Game of Thrones fans didn’t want the show to end.
If we were be honest with ourselves and reality didn’t interfere, we would all be happier with a couple extra seasons. It would allow more time with the characters we loved, to create the changes we wanted to see, to spend more time in the places we enjoyed.
Because an ending isn’t “sticking the landing”, it’s more like a good friend who we’ll never hear from again.
Is it the journey or the destination? Well, that’s difficult to explain. Game of Thrones isn’t particularly unique in this case of expectations. It’s simply the biggest, most popular story to deal with it so far. Storytelling is made up of two parties: the production and the audience. Through both, a strange and hypnotic event occurs that warps reality around the audience.
A good horror movie scare us, because it could be real…at least for ninety minutes or so. A good drama allows us to connect with characters that feel as real as you or me. In that reality distortion field, anything can happen. That’s what makes storytelling so fun! We don’t really know what will happen next. So in this ephemeral period between beginning and end, we’re living unlimited potential.
It’s also why book fans of Game of Thrones still have that spark, because the books haven’t finished yet. All the theories and expectations show fans had are gone. The unlimited potential replaced with the reality of the situation: a story can only be one thing and not many.
To put this in perspective, this is also what writers have to deal with. In our heads, our characters are everything. Funny, sarcastic, sweet, ruthless. In our heads, we don’t have to worry about a serious moment being too close to a slapstick moment. It can exist in an imaginative soup.
In a way, the story really is everything for everyone.
What usually tends to hit new writers is when the reality of writing occurs. A sentence isn’t unlimited possibilities, but one very set possibility. In other words, it’s easier to describe as killing off possibilities per word than creating new ones.
It’s why the product being worked on isn’t “What was in my head”, because what was in our heads doesn’t have to comply with reality.
That’s what happened to Game of Thrones this season. What was in our heads had to confront with reality, and reality always wins.
There is good news for the creatives out there. Just because Game of Thrones wasn’t exactly what you wanted, the show still gave you the idea of what you wanted. Those creatives are going to take what they always felt Daenerys was to them, or Jon Snow, or Arya, or even Ned Stark, and make something new. Will it be better or worse? It’ll be different.
And that’s why art gives birth to more art. For some out there, the feeling they had during these eight years will live on. It will go under another name, with different characters, in a new setting. The feeling doesn’t have to end unless we want it to. With always the knowledge that at some point, all good things must end.