Part of the problem with wrapping up a show with as many moving parts as Game of Thrones is the need to forgo logistical cohesion just to be able to fit everything in. The show’s writers have been guilty of that a number of times this season but never more so than on last week’s episode, “Beyond the Wall”. The liberties with time and space that were taken by Benioff and Weiss in this episode—Gendry running all the way back to the wall to send a raven to Dragonstone, at which point Daenerys flies well beyond the Wall to the exact point where Jon is stranded, all in what felt like no more than a day—raised eyebrows.
Now director Alan Taylor is not only speaking out about the episode’s fuzzy timeline, but admitting that certain creative choices were made for posterity’s sake. “We were aware that timing was getting a little hazy,” Taylor told Variety. “We’ve got Gendry running back, ravens flying a certain distance, dragons having to fly back a certain distance…In terms of the emotional experience, [Jon and company] sort of spent one dark night on the island in terms of storytelling moments. We tried to hedge it a little bit with the eternal twilight up there north of The Wall.”
Taylor admits that they chose to make the amount of time Jon and his crew spent stranded on the rock intentionally ambiguous, to make the sequence of the other events more plausible. “I think that worked for some people, for other people it didn’t,” he said, likely referring to the Twitter backlash that ensued. “They seemed to be very concerned about how fast a raven can fly but there’s a thing called plausible impossibilities, which is what you try to achieve, rather than impossible plausibilities. So I think we were straining plausibility a little bit, but I hope the story’s momentum carries over some of that stuff.”
Taylor insists that he wasn’t bothered by the outcry, and thinks it’s “cool” that fans care enough to scrutinize such details. “If the show was struggling, I’d be worried about those concerns, but the show seems to be doing pretty well so it’s OK to have people with those concerns,” he added.
Taylor raises an interesting point. A show like Game of Thrones—which is to say the most popular show, maybe ever—is beyond traditional criticism. Sure, fans griped over the preposterous staging and total lack of logic in “Beyond the Wall,” but when we get a moment like Dany swooping in on her dragon to wipe out an army of zombies and save her future boyfriend’s life, who cares? That was just one breathtaking moment in an episode full of them. With just a handful of episodes left before we have to face a life without Game of Thrones, we should be willing to give its creators the benefit of the doubt. No doubt they’ve earned it.