OPINION: Falling out of love is painful.
Watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones, I felt a sense of creeping unease that's become sadly familiar since season seven.
Do I actually like this?
To be honest, things haven't been great between me and GoT for a while. I ignored the warning signs as best I could but my rose tinted glasses have finally cracked.
Suspending my disbelief, the foundation of enjoying fantasy, is now a constant struggle.
Spoiler alert: This article discusses content from episodes up to and including S08E04.
Even the objectively spectacular Battle of Winterfell makes less sense the more I think about it. Why was the defence plan so obviously terrible? How did only a handful of blatantly expendable characters die?
Episode four was worse.
Why did Jon just walk away from Ghost, his best friend, without so much as a 'good boy' as goodbye? How did a whole fleet of pirate ships miraculously hide from two dragons in flight?
Why does the world map of Westeros make no sense?
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I remember when a character getting from one side of the Seven Kingdoms to the other took most of a season. Back then, the world of GoT felt immense and mysterious. Now Theon can apparently teleport across it just in time to resolve his plotline and die heroically.
Distance has lost all meaning and the Seven Kingdoms became a lot smaller and a lot duller as a result. The whole show feels increasingly bloated, aimless and predictable.
And yes, I can hear shouting at the screen already.
'For god's sake, it's a show about sex, dragons and a sexy dragon lady, stop over-thinking it!'
But I say that's an insult to how good GoT used to be.
I love fantasy. I've spent an embarrassing amount of time writing needlessly complex character backstories for Dungeons and Dragons campaigns.
I love fantasy despite so much fantasy being hot garbage.
GoT was different. When it became the biggest show on Earth, it felt like validation for all the times someone rolled their eyes when I told them my favourite animals didn't technically exist.
The early seasons showed us a world of magic with real stakes, that felt lived in, where the good guys lost and no one was safe. It was driven by quiet moments full of sharp writing and strong characters.
Season eight has been the opposite of everything I loved about season one. An immense, hollow spectacle with no real sense of jeopardy but an overwhelming sense of writers struggling to pull things together before the end.
After nearly a decade of build-up, we're getting a climax which is less Red Wedding and more Beige Funeral.
These days when GoT shocks us, it's for all the wrong reasons.
Finn Hogan is the host of NerdsPLUS, Newshub's pop-culture discussion podcast.