different: they whine about feeding an allied army, they show now gratitude for support, etc. The only way I can possibly stomach this nonsense is to assume that Sansa somehow poisoned the North against Dany, because Littlefinger told her that should Jon marry Dany, together they would be difficult to defeat and Sansa was planning to usurp Jon after the war. But even in such case, I would have preferred a more subte plotting.

      But when it comes to the incest issue, the writing is really bad. The show has never tackled the issue of the avunculate marriage; it only implied that marriages between first cousins were considered normal. Therefore, it was legit to assume that avunculate marriages in Westeros were treated similarly as in Medieval Europe – not encouraged, but still allowable. And then Ep 4 brought a sledgehammer out of the blue. The very least, the point should have been made in Ep 1 and 2 and the exchanges between Jon & Sam and Jon & Dany should have been different. Jon’s reaction should have been “Danm! I can’t be with the love of my life” instead of “It’s a treason”, etc. I king of know where it comes from: GRRM is a fan of Richard III and it might be his way of saying that Richard III could have had a long and peaceful rule, if not prevnted from marrying Elisabeth of York. But as a historian I not a fan of this concept, so it rings doulble false to me. And anyway, the show should have been more consistent with the writing and music too, cause “The Truth” was the truth of love, not a signal of unacceptable relationship.

      And the third premise for Dany’s snap – Tyrion and Jon insisistin on blocade – also rang false. Everyone could see that blocade was a bad idea from the beginning and, although Tyrion’s position could be explained by his desire to save Cersei’s life, Jon’s stupidity had no excuse.

      So, once again: Dany’s snap was based of three premises, and all of them felt forced (at least to me). And I don’t think that GRRM will manage to make them more belivable: he has plenty of lapses in his world-building aready.

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    131. Ghostgirl,

      I find it astonishing how many people blame Sansa for the bad turns (for Dany) in 8×05. And it sounds to me like the usual Sansa-hate/-bashing, with people desperately trying to blame their hero’s/heroes’ downfall on her because she is their least favourite character.

      Yes, she decided to tell Tyrion about Jon and most likely counted on him spreading the tale. But not out of spite against Dany. Sansa did it because she genuinely believes Jon is the better choice for herself, her family, the North and the whole of Westeros (Jon spent all his life there, brokered a thruce/peace between the North and the Wildlings (!!!), restored law and order in the North after the Boltons and so on). So, I just don’t get it how people can blame Sansa for choosing the man she sees as her brother over a foreigner, who doesn’t even give her own soldiers and ‘children’ time to recover from a devastating battle (And come one, Cersei was so sure she has enough resources to take down Drogon and to defeat the remaining armies, she wouldn’t have made much more scorpions or come up with many more evil plans, had Dany listened to Sansa and waited a month or two before they went south).

      And to assume, Varys and Tyrion hadn’t already started to question their decision to help Dany conquering Westeros before the ‘Jon is a Targaryen’-bomb dropped on them, sounds kind of ridiculous to me. In my opinion, Varys would have tried to stop Dany even if he hadn’t known about Jon. You see, going by line of succession: Robert came to the throne by conquest (just like the Targaryen 300 years earlier), then Joffrey/Tommen/Myrcella’s rights to the throne came from claiming to be his children/heirs, Cersei came to the throne because as closest living relative she was heir to Tommen. And with Cersei’s death the next in line would have been Jaime and after him Tyrion. So, Varys actually already had alternative option for the Iron Throne.

      And so it was entirely on Varys himself that he decided to poison Dany (which apparently most people didn’t even see/understand from that scene with the kitchen girl). And that was why he was sentenced to death, not just for wanting to see Jon on the throne, but for already working on murdering Dany. He just didn’t succeed because Dany refused to eat (out of grief but maybe also because she already feared someone would try to poison her). So Tyrion didn’t just turn on Varys because she feared for his own station, he did it because he knew Varys – that his ‘friend’ would no longer make compromises, but would take action and soon.

      Sure, Sansa probably hoped for someone to turn against Dany and get rid of her, but she couldn’t have know so exactly what Varys would do. Not even Littlefinger could plan so precisely when the Spider was involved. And after all Cersei was still Sansa’s #1 enemy. She never disagreed with Dany that it was the topmost priority to take out Cersei after they had dealt with the Night King and his undead armies.

