Why does Game of Thrones have a mass appeal?
Are you a die-hard Game of Thrones fan? Game of Thrones has been the subject on everybody’s lips since it first aired back in April 2011. George R.R. Martin’s book series draws you into the world of Westeros and the seven Kingdoms. It has been hailed as having mass appeal thanks to its action, bloodshed, romance and scenes of extreme nudity. But what keeps it front of mind and draws in such a wide and diverse audience, even when in between series?
At this year’s Huddle, News UK invites five characters from GOT to talk with Jamie East, presenter of Thronecast, a Game of Thrones fan show, to discuss what we can expect in the sixth series this spring and what it is like to be a part of such a popular show. But, the question is, how has it gained such a cult following?
Even now, in-between the series, the characters and conspiracy theories are constantly covered in the news. Along with various fan sites, fan fiction and its own spin off TV show, Thronecast, it seems that people are keen to still discuss it. So how does Game of Thrones differ from any other TV show?
In a study by Harris Interactive on behalf of Netflix, 61 percent of 1,500 online respondents claimed to binge-watch Netflix regularly with three-quarters of them reported having positive feelings about the behaviour. Netflix also found that nearly 8 in 10 agreed that binge-watching a TV show was more enjoyable than watching single episodes.
The study concluded that we’re actually craving the long narratives that today’s best television series can provide. Instead of dealing with our life’s stresses by zoning out, we’d rather become engrossed in an entirely different (and fictional) world.
Game of Thrones has one of the most complex and complicated story lines with narration jumping from protagonist to protagonist. The story line plays on our cognitive empathy, adopting others’ psychological perspectives, as key characters are regularly killed off and, in the case of the shock episode in the third season, the ‘Red Wedding’ several are killed in the space of a few minutes.
So with a large cast of key characters, and many of who are featured regularly, Game of Thrones encourages viewers to empathise with the characters’ quest to sit on the infamous Iron Throne, plot the route to victory and theorise the ultimate outcome. It’s the perfect escape mechanism from an increasingly hectic world.
For more insight into the next series, and behind the scenes preparation, join News UK’s Huddle on 8th Floor at 2pm in Yoda on 12th November 2015 to speak with characters; Ser Loras Tyrell, Osha, Yara Greyjoy and Nymeria Sand to sit on the Iron Throne.