Remember in the early seasons of Game of Thrones when it would take full seasons or longer for characters to get from one region of Westeros to another? And it seemed like our main characters would never be united because travel was apparently as slow as a frozen Northern stream in winter? Then, when it was announced that the series would be wrapping up in Season 8 things took a hard turn for speed, and Season 7 absolutely flew by? It made for a thrilling season full of excitement, spectacle, and moving reunions … but it lacked a little on logic.
Some characters, like Littlefinger in particular, appeared to virtually teleport across Westeros, and it was noted by many fans that suddenly everyone was moving around a lot faster than before (for not being on a dragon, anyway). In an interview with EW, the series’ writers acknowledged the change in pace, but not that it was anything they felt needed an explanation.
“We made a choice to ‘just get on with it’ last season,” coexecutive producer Bryan Cogman said. “You can sit at home and do the math on how long it took to get the boats from Point A to Point B and whatever that was, yeah, that’s what it was. There’s always something everybody has got to graft on to and I guess that outrage was better than others, so I’ll take it.”
I wouldn’t say that it was outrage on the part of fans, but more like a genuine question about the show’s internal logic. Despite the even shorter final season, writer Dave Hill added that: “With all the things we were balancing to set things up for season 8, sometimes we had to speed things up within episodes. We had a lot of time cuts the vast majority of viewers didn’t catch. We could have a [title card] on there saying ‘Three Weeks Later,’ but we did not. Sometimes when moving pieces around you’re going to cheat a little bit. [For season 8], we tried to keep more of the time logic rather than jet packs.”
Showrunner Dan Weiss also commented that they don’t pay much attention to criticisms of the show on social media or elsewhere, because it’s hard to know if these are widely-shared ideas or not. I agree with him up to a certain point; I don’t think show writers or showrunners owe anything to viewers in those terms. Writing a TV show isn’t a crowd-sourced endeavor with fans (some make the choice to do that, and it’s almost always disastrous). Not everyone is going to like every choice, and so what? But again, this particular pacing commentary has more to do with the fact that the series seemed to suddenly change gears and drop the in-world travel mechanics we’ve sat with for, at that time, 6 previous seasons. And that, I believe, is a valid criticism about the series’ storytelling that will hopefully be rectified in these final episodes.
Game of Thrones Season 8 debuts on HBO Sunday, April 14th. For more Thrones, check out our recent coverage:
- HBO Confirms Elongated Runtimes for Final ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes
- ‘Game of Thrones’: George R.R Martin Hasn’t Read the Final Season Scripts
- ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Trailer Breakdown: From The Golden Company to Water Dancing
- ‘Game of Thrones’: New Details on the Grueling Production for The Battle of Winterfell