This past Sunday marked a special evening in the world of HBO series dramas. The eighth, and final, season of Game of Thrones came to a conclusion Sunday night. And millions watched it! Personally, I watched it the next day because I cannot stay up late enough to watch TV past 9:30, but around 16 million people watched the final episode of the series! I bet there were more call outs to work this past Monday than on the day after Super Bowl.
HBO’s Game of Thrones has been dominating Sunday night television since 2011. Now that HBO is offered through Amazon Prime, I had been able to binge watch the first six seasons, but had to suffer along with everyone else in waiting each week for another episode, another chapter, to be released. Have I mentioned yet that there are dragons?!? Once season 7 concluded, there was a year and a half wait for the final 6 episodes in season eight! Having not read the books, the wait to find out the fates of the remaining main characters seemed to drag on for eons! But it arrived, as promised.
No matter what your opinion of the final season has been, and it has been mixed, Game of Thrones viewers have been hooked from the first season. The names of the seven ruling families have been common in real-life households – The houses of Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, and Greyjoy. The noble families of Westeros are vying for the ability to rule over the seven kingdoms or to be free from it. While they noble houses connive and move against each other, there is a threat from the North. There the Night’s Watchmen guard against the growing threat of the Night King, of which much of Westeros seems oblivious to. All the while, there is an escalating plot centering around who the rightful heir to the iron throne truly is, and how could she, or he, regain the throne. And, the dragons!
The show has been acclaimed and criticized, but you cannot deny that it is good! The acting and casting is exceptional; the plots are complex and exciting; the setting and costumes are breath-taking; the violence and oppression of women and classes of people are unmistakable and unapologetic; the battle scenes and dialogue are graphic and well thought out. Some scenes are truly hard to take and could cross the lines of what is acceptable to show on television, such as when Robert Baratheon has his bastard children slaughtered (reminiscent of the story of King Solomon and the first born sons) or the torture of Theon Greyjoy. However, if the desire of the writers is to show what battle and times of war are like, then you cannot leave out the worst of humanity, which is worse than any medieval fantasy can create. Betrayal, deceit, rape, murder, trickery, pride, lust, rage – all sinful and horrific human behavior that this series puts right out there. Even pissed off dragons cannot top that.
If you haven’t seen the show, then I think that you are missing out on a great series. Game of Thrones is graphic, but a great storyline and charismatic characters is one that is hard to ignore. Besides, there are three dragons to fall in love with!
So, now what do I watch? I suppose I could wait for a spin off show …. maybe one that follows where Drogon takes Daenerys, or answers the question of other dragons and will Jon Snow tame another one, or will there be more White Walkers, or what will Arya discover on her adventures, or will Bran make King’s Landing handicap accessible? Oh my! I suppose only time will tell if there will be a spin off, and I am sure millions would watch, but until then I should just catch up on my ‘to be read this summer pile’!