Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 9 August 2020

Game of Thrones united a global community with universal stories

The series was a rare treat in an age of instant gratification

'Game of Thrones' might be over but it has united the world. HBO via AP
'Game of Thrones' might be over but it has united the world. HBO via AP

Whether you loved or hated the long-awaited finale of Game of Thrones, which aired this week, the last episode after an eight-year run signalled for many the end of an era. Over eight series, the immensely popular television show, based on George RR Martin’s fantasy saga A Song of Fire and Ice, became a pop culture touchstone and a truly global phenomenon.

Although Game of Thrones is a US-produced series by an American writer, its universal themes of family, loyalty and power have connected with millions of viewers around the world. The fact the story takes place in an imaginary realm made it all the more global as it was not defined by any one country, yet managed to address very earthly concerns, such as climate change, immigration and class struggles.

Its reach has been impressive, from appearing on protest signs at the women’s march in the US two years ago to sparking billboard wars in Beirut last month, with fans coming out in support of characters and even prompting a spate of Game of Thrones-themed weddings. The show similarly has an international cast, with 17 nationalities playing the main roles, while the series was shot in locations ranging from Northern Ireland to Croatia.

Now that it has ended, viewers will surely miss the thrill of anticipating weekly instalments, once a source of frustration in an era of analogue television but in the age of instant gratification with Netflix and online streaming, a rare treat that managed to bring together people from all around the world, gathering around screens at the same time to watch the latest episode. It united a global community as they fervently discussed the latest plot twists and predicted what might happen next – something not unheard of in this region, where Ramadan series are hotly anticipated and feverishly analysed. It might seem a simple pleasure but Game of Thrones has shown how people of all backgrounds can be brought together and share common interests over stories which speak to universal truths.

Updated: May 21, 2019 07:08 PM



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