Honesty, there are some things on your list that I think are consistently excellent throughout the series: the opening sequence, cast, music, cinematography, and visual effects/CGI (the latter two having been particularly impressive in recent seasons).
The bits with Drogon this episode were highlights for me, both visually and emotionally. After several years of investment in these characters in the books/on screen, I was really wanting to *feel* the big character moments of this finale. For example, Dany’s death by Jon’s hand: I know it was a culmination of 8 seasons of both characters’ struggles and growth, the final (inevitable?) showdown of two rapidly diverging moral paradigms. I am an emotional viewer—tears almost always come easily for me (sometimes embarrassingly so in shared company/public settings); however, I felt *nothing* for Dany or John. It was as if I had a checklist on a clipboard and could check the scene off as “completed” and move on to the next. It was only when the beautifully rendered, grieving CGI dragon gently nudged and then lifted his mother away that I felt moved. It was the one emotional beat that landed for me the whole episode.
In trying to understand why I couldn’t connect in particular with this finale, right now my best explanation is a combination of poor writing and, to a lesser extent, poor direction. Even within the show’s internal logic, almost nothing made sense, from the characters’ actions, to the exposition-heavy dialogue, to basic logistics (time passing/character movement/size of surviving armies/etc.). It all seems so passive: the plot points happening to the characters rather than the characters taking action themselves. As a result, I never could forget—even for a moment—that I was watching a TV show; I truly hoped to be transported, even as I was at times during the flawed but nonetheless harrowing and poignant 3rd and 5th episodes of this season.
Ultimately, I gave this one a rating of 1/10 because the stronger components cannot compensate for the weak writing, confused direction, and hollow emotional beats. Maybe it’s most telling that I always rewatch an episode at least 2-4 times during the week of the original airing, often starting the second watch immediately after the first viewing. I have no desire to revisit the finale for the time being, and this all makes me a little sad.