I did not hate the latest “Game of Thrones” episode. I actually liked it, thought it was effective, and thought it made sense. This recap from Vulture describes the way I feel about it pretty accurately.
Of course, having browsed the web since the penultimate episode aired, I now think that I am in the minority opinion. People are so angry about what is going on in this season that I am quite taken aback. I suppose a lot of these complainers have not seen “Lost” or “Battlestar Galactica”, and have no idea how a top-tier series can really go off the rails at the end.
I think that I have been telling myself the ending will be disappointing for so long now that I am not even disappointed by whatever weaknesses and expectation shortfalls I see in it. My theory about all stories is that they are most exciting when they are beginning. Great epic stories are always beginning and beginning and beginning. The world of the story keeps expanding, as do all the life and possibilities within it. At some point, though, the story has to end, and the world built for it starts to contract. This is always disappointing. Things don’t happen that you want to happen. Narrative threads end, or simply get dropped. Questions get answered (and questions are always more interesting than answers) or, maybe, not answered. Characters don’t always develop or act in ways that you have imagined them. The author’s vision of the endgame may not align yours. When the story ends, it contracts down to a single point, and what is left may not be what you want. Even if it is, you are sad to leave your favorite characters and story ideas behind.
To sum up, there are many reasons why endings are disappointing, and there is almost nothing that can be done to help that in certain genres. “Game of Thrones” has been in this trap for a while now, and has thus far avoided the worst of all television series fates, for me at least: I still want to watch the ending and find out what happens.