A lot of these problems do, ultimately, come down to one overarching issue: there just weren't enough episodes in Season 7.
David Benioff and Dan Weiss have said of their decision to have shorter seasons that it's how much story is left (other reports have since suggested it's to do with production/budget, but HBO would surely give them what they need), and watching Season 7 it's clear there's enough story for a regular 10-episode run.
It's easy to understand them wanting to pick up the pace, but the slow build has always been one of the joys of Game of Thrones. And even Season 6, which went at a faster clip than normal, had 10 instalments and found time for that gradual rise.
Benioff and Weiss know how this story ends, but just as important (if not more so) is the journey to that point. Unfortunately, a lot of Season 7 felt like them rushing past that; they knew where characters had to be for the endgame, and got them there as quickly as possible. It led to some of the storytelling feeling rather rushed (for example, Jon just going to/being at Dragonstone could've taken up a lot of a regular season), rather than a meticulously-plotted masterpiece.
What did you think of Season 7? Share your thoughts down in the comments.