October 11, 2020

A Game of Thrones: TV Show’s Cultural Impact

A Game of Thrones

It’s been more than a year since the Game of Thrones finale aired, a finale that disappointed millions of fans worldwide. Myself included. I can’t say that I’ve been a die-hard fan (no cosplay, no figurines collecting or anything). But I was A Game of Thrones fan nonetheless and I did watch it without missing an episode.

A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Digital Edition Is The Inspiration

And yes, the TV series is the inspiration for this particular Game Of Thrones post is A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Digital Edition. It’s a brand new game, that was released just a few days ago, and it’s literally a „get it while it’s hot“ item. But aside from being in our extensive catalog here at IndieGala, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Digital Edition is also currently on sale as well.

However, that sale is nearing its end so you’d better hurry up and get it. It won’t last long that’s for sure. But, before I could get on with this particular post, I have to elaborate on A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Digital Edition. What’s the game all about and who made it?

A Game of Thrones

 What Does A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Digital Edition Entail?

Developed by Dire Wolf and published by Asmodee Digital, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game – Digital Edition is the digital adaptation of the top-selling strategy board game from Fantasy Flight Games. It’s also based on the best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin.

So, the game allows up to six players to play online, or a single player with up to five AI opponents to play locally. Not to mention, the game is set after the death of King Robert Baratheon. And allows each player to assume the role of one of the Great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms in an attempt to assault King’s Landing and claim the Iron Throne. To be declared ruler of the Seven Kingdoms, you have 10 rounds to use diplomacy and warfare to your advantage to control as many strategic areas of the map.

And as the journalist from PC Gamer put it… If you’ve never played it before, the Game of Thrones board game made by Fantasy Flight is a pretty decent marriage of Risk and, well, Game of Thrones.

A Game of Thrones

Examining The Legacy Of A Game of Thrones

But back to the topic at hand. The cultural impact that A Game of Thrones has now (or lack thereof) more than a year after the finale. What’s the lasting legacy from the series? And how it impacts other TV shows?

Well, first and foremost I’m not going to judge the entire series by the disastrous final eight season. Yes, the final season was awful indeed, and I’m not denying that. But the entire series spanned almost a decade, and for the most part, it was good. Thrilling, heartbreaking, brutal and even fun at times. It had an assemble cast, sassy and sharp dialogue, intricate plot and elaborate character arcs. Again, for the most part. Not to mention beautiful set pieces, costumes and even more beautiful shooting locations from around the globe.

A Game of Thrones

But many of you would agree, that the show went downhill when the show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss run out of source material. When George RR Martin’s books dried up, the quality also suffered. So you can’t really blame it solely on the last season. Yes, the last season was probably the weakest, but the cracks were evident in the previous seasons.  The once fantastic pacing and character development were now suffering from a lack of motivation.

And the entire plot from lack of attention to details too. Yes, the small production details (leaving a Starbucks cups and plastic water bottles) seem trivial, but added to the overall, let’s get it over with mentality. The writers and show-runners simply didn’t care about the show long before the final 8th season, and it’s the sad truth.

The A Game Of Thrones Series Changed For The Worse

But I feel the characters suffered the most. Why? Because they were in the center of the entire show for so long. And they made us invested in the show, more than the entire show ever did. We wept for them when they died, and cheered for them when they succeeded. I don’t know if you noticed that the character progression for some of the characters was not that stellar. At least in the final few seasons. Some otherwise great characters were left passive, meek and basically shadows of their former self (Jon Snow and Cersei are the main culprits of this).

While others seemingly decent characters were transformed into monsters. They became ruthless, soulless creatures without an ounce of remorse (Arya and Daenerys for instance). I blame Weiss/Benioff for this, but George RR Martin as well. If he’d written the books faster, things would have been different, at least that is my opinion. But I digress. Pardon my rant as well.

John Snow

And What About The Cultural Impact?

It’s hard to say, to be honest. One year after the season finale I’ve noticed that the TV show is somewhat forgotten from the zeitgeist. Of our pop culture as well. I don’t see any YouTube channels doing analysis, throwbacks and even GOT inspired tutorials on your Daenerys costume. No more Iron Throne birthday cakes or cosplay costumes of Sansa Stark. Sure we all quote Joey Tribbiani’s lines even today, but don’t really have much memorable quotes from Game Of Thrones. Or even memes. You remember the Ned Stark memes? I know I do.

