On Ending Game of Thrones

I get this joke.

I’ve heard the rumor that some people are less than thrilled with the ending of Game of Thrones.

Never being a fan in the first place (of books or movies), I am hardly surprised. My chief surprise is that anyone was taken aback by the terrible ending in the first place. Every time I looked in on the series, someone else is getting raped, murdered, banging a sibling, or murdering people in large groups. In the novels, the plot ran on character death so much that a friend of mine once made a mathematical formula that calculated the next death to within five pages.

Honestly? I always felt that Game of Thrones was a Lord of the Rings snuff porn parody.

Though what makes it interesting to me is that, once again, we have a series where the writers fell short, and are disdainful of the viewer backlash.

And, unlike The Last Jedi, which sucks harder and harder the more I look at it (were I to review it today, I’d give it negative numbers), I don’t think this was a matter of politics. This wasn’t a matter of “we had to wrap it up or be canceled.” George RR Martin wanted three more seasons to get to the ending. HBO is planning FIVE GAME OF THRONES SPINOFFS, and making money hand over fist from this.

The Game of Thrones show runners just wanted off. They had been offered a job making a Star Wars trilogy, and they figured more money could be had elsewhere.

I get this joke.

I’m told that there are over fifty million Game of Thrones fans. That’s 50,000,000.

That’s approximately 50,000,000 people who aren’t going to see those Star Wars movies. Not counting the friends and family of those fans who will spend between now and then bitching about how badly they dropped the ball with Game of Thrones.

So, doubling down on the “screw your fans, we’re outta here” aspect is … interesting to me. I didn’t think that HBO had the sort of influence that Disney does. But this is starting to reach Last Jedi level push back on both ends.

Please think back to a decade ago, when Lost wrapped up. The obsessed fans were pissed at the lackluster, disappointing ending that wrapped up exactly nothing. No plot threads were resolved. The ending needed to be explained. It was a mess.

The creators didn’t really answer. They passed it off as “Oh, the fans had so many ideas in the fan forums, we didn’t want to disappoint any of them with a definitive ending. So we let them make their own.” It lent the appearance of being deferential while at the same time covering the fact that they had no idea where they were going, despite all the claims to the contrary. (Sorry Damon Lindelof, you never know where you’re going. We know that now)

Now? The fans are pissed, and the response is no better than “If you don’t like the ending, go write your own fanfiction and jerk off to it.” Normally, I expect that sort of reaction from people who are motivated by politics.

Now, again, I am no fan of George RR Martin (who has personally insulted friends of mine). I am no fan of Game of Thrones.

I am actively disdainful of writers who backhand their readers / viewership.

As Brad Torgersen put it.

And never, ever blame the fans for being less than thrilled with your ending. Show patience and good humor with the scolds, and be thankful for the constructive critics among your readers who can explain why something didn’t feel right, did not work for them, etc. There’s learning in that exchange of ideas.

I …. wait, really? What the Hell…?

There will be no learning here.

Though I am starting to wonder just how much of this is success going to their heads. “We have fifty million fans! We could alienate half of them and still rake in the dough.”  Or “I’m a best-selling author with a book deal! I can do no wrong.” These people later become shocked that yes, they can do wrong… but hey, they’ve made their money, they can afford to screw up, as long as they don’t spend like a drunken sailor. And the show-runners of Game of Thrones can afford to mess around on Star Wars, they’re playing with house money.

Or should I say… mouse money.

So the next time you see how fans are being dismissed as “entitled,” maybe you should take a gander at the material they’re complaining about, and consider that the writers are the ones who feel entitled. While yes, endings may be difficult, there is no excuse for doing a rush job because “I have to get onto another project.”  Sheesh. This is HBO. These are the people who put TV shows on pause for several years so actors could run off and do other projects. Even if “Game of Thrones must go on,” isn’t that the point where you take all of the notes and outlines and hand them off to someone else?

This assumes, of course, that there was a plan. This assumes that there were notes and outlines to be handed off.

That is an assumption I’m not willing to make.

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