GOT ended this week and so did The Big Bang Theory. But where people are applauding the ending of the latter, the ending of GOT (the entire season for some) is facing a huge criticism everywhere. Even the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes didn’t give them some slack and the writers, who are responsible for the transition of this epic series on-screen, are being termed as Dumb and Dumber on many social network sites.
So where did they go wrong? And what did TBBT do that the other shows failed or opted not to go with?
Have you seen the season finale of TBBT? A show where an eccentric but a good-hearted scientist, Sheldon, discovered how fortunate he was all along to have a set of friends who made his life worthwhile. It was a discovery for him, as since the pilot it was his weakness. My spot, my agreement, debilitating his co-workers and associates and friends and so on.
So, when in the final episode, we saw him keeping his eccentricity aside, and giving credits for the greatest achievement of his life to others, it FELT complete.
The creators of TBBT made sure that not only Sheldon but every character (probably except for RAJ) have a proper character arc. And it felt satisfying.
However, when we talk about GOT, HIMYM or CHUCK, the audience felt betrayed or a bit disappointed. HIMYM and Chuck tried to restore that with alternative endings. Let’s talk about that because that has the answer to why a lot of people (probably more than a million who even signed a petition for a remake of season 8) felt cheated.
If you look closely at the narratives of Chuck and HIMYM, the creators made us invest our emotions in the relationship between Chuck and Sara, and the life of Ted Mosby, respectively. We felt the pangs when Sara didn’t recognize Chuck or when Ted lost the mother. But what felt disappointing was that the closure of the character arc never arrived; at least it felt so.
How come Sara and Chuck go their separate ways, or how come Ted end-up with Robin (after all that character development) again?
And that’s what their alternative endings answered and weren’t they much better? Yeah, they felt so. But were they?
I feel their original endings were based more on real life whereas the alternative ones were more based on the flow of narrative which was meant to progress in a particular manner.
Good Stories are stories that keep us engaged till the end and sometimes answer our deepest questions, or satisfy our darkest fantasies or paints the life as we dream of. And we do attach meaning to everything and every character.
In epic tales like GOT, or LOTR or Harry Potter, when a subversion or twist appears (when the story twists unpredictably), it hurts but that’s what progresses the story further. You wouldn’t like if the hero gets his goal in the first chapter without any struggle or things going wrong. He won’t be your hero then.
But do that happen in real life, too? Do we all have a happy journey or ending? Do we always do what we are meant to do? Do good triumphs evil all the time? You know the answer.
In GOT season 8, we felt cheated because the characters we invested our emotions in, weren’t treated properly. Their character development seemed to be rushed or ignored in front of the foreshadowing done, and it just didn’t feel right. It could have been a hell of a subversion, but that close to the end, it cost the audience a closure. Something, which as a viewer, we desperately seek.
Let it be the death of Night King or Dany, or the betrayal by the most trusted and loved person on the show, or the falling of Tyrion from being the cleverest to a mere puppet of his emotions (until the last episode). It didn’t feel right or at the very least, rushed. But ain’t that the human part of them? (except the night king’s demise…)
I’m not justifying the ending in any manner (even I felt bad when Dany got killed or Jon got sentenced) but can an alternative ending justify all the questions? It may if it keeps them true to their character or develops their character for the end they already have shown, but even if it showed that after living their whole lives as Jon and Dany, they were humans who had flaws and who made the decisions they made, I think it’s Ok.
Could it be better? Maybe. But now as it’s done, I don’t think any remake would give its viewers the closure they seek. Maybe the remaining books would, but could we blame GRR Martin for not doing it in a year or so?
We can, but then again he’s a human. It would be wonderful if he does, but even if he delays, what choice do we have. It’s his story, after all!