It’s been almost two years since the last episode of Game of Thrones crowded our screens. For some, the pain is still too near, but with House of the Dragon set for release in August 2022, fans are tentatively preparing to dive back into Westeros.
So much of went wrong with Game of Thrones boiled down to the fact the show got ahead of the books. The creators simply ran out of source material to pull from. Showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss went from adapting some already great content, to essentially winging the conclusion to one of the most complex and in depth fantasy stories ever written. There’s a reason George R. Martin still hasn’t released the sixth novel in his series (a decade after the last installment), as he’s got a lot to wrap up.
Even with Martin giving pointers, we can perhaps be sympathetic to the showrunners making a few questionable choices, given the difficulties tying up such an expansive tale. What is unforgivable, is the inexplicable decision to butcher so many loved characters.
At first, character action and motivation drove the plot, but in the later series the opposite became true. People like Tyrion, Jon Snow and Dany started acting out of character in order to fulfill certain plot points, and it sucked…
This is what happens when show writers pay too much attention to what folks are saying on the internet. The fan-dubbed “Clegane-bowl” became the epitome of what GOT represented by the final season: spectacle over plot, every time.
Sandor “The Hound” Clegane, was a fan favourite. Starting out as a gruff and cynical henchmen to the Lannisters, he seemed ambivalent to death and violence, would follow (most) orders blindly, and didn’t appear to have any strong ideology or moral compass. But he wasn’t innately cruel.
As the show started exploring the Hound, it was obvious he had little love for his masters, and certainly didn’t share in their perverse cruelty. Sure, he killed the Butcher’s Boy in season one, but the man was complicated; his arc mirrored that of Jaime’s. Someone we had every reason to hate, but over time couldn’t help but have affection for. By the time Clegane told Joffrey to go f*ck himself, he’d won us over.
Even when the writing was going to pot in season 7, Clegane still gave us some of the best moments in the show – particularly his interactions with Tormund. But, considering the show writers loved throwing around the line “we wanted to subvert exception”, they could have come up with a different ending for the Hound, rather than the predictively obvious “Clegane-bowl”.