Nine years ago, we got the first glimpse into the greatness that is Game of Thrones, the show adapted from the A Song of Fire and Ice, a book written by British novelist, George R.R Martin.
What captured some of the earliest fans of the show were spectacular, imaginative writing and plausible abstractions that unified the multiple story arcs, the character development and the show’s sheer power to make you attached to some of its characters for better or for worse. And of course, dragons and white walkers.
While the show didn’t really click into the viral sensation we currently know it to be in Nigeria until around 2012, its reputation had been set. There was also its ability to give us memorable episodes of sheer carnage that become iconic.
I also think its ability to wield empathy as a tool worked well in its favour – you will have some kind of emotion when you watch the show.
It’s the modern day, conversations are more aggregated and things like fandom, influence and impact can be easily gauged. Twitter makes it easier, and the fact that Americans are naming their children after Game of Thrones characters is another way to measure the sheer power of the HBO show.
The power of this show is not only measured by American influence either. In a viral video that recently made its way onto social media, a couple literally entered their wedding reception to the main theme off Game of Thrones. But sadly, people have a problem…
Game of Thrones can simply not be overrated or overhyped – at any level
The argument of whether Game of Thrones is the greatest show ever will continue to rage, but you cannot deny that it’s a worthy contender. We might argue that its coexistence with the emergence of social media as an aggregator of conversations warps judgement in its favour, but social media isn’t the characters, the plot or the showrunners.
What social media did was only show us the series’s reach and spread the message that the show is good. If it wasn’t good, its following would not have increased and permeated human minds.
Social media is only a ground that shows us how big the show is, but we must also admit that for some people, social media conversations pushed them into watching the show. Social media is however, not the reason they stayed watching.
That brings us to why a show with this much power can simply never be overhyped. You are either great or you are not. There are markers to measure greatness with, you either tick those boxes or you don’t. You don’t even have to like something to know that it’s great or to admit its greatness.
The way Game of Thrones has built up over its past seven years, and the following it has garnered, the hype Season eight built can was always inevitable. No show has this much following.
Season eight is the culmination of the journey we started nine years ago. In the previous season, we learned Jon Snow was the Targaryen rightful heir to the throne who unknowingly had sex with his aunt on a boat sailing towards the North to fight the undead.
‘Winter is coming,’ and ‘Winter is here,’ have been nerd language for five years. Saying Game of Thrones Season eight is overhyped is simply nonsensical. When affection is concerned, you simply cannot expect people to be logical and it’s only normal.
The following Game of Thrones has garnered is similar to the one football fans have for their favourite football clubs. It’s simply logical that Game of Thrones Season eight garnered this level of hype. There has never been anything like this.
Has Game of Thrones Season 8 been underwhelming?
Now, hype is sometimes illogical – especially when it has to do with ‘stanning’ something. Sometimes, hype builds up to unrealistic levels without analyzing the logical things to expect from object of such hype – in this case, Game of Thrones Season eight.
I feel fans have bought into the hype so much that they forgot to see what was right before their eyes. To the very few logical fans who like analyzing Game of Thrones, I don’t think they can say the show has been underwhelming.
On another note, I feel when films or TV shows have built up this much expectation and hype, whatever producers/showrunners come up with will be underwhelming to scores of people. It’s simply an operation of bias and in some cases, affection for certain characters who don’t end up the way they would have hoped.
In other situations, it’s about the lack of realism inherent in human hype for anything.
What did fans expect from Game of Thrones Season 8?
When you strip all the bias and woke conversations of patriarchy, feminism, race and whatever nonsense social media has been peddling away, you are left with a TV Show that is basically about war.
Now, I admit, the show has seemed hurried along since Season seven. Some of the happenings in the last two seasons would have been spread over at least three seasons earlier in Game of Thrones.
After all, one book produced about three of the first seasons. Now, we have creators muddling full books into one season of under 10 episodes, it makes things seem rushed.
That said, one has to understand that this is a show at the peak of its powers and money making potential. Money in television is about timing. While Game of Thrones will never go out of style, not cutting it at this level will inevitably make the show unravel and show its weaknesses that are not so apparent yet.
The hype will reduce and the following it’s garnered will deplete. So, they had to act now, this moment won’t come back, it’s a historical fiction/fantasy and those fizzle out quicker than a trickster’s gimmick.
The fans that criticize anything from character development are being unrealistic. They seem to think what connotes ‘character development’ is a positive lovey-dovey ending.
Villains have character developments too. What happened to Daenerys is equally character development. Vigilant fans knew this was going to happen, her more unsavory traits have been shown throughout the show. So, what fans expected when the walls seemed to be closing in on her is beyond me.
That was Daenerys lashing out like powerful people do; they come with the full weight of their powers. She saw the distrust in her followers’ eyes, even when she was still logical. Then the man she loves, also her rival to the throne, loved and respected by the people, pulled away from a kiss just days after her most trusted advisor and friend got killed.
What Daenerys did is a human reality and reality is ugly. The showrunners knew this, so they pandered towards the conversations that these factors were inevitably going to start. The conversations were only going to add the show’s greatness anyway.
As for the wars, what did fans expect? A war fought in the firmament? In the end, it seems the inevitable hype created unrealistic expectations of the show.
What then is the answer?
I think it’s a pretty straightforward; the show is neither overhyped nor underwhelming. Fans just need to tailor their expectations vis-à-vis the hype and learn to not project their bias and affection as absolute truths and the only narrative for ‘character development.’