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The script for the Game Of Thrones finale is somehow worse than the episode

Photo: Helen Sloan (HBO)

We’ve had roughly two months to chew on the divisive final season of Game Of Thrones, and whether it’s dulled or brightened in your mind is your own damn business. If you’re still grappling with what some have called a pat, irreverent, and wildly disappointing finale, though, it might help to read its script, which popped up online after writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss received an Emmy nomination for it. That’s exactly what The Ringer’s Riley McAtee did, and, folks, his takeaways aren’t going to turn any frowns upside down.

McAtee, a devout fan of the series, ends up praising the final product for elevating a script that’s worse on page than it was in practice. Overall, he characterizes the prose as being filled with “back-patting, jokes that don’t really work, gaps in logic, a complete disregard for mythology, and stray references to the Rolling Stones”—if you’re curious, stage directions reference “Her Satanic Majesty’s Request,” a nod to the band’s 1967 album, Their Satanic Majesty’s Request.

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It’s the disregard for mythology that really stings, though, with the other observations more or less stemming from that grievance. The jokes, for example, are inoffensive—there’s a lame bit about Jon and Sansa having “failed geography”—but point to a general disregard for the immersive qualities of the world. “[G]iven the rushed feeling to the rest of seasons 7 and 8, these types of remarks come across as lazy and flippant,” McAtee writes. “Such as, I don’t know, a coffee cup finding its way into one of the last episodes of the series—it’s totally forgivable in a vacuum, but also unfortunately reflective of the series’ deeper flaws.”

Also representative of the season’s overall flaws? Confirmation that Benioff and Weiss didn’t bother, even in the text within the text, to consider why, say, Sam, who both stole from the Citadel and took a wife, is now a grand maester. Or just how all-knowing Bran really is—no one asks about it, apparently, because it’s “hard to argue with omniscience,” a phase McAtee describes as “the exact type of thing you write when you just want to move along and not think too hard about something.” Oh, and the new, nameless Prince Of Dorne is just as much a blank slate here as he was onscreen, as are the other lords in attendance during the climax. They’re distinguished only by the fact that they have no dialogue. This might all be fine for most shows, but Game Of Thrones is a series that spent a decade cultivating its bloodlines, cultures, and mythologies.

One thing the script does confirm, though? Drogon is just dumb.

Read The Ringer’s full breakdown here.

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About the author

Randall Colburn

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.