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Dracarys!

Like many of this show's fans here in the Philippines, I tuned into HBO to catch the season finale of one of its biggest hits, 'Game of Thrones,' last Aug. 28.

Since its very first season, I've been an avid fan. But, it can be quite a challenge keeping its large cast of characters and their families, relationships, houses, sigils and conflicts straight.

I've found myself at different points over the course of the series asking myself, 'And who's this guy again-and how is he related to this other person?' Thank goodness for extensively written online guides. Whoever you all are, this fan thanks you.

For its first five seasons, avid readers of the five-volume source material written by George RR Martin basically had a five-volume spoiler, as they could easily refer to the books for what's about to happen next (sure, there are differences, but the fundamental plot remains the same).

However, for the last two seasons, they've not had the books to turn to and are, therefore, in the same boat as those who only watch the show. Now they're plunged into the world of mystery, having to wait for the following season to find out what happens next.

And what has happened thus far is the stuff that made jaws fall to the floor. Oh, the things we've seen! Daenerys Targaryen has returned home to Dragonstone; Jon Snow is actually Aegon Targaryen and rightful heir to the Iron Throne; Cersei Lannister is pregnant again; Jaime Lannister has finally left Cersei and their toxic romantic relationship behind; all the surviving Starks have made it back to Winterfell; Olenna Tyrell has died (but not before delivering the zinger that she was the one who killed King Joffrey Baratheon); Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, has been executed (hurray to Sansa for outsmarting him); Arya Stark has avenged her mother and brother's deaths in The Red Wedding; the Night King now rides a dragon; Theon Greyjoy has redeemed himself; and, lastly, Dany and Jon have officially been shipped, on a ship. And Ed Sheeran made a sweet singing cameo in the first episode of the season!

'Game of Thrones' is perhaps one of the best TV shows currently being produced, there's profuse nudity, sexual content, profanity and violence.

There are perversions shown onscreen that wouldn't otherwise be aired on other, more restrictive networks. However, none of the action shown is ever gratuitous or unnecessary. Yes, it can make the viewer uncomfortable, but it's in this state of being that we are then exposed to the political machinations that make each house and family turn, the motivations for why each character behaves the way he or she does, the lies they'd tell to protect people they love, and how the lust for power can make them do the unspeakable.

This includes the characters that started their lives on the show as teenagers or preteens. Just look at the remaining Stark children and their individual trajectories. Sansa has sentenced one to death, Arya is an efficient executioner and Bran has the knowledge of all that has happened, is happening and will happen in Westeros.

The nudity and sexual content this season is far reduced compared to the earliest ones, but that doesn't mean its fire and bite have been lessened, as well.

The dangers of politics and the lust for power have remained as fierce as ever, and watching how certain people will overtly lie just to serve their personal and political agendas is something that every viewer can relate to.

Perhaps one of the greatest things 'Game of Thrones' has taught us is to always ask the question, 'Why is the person saying the things he or she is saying? Whose agenda are they trying to serve?' As Littlefinger tells Sansa, 'What's the worst thing your enemy wants, and what will they do to get it?'

It's something we all should ask ourselves every election season, especially right before we go into that booth to vote.

What's to come for Season 8? I honestly have no idea. If I was to express my heart's desires: Jon Snow will end up on the Iron Throne (I mean, he's already died in a previous season; he'd better not be killed again) and Daenerys will rule alongside him (which means another throne will be forged with the help of dragonfire); Sansa Stark will remain the Lady of Winterfell with Arya as her protector; Cersei will die at the hands of her brother and lover, Jaime; Tyrion will remain the Hand of the King and Queen; the Night King and his army will be defeated; and peace and prosperity will spread throughout Westeros.

But, this isn't the stuff of successful TV shows, or of fictional medieval lands. It's possible we won't get the end game we want (they have a penchant for killing off major characters ... ), and that more of the characters we've grown to love will die. But, I have a strong feeling that, by the end, we'll all be satisfied. 'Game of Thrones' has only six episodes left, let's prepare ourselves for the end to come.

Valar morghulis.
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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Sep 7, 2017
Words:975
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