The world of Game of Thrones will never be the same again. This is what the series warned us about when they changed the opening for this last season. The usual walk through the map was now marked by the breach in the wall and the changes that this would cause in the universe of the series as we have known it so far. In the same way, the world of television will never be the same after the passage of Game of Thrones. The series has breached another wall – the one separating TV drama, where budgets are always tight, from major cinema productions. Although cinema is still one step ahead in terms of technology, the distance has been considerably reduced thanks to Game of Thrones’ persistence in this area and the work of special effects artists heel bent on ensuring home-grown drama is just as spectacular an affair as what we can see in movie theaters. The melting of the wall has taken place over time, with the visual aspect of the series improving every season until there came a point where you actually have to remind yourself that you’re watching a series. A show like this would have been unimaginable on television just a few years ago.
This will be the greatest legacy of Game of Thrones, a battle the series has already won, regardless of who’s seated on the throne at the end (that is, if there’s still a throne to occupy). However, this final season might even raise the bar higher and leave it there. This seems to be the goal of series creators and producers, judging by how high they’ve been raising that bar with the latest batch of episodes: only six deliveries, of which four have a duration similar to that of a movie. In fact, the first two (which are the ones we’ve managed to see at the time of writing this article) have been designed almost as a preamble for the performance about to be unleashed on us. This intention has been subtly hinted at in the scene in episode two of Podrick singing which is clearly a tip of the hat to Pippin singing in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The fact that the series takes as its reference certain movies that until very recently were the most spectacular ever to grace a cinema (in a drama of the same genre) says a lot about how confident the series is of itself in the final stretch and the road travelled thus far. Game of Thrones wants its Battle of Helm’s Deep moment. Or, put another way, it wants to deliver a feat that’ll be hard to beat in the coming years.
And there’ll be no shortage of those who’ll try. Because of the breach currently existing in the wall that separated TV from cinema, franchises such as Star Wars, the Marvel superheroes or the aforementioned Lord of the Rings are now expanding to the TV market. The fact that these names, so associated with the world of cinema, are reaching television confirms this change. But the most interesting thing about Game of Thrones is that the series has become a super-production worthy of movie theaters without letting the visual flashiness overshadow the actual storyline. The first two episodes of the final season have been almost entirely dedicated to the characters themselves. While moving vital storyline pieces on the board, the series gives us scenes in which the protagonists’ dilemmas have been underpinned with a retrospective look at many of their stories. The reflection and balance are combined with emotional moments and a mood tinged with sadness that forecasts an end that apparently nobody will survive. In a universe fueled by conflict, the characters have briefly parked their differences to join forces with the destiny knocking at their door. Jaime Lannister says it’s a matter of survival. Survive the invasion of the White Walkers, a major event after which nothing, including television, will ever be the same again.