[Originally published on 5/13/19 on my previous site, Bright-blood.com]
A Tribute to Game of Thrones
Warning: this post will contain spoilers for HBO’s tv series Game of Thrones. Proceed at your own risk!
I’ve been a massive fan of the fiction/fantasy genre for as long as I can remember. Whether it be video games, books, movies, tv shows, I’ve just always been drawn to it. I’m not sure if it’s the countless hours spent with my dad watching these types of movies as a child or if it’s actually just in my genetics, but I can’t say enough how much I love all the different realms, lands, worlds, and universes that we can lose ourselves in every day. Of all these options though, I’d have to say that Game of Thrones is, hands down, the pinnacle of the fantasy genre. Whether it be the detailed descriptions found within GRRM’s novels or the spectacular cinematography found in HBO’s show, this story never ceases to amaze me.
I still remember the day I started Game of Thrones almost 6 years ago. All of my roommates had moved home for the summer, but I decided to stay and take the six-week physics course so I didn’t have to suffer through twelve weeks of it when Fall semester began. I had just finished binging the first few seasons of Breaking Bad and was in dire need of something to watch in between all of my studying. After doing some research, I noticed that there had been a lot of buzz around Game of Thrones. This was June 2013 after all and The Red Wedding had just aired. Thankfully I avoided the spoilers, but after seeing the drama that season caused I knew I had to get into this show. So later that night I put the first episode on, and I kid you not, I was up until almost 4 A.M… I couldn’t stop watching no matter how tired I got! Over the next week or two, I watched the hell out of Game of Thrones and was completely caught up. When my roommates moved back up in early August, I made them watch. They got hooked as well, and it was all history from there. Since then, I’ve probably watched every episode prior to season eight at least five times, have done more research on theories than I could ever keep track of, started listening to a podcast that breaks down every aspect of each episode (big shouts to Ross and Barrett on Oysters, Clams, and Cockles), and read all five of the books cover to cover. I think it’s safe to say that I’m a bit of a super fan of this series haha. It was even a huge part of the inspiration behind starting my own book, Brightblood. If you’ve read my blog post A Blog About Writing, you know that I was joking with my girlfriend about how sad I would be when GoT ends, and I told her I was going to create a fantasy world to make up for the lack I would be facing starting on May 20th. Two months later I’m four chapters deep, have a website and a blog, and loving every second of this new venture I am on. However, that also means that five of the last GoT episodes have already passed, and it is about time I paid tribute to this amazing show.
For the rest of this article, I would like to briefly touch on my top three seasons, episodes, and scenes, and then I’ll end with what I’ve liked/disliked about season 8 so far and my prediction for how the season ends. So jumping right into it, here are my favorite seasons.
- My third favorite season of Game of Thrones is season five. There were so many incredible moments in this season, whether we were watching John battle the wights/White Walkers at Hardhome, Cersei’s walk of shame after “atoning” for her sins, or Drogon and Dany’s first flight together after the mayhem breaks out within the Fighting Pits. A few of my favorite episodes of all time fell into this season, so there was no doubt in my mind that I had to rank it number three.
- In Second place, we have season eight. This may catch some flack, but I honestly do not care one bit. I went into this season with an open mind, knowing that it was the last season and that I would probably not get to see everything I wanted and that a lot of things may not have the time they truly needed to develop. With that being said, I think this season has been almost perfect and a true work of art. I think HBO has absolutely crushed it out of the park, but I’ll dive a little deeper into this later on in my post.
- Finally, coming in at number one, we have season three. I’m not sure if anyone could ever argue that this isn’t the greatest season of television history. Not to mention the buzz around the penultimate episode was what got me into this show in the first place. If season five had a lot of incredible moments, this season, in general, was one amazing, incredible moment. We had all of those fantastic Jon/Ygritte scenes, we had Dany persuading The Second Sons to fight for her and not the Yunkishmen, and we had the beginning of the end for the Night’s watch once Joer Mormont was slain. In all honesty, there hasn’t been a season I’ve disliked in this entire series, but these three definitely stand out in my eyes as the defining areas of Game of Thrones.
Next up are my favorite episodes.
- In third place falls the Mountain and the Viper. This episode was unbelieveable and extremely gut-wrenching, cough cough Oberyn’s eyes popping out of his head and the thought of losing Tyrion forever. Not to mention we also see the first attack on Castle Black, the initial spark of love between Grey Worm and Missandei (RIP), and our first glimpse into the new and improved Sansa.
- Next up in the number two spot is Hardhome. There were a lot of good things that happened in this episode, but in all honesty I just love it for the fight. Seeing Tormund kill the Lord of Bones and defend Jon’s honor by explaining why he killed Mance, he cemented himself as one of Jon’s trusted allies right before Hardhome was bombarded by wights. Then we get the epic fight between Jon and one of the White Walkers. The face the White Walker makes when Longclaw doesn’t break was priceless, and then Jon just absolutely manhandles him before shattering the White Walker into a million tiny pieces. Not to mention the chills from the Night King bringing everyone back to life after the battle… it was such a heartbreaking yet fantastic scene and I will never forget that moment the tides turned in favor of the dead.
