Opinions about the final season of Game of Thrones have dominated social media discourse for the past few weeks.
While many fans are happy that plotlines have begun to reach their long-foreshadowed, dramatic conclusions, others have complained that these last few episodes lack the careful crafting that has characterized seasons past.
Despite its large budget and enormous cast, crew, and staff, the show has been marked by sloppy mistakes and convienient storylines. Many have opined, for example, that the show too hastily abandoned the greatest threat to ever face humanity — the army of the dead.
After teasing the arrival of the Night King for 8 years, the show killed him off after a single-episode showdown. Daenerys' fall into her family "madness" also seems to have developed in the span of just two one-hour segments.
It turns out Game of Thrones creators, perhaps anticipating fan complaints, got out early to justify the short length of the eighth season. In an April 2019 interview with Entertainment Weekly, showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss admitted that HBO had offered a higher budget to produce more episodes.
But "D&D" felt that just over 70 hours would be enough to tell the final chapter of this sprawling story of political drama and mythical forces.
HBO had told the creators that nearly unlimited resources were at their disposal to make the final season whatever it needed to be, Weiss states in the interview. Both men also imply that HBO had pushed for additional episodes.
Entertainment Weekly pointed to initial reports that at least some of the final episodes of the series would be feature-length. But the showrunners opted instead for 6 shorter installments.
Weiss and Benioff genuinely seem to have wanted to do justice to the story and to satisfy fans. On screen, however, those efforts have not translated, resulting in a final season that seems truncated. In its details and its arcs, season 8 seems rushed. A review of this April interview shows that wasn't necessary.
When asked what they thought of season 8 at that time, Weiss responded, that the show could be a "mess." You can read the entire interview with Entertainment Weekly here.
The series finale of Game of Thrones airs on Sunday, May 19th. There is still time for some dangling plotlines to come together in a dramatic ending.
To summarize, HBO had offered a larger budget to produce more episodes in the final season of Game of Thrones. Showrunners turned down this offer.