“Winter is coming.”– Every single Stark we’ve ever known during this show (RIP).
The final season of Game of Thrones is on track to be the one of the biggest cultural phenomenons in history and deservedly so. HBO through creators, Benioff and Weiss have successfully executed the most ambitious project in television history when you consider even just the literal size of the material that they’ve had to work with, not to talk of the logistics of putting all the story pieces together from characters to settings to even costume design.
George R.R. Martin created a story that was initially deemed impossible to adapt, making the plight of the people involved in this undertaking even more impressive. The show’s success can be quantified in the records that its broken over the years. The Season 8 trailer debut smashed HBO records on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter by racking up 81 million views across the three sites in only 24 hours. The previous holder of the trailer views record was its Season 7 trailer two years ago. It holds the record for most Emmy Awards won by a drama. It’s the most pirated show in television history. The show has been a tour de force in the pop culture world and it has all come down to these last 6 episodes that will be airing over the next month starting on April 14th.
It’s important to consider the uniqueness of the show itself. Before this show, I have no memory of an adaptation, be it through movies, television or video games that was green-lit by a studio before its source material was finished. The last book to be released in the A Song of Ice and Fire story was A Dance With Dragons which came out over the summer of 2011. Readers have been waiting (some more patiently than others) for the eventual release of ADWD’s sequel, The Winds of Winter. As the seasons of Game of Thrones progressed, it was clear to book readers when the show moved away from the plot scaffolding that it was blessed with in its earlier seasons and moved into more traditional realms of a TV show. Examples of this can be seen in the last two seasons, as the show decided to cut fluff off the screen in extra characters and geographical locations by focusing on those who are most important to the story’s plot and moving them into close proximity with one another in a more efficient fashion. By Season 7, the show was more focused on plot than world building. Some might say it went as far as to ignore the rules of the world that had been built, but I’m willing to give them a pass because at this point, I feel that it’s necessary for the show to hit the plot points that it needs to in order for it to reach its ending.
Martin created a story that was so large that it felt that it would be impossible to make it fit into the box of a visual medium. Despite the shortcomings the show had in Season 7, it’s safe to say they became beyond reproach when they gave us Season 6, which has undeniably been their best work during its running years, as well as that season’s finale, The Winds of Winter, which is one of the most perfect television episodes… EVER. With the streaming wars that we’re watching play out between all the big services, it’s safe to say that this might be the last bit of appointment-viewing television we’re going to experience other as far as art goes. With that being said, the hype that’s been building up leading up to this final season is well deserved.
As our beloved characters move on the literal chessboard towards the story’s checkmate, The Game Fanatics will be releasing reviews and content analyzing each episode leading up to the series finale. Until then, remember… Valar Morghulis.