Nearly a quarter-century ago, George R.R. Martin published the first book in his "Song of Ice and Fire" series. Originally envisioned as a trilogy, the series is now expected to encompass seven books, of which only five have been published.
Eight years ago, HBO launched a television adaptation of the series, dedicating a ten-episode season to each book, eventually overtaking them (with Martin's blessing), and doing the final book as two shortened seasons. For almost a decade, viewers have followed the ups and (mostly) downs of the Stark family and the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Last night, the televised journey of almost a decade came to an end, and Audrey, Jeff and I got to watch it tonight.
I hope there will be another series as galvanizing and engrossing as Game of Thrones in the future, and I am sure there eventually will be - something less bingeable and worth making an appointment or. Something worth speculating about and, yes - even being enraged by.
Dissatisfaction with last week's episode has spawned a petition with
The level of entitlement perceived by fans is approaching dangerously ludicrous levels. Less than 24 hours after Twilight star Robert Pattinson was announced as a potential candidate to replace Ben Affleck as the movie version of Batman, petitions have sprung to life asking that the part be recast. I understand that legacy, multi-generational characters like Batman have a special place in people's hearts, but Jiminy Christmas, the arrogance on display here leaves me gobsmacked.
No one loved it when Michael Keaton was cast as the title role in 1989's Batman, and he did just fine (and made a lot of dough for Warner Bros. to boot). Later movies in that series were flawed for sure, but I am unsure just how much of the blame can be levelled at Val Kilmer and George Clooney. Very few people were impressed when Christian Bale donned the cape and cowl for Batman Begins, but the real outrage came when "pretty boy" Heath Ledger had the unmitigated gall and temerity to play legendary villain the Joker!
Of course, Ledger won tremendous plaudits working off a brilliant script and in addition to making oodles of dollars for WB, he was honoured with a (tragically posthumous) Oscar for his portrayal. I hope Pattinson, an actor who has little draw for me personally but who I know has credibility among many directors I admire, gets an opportunity to prove them all wrong as Bruce Wayne and his menacing alter ego.
Don't misunderstand me - I am all for people expressing their opinions, and I am glad that the internet allows them to do that, but the sanctimonious manner in which some people try to upbraid creatives who have to work within the constraints of financing, studio notes, availability and scheduling in order to put coherent entertainment in front of our collective noses leaves me absolutely slack-jawed.
You didn't like season eight? By all means, voice your opinion! Write a letter, tell your friends who haven't watched yet not to bother, cancel your subscription to HBO. But I hope you don't think your million signatures is going to change anything - I doubt you will even get an edited version on disc when it comes out - except for where they remove the coffee cups and water bottles, perhaps.
For my part, although I feel the pacing of this season felt terribly rushed, I feel showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss got us where we needed to go, even if they should have taken more time to get there. There were elements that I felt were objectionable, absolutely - a lack of compelling motivation here, a bungled farewell there, and a heel turn that, despite being telegraphed and foreshadowed, still managed to feel unearned. But overall, I think they told the story they set out to tell and presented us with the bittersweet ending that we should have been preparing ourselves for.
What I perceived as flaws could have been handled by a more deft hand in the director's chair, and I will blog about that in a future (spoiler-filled) post. In the meantime though, I'm not saddened by what transpired in the ending so much as I am at reaching the end of an eight-year journey into a richly realized world of knights and dragons, bravery and betrayal, compassionate cynicism and brash idealism.
Martin's story and D&D's adaptation have done a wonderful job of reminding us of the appeal of these timeless stories while simultaneously stripping away much of the romanticism and naivete associated with them. Like all things that end, the finale of Game of Thrones was never going to please everyone, but I found it to be a satisfying conclusion to almost a decade's worth of television.
Should I live so long, hopefully the books will do likewise!