"At one time, Game of Thrones trafficked in surprise and spectacle," says Travis M. Andrews. "Truly unexpected moments such as the Red Wedding or jaw-dropping productions such as the Battle of the Bastards kept fans hanging around digital (and, who knows, maybe even actual) water coolers long into the week after the eventful episodes. But those days seem to be over. With Season 8, it’s the criticism of an episode, and the criticisms of those criticisms that keep people talking." He adds: "The critics of the critics think everyone needs to just chill out and enjoy the ride. This Sisyphean debate just keeps going and going. All of which means there’s constant conversation around the show. So much so that all this criticism has even begun to be memefied."
Is Game of Thrones supposed to be a nihilistic story?: George R.R. Martin has said the ending would be bittersweet. "But after Daenerys’s fiery rampage Sunday night, with just one episode remaining to resolve that new problem, position Westeros for its future, and close every remaining character’s arc, Game of Thrones the television show has a lot of work to do if it wants to avoid an unhappy ending," says Zach Kram. "As is, considering the whole of Season 8 thus far and the ultimate message it suggests, the show seems to espouse a nihilistic worldview. Is that how it wants to end?"