The end of Game of Thrones — the TV show at least — is finally upon us. After eight seasons and 67 episodes, it’s rather daunting to realize we’re finally going to see the long-awaited battle for the fate of Westeros, where the only guarantee is that some of our favorite characters will be dying. But frankly, I have a bigger worry about this final season: What if it’s terrible?
This is not just a counterintuitive take — my concerns are very, very real. I am not happy about the possibility of Thrones’s flubbing its landing after years of excellence. And this isn’t about the possibility that the epic conclusion will be disappointing because that’s a given. There’s simply too much anticipation, which has made our expectations impossible to fulfill. I’ve made my peace with that, and you should, too.
I’m certainly not going to pretend Thrones has been flawless so far. (Rewatch Daenerys’ interminable dragon-napping storyline in season two or anything that ever happened in Dorne.) But the last season, way back in 2017, had more issues than any season before it, and there were many moments that were flat-out bad — often in ways the show hadn’t evidenced before. And that worries me about what’s to come.
So much in season seven felt rushed. Characters were often forced to speed through exposition, and as a result, scenes lacked time to breathe. Long-awaited reunions — the Stark children coming together, Cersei and Tyrion Lannister meeting again, and Jorah returning to Daenerys — felt perfunctory and clipped off when they should have been decadently satisfying. Time and space stopped mattering altogether as characters practically teleported across the continent of Westeros in order to keep the plot moving at a breakneck speed, the most infamous example being Daenerys flying from Dragonstone to beyond the Wall to rescue Jon Snow and his posse in about four to six hours.
These problems are bummers because they mess with two of the show’s biggest strengths — the raw, emotional moments between characters we’ve come to love (or hate), and the fundamental realism that has made Game of Thrones so…