With the seventh season of the phenomenon at a close, it is still accurate to say that the little screen adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy epic is one of the greatest television shows of all time. HBO’s behemoth of a show began in 2011, and has since then risen to become an icon of popular culture. To date, Game of Thrones has been nominated for 612 awards and has received 212 of them; the show holds the title for the most Emmy’s for a primetime television show at 38, and it is conceivable that the two seasons of the show yet to be scored will overtake Saturday Night Live’s 45 wins to become—according to that standard—the most accomplished show in television history.
The story of Game of Thrones is not one that can be constricted down into a few-sentence recapitulation, for the complexity and intricacy of its numerous plots and subplots would not be given its due. From the first episode to the most recent season finale, plot threads have woven characters’ connections and personal arcs to each other’s in nearly unfathomable ways, sparking and furthering the growth that every character has undergone that exemplifies the richness of this world. The show transports its audience to a world in which mystical fantasy, medieval brutality, and timeless politics merge seamlessly into a brilliantly written story; mirroring the blights on our own world, the characters that have captivated the audience with their quirky wit or vicious savagery and imbued them with passions of hate and love must face an unforgiving society that cares not for justice and fairness. This show will capture the intrigue of its viewers while it sends on an emotional journey to euphoria or heartache or both many times over. It will incite laughter, evoke tears, inspire shock, and demand cheers of triumph or curses of anger, but most of all Game of Thrones will bestow upon its audience—notoriously without remorse and with great frequency—senses of utter awe. Whether they be crushingly heart-wrenching character deaths or unexpected plot-twists or realistic depictions of violence or incredibly intelligent dialogue or breathtakingly immaculate scenery or powerful character moments, this show will consume the mind with its genius and leave the viewer breathless.
The acclaim for television show is entirely warranted. The acting for the show is at a standard worthy for the spectacle, and it is no wonder that the actors and actresses who appear on the show are instantly perceived as skilled practitioners of their craft. Notable actors who propel the work to its highly-lauded status are those who play Ned Stark (Sean Bean), Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Caster-Waldau), Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley), Olenna Tyrell (Dianna Rigg), and Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance). The show is an ensemble cast, but each of its actors excels in making each scene palpably important in relation to the characters presented. Furthermore, the other technical aspects of the show are impeccable. HBO has endowed the show with an increasingly large budget, which has furthered the quality of large-scale battles and the rendering of the dragons. Ever since season one, however, all of the aspects that make the show a technical marvel—the thorough costume design, adept makeup and lighting, discernibly superior sound design, beautifully potent music and scores—were present. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, the showrunners of Game of Thrones, have distinguished their show into a class of its own.
It is not a far cry from the truth to say that Game of Thrones is the greatest television show that has thus far been created. Not faultless—the recently concluded penultimate season was a mixture of Game of Thrones at its best and its worst—but as much a masterpiece as a show can get. It is hard to find an entertainment-inclined person unfamiliar with certain quotes and aspects that come from the world of Westeros and Essos, and it seems unlikely that the show’s endgame—which will be revealed in the six episodes of the eighth and final season—will not become another facet of popular culture. Understanding that fact, do not let the end to what truly might be the greatest show ever be spoiled for you before you endeavor to indulge in this fantasy world. Before it is all over and you cannot unknow that which you learned, experience the phenomenon. Follow the honorable Ned Stark and the triumphs and misfortunes of his Northern House. Cheer for Jon Snow, the bastard of Winterfell, as he finds that qualities of an honorable leader are direly needed. Laugh with Tyrion Lannister, the drunken dwarf, as he discovers what the game is and why it must be won. Witness the transformation of Daenerys Targaryen from a helpless princess to the Queen Mother of Dragons. Their stories have not yet ended, but come the final season all their fates will be sealed and known. The threat of the White Walkers is still dominant, the mysteries of Jon and Dany still present. If you watch the show years from now, you will be but an observer of the world of Game of Thrones, but if you watch now, you will be a part of A Song of Ice and Fire. Winter is here, but it won’t last forever.
Rating: 5 Comings of Winter out of 5
By: Ryan Hill