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“Game of thrones” novel was published in august 1996 and it was well received among fantasy fan but it took fifteen years, until January 2011, to become best seller. It is not the power of television, as we may think, since that is the year when TV show begin to run. First season premiere took place in April, four months after. So, it is the power of buzz. Good marketing plus quality show equals success. That’s the equation.
Word of mouth already existed by devoted fans. By the year of 2011 five books have been written in a series of fantasy novels by the name of “A song of Ice and Fire” Now, how devoted the fans are? They are in fear that the creator George R. R. Martin will dye before finishing the tale of bloody struggle for throne of Westeros. Two more books are written at this time. They are urging him to write faster. That’s how addictive this story is. It makes people forget about decency, forget to wish someone well being and instead let the passionate selfish need for more run wildly in them. And fans love him, nobody can doubt that. But they love their passion more.
Then, for TV show it even get more serious. US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich, during the UN World Book and Copyright Day, demanded of Australians to stop pirating “Game of Thrones”. It is most pirated show ever (also finding PDF books on torrent took me just several minutes) and with using trade deal, called Trans Pacific Partnership, it will be possible to hold someone using torrent be criminally liable for downloading. Yes, they are consumers and consumers are crazy about everything around this TV show and series of novels. They buy, they spend, five millions watching, four millions illegal downloading, fun clubs and societies everywhere, they parade in costumes on conventions, fan art all around and series themed goodies… Total devotion and spending money without regret. It is serious when you heard diplomatic statement. No wonder Ambassador threatened. It is a big money. Government went to war for less.
And everything is about war and living in dreadful conditions. George R. R. Martin is obsessed with war and so are we. With war and much more.
So, while we wait season 4 in April to be aired and pirated, let us ask what is the fabric of this story that makes people forget to be considerate, diplomats stating their demands and social networks being overflooded with everything concerning “Game of Thrones”?
1. Excellent characterization and acting
There is no heroes in classical sense  in “Game of Thrones”. Everyone wonders in a grey area between villain and hero. Just like a real life persons. Sometimes they are glorious, sometimes loathsome. And you love them all or at least you not feel indifference toward them and their doings and wrongdoings. Oh, no… No indifference. There are several hundred of characters and that was the greatest fear for producers. Will this great number be to much for audience? But it was otherwise. Characters are so well crafted and rememberable with quotable dialogues and sensational appearance that their existence is carved into your memory like in marble. Excellent cast is mainly British. but jaw dropping goes for exceptional American actor Peter Dinklage who won most awards, among them Emmy and Golden Globes. But due to their excellence everyone have thier own favorites.
2. Surprise
George R. R. Martin and screenwriters are in a holy mission in keeping us in a state of constant surprise. They are doing it from episode to episode with great success. Just as you start loving and identifying with some character they took it away from you. Not only by death. They are taken away by any possible change. Same way in the opposite direction. You feel only the repulsion for some character at start, then empathy, then it become hero or heroine. Swift changes and constant surprise.
3. Details
Fashion bloggers are going crazy for their costumes comparing come clothes from show with Rick Owens and Alexander McQueen. Costume designer are doing the great job. Then the language (imaginary ones as well as a variety of dialects), versatile geography, food, jewelry, weaponry… Well designed details and consistency for sure.
4. Believable imaginary world and political metaphor
Filming took place on several very distinctive locations mostly in Ireland, but also in Malta, Morocco, Croatia and Iceland. Tours have been organized and people travel to see, just like pilgrims do. It is somehow alarming how much we want to get away from this reality and how much affection we give to imaginary worlds. A lot could be changed if this energy could be channeled differently in world that is surrounding us. But George R. R. Martin is aware of that and he is very politically active on his blog remanding his followers on, for example, Republican efforts to discard large group of voters. All that is possible because they believe him. When he create worlds as well as he present opinions. And that throne they are all fighting for is a brilliant political metaphor we are witnessing in whole of our recorded history and beyond. Plotting and scheming are exciting and complex and occupy our attention completely.
5. Violence and sex
So violent that a lot of people went berserk. Torture, slaughter, killings of newborn babies, animal death, treating women as objects… There is even new word invented by the blogger Myles McNutt. Sexposition is the word. Story is going on, while the sex is also going on at the same time. It is not the first time actors are filmed having conversation during sex,  but it is so often in series that the word is coined because the “Game of Thrones”. It is true that women are being treated in first season as mere objects, but in latter heroines arrived so all misogynistic comments goes silent. Contemporary TV shows are filled with violence and sex. Audience is expecting that in abundance. But audience is intelligent. They now when they are rating toys and when they are invited to join the horrifying tale for us to see, thrilled from safety of our homes, wondering: “What if that happened to us? What will we do?”
6. Emotional depth
They dream, they love deeply, fight passionately, they grieve, they cheat and they all hope in hopeless situations and wake our sympathy. But this is simplification. Their feeling are complex as much as ours watching them. Layers and layers. Here is where Tolkien, who Martin admires greatly (me included), with his one dimensional characters looks rather naive today. Martin is pushing literary boundaries further, while the show is pushing television boundaries further. You have to respect that.
Devotion for this series only can irritate someone who is not familiar with this subject, and, as the numbers of seasons grows, catching up will not be easy and it will take a lot of time and energy. So don’t be stubborn, you uninformed reader of this lines, and join, because this frenzy will last. Promo photo by Helensloan

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Written by Marko Jevtić

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