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Its been bad since Tywin died. It was confirmed hot garbage when Stannis died, and confirmed for pure worthless trash when a consort and some bastards usurped Dorne along with, well, that entire plotline. And of course Sophie Turner gets to have her lifetime moment and make Littlefinger go fucking braindead, and Stannis roast up some human veal. After that I didn't care. Fucking ZOOMBIES made it silly, I only accepted that for the special tree.
I tuned back in to find my suspicions confirmed and that they did the build up as shittily as they could, and even the build up to Dany burning King's Landing could have been done better. For example, have various characters inform her of the history of the place, recent and old. Keep the Tyrion and Jaime character arcs intact.
But it was crap through and through. A better way to do it, is have Danearys wage a war to unite Essos, using Unsullied and Dothraki as a core to sack and round up all the spare Dothraki hordes and vengeance on Slavers Bay. Then taking that and conquering city after city, land after land. Have the Night's Watch rise into further chaos after Jon comes back. Keep Stannis alive.
No battle of the bastards, no cleganebowl.
Hardholme isn't a super exciting fight of badasses versus zoombie skeletons, its a slow, inevitable horrible march of endless undead flesh, being commanded and guided and wielded. And it looks like the walls and fortifications will hold, and then the Others have made it inside the walls, and start calling up corpses from beneath the ice, hordes of them. This combined with the Others themselves breaks open the walls, and its another slow, methodical march of death, with too little fire and too few men with dragonglass and dragonsteel.
Then sometime after Jon makes it back, he asks where Night's Watchmen are buried or burned, only to have it confirmed that traditionally, many are buried under the wall.
Cut to another season later after Jon is revived, and everybody across the world feels a tremble, and the remnants of the Night's Watch all come south with the message that the wall has fallen. An Other shows up and just commands it down. But they don't march south. Not yet.
Stannis wins in the North, the Riverlands becomes a battleground between the North and the Vale. Sansa's identity gets revealed and she marries SweetRobin after Brienne identifies her in a tourney.
The North and the Vale make peace, the Freys are sundered and reduced, and the kingdom is cut in half as the North, with Mountain Clans and Wildlings making up the bulk of Stannis' forces, and the Vale teem up to ride out the coming winter, and the Southron forces do the same. Cersei makes a quip about not being concerned about Dany's Dragons, as Balerion was a century old when he torched Harrenhal, Dany's Dragons are basically still kids.
Dany also begins to digest her conquest of Slaver's Bay, Volantis and the Rhoyne basin.
Now for a timeskip. 13 years of winter later. Dany has conquered almost all of Essos, most of her Unsullied have died in the fighting, the Dothraki are more disciplined, wearing armor and what not, all the Free Companies have been assimilated or annihilated. Only Braavos, Lys and Tyrosh remain outside of her domain. Braavos is currently surrounded by icebergs, and Stannis, now an oldman on his deathbed with his daughter seeing to day to day operations, and Sweetrobin, now a grown man, begin planning a full and total invasion of the South, even aside from the Wildlings who went all in and ran as far south as they could. Many even fled to Essos. Yara has gotten back to the Iron Islands, but half the Iron Born went over the Dany with Victarion, who has since died. Her husband sits the Seastone chair, but only ceremony is held there, as it isn't even questioned who is really leading anymore. Have some religious dude bitch about it, with a quipped response about it being the prerogative of the husband to listen to his wife or not. Most of women, including Dany, have children. 2 or more. They are still leading.
Not a word has been said or heard from the Others since. Only rumors, only whispers. No great battles have occured. And nobody wants to waste precious wood to burn corpses....
And there is your start for season 8. Instead, we got this.
Tell me, how would you stab a 40 year long winter? Oh yeah you wouldn't. There was no Great Battle for the Dawn. Humanity did not beat the Walkers back, I'd say it was more like begging for thier lives. 40 years of harsh winter, winter harsh enough to freeze the northern half of the narrow sea hard enough to march armies across and destroy maritime trade, killing millions and preserving millions of corpses.