OK, aside from You Know Nothing Jon Snow which is still awesome, but yeah.. You probably get my point.

But I feel that that’s all surface value cultural impact. I think that the cultural impact of Game Of Thrones goes deeper. And not only how it had an impact on modern TV, but how it dictates the norms on how TV should look like.

Arya

It Made The Fantasy Genre More Mainstream

Let me explain. When I mean modern TV, I don’t merely mean just in terms of the opulent and layered TV production in general. That too, of course. With the enormous production budget and scale Game Of Thrones is almost untouchable. Hey, they had the money, after all. But I feel that the biggest impact of A Game of Thrones – the TV series is how it affected future TV productions. Especially from a fantasy drama perspective.

Before A Game Of Thrones, the medieval themed, fantasy series was a small niche market for the general audience. Not that many knew about this genre, and most of us were binging on Desperate Housewives. Let’s face it.

Now let’s take a look at some of the good fantasy drama TV shows that came out since Game Of Thrones went on air. Outlander, The Magicians, His Dark Materials, Carnival Row, Cursed, Van Helsing, and from 2019, The Witcher. Let’s not forget the upcoming and announced Lord Of The Rings TV series which is headed for Amazon Prime in late 2021.

Gendry

And what’s so special about these TV shows? Well, for one, A Game Of Thrones popularized the genre in which they all belong. And made them more accessible to the general public. Think about it. If I’d ask how many of you have even heard of the 10th Kingdom mini-series, it would be just a handful of you who would say yes. Indeed, it’s a fairy-tale fantasy mini-series but it predates A Game Of Thrones. Not to mention, it’s awesome and you should check it out. But the 10th Kingdom had the misfortune to come out in an era where not that many liked this type of TV shows. Let along held a binge-watch party in the TV show’s honor.

It gave Us Gratuitous Nudity And Senseless Violence

Another Game Of Thrones impact I might add is that Lord Of The Rings TV series I mentioned, will reportedly (may) include sex and nudity. I mean The Witcher already has all of that, so why not? Amazon is just getting on board with the legacy of GOT because god forbid there should be a TV show without it. I’m not a puritan or anything, but if the memory serves me, there’s no such thing in Tolkien’s works. And yes, I’m blaming GOT for that and yes, I don’t care. Agreed, there’s plenty of war and violence in Tolkien’s work. Most notably in Lord Of The Rings. But Tolkien was a hard-core Catholic, and he was careful with these things. And sure, there are a few notable instances of non-sexual nudity mentioned in The Lord of the Rings itself, but those were again… Written in an innocent and non-serialized way.

8 Game of Thrones GIFS - House Republican Leader

Prepare For Lord Of The Rings TV Series

Never ever in a sexual connotation. On the other hand, Amazon has already ordered a hefty five seasons of the show for production. Meaning the fans have plenty of story to look forward to and lots of sex and nudity too. And according to my sources, Amazon Studios has hired Jennifer Ward-Lealand. A well-known New Zealand Intimacy Coordinator, for the Lord of the Rings production.  But on the flip side, there’s even a petition circulating online about this. A petition against the LOTR nudity. So, it’s safe to assume that I’m not alone in this sentiment. As a fan of Lord Of The Rings, I will give it a shot, but I’m not hopeful about this, to be honest. How about you?

Petition

But in a nutshell, I suppose that’s the legacy of A Game Of Thrones. It paved the way for the fantasy genre to be accepted in the mainstream. It also set the terms of how fantasy series should look like in the eyes of the modern audience (with lots of violence and nudity). But it also opened the doors for so many similar series. It is no longer a niche. It’s a legitimate form of escapism.

How about the future? Well, on the subject of an upcoming GOT related project, there’s the announced House of the Dragon prequel. This summer HBO has begun casting for its eagerly anticipated series House of the Dragon, but things are kept under tight secrecy. The project is based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, a history of House Targaryen set 300 years before the events of Game Of Thrones. Ryan Condal is the the selected show-runner, while Miguel Sapochnik (GOT veteran) will  direct the pilot and additional episodes. Speaking of the episodes, HBO has committed to 10 episodes of the series. So, this will be interesting to see, no doubt about it. There’s still no word on which actors were cast, but the kick off is set for 2022.

Your Thoughts Please!

What’s your opinion on A Game Of Throne’s legacy? Tell us in the comment section. We’d love to know all about it.

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