When I was in the third grade, I used to “read” Choose Your Own Adventure books by deliberately making the worst possible decisions possible in order to get to a The End as fast as I could. And as soon as I got myself killed, about to be killed, or in a position to eventually die, I declared the book “read” and entered it into my Pizza Hut-sponsored Book-It reading list, where every 4-5 finished books meant a certificate for a free Pizza Hut pan pizza, which meant a perfect excuse for my parents to take me to Pizza Hut, which undoubtedly contributed greatly to my childhood obesity.
I abused the hell out of this system, until my teacher caught onto my little system, and eventually prohibited me from reading anymore Choose Your Own Adventure books, at least as far as the Book-It program was concerned. I eventually began reading them more thoroughly, and enjoyed a vast number of them throughout their publication, but the point is, the whole thing started with me reading like six pages of the book in total, and deliberately making all the worst choices, in order to get to an ending, regardless of if it were good or bad.
So that being said, Game of Thrones. The series is now, officially over. For better or worse, considering the putrid manner in which the series ended. I’m still mentally deliberating on where GoT’s ending falls in comparison to other shitty endings out there, and I think I’m a place where it’s somewhere in between Mass Effect 3, and the series finale to Dexter. Needless to say, that puts in pretty rarified air of being especially terrible, and a lot of it probably has to do with the fact that all aforementioned series’ churned along swimmingly at various points and collected large numbers of dedicated fans, sucking up emotions and commitment and dedication for several years, before taking all their hopes and dreams for a good ending, stabbing them in the heart, boating them into a hurricane and synthesizing them with machines.
I mean, I can’t say for a second that I didn’t see this coming. Endings are the hardest thing in the world for any story, and the list of popular, epic and legendary stories that have shitty endings is longer than the equator. Plus, the dumpster fire that episodes 4 and 5 steered the story going into the finale all but sealed the series’ fate as just another story with a shitty ending incoming, because they simply went past the point of no return in episode 5. The question really was, how shitty the finale was going to be, because at this point, the vast majority of people I knew who watched the show had all resigned themselves to the obvious notion that it was going to suck.
And boy, did it ever suck. I found myself predicting just about everything that occurred in the episode like 10 seconds before it happened, like particular characters saying certain things, doing certain actions, or predicting very obvious outcomes. Getting back to the point of talking about Choose Your Own Adventure books, it legitimately felt like the entire season 8 was one live-action Choose Your Own Adventure story, where there was one linear plot that consumes the majority of the season, but when it comes time to start winding down, there was literally nothing but a whole bunch of shitty and rushed endings, where not a single one of them is capable of making the viewer not seem I’m not mad, just disappointed.
It’s obvious the showrunners were vastly out of their league when they had no more George R.R. Martin source material/notes/consultation to steer the story with, and the whole season was one giant straight line with no capabilities to deviate off of it with any modicum of storytelling finesse. I will handily admit my love for episode 3, and the satisfaction after the Battle of Winterfell, but the remainder of the show fell off an extremely steep cliff afterwards.
Characters hit literary brick walls as far as their involvement in the story went, and were written off with the haste of the office cheapskate trying to sneak out of a split check after a restaurant meal. Tormund, Sam Tarly, Gendry were just all like deuces, and then they weren’t around again until the finale, when the story needed characters with any sort of cred to put back on screen in order to cobble together any sort of a council in which the crowning of a new leader could occur.
And then suddenly, the last 20 fucking minutes of the episode were literally just various members of the Stark family walking around, and for a series whose last season was vastly declared too short, they somehow managed to make it feel eons too long, and make viewers like me not be able to wait for the end credits to roll, just so we could put the entire series to rest. It’s like we get it, the Starks “won” the “game of thrones” because they’ve basically taken power in the capital, Sansa has Winterfell, Jon Snow is basically Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch again, and Arya is basically traveling west to look for new lands to plant the Stark banner onto.
Future wifey and I were laying in bed, lamenting over how much the ending sucked, and we talked about how the pseudo-democratic idea that laid the groundwork for the future of Westeros’ power structure was destined to fail, because inevitably someone would always want to come to power, and through less than ethical means, they’ll put forth plans to basically make the story start all over again. I figure a scoundrel like Bronn (whom I’m actually glad survived) or the known-defiant Asha Greyjoy would be perfect candidates to try to overthrow the Starks, for their own reasons.
But then before we could continue, we both realized that neither of us really cared anymore, and that further discussion was pretty much pointless. The series was over, and it ended miserably, and despite the fact that there was plenty of enjoyment had throughout the years, it’s all just a reminder of how poorly the show ended, and the fact that the lethargic George R.R. Martin is in no rush to actually finish the books, and regardless of the supremely advantageous position he’s been put in with the bar being lowered to where anything he wrote couldn’t possibly be worse than the show, he simply won’t get to writing the later chapters of the story, because he’s just so fucking lazy and rich beyond even needing to concern himself with the rest of the literary story.