While several dynasties fight over the Iron Throne in the mythical land of Westeros, a mysterious threat comes back to haunt the living after thousands of years. If nothing else shows how massive and extended an impact Game of Thrones had on worldwide audiences, these production numbers should help: it was shot in 10 countries, 12.986 extras were used only in Northern Ireland and it needed 12.137 different wigs and hairpieces, 13.250 VFX shots and 4000 gallons of artificial blood.
Adapted from the books by George R.R. Martin, produced by HBO (the same as Euphoria, Big Little Lies, Chernobyl and many more) and then grown into a cultural phenomenon, this series has marked a radical change in the ‘size’ of epic stories on TV, proving they can finally be conceived and managed – from writing and production to set design, from visual effects to creative marketing strategies – with the same ambition of a Hollywood movie.
Lately, shows like The Witcher, Vikings and Frontier have followed the same fantasy mixed with war formula, while others like The Borgias and Peaky Blinders have examined both royal, family and power dynamics in a similar way – the first one in particular with an interesting parallel between Daenerys Targaryen and Lucrezia Borgia regarding submission, sexual initiation and consecutive evolution (thanks to an earned independence).
Game of Thrones‘ original story was inspired by different historical events – the so-called War of the Roses fought in the 15th century between the families of York and Lancaster, but also Hadrian’s Wall near the Scottish border, which inspired the giant ice wall of the story. Although set in a fictional ancient world, it’s an effective visual essay on power of our modern era: it has countless plot twists, a controversial ending and many supernatural elements – especially the choice of the enemy as an entity – that vaguely recall Lord of the Rings. In this show any character can die anytime, and that’s a tough decision to make even for its writer, who confessed to The Guardian: “I love all my characters so it’s always hard to kill them but I know it has to be done. I tend to think I don’t kill them. The other characters kill ’em. I shift off all blame from myself.”