“Game of Thrones” Preserves Its Reign


Daenerys Targaryen exchanges a glance with her trusted advisor, Tyrion Lannister. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HBO)


Quite possibly the hottest show of the summer was the newest season of HBO’s fantasy series “Game of Thrones.” Based off the bestselling novels by George R.R. Martin, the television show launched its first season in 2011, and has progressively reached unprecedented amounts of success due to its shocking twists, complex characters and rivalries for the coveted Iron Throne. The seventh season, which premiered this past July after over a year of waiting, definitely had its high and low points. Was it worth the wait? Somewhat.

“Game of Thrones” takes place in the fictional world of Westeros, where seven kingdoms are dominated by groups of noble houses—some more powerful than others. Consistently throughout the show, viewers watch the political tumult as different houses yearn to swipe power from the others, all of them with the same goal of sitting on the Iron Throne as the ruler of all Seven Kingdoms.

But what made the season stand out from its predecessors? Some factors aren’t as good as others.

First, there was a definite lack of content. The seventh season of the show was drastically shorter than its previous installments, with only seven episodes rather than its usual 10. In addition, the episodes themselves were also shorter in length, most only a little over an hour long. This smaller allotment of space caused the show countless issues, especially when it came to plot-holes. Because all of the major characters are beginning to finally interact with one another, the show seems to be rushing its content. Certain journeys that would have taken men two or three episodes to accomplish now simply take minutes. In a run to deliver the action, the show seems to lose the slow buildup in storylines that made it so popular in the first place.

Because the next season of “Game of Thrones” will be its last, season seven contained a lot of exposition for the events that will occur later on. Most of the season focuses on political discussions of the Lannister and Targaryen houses—making alliances, securing loyalties and planning against opposition. As a result, it is dull at times.

But one of the overwhelmingly successful factors of the season was the sheer amount of character development that viewers see. Major rulers such as Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister and Jon Snow all have more screentime, and the show does an incredible job of highlighting their character traits and motivations through simple lines of dialogue. It is easier to interpret Cersei’s hunger for power and Jon’s honest nature, but witnessing Daenerys finally begin to make difficult decisions to establish her presence really allowed her character to grow and shift into the political environment. In addition, the Stark family begins to make a resurgence to prominence, with Sansa Stark at the head. Witnessing her growth as a leader and as an individual was easily one of the best aspects of the season.

Having the major characters all begin to interact with one another and converging into the same plotline is something that fans have always waited for. The tone of the season is incredibly dark, with the looming threat of the White Walkers forcing opposite powers to intermingle. Now that most of the characters have grown in their own unique ways since the show began, it is fascinating to watch them interact and continue their relationships with one another—whether good, bad or romantic.

Despite fewer episodes, there was plenty of action. For those who are fans of the show because of its shocking twists, you will not be disappointed. It is obvious that the production value of the show has increased since it first began, and every battle sequence throughout the season was impeccably done. The action is fierce enough to keep you on the edge of your seat but also holds a certain amount of seriousness and emotion for the remaining characters. Because the plotlines are converging, there are battles between major figures that quickly change the direction of the show. And to see powerful characters finally fighting against one another was very satisfying. Any fan, either recent or long-term, will enjoy the action this season offers. And yes, there were dragons involved.

While it does have its flaws, this season of “Game of Thrones” is definitely worth watching. It takes years of conflict and character growth and finally merges the plotline so that viewers can see their favorites interacting with one another. With the action that unfolded, it is very exciting to guess what could happen next time—when winter arrives.

And, for any residents who want to watch the latest season of “Game of Thrones” or catch up from the beginning, Fordham provides access to HBO GO for free.