Last Monday, television juggernaut ‘Game of Thrones’ concluded its nine year run with its eighth and final season. Since 2011, Game of Thrones has proven a worldwide cultural phenomenon – it is the most watched, (and pirated) television show of all time.
Game of Thrones has won the most Primetime Emmy Awards of any television drama:
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage) – Season 1, 2011
- Outstanding Drama Series – Season 5, 2015
- Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage) – Season 5, 2015
- Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (David Benioff and DB Weiss for ‘Mother’s Mercy) – Season 5, 2015
- Outstanding Drama Series – Season 6, 2016
- Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Miguel Sapochnik for ‘Battle of the Bastards’) – Season 6, 2016
- Outstanding Supporting Actor In a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage ) – Season 7, 2018
- Outstanding Drama Series – Season 7, 2018
It was nominated for a further 28. Gauged by Emmy wins, Season 5, followed by 3,6 and 7.
IMDB, however, tells a different story. Here I calculated season ratings out of ten by determining the average score of each season’s episodes.
- Season 1 (2011) – 9.1
- Season 2 (2012) – 9.0
- Season 3 (2013) – 9.1
- Season 4 (2014) – 9.3
- Season 5 (2015) – 8.9
- Season 6 (2016) – 9.1
- Season 7 (2017) – 9.2
- Season 8 (2019) – 6.6
Season Four, by the way, was the one with the Purple Wedding, Oberyn Martell and the battle on the Wall.
- The Rains of Castamere (Season 3) – 9.9
- Hardhome (Season 5) – 9.9
- Battle of the Bastards (Season 6) – 9.9
- The Winds of Winter (Season 6) – 9.9
Game of Thrones’s writing was stronger in the early seasons when it followed its source material. A higher budget and more-advanced CGI picked up some slack in Seasons 6-8, but the final season, which had six episodes instead of the usual seven, left viewers wanting. Too many plot threads were left hanging or deemed irrelevant. Toward the end Game of Thrones’s sprawling cast and labyrinthine plot, long its boon, became a hindrance as its writers struggled to tie loose ends with tact. An estimated 50% of fans were disappointed with the show’s ending.
Game of Thrones is based off American author George R.R Martin’s epic fantasy series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ (1996 -). David Benioff (who wrote the 2002 blockbuster ‘Troy’) and D.B Weiss met with Martin in 2006, and won the book’s rights after a five hour meeting where they accurately identified Jon Snow’s mother. They successfully pitched the show to HBO in 2007 with Martin as executive producer.
The original pilot was a failure however and after being granted a second chance, Benioff and Weiss recast and reshot 90% of the episode. The first season aired in 2011, the same year George R.R Martin published ‘A Dance with Dragons’, the latest in A Song of Ice and Fire. Eight years, and the whole television series later, book fans still await the next installment.
Martin wrote four episodes of Game of Thrones, one for each of the first four seasons.
- ‘The Pointy End’
- ‘The Bear and the Maiden Fair’
- ‘The Lion and the Rose’
Game of Thrones launched careers. Unknowns before it aired, Kit Harrington, Emilia Clark, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Richard Madden and Rory McCann have since become household names. More than anything, Game Thrones has proven that in our era, television has surpassed film. Quality acting, costumes, set design and dialogue with battle scenes and special effects worthy of Hollywood, a good series can do it all, only with a far greater cast and much more time.