Game of Thrones series finale is over. And now our watch has ended.
“The Bells” is representative of Season 8’s Game of Thrones. The 80 minute episode has the weight of an ambitious story coming to an endgame but some questionable writing choices takes away from a completely fulfilling pay off. Still, the season’s big budget and the extra time used to make it is evident in the visually impressive production values.
In these last couple of seasons, more than ever, HBO’s Game of Thrones is popular entertainment, aimed to please the masses. Now, there’s nothing wrong in offering viewers an enjoyable drama and fantasy to take our minds off our daily lives. But when HBO’s Game of Thrones was at its peak, it subverted our expectations in ways that were surprising yet also offered interesting angles to explore the plot twist’s significance. These story lines were also supported by well thought-out character arcs that made sense and therefore were satisfying.
“The Long Night” deserved the extra long run time. It would have been painful if the episode cut off at the 60 minute mark and left us hanging for a week. Game of Thrones has delivered action-packed episodes before, but not one that sustained the intensity for this long, basically an hour and 20 minutes and without much dialogue.
As a calm before the storm episode, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” offers plenty of feel-good moments. In a typical season, the early episodes lay the groundwork for the big spectacle event, usually episode 9. In this final shortened season, episode 3 will be epic, so “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” is a quiet prelude with many plot points to set up. Fan reaction is very positive, even more so than the premiere. I personally enjoyed it but because I’m not super sentimental the heart-felt moments didn’t resonate with me as much as other fans.
With only 6 episodes in the final season, “Winterfell” sets up the necessary groundwork. The season premiere is spent getting characters up to speed on what the viewers have already known for years (the show last aired in 2017) and in doing so also serves as a solid refresher episode. When the episode ended my reaction is “oh common on!” Not because the episode is bad, but because I didn’t want it to end. It’s great to get back to the Game of Thrones world, the characters and to whatever may happen next.
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