Regardless of how I feel about the finale of Game of Thrones, what I am experiencing right now is something that can only be likened to grief. I wasn’t a casual fan of GoT, I was an obsessive devotee. By the time the final season was released, I had re-watched the last seven seasons eight times over. Naturally then, I’m suffering with an empty GoT-sized void in my life.
I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. I wish I could say I plan to go outside and breathe in the fresh air I’ve deprived myself of having locked myself in my room to watch violent battle scenes and incestual romance play out for hours on end. But alas, that would be a lie. Here’s what I’m doing with my time now Game of Thrones is over.
1. Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
Whilst these might seem an obvious choice, in the first week post-GoT I had watched all seventeen hours of the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. I’m not ashamed to admit my plans for what I’m doing in the coming weeks will involve re-watching these again – the costume design and the fight scenes are reminiscent of that of GoT, and so have been incredibly consoling during the initial withdrawal period. I must note that besides these two, my following recommendations have little similarity to GoT, so if you’re looking for something mildly akin to the TV mammoth that was GoT, these are your best shot: it’s what I’m doing at least.
2. The Handmaid’s Tale
This much-praised dystopian series makes for a true departure from the medieval fantasy of GoT; that said, I was certainly able to observe a degree of continuity in the themes. The Gileadean totalitarian theocracy isn’t a far throw from a world where the High Sparrow won the Iron Throne. However, pre-warning: the constitutional misogyny that runs deep in The Handmaid’s Tale presents some scary parallels with the current world climate, so maybe not the best if you’re looking for something cheerier than GoT.
3. BBC’s Merlin
Speaking of something a cheerier, when I’m stuck for what I’m doing with my day, Merlin is the perfect option. Don’t be put off by the comedy of the first few episodes – the drama of this series can’t be overlooked. Besides the theatricality of the story arc, if it’s huge mythological beasts you’re missing the most, then the magic of Merlin will certainly suffice.
Granted, it’s not as critically acclaimed as GoT, but the character development in Vikings does make a fair effort to measure up. Remember Jaime in season 1 of GoT? His hair alone was reason enough to dislike him, and that’s before we consider the disgusting lengths he went to in protecting Cersei. However, his meeting Brienne of Tarth made him a man transformed. Similar to GoT, many of the characters in Vikings that appalled you in season one will become your heroes by season five.
5. The Tudors
Any fan of GoT will know that George R.R. Martin was inspired by the Wars of the Roses, won by Henry VII of England. The Tudors tells the (dramatised) tale of his successor, Henry VIII and his reign. Henry VIII’s struggle to validate himself as a usurper is history’s answer to the factional battle for the Iron Throne. Also, FYI: The Tudors stars Natalie Dormer (aka Margaery Tyrell) so if that’s not reason enough to watch, I don’t know what is.