Game of Thrones Is Too Far Gone To Save

Illustration for article titled Game of Thrones Is Too Far Gone To Save

When the dust is all settled and the fire has turned into ashes, one thing about Game of Thrones will always be clear: They shouldn’t have tried to end the whole damn show in 13 episodes.


We spoil the episode in its entirety, and also talk about differences between the show and the books. However, we do not discuss any leaked show spoilers, and any speculation about what might come in future episodes is just that.

This week, Kirk and I discuss “The Bells,” the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones and a really big disappointment. We talk about what we liked (the production values) and what we didn’t like (pretty much everything else), digging deep into the unearned transformation of Daenerys Targaryen, the dreary reunion of Jaime and Cersei Lannister, and the shameful death of Varys the Spider.

If one thing has become clear from this season of Game of Thrones, it’s that trying to tie together all of the threads of such a sprawling show in just two shortened final seasons was a massive mistake. Foreshadowing is not the same thing as character growth, and Daenerys’s sudden switch from Lady Who Gets Brutal Vengeance On Her Enemies to Actual Genocidal Maniac was tough to buy. On the Targaryen madness scale, we saw her go from a 2 to a 10 without getting to watch her journey from 3 through 9—because showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss just wanted the show to end.

Plus, they did Jaime, Tyrion, Grey Worm, Varys, and Cersei real dirty, as Kirk and I discuss. Even the Clegane Bowl felt a little underwhelming, thanks to the show’s weird pacing and rushed nature.

Oh well. At least maybe one day we’ll get the books.

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Um, sorry, but what? “Sudden turn”? The only reason it seems sudden is because D&D decided to rush these past two seasons but they have been building to this for a very long time. She was initially talked down from burning the Red Keep, before assisting everyone in the North. She’s progressively lost everything dear to her: her closest advisers and friends who are either dead or have betrayed her, the one person she loves doesn’t love her anymore and only thinks of her as a queen, the one man whose love she couldn’t reciprocate yet time and again returned to serve her and eventually died in her arms, two of her three dragons, her entire family (RIP Targaryen lineage unless Jon has a kid at some point), and now she realizes she’ll never be able to be the benevolent ruler she had been working for so many years to be because she inevitably became what Cersei called her, an invader who has come to claim what she perceives as hers and hers alone. And since her entire character is based on the idea that she is the rightful heir to the throne, and that is what she is owed, she is nothing without it. People who say this turn is ‘sudden’ baffle me. Rushed in the final seasons, maybe, but not sudden by any means.