‘Worlds have fallen. Creatures and races have disappeared, regiments, towers and towers of paradise have crumbled into dust, their infidels and sexual deviants pining for these desolate ruins, seeking reasons and salvation.” Westeros, maybe a fudgeable, but people expected drama, right?
This is Game of Thrones, doesn’t it sound like a soap opera, like Coronation Street? Whereas we’re supposed to think: that’s what Game of Thrones is. Well, the first episode doesn’t even mention the Age of Heroes. Nobody has yet kissed a girl (and if they do that, they probably won’t call it a Jon Snow). There isn’t a second victim of the White Walkers named in the opening episode. Even the costume, if any, looks like anything from old Shield of Achilles dramas (the period the show is set in). So, if Game of Thrones is all about dragons, fire-breathing cats and medieval woe, what does all this mean?
Expectations weren’t high. Game of Thrones had its share of critical triumphs (Dave Chappelle’s Night at the Museum at South By Southwest was a highlight), but mostly it ran in the shadow of The Sopranos and Walking Dead. The comparisons were inevitable: modern medieval fantasy, but with some sharp-elbowed family drama, like The Tudors.
Neither is particularly popular on the small screen. Unlike Game of Thrones, Game of Thrones is mostly a HBO cable drama. Around the time of its premiere, it was picked up by Netflix. This is a network known for edgy shows with hard-hitting subject matter. Since its launch, it’s been limited to popular serial dramas and horror series. It hasn’t attempted anything aimed at a broad audience. So how can Game of Thrones expect to win over millennials? It’s the only TV series with three characters on the cover of Time magazine.
There is plenty of time. Game of Thrones doesn’t need an army. It’s about family dynamics, power, conflict and betrayal (in other words, there’s no shortage of material to draw upon). It’s about conflict – particularly of the warrior kind – and is predicated on brutal and violent outcome. Most importantly, its voice isn’t one of inclusion and tolerance. It doesn’t solve the world’s problems, it simply brings them to some theatres and people’s living rooms.
Sure, Game of Thrones loves dragons. It loves children. It enjoys digging up a line of people in chains, one more slave than the next. All that stuff would work fine on a larger, non-TV screen.
You don’t have to go that far for a fudge.