HBO’s Game of Thrones has pulled in huge audiences since it first appeared on our screens back in 2011. With the finale of the sixth season just a few days away, viewership has soared to such an height that it has snatched the crown from multi award-winning drama series The Sopranos to become the network’s most popular show of all time. Having admired the works of J. R. R. Tolkien from a young age, and dreamt of one day producing an epic fantasy à la Lord of the Rings, author George R. R. Martin must be overjoyed to see this visual adaptation of his “masterpiece” A Song of Ice and Fire captivate so many, and garner such a loyal following.
For me, the difference between a series I’ll casually dip in and out of and one that I simply cannot afford to miss is the quality of the storytelling. Anything that has me hooked from the very first episode will have my undivided attention until the very last. Few have succeeded, but Game of Thrones is up there with the very best. Perhaps the most enthralling of all the storylines here is that of Eddard “Ned” Stark’s illegitimate son Jon Snow. Raised at Winterfell on a more or less equal footing with the other five Stark children, Jon is all too aware that he is different, and despite his close relationship with half-siblings Robb and Arya, he cannot seem to shake the feeling that he is an outsider in his own family. Inspired by his father’s teachings and keen to assert his independence, Jon expresses a desire to join the Night’s Watch. He accompanies his uncle Benjen Stark to the North, and is bestowed with the honourable duty to protect the Seven Kingdoms from the free folk, or ‘wildlings’, who dwell beyond an 8,000-year-old wall of ice, aptly named the Wall.
It’s a role he adapts to well and, as a natural leader, he finds himself rising rapidly through the ranks. But complications arise through a number of unprecedented challenges including an alliance with the wildlings that ultimately tests his loyalty to the Watch, his family, and Westeros itself. Without spoiling things for those who haven’t yet seen it, the 9th episode of season 4, Watchers on the Wall, is one of the most excruciating of the entire series to date.
Let’s now take a closer look at the Wall with this beautifully designed infographic from the team at George Banco:
Don’t miss the season 6 finale on Sky Atlantic at 9pm on Monday 27th June.
Preview image courtesy of HBO.