The legacy of Game of Thrones lives on in its final season



Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones. Courtesy of TNS

Anna Dittman

Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, Game of Thrones. Courtesy of TNS

On April 14, HBO released the highly anticipated first episode of the final season of the “Game of Thrones” series, drawing excited fans to their screens at 9 p.m eastern standard time. The amount of viewers sky rocketed to 17.4 million across all platforms to witness the beginning of the end of the beloved show.

GOT began as a series of novels written by author George R.R. Martin and first published “A Song of Ice and Fire,” on Aug. 1, 1996. Martin was approached multiple times to make his successful fantasy books into movies, and every single time he turned the offers down.

“Their approach was inevitably to simplify,” Martin said in an interview with 60 Minutes. “Well, okay, these books are too big. We have to cut it all down.  I didn’t want it simplified. So I said repeatedly the– the sexiest word in Hollywood, ‘No.’”

However, once Martin met David Benioff and Daniel Weiss, once avid readers of the novels now co-creators of the show, he finally agreed to a television series with HBO to turn the mythical land of Westeros and the complex battle for the iron throne into a reality.

With an average budget of at least $6 million dedicated to the production of each episode, GOT is able to carry out the attention to detail that goes into making each scene flawless, as well as to create special effect scenes such as the protagonist Daenerys Targaryen riding her dragons as realistic as possible.

For example, season six episode nine “Battle of the Bastards,” one of the largest battle scenes conducted, costed $10 million to produce. According to Entertainment Weekly, that single episode required “600 crew members, 500 extras, 160 tons of gravel, 70 horses, 25 stunt performers, 4 camera crews and 25 days of shooting to make.”

When season seven ended, fans were left with questions that needed answers. After waiting for more than a year, the first episode of season eight was well worth the wait. Featuring a countdown to heighten the excitement, the episode began with the reunions audiences have all been waiting for, with either love, tension, or some crude humor.

It did not hesitate to begin raising conflict and suspicions as differing sides are brought together to defeat the walking dead, or “White Walkers” and to determine who the true conqueror of the iron throne will be.

The production was at peak performance as usual. It also featured many of GOT’s most notable yet mature aspects such as nudity and violence, as well as its complex settings, professional special effects, and the key fantasy emersion that captures audiences attention. This only added more to the unique plot and journey of the characters.  

HBO has even confirmed a prequel series. According to their website, the show will be “Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’s history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East to the Starks of legend, only one thing is for sure: It’s not the story we think we know.”

The result of Martin’s work was more than just the average fantasy. The television series gained its popularity for a multitude of reasons, such as the intriguing story line, detailed production, professional actors and emotional character development. As the imaginative aspects add to the experience of watching each episode, the true connection the series has formed with its audience comes from its core reflection of the conflicts within humanity and how they are overcome.

Whether beginning the show since its release on April 17, 2011, or having started it last month or even a week ago, Game of Thrones, has left a lasting impression on fans world wide, and will continue to break boundaries on the fantasy genre until the final episode, and then some.