      And there even was a chance for Sansa supporting Dany’s claim to the Iron Throne, had Dany not so stubbornly refused the possibility of an independent North. Which was kind of odd, since she had granted Yara and Theon independence for the Iron Islands in exchange for their support. But the North wasn’t given that opportunity. So blaming Varys and his death and all the bad turns for Dany on Sansa is absolutely unfair.

      Sorry, just my opinion. But I am kind of sick of reading the same hate and blame and bashing (even here on this site now) … too much negativity in the fandom, so I no longer can keep my mouth shut.

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    132. Ten Bears:
      Red Viper,

      In a way, it doesn’t matter if objectively speaking the show, or a particular episode, has been “good” or “bad.”

      Depending on your preferences, there are enough stellar moments in 72+ hours over eight seasons to compile a 10-hour masterpiece. For example, Petra could – and most likely is – assembling“A Tale of Theon Greyjoy-Stark.”

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to work splicing together Arya Stark and the Hound scenes for my personal “A Song of Arya and Sandor” compilation.*

      * I may need a subtitle. Any suggestions, anyone?
      Under consideration so far: “The Cold Little Bitch and the Worst Sh*t in the Seven Kingdoms”; “The Dog and the Wolf”; “Little Lady Wants a Pony”; “The Princess That Was Promised and The Warrior of Light”…

      IF you really do this – tongue and cheek aside – I would SO buy a copy from you Ten Bears! Best moments throughout have been the Hound/Arya/and yes Sansa!

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    133. It’s quite funny how some on here act like 15 yr old girls in a Kpop fandom. Whenever a new song is dropped, at first they don’t like it, so they force themselves to watch 20 times, now it’s the song ever. Kweenz!

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    134. Nonni: Yes, she decided to tell Tyrion about Jon and most likely counted on him spreading the tale. But not out of spite against Dany. Sansa did it because she genuinely believes Jon is the better choice for herself, her family, the North and the whole of Westeros (Jon spent all his life there, brokered a truce/peace between the North and the Wildlings (!!!), restored law and order in the North after the Boltons and so on).

      Jon has an amazing resume for the iron throne, doesn’t he? But Sansa never really stated that “Jon was better”, did she? That was left off screen. From Sansa’s perspective, who knows first-hand that KL is not in Jon’s best interest, I’m surprised people don’t consider that it could have been Tyrion (her kind pseudo-husband and possible ally) who she mentioned instead, for devious intent or honest intent. Tyrion has the experience, but then again, family name association might be too much of a hurdle for him to even be considered. Jon and Tyrion may even be on the chopping block soon!

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    135. My super honest opinion is that I have loved this season. Contrary to the majority of people, I have never liked Daenerys, not one bit, and I always had a feeling that it would end like this for her, becoming the biggest villain. The more the seasons passed, the more obvious it became, to me. I found it all very logical….and I had been waiting for her downfall for a very, very long time (too long!).

      The criticism I see everywhere online is horrible IMO and has way passed the point of good taste…and/or reason, for that matter. I can understand being dissatisfied or disappointed, but it has taken a really bad turn. It’s exaggerated and I find it way out of proportions.
      No matter the complaints anyone can have, there has never been anything quite like it on tv…and probably we won’t see anything near it in the years to come.
      Proportions, people, proportions…it wouldn’t hurt to put it all under perspective 🙂

      P.s. I so don’t want it to end tomorrow!! I’m not ready to say goodbye 🙁

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    136. Nonni,

      I agree. I thought Sansa told Tyrion to try and protect Jon (she also knew it would probably spread). In that scene she states that she doesn’t want Jon to go south so I don’t think she did it to hurt him or get power as some suggest.

      I’m not a Sansa fan but Dany was wrong to blame Sansa for the execution of Varys. That was Varys’ choice with using the information and plotting. It was also wrong of Dany to say Jon betrayed her. He never promised to keep the secret and why should he? It’s his secret and a lie that was told to him all his life. SDhe wanted to deny who he was to the women he grew up with and who always thought their father dishonoured their mother. If Arya and Sansa had found out from someone else how would they trust Jon again?

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    137. I wonder if there was method to Dany’s apparent madness. Jon has said over and over that he doesn’t want the throne, yet Dany knows that people love and respect him in a way they will never do for her. She sacrificed a great deal to help the living defeat the Night King, but it made little or no difference to how people perceived her.

