For better or worse, all TV shows inevitably reach their conclusion. Some are cancelled before they get to finish their story, some decline in quality to the point where the ending comes as a relief, and a rare few are able to finish their story the way the writers want. The best example of this in recent years is, of course, “Breaking Bad”. When it was announced a couple of years ago that this eighth season of “Game of Thrones” was going to be its last, some fans expressed disappointment that the show was going to end, but were relieved at the fact that at least there would be a proper ending. Who would ascend to the Iron Throne, what of the Night King and his army of the undead, and would certain characters get what was coming to them at long last.
All of these questions are answered over the course of the last six episodes, each one with an extended running time compared to other seasons of the show, but the original reception was mixed. Maybe it’s because so many have binge watched the show in recent times so the idea of waiting a week for each episode heightened expectations to a level the show could never reach. I have to admit, I was one of those. However, now that the box set is available and all the episodes can be watched back to back at the viewers own pace, the episodes do seem to flow that bit better and things don’t feel as rushed as they did on the first viewing.
As it is “Game of Thrones”, not all your favourite characters will see the end, so be prepared for some deaths although they don’t really arrive until the middle of the season when things are gearing up with the White Walkers and then the final battle for the Iron Throne. But when they start, they come thick and fast. While the direction some of the episodes take can be questioned, the commitment and the performances of the cast cannot. All the actors are on top form here, from the ever reliable Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, and Emelia Clarke, to characters and actors that have grown in stature throughout the years like Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner as the Stark sisters Arya and Sansa.
The action scenes are every bit as epic and brutal as you’ve become used to with the show, even if you may have to turn up the brightness a bit during “The Long Night”, but it’s the final battle during episode 5, “The Bells” where the show really goes for broke and we see devastation the likes of which hasn’t been seen in the show before.
The debate will always rage on about whether or not people agree with certain character decisions and motivations, but that only means that the show will remain relevant for a long time to come, rather than just finishing and being instantly forgotten about. All in all, it’s a fitting conclusion for one of the most memorable TV events of this generation, and when people go back to rewatch the show, I suspect that the ending will be regarded more favourably than it was on its first release.
These are the insightful and truthful thoughts and words of our man Kevin Dillon.
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