Many people seem to have enjoyed Season 8, Episode 3 of Game of Thrones. I am not one of those people.
This was the episode we have all been waiting for. The anticipation for the “great winter battle” has been building for 8 seasons now so the stakes were very high. Unfortunately, Season 8 had truly no solid (i.e. printed) source material to draw from, and it shows.
Here are the reasons it was a true letdown:
1. No main characters died
That’s a big deal considering main characters used to die fairly frequently, and was one of the defining aspects of the show. It’s certainly one of the things that got me hooked in the beginning. Yes, some characters died but none of them could be thought of as truly central to the story.
Even worse, there were plenty of opportunities for the main characters to die but they were always saved in the most cliché ways possible. Such as when Sam had a knife inches from his eye, only for Eddison to save him at the last second. This happened AT LEAST 7 TIMES, though I lost track after a while. A few more quick examples:
- Most notable cliché — Bran being saved by Arya, where the Night King took forever to kill him, leaving Arya plenty of time for stabby-stabby time
- Jorah saving Daenerys
- Brienne saving Jaime
- Jaime saving Brienne
2. It was very anti-climactic
Again, 8 seasons built up the prophecy surrounding Jon Snow, with him being resurrected for some epic purpose. Yet, he played little into the outcome of the battle. Worse yet, the White Walkers spent perhaps 5 collective mins on screen in the final episode before they were destroyed . . . All of that build up for such a quick and unsatisfactory “pay-off”.
I don’t have a problem with Arya killing the Night King — it was all just so fast. There was a brief dragon battle, then the Night King took his time to kill Bran, getting killed instantly for his trouble. The other White Walkers just stood there the whole time. Sooo satisfying [sarcasm].
3. Everything was super dark
Sure, the battle took place at night. And yes, it’s the Night King’s army. But that still doesn’t excuse the lack of lighting throughout the episode for the audience’s benefit. Did you know that it’s possible to have scenes that take place at night but that the audience can actually see what’s happening . . .? It involves skills in cinematography, which were clearly lacking.
Of course, they almost certainly shot it that way to minimize the amount of CGI required. If things are happening quickly and in the dark, they can get away with much cheaper CGI. Low-budget horror movies have been getting away with that approach for decades.
4. So. Many. Unanswered. Questions.
Who are the White Walkers exactly? Why are they after Bran? What did Bran even DO in that battle? Why is Bran such a weirdo? Why did Melisandre suddenly die? How come her fire powers only work sometimes? What’s the deal with the “Lord of Light”?
Sure, some of those questions were answered, cryptically, in earlier episodes, and (hopefully!) some will be answered in the episodes to come, but it all felt so . . . pointless in the end.
The icing on the crap-cake was that the Crave stream was terrible quality. A poor connection is much more noticeable when the scenes are really dark and it ruined the episode visually. We watch shows on Netflix in 4K all the time and never have an issue with our connection, so it was almost certainly a downgraded feed from Crave.