A Feast for Critics

How ‘Game of Thrones’ lost its luster.

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Marina Mengual

George Crooks ’19, Arts & Entertainment Columnist.

It seemed for a while that there was nothing that could topple Game of Thrones. It was a cultural zeitgeist that had an explosion in popularity which rivaled, Star Wars when it first made its mark all the way back in the 70’s. It was a show that at the beginning of the 2010’s started as a humble book adaption, which quickly and brutally avalanched into a cultural force that helped weld together the fringe nerd culture it found its genesis in, and the hegemonic popular culture of today. Nothing that not only jumps but closes cultural gaps is nothing to be scoffed at, love it or hate it. Game of Thrones changed the face of popular culture. But as hype for the conclusion to this bloody game was at an all time high, the ball was dropped.

It will be forever the show that took the world by storm but when it left it was a measly shell of what it once was.

The seventh season of Game of Thrones marked a departure for the show. While it was previously directly adapted from the books written by the fabled George R.R. Martin, season six concluded with the conclusion of the latest book in the series, and neither the fans nor writers nor HBO shareholders were particularly eager to wait on GRRM’s glacial writing pace. So season seven set off without it’s crutch in directly adapting books, and while some fans saw the flight path wobble, impressions were generally good. The shows writers, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff (endearingly known as D&D by the fans), were working directly off of the notes that GRRM had given them for how he intended to end the story, so things were looking like the television epic would end on a strong note. Then season eight happened.

Episode after episode was met with deeper and deeper disappointment by fans who had been with the series through eight years and 70 hours. Plot points that had been built up since season one were resolved quickly, in an unsatisfying manner. Character’s motivations changed. The reasons as to why things happened were reduced down to “It would be surprising for the audience.” It was clear that what the writers were doing was abandoning everything they had going for them and instead opted for a route that was almost laughably predictable.

As one of the biggest cultural zeitgeists of the decade sputters, it’s an unfortunate conclusion; it’s clear that an awkward silence will hang over the legacy of Game of Thrones. It will be forever the show that took the world by storm but when it left it was a measly shell of what it once was.

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