Game of Thrones

Years: 2011-2019

Synopsis: In the familiar land of Westeros of the Seven Kingdoms, off the continent of Essos, powerful families and obsessed idealists vie for the coveted Iron Throne, not long after the overthrowing of the centuries old Targaryen Dynasty.

Pros:
• Easily the most epic, fleshed out, and best implemented epic fantasy story ever done.
• Was often beautiful to watch, especially in the most horrific of moments.
• The massive cast almost implausibly shine individually in their own light in the darkest of stories. Peter Dinklage’s Tyrion was especially a powerful character, regularly being the self-aware, tortured, inner voice of the series (not unlike the books).
• Though likely helpful in following the storylines, the viewer did not have to read the books to become obsessed with the show.
• Perhaps the best, most dynamic intro sequence ever created. It not only provided the kind of map one would expect within fantasy novels, but also literally primed the viewer to the locations and even storylines highlighted in the following episode.
• No true heroes or villains, only monsters and those trying not to be.

Cons:
• The multiple, overlapping storylines can make it hard to follow, especially for those disinterested in following the near infinite amount of details thrown at the viewer.
• Though not really glorified, the sexual violence, especially earlier in the series, never seemed all that necessary to the overarching plot.
• The final seasons were very rushed and truncated, lacking the depth and nuance of the seasons that preceded them. There really was no reason for the last two seasons to be so dramatically truncated.
• Never really written to please fans from the first and especially to the last season.

Discussion:
“I drink and I know things.” Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage)

Thanks to The Lord of the Rings (books and films), high fantasy often had a whimsical impression about it, suggesting an almost family affair. The more earthbound Harry Potter often provided the same sense. Yes, there were epic battles filled with literal magic and idealistically driven “dark lords,” but the characters were often depicted as more than human in some ways, giving the viewer a means to connect yet separate at the same time. Their actions were grounded in their world. A Song of Ice and Fire, the basis of Game of Thrones (if you did not already know), was built to be different, while seducing the follower through those familiar fantastical themes of magic and dragons and swords and thrones. George R.R. Martin meant to break that wheel of whimsy, bringing us to something that was much more a reflection of ourselves than fantasy had provided prior.

Everyone in Game of Thrones became ourselves in a way. We cheered at what we all agreed were liberations even if they weren’t truly bloodless; we cringed incessantly when our chosen hero liberated through fire. What was right or wrong was not always clear, no matter how much we desperately pretended it was. We saw ourselves and always screamed when we saw our reflections loose their head. We cringed most of all when we tried and failed to forget that our real world might not be much better: #MeToo, mad leaders, shame, shame, shame. Game of thrones was all about the monsters we all are, and that we are forced to choose how we live with that reality.


Official Website

Official Production Website

Rotten Tomatoes
S1 — 91%
S2 — 96%
S3 — 96%
S4 — 97%
S5 — 93%
S6 — 94%
S7 — 93%
S8 — 67%

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