I know it’s cool to shade on Game of Thrones season 8. It has been a full year since its release and I still can’t get over what they did to my beloved characters. And it’s not even necessary the deaths that I am angry about; it’s the (lack of) character development.

Season 8 had everything it needed to be an amazing finale for the best TV show in history: good actors, great sets, cool special effects, a ridiculously high budget, and a very dramatic starting point. However, the truth of the matter is that the script failed miserably and the whole season wasn’t able to make up for it.

If I had to describe the last season with one word, it would be ‘rushed’.

Characters died all the time in Game of Thrones, but their decisions always made sense. The ones they made on the final season did not.

SPOILER ALERT! (…for anyone that lives under a rock and hasn’t seen Game of Thrones)

If I had to describe the last season of Game of Thrones with a word it would be ‘rushed’ (although ‘bad’ and ‘disappointing’ would also work pretty well).

The decision to shorten the season was wrong, there is no way around that. It forced the writers to tie together seven intense years of plotlines in very little time.

It was the need to wrap up the show in six episodes that made it necessary for the writers to kill the Night King in the third one. The huge danger that everyone had been fearing all along was defeated in little over one hour (The Long Night?? I swear it was the shortest night ever…). It was an amazing episode (if you disregard the lack of lighting), and personally I loved that Arya was the person to do it (the plot armor though…). But it ended the most important war, the focal point of the entire show, when the season was only halfway through.

It’s not character’s deaths that I was angry about; it’s the (lack of) character development.

This last season did not disappoint the fans because of the many illogic things that happened for shock value (or rather, it did, but not so much), but because we felt like the very essence of the characters that we had loved for seven seasons had completely been disregarded.

I maybe would have believed Daenerys’s ending (despite loving this character to death and refusing to believe that she would ever go mad) if they, again, would have given more time for her transition. Like two entire seasons, though. I will not accept that she went mad over the death of Missandei and Rhaegal when she had suffered so much before and never lost her mind despite it. Sure, Dany had been harsh with her enemies before, but her actions were necessary, and never more ruthless or crazy than any other character on the show.

All the characters lost all their personality. Brienne slept with Jaime, was then reduced to beg him not to leave him, two things I thought I’d never see her do. Tyrion’s ideas were disappointing. Jaime’s ending was as – well, let’s not even go there. And Cersei? She didn’t have an ending. She didn’t have anything this season. All she did was stare from a window. What a waste of Lena Headey’s talent.

Season 8 felt like it was written by a director.

There were so many plotlines that seemed to be leading up to something important, only to be ignored at the end. For example, Bran had been learning to use his powers for years… but then make no use of them during the Long Night? Moreover, he could not be the Lord of Winterfell because he was the Three-Eyed Raven. However, for some reason… he was okay being king (of the six kingdoms, another ridiculous choice)?

But the thing that annoyed me the most was Jon Snow’s regression. Jon was only used as a pawn by other characters and as a tool by the writers. His lineage, the great secret of Game of Thrones that would change the entire game, did not matter at all in the end. Jon would have done exactly the same things he did in this season without knowing he was a Targaryen.

Ending a show that is known for its surprising plot twists is not an easy task. However, the brilliancy of this show resided in the fact that the plot twists were shocking, but never purely for shock value. Not this season.

So many plotlines seemed to be leading up to something important, only to be ignored at the end.

Season 8 felt like it was written by a director, not writers and showrunners. The plot didn’t seem to matter much as it allowed amazing directorial possibilities. Episodes such as ‘The Long Night’ and ‘The Bells’ were amazingly directed in terms of cinematography, but absolutely disappointing plot-wise.

This season was so badly executed that even people who aren’t media-savvy noticed. Even amateur fans of the show started talking about technical terms like ‘foreshadowing’ and ‘character arc’. No, fans were not just upset because character X died, or characters Y and Z didn’t end up together. Instead, they discussed whether Jaime’s redemption arc was left incomplete, the purpose of Jon’s resurrection, and the foreshadowing of Dany and Arya’s endings. When I read the fan theories and analyses, I felt like I was in a literature class instead of Twitter. I loved how fans fought back and still are, a full year later. Just this week, Targ Nation – the strenuous fans of the Mother of Dragons – successfully trended #IStandByDaenerys on Twitter.

Although I hated the final season; reading reviews and understanding why we all hated it has taught me a lot about writing and plotting techniques. Thanks David & Dan, I guess?

For me, Game of Thrones ended in Season 8 Episode 3, and that is giving the screenwriters a lot of leeways.

  • Beatriz Valero de Urquia is a historian, writer and journalist. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2020 and spends her time between Spain and the UK reading, listening to musicals and writing her first novel.