… Dany off, fade to black, and viewers are left to imagine the endings for all the other characters. Anything the rest of us might have imagined would be better than the ridiculous mess they gave us in my opinion.
I agree with you about the idea of Drogon carrying off Daenerys could have been a good ending. It definitely works as a season finale and sounds like you found the end of Daenerys’ and Jon’s character arc to be consistent with everything they did for the first six seasons.
As someone who has tried to write scripts, and studied the craft, I stand by my premise: if the audience could have skipped everything from the end of Season 7 Episode 1 until Season 8 Episode 6, you would have a completely different appreciation of the series finale.
But it’s extremely difficult to unsee that which we’ve seen.
Of course the ending wasn’t perfect, nor satisfy every fan. But it was consistent with the literary foundation built in the first five novels and for most of the first six seasons. And I deducted points from my score where the characters or the story was not consistent with that foundation.
With regard to a “metric ton of explaining away,” I just provided all the data points that the vast majority of people either never noticed, or forgot. The statement that “you don’t buy it” makes you sound more like Byron Scott than Daryl Morey when it comes to putting value in analytics.
If we’ve going to talk about absurdities, I could write a few thousand words on the absurdities in “The Battle of the Bastards,” one of the greatest episodes in the history of television, and boasting a 9.9 rating on IMDb.com. But the foundation of all fiction, and especially fantasy, is based on some form of absurdity. That’s why some long dead writer coined the phrase “suspension of disbelief.”
If you can accept the idea that a million arrows fall on the field of battle and Jon Snow kneels down, covers his head but remains untouched, that hundred of cavalrymen charge in his direction, yet is never trampled, and that he is trapped under a mass of humans trying to escape the tightening circle of enemy spear men without suffocating, then you are simply choosing to embrace one set of absurdities while objecting to another.
The problem with an epic work of this scale is the need to tie up so many loose ends. The last Lord of the Rings movie felt like it had four different endings and went on 30 minutes too long. Writers can write lengthy epilogues, but it’s not easy to do in film.
In the Hero’s Journey, a universally accepted part of literary scholarship, every story has to contain a return to the world after the adventure has been completed. The characters have been transformed, and are confronted by the fact that they can never truly feel normal again, or return to life the way it was before the adventure started.
We need that scene at the end of “Return of the Jedi” where Luke looks a little sad and moves away to the edge of the celebration. He sees the spirit images of Obi Wan, Yodi and his father, and then is pulled back to the party by Han and Leia, symbolizing he is again in the world, but no longer of it.
That’s why the Stark’s final farewell is so average. It’s a final tip of the hat to fan service, making the audience feel good to say goodbye to our favorite characters one last time and know they’ve will go on to other adventures. (Ghost is alive!)
That’s why I gave the final ending such minimal importance. You could argue that it was only worth 3 points in comparison with the rest of the episode, and I wouldn’t disagree, but then I would have to grade it in decimal points.
My reaction to your final statement, is it’s the sports equivalent of a guy slugging down beers at the local tavern and screaming at his team during the NBA playoffs “even I could have made that free throw!” It’s your imagination. It’s your frustration. And it’s your opinion.
And it might even be possible, even if the odds might be better that the sky is blue because we live inside the eye of a blue-eyed giant named “Macumber.”