If you write for Game of Thrones, you have to keep track of a lot of things. The show's massive story has covered multiple continents, hundreds of characters, and dozens of interweaving plot threads that, thanks to Bran Stark's abilities in recent seasons, have also grown to include flashbacks. It's difficult to juggle all of this at the best of times, but it's made harder when you're trying to move everyone and everything into place for an epic finale.
Season 7, the show's penultimate year which aired in 2017, suffered a little in the eyes of many viewers for this reason. The show had so many big things to set up, and so few hours in which to do it, that the great distances that separated various characters seemed to evaporate in the space of moments. Characters who, last we checked, were on the other side of a continent seemed to just appear at exactly the right time, and while some of them had the benefit of flying dragons for transportation, others were just conveniently able to move quickly.
For some viewers, these time jumps meant digging into the show's timeline and map to really get a handle on exactly how all the pieces seemed to move into place so fast, while other viewers simply shrugged and enjoyed the ride and still others couldn't come to grips with doing either. Season 7 will forever be the time warp season of Game of Thrones for a lot of fans, and while the show's writers are aware of those criticisms, they're not necessarily sweating them.
“We don’t read a lot of that stuff,” co-showrunner Dan Weiss told Entertainment Weekly. “If somebody says, ‘I don’t like the way you do this,’ I have no idea what percentage of the people watching that opinion actually represents. If that opinion happens to surface louder on the internet, I still have no idea — it could be 1 percent of people that becomes an internet thing for 10 minutes and then it just seems like it’s more than 1 percent. But there’s no way of telling — nor am I interested in finding a way of finding out — how accurate those thoughts represent the broad spectrum of people watching. If you start thinking about that you’ll drive yourself crazy.”
Despite what co-executive producer Bryan Cogman called the "get on with it" approach to Season 7, though, Thrones' writers are still aware that they have a timeline to adhere to, and while last season zipped around Westeros faster than any raven ever could, we shouldn't necessarily expect the same from Season 8.
“You obviously don’t want any criticism of any kind,” writer Dave Hill said. “But with all the things we were balancing to set things up for Season 8, sometimes we had to speed things up within episodes. We had a lot of time cuts the vast majority of viewers didn’t catch. We could have a [title card] on there saying ‘Three Weeks Later,’ but we did not. Sometimes when moving pieces around you’re going to cheat a little bit. [For season 8], we tried to keep more of the time logic rather than jet packs.”
Honestly, if Season 8 reveals that Samwell Tarly has found some old book that teaches him how to make jet packs for everyone, would it really be that surprising?
Game of Thrones returns April 14 on HBO.