Game of Thrones: The End of an Era

Jon+Snow+%28Kit+Harrington%29+and+Daenerys+Targaryen+%28Emilia+Clarke%29+prepare+to+defend+the+north+against+mankind%27s+common+enemy%2C+the+White+Walkers.+
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Game of Thrones: The End of an Era

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) prepare to defend the north against mankind's common enemy, the White Walkers.

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) prepare to defend the north against mankind's common enemy, the White Walkers.

Photo: Game of Thrones (Credit: Helen Sloane/HBO). Please note this is a promotional photo for press only.

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) prepare to defend the north against mankind's common enemy, the White Walkers.

Photo: Game of Thrones (Credit: Helen Sloane/HBO). Please note this is a promotional photo for press only.

Photo: Game of Thrones (Credit: Helen Sloane/HBO). Please note this is a promotional photo for press only.

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) prepare to defend the north against mankind's common enemy, the White Walkers.

Paula Petruschin, Samantha Salazar (Contributor), and Scarlett Price (Contributor)

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Eight years after HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones premiered in April 2011, it began its final season last Sunday, April 14, 2019, to an estimated and record-setting 32.8 million viewers.

A pop culture event that has stunned audiences every season, the show prompts primal reactions such as sadness, rage, and outright glee. Season after season, viewers have watched some of their favorite characters sacrificed for exigency of plot, while others turned steely-eyed in the battle of the living and the dead, and still others rose to prominence only to be later shattered, for, as Cersei so eloquently put it in season 1, “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

In a world where nobility is no guarantee of life, evil often triumphs, and justice is arbitrary, one might wonder what keeps viewers coming back? Freshman Brooke Williams feels Game of Thrones stands out among other shows because of its “shock factor…such as its gory scenes and unexpected deaths,” while freshman Karina Tapia believes it is “the dialogue and character development…[that] keeps you watching.”

For fans of the George RR Martin books, however, it is something else. According to Mrs. Petruschin, “It is the unique perspective from which the stories are told. Written in the first person limited, the books themselves are arranged into a series of chapters, each of which takes a unique character perspective. Although the lines between good and evil are blurred within the series, the books allow fans into the minds of the characters and we begin to see the complexity of human thought that illustrates each of us has the capacity for both good and evil within us.”

Hailed as the most award winning drama series of all time, the show has garnered 308 of the 596 total awards for which it has been nominated thus far, and the second most number of Emmy’s, coming in behind only Saturday Night Live, a series that aired in 1975, and which, at four and a half decades, has been running five times as long as Game of Thrones.

Even though SNL boasts more awards than GoT, the long standing series has not been without its nods to the fledgling giant. With numerous comedic sketches of the hit show, SNL actors and GoT mega-stars have teamed up to bring a little levity to the intensity of the dramatic series. Take for instance the “Game of Game of Thrones” sketch found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ME1ezSWjTFo

In addition to spoofing Martin’s characters and the shows popularity, several of the GoT leading actors have appeared as guests or hosts on the show, including Kit Harrington, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, John Bradley, Rose Leslie, and last, but certainly not least, Peter Dinklage.

Late night nods are not an SNL exclusive, however. Playing off of notable quotables such as “You know nothing, John Snow,” Late Night with Seth Myers also invited John Snow (aka Kit Harrington) to dinner, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’s “Game of Desks” compared the late night show’s politics to the mega-hit series. Other notable quotes that have become the fodder of late night tv and Thrones related memes include sayings such as, “Bend the knee” and “Winter is coming.”

Top dramatic acting and witty one-liners are not the only reasons fans come flocking back to the series each season. The series has also been awarded several Visual Effects Society awards for each of its seasons since 2012. And even though season eight will boast only six episodes, two-thirds of them come in at feature length runtimes. With an average cost of $15 million per episode according to Business Insider’s Nisha Stickles and Barbara Corbellini Duarte, season 8 promises to be yet another stunning example of the power of CGI and VFX to bring to life grand scenes and creatures that would have previously been possible only in the imagination.

Marking the end of an era, the show will come to a close with its 80 minute series finale on May 19, 2019.

If you haven’t been following the much awarded show, it’s not too late. You can watch Game of Thrones on HBO Now whenever you like on any number of devices.