Skip to content

Game of Thrones: Hands down, one of the finest TV shows ever made

Read on, because it’s not that you’re not a fan, it’s that you’re not a fan yet
With the sixth season coming to a close, it’s time to look at what has endeared the land of Westeros to millions around the world. Supplied

Game of Thrones has risen to become one of the most successful shows on television. But why is that? What is it about this fantasy show that has captured the hearts and minds of millions? 

With the sixth season coming to a close, it’s time to look at what has endeared the land of Westeros to millions around the world. 

When Game of Thrones first made the transition from the written word to the small screen, it was a much different thing. There were small elements of fantasy, but it came off more as a medieval mystery drama set in a fantastical land. 

Everything revolved around politics, murder plots and interesting and flamboyant characters. The series began with King Robert of The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros traveling to Winterfell, the northern kingdom under protection of the Stark family. 

Eddard stark, the head of the family, is asked to become the Hand of the King —essentially the king’s right-hand man. He is hesitant at first, but when he finds out his mentor died under very suspicious circumstances, he agrees to take the position in order to investigate.

After that, the gritty fantasy setting becomes home to an intriguing murder mystery. And as the web became larger and more complex, more characters were added to the fold. We were whisked away to the far corners of the mysterious land of Westeros and across the seas to the savage lands of Essos. Each new location had a unique cast of characters that played a different role in the proceedings. 

This all might sound a tad confusing, and that’s because it is (here's a link to a handy-dandy viewer's guide from HBO). There are dozens of characters to meet and remember, each with their own agendas, backstories and complexities. And that doesn’t even touch on the past of the land itself. 

All of these details are leaked out slowly through the expertly written dialogue, but it will take most of the first season for you to fully understand how each player fits into the complex, multilayered puzzle.

This factors into the brilliance of Game of Thrones. Once you’ve cracked the code and fully understand the world, you can truly become immersed in it. Fans fall in love with the fully realized characters, tantalizing world and unpredictable story lines. No one is safe in Game of Thrones; anyone can die at any time. Your favourite character could have a moment of triumph one week and then have a sword through their neck the next. 

Not only this, but because each season is a mere 10 episodes, they have the pacing down to a formula. There is typically a major upset halfway through the season with another major climax during episode nine. While this may be a bit predictable, it also ensures that, over the course of a season, there are peaks and valleys. 

Tensions build until they are inevitably released in a breathtaking conflict. 

These conflicts rival those of The Lord of the Rings in their spectacle. Swords swing through the air, loudly connecting as the steel blades ricochet off one another. Horses charge through the mud and blood, lifting unsuspecting soldiers off their feet and flinging them across the bustling battlefield. 

They are stunning to behold and impossibly gruesome. The world of Game of Thrones is not a kind one, and some of the show’s best moments come when this is on display. 

But at the end of the day, it’s the show’s unpredictability that keeps drawing viewers back, week after week. The complex storylines don’t wrap up nicely at the end of each season, they continue on, picking up characters and growing more and more convoluted. 

Not knowing what’s going to happen is part of the fun, especially when you watch with a group of other people and can all rattle off your outrageous fan theories, trying to predict the outcome of each episode before it even airs. 

Like I said before, each season is expertly paced, so each episode has a purpose to fulfill in the overarching narrative. It might not seem like the most exciting hour of television upon viewing, but it contributes to the story at large, setting up character motivations and deepening the plot. 

While Game of Thrones is technically a fantasy epic, it feels a lot more personal. Big battles and dramatic sword fights happen from episode to episode, but the bread and butter of the series are its character interactions. 

The writing is some of the best on TV, cleverly advancing plotlines or dropping major revelations with the most casual of sentences. Even when a seemingly mundane conversation is happening on-screen, your eyes are still glued, waiting to see what wonderfully clever line will fall out of a character’s mouth next. 

I’ll admit, it’s a little bit difficult to describe what make the series so fantastic without spoiling a single plot detail, but the popularity of the show hopefully speaks for itself. 

Every single season has delighted, and even the worst episodes in the series are still some of the best television I’ve watched in years. It earns the praise it’s received. 

If you haven’t gotten swept up yet and you’re looking for a new series to take you through the summer (you know, because winter is coming), Game of Thrones is well worth the time investment. You can get the seasons through iTunes or Google Play.

Matthew Herst is a Carleton University communications student, video game journalist and’s resident geek writer. Yeah, this guy love’s video games. Besides, you can also find his work on Follow him on Twitter @supergurst.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.