The finale of the eighth season of Game of Thrones (GoT) ended on a sour note for many fans but provided a wave of relief for those who couldn’t take the relentless 24/7 #GoT Twitter speculation any more. It would not be hyperbolic to say the show has proven make or break for relationships, divided families, caused friends to fall out, and sparked tension among work colleagues. Loathe it or love it, for more than eight years our weekends have been spent in anticipation of a new battle, a sensational family secret, another disappointing death. Some episodes remain iconic, etched on to our collective consciousnesses. Let’s just say I will forever feel a shiver down my spine when the ‘Red Wedding’ is brought up and ‘The Bells’ will always elicit multiple kissing teeth sounds.
We started episode one, series one, full of hope. We religiously followed the House of Stark of Winterfell, the dominant house of the North of Westeros, which is the mythical land where GoT takes place. The series dutifully opened where the first book by George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire began, although key to understanding the series and the book is the devastating event referred throughout as ‘Robert’s Rebellion’. It is this event that is so central to the current configuration of the Seven Kingdoms, the Royal Houses in Westeros, and our characters’ ascent to their current positions.