I have to apologize in advance – this column isn’t for everyone, and to confess, yes, I’m one of them … or one of you … One way or another but for the last two years, I’ve been passionately waiting for the last season of the best series in TV history.
The premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones is just four days away and unlike at times of Season 1, not too many people question its success.
But why did it become so popular? How the show, filled with unprecedented amount of nudity, perversion and violence, with characters being murdered as soon as you fall for them, and with no real main characters (or dozens of them), with hundreds of cast members and numerous storylines (which in the traditional world of TV series was counted as too much for viewers to follow through the years) and probably another good dozen other “buts”, become the most-watched in the world?
Think about the most delicious dainty dish you’ve ever tried. Proportions and flavours, aftertaste and odor, serving ... everything in it was just right. That’s what Game of Thrones is – a perfectly balanced “dish” cooked after a master recipe, catching in the beginning and gradually unfolding, developing and transforming over the course of eight years.
Remember the first season? There were hardly any fantastic elements. Back then it felt like another medieval show with fairy tails about grumkins and snarks. Dragons existed, but were long gone. There was an actual physical line between real and fantastic worlds – the Wall.
At that time, the public wasn’t ready for a full-scale fantasy TV series. Year 2011 was the time of the realistic Breaking Bad and Mad Men, while the fantasy was a movie prerogative with epic Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings sequels dominating the genre.
But then slowly through seven seasons Game of Thrones has totally transformed, leaving most of the flamboyant nudity and violence scenes in the past, but filling more and more episodes with fantastic creatures and magical powers, while consistent and constant unpredictability was keeping fans on the stretch through the entire time.
Even with the fantastic nature of later seasons, since the very beginning characters were very realistic – they weren’t good or bad, just like real people with their weaknesses and strengths. Those of more traditional Lord of the Ring positive types, like Ned Stark, were murdered quite fast. But as soon as we got used to losing protagonists, the producers had a new twist with characters raising from the dead, and numerous unpredictable happy ends (like in the Battle of Bastards, the fight with the army of dead, Sansa’s escape from Boltons, Stark sisters ability to see through the Little Finger’s manipulations, you name it) becoming almost a norm.
The numbers – budgets, people involved, fans and HBO subscriptions, countries buying the rights to mainstream the series and the countless awards – prove undeniable success of the project. Starting with Season 7, the episodes got past the book, and now even greater unpredictability protects the Game of Thrones from any critique possible. But like with anything that huge, it’s always a bit scary when we come to an end – what if they fail?
And what is to come – happy ending or the end of the world of Game of Thrones, as we’ve known it for the past seven seasons?
I don’t have guts to even try to predict the final outcome, but probably like many of you I couldn’t resist developing some ideas about the series and the end.
Here is one of them: the army of the dead will take over everything or almost everything. The longest winter came and now it will freeze the entire map, changing the order of things. The frozen sun will rise in the west, making the prophecy come true and bringing Daenerys’ (and probably Jon’s) baby to life. And that baby will be Azor Ahai, the prince that was promised, who will defeat the King of the Night.
At that point just a few characters will still be fighting for life and they will be the ones to build the new world without a “wheel.”
A character that may play a new role in upcoming season is Sam – last son of Craster who despite all the odds for some reason made it to Season 8 alive. Maybe, the weapon against the King of the Night is the joint powers of the three-eyed raven Bran (who might be the King of the Night. Totally not my theory, but if you put their pictures together, this assumption looks quite convincing), little Sam, dragons and whatever comes out of the “union” between Daenerys and Jon.
Chances are high none of that has anything to do with what the creators of Game of Thrones have for us. But with just a few days left until the premiere, we soon will see what the longest winter has brought.