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Game of Thrones: Fact or fiction?

Apr 21,2019 - Last updated at Apr 21,2019

At last, it has arrived. The final season of the TV show “Game of Thrones” (GOT) is screened for the delectation of about 1 billion viewers worldwide. I confess that my family and I resisted the hype for some time before we joined the multitudes who have seen all past episodes several times and who wait avidly for every new one.

Such is the show’s following that a school teacher who had read "A Song of Ice and Fire", the best-selling book series on which the show was based, kept order in class by threatening his rowdier students to spoil their viewing of GOT by telling them what would happen next.

There are reasons why GOT has become such a phenomenon since the first episode was aired in 2011. To start with, the book series and the script are brilliantly written. 

Also, GOT’s excellence is largely due to it being a global event. The cast, for instance, pools talent from the UK, Scandinavia, Ireland, The Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Nepal, Iraq, Sudan, Ukraine and India, and the score composer, Ramin Djawadi, is Iranian-German. Xenophobes and globalisation-skeptics should pause for thought.

Visually, the show is packed with special-effects-generated grandiose epic scenes. There is also enough sex and death, two of the three most powerful attention grabbers, to captivate any audience.

Most importantly, however, the show reflects the world as we know it, probably as it has always been: The worst atrocities find justification in the noblest principles, people would do anything if someone tells them it is ordained by religion and everyone finds reason to look down on others because they are born with a deformity, born out of wedlock or because they are women. To sum up: “The powerful have always preyed on the powerless. That is how they became powerful in the first place.”

In politics, GOT had one mad ruler ready to destroy his country and kill all his people to keep his throne, another psychopathic ruler who believed that everyone was there for him to torment and a third ruler who believed that the lion should not care for the opinion of the sheep. There was one principled politician and he was beheaded in the first season.

On the macro level, we saw armed religious fanatics try to seize power, bankers financing wars for personal profit and armies of slaves and mercenaries ready to do their paymasters’ dirty work. Most realistically, leaders were so engrossed in their squabbles that they ignored the greater common threat facing them and all humanity.

But there was one flagrant departure from reality: GOT allows us to hope that the good may win and the wicked suffer. We need this dream, so I sincerely hope that GOT may let us keep the illusion by staying in the realm of fiction. Otherwise, we may as well watch the news.

Then again, the character Ramsay Bolton may have spoken with prescience when he said: "If you think this has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."

 

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