I know I promised to begin moving away from Game of Thrones content, and I will, I promise. But the Emmy-nominated*** script for the final episode was released publicly, and there are some things to unpack. I don’t have too-too much to say about it, but there are some definite
highlights low-points I want to hit.
First and foremost, it’s worth saying that the stage direction portion of the script only matters to the audience as far as what it produces from its actors. We watch the show, not the script. What’s more important to us – and likely to the Emmy voters, as well – are the dialogue between characters and the general plot points. THAT being said, what we see with the stage direction seems to indicate a much bigger problem of showrunner apathy.
I left a job I didn’t particularly love earlier this year. During my last days there, I didn’t focus on secondary responsibilities that weren’t essential to my job or essential to the company. I get the impulse to goof around and celebrate when leaving a job, which makes me initially sympathetic to Game of Thrones showrunners David & Dan. But while I was still there, I was still giving my all with my main duties, because I knew I couldn’t just suddenly give up. Evidently, the same was not true for D&D. A lot of the stage direction they give in this episode seems to indicate that these two were having perhaps a bit too much fun with this last episode – and not respecting it for the history that it
would could be.
Jon and Sansa failed Geography
I’m not going back north.
[News to Jon and Sansa both.]
Where are you going?
What’s west of Westeros?
[Jon and Sansa look at each other. They both failed geography.]
This one actually made me laugh. I don’t actually think it has any real bearing on the way the Kit Harrington and Sophie Turner acted in this scene; they don’t actually look at each other, so I think that this might have been abandoned.
“All hail, Bran the Weird.”
And Drogon? Any word?
He was last spotted flying east.
The farther away the better.
Perhaps I can find him. Do carry on
with the rest.
[That’s weird. But so is the new king.]
If George R.R. Martin had taken that line to his publisher, I expect they would have flat-out rejected his series. Why didn’t they just write something like “The Small Council exchanges looks. They’re all unnerved by Bran’s eerie behavior, but he is their king, and they try to get used to it.” Doesn’t that give the actors a little more to go on?
There was another decision about Bran that kind of had fans scratching their heads;
[As Tyrion speaks, Bran looks down at the armrest of his
wheelchair. A tiny pill bug crawls along the wood.]
Bran has no interest in ruling. And
he can’t father children.
[Bran puts his hand down and lets the bug crawl into his palm.]
I don’t want to be entirely negative, so I do feel the need to mention this business with Bran and the pillbug that everyone’s mocking. I think it makes a neat call back to this moment from Season 4, in which Tyrion picks a bug off the ground during his beautiful monologue about his handicapped cousin Orson, who killed beetles as a hobby. That monologue hits some rather philosophical notes, with Tyrion asking “Why did he do it? What was it all about?” The broader statement there is supposed to be one that questions what the human cost of the wars for the Iron Throne are, and whether they are worth it. It’s heavy stuff. (In the below video, Tyrion picks up the pillbug at 3:13 and puts it down at 4:55.)
And with that scene in mind, maybe we’d say that the pillbug going to Bran is our answer. “What was it all about?” Perhaps, Bran. The human cost pays for a good king – someone who might finally break the wheel.
Obviously, this doesn’t justify every mistake Season 8 made, but it’s a decision I can appreciate. But I understand why this didn’t make it into the episode – it’s a pretty obscure connection that most viewers wouldn’t get.
Anyway, these were just some of my bigger takeaways from this – just about every website is talking about this script, so you can hear what they have to say. Here’s the script, here’s a breakdown from Gizmodo, and here’s a breakdown from The Wrap.
I haven’t had a chance to read the scripts for the other shows – Barry, Killing Eve, and two scripts from Russian Doll among them – but if this is what Game of Thrones is putting forward, I hope the episode lose. I don’t know what exactly the script for “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” looked like, but the dialogue was better, the character relationships were foremost, and they probably didn’t have these goofy stage directions. I’ve defended some of the showrunner’s decisions from Season 8 that I thought were wrongly criticized. But these scripts are a pretty clear indication that they weren’t exactly taking screenwriting seriously. So then, why should the Emmys take them seriously?