If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, not one minute, not one trailer even, good for you. You are spared the agony of having to see every Instagram post from various cast members, every appearance on late night TV, all the HBO promos for the April 14 start of the final season — and then agonizing over it for 38 days while we wait.
The Final Season.
Those of us who have been watching since it first aired April 17, 2011 have waited, patiently even for that final season. Sure, HBO has had some good shows on, like True Detective, but they are nothing like Game of Thrones. We have dutifully, voraciously, obediently, watched every episode of every season and the lull between season 7 and season 8 has been excruciating.
That’s eight torturous years with painfully long interludes between seasons; gut wrenching murders, eye-popping battle scenes, with long stretches of moping about and pining for the time when the Lannisters would be removed from the Iron Throne and beheaded, their noggins jabbed with stakes and displayed somewhere in King’s Landing to show the world — the fantasy world of Essos — that the Lannisters are no more.
Just to twist our heads a bit, not all the Lannisters are evil, and even the evil one(s) have moments of humility and grace. Then they go on to killing all their adversaries, real and imagined. Well, not all the Lannisters. Tyrion, played superbly by Peter Dinklage. He is a licentious character, but once given power, he uses his superior intellect to succeed. His brother Jaimie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) isn’t such a bad chap either. He is called the King Slayer because he murdered the Mad King. He had a very good reason for it too. Really, the only evil Lannisters are Cersei (Lena Headey) and her son — Jaimie’s son — Joffrey.
Oh … yeah, Cersei and Jaimie are brother and sister. That’s the big secret about the two. They have (had) three children together. In some episodes only the innocent die.
Who really is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne?
Game of Thrones … of all the shows that HBO has ever put on their channels, GoT stands up there with The Sopranos, The Wire, and the Larry Sanders Show. Sex and the City was a very popular show, and actually had some high moments, but for sheer cinematic grandeur, it didn’t compare to the others. But viewers loved it enough the producers made two movies after the series ended. It was Carrie and Mr. Big finally tying the knot.
Currently I still think — I just assume — The Wire is my favorite TV show of all time. It only has five seasons, but starting from episode 1 of season 1, you can spend a few days binging on it. It is everything you want to know about the dark side of Baltimore, crime, the drug trade, human trafficking, and a slew of other issues that are relevant and based in reality.
Fans of The Wire will ever forget Omar, Stringer Bell, Bunk, that effin’ McNulty and Kima. Watch the show, it will grab you by the belt buckle and keep you engaged.
Then there’s Game of Thrones, which could be my favorite TV show ever, or maybe my next favorite show ever. Maybe it all depends on this final season.
Season 7 left us with such a shocking cliff hanger, the GoT nation inhaled a gasp heard ‘round the world. Or at least the internet universe. It was more shocking than the Red Wedding. Oh how the fortunes turn. It’s the sort of twist that makes you want to find the creators of the show and grab them by the neck and throttle them for taking something that was so pure, so good, so … hopeful and smashing it on the doorstep of doom.
Maybe have Arya Stark add the creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, to her list, right there with the Lannisters.
Now there’s a character, Arya Stark. Played by Maisie Williams, In the beginning I started liking the young Arya. She defied the odds, escaped certain death and found ways to survive. And then she learned how to exact revenge … she’s not such an innocent now, as Walder Frey and his clan find out.
Going forward, you don’t want to fuck with Arya Stark.
Along with the copious amounts of violence there are copious amounts of sex and nudity. One of the great pastimes for many of the characters is visiting brothels, which are legal and available in every city. All manner of depravity can be had, with men or women, boys or girls. Very little is left to the imagination.
But when a major character, like the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) bares all, the screen is on fire. Literally actually in scenes when she emerges from the fires of her sorrow and wrath. Don’t fuck with Daenerys Targaryen. She is the mother of three, giant and voracious dragons.
Sadly, she loses one in a battle with the White Walkers, led by the Night King, not to be confused with the Night’s King.
“The true enemy won’t wait out the storm, he brings the storm.” — Jon Snow.
Jon Snow, Commander of the Night’s Watch, apparently the Lord of Winterfel as well. Jon Snow is the one admirable character in this tale, so far. He was brought back from the dead by a sorceress who managed to lead her one benefactor and his army into total defeat with her sorcery. That’s one king eliminated.
By the end of the seventh season, several kings had died or were killed. A queen was captured with her three daughters, two of which were killed and a third, the beloved … well the captured queen was sent into a dungeon to watch her last child die of a slow-acting poison.
She was sent there by another queen, Cersei Bannister, who is the epitome of evil. She did have one humiliating moment, when she was forced to parade herself on the Walk of Shame. You want to feed someone’s sense of revenge? That was it and Cersei exacts her vengeance on the High Sparrow and all his acolytes. So much for religious fundamentalism.
If you haven’t noticed, the strongest characters are women, mainly because they have to endure hardship and humiliation beyond description. When they emerge from their trials these women take hold of their sense of purpose and crush any one or thing in their way.
All of this is coming to an end April 14, one day before Tax Day. Unlike Netflix, HBO won’t put the final six episodes up on their On Demand channel right away. We will have to wait a week to see the next episode. Apparently there will be at least one epic battle scene. But other than that, what happens in this final season remains a mystery; a nerve-wracking, slow roasting secret. We know how season 7 ended, with the undead dragon melting the wall … and there it hangs.
Kit Harrington was on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and he insisted on keeping all the secrets — as per his contract — not giving the GoT fans any tidbits to hang on for the next 38 mind-numbing days. And you know HBO will be driving everyone crazy with their endless promos. What’s going on with the Starks in the family catacombs? Yet another mystery.
We will just have to wait. If you have followed the author of the books, George R.R. Martin, he likes to put realism into his fantasy. As in this could have a really — really — dark ending. The White Walkers could win. Or Cersei could win. Those would be two very dark endings.
Then of course Jon Snow and his forces, along with Daenerys and her army and dragons, could win, which would be a very happy ending indeed. But I suspect Old George isn’t much into happy endings, unless he goes to the same massage parlors as Bob Kraft.
My guess is Thrones will end with some sort of victory for the humans, mixed with large amounts of sorrow. Some of our favorite characters will not survive. People we look at as good guys … in the Game of Thrones version of good guys, which means they have their dark, murderous sides, they will not survive either.
It won’t end like The Sopranos, but it won’t end like Sex and the City either. Martin hasn’t even finished the final book. This will be the final, epic descent into darkness, the absence of light, a flowing, black world of madness and butchery. One thing is for sure: the end of Game of Thrones will leave fans with a deep and unrelenting hunger for more.
Top photo is a screenshot of the Night King, played by Vladimir Furdik
Winter has come the Night King has brought the storm
Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the elected government officials and business were so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that.