With only two episodes to go until the conclusion of HBO’s epic series viewers are getting the distinct impression things are moving a little quicker than they’d like. Here’s a fan’s take and a Games of Thrones season 8, episode 4 review.
I should outline the below most definitely contains spoilers – you have been warned.
Remember the show in its early days, when it took Daenerys Targaryen almost four seasons to establish herself in Slavers’ Bay, and when Arya Stark spent episode after episode trapped in Braavos, blind, selling oysters, watching plays, or tackling other minor plot lines? Ah, the good times!
Granted at the time these moments felt long-winded, drawn out, annoying even, but with just under three hours of Thrones left to be broadcast EVER, fans (including me) are starting to get worried things are moving a bit too quickly.
The Last Starbucks
Take episode four of season eight for example, broadcast on Sunday.
Titled ‘The Last Starks’ the first 20 minutes of the show were wrapped up in a largely pointless feast after defeating the army of the dead and the Night King, that threw in a few minor plot details but ultimately only really served to show how pissed off Daenerys is that everyone likes Jon more than her, and why can’t they just get on with helping her win the Iron Throne.
It felt especially rushed given someone forgot to remove a Starbucks coffee cup from the set before filming (yes, really!).
— Gizmodo (@Gizmodo) May 7, 2019
A bit lame
Yes, we had the extremely random dishing out of a lordship to Gendry Rivers, now Lord Gendry Baratheon of Storm’s End (which felt a little bit like lazy writing to me), and a tense game of truth or dare between the Lannister brothers, Brienne of Tarth and Poderick in which Tyrion questioned Brienne’s maidenhood, but otherwise it felt like time could have been better spent here, because before we knew it everyone had declared where they were off to next and the magic teleporter had kicked in, scattering our heroes to every corner of the Seven Kingdoms, ready for the next thing.
— Luke (@lukebanat) May 6, 2019
For a series that has built a stellar reputation on character development and the intricate shift of plots it felt a bit lame, and much too rushed.
The real heir
There was a tense moment or two where Dany begged Jon not to tell his family the secret of his true lineage, that makes his a stronger claim to the Iron Throne than hers, but of course he was going to tell them.
Disappointingly though, after teasing his ‘sisters’ in Winterfell’s Godswood, and making the big reveal that the show has spent years building towards we didn’t even get to see the looks on the faces of Sansa and Arya – leaving viewers a bit empty.
The same was true when Sansa ended up telling Tyrion the same thing. Tyrion is one of the best characters in the entire series, but did we see his reaction to this news?
Nope. Show creators again denied us this hugely important emotional moment – I’m sure he would have said something witty too.
Way back before seasons seven and eight, HBO had given the show’s producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss the option to make the last two seasons the same length as the previous six, that is 10 episodes each.
That would have given us 20 episodes to enjoy instead of the seven we got last season and the six we’re getting this year.
Yes, the episodes we’ve got are longer, but I still think they could spend more time and really push home some of the show’s most important moments a bit more.
Granted, we’ve had some extremely good episodes so far, The Long Night is the stand out for me, and well worth the 55-day record shooting schedule it took to film the battle of Winterfell, but fans want more.
Euron 1, Dragons 0
After establishing that Jon and the surviving army would be taking the 1,000-mile long Kings Road to the capital for the last war against evil queen Cersei, while Daenerys, dragons and the royal retinue (what’s left of it) went by boat, we quickly shot to the blue skies of the south and happy smiles as Dany and dragons got within sight of her ancestral home Dragonstone.
— KP (@dizzystarrr) May 6, 2019
But a happy homecoming was not to be. Euron Greyjoy, a Jack Sparrow-lite with ‘pirate’ turned up to 11, was hiding an entire war fleet behind an island and quickly wiped out one of Dany’s dragons with giant, ship-mounted crossbows.
can't stop thinking about how anticlimactic rhaegal's death was. daenerys birthed these dragons and brought them to life, spent all her years growing with them and watching them grow, now they're taken away from her and it's like nothing, and for what? pic.twitter.com/vTeeqWaINW
— maz (@targarcyn) May 6, 2019
From there the show quickly sped on to a tense final scene outside the gates of Kings Landing to set up next week’s final battle.
It’s all feeling a bit rushed.
Perhaps it’s just that I don’t want it to be over, but after waiting for years and years for the next book to come out from creator George R.R. Martin, I’m wondering what I’m going to do when HBO’s show finishes – continue waiting for the book I guess.