One of the biggest criticisms the eighth season of Game of Thrones received was that the final season was rushed. However, the given the numerous deviations from the source material, not only did DB Weiss and David Benioff not rush the show, they dragged out the plot. For those who noted that the eighth season of Game of Thrones needed to be longer, they would have to answer the question of what fills the four additional episodes. In my opinion there really is nothing. Episode 2 was a filler episode before the Battle of Winterfell. Under the guise of “character development” prepubescent Arya had sex with bastard Gendry. This move then had to be undone in episode four, as a clear indicator that the moment was a pathetic instance of fan service, along with Jaime and Brienne, which the show also undid. D&D didn’t put much thought into building a plot, but they didn’t really have to. Their job was to adapt the novels into film, a challenging task. People tend to forget that the first four seasons were based on the first three books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Season five was based on half of book five, A Dance With Dragons. Book four was, with exception to Arya, passed over until season six, where D&D doubled back into A Feast For Crows in a rushed attempt to… I don’t know… fill the time and bring back old characters. D&D essentially followed books 1-3, skipped book four, went to book five, inserted non-existent and forgettable plots(Dorne), then went beyond canon, then rushed through book four, then went back beyond. If Game of Thrones only now feels rushed to you, you have not been paying attention. So what am I saying? Two arguments. One Game of Thrones cut out and deviated so much from the books that they did not have enough plot points to build to a longer series. Second, D&D, instead of writing substitute plot points, they chose to drag out a plot remaining plot but instead of building up to it with actual plot points, the filled the time in-between with fast travel, fan service in the form of plot armor and nostalgia, and contradictory story elements. So, in order to build a non rushed series, we truly have to go back and redo season five onward.
However, in correcting a major mistake in the Tyrion arc, in season four, Jaime will confess to Tyrion that his first wife Tysha was as she seemed and not a whore. However in keeping Episode 4.10 the same, we can have Lord Varys deliver the news to Tyrion. Tyrion will begin season five wondering “wherever whores go.” Sansa will not be married to Ramsay Snow/Bolton. She will end the season witnessing the genius of Petyr Baelish as he takes over the Vale as its de facto lord. Instead, the show will proceed with Fake Arya. Jon Snow still becomes Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch and makes a pact with the alive Mance Rayder and chooses to spare his son over Craster’s. The viewer will actually get to see Cersei suck at ruling as Queen Regent and burn the tower of the hand. The viewer will also get to see Daenerys suck at ruling Mereen. Ser Barristan will not be killed. The Ironborn plot will be introduced here. Euron Greyjoy will be more than just bumfinger. The Dornish plot will feature Arianne and Quentyn Martell. Jaime goes to the Riverlands, with Bronn(a deviation from the books I can support). Most importantly, Young Griff will be featured.
The hardest part of the new season five would be coming up with a sufficient “episode nine” which has a massive reputation to live up to. The Dornish plot is one instance where this could climax. The viewer could get to watch Ser Areys Oakheart die. Daenerys flying off on Drogon in the fighting pits is another good move.
Now season six would be like season four was to season three, just nonstop excitement as the viewer reaches the climaxes of the fourth and fifth books. The Siege of Mereen would persist and Ser Barristan Selmy muscles his way to clean the mess created by Daenerys. Tyrion becomes a more malicious schemer. Cersei walk of shame. Mance Rayder killed by Ramsay Bolton. Theon rescues Fake Arya. Prince Doran drops a big reveal. Baelish announces his northern ambitions to Sansa. Stannis is defeated, and not killed by Brienne. We get the Pink Letter! Jon Snow is killed.
The Siege of Mereen is lifted. Tyrion rises to power. Davos retrieves Rickon Stark (speculation). Jon becomes King in the North after the Battle of the Bastards where either the Knights of the Vale arrive before the battle begins or Sansa and Jon are not in communication so the Vale surprises in the end, much like Stannis and the Night’s Watch. Daenerys gets a Dothraki army. Cersei defeats her enemies via wildfire. Young Griff and the Dornish form an alliance (speculation). Young Griff arrives in the Stormlands makes an alliance with the Dornish.
Daenerys arrives to Westeros. Battle of Winterfell, with actual military tactics applied. Jon Snow and Daenerys love story. One of the major claimants falls.
Jon Snow vs Daenerys vs Cersei vs Young Griff (speculation) vs Euron (less one of these.) Daenerys sours and is betrayed for love.
Game of Thrones Rushed or Gutted?
I could go further into detail, but I know not the bullet points D&D were given. Which surely would have had more than the less than two hundred words of plot above that go beyond the books. All of the sudden, if the show follows the books the series doesn’t seem rushed or dragged out. Imagine a pyramid. Each story arc is a corner on the base that all comes together at the end. What D&D did is not reset the pyramid like George RR Martin does in the books. So, the plot comes together much sooner than it would have if they had followed the books. Therefore seasons seven and eight had so much nostalgia and filler. The source material and reasonable speculation paved the path to writing a much better series that what fans saw on the back half of Game of Thrones. It’s pressingly clear, D&D never read the books or in their hubris thought they knew how to honor the source material better than the author or its more devoted fans. Game of Thrones was not so much rushed, as it was gutted, for the fans only saw the skeleton of the real story.