Today we’re killing time before the first episode of the new season of Game of Thrones airs. Between now and then we’ll probably watch a few of last season’s final episodes to make sure we are fully caught up and current on the characters, but we’ll tune in without fail to see if there is a big reveal on Jon Snow. Could he somehow, some way, perhaps with the aid of his direwolf Ghost — might turn out to be aptly named, eh? — survive the brutal, literal stab in the back attack by his brothers on the Night’s Watch?
I can’t think of a TV show that has has the same kind of pre-season anticipation since the Dallas “Who Shot J.R.?” controversy back in the 1980. For those who didn’t watch Dallas back then, the controversy was not only who shot the despicable but roguishly charming J.R. Ewing, but also whether J.R. would survive. Since Larry Hagman was the star of that incredibly popular show, however, everybody figured J.R. would pull through, so the big question was who shot him — not an easy call since J.R. had managed to cheat, outmaneuver, embarrass and humiliate pretty much everybody on the show.
The Game of Thrones cliffhanger is of a different kind, of course, because it’s been clear since the outset that major characters are routinely knocked off — the Stark clan alone has been decimated — but also because there are so many other rich plot threads left dangling. So Jon Snow could easily be dead and gone, with no more muss or fuss, but there’s lot of other things to wonder about. Will we get to see Sansa Stark knock off the horrendous Bolton Bastard — hopefully in painful, bloody, graphic fashion? What about Daenerys, and Tyrion Lannister, and the dragons? What the heck are Bran Stark and Hodor and the frog-eaters doing north of the wall? And I’ll be happy just to see any screen time for my favorite character, Arya Stark.
Game of Thrones has become quite the phenomenon. Who would have thought that a fantasy TV show would develop such a rabid following?