A Dialogue of Ice and Fire. My Experiences watching Game of Thrones. Part 3Posted: November 21, 2013
This is the third and probably last installment of an email based interview regarding my feelings and thoughts on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” for a University project, the previous two parts can be found here and here if you are so inclined to find out how I feel about Peter Dinklage’s face or fantasy camera filters.
Q: What are your thoughts, if any, about the marketing behind the show?
A: I can only really speak to the direct marketing around the third season as I can’t really remember when I first heard about Game of Thrones; it sort of feels like it just faded into the zeitgeist through the internet. Until I actually started watching the TV show, my entire experience of it was various blog articles and memes which have permeated the internet. I have no idea what marketing was like around the world or even in most of the USA but Philadelphia had large billboards proclaiming showing the shadows of dragons flying over a grey sea which was kind of exciting, but I think the marketing I came into contact with most frequently and was most interested by was the marketing done on the internet. I feel HBO probably decided that because people had made that many memes up on their own they decided to get into the game and get people to make memes they designed which brings me to my favorite pastime of last year: Making house sigils.
I think the idea to get people to spend hours coming up with attempts at witty parodies of house sigils is probably my favorite thing a corporate entity has done in a while with the possible exception of 2K commissioning a second expansion to Civilization 5. I obviously first tried to make my family crest and then began to make ones for an Anarchist great house or made up houses or cross fandom enjoyment. Weirdly though this was actually a little more fun than watching the actual T.V. series, but this might be because by the time the third series I had actually read past the third book so that was probably just me. That said, I can’t overestimate how much fun making sigils is.
Q: Do you have any experience of or thoughts about the fan culture which has grown up around Game of Thrones?
A: Right so, I think the fact that the twentysomethings who really like Game of Thrones were pre-teens when the Lord of the Rings franchise first hit cinema screens. There’s a really interesting undercurrent throughout the entire Game of Thrones series which sort of shows a loss of innocence about gallantry and the moral integrity of authority figures LOTR is sort of based on. For instance, Aragon is entirely morally upstanding and it all works out well for him, he gets to be king, he gets the girl, and all he had to do was fight some evil dudes as opposed to Robb Stark who gets betrayed by his followers and murdered despite winning all his battles against the clearly morally bankrupt Lannisters, who, far from evil are also empathized with.
The generation that was introduced to the black and white morality of the just fighting the unjust depicted in LoTR came of age during a war that not only be shown to be a sham, but also descended into bloody chaos. This era was topped off by a profound and all encompassing economic collapse resulting in all the sincere promises we were given to us growing up have turned to dust whilst we as a generation are branded as feckless and entitled without being given any opportunities to improve ourselves. In the backdrop of this environment it’s pretty understandable that the hard, cynical and earthy world of Game of Thrones is cathartic to our generation in a weird sort of way.
This is not to discount the fact that Game of Thrones is a really good story with really engaging characters. Happily, this series has also not fallen into the unpleasant trap of large numbers of fans missing the point of the show and falling in love with the worst characters for the worst reasons in the way Breaking Bad and Mad Men have. This said there is a disappointing trend where a large number of fans have seen the story as one of good v evil with the Starks being noble despite fundamentally being feudal lords who by definition are dicks and having underlings who skin people alive without ever having thought much about it until said sadists turn around and betray them, though I think this is more to do with a need to simplify the plot in people’s minds. I do however enjoy the cornucopia of parody videos there are available on youtube. My favorite probably was being Game of Thrones Wish-fulfillment which which is beautifully juvenile, but has since been topped by BadLipReading’s Medieval Fun time world. In terms of other fandoms, GoT seems less intense than others – this despite the fact that fandoms are all intertwined, but that’s my poorly informed opinion based on all the people I know who like the series and the kinds of fan art that goes on.
Also just as an unrelated side note I didn’t get to mention before:
Fuck Bran, fuck Hodor, fuck the stupid dreams about the three eyed crow and everyone involved in that stupid fucking storyline, especially the kid from Love Actually who seems to be the driving force behind Bran continuing.