Thousands of people huddled around screens as the steady rhythm of drums and horns signaled the beginning of an end. Winter has arrived with dragons in tow.
“Game of Thrones” dominated media April 14 as the series debuted the premiere of its final season. Based off the book series of the same title, written by George R. R. Martin, the show rocked the entertainment world and skyrocketed the acting careers of dozens. Each season averages 6.5 million viewers according to Statista.
The show began April 17, 2011, and captivated viewers with its graphic gore, violence and nudity, all packed into episodes with run times that last close to an hour. There is a reason the show coined the term “sex position” as many plot points are made as characters go at it like rabbits.
Biomedical science junior April James said the grittiness and gore add to the show’s appeal.
“I think it’s influenced TV to be more daring,” James said. “They show some dark stuff. Like they show the deaths and blood. They don’t shy away from showing us what people would do to protect their families. They show us how dark and twisted a person can be.”
“Game of Thrones” has a multitude of characters all fighting for control of the Iron Throne and the right to rule the fictional world of Westeros. There are a few families who the show focuses on more than the most: Houses Starks, Lannister, Baratheon, Targaryen, Greyjoys, Tyrell and the Night’s Watch. However, quite a few members of these families don’t make it past season one.
Computer science junior Connor Beshears enjoys the shock value.
“It’s crazy how there is a lack of general concern for people you think will be series long characters,” Beshears said. “George has no problem just killing them off.”
So many characters have died that one of the more popular phrases of the show is “Valar morghulis” which translates to “all men must die.”
No character has appeared in every single episode of the series. While some speculate the main character is Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, or Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, statistics show it’s another fan favorite. According to researchers Andrew J. Beveridge and Jie Shan, the main character is Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage.
“Game of Thrones” has influenced much of pop culture. According to The Guardian, “Game of Thrones” is “referenced throughout pop culture, celebrated at fan conventions, inspiring everything from pop-up bars to a live concert experience.” The popular language learning app DuoLingo even offers the show’s fictitious language, High Valyrian, for fans to learn.
While the show is coming to an end in its eighth season, Martin told IGN that it would need at least another five seasons to stay truthful to his books. However, he did say the end of the show will be as close to the books as possible.
“I don't think Dan and Dave's (the creators of the show) ending is going to be that different from my ending because of the conversations we did have,” Martin said. “But they may be on certain secondary characters, there may be big differences, there's no way to get in all the detail, all the minor characters, all the secondary characters.”
This has led many to speculate who will win the throne. Erik Kain, a contributor to Forbes, gathered eight possibilities. The first is that no one will gain the throne.
“It will be nobody,” Kain said. “That's my guess.”
Kain roots this theory in a quote from the Mother of Dragons, Daenerys.
“At one point during a conversation between Dany and Tyrion in the season six finale, Daenerys says something that I think we should all pay heed to,” Kain said. “‘Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Stark, Tyrell — they're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that one’s on top and on and on, it spins crushing those on the ground. … I'm not going to stop the wheel, I'm going to break the wheel.”
Beshears agreed with the statement.
“I don’t think anyone will be sitting on the throne by the end of this thing,” Beshears said.
Another theory is that Jon Snow and Daenerys will not get their “happily ever after.”
James thinks it’ll be because one of them will die.
“I want Jon or Daenerys to get it, but I think they are going to kill one off and the other has to rule without the other,” James said.
Kain doesn’t think it’ll be due to another shocking death, but rather, and spoiler alert, because they discover they are related.
“It's entirely possible that Dany won't care that she and Jon Snow are related,” Kain said. “The Targaryens never really did mind the whole incest thing. But I do think she'll be upset when she discovers that Jon is actually next in line for the Iron Throne. … Jon, on the other hand, is more Stark than Targaryen. … I don't think he'll be at all okay to learn that the woman he's just begun sleeping with is a close blood relative.”
Other predictions include the death of all the dragons; Jaime will kill Cersei; a long-awaited showdown between the brothers; The Hound and The Mountain; and inspiring the Martin to write.
A bit of an inside joke among “Game of Thrones” fans, Martin is notorious for procrastinating on finishing the story.
“If I were Martin, and I saw the TV show lap my books, I'd be inspired to write more and write faster,” Kain said. “If I saw my greatest work finished before I finished it, with an ending that wasn't really the ending I planned, I'd want to set the record straight.”