“Game of Thrones” was a television phenomenon of the past decade. Since its first season, the HBO drama has been nominated for 160 Emmy Awards, winning 57 of the prized television awards. The show was based on George R. R. Martin’s book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” and quickly gained millions of followers.
The “Game of Thrones’” medieval fantasy setting plunged viewers into a world comparable to J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings.” The worldbuilding is done in a fascinatingly innovative way with an introduction detailing the different cities and lands across Westeros, the show’s setting and changing family banners over each location.
The show’s readiness to kill off beloved main characters was one of the facets of “Game of Thrones” that set it apart from the crowd. Viewers entered every episode ready to be heartbroken by the death of characters they had spent so much time investing in. A viewer was able to feel the entire range of emotions in a single episode, from anger and shocking loss to lighthearted laughter and righteous triumph.
However, the show’s following has not come without criticism. The final season of “Game of Thrones” faced backlash for nearly every episode because of its direction. Regardless of the criticism, over 19.3 million people watched the series finale, breaking the record for viewers that had been set by “Game of Thrones” the previous week.
The shining jewel of “Game of Thrones,” and the reason people were so emotionally invested, is its characters. Characters like Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister complete astonishing transformations over the course of the show, following enthralling and unsuspecting character arcs. The characters, while often tinged with magic, are incredibly human in their flaws and complexities. They struggle with the loss of family, the power of ego, loyalty and deception, things that all of us experience on some level.
The show also expertly mixed well-established actors and brand-new faces. Actors Peter Dinklage, who played Tyrion, and Charles Dance, who played Tywin Lannister, have already enjoyed long careers in the industry. But actress Emilia Clarke, who played Daenerys, actor Kit Harrington, who played Jon Snow and actress Maisie Williams, who played Arya, saw their careers jumpstarted by their involvement in the HBO drama.
The show’s method of storytelling, the way it was nearly always willing to kill off main characters and its character development are applicable to all viewers. No matter if you loved the show, hated it or didn’t even watch an episode, its impact on the decade has been massive, and it isn’t over yet.