"Game of Thrones" is huge. We know that. But now we have the numbers to back it up and talk about its finale.
The past eight years of Game of Thrones has introduced us to must-see television. Each episode was surrounded by spoilers and audience reactions. The Red Wedding trended on Twitter for like a week. It was absolute insanity. But now the website Reel Good has aggregated all of the seasons of Game of Thrones and come up with some interesting infographics that show us which seasons were the favorites, which got the best ratings, and which ones the audience didn't embrace.
Ratings of Thrones
The first entry here is very telling. Audiences generally embraced the first seven seasons of Game of Thrones. There were slight dropoffs when the books ceased being the sole source material in seasons five and six, but things maintained the course until season eight. Many have complained about the compressed episodes in the last two seasons. There were lots of plant and payoff but done in a way that felt rushed.
The audience generally revolted against that - it had grown accustomed to the slow burn, and getting rapid-fire events with time jumps definitely frustrated even the most devoted fans.
I liked the season overall and think it had some of my favorite moments of the series. Still, I can reconcile the backlash given the way the show set itself up moving forward.
When it comes to the critics, you can't expect them to be as reactionary as fans, or to stuff the ballot box when angry. This critic's score more traditionally reflects what I feel is the actual quality of the show overall.
Let's diagram GoT on an even more analytical level; by episode. This breakdown is an excellent view of the way fans felt week to week for the past eight years. You can see specific events like the Red Wedding got big fanfare, but some of Ramsay Bolton's actions were reviled and probably gave season five a lower rating than others.
When you get to seven and eight things held steady until the big Dany reveals.
It's telling that 4 of the 5 worst rated episodes were in season eight. And the reaction to the episode when Sansa was raped was (in my opinion) rightfully questioned. Still, even at each episode's lowest rating, it's still about a 50/50 audience split with who enjoyed it.
Even more interesting is how the critics and audience generally line up exactly the same here.
Looking at this individually again really showcases critics and audiences aligning at the individual episode level.
I love looking back at the series as a whole and seeing which episodes were lauded with 100%. Season one, two, and three lead the way there. As the show went deeper, it got more divisive.
Finally, let's track the outliers here. Seasons one, two, and three all had huge moments at the end of them. Ned' beheading, Khal dying, and the aforementioned Red Wedding. While Game of Thrones made its living on a slow pace that made us learn and appreciate the intricate workings of Westeros, it seems like the show built its Rotten Tomatoes ratings on these epic moments that ingratiated audiences to George R.R. Martin's anti-happy endings.
Whatever the case, GoT became one of the biggest shows ever. And as George R.R. Martin said, the debate will rage online for years to come.
What's next? Check out some Game of Thrones goofs!
Most of us remember the now-infamous coffee cup that appeared in "The Battle of Winterfell," but now it's time for the sequel—water bottles in King's Landing. Spoilers ahead for the Game of Thrones series finale.
Click the link to learn more!