Historical drama fans have spoken and most of them believe Netflix’s The Last Kingdom is superior to HBO’s Game of Thrones.
In modern TV history, just a handful of shows have had such a catastrophic final season as HBO’s Game of Thrones. What began as a cultural phenomenon ended with a whimper in one of the most disappointing and borderline nonsensical finales ever written in the fantasy drama genre, throwing away almost every ounce of goodwill that the fans ever had for any of the show’s eight seasons.
The Fall of Game of Thrones
These days, it’s hard to hear anyone discussing Game of Thrones in any capacity. Everything bad that there was to say about the series finale has been said before – and due to how things ended, there’s no reason to remember the good parts of the show’s earlier seasons. Not even the upcoming release of House of the Dragon is generating a considerable amount of buzz, which might indicate that any love people had for Game of Thrones is long gone.
Game of Thrones filled a gap in TV that no one was ever really sure existed. The mix of historical drama with intense action scenes – not to mention the fascinating characters and clever dialogue – turned the show into a spectacle that TV had never experienced before. And then, they threw it all away.
However, now we know a little bit more about what we loved about Game of Thrones in the first place. Even though the showrunners may have believed that people tuned in only to watch epic battles with dragons and armies of undead, the truth is that the charm of the series lies in its complex political intrigue.
Perhaps that’s the reason why, for many Game of Thrones fans, The Last Kingdom has become what the last seasons of HBO’s hit show should have been. Unlike GoT, this show is a fictional period piece based on real-life characters, in a story that details the early days of what would become England.
The Rise of The Last Kingdom
As many GoT fans and history buffs know, most of what George R.R. Martin wrote in A Song of Ice and Fire is based on real British history. Maybe that’s the reason why some of the settings and the overall intrigue feels all too familiar in The Last Kingdom. The only difference is that the Netflix show now has the empirical account of what happened to the last seasons of GoT as a reference as to what not to do with your show. Thankfully, it seems to be working perfectly so far.
The fifth and final season of The Last Kingdom arrived on the streaming platform in March of this year. The show is based on The Saxon Stories, a series of historical novels written by Bernard Cornwell. While the earlier seasons of The Last Kingdom are an almost verbatim retelling of the events in the books, the final seasons deviate a bit from their source material. It’s one of the very rare instances of subverting expectations done right, and it’s a way to surprise fans of both the show and the novel series.
Even though the final season has already been released, Netflix and The Last Kingdom showrunners went one step beyond to ensure that the show had the ending it deserves – after all, when a show is this good, it’s worth going the extra mile to keep its legacy intact.
The streaming giant has confirmed that a feature-length sequel to The Last Kingdom titled Seven Kings Must Die has already entered development as a continuation of the show’s events. If only HBO had decided to end Game of Thrones on a similar high note, we wouldn’t still be talking about how disappointing that show’s finale was three years after it aired.