BY Freya Cormack

Even if you’ve managed to avoid watching a single episode of Game of Thrones in the eight years it ran, you probably know that the recent final season left many fans more than a little disappointed.

Fans of the show are notoriously passionate and not at all afraid of holding back their opinions. I even had a guy from Tinder unmatch with me after I said I didn’t think Season 8 was that bad.

But are fans justified in their anger over the final season? Or are they just control freaks?

The six-episode eighth season seemed destined to bring a resolution to the biggest conflicts in the show: the battle against the Army of the Dead (i.e. White Walkers) and a fight for the Iron Throne.

Screenwriters David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (D&D) were faced with the challenge of writing a season comprised mostly of original content, rather than the novel-to-screen adaption they’d done in most of the other seasons. They were armed with a combination of their own imagination and some material revealed to them by notoriously slow author George R. R. Martin.

So, if you felt like the show lost its footing a little bit in later seasons, D&D didn’t have entire (very long) books to adapt from. This led to various plot lines not getting properly fleshed out in what felt like a rather rushed season.

Most notably, the long-anticipated R+L=J storyline that revealed Jon to be the son of Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark (and therefore a threat to Dany’s claim for the throne) was a little underwhelming and largely inconsequential. Jon, being Jon, did what he felt like was the right thing and told Daenerys and his sisters the truth which led to, well… nothing?

Other than fuelling Daenerys’ insecurity over her ability to rule – and justifying Sansa’s preference for Jon’s rule – it ended up being fairly redundant.

Fans were mad about more than just this though. Complaints included the way the Battle of Winterfell was planned, how the Night King was killed, Bran being generally weird and creepy, Arya’s apparent lack of theatrical killings (because her practically flying in to kill the Night King wasn’t good enough), Missandei’s death, Daenerys’ war crimes, Jaime’s arc, the death of Cersei, and that whole final episode, basically.

Oh, and the Starbucks coffee cup – can’t forget that!

But fans are forgetting the point. This is fiction; it’s not a choose your own adventure saga. While some television series may engage in fan service (*cough* Riverdale *cough*) at risk of losing sight of the direction of the show, Game of Thrones is not really that kind of show.

I would imagine that some of the key – and controversial – plot points in Season 8 were from Martin’s suggestions.

Heavily criticised was Daenerys’ destruction of Kings Landing. Fans called it unnecessary, illogical and out of character for the fiery queen.

Was it out of character though? Dany has had no issue using death – typically by fire – to cement her power. Usually it was justified - killing slave masters and those who she believed to betray her. But it’s difficult to ignore that her ruthlessness had been with her from the beginning when she killed her brother, her handmaiden Xaro and the Tarlys.

While Dany may have had moments of great compassion, it was paralleled with her endless desire for power that fuelled the violence that eventually drove her to become a villain of the show. I never thought that I would almost be feeling sorry for Cersei in those moments before her death.

Daenerys’ demise was ultimately satisfying, and the means appropriate. The juvenile calls of a petition to remake the season indicates that fans wanted predictability. They wanted to show to end the way they saw fit. Daenerys – being her father’s daughter – was consumed by that same unpredictable madness that led to the very real sense of confusion in the final episode. What do you do after two powerful queens are dead within a day?

But not all things to come out of the show’s ending have been negative. Fans have raised over £130k for charity through the subreddit r/FreeFolk as a thank you to the stars of the show. Over £93k has been raised for Emilia Clarke’s charity SameYou, that aims to increase rehabilitation services after stroke and brain injury for young adults. Clarke recently announced her struggle after experiencing two brain aneurysms. Over £37k has also been raised for Mencap, a charity helping those with learning disabilities of which Kit Harington is an ambassador.

Sometimes you’ve just got to take the bad with the good.

Marvel, Ranked

Maggie Rogers

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