Storytelling is never easy. Ask George RR Martin, who has publicly talked about his struggles to resolve his intricate and sprawling Song of Ice and Fire story. However, while he continues to work on the novels, the HBO adaptation of his series, Game of Thrones, has come to a conclusion. And boy did it not stick the landing. But, as Beat contributor Klaudia Amenábar explores in a new video essay, maybe this is the conclusion that this cornerstone of Western pop culture deserved. Maybe Game of Thrones was always bad.
While there’s no denying that David Benioff’s & D.B. Weiss’s fantasy monolith had its strengths and captivated us as few shows have in recent years, Game of Thrones ultimately left a lot to be desired. From its treatment of women and other marginalized groups to the way the show loosely played with introducing and then discarding narrative threads, the show often seemed more about the spectacle made possible by ballooning budgets and massive dragons than it did about the complex character dynamics that initially made the show popular. These problems were compounded by the fact that so much of the series was spent setting up and building the world of Westeros and beyond, only to see the last two seasons rapidly contract and rush to a conclusion regardless of whether or not any specific beat felt earned.
The result? A show that astounded, yet left us feeling hollow. So what was it all for? Did HBO know what was going on and more importantly, did they specifically engineer Game of Thrones to be as big as it was? Will we ever have a show as big as this one ever again? Did we like anything about the final season? Watch on to hear our thoughts and subscribe to the Beat on YouTube. We’re just getting started!
Alex is the New Media Editor of the Comics Beat. He is also a freelance comics editor with previous credits at First Second, Top Cow, and Papercutz. He primarily covers DC Comics and Magic: the Gathering.