The (End)Game of Thrones: Mythical pet redemption, VFX, and finale silver linings

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The Stark children during happier times? (Back in April when the final season of <em>Game of Thrones</em> premiered in Belfast and no one else knew what was coming.)

Enlarge / The Stark children during happier times? (Back in April when the final season of Game of Thrones premiered in Belfast and no one else knew what was coming.) (credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO)

Like many workplaces, the Ars Orbital HQ has been filled with many Game of Thrones proclamations these last six weeks. With the series finale now behind us, we’ve compiled other staffers’ final thoughts below. For a full review of the series’ final season, head to Jennifer Ouellette’s thorough analysis.

Warning: It’s all spoilers from here on out.

A matter of time

HBO is well-known for canceling beloved series before their time, occasionally offering as recompense a couple of movie-length “episodes” after the fact to tie up loose ends for the diehards. If not for its mammoth budget and record-breakingly bombastic set pieces—plus, of course, the fact that the show is one of the biggest cultural touchstones of the past decade—the final season of Game of Thrones would have felt much like one of those hurried cancelled-show denouements, the kind where writers frantically check off boxes and smash round plot points into square holes.

Over much of its existence, Game of Thrones was nothing if not unhurried, occasionally to a fault. The show felt like something that was always going to be there, and conceiving of an ending to its many slow-moving plot threads and character arcs generally seemed so far away that it wasn’t worth speculating about. It was always going to be an unenviable task to bring such a mammoth work to any sort of conclusion, nevermind a universally satisfying one, and we have little reason to believe that the broad contours of the show’s ending differ drastically from George R.R. Martin’s vision. In fact, if the ending had been given time to breathe (at least a full season, but more realistically two), we might have had a successful ending (assuming some of the more galling decisions were also left on the cutting room floor).

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