By now you have heard the news, Game of Thrones Season 8 will likely be the show's last. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have all but confirmed the series will not only end with Season 8, but the final two seasons will have just 13 episodes between them. The sadness is way too real, guys. While I want the show to end on a high note, Game of Thrones shouldn't end with Season 8 because there is still way too much story to tell.
I believe Benioff and Weiss have a plan to bring the series to a satisfying conclusion, but when I think of all the small moments that will be sacrificed to accelerate the plot it bums me out. Game of Thrones has always been much bigger than its mythology. At its core it is a story about an unstable kingdom that needs to band together to face a supernatural army. That is the logline, but there is so much more going on beneath the surface.
The cast is sprawling and as a result there are a multitude of characters with rich individual stories. Think back to Season 3 when the best story was Brienne and Jaime's road trip of redemption and bear pits. Was it necessary to the larger plot? Not really. It was important on a character level because it set Jaime on a new path and established a beautiful friendship between these two characters. On a larger scale, Jaime and Brienne are not likely to play a huge role in the final chapters, but that doesn't matter from a viewer's standpoint because they are just so wonderful to watch.
If the show has just 13 hours left, then the story will out of necessity have to be streamlined. Minor characters' stories will have to wrapped up in a hurry — see the unceremonious dispatching of Margaery and Loras in the Season 6 finale — while others will likely never be wrapped up at all. Sorry, Gendry fans, but with so little time, the poor guy will likely spend eternity rowing.
The A Song of Ice and Fire books on which Game of Thrones is based are sprawling. The show could never begin to fit all of the stories author George R.R. Martin weaved through the first five books into a television series, never mind the books still to come. I don't think the show should have to either because then it truly would never end, which may sound like a good idea until you think about the inevitable Season 25 devoted entirely to exploring the adventures of Ser Pounce's offspring.
Ideally, the show will find a balance between a breakneck finishing lap and a meandering end. Two more full length seasons would be ideal, but barring that a Season 9 would offer a few more precious hours to devote not just to solving mysteries and staging epic battles, but to the characters' individual journeys. Bronn may not be as important as Dany, but don't you want to see him reunite with Tyrion? And wouldn't it be fascinating to see Tormund and Brienne play out in a meaningful, emotional way rather than as a series quick throwaway scenes? These are the moments that will inevitably have to be sacrificed in the name of moving the plot forward as quickly as possible to finish the story in Season 8.
Game of Thrones is in a position where it has created a world so dense and so fascinating that eight seasons simply will not do every aspect of the show justice. There are still so many avenues to explore before the White Walkers breach the wall and someone worthy finally takes the Iron Throne. Winter just got here, and I am in no hurry to race through it just to get to spring.
Images: HBO; Giphy (2)