A Game of Thrones: The End of an Era

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A Game of Thrones: The End of an Era

Ian Anderson, Staff Writer

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*Spoiler Alert* Contains details about the ending of the show

HBO’s hit series “Game of Thrones” wrapped up its final season on May 19, and it signalled the end of an era. The show has been broadcast on the Home Box Office since 2011, captivating audiences and gaining worldwide popularity on its way to becoming arguably the greatest show of all time. At least, up until the last season.

Season eight of “Game of Thrones” has been a large disappointment to its audience and many die hard fans of the show were not happy with it. While “Game of Thrones” has always had great cinematography, the aspects that keep people the most interested are the characters and the plot. What made seasons one through seven great was how the characters developed. Viewers witnessed Jaime Lannister becoming one of the show’s most hated characters, to one of the show’s most beloved. “They ruined the character development that was built up over previous seasons,” says freshman George Benis. Fans were also in uproar about the waste of one of the most, if not the most, talented actress on the show, Lena Heady. Heady spent only 23 minutes on screen as a main character in a show that ran for 430 minutes, which is a travesty. Cersei Lannister’s limited appearance can also be attributed to poor writing by producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as once “A Dream of Spring” comes out, we can be assured that Cersei will play a much larger role in “A Song of Ice and Fire”.

One of the largest twists of the season came at the end. The great Westerosi houses came together in order to decide who would become King of the Seven Kingdoms. After deliberation, the leaders decided to crown Bran Stark as king. Many viewers while watching this were confused and upset, and chose to castigate the producers more because of their choice of who was on the Iron Throne at the conclusion of this tale. “I hated the last season because I didn’t like who ended up on the throne,” states freshman Kailey Bowsher. One of the reasons that viewers may have this opinion is due to poor character development again. There were no hints, clues, or any build up whatsoever that lead up to Bran becoming king. The show turned Brandon Stark, into the Three Eyed Raven, and then back to Brandon Stark, which was not effective in viewers eyes. Senior Hannah Chernin believes that “they tried to wrap up seemingly dozens of loose ends in the span of a 90 minute show, and it really messed up all of the potential the show had to end well. The directors should have left more loose ends, there was no need to wrap up everything in the show. And choosing Bran to be king was just stupid in my eyes, he’s too boring and didn’t play a big enough part in the series.” Little do people know, crowning Bran was not the choice of the producers. When George R. R. Martin decided to split from helping the show, in a meeting with Benioff and Weiss, he told them a couple key points to the, story two of which we know. One was how Hodor got his name, the other was who was on the Iron Throne at the end of the story, but how the writers choose to get to those points was completely up to them. This time around reading the books, or even listening to the audiobooks, will bring a different story of “A Song of Ice and Fire” that was not aired on television.

That being said, the quality of seasons one through six, and even parts of seven, cannot be overlooked just because of how poor season eight was. Sophomore Lewis Wallace says, “I enjoyed the character development and loved how it was written in seasons 1-6,” which was a common idea among those interviewed. “I really liked it overall, I thought it was very well done. Except for the final season it seemed they took their time with things and it was very well done,” stated sophomore Annie Barrett. And while many did not like the end, many fans did enjoy the ending. “I was satisfied that it stuck with the Starks and it showed their endings. They were the endings that I wanted for each character. While it wasn’t necessarily written the best it ended the way I wanted it to,” says Junior Kas Bakker. Senior Richard Jia explains, “It is a very good series as a whole, once George R.R. Martin stopped providing source material, the show struggled to come up with its own writing. But it was still very good.” While people were not satisfied with the final season, every person interviewed said that they would watch the spinoff series.

The books are quite popular, and the first book “A Game of Thrones” was released on August 1, 1996, which was about 15 years before the TV series aired. One thing that is unique, and unfortunate, about the books versus any other series, is that they are not complete yet. “A Song of Ice and Fire” is a seven part saga, yet only five of the books have been released, “A Dance with Dragons” being the most recent, released in 2010. When asked whether or not they would ever read the books, Junior Sydney Wan responded, “It seemed like a lot of work to do, and I knew they weren’t finished yet and I like to read complete series,” and what Wan said could be applied to many who wish to read the books, but only when they’re finished.

Fans of the show do not have to fret with the series ending however. Next year HBO will air a new “Game of Thrones” prequel that has yet to be named. The events that occur in this story will happen thousands of years before the events in “A Song of Ice and Fire”, revolving around the first fight against the White Walkers, the original Long Night, and the construction of the Wall. One thing about the announcement of the show that had fans jumping for joy, was that the prequel was written by George R. R. Martin, so fans do not need to worry about a fantastic show being ruined by poor writing.