Game of Thrones, one of the most popular TV series in the world opened its eighth and final season last week. What is the game, what is the thrones? What is going on between, among and around them? Here’s the simple explanation.
You know those old stories, from the past, about kingdoms rising and falling, and queens and princes and warriors and witches and evil spirits and magical animals and angry gods and so on? Those stories which the Missionaries told us to stop using, and then they colonised us to make sure we don’t do them again?
Yeah. Game of Thrones is that exact same thing and it is one of the most popular stories in ‘White-land’ right now. Breaking records of viewership and subscription.
I should not say ‘Whiteland’. ‘White’ is not a country. But it isn’t really clear where Game of Thrones is actually from. The creator is American, but it’s based on British history and it is filmed in Ireland, Canada, Croatia and Spain.
Not that it matters in the end. After all, it’s about a fictional place. Wakanda lives forever, but on Westeros all men must die.
Game of Thrones, the show about medieval geopolitical struggles in a fictional land, should not be confused with the other show about medieval political struggles in a non-fictional land called ‘BBC News Coverage of Brexit’.
Game of Thronesbegan as a series of novels written by a man named George RR Martin. The two Rs stand for Richard and Raymond respectively, because that was going to be your next question, wasn’t it?
For seven seasons and seven years it has won hundreds of awards, revelled in lavish critical acclaim, been slobbered over by smitten fans, but it has been controversial as well. Some were concerned about the amount of sex and violence depicted, but what can you do about such people? No matter how much you put in a show, it’s never going to be enough for them.
There were other concerns, though. For example, the show was supposed to ‘televisually’ perform the events written in the books, but oftentimes the show committed what is called deviation from the source material.
Like when my research team tells me and I decide to just tell a lie instead because it would be funnier as I am going to do in the next paragraph. They gave me an actual example of derivation but I am going to use this instead.
A character whose only mention in the whole series of books was when he carried a pot of medieval gasoline to the dragon so that it could start the fire to cook the queen’s dinner of slaughtered wild boar was written as a green four foot-two dwarf in the single eight-word sentence which encapsulates his entire and only appearance in the books. He is portrayed on the TV screen by a tall black guy. He looks like Nigerian pop star D’Banj doing a cameo, and might actually be.
These deviations are treated like a serious betrayal but the problem is, however, rectified in the current upcoming season, because it is not based on RR’s books at all.
The company, HBO, had already filmed everything he had written by the time they came to him for a seventh season. He wasn’t ready, however. He had not written any more.
So they decided to just make their own show despite the lack of a book to base it on. RR is reported to have made some suggestions, but we know how TV works. Writers’ suggestions are like the suggestions you give a dentist. “Be careful. Go slowly. Don’t make it hurt.”
The dentist replies, “Of course. I promise.”
Then whatever happens, happens.
Furthermore, this is the final season of Game of Thrones to be broadcast. Which makes it even more momentous. There is, therefore, heightened suspense. A vortex tangled in a spiral entwined with a whirlwind of theories about who will die, because one thingGame Of Thrones is famous for, apart from the gratuitous nudity, is the abrupt murders of key cast members at least expected moments.
It could be anyone. Everyone. It could be RR himself. No one is safe.
During its run, GoT has not only catapulted sales of RRs books to the commercial stratosphere, it has sold mega tonnes of merchandise, broken viewing records, launched viable and lucrative careers and let’s not forget led to the death by boredom of anyone who has ever dared say, “I have never watched Game of Thrones” to a fan. When you say that, what follows is akin to having your brain sawed open with tedium, its contents scooped out with boredom, and the hollow filled with dreariness, dullness and monotony. But at least the memes are funny.
Follow Ernest on Twitter @bazanye