Game of Thrones will air its final episode on Sunday the 19th, and although it has been nearly a decade in the making, it's not likely that fans are going to be particularly thrilled with this finale. The final season as a whole has been a massive disappointment, with fans angry about how rushed and clumsy it feels. Game of Thrones has long been the biggest show on TV, and it's heartbreaking to see it end in such a sloppy way. The ratings may still be high, along with the social media buzz, but reviews have been appalling.
The final season has been so bad, in fact, that multiple petitions have been started to re-make it - and they are racking up the signatures incredibly quickly, with hundreds of thousands of signatures added in only a few days. The stars themselves have also seemed a little less-than-thrilled about the end, and a video shows multiple interviews where they are awkwardly trying to talk about the final season without seeming too obviously disappointed. So how did a series so good become so bad, and how could it be fixed?
Why Has The Final Season Been So Bad?
Of course, there was never going to be one ending that would make every fan happy - viewers all have different ideas about how the story should end, who should sit atop the Iron Throne, who should be the prophesized Azor Ahai and Valonqar, and where everyone should end up. However, the issues of season 8 go far beyond fans simply being grumpy that their favorite character didn't win, or that their preferred ship didn't happen.
For one thing, the prophecies that are such a huge part of the books (and some of which have been a huge part of the show) have been casually ditched - something of an issue, after seasons of build up. Azor Ahai ended up being... potentially Arya, but probably no one; the valonqar ended up being a pile of bricks, the horn to bring down the wall was hinted at and then ignored, and a few other minor prophecies and powers have been seemingly forgotten, despite being a big part of earlier seasons. Similarly, time seems to no longer have meaning in Westeros. The fast-travel ridiculousness of the series has long been a point of contention with fans, but this season takes it to the extreme, while at the same time having a pregnant Queen Cersei who never seems to get beyond the first trimester.
In addition, a huge issue is that characters aren't getting the screen time or development that they deserve. Some characters seem to have been simply forgotten about (Edmure, the surviving Frey women, Robin Arryn...), while others are being killed off willy nilly, without any real build up. Varys went from the most cunning man in the kingdom to being casually barbecued within an episode or two, and Missandei went from captured to beheaded in a few scenes. Major deaths were, obviously, expected, but fans hoped that there would be a little more attention paid to the biggest ones. Meanwhile, the living are acting wildly out of character, without enough explanation for their behavior, and with a whole lot of Deus Ex Machina and extreme coincidence bringing people together at just the moment they should be.
Game Of Thrones' Biggest Problem Is Time
All of this essentially comes down to one big issue, and it's not as straightforward as 'bad writing' - it's time. The best seasons were able to take the time to draw things out, carefully unspooling the motivations of characters, allowing for twists and deaths to get the attention they deserved, and (in the very early seasons) making sure that travel time made sense. The faster that HBO has attempted to get through the story, the sloppier it gets, and fans have finally had enough.
It's worth noting, too, that HBO wasn't the reason for the short final season. David Benioff and D B Weiss were reportedly offered more episodes for the final season, but turned it down. In earlier interviews, too, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo has said that he would have loved for the show to run longer, and creator George R R Martin has said that he thinks the seasons could easily have been longer, and there should have been more of them. The only reason for the final season to be so short (and so soon) is that D&D wanted to wrap up the show, and presumably to move on to other projects - such as Star Wars.
Season 8 Should Have Been Split Into Two Full Seasons
All these issues could have been fixed had the show simply been made a little longer (and with a little more care and attention in the final seasons). Rather than end with a shortened seventh season and then a six-episode eighth season, Game of Thrones should really have been at least nine (full) seasons long. From a financial and a storytelling perspective, there was no reason to cut the show off after eight seasons, and the events that have been seen in this final run make far more sense split in two.
The eighth season should have been the build-up and aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell - something that has been teased since the very first episode. Having twice as long for the build-up would have also allowed some more scenes on the Wall, a look at the royal progress North (not just the arrival at Winterfell), some more time for Daenerys and Jon to process the big Jon/Aegon revelation, and a little more explanation of what was happening with Azor Ahai.
Then, the final season would be all about Daenerys, Cersei, and Jon - the actual Game of Thrones. Daenerys would have had time to really devolve into the Mad Queen, Cersei's pregnancy could become more than just a brief plot device (and she could have had some scenes doing more than simply standing at a window with a glass of wine), Varys' death could have been the centerpiece of an episode, rather than a brief scene, and even Cleganebowl could have been given a little more attention. Essentially, the only way to truly do justice to the story would be to have drawn it out over two seasons, each leading to a final battle.
Game Of Thrones Won't Be Remade - But There Will Be The Books
The fan petition is certainly gaining traction, but it's not actually very likely that they would remake the final season immediately, or with the same cast and production team. It's an interesting way to measure fan disappointment in the series, but simply not a practical way to get a remake. D&D, having seemingly raced through the last season to move on to other, more galactic projects, are not about to come back for more. Even if they wanted to, commitments have been made to other projects - and not just by them. The cast and production team have likely all moved on and signed other contracts, and wouldn't be able to break those for months more filming. Even if they were all available, after playing a character for nearly ten years, most probably want to move on to new things. Combine that with the huge budget required and the fact that a new 'final season' (or two) in a few years time not having the kind of guaranteed viewership that this season did, and it just doesn't make sense for HBO to push for a remake.
However, there is a far more likely way that fans will get a different ending... just not for a while. Books fans will absolutely get the satisfaction of the ending that George R R Martin has originally planned, even if it's not clear how long the final two books will take to be released. When that happens, and the 'real' ending is revealed, though, there's a solid chance that the property will get a total reboot. Huge franchises are often repeatedly remade over the years (and let's face it, a Harry Potter reboot is likely on the horizon fairly soon), so seeing a new version of Game of Thrones is definitely not off the table. This wouldn't just be a remake of the final season, though, but a total franchise reboot. The books, in their completed entirety, could be turned into a new series or (more probably) a big-screen franchise, a la Lord of the Rings. So although it may take quite a bit of time, eventually fans could get the live-action ending that they deserve.