Game of Thrones versus House of Cards, who will bag the Golden Globe?

Published: December 22, 2014
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House of Cards doesn’t carry the same influence or the fan base as Game of Thrones does.

As per the Greek mythos, Helen of Troy was the face that launched a thousand ships. By the same token, collectively, two of the most popular drama series Game of Thrones and House of Cards have created a plethora of die-hard fans, countless memes and memorable one-liners from the two drama series. 

If one was to find a singular commonality between the two drama series, it will be the pursuit of seeking absolute power. While, House of Cards frequently chronicles and portrays the journey of its main character, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), in the corridors of power in Washington DC ,  Game of Thrones, on the other hand, has a vast fictitious world of Westeros built around it, coupled with an expansive array of fictional characters representing different Nobel houses (Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Targaryen, among the rest). These houses are under the kingdom and fiefdom of lords who are either loyal to the King (from the ruling house, Baratheon) or at odds with them.

The Golden Globes have been kind to Game of Throne in its first season in 2011. It was nominated for the Best Television Drama Series in 2012 and won a Golden Globe for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, due to Peter Dinklage’s outstanding performance as Tyrion Lannister. The team of House of Cards, on the other hand, has been unlucky in its endeavour to get hold of the coveted award in the same category. However, it does have the distinction of winning the Golden Globe award for Best Actress in a Television Drama Series (Robin Wright). It was a landmark in itself and also unprecedented because it was the first of its kind, for an online-only (Netflix Original Programming) web television series to have won a mainstream award like the Golden Globes.

The next Golden Globe awards will be taking place on January 11, 2015. Both the aforementioned series are nominated under the category of Best Television Drama Series.

It is hard for me to remain impartial and neutral seeing as, collectively, these two shows are amongst the best quality drama series currently out there. From the production values to the richness of characters, from a mythical albeit convincing world of ancient Westeros to the politically shrewd atmosphere of Washington DC, both drama series have their equal share of strengths in their own right.

However, I think Game of Thrones will, once again, take the sought-after award over House of Cards, for the following reasons:

Storyline (Singular versus Multipronged) 

The predominant reason may lie in their default story structure and narrative approach. Game of Thrones portrays simultaneous story arches following the rise and fall of different houses. It gives multiple points of views. Additionally, highs such as the Purple Wedding and, frequent but saddening, lows which are in abundance for example, the Red Wedding, keep the audience ripe with anticipation. Compared to House of CardsGame of Thrones is much more visceral, organic and explicit in more ways than one.

The former, on the other hand, is understated, subtle in its plotlines, it takes its due time to build up and set the momentum leading up to any big event, which is not a bad thing seeing as it is a political-thriller, and that’s how politics works – slowly. Whereas in the latter, in each episode you are forced to remain on the edge of your seat while you are constantly reminded that, in accordance with Murphy’s Law, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Perennial plot twists and the abrupt killing of central characters among other things is what makes Game of Thrones such an addictive, albeit emotionally exhausting, watch.

Rich characters or a lack thereof

It seems like the entire weight of the House of Cards is anchored on the shoulders of its main protagonist, Spacey. While he is most definitely outstanding in his role as Underwood, this aspect does give the series a one-man show feel. And in my opinion, apart from Wright, the other characters, even the major ones, don’t have that oomph or wow factor. Moreover, politicking nuances in the show, especially with all the American-only political jargon, can sometimes become a tad superfluous and makes it difficult to keep track of what exactly is going on.

Photo: IMDb

On the other hand, Game of Thrones has hosts of excellent performers – Dinklage, Lena Heady (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Kit Harington (Jon Snow),  and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) to name some. Each brings to the table performances that can hold their own.

Source: Vanity Fair

Source: Vanity Fair

Source: Vanity Fair

David versus Goliath

Although both shows are par-excellence, Game of Thrones is a franchise. It is not just a TV series, but a fictional best-selling book series penned by George R R Martin and also a video game series.

House of Cards doesn’t carry the same influence or the fan base as the former does. But we all know the story of David and Goliath so we can’t overrule it. House of Cards may just turn out to be the dark horse.

House of Thrones?

On a lighter note, has anyone ever imagined a show that combined the grandeur of the Game of Thrones and the southern mannerisms of Underwood? I have and it would be epic! I am now hoping that some God-sent director out there reads this post and takes the hint.

Photo: Pinterest

Snapping back to reality, I would like to say that this January 11th I will be rooting for Game of Thrones, which show will you be rooting for?

Salman Junejo

Salman Junejo

The author is an agriculturist by profession and runs an agriculture company by the name of GRJ AGRO(www,grjagro.com). He has a family background in politics and agriculture. He tweets @salmanjunejo (twitter.com/salmanjunejo)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.