If you’re one of the many people still seething in rage over the eighth and final season of HBO’s hit fantasy series, I urge you to keep your TV off Sunday night. That’s when the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony will be held, and Game of Thrones has a record-breaking 32 nominations, more than any show in Emmy history. Chances are, it’s going to win a lot of them even though its last season could most kindly be described as “polarizing.”
These awards are going to once again kick the hornet’s nest of furious fans who were only just starting to calm down after the show’s finale, which is a shame for two reasons. The first is that the rest of the planet — those of us who were only mildly disappointed or even genuinely entertained by the Game of Thrones finale — will have to endure the vitriolic freak out all over again. (Pity the show’s cast, crew, and social media assistants on Sunday night.) The second reason is that it’s about time we all remembered that, by and large, Game of Thrones was very good.
Unfortunately, there are people so obsessed with hating the final season that they’ve forgotten that the better parts of the show exist at all. This is, of course, not just a Game of Thrones’ problem. There have been plenty of great shows that didn’t manage to stick the landing — Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and True Blood all come immediately to mind — and their fans also had a hard time separating their disappointment with the ending from their enjoyment with the story preceding it because of, well, how story endings work. As the audience, we watch the narrative tension build episode after episode, season after season, in hopes that, in the end, the story will reach a satisfying climax.
Game of Thrones was, and is, so much more than its final season, and that’s why we should forgive it.
When things go awry at the very end, and the audience doesn’t feel fulfilled, it’s disappointing. And as I’ve talked about before, the more people love a show — or a book, movie, or person, for that matter — the more hurt and upset that disappointment makes…