Okay, so from the very first moment I watched GAME OF THRONES, I was totally mindblown.
I hadn’t read any of the books. I didn’t know a thing about the storyline. I just watched the first episode in the first season, lo these many years ago, and my mind was totally freaking blown!!!
So right away I wanted to see the whole damn thing. The only problem was, I was economically challenged and could not afford an HBO subscription, which was a lot harder to come by up here in Canada. So I settled for buying each season on DVD and kicking back over the Christmas holidays and watching them.
As each year rolled by I picked up the season DVD and watched them. I usually smoked the whole pack, meaning that when I picked up the season 3 DVD I started out by rewatching season 1 and 2 all over again, before rolling into 3.
I have done that all the way up to season 7.
Oddly enough, I enjoyed season 7 enough to watch it two or three times right on through. Arya getting payback on Walter Frey and his clan. Dothraki taking on the Southerners, with a dragon up the sleeve. Cersei kicking ass and John Snow taking action over the wall, right to that cliff-hanging season-ender. A lot of folks felt that the series had lost a step in Season 7, but I just turned a deaf ear to their grumbling. I liked Season 7 just fine.
Then I had to wait for a whole year or so for the last season, Season 8, to hit DVD. I started watching it yesterday and got as far as the third episode (The Long Night) and decided to adjourn for a family game of Cranium, which was a hell of a lot more mentally stimulating than staring at a blacked out television screen for ten straight hours.
The first two episodes of Season 8 were fine, although a little draggy. They hauled out nearly every single character who had appeared over the last 7 seasons, and kind of pretzel twisted them into place into a sort of super-Jenga Game of Thrones. I mean, before those two episodes were up I was caught up to speed. Besides just the convenience of that whole LAST-SEVEN-SEASONS-ON-GAME-OF-THRONES recap, I was also reminded how to care about these characters and I was looking forward to seeing how these characters ended up in the next episode – the big battle of the forces of life versus the walking dead.
The key word to remember in that last sentence would be “seeing”.
You see, the whole problem with Episode 3 of Season 8 was visibility. I mean, we are talking a white out on a dark, dark night. Now I get that you might tell me that this was nothing more than a demonstration of that “fog of war” and an illustration of what old Red Witch Melisandre was saying to everybody all along – THE NIGHT IS FREAKING DARK AND FULL OF FUCKED-UP TERROR!
And I also get that if I had owned a 4k television set (which is one k better than three k’s but not half as good as a box full of Special K) that I would have been able to see this a little bit more clearly – but I have paid for eight seasons worth of viewing pleasure and it would have really been nice to have been able to see a little bit more of all that carnage and splendor.
So, after a fast game of the previously mentioned CRANIUM, I woke up this morning determined to see this season right to the end.
The next thing I knew I was watching Daenerys Targaryen the Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains and Lover of Copious Titles Etc, Etc, Etc burn up a whole entire city with her dragon. Now, that sounds cool, and (for a while) it was bright enough to see – but that visibility soon fell prey to the smoke and the fire that was generated by the dragon’s breath.
Which sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it?
Except I kept on watching and I kept on wondering about one single stupid glitch. We had already seen how readily a well-aimed ballista could skewer a dragon. Here was Daenerys with her VERY last dragon just blasting those ballistas (alright, so they called them scorpions, but whatever you call it, it is a big freaking dragon-killing crossbow) and she is just roaring right in there against that fortress full of big freaking dragon-killing crossbows without a care in the world. All of a sudden she is Eddie freaking Rickenbacker shooting down the Red Baron while Snoopy yells out fighter maneuver techniques from the sidelines.
I mean, why wasn’t that explained? All of a sudden she knew how to avoid and destroy those big freaking dragon-killing crossbows, even though she only one freaking dragon. Did she secretly practice midair dodge-ball techniques? Had she studied with Mandrake The Magician and was gesturing hypnotically while she was flying over those big freaking dragon-killing crossbows and wrecking havoc?
I mean, even they had spent one single freaking scene with her talking a blacksmith into building some kind of armor for that dragon, that would have explained her sudden ability to simultaneously dodge those crossbows and blow the whole city down in flames.
Worse then all of that was the director’s insistence upon taking copious amounts of screen time as their characters stared sullenly at absolutely nothing at all. I mean, you want to take every Sergio Leone spaghetti western gunfight and run it in extra-slow motion and you will get an idea of how excruciatingly slow these all-too-frequent shots were to the average viewer.
Not to mention the fact that Cersei Lannister – one of the most under-used characters in the whole damn series, spends damn near the whole six episode season standing on her balcony staring wistfully at the end of her paycheck.
That’s all I have to tell you. I hope I haven’t spoiled too much of the series for you. I figure that because this has been on the air for almost a year that I am safe in popping a few bubbles. I am glad I saw it finally, but I don’t if I will ever feel starved enough for entertainment to ever sit down and watch it again. I mean, these guys could teach a workshop on how to fuck up a good thing.
Yours in Storytelling,