My buddy Swami told me about this show that he watches called ‘Game of Thrones’. I’d never heard about it. This conversation happened about 4 years ago. ‘You have to watch this show’ he said excitedly. ‘Its about these different kingdoms that are all battling to get on the iron throne’. I was intrigued but in no hurry to break out the popcorn. Finally one night I relented and parked myself in front of the TV and pressed play. All it took was one scene to get me hooked.
It was the very first scene in episode one, season one, the rangers from the ‘Night’s Watch’ are on patrol in the snow, beyond the ‘Wall’, they encounter mutilated bodies of ‘wildlings’, then they encounter the undead, the ‘whitewalkers’, it was gruesome, it was scary and it was fantastic. I’ve been a fan of the show ever since, along with millions of others worldwide.
To gauge the popularity of the show 86,000 people applied in Spain for scenes filmed during Season 5, for only 600 extras spots. The show is broadcast in over 170 countries and not surprisingly it’s the most illegally downloaded show worldwide. The season 4 premiere of the HBO series was viewed in over 6 million American households, up 2 million from the previous seasons’ premiere.
It’s a show that’s gone from strength to strength and it’s not hard to figure out why. It’s got something for everybody; political intrigue, backstabbing, violence and nudity, dragons and characters you love to hate or love. With subplots going on within various storylines from different kingdoms it won’t wait for anybody to catch up, there is no dumbing down or explaining why a certain character said this or another character did that. In fact, it’s a show that requires multiple viewings of the same episode with the implied knowledge that as a viewer you’re likely to miss something the first time around.
Oh yes, and another thing, no character is safe, poor Ned, which as a TV show is pure gold. How many shows have we watched over the years where the lead characters you know are never in danger because if they were killed off it would be the death of the show. With ‘Game of Thrones’ its almost a given your favorite character has a shelf life and is likely to be decapitated, poisoned or burnt to death at some point.
This is a show that has become culturally iconic, just like The Sopranos or Seinfeld; people talk about it around the water cooler, at coffee with friends, down at the pub or on Facebook, Twitter and countless fan sites. Theories and opinions fly around as to what will happen next. Just recently the show has deviated from the George R.R Martin books the series is based on, meaning all bets are off and nobody knows who will win in the ultimate race for the ‘iron throne’.
With Season 6 premiering next week so many questions remain unanswered. Is Jon Snow really dead? Could the red woman bring him back? Will he turn into a ‘whitewalker’? Will Arya stay blinded for disrespecting the ‘Faceless Men’? Has Ellaria started a war by poisoning Myrcella? What’s next for the ‘Mother of Dragons’ after being surrounded by the Dothraki?
In what was one of the finest episodes of any season where Jon Snow travelled to ‘Hardhome’ in an effort to save the ‘wildlings’ where an ensuing battle took place with the ‘whitwalkers’ in which the ‘Nights King’ raised the dead from the dock, the question is how far can the ‘whitewalkers’ get as ‘Winter is Coming’? Could they get all the way to ‘Kings Landing’?
Whatever happens I’ll be watching, and re-watching so I don’t miss a thing. As for my favorite characters, ‘The Spymaster’ Varys, ‘Littlefinger’ and ‘Tyrion Lannister’, I hope they survive another season but with this show who knows, and therein lies the beauty of the best series on TV.