*Warning: this post contains spoilers*
Dear George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, and Game of Thrones fans everywhere,
I would like to issue a formal apology.
I was wrong.
Four years ago, when Game of Thrones first premiered, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. Why was everyone was obsessed with this fantasy show that seemed like its target audience should be people who play Dungeons and Dragons? I thought the fans were annoying and obsessive, the storylines convoluted, and the deaths of the most beloved characters as only another excuse not to watch the show.
The thing is, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was watching Game of Thrones. I would sit in the room while my friends watched it in college and with my roommate once I moved to California. My dad constantly has the show on at home, as soon as he finishes the last season he starts over again from the beginning, and I would find myself getting caught up in a few scenes. I would go out of my way to read the spoilers online just so I could keep up with what was going on. But still I insisted I wasn’t a fan.
I think it was the billboards that changed my mind. Living in Los Angeles I’ve seen more advertisements for television shows than I have anywhere else (duh). Around the end of February when I was working on the Oscars at the Dolby Theater, I would pass a billboard every single day. The image is now familiar: Tyrion, on a boat shrouded in mist looking up at a dragon approaching in the sky. Without even really knowing that much about the show, that image excited me. I wanted to know more. I wanted to watch the show. I wanted to be able to truly call myself a fan.
As soon as the Oscars ended and I had a fews days off in between shows, my marathon began. I thought I had seen most of the episodes and that I just needed to watch them in order to get the lay of the land. I thought I knew everything; all the major story arcs and characters. I thought that I would just watch it and become a little bit more than a casual fan.
I am never a casual fan of anything. I became attached to Game of Thrones the way I become attached to everything else: obsessively. I knew about Ned, my dad had called me after the Red Wedding, and I had actually watched “The Watchers on the Wall” (4.9), but it didn’t matter. None of that stopped me from getting invested in the Stark family or falling in love with characters I knew would die (Drogo. Renly. Robb. Grenn.) or worrying about characters who I knew would survive (Dany. Jorah. Tyrion.)
I became one of those fans I had mocked.
This season I watched the show every Sunday night with my friends. I read every review come Monday morning (and called my dad to discuss each episode). I sobbed for Shireen. I cursed Ramsey. I screamed bloody murder at the finale. I watched the Red Nose Day “Game of Thrones: The Musical” to the point where I can sing along. I am planning on going to any and all Game of Thrones related things at San Diego Comic Con and even want to buy a shirt to wear for the occasion. I am currently reading A Clash of Kings.
The main lesson I learned from my experience with Game of Thrones (besides “Do not get attached to any character”) is to not be a Pop Culture Hipster. I didn’t want to like the show because everyone else did. But everyone liked it for a reason. It’s an amazing show. From a production standpoint it is one of the most impressive on television. It has amazing scope, scale, visuals, costumes, and cast members. The story is intriguing and intelligent and the dialogue sharp and oftentimes funny. It is part of pop culture I am happy I am now getting to experience, no matter how late in the ahem…game.
(But really, this experience sucks! What do I do with my life now that there are no more new episodes to watch? Is this how you all felt for this last four years? I don’t know how you all survived. How long do we have to wait to see what happens next? If R + L=J, he’s going to be fine, right? Right??)
- I almost hope GRRM doesn’t finish The Winds of Winter before the next season comes out. Or if he does I hope I’m caught up by then, I’m sick of getting things spoiled by the book fans. Their smugness and willingness to ruin things for non readers was one of the main reasons I stayed away for so long.
- It is a lot harder to figure out which Game of Thrones house you are in than which Harry Potter house (Puff Pride!). I can’t decide whether I am a Tyrell or a Baratheon.