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Will Game of Thrones Season 7 & 8 Be The Biggest Payoff In TV History?

Will Game of Thrones Season 7 & 8 Be The Biggest Payoff In TV History?

[Spoilers Ahead]

Television shows come and go.  The ones you never watched flicker away without much notice.  The ones you love resonate in your mind forever.  The select shows that linger gain entry into your personal TV Hall of Fame and it’s an exclusive club.

Today, it’s very easy to skip a show entirely and catch it ‘binge’ style on demand.  But there are still brilliant shows out there that remind us that ‘appointment’ television is still very much alive.  Game of Thrones is one of those shows.  A future hall of famer that brought high fantasy to the small screen like we’ve never seen before.  Game of Thrones is THE show.

For six seasons fans watched in awe as major characters met violent and unexpected ends.  Massive twists regularly changed the entire dynamic of a complex show that consistently avoids the pitfalls of predictability.

Season 6 gave us several big character revelations and cinematic battles worthy of the silver screen.  It was an amazing season full of wins for fans of the heroes (and villains) we still have left.  Season 6 was the beginning of the end.  In 2017, the end begins…

So how does the show evolve now that The Battle of the Bastards made Blackwater look like a mild disagreement among friends?  How do you wrap up a show with such a devoted following?  A following it earned thanks to brilliant author George R. R. Martin’s blueprint?

Can Game of Thrones deliver an ending worthy of its legacy?

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of big shows fizzle in the end.  Shows like Lost.  Personally, I enjoyed the final season of Lost but the amount of questions left over was excessive.  Was it intentional or did the writers simply write themselves into a corner?  Regardless of how you felt about Lost’s finale, you can’t dismiss the brilliance of that show.  It simply delivered a divisive finale that left people listing all the answers we’ll never know.

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Another recent Hall of Famer, Breaking Bad, delivered an amazing final season and a fitting end to Walter White’s story.  However, I don’t know if I would call the ending a big payoff.  At least not in the ‘blockbuster’ sense.  It was a perfect ending that felt natural to Vince Gilligan’s skillfully crafted story.  A logical conclusion to a fascinated journey.

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Negan vs The Red Wedding

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Game of Thrones falls in between these two examples.  On one hand, unanswered questions will not be a factor in our final visit to Westeros.  George R. R. Martin knows how every plot thread ends as he continues to craft the pages of his epic work.  As a result, show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have all the answers as well.  It all leads to an epic confrontation between the men and women of Westeros and the danger that lies beyond The Wall.

Thanks to the Game of Thrones’ careful plotting, precise planning and flawless execution, the pieces are slowly falling into place to bring the series to an end.  Like Breaking Bad, it’s all leading to a logical and natural conclusion.  But Game of Thrones has an ace up its: Spectacle.

Many fans were disappointed when HBO announced the final two seasons would spread 13 total episodes across two seasons/years.  The disappointment intensified when Season 7 was delayed until the summer of 2017 from its usual Spring launch.  I believe these two decisions are absolutely brilliant.

By committing more budget to less episodes, you are able to bring even bigger battles, characters and locations to life.  We’ve already received confirmation that Daenerys’ dragons will be the size of 747 planes!  I wonder what it will be like when new battles make The Battle of the Bastards look tiny.  The episodes themselves will also be longer than the typical hour long run time.  Plenty of time to tell an amazing story.

Delaying the show until July gives the production team time to get it right.  HBO didn’t rush the show to fill slots in their schedule.  They understand what they have and how important it is to deliver something historic.

The team behind Game of Thrones now has the budget and time to create exactly what they want.  When Game of Thrones ends, there will be no doubt about concessions being made for budget. Or run time restrictions leaving amazing scenes on the cutting room floor.

The creators have a vision and we will see it on the screen.  It’s an inspiring way to create.  Pure artistic freedom.

That type of freedom is unprecedented and that’s why I think we are in for the biggest payoff in television history.  13 episodes that bridge the gap between masterful storytelling and breathtaking spectacle.  We’ll see epic battles that span multiple episodes full of creatures and special effects.  It’s the perfect storm because we are deeply invested in the characters on the battle field.  The stakes are higher than ever and winter is finally here.

Is there a chance the final episodes of Game of Thrones will disappoint?  Personally, I don’t think it’s possible but there’s always a chance.  It’s very clear the show is lining up Daenerys and Jon Snow to take on the Night King’s army.  One way or another, The Wall will most likely fall and we will see the bickering factions of Westeros unite to defeat unimaginable evil.  Is this predictable?  Yes and no.  The show has carefully set up this tale since the very first shot of the very first episode.  We finally know where we are headed.  What’s exciting is watching it all play out though I have full confidence there are still surprises coming.  That’s what makes Game of Thrones…  Game of Thrones.  Expecting the unexpected isn’t enough anymore.  Just watch and smile.

Who knows what Season 7 and 8 will bring?  What we do know is the time for setting up future story lines is over.  The world is set, the pieces are in place and it’s time to end one of the coolest shows we’ve ever seen.

Something historic is coming and I can’t wait to see it.  Bring on Winter…  In Summer!

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