What’s “Game of Thrones,” you ask? This Shakesperean tragedy with plenty of parallels to be drawn with our century, chockfull of epic battles, sex and betrayal and set in a fantasy medieval-type atmosphere, depicts the epochal clashes between power-hungry monarchies. Each one wants to seize the iron throne, all this action taking place on a continent named Westeros. Bi-partisan? Mythological? Check and check.
The internet is buzzing with anticipation, predictions and bets reaching fever pitch among fans of the series. Season 8 of “Game of Thrones” begins airing on Sunday.
For people living in a cave, there is a damocles sword aspect to “Game of Thrones,” and that’s where things get interesting. A double-threat looms, that of a long winter whose duration noone knows exactly, and of the White Walkers, supernatural creatures who thrive in the cold and have the ability to wake the dead and weaponize them, turning them into a band of bloodthirsty zombies. Indeed, it could be said that generally speaking humans in “Game of Thrones” are screwed, if they have not already died. But instead of forging alliances, all that they think about is fighting and their own interests, “Game of Thrones” standing as parable for self-interested 21st-century politicians too busy (preparing, or running, for election, for example) to think about the planet heading towards a near-collapse because of the climate changing at a rapid pace.
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Now boasting over sixty episodes, the immensely-popular “Game of Thrones,” massive in scope and enclosing many sub-plots, is now entering its eighth and final season. The humans in it are still very much cliquish. Some of the main characters have gone north of Westeros to face the White Walkers (they have become increasingly powerful) while their enemies, laying low because of some truce (a ruse, of course), are mobilizing an army of mercenaries to attack from the rear.
No one knows how this will end, since—and this is unprecedented in televised adaptations of books—the HBO series, conceived by David Benioff and Weiss Daniel, has actually gone further than the actual books by the novelist George R.R. Martin from which they were adapted. Martin still has to publish the final two volumes.
Even if the narrative threads ultimately match, the series’ screenwriters have taken license, and made the “Game of Thrones” universe (even) less believable. In S7, I got frustrated because of some geographical, temporal and material aberrations in the narration, stuff that just didn’t make any sense. I guess this was partly due to the writers’ desire to speed things up in the story, but it was specifically the slow-brewed action that made “Game of Thrones” so interesting to watch.
The eighth season, which includes six episodes only, may be a deliberate effort to resolve all the mysteries quickly and get someone up on that throne. Fast, for crying out loud.
Who will that be? That’s the biggest question, of course. My money is on no one. The noblemen will all flee to Essos, another continent separated from Westeros by the Narrow Sea. Feudalism will end, the people left over will form a democracy and bread prices will drop. For now.