The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is a cultural phenomenon. For the past 9 years millions of people have followed the story week-by-week, reaching a point where people got together to watch the series, and where the series acquired a life of its own outside of its Sunday night broadcast (people talking about it at work, articles being written with speculation of what might happen next, etc.).

Now that our watch has ended, there are many that are dissatisfied with its ending and its final season. For the past weeks, it has been very interesting to see why people think that. To some this was because a favorite character (Daenerys Targaryen) was “done wrong”, because major characters did not get killed in the series (a GoT tradition), because of absurd storyline changes (bad storytelling), etc. But I agree with University of North Carolina’s professor Zeynep Tufekci, who makes an argument in her article (on Scientific American, no less) that the main problem with this season is not any of them: The problem with GoT is that it went from being centered on sociological narratives (which focus on characters within larger social structures) to relying entirely on psychological ones (focusing solely on character’s inner psychological lives and personal motivations).

This is the best article I've read about what has gone wrong in Game of Thrones, but also about how this is not only about GoT but also about people in a world where we are in the constant lookout for heroes to change society. As the author argues in the linked article, sociological thinking is therefore extremely important to build narratives, to appeal to a viewership, and it is the reason why most story-telling (especially in Hollywood) simply doesn't stick.

As the author herself put it:

"In sociological storytelling, the characters have personal stories and agency, of course, but those are also greatly shaped by institutions and events around them. The incentives for characters’ behavior come noticeably from these external forces, too, and even strongly influence their inner life.

The hallmark of sociological storytelling is if it can encourage us to put ourselves in the place of any character, not just the main hero/heroine, and imagine ourselves making similar choices. “Yeah, I can see myself doing that under such circumstances” is a way into a broader, deeper understanding. It’s not just empathy."

Read: The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones