The final episode of Game of Thrones is a couple days away and this final season has unfairly (IMO) been getting a lot of heat. In some ways I do agree with the heat but in most ways I disagree.
The shortened seasons (seven and eight) has hurt the show’s ending. Eight more than seven. But ever since that quick end to Littlefinger at the end of season seven, I knew this was going to happen. Littlefinger had seasons worth of schemes and he was building towards something with Sansa (in the books, his scheming is more pronounced and it’s Littlefinger and Varys that are the true players of the Game of Thrones and everyone else are just their pawns). We never got to see where it was all leading because the writers knew the end was coming and had to start bringing closure to the many storylines.
That meant a quick end to Littlefinger. His story was closed, but it was roughly handled. All that build-up and scheming came to nothing.
It’s gotten worse this season.
People are blaming the writers, and well they could have done a better job, they had so many stories they had to complete and only so much time in which to do it. Hell, I think George R.R. Martin is going to have the same issue. I don’t see how he can resolve everything in just two books.
Which leads to things like the Night’s King.
All that build-up, all that backstory and it got resolved in one horrible (tactically) fight and one stab of a blade bringing an end to the threat. The Night’s King ended up being a hollow threat. He tore down the wall. He had legions of undead wights. And just one little knife thrust ended it all.
That’s the part where I agree with all the disappointment and heat the show is getting. But I disagree because well the show is being rushed towards the end, it has to be because there is so much to wrap up and so little time.
This season was going to be disappointing. There was no other way. Aside from the ending not going to ever live up to fan expectation (which is a whole other topic), the rushed feeling and quick resolution to some of the stories was always going to leave a sour taste in people’s mouths.
There was a series of posts on twitter that got into why this was a lot better than I ever could.
Pantsers vs plotters.
There really is no right way to write and both are good and both produce good stories (Stephen King and Lee Child are two pantsers). George R.R. Martin is a pantsers. He has an idea where the story is ending but he lets the characters decide how it gets there. That’s why there’s a lot of fluff, new point of view characters, etc.. in his books. This led to the problem with the show when it started outpacing the source material (personally, I don’t think anything should adapt an unfinished work, GoT is evidence of why that is). The show writers didn’t know where the various storylines would go because GRRM didn’t really know either. So they had all this build-up and no clear guidance on where to take it. It’s hard to tell what to keep and what to cut when don’t know how important it’ll end up being.
I’m more of a pantser. I know where I want the story to end and I know some major points of the story (and sometimes I even write those points first before the beginning). I don’t do an outline of actions or all the plots. I mentally know some stops along the way but I let the characters choose the path and try to guide them to the points I want.
Like I said, there is no right way to write.
But if you’re going to adapt something, should probably know how it’s all going to end first.