By Jorge Solis
March 31st was indeed a very special event. Fans had to choose between the season premiere of “Game of Thrones” and the season finale of “The Walking Dead,” which were both running at the same time. As mentioned by MTV Splash Page, “The Walking Dead” finale was a phenomenal ratings hit, bringing in 12.4 million viewers. Just to make sure, let’s see if we do have a clear winner in this case.
During its last hour, “The Walking Dead” brought in a sense of closure while leaving things open-ended for next season. After Andrea (Laurie Holden) kept making one bad decision after another, she was finally given a chance to reconcile with Michonne (Danai Gurira). Even though she deserted her friend, Michonne stayed with Andrea till the very end, holding her hand while she was dying. The most shocking scene was when The Governor (David Morrissey) betrayed his own people and shot them down. What is Rick going to do now that he has the elderly and children of Woodbury living at the prison?
With the “Game of Thrones” premiere, there was a lot of set-up. The episode was heavy on plot, reintroducing fan-favorite characters, and catching up where last season left off. Is Sansa (Sophie Turner) going to escape from King Joffrey’s grasp? Or, is Littlefinger ((Aidan Gillen) going to betray her? After his father, Tywin (Charles Dance), threatened to kill Shae (Sibel Kekilli), what will Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) do to protect her? Because this is only the beginning, we won’t really know how these story arcs will hit their turning point until much later.
“The Walking Dead” is usually known for its ick factor, but “Game of Thrones” took the cake this time. During the premiere, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) wanted to buy an army of 8,000 soldiers. To demonstrate that his soldiers are tough enough, the owner proved his point by cutting off one of the men’s nipple. That scene hurt me just by watching it! Maybe I’m just used to the show by now, but there was nothing special about watching walkers being gunned down by the Governor and his army.
What I find interesting is that no one has mentioned that HBO repeated “Game of Thrones” three times in a row that same night. Maybe the HBO executives knew viewers would be watching “The Walking Dead” at 9pm. Was there a huge ratings spike during the 10pm time slot? Did viewers jump ship when the “Talking Dead” started after the season finale? Even if viewers watched both the season finale and the “Talking Dead,” what were the ratings like during the 11pm time slot? I’m pretty sure during those hours, viewers were watching the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.” It is called “Game of Thrones,” not “Game of Fools” for a reason.
During the ratings war, which show did you actually choose to watch? Now that “The Walking Dead” is over, viewers can now rest easy and watch “Game of Thrones” in peace. But, will there be a round two next year?
The fourth season of “The Walking Dead” will begin in October. The next episode of “Game of Thrones” airs this Sunday at 9pm on HBO.