Game Of Thrones, What Makes It So Compelling?

This article will be as spoiler free as an article praising a TV show can really be. Game of Thrones is more than just a TV show. It is a cultural phenomenon. Ratings are not what you judge TV on these days, not really. Since people were able to consume content on the internet ratings have lost their importance.

Gauge

So it’s important then to look at something else. Impact. The new, and (is this a spoiler?) last series is coming. Actually, it’s here I just wanted to paraphrase the meme! Speaking of memes, that is a good indication of the importance of this show. There isn’t just one style of Game of Thrones (GoT) meme. There are dozens of them. This show is big, arguably the most popular show of all time, but why?

Setting

Westeros is a magnificent place. I’m not just talking about in terms of special effects, although let’s be honest they are spectacular. But it is wonderfully laid out to frame the characters that really drive the show

Shades of grey

There is no real good versus evil in the show. I mean sure, just about everyone hates Joffrey but that’s because he has a face that only a mother could love. Characters aren’t black and white. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad.

Politics

Just about everything in the show is political. The web of people who are all interconnected means that an individual’s motivations may run counter to or alongside the motivations of others. It is this tangled web which means that there is a constant simmering tension.

Backdoor Fantasy elements

If you had said 20 years ago that there would be a fantasy show on TV and nerds and norms alike would talk about it constantly nobody would have believed you. And yet… The way it does this is by introducing stuff like dragons and having everybody react like “what the hell, that can’t be real” about them. They are just as shocked as us.

Sex

It’s gritty, it’s frequent and sometimes a bit titillating. People have sex and the show lets us watch it. It makes sense, sex and passion are as big a motivating factor as power and wealth.

Multiple characters

In shows like Breaking Bad, the action focuses around one or two central characters. We watch the show and see how the characters grow and develop with time. That is a big part of the appeal. Walter White’s descent into Heisenberg is truly a beautiful piece of television. With GoT it focuses on the journey of about 30 characters, that’s 30 times the awesomeness of Walter White.

Shock factor

Despite the fact it has every internet nerd on the planet theorising what is going to happen next it still has the ability to throw you a curveball. The show is chock-full with WTF moments.

Funny

Yeah, the humour is pretty dark but it is there and it is needed! When you have a drama show it could get mired without comic relief.

Good looking cast

There is so much eye candy for men and women alike! Not that any of us are shallow enough to take that into consideration.

Literally, anyone can die (or come back to life)

This is perhaps the best thing about Game of Thrones. It has an “all bets are off” feel. When literally anybody can die it keeps the stakes high. It’s not like watching Dr Who where you know there is no way the Doctor is going to die. In Westeros, your heroes have a high chance of actually kicking the bucket.

Controversial in the right ways

From graphic sex scenes to brutal death scenes the show never shies away from things you wouldn’t expect to see on television. Because of this, no limits approach it creates a “must-see” vibe.

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