Re: Game of Thrones talk: I agree with Tim that the abstract plot beats of the final season - the stuff that clearly came from GRRM’s outline and not Benioff & Weiss’s interpretation - are good in theory, and a lot of the story points people complained about most bitterly, like Daenarys’s heel turn and Bran’s coronation are pretty obviously Martin’s ideas and fitting endings to their respective character arcs. The problem is the execution was so narratively sloppy that it all works on about the level of Attack of the Clones (which also has a pretty solid plot arc on paper!).
It’s kind of obvious what happened, too: Benioff & Weiss never actually thought they’d be stuck doing the final story arc themselves while GRRM bailed from the writer’s room, and their frustration shows through in how desperately they try to force different plotlines together with ever-decreasing regard for the series’ internal consistency, just to get everything tied up and over with. We end up with a plot being manhandled into endpoints preordained by the original writer, steered by completely different writers who are suddenly in uncharted terrain with no navigator. Thus you have absurd frictions like W&B’s evident disinterest in the supernatural elements of the story versus those elements’ importance in the story’s climax as envisioned by Martin - resulting in fragmented anticlimaxes for multiple crucial plotlines on the show as W&B try to split the difference. The last season and a half had the ingredients to be good, but I would absolutely not call them “good” - and it’s entirely the showrunners’ fault, because they could have easily extended the show or passed the torch to someone who was willing to do so, and they didn’t.
Some of the specific complaints about the last season that went viral on social media may be misguided, but I don’t think the negativity was overblown at all. As someone who’d been following the show enthusiastically for several years, my expectations had already fallen low after the seventh season, and the second the episode “The Long Night” ended - before I went to check anyone else’s response on social media - I was already done. I went into the three remaining episodes with zero emotional investment left, only a morbid curiosity to see where the hell they were taking the thing and how much more of a mess it could become. I don’t doubt for one second that many, many other people had the same experience whether they vocalized it online or not. That ain’t success.
Anyway, I like to pronounce the author’s name “George ‘Arrrrrgh’ Martin”. Like a pirate. But also like the sound of someone dying.