The Wait Is Over: Why 'Game Of Thrones' Still Captivates Audiences
Did you feel the shift in the universe last night, my friends? Did you feel a strange sensation around 9 pm EST?
If you were wondering what that magical feeling was, it was "Game of Thrones" returning with a brand new season on HBO.
If you’re like me, you have spent the last two months counting down to the moment you were back in the world of Westeros and the fight for the Iron Throne waged on.
You may have still had vivid images of Oberyn being defeated by the Mountain or Jon Snow’s beautifully crafted features turning distraught while holding Ygritte’s body in the battle at Castle Black, or maybe you were just working up to having to watch Little Finger put his slimy hands on Sansa again.
Either way, you were just as ready as I was for the glorious return. And, return it did, my fellow fanboys and girls.
With the promise of the next few Sundays being filled to the brim with war, brilliant dialogue, the magic of dragons and languages created specifically for this world, it’s easy to see why this show has such massive appeal and an even larger fanbase.
The fight for the Iron Throne had already built a colossal following as the massive tomes hit bookshelves.
No matter how long George RR Martin took writing the 1,000-page knockouts, fans would still flock to stores and devour every word and every endless description. (It’s almost as if GRRM is a modern-day Dickens.)
When the show premiered on HBO in 2011, fans tuned in, either aware of what was to come or willingly blind. It became yet another hit for the premium channel and the fanbase grew even larger.
It became one of the hottest panels at San Diego Comic-Con (a panel I have spent 15 hours waiting in line for), and names of characters hit the most popular baby names list. Everyone was enamored with Westeros as it came to life.
Why is that?
It’s simple, really. What George RR Martin has managed to do is build a world that is both fantastical and grounded in reality.
While there are dragons and witches and giants and white walkers, there is also family strife, the struggle for power and the constant need to survive in a war-torn world.
There is love and death, loyalty, the confusing time of finding out who you are. He makes this world accessible even though it has the magical elements.
When you can lose your readers in the narrative rather than the fantasy aspects, you have done a good job.
But, it’s the characters who make that world so accessible. The extensive page count gives readers a deep understanding of those perspectives in which the chapter is written from.
This translates well on screen, as there are times when a main character, such as Arya, like on the premiere episode of this season, is not even seen.
Through the episodes, we are able to have a deep connection to those characters and understand their story as it plays part to the larger story.
Without that deep character development, the story wouldn’t be as rich as it is. Each character is dynamic and flawed, complex and interesting.
And, the best part is GRRM writes some of the strongest females in modern literature.
He has said he writes such incredible women because he sees them, as everyone should, like the complex human beings they are.
Women are capable of being vulnerable in the embrace of love while also being strong enough to hold the power.
Daenerys, Cersei, Arya, Sansa, Brienne of Tarth, Olenna Tyrell and so many more give the show so much punch and will take what (and whom) they want. It’s refreshing to see women so dynamically portrayed.
Even with all of the bloodshed and torture, the manipulation and the intrigue, the sex and the far off looks that seem to plague every character, there is so much heart and emotion packed in to every character and every scene.
Did I mention they managed to cast some of the hottest people to play these characters? Seriously. Richard Madden is, I’m fairly certain, an alien, not of the human race.
Tyrion, in the premiere episode, says, “The future is sh*t…so is the past.” I beg to differ, you devilishly clever man.
The future looks amazing for "Game of Thrones" fans, both of the books and the series. The two may differ, but we are already too absorbed in the world to turn our backs now.
We have watched as our favorite characters have perished (rest in peace, my sweet Drogo), watched in anger as the Lannisters ruin everyone’s lives, and yet, here we are. We’re still standing and still wanting more.
See you on Sunday.