Game of Thrones keeps killing records with season five

Seth Barshay, Sports Editor

Game of Thrones, HBO’s popular series based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, is currently in the midst of its fifth season.  Now almost two years removed from the infamous Red Wedding, the overall plot of the show seems to finally be moving forward.

The series is known for its many coinciding plot lines following noble families all over Westeros and beyond to other parts of the mythical world in which the series takes place.

Many find Game of Thrones hard to follow because of the breadth of information presented in each episode.  However, a key shift is apparent at the beginning of this season: the plot lines seem to be starting to merge as stories once seemingly tangential to main arc begin to intersect. (This article contains season five spoilers.)

One such plotline is that of fan favorite Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), the sole surviving member of her noble house, which, after centuries of rule, was overthrown from Westeros’ Iron Throne about a decade before the present action.  The strong female character has a separate story from others in Westeros as she rises to power with her three dragons by her side, in an effort to retake the Iron Throne.

But this separation will soon change.  Tyrion Lannister, played by Peter Dinklage, who has won one of the four Emmy awards nominations this performance has earned him, has been smuggled out of Westeros after killing his father Tywin, possibly the single most powerful man in the entire realm.  The plan is for him to assist Dany in her future coup of the Westerosi monarchy.

Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Stannis Baratheon’s (Stephen Dillane) arcs have been criticized for being slow and at times boring.  However, now that their paths have crossed, a  new freshness and excitement has been injected into each character’s story.

As the plot speeds up, there is a new issue, to the dismay of many dedicated book fans: the show is planning on going past the plot of the latest book in Martin’s series.

Because Martin has been publishing his novels approximately once every five years, and he was recently delayed in finishing the sixth book of a seven-book series, it is virtually impossible for show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to stick to the published story, since the show airs annually.

However, book fans shouldn’t feel too down, as Benioff and Weiss have been straying from the books more than ever before during this fifth season, combining characters, omitting storylines from the books, and streamlining the dense works of fiction in order to be better suited for the television format.

For example, a certain fan favorite from an earlier season with a minor role has been reintroduced to Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) story, even though he has yet to come back in the books.  In addition, book fans have been griping on social media about how plotlines like that of Arya’s sister, Sansa (Sophie Turner), have seemed to be a complete departure from the books.

In addition, the sprawling visuals of Game of Thrones are some of the most captivating on television, as usual.  It is filmed in locations like Belfast, Ireland, Croatia, Morocco, and Iceland, which all have diverse climates and looks, in order to depict different geographic locations of the mythical realm.  One new location this year is that of Dorne, which is filming in Spain.  Dorne is the home of the late Oberyn Martell, the legendary fighter who met his end in an epic and gruesome fight last season.  It is probably the most forward-thinking and free place in the feudal Westeros, as there is some social mobility, and as its ruler puts it, “We do not mutilate little girls for vengeance.” Shockingly, the latter is somewhat mundane compared to other occurrences in Westeros.

As HBO’s most popular show in history, Game of Thrones was also last year’s most pirated show. The night before the season premiere, the first four episodes of season five leaked online.  These episodes were distributed to the media so outlets could write recaps in advance of the episodes’ airdates, but one of the recipients of these screeners blurred out an identifying watermark and posted them online. At Schreiber, some seemed to indulge in these advanced copies.

“It was definitely a thrill to binge watch all four episodes, and I believe it was worthwile,” said junior Karlo Vlahek.  “But now I’ll have to wait an entire month for the rest of the show to catch up to where I am.”Over the rest of the season, look for at least one big shocker, even in a show like Game of Thrones in which surprising massacres and cruel betrayals are the norm.  Actor Liam Cunningham, who plays smuggler and knight Davos Seaworth on the show, hinted at such an event, saying that it is “towards the end of the season and when I got the scripts, when I got to this particular section, I went: ‘you’ve gotta be kidding me.’”