Before the finale for Game of Thrones Season 8 even aired on Sunday night, more than one million people had signed a petition to remake the entire season “with competent writers.” The first few seasons of the show were stellar, giving characters the time they needed to develop and make their own decisions. As the storyline fell into place, Game of Thrones was more about fascinating characters than it was about moving toward a manufactured happy ending.
Yet recent seasons have “jumped the shark.” Journeys that once took multiple episodes happen in a matter of seconds. Characters who slowly grew into their own suddenly make out-of-character decisions. Prophecies built up over the course of multiple seasons and books seem discarded into the fire.
For these and other reasons, fans have revolted against the show, even before it concluded.
The Change.org petition that reached over one million signatures simply read, “David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have proven themselves to be woefully incompetent writers when they have no source material (i.e. the books) to fall back on. This series deserves a final season that makes sense. Subvert my expectations and make it happen, HBO!”
After his petition reached epic success, fan Dylan D. of Fort Worth, Texas, posted a longer explanation of why he thinks the season should be remade.
“I made this petition some few days after Episode 4, ‘The Last of the Starks’, aired,” the author wrote. “I was just so disappointed and angry. It was simply me venting a bit. I posted it to r/freefolk on Reddit, it got nowhere, and I shrugged and went about my day. I had forgotten all about it.”
“A week later, a coworker caught me before I was leaving for the day and asked, ‘Hey, is this you?’ The petition had almost reached 500,000 signatures. I was blown away,” he recalled. “I hadn’t checked the thing for a week! And look at how far it has come!”
The petition’s author said he had not heard anything from HBO, and did not expect that he would. He explained that fans like him “escape into things like Star Wars and Game of Thrones.” (Full disclosure: so do I.)
“We fans invested a wealth of passion and time into this series. I’ve been watching religiously since Season 2, myself. I’ve read all the books and eagerly await the next two. I love this story, and I, like most of you, was crushed to see how the last season (and Season 7, let’s be real) has been handled,” the petition’s author wrote.
Spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 8.
The petition’s author then delved into a few questions. “Is Dany going to succumb to madness in the books? Probably. Is Arya going to kill the Night King? Well he doesn’t exist in the books as of yet so…maybe? Is Jaime going to sacrifice his entire character arc to go embrace Cersei? I’d doubt it, but that’s GRRM’s decision,” he wrote.
“The issue I have is not necessarily with what we got, it’s HOW we got there — fraught with cringe-inducing, arc-slaying dialogue and ‘everybody is stupid’ syndrome,” the author explained. “We can expect that the books will describe a more sensical path toward the ultimate conclusions that we will see on Sunday. No pressure, Mr. Martin.”
Benioff and Weiss “adapted those books in the beginning and it became one of the greatest TV shows of all time. No one can doubt their talents there. But they seemingly became tired of the series and rushed to the end, thereby doing the show and its fans a great disservice.”
The petition’s author praised the actors, the casting department, cinematography, music, costuming, and the CGI team. Game of Thrones has an extremely high production value, and the petitioner wanted to make it clear that “this petition is not a comment on their contributions to the show.”
“In closing, I didn’t make this petition to be an entitled, whiny fan. I made it because I was immensely disappointed and needed to vent. Do I have a solution? I’ve got plenty of ideas, but no, I’m not a Hollywood writer. But you don’t need to be a mechanic to know your car is broken,” he concluded.
Throughout Season 8, I too have been disappointed with the show’s pacing, its dynamics, and its sudden rush toward a conclusion. While the first few seasons gave characters room to grow, this season seems to be pigeon-holing them into a preset narrative. As a result, decisions don’t make sense, and moments that should be gripping often fall flat.
In episode 4, the dragon Rhaegal dies, shot out of nowhere. In episode 5, the very same ballistas that killed Rhaegal seem utterly useless against Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) dragon Drogon. Similarly, in episode 3, the audience sees Daenerys’ army get entirely wiped out by the army of the dead, but in the very next episode suddenly they have half the army back. This is utterly shoddy storytelling, completely unbefitting the excellence of the show’s first few seasons.
It remains unclear what fans can or will do to remake a rushed and inadequate final season, but the mere fact that one million of them have signed this petition suggests that there is real outrage, and a real desire to do something to preserve the original high quality of the show.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.