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Game of Thrones is one of the most popular shows ever.

But its last season scored a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes and went down as one of the most-hated finales in TV history.

That turned out to be a good thing for the new release, House of the Dragon…

Here’s a breakdown:
George RR Martin broke all the rules when writing Game of Thrones:

— main characters died
— 1000+ page books
— 7+ plot lines

Yet people loved GoT because of it.

SPOILERS AHEAD
Seasons 1-5 of the show had the books to follow.

But then the books ended and the show continued.

The worst decision the producers made?

Not involving George RR Martin in the following seasons…
On the surface, Season 8 (the final season) had everything it needed to succeed:

– $90M budget
– incredible actors
– hype

But it failed for one simple reason:

Bad storytelling.
For finales, great storytelling has a few key ingredients:

– Epic climaxes
– Wrapped up subplots
– Character transformations

Season 8 failed on all three. Let me explain:
Epic climaxes

The Night King debacle is the best example.

The show spent years building him into a force of evil.

He even spawned the famous slogan “Winter is Coming.”

Just for him to be killed in 2 seconds in the 3rd episode of the season.

Talk about disappointing
Wrapped up subplots

Part of what made GoT special was the complexity of the subplots.

But the producers failed to time the narrative of the last 3 seasons properly.

They didn’t leave enough time to bring each subplot to its end.

But why not just extend Season 8?
Contracts dictated the show only last 8 seasons.

But that was known in advance and could’ve been planned for.

None of these major subplots came to an end:

– Jon ‘Targaryen’ Snow’s parentage (did it matter?)
– The White Walkers (what was their goal?)
– The Three-Eyed Raven
Character transformations

The best characters start one way, grow through experience, and transform into a far different version of themselves.

The story is about that transformation — a ‘character arc.’

GoT had great ones brewing

But ruined them in Season 8…
Jaime Lannister

From defending his awful sister to tossing Bran out a window, Jaime was easy to hate.

Then, over the course of seven seasons, he became a changed man and a fan favorite.

Only to die a terrible death after reverting to the same self from season 1.
Jon Snow

Jon starts as the bastard, lonely son of the King’s Hand.

An outcast in his own family.

But by the end of Season 7, he’s the King of the North and one of the most popular characters in TV history…
S8 ruins his transformation.

Jon forgets how to say anything but “she’s my queen” and abandons all desire for the throne, ending the show going into the North to rejoin the Wildlings.

Instead of completing his transformation, Jon becomes an outcast – the same as he started.
Daenerys Targaryen

She starts as the youngest child of a dead king living with her worthless older brother.

Yet by the end of Season 7, she’s the Breaker of Chains and the Mother of Dragons.

She’s the rightful leader Westeros hasn’t had for 100s of years.
But Season 8 turned Daenerys into a mass murderer who would do anything to recapture her family’s past throne.

The exact type of person she’d fought against in prior seasons.

She became The Mad Queen, but the producers gave us no reasons for her to go so crazy.
The whole issue came down to characters acting in ways that made no sense.

The producers:
– rushed the main plot
– ignored subplots
– made characters act out of character

But in a strange way, the ending to GoT propelled House of the Dragon (new show in the same world)…
A story needs closure.

We (the audience) did not get closure from Season 8.

It left us unsatisfied and wanting more from Westeros.

There was cautious optimism leading to the first episode of HotD:
The first two episodes delivered.

– EP1: 10 million viewers
– EP2: 10.2 million viewers

But the best part?

George RR Martin is back in the fold, heavily involved in the entire narrative.
Hope you enjoyed!

If so:

1: follow @nathanbaugh27 for weekly writing on storytelling and creativity

2: try my free weekly newsletter with 25k others to become a better storyteller www.getrevue.co/profile/worldbuilders
Good to see Westeros got a Starbucks in season 8:

While researching I found two incredible GoT meme spots

@FreeFolkMemes on twitter

And this subreddit www.reddit.com/r/freefolk/

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Great thread man and completely agreed. Thankfully back to (completed) source material for House of Dragon