- Finally coming in at number one is The Battle of the Bastards. This battle made every other battle we had seen so far look like child’s play. And even though we had Rickon not running zig zags and Jon falling victim to what was clearly a Ramsey trap, we got see Sansa come through with the Knights of the Vale to save the day. Her character arc over the seasons before led to this exact moment and it was so awesome to finally see her settling into her role as a badass. Plus, using Ramsey’s own hounds to kill him after he bragged about not feeding them was just a total savage move by Sansa.
Now I will dive into my favorite scenes.
- Rounding out the top three is the battle between The Mountain and Oberyn. This will forever be one of the most insane fights and deaths of this show. Oberyn was absolutely destroying Gregor, and then he started getting reckless. This was when I got that feeling that something terrible was about to happen, which of course it did, and Oberyn got his eyes crushed right out of his skull before exacting the revenge he was so close to getting.
- Sliding in right before this battle is Arya killing the Night King. I know that a lot of people did not like The Battle of Winterfell episode from season eight, but to me this scene was amazing. I actually have a lot of takes on this scene and episode three in general, but once again I’ll hold those until my review of the last season.
- My favorite scene of all time is The Red Wedding. This may sound crazy since this episode was such a tear-jerker, but that to me is what makes it so great. The fact that a show that killed its main character at the end of the first season could surprise its audience (or at least everyone who hadn’t read the books yet) by unexpectedly killing so many of its main characters was incredible. I can honestly say I had not even the slightest clue that this was going to happen, and once Catelyn noticed Roose clad in his chainmail my heart sunk.
Finally, I want to discuss season eight. As I mentioned earlier, I think HBO has absolutely nailed this season give or take a few things. In every show, there will be people who hate, especially when it comes down to the last few episodes. Yet it is astonishing to me how many people are completely furious with this season and picking apart every single improbable or unlikely scenario. Yes, we had the Starbucks blunder (which for $2.3B in revenue may just have been intentional), and the send off for Ghost may have been just a touch lazy (even though I don’t think we have seen the last of him or Tormund), and I would have really liked to see Cersei die differently (preferably by Arya, wearing Jaime’s face after Euron killed him and she stumbled across his body somewhere in the Red Keep), but all in all this season has been quite spectacular. The cinematography has been to die for and I am loving the extended episodes. For everyone who was upset with the lighting in episode three, adjust your screen or stop watching the greatest show of all time on trash tvs. I don’t own an expensive TV, and I had no problem seeing every single thing in this episode. For those of you complaining about Arya sneaking by all the White Walkers, SHE HAS BEEN TRAINING AS A SUPER STEALTHY, WATER DANCING, FACELESS MAN ASSASSIN FOR THE ENTIRE SHOW! It makes complete sense that she is dead silent and can sneak past some wights. In fact just 10 minutes earlier we had the scene where she did the exact same thing, and she was slightly concussed there it seemed. Arya has always been my favorite character, so I was ecstatic when she pulled that dope knife drop hand switch and ended the Night King. She also clearly was not one of the White Walkers, as they explode when they die and there would be no way for her to get a face to use. And last night’s episode… oh my god. I’ve firmly been on the “Dany will come to her senses and not end up going full Mad queen” train since the beginning of this season, but boy was I wrong. Apparently, everyone should have listened to Varys after all haha. Speaking of Varys, how sick was that scene with Drogon coming out of the shadows!?Then we have Clegane Bowl. I loved how The Hound’s story ended, and Qyburn may have had the craziest death of all time right before this battle even began. I’m also extremely grateful that Sandor convinced Arya to leave because I don’t know how I would’ve handled her death. With all of that being said however, I think GoT has been an extremely cyclical show and that we will somehow see one of the remaining characters become a night king or queen. There is no there was all of that hype over the White Walkers, and not to mention the prequel is going to be based on their origin, just for them to be 100% eliminated in the blink of an eye. Plus, they kept showing that symbol, which is definitely some sort of hint at repeating cycles or repeating history. Before this season, my prediction had always been that the last thing we would see would be bran waking up from his fall and starting everything all over again because he somehow three-eyed raven’d himself backward in time. Even though that now seems extremely improbable, I wouldn’t be surprised to have some sort of insane twist like that rip my heart out next week in the finale.One of the best lines this show has ever used came from one of the most, if not the most, evil characters; Ramsey Bolton. “If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.” I think that I will pay attention to Ramsey heading into this last episode and expect the worst since you know we truly have no idea what the showrunners are planning. No matter what happens on Sunday, I’m happy that I’ve had this show for the past six years. It will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I cannot thank GRRM enough for creating this magnificent world that we can all lose ourselves within.