I hate to break it to you (and it’s heartbreaking), but Daenerys Targaryen turns out to be a mad, dark villain just like the rest of them in
. The penultimate episode of the acclaimed TV series, aired at 6.30am on Monday on Hotstar (and also on Star World on Tuesday), chronicles the bloody fall of King’s Landing, the medieval seat of power in the fantasy land of Westeros (where winter easily runs into decades). Game of Thrones
After her loyal companion and handmaiden Missandei is beheaded (in the previous episode), Dany, riding her dragon Drogon, goes on a rampage over King’s Landing, burning thousands of innocents to a cinder. And, that is what the Emmy-winning GoT, everybody’s favourite dragon show, has come to these days.
If you have been hooked to the show, you would know by now, that it will have a prequel series to be helmed by the learned people at HBO. (GoT is the most watched show in the channel’s chequered history.) As yet untitled, the prequel show will be steered by writer Jane Goldman (
Kickass; Kingsman: The Secret Service) and will be set 5,000-10,000 years before the events of the original.
RR Martin, the writer of the epic fantasy series, ‘
A Song of Ice and Fire’, based on which GoT was created, has suggested the title, The Long Night, for the prequel. Actress Naomi Watts will lead the cast that includes familiar faces like Miranda Richardson and Georgie Henley. More “successor shows” may be in the pipeline waiting to be green-lit.
There is a fair chance that we will know who -- after years of fidgety waiting -- sits on the ugly, monstrous thing they call Iron Throne. Ironically, this may even happen before we get to know who will come to power at the centre in our beloved country. It is up to you to decide which interests you more. I strongly suspect millennials in India will vote for watching GoT on May 19 instead of turning on the elections coverage on TV on May 23.
The fight for the Throne has consumed millions of viewers since April 17, 2011, when the series was first aired, setting new benchmarks for the portrayal of sex and violence. Now, rumours spreading like wildfire on the internet that Dany (Emilia Clarke) will be knocked off to make for Jon Snow (Kit Harington) to sit on the Throne.
When the series ends on May 19 (the last episode is yet to be telecast at the time of writing), we will know for sure. Lady Cersei Lannister (a terrific, terrific Lena Headey), who is not keen to give up King’s Landing, is now dead (or, is she?), along with her twin brother, Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). That puts an end to the twincest that indirectly ends up making Bran Stark a “Three-Eyed Raven”, who can see into the present, past and future, all at once. In all likelihood, Bran will go on one last warg in the last episode.
Though Martin continues to be co-executive producer, some say he has run out of source material (or is too slow to write it), which is one explanation, among many, to the show’s dipping standards. There is also no getting away from the fact that the books, conceived as a trilogy, have now taken up seven volumes.
The task of making a “10-hour movie every year”, as actor Peter Dinklage -- who plays the dwarf Tyrion Lannister – puts it is not easy anymore for David Benioff and DB Weiss, the show’s creators and writers. There is even a demand from the audiences to remake Season 8 and thousands have signed a
Change.org petition pleading with the filmmakers to redo the last few episodes. Often enough, the TV series has deviated from the books, agonising and alienating core fans. But funnily enough, until the show was telecasted, the sales of the books were, trust me on this, quite negligible.
When the eighth and final season opened, Daenerys and Jon rode into Winterfell to fight the White Walkers (who are a bit like zombies). The Night King (currently played by Vladimir 'Furdo' Furdik) is killed in one swift, shocking move by Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) using dragon-glass. The thousands who die in battle are mourned and then the celebrations begin and everyone drinks, including seemingly from a Starbucks cup (major blooper, right there).
Each of the main characters and many of the minor ones experience so much that their character arcs are huge. Some like that of Samwell Tarly, simply Sam, never fail to surprise us. When we first meet him, Sam, portrayed with a mischievous wit and plucky courage by John Bradley, is just a steward of the Night’s Watch. He can barely lift his sword and it’s in saving his ass that Jon forges with him a close friendship. It is also the first time that men learn Snow can be a leader. Sam is the first one to learn that Jon Snow is neither a bastard nor a Stark. He is a Targaryen (his mother is a Stark) and the closest to being a true heir to the Iron Throne.
Sansa Stark is another character who is extremely well-written. In the first episode, she is a timid girl who might one day make a perfect princess. She is good at embroidery and blushing. Her marriages ultimately fail and in the seventh season, when she orders the death of Lord Petyr Baelish, well-known in the Seven Realms as Littlefinger, it is clear that it is not a decision she would have made without getting exposed to the malevolent evil of Joffrey Baratheon (the young and promising actor Jack Gleeson).
Game of Thrones can be seen as man’s hunger for power.
The list of morbidly violent, barf-inducing scenes in GoT is endless. Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) burns his own kid daughter at the stake, his whole army watching, because his God (priestess at least) demands it. At the Red Wedding, Robb Stark and half the cast of the series are massacred by Walder Frey, played by an excellent David Bradley. (Bradley, by the way, plays the ineffectual and comical caretaker of Hogwarts, Argus Filch, in the Harry Potter series.)
Robb, the King in the North, wants revenge for his father’s death. Stannis believes he is the true heir to the throne. Many, many others are also salivating to sit on the Throne. They all play the Game because they want to sit on the Throne one day.
GoT has its fair share of blood and gore, misogyny and sadism, deception and deceit, body shaming and depravity. It mostly hooks you by shocking you. When I first saw the show, it hurt me deep inside. So this is not recommended watching for the faint-hearted.
Every season features a couple of battles scenes including the epic “Battle of the Bastards (S6E9)” between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton. This was the first time I truly realised that this was no ordinary TV in terms of production cost. More than 1,000 people and 65 horses were used in filming this battle.
GoT can cause despair in you in a way that most shows never can. Good can never be trusted to defeat evil, especially in the earlier seasons.
In the last couple of seasons, we have settled into a rhythm. All the Starks may not have lived, but they are probably on the good side, and they may not lose after all. Binge-watching GoT can be an exercise in self-degradation. The other famous series that comes to an end this week,
, may have struck a bitter last note, but I suspect that it is shows like Game of Thrones that make us such massive suckers for prestige television. The Big Bang Theory Nandhu Sundaram is a journalist based in Ooty.