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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Tags: A Song Of Ice And Fire D.B. Weiss David Benioff Dexter Game Of Thrones George R. R. Martin Hbo How I Met Your Mother Lost Seinfeld

  • Patrick Allen

    Terrific stuff, Razor.

    I disagree with most about the Seinfeld finale. I actually thought it was terrific and fitting. Here are these people, who have ruined people’s lives and exhibit some of the most ridiculous and self-centered behavior of any human beings, ever. It made absolute sense that eventually, it would all come back to bite them in the ass. I thought it was really smart and fitting and a nice celebration of their hijinks.

    • http://Lightlybuzzed.com Razor

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.
      That’s a good point about Seinfeld. I was actually a fan of the episode before the finale. The Puerto Rican Day Parade…I didn’t feel like they needed an episode after that. Also, back then, before HBO jaded me (hahaha) I really wanted Jerry and Elaine to get back together. I think I was still stuck on the whole “Ross and Rachel need to get back together” thing…yep, I just said that.

  • Gary65

    I totally disagree. One of the major mis-steps shows make is precisely what you’re berating them for not doing: they try to top themselves. They reach this great height creatively/popularly and try desperately to maintain the unmaintainable, more often than not to the great detriment of the show’s quality. This may very well be the peak of the show’s quality & popularity(I think Wow & DoS will have some awesome material, so I don’t think this is the case but let’s assume it is). And that’s OK. When Harry Potter was over, JK Rowling didn’t try to recreate it. She moved on, went where her creative spirit took her and has produced some very diverse & well-written books as a result. In the same way, the show doesn’t need to top s4′s popularity and it certainly shouldn’t cut itself short simply because it can’t. So long as they follow(not necessarily perfectly but to some degree) the narrative path set out by George, the story will be perfectly fine and the fans will stay around to watch it. Yes, TV-Sansa has some more agency than book-Sansa but anyone who’s read book 5 knows this is where she’s headed and her book 5 story will not be all that impacted by this early narrative shift. No one suggested ending The Sopranos early after its popularity peaked in s4. So long as they don’t go totally off the rails from George’s vision and maintain their dedication to producing high-quality TV, I’m perfectly fine with GoT season 4 being the greatest height it ever reached(although, I’d be stunned if that record isn’t set by the series finale 3-4 years from now).

    And, not to sound like anymore like a tosser but, the word is “monologizing”.

    • http://Lightlybuzzed.com Razor

      Thanks for the read. I am not berating, I think you misunderstand. I am simply asking the question of have they peaked? I’m an ASOIAF purist, and would love it if the show went 4-5 more seasons. However, with the pace that GRRM is pushing out books, and with the aging of child stars, there will be a point when the show will HAVE to surpass the books.