I recently finished my re-watch binge of all of Game of Thrones in anticipation of the final season premiere on April 14. I started in mid-March, hoping to give myself enough time, and turns out I finished quite fast as I got sucked back in right away. While there is so much material and groundwork in the earlier seasons for the latter seasons, it really does feel like you’re watching two different TV shows, with a breaking point in mid-season five. (Personally, I think S5 E6 “Hardhome” really changed everything.)
The latter seasons had that groundwork done thanks to the rich wealth of material in George R.R. Martin’s epic books, A Song of Ice and Fire—the series of books upon which Game of Thrones is based, in case you missed it. Part of why it might seem like two different programs in one is that the TV show went beyond where Martin’s books left off, already planting the seeds for plot changes in earlier seasons—but truly going off the deep end by season five. In my experience watching the series, the changes might have helped season six, but season seven truly suffered. Just looking at the script alone, it’s clear that the showrunners are skilled at adapting Martin’s work, but they are not good at developing new material from scratch. (Some of the dialogue is just plain trash—on par, if not worse, than the cardboard lines of the Star Wars prequels.)
All of that said, it has me wanting to re-read Martin’s books—perhaps with (false) optimism that the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, might finally coming out in the next year. Then again, White Walkers will probably show up in North America first before that happens.
For those of you who have not read A Song of Ice and Fire, but would like to, I recently put this guide together on how to do so FOR FREE through the convenience of your own smartphones and tablets through your local library. Seven blessings to you all.
Photo from when I attended the Game of Thrones Season 3 premiere at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco in March 2013.