Re: GOT-Tennis anyone?
I felt like there two episodes with somewhat proper pacing. The second episode which was full of tension and character development and the finale. This could also be because the pacing was so piss-poor in the rest of the season that these shined through.
Everything felt rushed which left the viewer needing to piece things together when there was so little to go on. Over-reliance on fade-to-black scenes left out pivotal dialogue. They could have easily stretched this another season+ and it would have been much more satisfying. The turns would have made more sense, the payoff would have been better.
The NK "twist" for me will always be a bit of a let down because it seems to fly in the face of the overall narrative of the entire story, though. If Martin's books really were an allegory for climate change with the NK being the bigger threat it was a shame to see that petty human politics didn't have to be resolved to combat it and in the end, it became a footnote after so much build up.
I fully share your sentiment about the NK. That episode dragged for me as nothing important happened until the end, and then it felt like a massive plot hole. But again, if you imagine the battle against the white walkers lasted several years as opposed to 1 night, it’d be much more satisfying.
Also Bran didn’t get a chance to show the significance of the three-eyed raven. If he made himself somehow useful during the battle... I suppose the moral of George RR’s story was that before building a “new world” we should learn from history...