So I suppose there’s one or two things I should quickly start with: yes I rather liked the not-so-popular season 8 of Game of Thrones, yes I liked it enough to feel like writing a defence and while I do agree that certain elements in the finale did feel somewhat rushed, my overall emotional and cathartic response was never sullied by any timing issues that, for some people, apparently disregard any and all quality the show presented in its previous seven seasons. That and every criticism and comment I touch upon here is something I actually discovered online, not stuff i’ve made up to justify anger at those with an opposing opinion to mine, I like to believe I’m a logical person, and it can be the easiest thing in the world to deduce what a person is getting at with an internet comment they leave lying amongst the context of thousands of others.
Was there ever any doubt that the finale to a show like Game of Thrones wasn’t going to please everyone? In fact I’d say a turnout like that seems like the most obvious way for reality to go about it, just think of what the world of entertainment criticism is at the moment. Governed by whatever the Joneses are saying on social media, I mean are you telling me there’s nothing suspicious about people very casually dropping “oh, it’s shit” comments everywhere without any kind of explanation as to why, or hint of legitimate disappointment in sight?
That’s something that bugs me, amidst all this screaming and crying, refusing to eat what you’ve been given malarkey, no one actually seems “disappointed” by the prospect of the final season being… well, a disappointment. There’s too much fun being had and too little explanation as to why this is now the status quo outside of “well, that’s what everyone else is saying”. If you think I’m wrong about that then let me ask you this: why is no one talking about Cleganebowl? Why is no one talking about Tyrion’s tearful final scene with Jamie? Why is no one talking about the fan theories that actually did come true that people hoped would? I’ll tell you why, because that would mean saying something nice about “the worst GOT ever” and doing that does extinguishes fire rather than add fuel. I wonder if it’s even real fans doing the complaining because there seems to be a much bigger concern with being relevant on Facebook and Twitter and joining the determined conversation than trying to delve into the why of all this.
“Season 8 sucks! Just making sure everyone knows that’s what I think, just throwing that out there. See, I’m relevant now, I’m part of the cool gang”.
The point the criticisms all seem to come back to is Dany’s burning down of King’s Landing, you know, that place populated with all those idiots who cheered on Ned Stark’s execution. The explanation (holy shit, a criticism with an explanation for once) being that she makes up her mind to commit mass murder too quickly and therefor against who she is as a character. I disagree, aside from there having been red flags galore that something like this was coming the whole show, there’s a lot of stuff that goes down not long before the massacre that, I thought, made it totally plausible, I’m not fanboying, if that’s what I think then what am I supposed to do, pretend it isn’t so I fit in? If only everyone could stop pretending to be so impressive with how much they know about filmmaking and take their critic caps off for five seconds, wouldn’t that be the day?
Think about it, her beloved John – more in line for the throne than she is, that’s a slap in the ambitious little face, his family – don’t like her, could they potentially be traitors? Tyrion and Varys, two advisors to “keep her worst impulses in check” either fail her too many times or flat out do try and betray her, Cersei – because of her, two of her dragons are now dead, one died bringing the stubborn Cersei proof that white walkers exist, the other she had killed outright, she’s even the one responsible for this battle starting by killing Missandei, and then she has the balls to just surrender? And let’s not forget the knowledge that years of Targaryen incest have rendered her not right in the head, just like her father. Considering all of those things I’d say it makes sense for her to lose her shit and go crazy, trust was betrayed too many times, I certainly wouldn’t trust Cersei with mercy if I gave it to her.
I get that’s just what I think but why is it more fun complaining about something than just relaxing and allowing yourself to enjoy it? That’s not the same as saying you’ll enjoy it if you force yourself to, but everyone doing the complaining seem like they’re going out of their way to make sure of it? If you think I’m wrong about that then consider how the complaining didn’t stop at just this one mistake, it wasn’t enough to justify the level of anger so you gotta branch out I guess. This single occurrence in a 70 minute episode, one of 73, suddenly defines ALL of the writing in the entire show as “shit” for some reason. “Yeah Benioff and Weiss have been great so far but a character made a decision too quickly so they are, by definition, overall shit writers now”. That’s just over zealous internet baby screaming and I can’t take it seriously at all; it’s illegitimate.
