When asked about my favorite story of all time, I really had to think deeply about all the books, experiences, movies, plays and shows that I have seen in my lifetime. I could write about “Let the Great World Spin,” a book I read as a senior in high school that I enjoyed so much I read it again this summer, still feeling the deep appreciation for the beautiful life lessons instilled in its pages. I could also write about “Kinky Boots,” an incredible play I was lucky enough to see recently, and how it kept me laughing and entertained while still addressing some incredibly important issues prevalent in our society today. But as cliché as it sounds, the story that never ceased to amaze me is the tremendously crafted “Game of Thrones” television series.
I will admit that I have yet to begin reading the books. The intent is there, however, and the first one is currently on my nightstand. But in all honesty, what perplexed me the most about this thrilling series was the multidimensional story told by George R. R. Martin. For the majority of the first season, I watched vigorously with a character map in hand due to the sheer complexity of each story line. Martin drops the audience into the middle of the plot, and gives little to no introductions to each character. Instead, the viewer is immediately forced to engage with the story and begin to follow the action that unfolds.
What I believe drives the fan base behind the popular television series is the complete unpredictability of each episode. As I’m sure it’s been noted before, there is no character safe from a gory and unpredictable death. Although this element is shocking (and at times incredibly painstaking), it truly gives the audience an absolute sense of instability, leaving them unable to predict any event that happens.
Another incredible component to this series is the complexity of each character. I once read an interview where Martin describes an age-old writing rule that states that no character names should start with the same letter. Unfortunately, he said, this rule had to be ignored, as he knew that his cast would far exceed the allotted 26 letters. The most impressive part about the individuals he creates for his stories is the depth and complexities with which he crafts them. From Tyrion Lannister’s drunken, quirky remarks to Jon Snow’s noble but troubled persona, each protagonist plays an equally important role with equally important woes and successes.
These complex character traits are what allow viewers to truly connect with each story line, as each particular story is powerful enough to stand on its own. After quickly powering through all four seasons this summer, I join the thousands who are anxiously waiting for Martin to type as fast as he can (and yes, that is a reference to Weird Al’s infamous Emmy performance). In the meantime, I’ll busy myself with his books and pretend like I’m not counting down the days until season five premieres in April.