Publicity bombardment aside, I really am looking forward to seeing the final chapter of the Westeros saga play out. GoT is, for me, a rare case of a series improving over time. I recall wading through early episodes of Season 1, getting bogged down in what seemed like an endless stream of characters and mythology. Each episode, I’d say, “Yeah, I think I’m done”, and then something huge would happen in the final minutes – like a kid being pushed from a tower window or someone having molten gold poured on their head – to suck me back in.
By the end of that first season, I was hooked, but I always felt like a second-rate fan. People who had read the books so far released in the A Song of Ice and Fire series usually had a smugness about them when it came to the TV version. “Oh, it gets so much better,” they’d say. “Whatever you do, don’t google ‘Red Wedding’.”
The best thing that happened to GoT is that it caught up with and overtook Martin’s books, with Season 5 venturing into uncharted territory. Not only were all viewers now on an equal footing in terms of advance knowledge of storylines, but the show seemed to gain a new focus and momentum as it powered through plots in seasons 6 and 7.
I don’t know if it’s just because large numbers of characters keep getting killed off, meaning there are less storyline strands to follow, but as we move into Season 8, GoT is the type of show where you can’t afford to miss a minute since something pivotal happens in every scene. And in a world of flabby, drawn-out, over-extended series, that’s something to look forward to.