I’ve had a little while to let this all settle in and to be honest I’m still left with an empty feeling after the finale aired two weeks ago.
In a Facebook status the morning after I watched the show I said this :
And after a lot of thought, I still stand by my sentiments. When Game of Thrones first graced our scenes with its intricate storytelling, shockingly dark themes and a lavish feast for the eyes; everyone was mesmerized by its charm. It took television to new heights back in 2011 (2012 for me when I binged it along with season 2.)
One of the things that drew me in was the shock factor from many of the scenes. How blunt and to the point, it was with its portrayal of sex, nudity, and violence. It had the ability to make you mad long after watching an episode. And when Ned Stark was beheaded in S1E10 it shook the seven kingdoms and thensome.
Storytelling like this increased the audiences emotional involvement in the narrative and subsequently closed the aesthetic distance between viewers and the show.
Eliciting strong emotions to character arcs such as Jon Snow – who never wanted anything more than to be called a Stark or Daenerys Targaryen – a girl who was once sold as a bride, but became the breaker of chains. Through use of these techniques the writers drew the audience in and decreased the aesthetic distance between the viewers and the characters.
Game of Thrones has always set itself apart from anything we’ve seen before. It also forged a narrative where no character (despite the amount of character construction) was safe from being killed off. It built itself on evoking emotions from its audience only to tear them down – but this is what made the show.
After years and years of conditioning its audience in the world of GOT – Where could it possibly go from here? Downhill that’s where.
Just kidding, but to many fans, this is exactly what they are feeling. I, have a different opinion and a few things to point out. First, I want to talk about the ending. – what was expected and what we got were slightly two different things.
For all the horizon of expectations and some real ‘that doesn’t make any sense at all,’ moments I’m still not mad at GOT. And here’s why:
As stated earlier GOT has prided itself on the unexpected, taking fans on a ride that could keep even casual viewers up at night. With years of building up an audience perhaps GOT never wanted to be predictable.
The forerunners for the throne were definitely Dany, Jon, and Cersei. Tyrion even had a hat thrown into the dragon pit, with fans hoping if the other 3 killed off each other he might make a good king.
With fan theories spreading like wildfire it could have been easy to predict an ending that also emphasized fan service. However, what I feel D&D did was true to GOT’s narrative.
It evokes emotion. Maybe not happiness, glee or relief but it evoked something. Many, feel it wasn’t a rightful end and I can sympathize with that, but what most fans might be missing is the mere fact that it left us feeling. The final season of GOT triggering an emotional response from its loyal fans (as it has always done) is what makes its narrative powerful.
We may not be ecstatic about the outcome but we are still left in an emotional state. But despite this, it still didn’t make a lot of sense and its not something I can ignore.
Every generation establishes a framework within which to understand, interpret and evaluate film and tv series. This includes a familiarity of certain conventions and expectations regarding style and genre. This is referred to as the horizon of expectations.
GOT having shattered many of those conventions and expectations still seems to have failed in its last season. The reason for this failure comes from the violation of its aesthetic distance.
Unrealistic dialogue, questionable character deaths, the fast pace of it all even bad lighting in S8E3 all contributed to the increase of aesthetic distance in the last season.
This created a defamiliarization with the narrative of the show and weakened the emotional involvement by fans – as a result, this left many upset and some disappointed (like me) with the culmination of GOT.
I am not mad with how my beloved series played out in the end but I do however wish they had taken more time to complete it. The season felt rushed, with little to no build up to pivotal moments – is what disappointed me.
I had no problem with major plot points such as Jon’s heritage not holding a larger stake in the grand scheme of things, I actually admired the deviation from fan service or expectations. The bottom line is that the show could have quite possibly been better, but this is what we’ve got, and it leaves a lot of us feeling empty.
What did you think of the ending? I would love to know your feelings about the last season and how it should have ended.
My screening of the last episode fell on my significant others birthday so I decided to do a small GOT themed party with friends (including a tabletop dragon pit for roasting marshmallows of course.) Keep a lookout for my GOT Party post and how whipped all the food up in a future blog post.