Has ‘Game of Thrones’ Reduced in Quality?

A coffee cup found in frame in episode 4 of GOT's eighth season.
photo courtesy: The Jakarta Post

    With its epic return to television with another season, “Game of Thrones” has been the most popular show in the world; maybe even the most popular thing on Twitter or the internet overall.

    Because of its notoriety, a few mistakes they have recently made in the airing of the show have been put on blast by the media.

    Has all of the popularity and the ever-growing fan base made them believe they can do no wrong? It seems that with the inevitable success of each new coming episode, the creators of “Game of Thrones” have forgotten to take the general precautions that every TV show should.

    On April 28, HBO released the longest episode of “Game of Thrones” to date, titled “The Long Night.” While it was airing, many fans got on social media to complain about how darkly lit the episode was and that it was almost impossible to see what was going on.

    Instead of choosing to take the criticism and move on, “Game of Thrones” cinematographer Fabian Wagner stood his ground and defended the show.

    In an interview with Wired, Wagner suggested that the show was not to blame for the dim lighting, but rather the viewers’ televisions. “A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly,” he said. “A lot of people also, unfortunately, watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that anyway.”

    Either Wagner assumed that everyone else is rich and owns a 70-inch HD plasma screen TV like he does, or he was just deflecting. Either way, he needs to learn to make fun of himself every once in a while, even if he calls the shots for the biggest show on Earth.

    Most people would assume that the “Game of Thrones” team would learn from their mistake and be more cautious moving forward, but only one week later, there was an even bigger slip-up.

    In the May 5 episode, “The Last of the Starks,” some fans noticed something strange in one of the beginning scenes. While the characters are eating, there is a Starbucks coffee cup in shot that the producers forgot to get rid of before shooting the scene.

    Not only is this an obvious mistake, but also a major break in continuity; especially in a fictional show that has millions of dedicated fans around the world. The consistency of the characters and setting of the show was interrupted, and the immersion into the world of Westeros was less magical.

    For a show that boasts such an immersive world, the producers need to realize that the little things matter, and to be more cautious when creating their sets. I’ve seen countless smaller shows that are more aware of their sets, simply because they care.

    When asked about the coffee cup fiasco, HBO initially made a statement saying that it’s not uncommon for items to be misplaced on set and end up in the final cut of a movie or TV show. They then brought some self-deprecating humor in a press release when they said: “The latte that appeared in the episode was a mistake. Daenerys had ordered an herbal tea.”

    It seemed as though HBO had finally learned their lesson, and that they could finish out the final season without any more problems; but that’s when the unthinkable happened.

    A third continuity error appeared in the season finale of the show.

    That’s right; in the final episode of the eight-season franchise, fans spotted not one, but two plastic water bottles at King’s Landing. One appeared behind the leg of Samwell Tarly, and the other appeared moments later behind the leg of Ser Davos Seaworth.

    At this point, fans were used to misplaced objects showing up in the show, and weren’t too shocked to see the plastic bottles. However, many fans still took to Twitter to make jokes. One fan sarcastically tweeted: “I bet they hid coffee cups and water bottles in every episode. We just have to find them.”

    Whether HBO believes that all publicity is good publicity, or that the attention drawn from these slip-ups were good or bad, they were all too careless in the creation process of the show. This was shocking to me, considering that this was the third time in one season where they slipped up.

    I believe the reason for this laziness is the fact that each episode will draw millions of viewers despite any continuity errors. However, “Game of Thrones” will still go down in history as one of the most popular television series of all time, despite the rough patch it went through in its final season.

Column by: Davis Ihde

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