I watched the Game of Thrones finale having never seen an episode before, and tried to figure out what was going on
Can I be accepted back into polite society now?
Ok, technically I did see a tiny bit of Game of Thrones when it very first started. But I didn’t really get into it. It’s clearly a pretty decent TV show, but I dunno, outside of the Arnie Conan movies, fantasy and ancient kingdoms and shit have never been for me. It’s cool if you like it, I just never clicked with it.
Fast forward six years. When I come into the office on a Monday morning, I look forward to chatting about what mistakes Arsene Wenger made over the weekend, or the like. But instead, everyone – and I mean everyone – is going on about walls and White Walkers and Lanisters and other things I have no clue about. I feel ostracised and alone.
So in a desperate attempt for interaction with other human beings, I have decided to watch the finale of season seven. Despite missing 60-plus hours of densely plotted television, I have somewhat followed the show in meme form – which I think we can all agree is the true way to consume any modern blockbuster TV show. Will it allow me to re-enter polite society, or just be a confusing mess of sub-Tolkien shite?
So I fired up Sky Go. The finale opens with Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington and the British girl from the last two Fast & Furious movies converging and walking to what I presume is a big important negotiation scene. Everyone in Dinklage and Harington’s crew is either wearing black leather or shaggy fur, and they all kinda look like someone cloned iconic WWE faction The Shield. The whole scene reminds me of those bits in The Football Factory where all the groups of lads swagger up to each other to make an even bigger group of lads and then walk en masse to Millwall away. Maybe ‘The Wall’ they keep going on about is actually Millwall? Every British actor under the sun seems to be in this, so why not Danny Dyer?
Emilia Clarke turns up on a dragon, and also the girl who was the villain in Dredd is there, and we got to my favourite part of the episode (apart from the ending). One of Harington’s boys has been caring this wooden crate, which was rattling and moving and shit. Apparently, whatever is in there in enough to convince them all to join forces. And we get a full-on “What’s in the box!?” moment, like a cheesy gameshow or something.
I thought it might be the Gimp from Pulp Fiction, but it turns out to be a zombie from beyond the wall (I think). For a second I thought I’d actually started watching The Walking Dead, another show that people keep telling me to watch, but I never will. Kit Harington even does the “Remove the head or destroy the brain” speech from Night of the Living Dead (George Romero RIP).
Can we quickly talk about Kit Harington’s accent for a second? He has the soothing, reassuring voice of a lower-league manager. I half expect him to say “The lads put a good shift in this afternoon” or “There’s some good players in this division”, than talk about houses and alliances.
After the big dramatic negotiation, there was then a bit of a stretch where other people talked for a bit and it was a bit boring. Mayor Carcetti from The Wire turned up, but it turned out he was a big ol’ traitor and got his throat slit. Alfie Allen got repeated kicked in the nuts. Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke got it on, which even for someone like me who doesn’t watch the show, felt like Tumblr fan fiction.
And then there was the ending. Which even though I didn’t know the context, was fucking incredible. A load of snow zombies and snow giants started attacking that big wall. And then a goddamn REVERSE DRAGON that BREATHES ICE(!?) burns (freezes!?) the motherfucking thing down. A colleague has since informed me that the dragon was killed in a previous episode, and has come back as a zombie. Mate, this show should be called Game of Zombie Reverse Dragons, and I’d totally watch very episode.
Overall, what struck me the most was how easy the show was to follow. I’d resisted starting watching, because there was like over 50 hours to catch up on, and I ain’t never gonna get around to that. But really, I should have caught an episode or two from this season, and gone from there. It was easy enough to jump into – like, yeah, I wouldn’t have known exactly who everyone was, but there was enough intrigue and dragons and spectacle and genuinely good acting to keep me watching. In the late 90s, if I missed an episode of Buffy, we had no option to catch up – you just watch next week’s show and figured it out from there. It was all good. In the era of Sky+ and Netflix, I think we’re a bit too precious about these things. Just enjoy the dragons, man.