Toby Young Toby Young

Winter is nearly here – bring on the body count

I’ve loved Game of Thrones, but that doesn’t mean I’m not glad it’s almost over

As a Game of Thrones fan, I feel ambivalent about the fact that the saga is finally wending its way to a conclusion. The latest season, which debuted on Sunday, is the last series but one; there will only be a total of 13 episodes across both. On the one hand, I feel sad about the fact that a television series that has given me so much pleasure is coming to an end. But I’m also a
little relieved.

At times, following the sprawling cast of characters and multiple story-lines has felt a bit too much like hard work. The past few seasons have become bogged down as the writers have dutifully charted the fates of minor figures such as Tommen Baratheon, an almost supernaturally boring princeling. I often found myself having to Google who the characters are just to keep track of them. The overarching storyline inched forward at a snail’s pace and the series began to take on a soapy quality — a drama without a proper engine.

I kept going, of course. Partly because there were still little nuggets of goodness to be found in each episode, but also because I’d already invested so many weeks — months, years — in the series. Watching these epic, multi-season shows often feels like that. You put up with the fallow periods in the hope that, eventually, your investment will pay off. It’s an act of faith.

The last season ended promisingly, with numerous characters being killed off, including young King Tommen, who threw himself out of a window. This is one of the delights of Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin, the author of the books on which the series is based, prides himself on not becoming sentimentally attached to any of his creations.

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