Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait

Game of Groans
Photo credit: Genessa Gutzait

Game of Thrones has steadily gone downhill. It started with the tie-in album that featured artists like SZA, Lil Peep, and Mumford & Sons all coming together to produce a Game of Thrones inspired album. Now we’ve got the exclusive cast interviews, the mock musical recording session, and a trailer for each new episode.

Without George R.R. Martin’s writing to bolster that of D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, among others, the writing has been reduced to trite dialogue and one-off comments that feel more like excepts from a fan fiction than a professional television show. Instead, the show has taken refuge in ornate visuals in a way akin to a little man in a large truck. It misses the reasons why people gravitated to the show in the first place.

While cinematic production value and high-quality effects, have always been a part of the series, what really drew people to the show were the complex characters and their chess-like conversations that dripped with political intrigue.

Weiss and Benioff had far too much confidence in the brand they’d created and not enough in the power of good writing—something that they are now clearly incapable of producing. While hiding behind the bells and whistles of pretty presentation, even the visuals have come under attack lately.

“The Long Night,” the episode in which the realms of the living face off against the Night King’s hordes was poorly lit. Rather than own up to the criticism, however, Fabian Wagner remains cocksure that this was the viewers’ fault, telling Wired “people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly.”

Without the strength of previous seasons, it seems most fans are only finishing the show out of  commitment. Knowing this, it seems it doesn’t matter what the creators do to the franchise at this point. So, I suppose it’s half-assed trash or nothing. I might eat my words; there are still two episodes for redemption, but my guess is we’ll be held as artistic hostages until the bitter end.

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