“Winter is coming”. It’s the same phrase seemingly everyone has been saying for years on end, and now more than ever. Don’t these idiots know it’s only April? Seasonal confusion aside, it goes without saying that avoiding acclaimed TV series Game of Thrones has become progressively more difficult. Gone are the days when the Thrones fandom was confined to a minority of whiny book nerds begging the author for the next sequel. The fantasy series of bloody wars, undead hordes and fire-breathing dragons has gone global, scoring a record 47 Emmy Awards and reaching 30 million viewers in over 170 countries. Even Barack Obama is a fan, using his powers as commander-in-chief to score advanced episode screenings back in 2015 (I mean, wouldn’t you?). The show isn’t just a show, it’s a culture, with post-episode discussion shows, obsessive forums and social media groups, cosplay galore, and more fan podcasts than you can poke a Valyrian steel sword at. Frustrated as I’m sure you are with your weekly dose of alienation during Thrones season, we here at Pelican are ready to help. As the show enters its final season, let us fill you in on all you need to know without struggling 70 hours of catching up in your living room.
The show unfolds in the land of the Seven Kingdoms, a country ruled by just, er, one king. If you’re baffled by this anomaly, worry not, dear ignorant soul: Thrones is about power and who’s out to get it. Kings start popping up everywhere, like outlets of that franchise you hate. Soon no fewer than five candidates have popped up to contest the throne, with the fifth being either an embittered pirate flying a flag with a squid on it (lame), or a woman with a thing for dragons (more on her in just a moment), depending on which of your mouth-breathing friends you ask. That throne only has enough space for one arse, so it’s off to war we go! But this is no ordinary conflict, oh no. Top of the list of grievances these would-be monarchs file with HR is the suspicion that the Queen is cheating on the King with, wait for it, her own twin brother! Incest? In my wholesome family program? It’s more likely than you think! The plot is further complicated when the only witness to these overly affectionate sibling catch-ups is thrown out a window. Is the poor lad paralysed? Unfortunately, yes. Is he taught how to time-travel by a freak man-tree-crow hybrid? Also yes!
Chief challenger to the throne is Daenarys Targaryen (and you thought your tutor struggled with your ethnic name!), a dragon-riding badass coming from a traditionally incestuous royal family who, mercifully, bucks that trend and runs off with Aquaman instead. Yay! But it seems old family habits die hard, and after her superhero husband realises he can’t actually survive on land, she settles down with her nephew. Normal, well-adjusted people like you and I would be suitably disgusted by this sort of thing, but these idiots just ate that shit up. It probably helps that said nephew is a bit of a badass himself who not only came back from the dead after getting Julius Caesar’d but looked damn good doing it!
When these characters aren’t getting hot and heavy with blood relatives, they’re staging shockingly elaborate weddings to tie alliances together and celebrate true love. Aww! But when I say shockingly elaborate, I’m not talking about the ostentatious decorations and overbearing music, I’m talking about these ceremonies chalking up a body count that’d make Ted Bundy blush! Let me tell you, people didn’t call Season Three’s climactic event the Red Wedding because of the décor. Audiences were somehow able to channel their grief from that particularly harrowing episode into joy in the next season, cheering on the death of a teenage boy as he choked to death on his own blood mere metres from his bride.
Given fellow blockbuster series The Walking Dead seems to have overstayed its welcome by about five seasons, it’s understandable that audiences would be suffering from a bit of zombie withdrawal. Thrones can help you scratch that itch! After Zombie Invasion Part 1, the clever clogs along the northern border erect a massive wall to keep all those undead nasties out. I won’t make a Trump joke here, because that would be too easy! But I will say that by halfway through the series, it’s time for Zombie Invasion Part 2! Led by a menacing meanie, and javelin champion, called the Night King (a name I can only assume he came up with in middle school), the shuffling horde was last seen heading to the sunny south, hoping to plunge all of the Seven Kingdoms into winter, as part of some reverse global warming apocalyptic metaphor.
With the charming roster of characters including a one-eyed zombie with a flaming sword, a spear-wielding sex symbol who gets his head crushed like a melon, and a diminutive little girl who uses the faces of her murder victims as masks, what’s not to like about Game of Thrones? With all this and more to look forward to as the final season premieres in the next week, all of us here at Pelican hope you’re ready for one of the most bizarre money-makers in television history.
Words by Jack Logan