Game of Thrones. A craze that has taken over the world. What was supposed to be a big-budget nerd-out, HBO’s super hit series has gone beyond that, winning hearts of many more than the boy nerd demographic alone. Not only non-nerd watch it, but people (yes, even women) who haven’t historically been into fantasy stuff have fallen for it. I myself have fallen it. Hard.
I was among the “late” people. I only started watching it just before the 4th season was about to come out. Many of my GoT-fan peers and cousins were raving about how awesome Game of Thrones was, the plotting, the violence and the sex and ugh, so much more. I was always indifferent to all that. I was more into comic anime and adult cartoons. To me, Game of Thrones just sounded like an exaggerated, fantasy version of Spartacus. I will retell the story of how I got hooked to Game of Thrones.
If you happen to live in another planet and don’t know that Game of Thrones is, here’s a little backdrop. It is an American fantasy drama television series by HBO which is based more or less on the book series by George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire. The first title on the series is A Game of Thrones. The show’s popularity has certainly exceeded that of the books. The books may have been successful before the show, but the show has catapulted them to the heights among the best-sellers.
So, one fine weekend, I was home, all bored. (An avid couch-potato here. I prefer the comfort of my room rather than going out in the sun, roaming around and guffawing). I was done with all the interesting anime and series I had and was hunting for my next watch. Going through my external storage device and CD files, I had nothing interesting enough. From one folder to another, one page of the CD file to another, I turned a lot of stones. I googled for “The must-watch series at the moment” and no surprise, GoT was among the top suggestions. I had borrowed the 3-season collection CDs from my cousin who, evidently, is a huge fan. Since I had nothing else to do, I loaded the 1st season disc into my laptop. At first, I was “meh”. It was like a Shakespearean-ish, high fashion-freaks. It was playing more to my thinking of it was a fantasy version of Spartacus. But after I was done with the pilot, I just did not wanted to stop. The death of Ned Stark (my favorite then), Viserys “selling’ his sister for an army and what not. Thus began my utter love for this sweet, gore-y, fantasy, sexual and medieval-esque series. I binge watched through the 3 seasons. I finished watching each season containing 10 episodes, each episode about 55 minutes in like 3 days. I understood why it is being hailed as one of the greatest shows in TV history – a phenomenon, people across the world are obsessed with it and social media just about explodes after every weekly episode.
Now, we’re nearly done with the sixth season of this god-gifted show. As I follow through season after season, waiting a whole year for another season, I realized Game of Thrones has a bit of everything.
The story is different and daring. It is presented in an unusual way with tremendous surprise.
If you like romance, there’s plenty (Some weird and twisted in cases, but still). If you like action, then all of your desires are me. Politics, tick. Grand staging, tick. Attractive actors, tick. Fantasy, tick. Drama, tick. Kick-ass costumes, tick. And the list just goes on and on. We can certainly indulge in these elements, for a little escape from reality. But the show runs deeper than just fantasy escapism, and hits up all on all kinds of levels. We’re emotionally invested in what happens next.
The series is visually stunning. The filming locations are just to die for. Most of the scenes are shot in front of green screens but they are so impeccably made. You won’t have the slightest clue that it is CGI unless you’re just a spoilsport. The opening credit’s song and topographic visuals evokes a sense of grandeur. Ah! The details are just incredible. It addresses the current social and political issues, such as racism, gender, the differently-abled and multiculturalism, in an indirect and sensitive way. It shows the power struggle between the people who want to rule. No doubt, the best “world-building” there is.
The characters are very complex and diverse. Each has their own storylines and it’s easy for someone to find a character he can related to in the show. They are very realistic. There is not clear line between good and bad. A character you might think good might do terrible things, while a bad one might change and do something good. Characters evolve and go through changes. So, it’s pretty much unpredictable to how a character would change (and in some cases, even die).
Strong women characters. Game of Throne offers diverse female characters. In medieval societies, as portrayed by the series, women were seen as pawns and a source of pleasure for women. They had to use their wits to maneuver and manipulate the powerful men around them – morph in various ways over time and come to power. The powerful, the strong, the weak, the intelligent, the nobles and all in-between.
Violence and nudity are plenty. Beheadings, torture, sword battles, betrayal, conspiracy and war – you name it, Game of Thrones has it. Nudity, from both female and male (mostly female) cast members is conspicuous. Not to mention, incest, medieval romps and brother orgies. May these appeal to our more primitive instincts or maybe the writers want to force people to pay attention to essential plot explanation through the nakedness.
At the end of the day, Game of Thrones makes you feel so many feels. Unlike most TV shows the narrative moves pretty slowly. Unlike most TV shows the narrative moves forward relatively slowly. The producers take their time and do it right: they build tension and create a compelling world filled with interesting characters to the point where you can’t look away, meanwhile, they develop both story arcs and character arcs so when stuff does happen, you’re hooked. The show appeals to our basic instincts. We might not really admit it but we like watch people fight, conspire, the sex, etc. It’s not real, so it’s fun. Of course, it wouldn’t be anywhere as popular if it wasn’t for the brilliant writing and acting on the show.
I love Game of Thrones. Let me know if you like Game of Thrones or are obsessed with any other series and why?