On Sunday June 9th, 2013, HBO screened the Game of Thrones Season 3 finale. A third season that beat all records (Record Ratings, illegal downloading and pure and utter hype) and which elevated this adaptation of George R.R Martin’s books to the rank of phenomenon. A series that came out of the TV screen and became an essential topic in most people’s day-to-day conversations.
Because Game of Thrones is not just a series anymore, it’s become a fashion. To admit that the fate and tribulations of Tyrion Lannister is of no interest to you is running the risk of being at the receiving end of, dumstruck, or even worse, contemptuous looks.
Biggest success for HBO since The Sopranos – 13.6 million Americans watch it every week versus 14.4 for the 5th season of The Sopranos – Game of Thrones managed to net another 30% of viewers in 2013, and that’s without counting the record numbers of people illegally downloading it.
Shockingly enough, Michael Lombardo, head of HBO programming, declared that he wasn’t bothered by the illegal downloads (up to 165,000 for one episode). “I probably shouldn’t say that but it is such a compliment to the show and I am quite sure that it won’t affect DVD sales.”
Fantasy does not usually lend itself to massive success with the masses. Only the Lord Of The Rings trilogy sensation in cinemas (distant cousin of GOT) could have hinted at the possible success of Game of Thrones. Yet, everyone loves the show; and so much so that bookshops have been inundated with demands for the volumes that inspired it. It is, after all, the best and quickest way to find out “what happens next”. 8000 copies of the 12th volume had been sold before the show aired (5 books have been published in the series so far but most publishers have chosen to divide each book into different tomes). It quickly went up to 55,000 and the numbers are now off the scales.
I came late to the party myself. I am still on Season 2 and I do my best not to have spoilers thrown at me. Before I’d even made a start on Season 1, Twitter and the net were in meltdown over the “Red Wedding”. I remember that this red wedding kept coming back in discussions and – knowing I was yet to start watching the show – I kept away from any further explanations. I am happy to say I still don’t know what it is all about (apart from the fact that it’s HUGE and shocking and made most people’s jaw drop) and I am tremendously looking forward to it. Although I am bound to be disappointed after all the hype….or maybe not. “Disappointed” is not a word that’s come to me at all ever since I became addicted to GOT.
I must say I am looking forward to be in sync with everyone by the time Season 4 comes onto the screens, in early 2014 I believe. In the meantime, I shall do as a lot of people have, and buy and read the books. I may have come late to the party but it’s not a party I want to leave anytime soon, I’m having too much fun.