Game of Thrones: Why Still Bother?

I wish HBO would put us out of our misery.

We’re just over two weeks away from the final season premiere of the cultural phenomenon, Game of Thrones. Dating back to its initial premiere in 2011, the HBO show had its niche audience in fantasy or sword & sandal fans. Now in 2018, it could be compared to the MCU as one of the most talked about items today in movies and television. Sprawling over eight seasons, the show is rich in storylines, characters, and contains spectacular visuals. The question is – should you even bother?

GoT is a great series. Probably one of the best ever created, and it established this early on. However, there was a shift in the paradigm around season 4 or 5. It broke past “nerd culture”. Everyone was watching, and more importantly, everyone was talking about it. Those who didn’t watch & discuss were now in the minority. The memes were inescapable, social media was a constant buzz, people were deleting apps and locking away devices to avoid spoilers. The audience became bigger than the show itself.

How much is too much? How many of us are watching to simply remain part of the conversation? The last time I turned it on, close to two years ago, it felt like a chore. An obligation. I can still enjoy the program, but the magic is gone. Characters I once was invested in now mean nothing to me. With this new and final season, it feels like I’m tuning in to a channel to catch whatever’s next, and in the meantime just waiting for what’s on to end.

I don’t see the “normies” being at fault. I’m sure some just watch for the dragons, the nudity, or the empowerment of certain characters. I’m a firm believer in that you can enjoy something without needing to fully understand it (shout out to the homie David Lynch). Popularity doesn’t have to be a bad thing – Perhaps it’s the social media landscape. It’s no longer your own viewing experience – you’re forced into something much bigger. It’s almost impossible to avoid someone else’s live tweets, recaps, or fan theories. It’s as if the audience has become its own artist – and that’s not a situation we want to be in. If The Sopranos or Lost was airing in this current age, would we face the same problem? It seems like no matter what, we’ll find something to latch onto and call it “ours”, disregarding anyone else who enjoys it. Are we just inherently selfish?

I still haven’t decided if I’ll be watching live. If there’s any reason for me to do so, it would be the 7+ years I’ve put in already. What’s six weeks more? On the other hand, I’ve heard good things about the National Football League…maybe it’s finally time.

If you feel scorned or otherwise about Game of Thrones, feel free to let me know at @_MattDotson on Twitter.

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