      It would have been simple for her to take the Iron Throne, but the people would likely have regarded her as much a tyrant as they regarded Cersei. Dany is smart enough to know taking the throne for herself would just cause more strife in a land that desperately needs to heal. The appalling destruction of King’s Landing could be her way of provoking Jon into doing what is necessary for the good of the realm. Simply stepping aside won’t help if the rightful heir refuses to step up. She may be sacrificing everything for a greater good – not just her claim but her historical reputation. Sam did ask whether she would do such a thing for her people when he told Jon his true identity. If there’s anything in this idea it would be more in line with her character arc I feel.

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    138. Ghostgirl,

      Hehe, with me it’s the other way around. No big fan of Dany. Never was. But at least I like show-Dany better than book-Dany. I cheered at some at her actions, but already when they reached Quarth and she made her speech what she would do when her dragons were grown, I shook my head and wanted to yell at her to shut up and use her brain.

      While on the other hand, I never hated Sansa. Only rolled my eyes at her naivety as a child. But honestly who could blame her with a naive fool like Ned Stark as a father (telling Cersei he knew …. still facepalming about that xD). However, the moment Ned got arrested and Sansa tried to plead with Joffrey and Cersei for his life, I loved her … she’s my #3 favourite character now.

      So, I totally agree with you. To just even dare to ask such a thing of Jon, to keep such a secret from his family showed me how far gone Dany already was then. Yes, she only had Viserys as biological family. But Jorah was her surrogate family and Missandei and probably even Barristan, and she should have understood why Jon needed to tell his family. Because she wouldn’t have kept such a secret forever from her (chosen) family, either.

      So, even if Jon had promised Dany to keep that secret, she shouldn’t have blamed him for breaking it, because it was a too important secret, which also involved the Stark kids – they deserved to know, their father never cheated on their mother. They deserved to know, why their father lied to all of them for all their lives. And there was absolutely no reason why Jon should keep such things from his family – especially since it kind of made them Dany’s family now, too.

      But all Dany could think of since she heard it, was that Jon had the better claim and would pose a threat to her claim. So even in 8×02 it was kind of clear, she was going down a dark path and was even speeding up. Not once she thought or mentioned how she isn’t the only one left from her family. Not once she thought of, giving Jon time to adjust to this revelation and the idea to do the Targaryen-thing to marry a relative. I mean, even Rickard Stark was married to his first cousin once removed. So, maybe they could have married and ruled together – him cooling down her violent impulses and she opening his eyes on the whole stupid honour and honesty thing.

      But no, Dany chose otherwise … and that was her own doing and no one else’s. At least in my opinion.

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    139. Tim,

      Yes, I also have a similar explanation for Dany’s actions on a subconscious level: she’s like a rabid dog/dragon waiting for someone to put her out of her misery.

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    140. Fascinating article which I think reflects where my head is at right now with the criticism S8 has received in some quarters. The biggest criticisms are coming from those immersed in the story and largely (but not exclusively) because things are not playing out as they expected.

      I am just watching the Long Night on HBO 2 as I type, despite initial reservations I love it. Although I have way to prove it I suspect if a) people watch it again they will enjoy it more especially now more episodes have aired and b) had Jon rather than Arya killed the Night Kingthere would been far less criticism, again people unhappy with their expectations not being met. I suspect now in hindsight it was not Jon because he will kill Dany tonight.

      As for Dany I have lot her tragic arc, I was a fan for the first few seasons but then it became apparent she was heading down a dark path. I respect others didn’t pick up on this foreshadowing but it seems at least a fair chunk of the fan base did. I think she also picked up inadvertently a banner for feminism, being potentially a strong female lead in a male dominated story so some outrage has occurred because of her becoming the ultimate villain here too. This was not a tag that was asked for though and unfair to criticise the writers because of it in my opinion.

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    141. Nonni: But all Dany could think of since she heard it, was that Jon had the better claim and would pose a threat to her claim.

      And that, along with everything else you said, is why I think Jon backed away from her. People seem to assume it’s the consanguinity issue, but that hasn’t been mentioned. But the cold way she recoiled from him showed her complete lack of empathy and genuine love for him.

