Has HBO's Game of Thrones Peaked?

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The finale of Game of Thrones season 4 is rapidly approaching and we still have so many story-lines that need to be wrapped-up. There has never been more excitement for the show as there is right now, since the penultimate episode ‘Watchers on the Wall’ aired. Just how will the show’s creators, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, cram everything else into a 66 minute episode?

This season has, without a doubt, been the best season in the series thus far. Not only has Game of Thrones supplanted the Sopranos as HBO’s king of the hill, but the show absolutely dominated the ratings this year, with astronomical and previously unseen viewing numbers for a premium cable show. It is safe to say that Game of Thrones has transcended from a regular “popular” television show to a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

With the unbridled passion that fans of the show have, and with the wildly, almost uncontrollable popularity of the series at an all time high, the real question is, has Game of Thrones peaked? Has the show, at season 4, reached a pinnacle that is usually reserved for shows that run 7 to 8 seasons?

As an avid reader and loyal fan of George R. R. Martin’s works, and knowing what I know of events that take place in books 4 and 5, I have real concerns that the show can replicate the success that it has had this season. While season 5 will introduce some fun and interesting characters, and with them, a whole new set of situations, the sheer amount of action and fights/battles that attracted a large part of the Game of Thrones audience this season, simply will not be there. Also, there will be no Pedro Pascal to steal scenes from Peter Dinklage…a travesty in its own right, as both these men are amazing actors.

Yet, the biggest question is this, how will Benioff and Weiss handle character development and the overlying story-arc in a show, based on a series of books that is not yet complete…and quite possibly may never be completed?

Like all of television’s most popular long-running series, Game of Thrones will have to ultimately come to an end. When that end comes, will it go the way of ‘Lost’ or ‘Dexter’, or will the story for control of the Iron Throne, have the satisfying closure of ‘Breaking Bad’? Let’s compare season 4 of Game of Thrones to some of these shows, and see just where it stands.

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