Yes, yes, there’s a new season of Game of Thrones coming out. Every new screenshot and trailer triggers a screech of pure fanboy hype so powerful that it’s officially the only TV program audible from space. But before you set out the chips, dip, and novelty “Colonel Sandor” chicken bucket for your Hound-loving friends, keep a few things in mind. We love this show as much as anyone, but there’s no guarantee that it can maintain the heart-wrenching power of its past seasons. Don’t believe us? Well, for starters…
5.) They don’t have George R.R. Martin’s hand to guide them anymore:
Obviously the show can’t go on hiatus until the books are finished in 2337. But remember, Martin did more than create the incredible world of Westeros and fill it with engaging characters. He gave them all motivation to compete against each other, to clash and struggle so that victory for one beloved character meant doom for another.
That’s the kind of depth the showrunners can’t recapture. When Tyrion and Davos faced off on opposite sides of the Blackwater, it was all the more devastating because we wanted them both to win while knowing it was impossible. Meanwhile, the show has staggered back into boring good versus evil showdowns like every other fantasy series. Take the Battle of the Bastards: visually thrilling, but step back and all you’ve got is a hero facing an irredeemable villain, almost falling to the impossible odds before a cavalry appears out of nowhere to save his dopey ass. As if we’ve never seen that shit before.
4.) CleganeBowl is cancelled:
Speaking of dramatic showdowns, you can deflate these hype balloons too. CleganeBowl was one of the biggest questions heading into season 6 — when the Hound finally came back from the dead, would he and his brother finally throw down? Hound v.s. the Mountain in an ultimate showdown, the culmination of every trial by combat in the series?
No dice, homeslice. Tommen, Prince of Wails, officially upheaved trial by combat last season. And with Gregor “I take deadlifts to a new level” Clegane glued to Cersei’s side, the chances of these two having a climactic final showdown are looking slim to none. True, this may all be an elaborate misdirection, but if it is, it’s a bigger middle finger than Lady Stoneheart.
3.) The dialogue’s getting shittier:
Moo all you like about boobs and bloodshed, but dialogue is the true mortar that holds this series together. It’s what reveals these characters, explores their connections, and, ultimately, makes us care about them.
It’s also sliding downhill like a sled made of dog turds. Just look at Tyrion’s awkward ramblings with Grey Worm and Missandei last season — they could have cut the entire scene out of a teenage soap opera and you’d never know the difference. Yes, these are all talented performers that could sell the hell out of a Yelp review reading but there’s only so much they can do when the dialogue is so painfully aware it’s going to be fitted into ten million tweets the next morning.
2.) Battening down the hatches for the hype storm:
A wise man once said, “Nothing ruins a good thing like knowing you share your opinion with mindless little tits.” And sweet jesus was he right. Every season we have to endure the thousands of commercials, the endless surges of unfounded predictions, and the hype trains barreling off the rails one after another.
Whether it’s loudly proclaiming which scene would best destroy their clingy emotions (“They’d better not kill that character! I’d be devastated!”) or making pointless threats (“If we don’t get a dragon fight in the first episode, I’ll stop watching. I won’t really stop watching, because I’m more hooked than a meth head in a meat locker, but I’ll SAY I will!!!”). Everyone has that godawful super fan hiding somewhere in their neighborhood/subreddit. The only thing to do is batten down the hatches until it all chills out, usually about a month after the season’s over.
1.) There are already 4 spin-offs in the works:
One day, about two years ago, HBO awoke from its slumber atop a pile of gilded Jon Snow merchandise and realized that their gravy train wasn’t going to last forever. The showrunners have pledged to end the show when they finish the story (good for them!) and that story is hurtling toward a conclusion fast.
But even though HBO convinced them to drag out the final season into two parts like the last movie in a Hunger Games ripoff, that still isn’t enough. The network is currently pursuing 4 different spin-offs- so if you’re still neck-deep into this tale of mortality and the dangers of unchecked desire, don’t worry. HBO’s ready to heroically miss the point and keep the gravy train limping along for centuries to come.
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