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What is the velocity of a Valerian dragon?
If you've been getting whiplash from the breakneck pace of Game of Thrones Season 7, you're definitely not alone.
Major character reunions, epic battle scenes and long-awaited reveals seem to be dropping in every 10 minutes this year, but that's what happens when you reach the climax of a series at the same time you drastically reduce your episode orders.
This issue was most apparent during the recent quest to kidnap a wight, in "Beyond the Wall."
Logically, a lot of traveling happened during a short period of time, both in airtime and in Westerosi time. Fans were quick to call out the rather ridiculous pacing of the episode (despite hosting the first ever dragon vs. wights fight scene), and they're not the only ones that found it far fetched.
The episode's director, Alan Taylor, admitted that the logistics seemed like a stretch to him too.
"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... I think there was some effort to fudge the timeline a little bit by not declaring exactly how long we were there. I think that worked for some people, for other people it didn't. 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."
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That criticism was couched in some very tactful -- and more importantly very true -- commentary. It was more important that we feel the mounting danger and high stakes of the situation rather than stretching that story out between two or even several episodes. You have to assume the audience will forgive you for "fudging" a few details as Taylor says in exchange for an awesome bit of storytelling.
Whether Game of Thrones achieved that exchange? It's hard to tell.
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"It's cool that the show is so important to so many people that it's being scrutinized so thoroughly," Taylor says. "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."
The show has received a fair amount of criticism for this timeline flub, but ultimately Taylor makes the good point that its not hurting them in the ratings. In fact Game of Thrones continues to break viewership records, despite the accelerated pace and several leaks.
The second that tactic stops working, we'd probably see a change, but since there's only seven episodes left in the series total, we probably shouldn't expect to.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.