I’m reminded of a rather random comparison – The Santa Claus 2 (of all things):
“Our number 2 elf overlooked the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT DETAIL IN THE HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS!” – “wow, one mistake in 900 years”.
Do you see what I’m getting at?
Even though some people did have their issues with seasons 5 and 7 (issues amplified by their dislike of 8) I don’t recall anyone losing their minds and declaring them to be the shittest thing anyone has ever made (because isn’t everything nowadays with a little bit of hype that’s not a billion % perfect?), but make what many consider a serious error in the penultimate episode and SUDDENLY you’re a shit writer, you deserve to die and no amount of great things you’ve done in the last 8 years up until this point matter anymore. There was recently an interesting Twitter thread that detailed how George R R Martin and the show’s writing team just have fundamentally different methods when it comes to plot progression, and that the seasons written without books to follow aren’t shit but simply feel different. The best some dickhead could come up with in response to this thread was a simple “nah, they’re just shit writers”.
Are you kidding me? Right there I knew it, this has nothing to do with legitimate feelings about the conclusion of a tv show, it’s playground bitching for the sake of it, to, like I keep saying, join in the conversation on the web; some people’s new definition of the real world. I bet you this person absolutely loved all other seasons prior to 8, or rather – the backlash to 8 so you know what side of the argument to be on. Anything interesting or logical in that thread was just thrown out of the window in favour of having a blame figure to exercise aggression on, aside from not agreeing with them these criticisms just come across as too sadistic to be taken seriously, I even have my doubts some of these people dropping the odd “season 8 sucks” comment here and there have even watched it.
This has been the case with a lot of entertainment criticism this past generation, the once noble profession of film or television criticism has been degenerated to mindless screaming on the internet because, apparently, every likes to prove just how much more than filmmakers they know about the craft and it’s getting really annoying. Especially with the existence of favourite targets, filmmakers who could say something as simple as “good morning” online and someone just has to announce why they’re a terrible person for doing so. Then there are the films that make the same mistakes as critical flops that don’t even get half the backlash for the simple fact that they aren’t the favourite target; it’s not about criticising what deserves to be criticised, it’s something much more sinister that has me worried about the future of entertainment. Especially with fans starting selfish and entitled petitions that disrespect all the work that goes into their entertainment they’re too spoilt rotten to eat when given, all because they found one or two things a bit rushed which, in internet speak, means the WHOLE thing just sucks – I really hate that word, “sucks”.
I definitely think I could go on folks, I really really could but I’d better stop before my brain explodes, or yours does for indulging me for this long, this isn’t about me having a moan about someone saying something about about something I liked, I’m legitimately worried about what could be in store for entertainment in the future if this is what the feedback is going to be like, if I were a filmmaker and spent many years of my life making something people don’t like I’ll want to know why, not just read comments about how shit I am. The fan petition thing borders on psychotic given just how easily no one cares about how hard it is to make this stuff, but oh, I forgot, celebrities aren’t real people are they, they’re other worldly entities who are here to serve us, and if they spend many years of their lives making something specifically for us to be entertained and we don’t like it, it makes sense for us to complain about how OUR time was waisted because we watched it for two hours (in the case of some films).
You know what, it’s getting old, the moaning and winging not because of continuity errors, bad sets, cheap cinematography or porno acting, but because a fictional character made decision we don’t like in a fictional story that’s specifically there for enjoyment, I’ve not much faith left for this film critic thing at all, not if children are the ones doing it. Remember that scene in Birdman where the mean critic lady tells Michael Keaton how he represents spoilt entitled children, go rewatch that scene and know that everything she says, I would happily say to modern critics of today.
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Phil Hobden is the former Film Editor & Writer for renowned martial arts focused COMBAT MAGAZINE in the UK. He is also a filmmaker in his own right, having produced two cult Independent action films in LEFT FOR DEAD and TEN DEAD MEN. He was the host for the award nominated Filmsploitation podcast for 4 years, currently co-hosts Ross And Phil Talk Movies and is a writer/editor for his own blog Phil’s Quick Capsule Review…