This is an unplanned follow up to my last post about Avengers: Endgame. But this time it's my reaction to another great series coming to an end, Game of Thrones. The last episode, The Long Night, left me unsatisfied, angry, and really disappointed.
I know I'm in the minority here so I'm not intending to convince anyone my opinion is right but instead explore the reasons it left me unsatisfied. It seems convenient that I have another highly anticipated finale to compare it to. One that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Minor spoilers ahead.
Great stories follow through on the things they set up. Sometimes in unexpected ways. Sometimes to simply say that what was set up was wrong. But it's so important to address the key storylines you've set up that ran through the arcs of several characters.
In the early seasons of the show, several storylines are set up about the impending wars. Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised, the mystery of the White Walkers, the three-eyed raven. In what should've been the climax of all these storylines, none of these were addressed. The character peddling half of these stories, Melisandre, even returns but never addresses it. These beliefs drove her to support Stannis and lead him to war and eventually his death. Of course, she could've been wrong, but not even a mention of it?
In comparison, Infinity War set up the importance of Tony Stark to fixing things. It followed the through on the big tease of the endgame. The infinity stones that were built up as the solution to the problem in the movie actually solved the problem in the end.
Marvel did a great job of this with the way it handled the core Avengers' individual story arcs and their intersection with the larger story of the infinity stones. In this episode of Game of Thrones, few character arcs progressed because of the larger threat that was developed from the first season. Is Jon any different now than he was before the episode? Is Arya any different for resolving a story that she had no involvement with until a few episodes ago? For me, the answer to both is no.
When you set up a world-ending threat it needs to live up to it. In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos lived up to what was promised immediately. In the opening scene, he made light work of who we all saw as the strongest Avenger and killed a couple of other well-known characters. The threat that was promised, felt real.
In Game of Thrones, the White Walkers are seen as the end of all life. We see them make quick work of the nameless horde of Dothraki. But when it came time to face the characters we love, most survived unscathed. Sure a few faces you've seen before died but how many of those will really be missed. How many had any potential story left in them? The threat that was promised, felt real, only to characters who had already reached the end of the road.
This all isn't to say it was terrible. Visually it was a spectacle that hasn't been seen on a television show before. The action and tension in some scenes was incredible. But as a conclusion to 8-year long threat, underwhelming. Maybe the remaining episodes will change my mind. But after being completely satisfied by Marvel's big ending, I expected to have a similar feeling. It just makes what Marvel was able to do an even greater accomplishment.