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Why is Game of Thrones so popular?

- Anusha Neupane, Kathmandu

Jun 26, 2016-

I was a little late to the game of thrones party as I only started watching it after it had aired its fourth season. After constant peer pressure and years of blatant disregard of pop culture, I finally succumbed to the worldwide phenomenon that is game of thrones and how. After over two years of constantly speculating theories and waiting for the plot to move forward for the most part of the year, it’s safe to say that the seven gods have charmed me. What makes it so irresistible?

Politics and Power play

Politics is one of the major themes of the series. Every step taken is a step taken towards being more powerful than before. And power doesn’t come easy. Gruesome killings, murder, fraudulence, mind games come to people as easy as breathing. Where ostensibly good characters don’t make it even a few episodes whereas bad ones just keep multiplying their forces. You can never fully say who has the upper hand because power keeps radically shifting. And because of its likeliness towards the real world, though sans dragons, people cannot look away.

Shades of Grey

Most characters cannot be deemed either good or bad. The fact that everyone is flawed and imperfect makes them human which sets off comparisons with the real world. You find yourself rooting for a woman who killed her husband, man who pushed a kid out of the top of a tower and even murderers and rapists. Good people make horrific mistakes and Bad people are shown to be just as vulnerable. Everyone is fleshed-out with their own motivations and ideals which can be justified by human reasoning in most cases. It provides a different angle to the archetype of merciless emperor, a rouge murderer and has you sympathizing for them. And how can you not? You forgive their grave mistakes because that’s what humans are: flawed.

Historically accurate

Despite the obvious absence of dragons, Game of Thrones is more historically accurate than you’d expect. It draws heavy comparisons to the European history with rise and fall of empires, nomadic troops and city-states.  In the middle ages, not unlike the show, the arms and armour used to be very well-respected. Giving away your sword to someone actually did mean some great, as per historians. The streets used to be just as bloody back then too as the homicide per capita in the middle ages were off-the-charts. Public executions were quite common too. Historians and non-historians alike find this parallelism fascinating.  

Uncensored

While most of the shows on TV cut cameras away as soon as things heat up, Game of thrones is unapologetically uncensored. And this element rather than pushing people away, has only made it more exclusive. Some people come for the nudity, and stay for the plot and for some it's the other way around. Either way, the nudity factor definitely sets it apart from the mainstream TV.

Fantasy

Game of thrones is so much more than just politics through. It's a remorseless portrayal of the society but with fire breathing dragons and magic. It's something that makes the show so identical to reality but also completely disconnected. The fine line that sets it apart from reality only keeps on stretching as the plot progresses. The audience have no choice but to be enthralled. 

Unexpected

One of the pivotal reasons why game of thrones is so popular these days has to be the fact that you can never quite guess what's coming. You root for people but before you can theorize how they will win the game of thrones in the end, they get killed off and in the most gruesome of ways. Your favorite characters are never safe nor are the seemingly central characters because literally anything can happen at any point of time. And if you're lucky, the universally hated character will bite the dust and you'll find yourself questioning why a guy being eating by hounds is making you happy. What can I say, that's the beauty of Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones airs season finale of season 6 on Monday. 

Published: 26-06-2016 15:09

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