It may very well be the most anticipated final season since Seinfeld hung it up years ago. After six trendsetting seasons, Game of Thrones, one of TV’s most celebrated, vilified and mesmerizing programs is coming to an end with a final season that promises to be epic, sweeping and, ultimately, final, both for the story and a great many fan favorite characters.
Not that Game of Thrones has ever been shy about killing its darlings. Something fans of the books that inspired the series were well prepared for. TV-only fans, of which there are now legion, were less prepared for the climaxes of each season in which a beloved character was summarily executed, though they all cheered when one of the shows’ big villains got a dose of the same steel.
The expectations of season seven are so high, many fans and critics believe there’s no way writers and directors can live up the hype.
But producers and showrunners have taken up that gauntlet, teasing fans in a way none of them expected, with the single image of something show fans didn’t know about and book fans probably forgot – the ice dragon.
In the source material, there’s a legend a terrible ice dragon was sealed up in the Wall, the same Wall that currently separates the realms of the living from the lands of the undead. Once the Wall falls, the dragon can then be unleashed … which is something most fans hadn’t considered when thinking about season seven?
Most were waiting for Dany Targaryen to fly into Westeros on her own dragons and flambé all the people fans hate the most before taking her seat on the Iron Throne … or, perhaps, ceding it to her blood relative (spoiler) Jon Snow. They expected epic battles that would eventually include the dragon queen bringing fire to bear on the ice of the evil Night King.
But very few fans expected that battle to be fought in the air, dragon to dragon. Now, in a promo image released months before the season premiere, producers have raised the bar of expectation for fans. Not only will they get some of the best ground battle sequences yet, but they will also get a totally unexpected twist.
When the gauntlet to meet their fans’ expectations was tossed at their feet, Game of Thrones writers and showrunners picked it up, grabbed a sword and challenged The Mountain. They better hope they’re up to the task or they may end up squished by their own hubris, just like an overzealous Viper.
David Milberg is a financial analyst in NYC.