Is ‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ inspired by ‘Game of Thrones?’

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The halfway mark of Squid Game: The Challenge, accompanied by the imminent release of the final five episodes, has drawn attention to a Game of Thrones-like theme in Netflix’s latest reality competition show.

Comparisons to Game of Thrones stem from the propensity of both series to unexpectedly eliminate beloved characters, a hallmark of George R.R. Martin’s books and the HBO adaptation. Game of Thrones was notorious for killing off prominent characters, shocking audiences with the demise of characters like Eddard Stark, Catelyn Stark, and Robb Stark, among others.

This pattern of early and unexpected character deaths isn’t unique to Game of Thrones and has been seen in other series, such as Attack on Titan. However, the impact of George R.R. Martin’s work on storytelling techniques, particularly character eliminations, seems to have influenced the creators of Squid Game: The Challenge.

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By the fifth episode, nearly all the contestants audiences had grown attached to were eliminated from the competition for the $4.56 million prize. This deliberate elimination of characters was acknowledged by the executive producers of Squid Game: The Challenge, who drew inspiration from the abrupt departures in Game of Thrones.

The producers, Toni Ireland, John Hay, and Stephen Yemoh, explained in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that the challenge lay in focusing on 456 players without knowing who would emerge as the eventual prominent characters. Hay highlighted the decision to follow the Game of Thrones precedent of unpredictably eliminating key players, expressing surprise at the departures of certain standout contestants.

They emphasized the effort to invest viewers in contestants and their subsequent exits without dwelling too much on their departures. The unpredictable nature of the game determined the contestants’ fate, with producers having no control over the outcomes.

Despite the eliminations, the show still has compelling contestants like the mother-son duo LeAnn and Trey and remnants of the “Gganbu Gang” led by Rick and Stephen. The series has offered compelling viewing, showcasing the transformative journey of the remaining contestants competing for the grand prize.

As the show progresses, it mirrors Game of Thrones in its potential for unknown contestants to evolve into significant figures. With five episodes remaining, the potential winner might emerge from the current crop or could be an emerging star yet to shine fully.

The remaining episodes will continue to unfold, with anticipation building for the reveal of the ultimate winner among the fewer than 100 remaining contestants. The next four episodes will release on November 29, with the finale set for December 6.