Winter is finally here for ‘Game of Thrones’ fans at Temple

The hit HBO drama series returned for its eighth and final season Sunday night.

Students watch the premiere of the final season of "Game of Thrones" during a watch party at an off-campus apartment on Camac Street near Susquehanna Avenue on Sunday. | JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Will the Night King and White Walkers conquer the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros? What will happen with Khaleesi and Jon Snow?  

Most importantly, who will claim the Iron Throne?

The eighth season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” premiered Sunday night, beginning the process of answering fans’ questions leftover from the seventh season. Many Temple University students tuned in to watch the first episode and have been fans throughout their time at Temple. Some students even gathered at their friends’ apartments for watch parties. 

Sophomore musical theater major Joy Pringle-Bato hosted a watch party for the premiere and is excited to see the series wrap up.

“It feels great to be surrounded by people who enjoy a show as much as you do,” she said. “Plus, after, we can all cry together or laugh together and talk about what happens next.”

The anticipation for the last six episodes, in which viewers will find out who, if anyone, will sit on the Iron Throne, has built for almost two years since the seventh season’s end. 

“Game of Thrones,” based on author George R.R. Martin’s best-selling book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” debuted in April 2011. The award-winning series became the network’s most popular show over “The Sopranos” in 2014, the Hollywood Reporter reported. 

The previous season averaged about 30.6 million viewers per episode, Vulture reported. 

Throughout the series, viewers have watched the characters scheme, fight and kill each other throughout the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The separate storylines are joining together in the final season, and fans like Risa Iatesta are eager to see how it will end.

“There’s going to be a lot of drama, a lot of violence, possibly romance, and it’s going to be the perfect, most amazing way to end the most incredible television show of all time,” said Iatesta, a freshman international business and Spanish major.

Another storyline coming to a close is the arrival of the Night King and his army of White Walkers, formerly-human ice creatures. 

“I want to see not only if they’ll be able to survive the White Walkers, but also who’s going to take the throne because there are so many crazy people who have some sort of logistical claim to it,” said Caleb Okoh-Aihe, a sophomore computer science major. 

The series has won 47 Emmy Awards in several categories, including Outstanding Drama Series in 2018. 

Sophomore economics major Nate Wooding enjoys the unexpectedness of the show because it defies many television tropes like the stereotypical happy ending. 

“They kind of don’t follow the patterns that you see in a lot of big television shows,” Wooding said. “In ‘Game of Thrones,’ the writers aren’t really afraid to just do bold things, like kill off a lot of characters.” 

Senior accounting major Ory Goldenshtein heard about the show after the sixth season premiered in 2016. As a fan of high fantasy, a subgenre of fantasy with an epic nature, he was immediately interested.

“There are so many characters and each one has their own journey and their own story and at the end, it almost ties up together,” he said. 

Okoh-Aihe, like several other student viewers, has a theory for who will end up taking the Iron Throne. Okoh-Aihe hopes it’ll be lead character Arya Stark, and believes viewers will see her in her prime this season, he said.

“She’s a Stark, so she has some sort of royal claim to it,” Okoh-Aihe added. “Plus the whole development that she’s gone through from being beaten down to coming back up again, she seems fit for the throne.”

Arya Stark, played by actress Maisie Williams, has been on her own for most of the series after her father Ned Stark was executed in the first season. She has murdered several people who wronged her family throughout the series. 

Goldenshtein has his own choice for who he wants on the throne — but he’s not entirely sure it’s correct.

“I really think it could be anyone,” he said. “Something tells me it could be someone I’m not thinking of just because some directors don’t like going in the directed route.”

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