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April 30, 2018 | by  | in Arts TV |
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Game of Thrones: Season 7 Review

With Game of Thrones noticeably absent from many of our viewing schedules this year, we thought we’d revisit the show’s latest and worst season to date.

In the beginning, Game of Throne’s scale, characters, and world remained consistent. Travel took time, where events occurred on the road, not just at the destination, where there were dire consequences for characters actions, and Ed Sheeran refrained from promoting his mediocre new album. Without the same material that guided early seasons of the show, and having the luxury of time, Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss are now left to their own creative devices. This has resulted in a full-on sprint to the finish line, leaving no room for the interesting stories, big or small, that once made GOT such a compelling and unique show.   

In Season 7, the understanding and respect for the world that has been built up carefully in the first 4 seasons, albeit under the brilliant writing of George RR Martin, has been discarded in favour of moving the story along quickly to reach a crowd-pleasing conclusion. There was a noticeable dip in writing quality when the showrunners overtook the books around season 5, yet the show still managed to continue the slow burn, though with fewer interesting storylines and characters whose motivations were less complex (Varys, Littlefinger, Tyrion). These seasons at least attempted to recognise the constraints of the world that was so meticulously created, the blistering plot progression of Season 7 now makes that approach seem entirely unjustified and jarring.

Major plot points, which in early seasons would have been defining moments for episodes, are now bundled up and sold as a cheap variety pack. In an episode of the most recent season we see our heroes create a plan to capture a white walker, organise a meeting with Cersei, sends Davos and Tyrion to Kings landing, organise another meeting (this time with Jamie), have Jon travel back to the Wall and take Jorah with him, all within a few minutes. Season 7’s ridiculous narrative decisions, which see main characters brought together like a Marvel movie (“Eastwatch”), are being made for the sake of reaching some sort of conclusion. Some of the time, bizarre, most of the time, messy.

The show presented a fantasy world that felt real enough for mainstream audiences to buy into ice zombies and dragons, fiction previously considered niche. Main characters were killed off as a way of moving the story forward and establishing a grim world where political errors are met with dire consequences. There was a strong sense of cause and effect that helped create a living, breathing world, now absent in season 7. Most famously, Robb Stark’s choice to backtrack on a politically arranged marriage led to his death and the death of his mother, wife, and unborn child. In season two Jaime Lannister, known as one of the greatest swordsman in Westeros, loses his hand purely through his unabashed pride and arrogance. Contrast this with Season 7 when Jaime faces “certain death” by charging a dragon on a horse only to be saved at the last minute, solely to have a showdown between two fan favourites with no consequences. Once known for avoiding typical fantasy tropes, GOT’s narrative boldness is waning. In its current state, the show wouldn’t have had the guts to kill Ned Stark.

Despite the prevalence of both morally and politically “grey” events, we always knew Game of Thrones would end in a battle between good and evil. It’s a shame that the plot has shifted from a complex narrative web to a crowd-pleasing straight line to get there.

 

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