WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
I largely lost interest in Game of Thrones by the end of Season 5 (the only TV series I follow through the excellent cable alternative qBittorrent). So much so that it was not until just a week ago that I realized Season 8 had already started. As I explained in my review of Season 6, as the series has sprung ahead of the books, it has become increasingly clear that show writers D&D are talentless hacks who substitute expensive CGI and ever less subtle SJW propaganda in favor of a credible plot or genuine immersion in GRRM’s world. (Incidentally, now that GoT is finishing up, those two are now going to be working on a TV series about a scenario in which the Confederate States survive, which I imagine will be something like a cross between Django Unchained and the Draka Saga).
Since I have already invested quite a lot of time in the series, I’ll still watch the last season, and review it in due course. But first let me explain how it has continued going so horribly off the rails.
Game of Thrones has basically stopped paying any heed to logistics or manpower realities.
— 🇷🇺 ANATꙮLY 🤔 KARLIN (@akarlin88) August 1, 2017
Any concerns about keeping logistics even halfway credible have been done away with. D&D essentially disappeared the 80,000 strong Tyrrell army, allowing the Lannisters – who had twice fewer troops, most of them worn down by previous wars – to easily take Highgarden (the richest and most populated province in Westeros). This is not credible, even taking into account Tarly’s betrayal of the Tyrrells. Moreover, the very fact that the Lannisters have any major supporters left at all is surprising, considering she’d just blown up a large percentage of the Westerosi nobility.
In my last review, I actually predicted this would happen; it wouldn’t be very interesting if the rest of Westeros were to just curbstomp them. But I also posited that the Lannisters would accomplish this through an alliance with Dorne, which has 50,000 spears and has also escaped war thus far. The 40,000 Lannister troops, 50,000 Dornish spears, and however many troops Tarly has would be comparable to the host mustered by the Tyrrells and their retainers, so a Lannister victory would at least be plausible. Thinking up of a reason for Dorne to ally with the Lannisters would be difficult, but not impossible. Perhaps an internal revolution?
But no, there was none of that. Just some handwaving about how the Tyrrells – the strongest military force on the mainland – are “not a martial house.”
Meanwhile, after casually kinslaying and kingslaying his way to leadership of the Iron Islands – things that used to be unspeakable tabooes, but which are now universally hunky-dory – Euron has embarked on a grand naval construction program. And what a program it is! The Iron Islands – a small piece of territory that has been described as “shitstained rocks”, and which I can’t imagine support more than 500,000 ironborn at the very most – have apparently built 1,000 longships over the course of a few months. 1,000 longships multiplied by a typical longship crew of 30 equals 30,000 reavers, or ~6% of their population (and that’s not counting Yara’s “defector” fleet). Medieval societies rarely mobilized more than 1-2% of their population. Moreover, the Iron Fleet appears to be imbued with magical enchantments, such as the “Invisibility”, “Telepathy”, and “Medieval Ekranoplan” perks. Or at least that would seem to be the most logical explanation, given how the Iron Fleet first ambushed and destroyed Yara’s fleet – somehow managing to sneak up on it in the open ocean during night-time – before swinging over to the other side of the continent in the very next episode and destroying the Targaryen fleet supporting the Unsullied assault on Casterly Rock.
I suppose that making the Iron Fleet so OP was necessary given the sheer disproportion that had developed between Lannister and Targaryen military power. But it was done in a way that left no room for suspension of disbelief.
Then there’s other small things which may not be critical by themselves but combine to massively degrade the quality of the series.
The Iron Bank isn’t going to side with Cersei because Daenerys disrupted the slave trade. The Iron Bank doesn’t invest in slavery. Moreover, as an institution founded by runaway slaves, it does not condone slavery. Braavos has even forced other city-states that it has defeated, such as Pentos, into abolishing slavery. Abolitionism is, like, its one value apart from making money hand over fist. They are not going to be impressed by Cersei’s arguments about the evil Daenerys freeing the slaves, sooner the opposite. But D&D couldn’t care less for world consistency.
How did Jaime manage to evade capture, and swim out of the river suited up in heavy armor? If I was writing the show, I’d have had Daenerys capture him, and Tyrion persuade her to use him as bait to draw Cersei into negotiations.
While there’s always been a bit too much of a grrl power element for a “gritty realistic” fantasy, in this episode it has been jacked up to eleven. Brienne has been built up to be this elite “tank” woman who can go head to head – and win – against people such as the Hound, one of the very best warriors in Westeros. But now we have a little girl who has been trained up by ninjas and maxed out her Agility and Dexterity stats into owning her with her little sword without so much as breaking a sweat.
The trial against Petyr Baelish was a sham. While we know all the accusations were true, the “evidence” in question wasn’t worth anything, and neither was Bran’s testimony, based it was on mere “visions” (which only we, the audience, can confirm). Moreover, I would point out that Sansa’s accusation that Baelish murdered Lysa contradicted her initial testimony to the Lords of the Vale, in which she claimed that her aunt had committed suicide. While the Arryn men were always suspicious of Baelish, why should they have trusted and automatically sided with Sansa? Now that she had directly contradicted her own, earlier testimony. Conveniently, Littlefinger broke down and appeared to (though not really) confess to everything, which prevented the whole thing from coming off as a show trial to uncritical viewers. But seen from the side, the Starks displayed far less concern for due process than either Lysa or Tywin had done with respect to Tyrion; both of the latter, at least, had granted the accused a trial by combat, as opposed to just slitting his throat. An ignominious end to one of the best characters in the series, and one that he was blatantly railroaded into by a pair of hacks with no regard for logical consistency.
More logistics autism. Ravens and dragons alike can now fly at the speed of the Corcorde airliner. Or perhaps the South American-sized continent of Westeros has shrunk down to the size of Great Britain now that winter has come.
Now I realize that that the show needs to strike a certain balance, to make things understandable for the audience and maintain the pace, which often comes at the cost of world consistency, logical plot progression, and suspension of disbelief. But I do strongly feel that D&D didn’t really even try. The entire narrative structure has progressively collapsed as the show has become more and more untethered from the plotlines laid down by GRRM in the books. The show writers are uninterested in continuing a great epic. They are interested in cheap drama, dumbed down plotlines, CGI porn, and getting a wide variety of sexual fetishes out onto the silver screen.
That said, the series does seem to have continued getting rave reviews since Season 5, when it all started going steeply downhill. So can one really blame D&D for playing to the peanut gallery.
I’ll review the eighth and final Episode in another couple of months or so.