Before I start I'd just like to acknowledge that I love Game of Thrones. It's definitely my kind of thing ... the swords and sorcery etc.
My problem is the general reaction online to the most recent episode 8. People have been heaping praise on it as the "best episode of all the series to date" and I feel this is the perfect example of where people jump on one anothers bandwagons in order to just have relevant online content.
Whilst many hyped this episode, I was left with slightly different feelings.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy it, just not as much as it is being hyped. I think people are bigging it up because – to be honest – it came off the back of seven episodes that have truly left fans wanting. I don't expect epic swordfights in every episode or anything like that but I have found the changes to the story from the books and the writing of this series to be a little lackluster.
For instance people exaggerated the brutality of Sansa Stark's rape and announced it as "hard viewing", whereas I felt it was almost thrown in as an afterthought and didn't particularly do anything for the character or their development. This is especially true as in the books it isn't even Sansa who is raped in the first place.
What the most recent episode did do is whet peoples' appetite for what is to come. We have been waiting to see some White Walker action since the first series and it has been a long time coming. People have once again been blowing the battle of Hardhome out of proportion, announcing it as a mash-up of all the best battle scenes from movies such as Braveheart. From the comments I read on review sites, both I and others found it to be a pretty odd and confusing affair.
For instance, how did a wooden fence manage to block the initial magical mist that made everyone on the wrong side of the wall disappear? They also introduced a new female character who I really got into, only to kill her off 10 minutes later. Finally what always seems to stop the undead from going in water? These are creatures that are immune to cold and you would assume that when John Snow was 20 feet away on the last boat that they'd just pile into the water and kill him. After all they all fell off a cliff and got back up again...
In fact that final scene was edited so strangely that initially John Snow appears to have escaped by quite a margin. Only when it cut to a bird's eye view they were incredibly close to the shore, they must have only been traveling a foot-a-minute. The guy wasn't even rowing! I'd have been moving those oars like a mad man!!
I don't want this to seem like I am a Grinch. It's just after season 4 left me wanting, it has taken them another 8 episodes to get it somewhat right. I completely understand plot development and introducing new characters/bringing them together etc. But it hasn't been as well-written as earlier series, I wouldn't mind if we were given more episodes and this meant that quality was somewhat sacrificed but there is a big wait between seasons and therefore no excuse for poorly developed plots. For example I was really into the Faceless assassin storyline to begin with and I really liked his character but now I and pretty much everyone else don't care in the slightest about Arya's storyline.
Anyway I can't wait for the next episode I just wish that people wouldn't blindly make comments about things being "amazing" and the "best episode yet" purely because someone else has said it and there was a bit of time dedicated to an area previously untouched.