Game of Thrones has dominated discussions around the world for the last few weeks, and as the final episode draws ever closer, the fans rabid fan base is now attacking its writers for ruining the eighth and final season.
With every episode of this season, the GoT fanbase has become increasingly critical of writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, who appear to be rushing the show to its conclusion.
Critics and diehard fans alike have stated that the slow and meticulous character build-ups for the shows large cast has been thrown out the window – with many acting very out of character and coming to an abrupt or confusing end.
There are several reasons why the fanbase has been left disappointed. As arguably the most universally popular and beloved television show of all time, there was an incredibly lofted expectation for the show’s final few episodes. And with a two-year build-up, those expectations only grew larger.
Such is the disdain for the current season, that a petition has been submitted to HBO to have the whole season re-done with new writers. Whether this is just a Star Wars’ fanbase-esque childish response of self-entitlement (look at the initial response to The Last Jedi) or a genuine movement, the world waits to see. However, the current petition has over 282,000 votes – and rising fast.
So, following this week’s petition and global outrage at the final season of Game of Thrones – what can your business learn from this?
No matter how popular you, your business or your products and services are – you live and die by your reputation.
Brands are built over years of hard work and delivering on your USP, products and services – however, brands can be destroyed in an instant.
Game of Thrones has become the most popular show on television around the world because of its incredible reputation for storylines and character building, with huge moments that can be tracked back through years of build-up. And this season, all the predictions and fan theories have been meaningless (for the most part), as characters and storylines have come to bizarre endings with little-to-no build-up.
Delivering on promises and meeting expectation is what the show has done for the last seven seasons – often exceeding both – and that is why it has seen such an explosion in popularity.
Lesson: Meet brand expectations
A large part of building a brand is having the perfect product for your market.
Game of Thrones ticks a lot of boxes for television series fans – drama, fantasy, debauchery, violence, shocks, controversy and a lot of excitement. Away from the great character development or carefully laid out storylines, it has something to entertain everyone.
However, this has taken almost a decade to build up this reputation – longer if include the books that preceded the show.
But, there was a difference in how the last two seasons were produced, marketed and delivered. Each series beforehand was ten episodes that were 50 minutes long. Last season had seven episodes, but drew in the largest average viewers of all time.
Season eight has had 50-minute episodes and movie-length episodes – and only six of them. And as discussed above, these have still come across very rushed with several plot holes – which has never happened before.
It has been well documented that the writers have been wanting to finish GoT for some time now and move onto different projects, and so this has been one of the accusations thrown at them for this season.
This apparent rush has damaged their reputation, despite seven seasons of almost faultless television.
Lesson: Don’t rush bringing a product to market
One of those new projects for David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is the next Star Wars trilogy.
Obviously, it is a massive coup to be given the responsibility for carrying on the legacy of Star Wars, and the two are keen to get started.
One of the criticisms for the last two seasons (and especially season eight), was that the storylines involved needed at least another whole season to reach a satisfying and GoT-style conclusion.
But with Disney’s announcement that first instalment of the next Star Wars trilogy will be hitting cinemas in 2022, there would have been an awkward crossover between the two projects.
Part of the petition is to have new writers involved to re-do the final season – something that would have potentially given all parties involved what they wanted.
Lesson: Don’t be afraid to delegate