All the latest on 'Game of Thrones'' final season
Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke in 'Game of Thrones'
All the latest on the final season of 'Game of Thrones'By AJ Willingham, Christina Kline and Brandon Griggs, CNN
Ramin Djawadi says he was aiming for iconic status when he composed the theme music to "Game of Thrones."
It's fair to say he succeeded. The opening bars of his pulse-pounding score inspire an almost Pavlovian response in fans eager for GoT drama.
Watch as the "Game of Thrones" composer talks about creating the music for the groundbreaking series.
"Game of Thrones" is not just a TV show. Since it premiered eight years ago, it has inspired countless articles, fan sites, podcasts and viewing parties. The HBO series has been a boon for bloggers and journalists who have made careers out of reporting on every development from Westeros.
Robinson, who specializes in "Thrones" coverage for the magazine while also hosting three "Thrones" podcasts in her spare time, said that she's written "likely hundreds of stories" about the show. That may seem normal now due to its popularity, but when she started at Vanity Fair, she said she had an editor who told her that one "Thrones" story a week was more than enough.
Robinson said the show definitely helped "elevate her career" and gave her opportunities she never expected, like writing a cover story on "Thrones" star Emilia Clarke. But she isn't too emotional about the series coming to an end -- at least not yet.
Here's what other reporters had to say about the impact "Thrones" had on their career and lives.
As "Game of Thrones" fans gear up for the final season, the show is giving them a special treat.
HBO has dropped a series of YouTube videos featuring interviews with stars of the show and titled, "The Cast Remembers." Some feature flashbacks of the show's younger stars, including Maisie Williams (Arya) when she was 12, Sophie Turner (Sansa) when she was 15 and a 10-year-old Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran).
And it isn't the only bit of fun the show is having with fans. A worldwide scavenger hunt invites fans to hunt down six iron thrones that have been hidden around the globe in places such as Björkliden, Sweden; Puzzlewood, England; Atienza, Spain; and Beberibe, Brazil.
David Benioff loved the way "The Sopranos" ended, but he well remembers all of the arguments about it.
Benioff and his fellow "Game of Thrones" showrunner Dan Weiss talked to Entertainment Weekly about their show's forthcoming series finale.
The eighth and final "GoT" season starts Sunday and viewers have already started theorizing about, and agonizing over, how it will all conclude.
Benioff told EW "From the beginning, we've talked about how the show would end."
Benioff talked about how hotly debated the ending of "The Sopranos" was was when it aired in 2007. The screen cut abruptly to black in the middle of a tense scene, leading many viewers to think their cable had gone out.
"I've gotten into a lot of arguments with people about why that was a great ending, but people felt legitimately cheated and that's their right to feel that way, just as it's my right to feel like they're idiots," he said.
Benioff is not shying from such debate.
"It's also part of the fun of any show that people love arguing about it," he said.
Weiss said there's another popular finale he hopes their ending evokes.
"I'm hoping we get the 'Breaking Bad' [finale] argument where it's like, "Is that an A or an A+?,'" he said. "I want that to be the argument. I just wish we found better directors for it."
The worry over spoilers for the hit HBO series (HBO is owned by CNN's parent company) has been ever-present, with Benioff saying,"If the NSA and CIA can't protect all of their information, what hope do we have?"
"People say I look like a White Walker," Anderson Cooper recalls saying to "60 MInutes" producer John Hamlin. "It would be cool to become one."
It took about four hours, but it happened.
Watch as Cooper, reporting for "60 Minutes," transforms into a White Walker while behind the scenes of "Game of Thrones."
"When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die," the character of Cersei, played by Lena Headey, said in season one of "Game of Thrones."
Those uninitiated in the phenomenon must surely wonder what all the fuss is about, especially as the HBO drama becomes increasingly difficult to avoid in the build-up to its series finale. Dragons and debauchery, after all, don't sound like much of a breakthrough.
While there's seldom a simple explanation for why something catches on in Hollywood, the show's popularity stems in part from how well it has bridged the gap between movies and TV, between theatrical blockbusters and dense serialized drama.
"Thrones" managed to answer the question what it would look like if "The Sopranos" and "Star Wars" had a baby, with all the pop-culture hysteria that entails.
Some keys to its appeal include:
- A deft mix of character-driven drama
- Carefully layered fantasy elements
- A brilliant cast
- Epic battle sequences and startling deaths
Even if sex, violence and dragons aren't your cup of tea (or ale), "Thrones" accomplished what it set out to do -- commercially as well as creatively -- in a manner that's virtually unmatched in terms of its scope and scale.
The fantasy world of "Game of Thrones" is not as mythical as it seems.
Some of the show's most pivotal moments are rooted in history as author George R.R. Martin often draws from the historical record. The rampant feuding in "Game of Thrones" is likely inspired in part by the Wars of the Roses in 15th-century England between the Lancasters and the Yorks -- and the feuding in Scotland, which was far more prevalent.
Blood feuding, both in Scotland and in Westeros, evokes images of bloodthirsty men of the aristocracy, eager to exact retribution for slain family members. However, for every Rob Stark we have a Catelyn Stark, who took it upon herself to avenge her dead husband.
Historian Keith Brown, Dean of Humanities at the University of Manchester, notes that the women of early Scottish history were seen as "soft targets" in the eyes of acquisitive neighbors -- or sometimes their own family -- and their "best defense lay in marriage." Yet these women could also wield power to avenge their families, not unlike Cersei Lannister, Margaery Tyrell and Sansa Stark.
- Janet Scott, the Sansa Stark of Ferniehirst
- Henrietta Stewart, the Margaery Tyrell of Dunfermline
- Agnes Keith, the Catelyn Stark of Argyle
- Isobel Sinclair, the Cersei Lannister of Caithness
There are SO many -- TOO many -- questions that need to be answered by the end of this final season of "Game of Thrones," like:
Will Jon and Daenerys learn his true parentage? (And that Jon, you know, is the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Things could get real awkward, real fast.)
Is Cersei really pregnant?
Who IS the Night King, anyway? (Just please, let it not be Bran...)
Here are some other questions that we absolutely need the answers to by the end of the season.