As if the pain of one of the greatest TV shows ever coming to an end is bad enough, the guy who came up with it all has now twisted the knife even more.
Game of Thrones is, sadly, finishing after its next season. The eighth series of the show will be its last as we know it, hopefully bringing the world of wildlings, dragons, white walkers and red witches to a satisfying conclusion.
The program has graced our screens since 2011, providing good old fashioned escapism with more than a hint of bloody violence, questionable relationships, dark humour and the uneasy feeling that no character is safe from death.
It cemented itself as a TV favourite, with each cinematic episode somehow out-doing the last. So when the news came that the next series will be its last, fans were of course disappointed. Then again, the thought of how the show’s creators will end such a TV phenomenon is a tantalising one. Battles, dragons and deaths are sure to be numerous and bigger than ever.
And while such a conclusion is inevitable, some series need definitive endings. Just look at Breaking Bad, The Office or Mad Men, knowing they come to a certain conclusion is necessary and satisfying, like listening to an album the whole way through or reading a book cover to cover.
Then again, Game of Thrones started out as a book, and as anyone who has read them knows, there’s a whole lot more material in those pages than on the screen.
So much so, in fact, that author George R. R. Martin has said he thought the show could’ve gone on for another five series.
Speaking to Variety on the red carpet at this year’s Emmy awards, Martin revealed the show could’ve lasted a lot, lot longer.
We could’ve gone 11, 12, 13 seasons.
David and Dan [GoT showrunners] have been saying for like five seasons that seven seasons is all they would go. We got them to go to eight but not any more than that. There was a period like five years ago when they were saying seven seasons and I was saying 10 seasons and they won, they’re the ones actually working on it.
It’s not just the show’s producers who are keen to bring the saga to a close, though.
I know all of the actors, as great as they are, all the actors are anxious to get on and play other roles.
They don’t want to spend their entire lives playing one role and that’s fine, that’s great, we had such an amazing cast.
— Variety (@Variety) September 17, 2018
Of course, not many successful TV programs these days get away with being standalone shows, and the world of Westeros has been crying out for prequels and spinoffs.
Thankfully, HBO has already got its foot in the door with a prequel set thousands of years before GoT, and it sounds even darker than the show we’ve come to know and love.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.