The creative powers behind Game of Thrones have heard the criticisms about Season 7's pacing, and they have a response. Last season, critics took aim on social media and elsewhere, regarding the penultimate installment's timeline. The criticism arguably reached its crescendo with the penultimate episode of the season – "Beyond the Wall."
We made a choice to ‘just get on with it’ last season. You can sit at home and do the math on how long it took to get the boats from Point A to Point B and whatever that was, yeah, that’s what it was. There’s always something everybody has got to graft on to and I guess that outrage was better than others, so I’ll take it.
The choice to "get on with it" as Bryan Cogman mentioned to EW was much appreciated by some fans of the long-running series, including this one. As fun as road trip movies are, it is nice to arrive at a destination or two and quickly. Game of Thrones' pace has been more of an issue for me in the past, so I actually felt it was nice to have things move a little more swiftly.
Would it have been nice to spare a minute or two for Jon Snow and Ser Davos to have chatted on their way to Dragonstone? Yes. Still, As entertaining as it is to have characters talk as they make their to way places, it just didn't fit the number of episodes or the tone the creative team was working with in Season 7, at least per Bryan Cogman's comments.
Still, for many fans, there will always be a bit of yearning for what might have been. Yet, now it is time to focus on what is about to hit us in Game of Thrones' final season.
Many concerned about pacing and accurate timelines have to be wondering: Will Season 8 follow the pace set by its predecessor? Game of Thrones' writer Dave Hill also said:
You obviously don’t want any criticism of any kind. But with all the things we were balancing to set things up for season 8, sometimes we had to speed things up within episodes. We had a lot of time cuts the vast majority of viewers didn’t catch. We could have a [title card] on there saying ‘Three Weeks Later,’ but we did not. Sometimes when moving pieces around you’re going to cheat a little bit. [For Season 8], we tried to keep more of the time logic rather than jet packs.
That sounds assuring. Skipping through time is a necessity when you are working with a massive production like Game of Thrones. For example, the Night King and his army are not the fastest walkers. Game of Thrones has to stay true to this walking pace while moving the action along. That has to be a tough act to balance.
For those who do not recall, the gist of the criticism surrounding “Beyond the Wall" mainly stemmed from Daenerys being able to receive Gendry’s message via raven and arrive by dragon before it was too late North of the Wall.
The idea of using a title card to communicate the passage of time is an interesting one. If memory serves, Game of Thrones has never used one, so it would have been a strange turn of events, even if it might have been helpful for some viewers. Which brings up another question: How long of a time period will Season 8 span, exactly?
Heading into the final season, Cersei is pregnant, which should provide some context for time. When Season 7 wrapped, it was unclear how far into her pregnancy she was. Images from Season 8 suggest that she is not much further along. Hence, Season 8 should pick up not too much longer after Season 7 ended.
With only six episodes remaining and some of those episodes being shorter than expected, it has to be said that Game of Thrones will need to move the pace along frenetically in Season 8 to tell the rest of the story. Hopefully, the show will not have to sacrifice too much character-driven nuance to unravel its final chapter.
Find out how the show paces itself when the final season of Game of Thrones premieres. Season 8 starts Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.