SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Game of Thrones."
I probably should have suspected after season 7 being so rushed that season 8 wouldn't go well, but I truly didn't expect the catastrophe that ensued five and a half weeks ago. If you read my article about the upcoming season a couple of months ago, then you know how excited I was and the things that I wanted for it. And you know what? I got those, maybe not what I expected them to be, but it is what I asked for. Gendry and Arya, for example, I was really pleased with that development. But Jon and Arya...they were the closest of all the Stark siblings as children, and they got next to nothing significant.
Let's start with my favorite episode: episode 2, which is set before the Long Night. Every character got a beautiful scene and a satisfying ending if it was going to be their end in the war against the dead. I truly don't have many complaints about this episode, and Podrick's haunting rendition of "Jenny of Oldstones" at the end was beautiful and perfect.
But even with that - it was good. Just good. And every other episode has been that, or worse. There is nothing of the old Game of Thrones in this season. The writing is jarring and disconnected, the character development in many ways makes no sense - Daenerys is the obvious example, with her sudden snap and burning of King's Landing after proclaiming just last season that she was not here to be "Queen of the Ashes." But there is Jaime as well; he left Cersei to do the right thing and to keep a promise, and then went back to her knowing that she had sent someone to kill him. Even if you haven't read the books (in which Jaime's development is wildly different and the break comes much sooner), this is upsetting.
Speaking of the Lannisters, one line from Sansa is very accurate indeed: Tyrion used to be the cleverest man on the show, with the exception of maybe Varys. But Tyrion now is just disappointing. He has nothing new to say, and if it is new then there is no effort by the writers to give it any credibility or acknowledgment by other characters.
In the words of many fans of late, Jon has become the most expensive extra in history. His lines seem to consist of "You are my queen" and "I don't want it" regarding the Iron Throne. In this past episode, he did nothing to try to sway Daenerys one way or the other and utterly failed to demonstrate his strong leadership in the battle that followed - another huge oversight by the writers. Jon has always commanded great respect of his men, and suddenly, the Northerners have no inclination to listen at all. Instead, they follow the lead of the Dragon Queen that, merely weeks earlier in the show's timeline, they treated coldly. They go against all of their principles, principles that have been set in the show since season 1 with Robb.
I could keep going, I truly could, I could write for hours about everything wrong or just plain messed up about this season. But the thing is, I know who to blame: the writers, who decided to hurry to the finish line instead of accepting HBO's offer to fully fund the last two seasons with ten complete episodes. The worst part of it all is that the actors are doing phenomenal jobs with the scripts they were given: Emilia Clarke demonstrates Daenerys' sudden descent into madness incredibly; Maisie Williams has such raw power in the fear she instills in Arya's most terrifying moments; Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is so convincing in his return to Cersei, giving the audience a clear view of the resignation in his decision and feelings. These actors that put almost a decade into this show, and are left with this...the fans are disappointed, but this show must be so much worse for the cast.