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    142. Sharon:
      My super honest opinion is that I have loved this season. Contrary to the majority of people, I have never liked Daenerys, not one bit, and I always had a feeling that it would end like this for her, becoming the biggest villain. The more the seasons passed, the more obvious it became, to me. I found it all very logical….and I had been waiting for her downfall for a very, very long time (too long!).

      The criticism I see everywhere online is horrible IMO and hasway passed the point of good taste…and/or reason, for that matter. I can understand being dissatisfied or disappointed, but it has taken a really bad turn. It’s exaggerated and I find it way out of proportions.

      No matter the complaints anyone can have, there has never been anything quite like it on tv…and probably we won’t see anything near it in the years to come.
      Proportions, people, proportions…it wouldn’t hurt to put it all under perspective 🙂

      P.s. I so don’t want it to end tomorrow!! I’m not ready to say goodbye 🙁

      I could have written every word of this. I feel exactly the same.

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    143. Funny thing. I hadn’t been able to watch the Rhaegal death scene again since the first time because it was so violent. But tonight I had no problem watching the scene. The dragons must all go, and the dragon-blooded Targaryens must all go, Jon included, and he knows it.

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    144. Tyrion Pimpslap:
      I don’t have any hardcore ASOIAF book fans in my social circle, but I know plenty of show only watchers. They have mostly enjoyed this season. The two biggest complaints I’ve heard were about Rhaegal dying and Cersei’s death not being gruesome enough.

      The ones who love Dany still do. The ones who were indifferent towards her seem to like the turn the character took.

      I have both in my social circle, the book die hards have long predicted Dany becoming a villain but the show watchers didn’t all see it coming. Pretty much everyone has enjoyed the show but with some complaints about the pacing.

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    145. Adam: Yeah. Fandom and critics alike will forgive plenty if what have you done for me lately has a positive answer. I never actually watched Lost, but hated Lindelof for a long time for basically doing the same thing with everything else he wrote (most recently Prometheus). He’s a man with clear talent but attempts to confuse everything just left everything confused. Then he hit it absolutely out of the park with The Leftovers, one of my favorite shows of the past few years and possible ever at this point. It got better with every season and totally stuck the landing, pulling off what seemed impossible: both explaining the central mystery of the whole story and leaving it open-ended whether he really explained it.

      Of course, it took him many mulligans to get there. I hope he does as well with Watchmen.

      I loved the first few seasons of lost but it went downhill quickly afterwards and I even struggled to watch the end. There have been other similar shows like Prison Break that started amazing then nose dived after a few seasons clearly GOT should not be compared with them. Probably the Sopranos and BreakingBad are more comparable, neither as good as thrones but pushes it hard. Both also had endings which were divisive too.

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    146. Queen of Nothing,

      Every moment they’ve had is stellar.
      I’ve rewatched their last scene together numerous times, and still get misty-eyed at the 1:00 – 1:08 segment.

      Sandor & Arya last scene
      at 1:00 – 1:08

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DgACkATLvA

      Regardless of any criticism or divisiveness about other plot lines, everything with these two was perfect – I just wish some of their recent scenes had lasted a little bit longer, but that’s a good thing.

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    147. I well remember taking that survey as an “immersed” fan.
      I’ve loved Daenerys and mostly supported her choices since day one. The twist disappointed me even though I saw it coming (thanks for the prep time, leaks.) I found it a rather unfair disservice to such a beautifully built character, for her to seemingly snap and lose rational thought just when she’d attained the goal she’s been struggling toward for so long. With fire and blood indeed.
      I suppose…if you’re the product of generations of incest, maybe you’re just doomed. If your dad went out of his gourd, you eventually will too–no matter how strong you are or how hard you try to be different from those who’ve come before. Not really sure how I feel about that. I imagine someone with mental health issues in his/her family might not be too terribly thrilled by it. Not that fictional plots need to be determined by such considerations. I don’t lay blame entirely on D&D, since the main plot points of the ending come from George. He’s even confirmed that the books will end similarly. Still, the show’s execution was rushed af. Episode 4 veered into “Omg we forgot to set her on a path to losing her mind, better get on that!” If they’ve really known about “the Dany flip” and/or other final-season events for two years, but handled it as clunkily as they have in a mere six episodes…then as Ricky Ricardo would say, “You’ve got no loge-ical ‘splanation for doon it the way you doon it.”

        Quote  Reply

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