Game of Thrones is a thrilling experience. George R.R. Martin took the world by storm with his book series, which had an extremely successful film adaptation from HBO. Although, it is not all sunshine and rainbows considering the mixed reviews the last season had. There were some things that could’ve been done much better considering all of the anticipations that we had for the Night King’s army and the final showdown between humans and the walking dead. However, how is this series holding up today? Is it a good material for rewatching? When preparing some articles for this very website I became quite keen on remembering all of the stuff that I forgot. Add this to the ongoing pandemic due to novel coronavirus and we get a full-blown reason to stay home, order food, and sit down to watch some shows.
When I was watching it for the first (and only) time up until now the series was still on-going. The events unfolding in the first 3 seasons felt like ages as much as all of the rest. Overall, I was watching the series on and off for almost 8 years. So how does it feel like binge-watching it now that it is finished? Fantastic to be fair. The first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about my second time “first impressions” is how much better developed some characters are in comparison to how I remembered them to be. The first season in particular is fantastic. Eddard (or Ned) Stark for example played by Sean bean in particular is extremely well thought out character. Catelyn Stark has also come to my mind in a much more negative light. I know, I know she did things for her kids and Jamie Lannister actually pushed Bran down from the tower and then sent an assassin to kill him but if Catelyn didn’t make executive decisions on behalf of her husband who was not even informed about her, and I dare may say, some of the stupidest actions Ned could as well have been alive for much longer than he actually was.
When I saw how she had Tyrion Lannister arrested out of nowhere in a random bar and then took him to her mentally unstable sister in the Veil without even talking to her to understand that she was a tad bit too unreliable to make any rational decisions I just had this negative taste in my mouth. Eddard himself was an honorable man and tried to make the best out of the situation he was in without undermining his wife but where did it land him? First in prison, and then due to Joffrey Baratheons (Lannister actually) treacherous decision his head was rotting on some pike in King’s Landing.
Who opened pandora’s box?
It’s funny how most of the problems for Stark’s and their imminent demise came from Catylin’s decisions. However, it is not to say that she is at fault for everything. Robb Stark himself broke the promise to Walder Frey when he was trying to secure safe crossing of the Riverlands territory for his army while he knew quite well that this would not be taken lightly by his associates. His inexperience is even more visible when he took the head off of Lord of Karhold, Rickard Karstark who was representing a huge chunk of Robb’s army. I understand that what Rickard did was not of the best taste but it is still caused by Catelyn’s rushed decision to plot behind his son and release Jamie Lannister from captivity, for which I mind say around 2,000 northern warriors died as a decoy for Tywin’s army.
Arya and Sansa Starks have an extreme curve of character development. At the start of the series, Arya is a pesky little girl trying to be male fighting against the culture of the Northern families while Sansa is your standard girly girl who is thrown into the world of politics in King’s Landing and learns first hand how things are not the way they are written in the books with beautiful happy endings everywhere. Arya, in particular, goes through a lot of her own struggle once she escapes King’s Landing and is left to fend for herself quite soon afterward with her arc peaking when she becomes a part of the Faceless God’s sect and learns how to be a killing machine she ends up being in the end. The revenge on the House of Frey’s is also her doing and gives a satisfying closure for the family of Starks.
The series is full of action with things going on in King’s Landing during the battle of blackwater where we see an impeccable performance from Peter Dinklage playing as Tyrion Lannister who rallied the last remaining soldiers of the King’s Landing and led a successful attack which stalled Stannis Baratheon’s attack until his father, Tywin, arrived with reinforcements. The way he was treated afterward is a heartbreaking but strong show of how things worked in King’s Landing and the sadistic and treacherous world of Westeros.
Joffrey Lannister himself is portrayed as one of the most despicable characters I’ve ever seen in any of the TV shows and for a good reason. He was intended to be a sadistic little rat not fit for his boots. He treats Sansa Stark with utmost disregard and shows his sociopathic behavior numerous times even with innocent “ladies of the night” who were sent by Tyrion to pleasure him. Joffrey’s death on his own wedding is a beautiful scene where a lot of the viewers felt a rejoiced while being sympathetic to Tyrion, who is a Lannister nevertheless, which makes him hard to have feelings for.
Jamie’s character is also transformed after he is caught by Robb’s army. His travels with Bryanne of Tarth, who on her own is a beautiful addition to the series, makes the viewer much more familiar with good-hearted soldiers of Westeros. It is almost an unforgettable experience when in the bathtub Jamie tells her how things actually went down with the Mad King and his betrayal where he got his famous nickname the Kingslayer.
On the other side of the world, we see how Daenerys Targaryen becomes the real Mother of Dragons. Her marriage to Dothraki leader Khal Drogo went from a rough start and ended with Khal dying to a spiteful witch in the end. It is a powerful moment that led her to hatch the three dragons that prove pivotal in her effort to create a strong army to conquer the Westeros. Her romance with Jon Snow later in the TV series is one of the most important points which leads to the demise of the Night King and his armies.
I can go on and on about different characters who we come and love. I have not even touched upon some of the “minor” lords of Westeros like Petyr Baelish, or Littlefinger, Lord Varys, Master of Whispers, Tyrion’s loyal Ser Bronn of the Blackwater, Grey Worm the Unsullied, Ser Davos Seaworth, and many many others. If one was to characterize all of them as well as Westeros and its different cultures we would end up with yet another Silmarillion.
Overall, I would like to state that this show stands the test of time much better than one would expect. It is definitely worth rewatching as there are so many tiny details that just fly out of the viewer’s head. This is caused by the on-going nature of the series when all of us were watching it. There are notable characters and houses that I have not even touched upon like members of House of Tyrell like Margaery and Olenna Tyrell who play a pivotal role in the middle seasons of the whole series. Just talking about it makes me riled up.
As a conclusion, it is most definitely recommended to rewatch the series. It is one of the best out there developed during the second decade of the 21st century and most probably will stay as such for a very long time.