The problem most addicts face — the biggest roadblock to their recovery — is admitting they have a problem in the first place. Usually, the debilitating reality of dependence hits home only when you “hit bottom”, after time, money and human interaction have all suffered as a result of your obsession. The millions around the world — addicts masquerading as “fans” — who watched with anticipation the eight-year culmination of Game of Thrones on Monday, must thank the show’s creators for facilitating their recovery. Such was the bottom that the world’s most popular TV show achieved in its final season that many are considering giving up visual entertainment all together.
David Benioff and D B Weiss, the show’s creators, have been “off-book” for the last couple of years — GOT has outpaced its source material, the series of novels by George R R Martin. In that time, the TV show which thrived on inverting the themes of traditional fantasy stories by killing of heroes and introducing mundane adult themes such as incest, excrement and the gore that accompanies violence, seemed to slip into typical story-telling clichés and the most insipid crutch of all, VFX. But even the biggest small-screen budget in history seems unable to compensate for the lack of the most basic, and ineffable, of skills — story-telling.
But perhaps fans, aware that they have had their last “hit” of dragons and direwolves, are being too unkind to Benioff and Weiss. After all, time was that an over-the-top battle scene would be more than enough to give them their fix. And maybe part of the reason that GOT’s final season does not shock and awe is because the real-life games of thrones, from India, to the US, from Brexit to Ukraine, holds far more viciousness, comedy, high-mindedness and tragedy than a mere TV show can provide.