I know this might be the fifty eight hundred thousand-th article ever to be written on just how stupendously intriguing and crazy this show is, but I think I have started comparing my fangirlish loyalty to Game of Thrones with Harry Potter. And that’s really something.
Since the past few years, I have been continuously obsessing over this show and everyone who knows me even slightly, knows that I don’t stop talking about Game of thrones once I begin. I’m sure, same is the case for the 382940520333 other people who are totally hooked to this show. These were the guys who had 2 AM nightmares about Jon Snow’s fate. These were the same guys who think Ned Stark’s death tops the list of unfair things that have happened ever. And these were the same people who couldn’t contain their joy when a despicable character like Ramsay Bolton died a horrible (but totally, totally deserving) death on the show.
What is it, really that makes this show one of the most watched shows in television history and the most pirated one as well? (Not trying to advocate piracy here, I swear). What is it about this show that the feelings of the audience can literally swing like a pendulum from ‘This is the best show ever!’ to ‘I’m never ever watching this show again!!’ in a span of under two minutes? (Believe me, this really happened to me).
What is it about this show that even though they know that their favourite character might drop dead in the most ungraceful and demeaning way in a span of few seconds, people cannot stop watching Game of Thrones? I believe there are several reasons for this:
1. Because People Love Drama
Let’s face it, we like to hide our emotions under a thick veil of ego, but we absolutely love drama. People want to watch something dramatic, something that will shake them, emotionally stir them. Game of Thrones does just that. It is a fantasy story revolving around war, violence, heartbreak, love, magic, politics, leadership and what not. (Also, incest) After an hour of all or some of the above elements, you are left wanting for more.
2. Unpredictability Wins Over Predictability
The storyline is extremely unpredictable, and you have no idea what to expect next. Like one second you are witnessing the joyous occasion of a wedding happening between a couple, everybody is happy, immersed in drinking wine and in making small talk. And then, ‘The Rains of Castamere’ starts playing in the background. And then, well well everyone knows what happens. (I think I have developed a permanent fear for weddings now ☹). So you know you ain’t seen much of plot twists till you have watched Game of Thrones, bro!
3. The Hero Is Never The Hero
When I first started watching Game of Thrones, I thought Ned Stark was eventually going to ascend the Iron Throne. How naïve of me to hope for something like this so early! By the end of almost seven seasons, I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that Ned Stark really is *sob* dead. You can never be sure if the hero is going to win in the end. Because Game of Thrones is realistic that way, it shows us that heroes are not always the winners. Which makes the story even more riveting, obviously. We are used to see the hero winning, but how used are we to see a hero losing?
4. Really, Really Strong Characters
Do not tell me that you never felt hatred for Cersei. I felt hatred for her so deep that my intestines started boiling, I kid you not. I hated her more than I hate the people who pop all of the bubbles in a bubble wrap.
I could not help myself from loving Tyrion though. Tyrion is a smart, snarky character who unfortunately is hated by his sister but loved by everyone who watches the show. Underneath all that smartness and wine though, lies the heart of a man who truly cares. And every time a new episode comes out, you utter a silent prayer for Tyrion Lannister and hope he makes it through. Because Tyrion dying will be utterly disastrous. For everyone in Westeros.
About Jon Snow, well, Jon Snow really knew nothing, he was a confused soul which made him even more adorable. The pain he felt because he believed he was an illegitimate child tore our hearts as well. Then he died. And he got resurrected. And now he is more determined than ever to fight against injustice. (Which is mostly the creepy white walkers)
And who doesn’t love Arya Stark! She is a feisty but tiny girl who has stopped trying to be nobody, she is now Arya. Her transition from Arya Stark to nobody to Arya Stark again is nothing short of phenomenal.
Daenerys Targaryen is a treat to behold on screen. She is the ultimate role model of a feminist. At the beginning of the show, she is this timid, frightened girl who might as well be afraid of her own shadow. Through the seasons though, her character has undergone a transformation and how! She is a Khaleesi, a dragon tamer, a girl who conquered fire, a leader, a decision maker, a Mhysa. And she never stops.
5. It Is A Visual And Auditory Treat
Now, I’m not a movie or an Audio-Visual expert but from what little I can understand about the intricacies of making a TV Show, Game of thrones really is a treat for the eyes as well as the ears. The costumes of the characters, the sets, the beautiful backdrops are really mind-boggling. The music- haunting at some times, soulful at others really is the binding factor and depicts the emotions of a situation or a character extremely accurately. I remember watching the finale of the sixth season and there was this unique piece of piano which kept on increasing its pace and volume till a point where it reaches an absolute crescendo and then just stops. And it’s silence. A lovely, haunting curious silence which gives you time to comprehend the events that unfolded on the screen. The amount of detail gone into one scene in Game of Thrones is insane. It’s so intricate that people never cease to marvel.
6. You Hate The Villains Passionately
Yes, I already talked about how much I hated Cersei. I mean I think she is the ultimate villain of this show and she is so driven by her ambition to get the throne that she will go to any lengths to do that. Wasn’t the season six finale the validation of just that? You hate her. With a passion. But at the same time, you cannot help admiring her for the feat she is trying to achieve, with everyone against her.
You absolutely despised Joffrey for the little prick he was. You actually applauded when Tyrion gave him a tight slap even though it was very early on in the show. And seeing as what happens in weddings, you hoped and prayed that he would die at his own wedding. And hurrah! The show makers and George R. R Martin listened to you! While Cersei had tears of fury and grief in her eyes, you had tears of joy glistening in yours as you watched him die. At his own wedding.
You thought Joffrey was the worst character on the show. Until Ramsay Bolton came along. And you shuddered in fear at all his sadism. Suddenly, Joffrey seemed like a better choice for Sansa. If Ramsay Bolton didn’t scare you, does anything really scare you? That man was insane. But when he died, at the hands of his own ex-wife, murdered by his own dogs, it was perfect. Hell, did you rejoice!
7. Game Of Thrones Knows How To Depict Wars
Let’s all accept the fact that the show makers of Game of Thrones just know how to make all Game of Thrones battles epic. Full of energy, adrenaline, a little bit of heartbreak and a little bit of happiness. The wars in Game of Thrones are really one of the best action-packed scenes I have seen in a long time on TV. They are a marvellous combination of emotions and actions (Remember the Battle of Blackwater Bay, or Hardhome or the Battle of the Bastards)? The wars in Game of Thrones are legendary. Period.
So yeah, that’s all I can think about as of now. I think we can all safely say that Game of Thrones is not rated a 9.5 on IMDB just for nothing. (which is on par with the rating of Breaking Bad, but I think we’ll talk about that some other day). I think we can all safely say that the Game of Thrones fandom is increasing day by day but that is extremely justified seeing how the show is an all-in-one package or most-in-one package, at least. And no, it isn’t overhyped. In fact it very well deserves the hype it gets. So if you haven’t watched Game of Thrones, do make it a point to go and watch it now. It’s never too late for anything and by the end of 500 odd hours, you’ll know that winter really has arrived. Valar Morghulis!