I don’t think that the ending was “happy.” GRRM said that it was going to be bittersweet and everyone’s mileage on that is going to vary with a term like that, but... Dany is dead (even if her character got done dirty in S8), Jamie came full circle then died, Sandor is dead, Jorah is dead, etc.
I dunno. As someone who binged the whole show within a month or so leading up to the finale, season 8 was pretty good, warts and all. Most of the issues really come down to time or the show’s lack of willingness to engage in the broader fantasy elements which is a seed planted a while ago that finally came to bloom in the finale. But aside from Tyrion saying that Varys was his best friend (what), there’s NOTHING as bad as A LOT of what happened in season 7. There’s nothing like Sam quoting his dad as he talks about how he’s tired of reading (what), Arya not being able to tell that Sansa is telling the truth, every character in the show forgetting the fact that hostage taking is an established practice in Westeros and nobody would hold that scroll against Sansa, forgetting that the lords of the Vale ALREADY KNEW that Sansa was compromised by Cersei during Sansa’s captivity in King’s Landing because SANSA TOLD THEM HERSELF face to face while Petyr was in the room with them, etc.
And I honestly think that when the hot takes cool down, the Dany turn is going to be appreciated more. The main issue I have for now is that we never see her take / POV on the carnage she caused. Getting into it in the moment, fine? Mercing Lannister soldiers? Fine. We’ve seen that from her before. We’ve seen her walk the streets of a city she freed. We never got to see her walk the streets of a city she burned, and we really should have.
I don’t hold season 8 responsible for us having no fucking idea what Bran’s responsibilities as the three eyed raven are. With him not being in season 5, we had seven seasons to get an explanation of that, and we get what... three lines about how he’s the memory of the world? That’s dope and all but what does that have to do with the price of tomatoes? We knew we weren’t going to get a satisfying understanding of that stuff which would have been kinda okay if you know... they didn’t make him king.
EDIT - Also they really needed to have a chat about the Night’s Watch. There’s no reason to believe whatever magic made the Night King is totally gone. There are still Children of the Forest, there are still men that would probably kill them, etc. The relationship between Wildlings and The North is probably fine short to medium term, and it’s difficult to imagine rangings to kill Wildlings happening now, especially with Jon Snow North of the wall. But The Others and wights were generally considered eradicated at the start of season 1, there’s no way people would leave that to chance. Unless Bran said they were fine, which who knows, because we don’t know shit about Bran.