Dire Wolves, White Walkers and Dragons, oh my!
Game of Thrones has hit the pop culture universe like a hurricane. With a healthy dose of fantasy mixed with HBO’s provoking edge. The two realms have meshed with audiences seamlessly. You don’t need to be a toting member of the book series to fall for Thrones. And that’s the beauty of it. Half the fan base is the loyal guard to what the books have already laid forth and the other half is the TV audience who treat Thrones as solely a show and not the embodiment of J.R.R Martin’s literary vision. Either way, the magic that Game of Thrones delivers is still the same. It’s a show for the fantasy novice and the hardcore alike. With a storyline that includes the adult version of King Arthurs Court, mystical creatures that would hail from a Lord of the Rings movie, along with possible monster zombies a fowl in the North. Thrones offers everything under the sun in the 7 Kingdoms. This isn’t your typical fairy tale world. Let me explain.
If there’s one stronghold that Thrones can hang their hat on, it’s their unpredictable storyline. To sum it up into one line, Arya Stark said it best (1 min mark).
From season 1 all the way through season 3. Thrones has always kept everybody on their toes. Ned Stark (Arya’s father) proved to the audience at the tailor end of season 1 that the show will even behead it’s main character to serve the plot. Time and again Thrones has proved the point, never get comfortable with a character. In season 1 we were turned on our heads with the beheading of Ned Stark. In season 2, Renly Baratheon was killed by something resembling a killer black ghost. In season 3, well………….why don’t you see for yourselves.
If one Stark’s death couldn’t hammer the point home. Rob’s most certainly did. The audience’s favorite family of the Starks, once strong and proud, has been nearly obliterated from the map. There will be no sack of Casterly Rock, no march on King’s Landing, no Stark to sit upon the Iron Throne. We don’t know what’s in store for the future, but there is one thing we are crystal clear on going forward. No one is far from death’s grasp, no one is safe.
While it took HBO a little while to get the full effect of CGI into the 7 realms. Thrones gauntlet of characters and their interweaving stories more than made up for the lack of war battles, white walkers and dragons that the show promised when it premiered. In fact, as a decent judge of modern day television. The only show that could go toe to toe with Thrones’ character list is an HBO legend, The Wire. But even the Baltimore drama didn’t throw this many characters at you.
To pick the best ones would be like picking a best season of Breaking Bad, they’re all great. The notable ones though must be considered for the range of roles. Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage), the imp of Westeros, the smallest and yet most underestimated man in the 7 Kingdoms. The progression of his character from family outcast/dunkard Lannister, is quite remarkable. His ability to play “the game” as good or better than anyone in King’s Landing earned him an Emmy nod in the second season of Thrones. His performance in “Blackwater”, so far is his crowning achievement of the series. Although his drunken wedding night was another gem.
Of course I would be remissed if I didn’t mention the best acting job in this series. Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, Queen of Meereen, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons. Well done Emilia Clarke, well freaking done. Daenerys has ascended through the ranks like a prized knight in the King’s Guard. We first saw her as simple eye candy and a naive little girl who was just a pawn in her brothers scheme to take back the 7 Kingdoms. But the more we watched her, the stronger she became. She tamed a Khal, she killed her brother and she became the Mother of Dragons. At every turn, men of power have underestimated her. And at every turn, they have felt her wrath.
As an audience I believe her dragons are the reason why we tune into Thrones. But it’s not just her dragons though, but Daenerys Targaryen herself. She seems to be the last person of power who still has a good heart and a true rightful claim to the throne. She is also the lone woman of power in the show. She exhibits for the majority of the series that a woman can be strong and independant, especially in a time and place where women are expected to be subservient. She might be the best chance Westeros has at a fair ruler. But we all know the catch. She is still separated by a barrier of ocean from the Iron Throne. All of us know the endgame. Question is, how long will it take Daenerys and her ever growing army to land on the shores of Kings Landing? If there will be a Kings Landing left to attack that is. With Game of Thrones finishing their 3rd season this past June, the threat of the North is very real. Will the 7 Kingdoms unite in a common stand against the White Walkers from beyond The Wall? Will Joffrey and the Lannisters be forced to have to fight a two-front war from the Walkers of the North and the Dragons of the South? What will become of what’s left of the Starks? What about Stannis and Melisandre?
All these are valid questions. Some of these may be answered in Game of Thrones Season 4. But all these are reasons why Thrones sits in the Top 5. While it’s not the king of television, it’s very good in its own right.