Dikisahkan 7 Great Houses (keluarga besar) di benua fiksi Westeros & Essos saling berebut kekuasaan untuk dapat menduduki tahta besi “The Iron Throne” di ibukota Westeros yaitu King’s Landing. Persengkongkolan, pengkhianatan, intrik tidak berkesudahan, peperangan hingga percintaan terlarang yang selalu mewarnai episode demi episode. Bagi sebagian orang, cerita ini mungkin sedikit rumit & sulit dipahami dengan cepat.
Westeros adalah daratan terbesar menjadi tempat cerita epik fantasi ini berlangsung. Di mana bahasa yang digunakan adalah British English. Ada hal menarik yang menjadi perhatian yaitu ketika Joffrey diangkat menjadi raja sepeninggalan ayahnya King Robert Baratheon, di mana dalam ceremoni namanya disebut “King Joffrey Baratheon, The First of His Name, King of The Andals and The First Men, Lord of The Seven Kingdoms and Protector of The Realm”. Masih banyak lagi kata-kata yang menyebut The Seven Kingdoms setiap episode yang ditayangkan.
That look backward then segues directly into the roiling dysfunctions surrounding the Lannister siblings Cersei (Lena Headey), Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) in the wake of the “death” of Tywin (Charles Dance). The incestuous relationship between Cersei and Jaime continues to inform the series in some discomfiting ways, including worries about their offspring. Tyrion’s arc is initially played at least a bit for laughs, as he finds himself sequestered in a rather luxe island hideaway after having been forced to get there in a small crate with holes punched in the side. Meanwhile Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) is attempting to reason with Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds), unsurprisingly to no avail. Game of Thrones‘ sometimes gruesome dispatching of various characters continues unabated with a squirm worthy climax to this season’s opening episode, where the doleful Snow is forced to do what he considers the right thing, despite its horrifying consequences.
What impresses repeatedly this season, and which is perhaps hinted at subliminally in that opening flashback, is that the writers, perhaps sensing an upcoming “divorce” from Martin’s tomes, are playing a long hand here, offering extended timelines where seeds planted early don’t necessarily pay off all that quickly. In fact Cersei’s convoluted tale provides a bookend of sorts this sesaon, with the character’s supposed cunning as evidenced early in the season (not to mention prior years) reaping some unexpected “dividends” later on (including a devastating sequence in the season’s final episode that speaks to Headey’s courage as an actress). But over and over again this season, individual episodes offer sometimes brief but visceral scenes that offer long delayed payoffs, some of which were sparked by events that actually happened seasons ago. Without posting any potential spoilers, one potent such example comes courtesy of Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), whose late season showdown with Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane) is the culmination of several years of plot mechanics.
Despite a perhaps overly languid approach to at least some individual plot arcs, something that almost feels like the show’s writing team was stalling in the hopes that Martin might provide more material, several characters’ stories build to significant climaxes by the time the season comes to yet another corpse strewn ending. A lot of newsprint and/or bandwidth has been devoted to one especially shocking set of developments surrounding Sansa (Sophie Turner), including an extremely disturbing attack that may provide the series with some “consequences” going forward. But the whole Sansa subplot reveals one of this season’s recurring gambits which may not be as artfully handled as it might have been, namely the good old “damsel in distress” trope. Sansa’s own predicament late in the season serves as a salient example, but there’s another one that occurs even later than that with regard to Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), who finds herself surrounded in an almost literal cliffhanger toward the end of the season. It’s arguable that the show tends to go to this well too often, and in too facile a manner, to sufficiently develop actual dramatic veracity. To put it simply, things simply seem too contrived at times.