By Rachel Zalucki, E23 Reporter

I’ve been hooked on “Game of Thrones” long before it was a popular HBO series, way back when it was only “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin.  A dark, gritty series that isn’t afraid to flex its emotional muscles from time to time. That sentiment translated well in its transition from book to screen. The adaption takes rigid characters and long exposition from the novels and gives them personality and character. The first six seasons of “Game of Thrones” are arguably one of the highest grossing series to ever come out of HBO, so what happened to the seventh season? Why is everyone so disappointed by its execution? Here’s my brief analysis of how season 7 went wrong. Warning: spoilers ahead.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead 

            Pitfall #1:  Character Consistency

Empathy is one of the strongest forces in writing, and “Game of Thrones” knew how to use it well. Whether it be falling in love with characters or hating them so much you feel the need to send them death threats, it is a remarkable case study in character development. R.R. Martin’s use of dichotomy and comparison makes us ask ourselves a lot about morality. What makes us hate a character? Could that character ever redeem themselves?

When looking at two separate character arcs, such as those of Jaime Lannister and Ramsay Bolton, it is evident we relate more with characters that grow and learn from disability. Jamie was cocky and immoral, so he lost his fighting hand. Ramsay Bolton maimed and raped without consequence, so he lost his life. Jaime Lannister holds a special place in our hearts because we shared in his disabilities as well as his victories. Ramsay Bolton never learned any redeeming qualities, so we cheered as his own dogs ripped him to pieces.

This season, however, it was clear that there are no lessons to be learned. Characters are written into impossible scenarios and escape unscathed and unchanged. At the very least, I had hoped Jon Snow would receive some injury from his white walker hunt. He could barely lead the Night’s Watch without getting stabbed to death, and now he is able to make a nearly impossible journey, somehow capture a white walker, and then bring it all the way back to King’s Landing without some sort of difficulty? Whatever.

Pitfall #2: Lack of Consequence (Alternative Title: The Right and Wrong Ways to Depict Incest)

 One of the greatest components of Game of Thrones was its realistic approach to how actions always have consequence. The greatest moments in the show always highlight the weight of every character’s mistakes. The show blatantly disregarded convenience, but the seventh season seems to embrace it instead. Plot holes are left gaping in the name of dramatics (cough “bring the dead to her”), people with mysterious ailments are healed by pure luck, and characters teleport without any explanation. And do not get me started on Daenerys and Jon Snow’s romantic subplot. Or the pregnancy thing. Barf.

In the past, running so many different narratives was a big task, and individual plots might have sucked but they were complete, polished, and there were still multiple other plots that tied into a larger cohesive story. But now, there are no more books to reference in writing and the storyline seems much more sporadic and careless in its structure. This season had a lot of potential that was recklessly exploited, which leads me into my third point, and in my opinion, the show’s biggest let-down.

Pitfall #3: The Dragons       

I was most excited for this season because of how heavily featured the dragons were in the previews, but boy was I wrong.  Ever since his cute dragon birth (or should I say hatching?), I never thought I would be cheering for Viserion’s death. And that is not because I hate him, it is simply because he and his brothers were much too convenient to have around. His death signals at least a slight resurgence of the old Game of Thrones that I knew and loved, where everyday was a tooth-and-nail fight to stay alive. The dragons made life easy, and that was boring. Dragons that existed before the current timeline were not indestructible, so why should Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion be treated like untouchable beings? It is almost exploitative, and the dragons have lost their luster. There is a reason why so many dragon skulls are buried in the Red Keep. Just saying.

I am not the first person to label this season as the “fan fiction season” and I most likely will not be the last. But this season is so nonsensical I feel like subreddits and fan theories wrote it, rather than a team of screenwriters. This season was disappointing, to say the very least. I hope the next season sees a return to form, but until I can know for sure, I guess I will just wait until the next book comes out.

Tags: , , ,