Game of Thrones has won an award as «the best TV show» twice – in 2011 and in 2013. And it’s clear why. It is one of the most breathtaking shows on television, and it’s more than just spectacular: take a look at the sets, dresses, jewelry, and weapons. As is well known, the total budget for the first season has been estimated at 60 million dollars. The action in the Game of Thrones occurs in an absolute fantasy world that reminds viewers of medieval Europe. We need to add, the show has received awards for visual effects several times. Some experts and the audience suppose that the medieval fantasy world with its great attributes is one of the reasons why Game of Thrones became so popular. The question is: why does a fantasy world attract so many people? Now we just should remember how a fantasy story about Harry Potter hit the world almost twenty years ago, and it hit not only children. «The Chronicles of Narnia», «Charmed», «Doctor Who», «Supernatural»… The list of the fantasy books, movies, and TV shows is long. The most popular stories are the ones which occur in fantasy worlds.
Obviously, mass insanity in the fantasy worlds began in 2001, when the first «Harry Potter» book came out. Of course, there were a lot of great fantasy stories before this famous book about a magic young boy, but… there was no Internet, and nobody could create fan clubs where the members in their favorite heroes’ costumes could chat and play with each other and organize big thematic parties. Now it is so much easier to communicate with other fans and thus to come together in large communities.
The point in these cultural phenomena is that everybody searches another world they can escape into, or this is a good way to return to childhood and forget about all the problems of adult life. Moreover, the fantasy worlds, as we mentioned above, are beautiful in their attributes. The Game of Thrones is a fabled place which is nice to look at after a hard day.
Psychologists say that TV shows help people to feel the emotions which they don’t experience in their ordinary lives. Do you miss passion, brawls, and fights? You’re reading the right article, and Game of Thrones is what you need. The second reason why this show has become so popular is its endlessly intriguing storyline and realization of the hidden desires in all of us. In the world of Game of Thrones you can’t find justice, human dignity, and honesty, because these qualities are missing there. All that a real human could appreciate is irrelevant for Game of Thrones heroes. All that the characters need is authority and power. People want to feel «the Armageddon of the mind» and witness the shocking relationships which they don’t see in their own lives.
Though George Martin, the famous Hollywood scriptwriter, said that Game of Thrones wouldn’t be a fit for TV, it turned out to be the perfect storyline to make the show famous. When Martin’s readership began to increase, the writer received dozens of proposals from different studios and agents to sell the film rights. The point is the excellent storyline, where something shocking happens every ten minutes. Most Game of Thrones fans would say that you will never find something like this anywhere else, because this is the only one show which makes its audience open its mouth in horror while watching. It is not surprising that the show has such ratings.
Who is watching? According to our analysis, most of the fans of Game of Thrones are students, young people from 18 to 25 years old (nearly 55% are female and 45% are male). Young guys need to feel vivid emotions, they love looking at passionate relationships and something that is beyond comprehension – this is very inspiring and «fun». They need to watch something shocking like this every day, and they choose Game of Thrones.
Why do you choose it?
We asked some journalists, true fans of the show, why they think Game of Thrones became so special and popular.
«It has a lot of terrifying moments, your favorite hero can die in any episode and you’re always slack-jawed while watching it. The audience enjoys unexpected plot twists, there is no assurance the hero will survive in spite of everything, as it is with other TV shows. This is a fantasy, but on the other hand, their world seems like a real world. I have never been a fan of fantasy, but I have always been fascinated by beautiful places. Also there are a lot of good looking girls with plunging necklines. Sometimes TV shows overload you with the number of names, challenging moments, and so on, but these girls with necklines defuse all situations and just keep your attention (laughing). In general, there is a lot of sex and death here. And yes, I fell in love with this show at the first episode!» – Tatiana Ivanova, 20
«There are a lot of objective reasons why this TV show has become so popular, but why did the Game of Thrones become one of my favorite shows… The TV show for me is like a roller coaster. I’m scared that there is going to be a vertical drop or loop. But if it doesn’t happen, I’ll be disappointed. If I’m going to be shaken every which way and my heart nearly stops, I will be delighted afterwards. And Game of Thrones is a perfect roller coaster (well, the first four seasons, at least). It always forces you out of your comfort zone, flips upside down, and throws you down from a hundred-meter height, so you can’t breathe. It always amuses you, first because it has an innovative approach to narrative and to the fantasy genre, breaking stereotypes and stripping all the heroes of history of their protective armor. At the same time it manages to keep the harmony of the plot, though it always knocks down even seemingly basic assumptions. Add to this charming atmosphere the Shakespearean dialogues, which dig into the mind and hold the attention of the fans, dragons, zombies, handsome girls with necklines – and voila, I’m conquered. I think many others have been conquered for the same reasons». – Vladislav Chirin, 20
«This TV show has become quite popular because today people like to plunge into a fantasy world and run away from reality (in addition, Martin has represented the fantastic world with a lot of details that make it ‘unreal’). In my opinion, the interest to the show occurred in tandem with rising interest in fantasy itself. That’s why the role-playing games, a variety of festivals with cosplay, fantasy movies, last Warcraft and movies of Marvel’s universe, DC are so popular. This is a process which we belong to, and whether it is good or bad is another question». – Christina Grigorieva, 25