The first three episodes of the final season of Game of Thrones are out. Things have taken a turn for the worse.
The show has become a slick self-referential dirge. The show creators are taking themselves much, much too seriously.
Game of Thrones™ loves Game of Thrones and they feel the weight of expressing the pristine manner in which they are executing their craft. Damn, they are good at their jobs!
First we get the big homecoming scene. Lots of poignant moments. Then we get the battle prep. More poignant scenes. Then the battle itself. More poignancy. I'm all poignanted out.
On and on and on. It feels like the whole thing is just going through the motions. Lots of Fire and Fury. And yes HBO, we know you have a Really Big Button.
Where's the George R.R. Martin in this whole deal? This is his story, right? Or maybe it was. My guess is that's the problem. This isn't a George R.R. Martin story any more. It's an HBO story.
What we are seeing is the HBO team's stewardship of a work of genius. Except their genius is at the opposite end of the spectrum where Martin made his mark.
I remember the moment Game of Thrones came into my life. I saw a tweet from a friend (or maybe a FB post back when I was still doing FB) showing one of his kids lounging at home reading one of the books. My friend's comment was that he'd just finished re-reading the series. He was clear in his opinion that Game of Thrones was one of the very best fantasy reads ever.
I was struck and sought out the books. That summer I powered through the entire cannon. My friend was right. Boy, was he right!
Remember this song? Brilliant!
The first few seasons of the HBO show were a treat, like the Harry Potter movies for adults. But things got off track. The write faster song didn't work and the final books never appeared. The later seasons of the show took forever to reach air.
And so here we are. HBO is making tons of money. The World Entertainment Press™ has grist for a huge amount of well-paid hype. And the legion fans are ready audience.
It's all going like clockwork, if a tad later than it would have been best.
But it's not the same. Not even close. The original Game of Thrones has gone missing.
I'm still waiting for some of the old sparks to fly, but have begun to lower my expectations. We'll see.
Sometimes you feel like a duck. Sometimes you don't.