The premiere of Game of Thrones’ final season is almost upon us. The show began in 2011 and has enjoyed a sort of popularity and fanaticism usually reserved for summer blockbusters. And there are reasons for that.
Game of Thrones distinguished itself by weaving an intricate tale of warring noble families, murder, violence, betrayal, backstabbing and conspiracy. It then added fantasy elements like dragons and White Walkers to the mix to make gripping television.
The show is based on a book series called A Song of Ice and Fire written by American author George RR Martin. Though the show follows the book faithfully, it eventually outpaced it since the sixth book out of seven planned books has still not been published. And even before, some scenes were written specifically for the show and were not in the books. (Note: These scenes might appear in the book series as well, since Martin has been closely involved with the show from the get-go)
Here we give you five such scenes.
Jaime Lannister and Ned stark’s conversation in the throne room
When Ned arrives in King’s Landing to assume the title of the Hand of the King, he sees Jaime Lannister waiting for him in the throne room. The two exchange taunts, with Ned telling Jaime how he served the Mad King Aerys Targaryen as the knight of the Kingsguard faithfully when serving was safe and then stabbed him in the back when he saw the chance. Jaime says when he stabbed Aerys, he remembered him laughing as he burnt Ned’s father and brother alive, and claims Aerys’ death felt like justice. This is an original scene but is true to how the characters in book would talk. For Ned, honour is above everything and he cannot entertain Jaime’s excuses, while Jaime is more, let’s say flexible. This scene is ominous as it predicts the inevitable, building confrontation between the Starks and the Lannisters. It is also a gripping little scene, with sharply crafted dialogue.
Jaime Lannister: It must be strange for you, coming into this room. I was standing right here when it happened. He was very brave, your brother. Your father too. They didn’t deserve to die like that. Nobody deserves to die like that.
Ned Stark: But you just stood there and watched.
Jaime Lannister: Five hundred men just stood there and watched. All the great knights of the Seven Kingdoms, you think anyone said a word, lifted a finger? No, Lord Stark. Five hundred men and this room was silent as a crypt. Except for the screams, of course, and the Mad King laughing. And later, when I watched the Mad King die, I remembered him laughing, as your father burned. It felt like justice.
This episode blew me away. The production values of HBO shows are always above everything else, but Hardhome showed what happens when every penny is put to good use. Hardhome had Jon, a few Night’s Watch members and wildlings battling for their lives against the sudden invasion by the Night King and White Walkers. What followed was pure carnage, and Jon and others barely made it out alive. However, on the bright side, Jon learnt that Valyrian steel can kill White Walkers. The final scene had the Night King staring into Jon’s eyes, almost taunting him to fight him. as he reanimated the dead wildlings to complement his Army of the Dead.
Tower of Joy
There are hints in the books as to what happens at the Tower of Joy when Ned arrives to take his sister Lyanna back from the Kingsguard. Bran remembers Ned telling him his father would get sad when he would remember the incident and would stop telling him anything more than what was already known — Ned and his five allies faced the three Kingsguard knights and somehow beat them. And then bits of conversation between Ned and Lyanna. The show told the complete story. Just as we book readers had guessed, Ned brought back Jon Snow to Winterfell from Tower of Joy and he was actually Rhaegar and Lyanna’s son and not Ned’s bastard. The whole scene, which we get to see in two parts through Bran’s visions, is great. Arthur Dayne is eventually overwhelmed when Howland Reed stabs him in the back of his neck, and Ned meets a dying Lyanna, who gave him the responsibility of raising Jon — who, now we know, is a Targaryen.
Dragons vs White Walkers
The books have been teasing the inevitable conflict between fire and ice, but in the show, we actually saw a glimpse. Dany brought Drogon, Viserion and Rhaegal to beyond the Wall to save Jon and others. The three firedrakes systematically began to roast the Wights or ice-zombies. But the Night King threw a spear at Viserion, after which the group made a hasty retreat before the other dragons could be killed as well. A visually amazing scene, and CGI effects were top notch. The lead-up to the battle might not have made much sense, but the battle itself was a treat to the senses.
Once again, due to the book series lagging behind, the show delivered the reason why Hodor is such a halfwit and why he is such a pure person (the latter because he was born that way). Hodor could only say the word ‘Hodor’ and was thus named. Hodor’s backstory and subsequent death was so tragic and well-written that it nearly eclipsed the earlier deaths of characters that were far more fleshed-out. We do think the scene came from the mind of Martin, though.
Game of Thrones returns on April 14. The show will air on Star World in India.