A Stark Reality: Why GAME OF THRONES Matters

HBO shop front window (cropped view)

After a decade of hard work, sweat, tears, blood, and friendship – we soon bid adieu to the award-winning drama series, GAME OF THRONES. A show so beloved by fans and critics alike earns its spot among television greatness with sweeping saga storylines, fantasical elements, memorable characters and dialogue, costume masterpieces, and special effects that look more real than not.

I entered the GoT fandom in 2016, after my older sister’s passing. Perhaps watching this particular series with my mother seems an odd choice, but it bonded us – allowed us to escape from our grief for a while and rebuild a foundation on which House Deeny can stand. We binge-watched the first six seasons before the seventh’s premiere, and wait with anticipation together for the final journey into “Westeros”.

My mother and I are not alone in our excitement; a claim validated when I went to the HBO shop on Sixth Avenue ten days before the S8 premiere. The store was busy (as it will likely be for the near future) with fans pondering the agonizing decision of which item NOT to get. (To my delight, there were lots of House Stark merchandise leaving the shelves.)

Praying to the TV Gods (Old and New) that my favorite character survives!

GAME OF THRONES matters to people; I implore you not to discount it as a mere pop-culture phenomenon or decade-long fad as that would be doing a disservice to the cast, crew, and fans. If you doubt GoT’s significance, look at social media stats, fan fiction writings, cosplay photos, or the multitude of well-researched theory videos on YouTube. This fandom cares about not only the actors who’ve shot to stardom (deservedly so), but the finished artwork that is GAME OF THRONES. They know the names of those behind the scenes, respectful and appreciative of the writers’, directors’, and musicians’ dedication and craft.

We’re surrounded by chaos, anger, vitriol, and violence in our day-to-day life; so much so that it can seem daunting to trust that hope, joy, and love will reign supreme. People are fighting every day for what they believe in – to find justice for those persecuted or to put aside long-standing disagreements to battle an even greater threat. GAME OF THRONES entertains, shocks, moves, and awes us, but more importantly, it offers viewers a chance to examine the world around them and their part in it. We can overcome even the most challenging of obstacles, building relationships instead of walls.

The fans will certainly mourn the loss of the show (and most likely many of their beloved characters) come May 20th, but appreciation does not have a finale date. To all the artists (in front of and behind the camera) who were a part of GAME OF THRONES all these years: Your work matters! May this be but one reminder of just how much you all matter. Your watch has ended.  On April 14th, it’s the fans turn!

*No endorsement by any of the aforementioned entities, organizations, or their subsidiaries is implied.*

A GAME OF THRONES Newbie

Winter came late for me as it was only last year when I journeyed into the TV series so many adored. After binge-watching the first six seasons of Game of Thrones with my mother I watched each Season 7 episode with excitement and anticipation.

I’d say I’m sorry it took me so long, but the circumstances which led to last year’s binge-viewing made us appreciate the drama series all the more. House Deeny lost its eldest daughter in June of 2016 and sadness filled the space we called home. My parents mourned for their first born, and the “Little Women” – esque sisters grieved for their fierce, independent, outspoken big sister.

 

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Picture of my sister was taken at a Scottish cemetery

 

A few weeks after my sister’s passing, my mother began her research into an Irish family vacation the following summer. When I mentioned that the Deeny ancestors came from Northern Ireland (Rathmullan in County  Donegal and Dungiven in County Derry to be specific), she focused on that area for her tourism research. It was then that GoT entered our world.

“There’s a Game of Thrones tour,” she told me. “Have you watched that show?”

“I haven’t, but so many people tell me I’d love it.”

We were hooked after the first episode and made it a weekly (or bi-weekly) viewing date. I don’t know that I could’ve watched a show that’s graphic in many ways with my mother under normal circumstances. However, we had to move forward into a new normal. Watching “our show” each week became a bonding opportunity for us. For an hour we could immerse ourselves into the drama and intrigue of a fictional world and the characters who inhabited it.

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We cheered for our favorites (Arya, Jon, Sam, and Tyrion) and I often wondered if my mom grieved when Catelyn Stark did. Like the fictional matriarch of House Stark, my mother is a passionate defender of her daughters – compassionate, wise, outspoken, and full of love. Just as Sansa and Arya embody the qualities of their mother in different ways, so too do the Deeny sisters.

This brilliant piece of fictional television deserves all the award recognition it’s received over the years, and I look forward to seeing the talent (on-screen and off) be recognized again for their stunning work in season 7. Game of Thrones is one such show that blends all artistic pieces into one seamless work of art. From the score; to the complex and twist-turning writing; and the raw, flawless acting GoT‘s praise warrants even more.

While I watched the newest season with dear friends (as my mother preferred the “wait for the DVD” method), we’ve decided that buying S7 in December will be a joint Christmas gift to one another. I’ll have plenty of time to get her caught up before the next and final (noooooo) season, and maybe we’ll still have time to get in that GoT tour in Ireland before S8 E1 airs.

UPDATE: 01/03/18I bought the Season 7 DVD the day it was released and my mother is now all caught up. She waits, as the rest of us do, for what Season 8 will reveal!
**DISCLAIMER: No endorsement by any organization mentioned above or their affiliates, actors, or producers is implied.**