On George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and its HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones

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On George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and its HBO adaptation, Game of Thrones

Sara Bialkowski, Entertainment Editor

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It was, and has always been, the thorough complexities and bittersweet storylines of the legendary HBO production, Game of Thrones, that has kept its viewers watching, viewers that have increased exponentially since its pilot episode that aired on April 17, 2011. By now, after the show’s final season has wrapped up, its intense promotion and hype among fans over the entire course of its tv days has rendered it an almost impossible feat for those foreign to the show’s plots and characters not to get pulled into the GoT world. Though the show’s ending certainly produced mixed reactions among those who have and who have not seen it in its entirety, it’s safe to say that Game of Thrones, with its growth over a period of eight seasons, its attention to detail, its acting, its character development and interaction, among other factors, has become one of the most renowned productions in film history.

Being completely serious, Game of Thrones has a kind of nonchalant power to captivate anyone even slightly intrigued by its complex plots and themes of desire and betrayal. In the beginning, before clicking play on the very first episode, I was skeptical but open to watching something different, something more nuanced and gruesome than my usual choice of tv. This of course, was a show my mother had warned me about due to its violence and lots and lots of blood. Oh, and also “adult themes.” Lots of those, too. When you’re younger, those topics are absolutely taboo, so when I began to watch and really get into the show, cheering for certain characters in their efforts to overcome others, my initial fear that I was breaking some sort of rule vanished, and I noticed that I had ultimately been sucked into George R. R. Martin’s fantasy world (not literally, of course-that would be terrifying). And it’s precisely that degree of comfort the viewer feels while being tucked away behind a screen as Martin, and by extension the directors of the HBO series,kills off characters in a way and at a level not often seen in modern literature or film.

What I believe makes the show so intriguing and different from the usual forms of tv entertainment is that it so flawlessly creates a world foreign from our own, in effect allowing us to be comfortable watching fantasy fiction that simultaneously connects us to own world history.  Game of Thrones’s major motive for character behavior as an extremely human degree of vanity and selfishness. GoT is more movie than television series.  This became clearer in the show’s documentary “The Last Watch,” which described coordinating the scenes, the beautiful cinematography, creating the myriad outfits and having them flawlessly fit into the episode every time. Its inclusion of various cultures, languages, and religions (the Dothraki of Essos and the Narrow Sea, the Valyrian language, the Old Gods of the North, and The Faith of the Seven, for example), and its ability to easily distinguish characters of differing backgrounds, also adds another layer of depth to the show. You have its multitude of characters that develop as their individual stories progress (stories, because there is never at one time a single story within the reaches of Martin’s fantasy realm, rather a compilation of many, unique to each character and his journeys), revealing a tactic that makes the show intriguing to watch, but a curse just as much as a blessing. Keeping up with the events of each storyline can get a bit tricky; however, that just adds to the show’s success at carving out, with the utmost precision, each and every detail possible, so that the viewer’s experience is subconsciously made more enjoyable by the second.    

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