I think many of the flaws of this season have their roots in structural problems that have been present from the start of the show, namely that it's trying to tell two different types of story at the same time and never quite resolves the conflict between them. On the one hand, there is the entire plotline with the white walkers, looming over the rest of the story from the very first scene. Following the typical fantasy pattern, the threat is initially taken seriously only by our protagonists, led by a brooding hero with mysterious parentage, who must convince everyone else before it's too late. You know all along that this is going to be the endgame of the show. Similarly, you know that Daenerys and her dragons are going to invade at some point. So you have two plot strands that are building to something quite specific (and taking forever to get there). Then there is the war for the kingdom. This part of the story has no real structure at all - indeed, its unpredictability has been one of the show's main selling points. Characters scheme and fight and die and you keep watching simply because you want to know what happens next. Unlike the stories of Jon Snow and Daenerys, though, it doesn't naturally build towards any particular conclusion. There's no reason why the struggle for the Iron Throne can't go on indefinitely, as politics do. The only reason why it can't is that, inevitably, viewers will eventually tire of it all. Speaking for myself, I think that by season five it was starting to feel rather repetitive. What's happening now is that after six seasons of focusing mostly on the political soap opera (and for good reason, that's where the fun has been), the writers find themselves having to actually provide the endgame they've promised from the start, except Daenerys has only just now reached Westeros and most of the characters still have no clue about the white walkers. So they have to tell a ton of story in only a few episodes and there's no way to do it without taking some massive narrative shortcuts.