Something really bothered me as I watched the final minutes of HBO’s Game of Thrones season 8.
At first I couldn’t figure it out, even after reading all the blog posts and looking at all the YouTube videos detailing what went wrong and what didn’t add up.
I could have lived with characters zipping across the world and appearing at plot’s convenience as if supersonic jets were yesterday’s technology. I could have dealt with Tyrion going from a brilliant mind to an annoying Daenerys zealot, or Jon from badass adventurer to honorable saint.
I didn’t mind that the Mother of Dragons couldn’t see the Iron Fleet from way up in the sky, or that Euron was able to shoot down Rhaegal from 1000 feet away like he was using a laser guided railgun. What fails in books works just fine in the regular Jason Statham movie.
Even that second episode of season 8, the one where everyone complained about how boring it was to watch Beric and the Hound, Jaime and Tormund and the rest sitting in Winterfell, drinking bad wine and reminiscing just before the White Walkers finally came, I was totally into that.
No, I could have handled all those things.
Then I realized it, my biggest problem, after 8 seasons of wondering who the Night King really was, of trying to connect Bran’s words of “He wants to erase this world and I am its memory” with that scene where a Child of the Forest creates the problem using a piece of dragon glass, of wondering why after eight thousand years he decided to raise the dead and terrorize Westeros, all we got as an answer was a stab in the chest.
And that was it. No explanation, no reason, not even a hello world.
All those characters, all those back stories, and the ultimate threat nothing more than a piece of cardboard.
They might as well just swap him out with a great troublesome grizzly bear for all the effort that was put into his purpose.
So with that being said, here are 5 stories, and their ultimate villains, that HBO’s Game of Thrones should have learned from before spending 15 million dollars on season 8.
Disclaimer: by no means am I claiming that I could have finished George R. R. Martin’s masterpiece, because just like you, I eagerly await the real ending.
And warning, slight spoilers ahead for every section.
The Witcher Series – Eredin
In The Witcher Series, The Wild Hunt is a group of spectral riders who raid worlds for human slaves. While they weren’t a big deal in the books, CDPR’s video game adaptation of them is truly amazing.
During the search for his daughter Ciri, the Witcher Geralt learns that General Eredin of The Wild Hunt is after her. You see, she has this rare gift, and the spectral riders need it to accomplish their goal.
The Night King can be considered in the same way, a ghostly rider who enslaves corpses to join the Army of the Dead.
What if Daenerys was actually his target? And the slaughter of villages, the fall of Winterfell, and maybe even the siege of King’s Landing, was all just to capture her. This hidden goal would have made an interesting twist.
Attack on Titan – Beast Titan
The giant human caricatures known as Titans forced mankind to retreat behind towering walls. For all of season 1 the anime displayed them as being mindless monsters running around satisfying the most basic instinct of hunger.
That is, until the Beast Titan appears.
The first time it bellowed the word “Wait”, crumbs from my favorite snack literally fell out my mouth as I gaped in amazement, unable to believe that one of them could actually talk. And Miche, the only character unfortunate enough to hear it, felt the same way.
Imagine if during the attack on Winterfell, most of the defenders die fighting. Jon is overwhelmed and thrown to the ground, Daenerys is surrounded, and just as several White Walkers are about to scrap and bite into her, the Night King roars, “Wait!”
Silence would reign as thousands of undead stop, and I’m sure millions of viewers around the world would shift to the edge of their seats to hear what would be said next.
Gotrek and Felix: Beastslayer – Arek Daemonclaw
In the world of Warhammer, it’s not unusual to get attacked by a monstrous chaos worshiper or two. But on their way back from a quest into the Chaos Waste, Felix notices from his airship that the animal-headed creatures were journeying in groups, all in the same direction.
Now at the walled city of Praag, Felix joins the terrified citizens in disbelief as thousands and thousands of mutants gather at the towering gates. Then Arek Daemonclaw steps forward, a beast of a warlord in great black armor, and addresses the city with murderous intentions.
This is how the Night King should have addressed Winterfell, or perhaps even King’s Landing, announcing why he’s come and what he wants. Then his generals would order the attack, each in a preferred style of warfare.
The Time Machine – Uber-Morlock
Whether it’s the original novel by master sci fi author H. G. Wells, or one of the film adaptations, they all feature an adventure 800,000 years into the future, and an encounter with a society split into the peaceful Eloi and the barbaric Morlocks.
In the 2002 movie, time traveler Alexander becomes fond of a female Eloi named Mara, only to have her taken away during a routine Morlock attack. What follows is a dangerous journey into the den of the monsters, and a memorable meeting with the Uber-Morlock.
This can be compared with the White Walkers, attacking villages and raising all those killed to join the Army of the Dead. Picture during the Battle of Winterfell, the White Walkers capture Daenerys and drag her way back north beyond the wall. Jon and his team would journey to save her, into the den of the White Walkers – we know this exists because at the end of season 4 episode 4, we saw a baby taken away to some frozen place where it was transformed (and not a dead baby, a live one).
Jon would be captured, his colleagues missing or dead, then taken before the Night King in his dark, arctic hall. There he would reveal the truth about Daenerys, something more horrible than Jon’s darkest nightmares.
Pirates of the Caribbean – Davy Jones
A ghostly captain sails the seas charged with ferrying drowned souls to the beyond. Except he abandons his task, mutating himself and his crew, torturing those same lost souls with 100 years before the mast.
But his true reason for neglecting his duty: his love for the sea god Calypso.
Imagine if the Night King was really searching for the woman who escaped his icy clutches, or maybe the reincarnation of her, a tragedy from during his creation, a secret exchange during the Long Night. And those twisted circles he leaves lying around nothing more than some gothic symbol of his love.
He finds her in Daenerys, and takes her back to his icy fortress. Now it’s up to Jon and the rest to get them back. This twisted love has got to stop.
But what makes it worse – the Night King was right.
So there you have it, 5 stories HBO could have referenced to give us a conclusion deserving of their epic work.
You would notice that I focused on Daenerys, but she could easily have been replaced with Sansa, Arya, or Cersei. What do you think?
Jevon Knights is a fantasy writer and blogger who wants to entertain with amazing stories and enlighten with great content. He posts science fiction fantasy topics on his blog, Knights Writes, and invites you to download his short story Mining Gyegan’s Ring for free.