I think it's safe to say that Game of Thrones is an iconic TV show in its own right. We've come a long way since the show first premiered in 2011. Consistently, the characters and themes have ignited a national interest in fantasy-programming, spawning numerous lists, think pieces, and even an algorithm to predict character deaths. We've fallen in love with Game of Thrones, but a lot has changed over the last five years. As with all good things, this show has been subject to many big shifts. How exactly has Game of Thrones changed since Season 1? Well, a lot of people are dead for starters.
Looking back to Season 1, there have been some notable changes. Can you remember back to that first season? We were all so much younger, so unaware of the potential of what we were watching. How could we have predicted that Game of Thrones would become the smash hit that kept us awake at night or prone to slipping references to it in our conversations? While a large portion of the show remains intact (aside from the frequent visit death makes to the bevy of characters), there have been a few changes that have affected how we feel about those still alive and kicking in Season 6.
The World Of Game of Thrones Was Still Small
Viewers didn't know how big the world of Game of Thrones was, in terms of geography or in regards to the cast of characters. The scope of the show is one of its biggest factors, sometimes referenced as one of the potential downfalls when it comes to plot development. By some counts, there have been around 150 characters since Season 1! Additionally, the geographical world of Game of Thrones has expanded to include locations like Dorne, Meereen, and the Iron Islands. The scale of the show may now be overwhelming for a number of reasons but it may be the most exciting, as it opens up the show to a number of options in terms of its narrative development.
The Supernatural Factor Was Still Unknown
There was always a supernatural element that helped foster our love for this show. Whether it was Ned's eerie feelings of the trouble to come or the gift of dragon eggs at Daenerys' wedding to Khal Drogo, fans knew something extra special was happening just behind the scenes. What we couldn't predict (or could we?) was the myriad ways in which magic and the supernatural would become a paramount element of the show. Now, five seasons later, we have magical resurrections, White Walkers, characters who can warg (enter the minds of animals and see the world through their eyes), and those dragons of Daenerys' are still alive and kicking. When it comes to Game of Thrones, there's a sense that the supernatural elements we've been shown are just the tip of the iceberg.
The Starks Were Solid Unit
No family has undergone the amount of trauma that the Starks have. In Season 1, they were arguably the most normal and functional family in the kingdom. All of the siblings got along, Ned and Catelyn were deeply in love, and there was little in the way of trouble knocking at their doors. The Starks were a united front in the first episode and by the end of Season 1, fans knew things would not stay so harmonious. Ned's beheading was one of the first major deaths and talking points of the show, setting the tone for what to expect and how to react to Game of Thrones. There's still major potential for the remaining Starks to reunite; only time will tell what the fate of the Stark family may be.
The Women Got A Boost
The women of Game of Thrones have, as a whole, gone through serious hardships and come out the other side bent but not broken. The show earned a notoriety for portraying female characters in very archetypal ways. It was a reductive choice between being portrayed as virgins or whores, mothers or mistresses, queens or peasants. Luckily, as is the hope for any character in television, Game of Thrones has managed to flesh out the women who made it through the first season to their benefit. Many of them (like Daenerys and Sansa) have matured through their experience or, like Cersei, found ways to channel their desires in ways that make them equal to their male peers. In Season 6, these women are now heralded as entirely empowered, a refreshing change from where they began in Season 1.
Goodbye, Khal Drogo
Aside from Ned and Catelyn, most everyone had a soft spot for Khal Drogo and Daenerys in Season 1. Sure, it was a slow start for the latter pairing. But once Daenerys brushed up on her Dothraki and asserted herself, we also saw Khal Drogo change in some very heartwarming ways. He remained a powerful ruler to his people yet he treated his wife as an equal. Khal Drogo's exit from Game of Thrones may have been too soon but it opened the door for Daenerys to become the iconic leader she is today. Still, couldn't he have stuck around a little longer?
We've come a long way since Season 1. Luckily, there hasn't been too many earth-shattering changes but we still have to wait every week to see where this totally unpredictable show will take us. What next? Only time will tell.
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