Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past eight years, I guarantee you have heard of a little show, now a big show, called "Game of Thrones."
Sadly, it is now on its last season, and to get hyped up for the last season, let's examine just how this show about dragons and incest has changed society and pop culture.
The obvious place to begin is its exuberant budget and sets. In the same way "The Sopranos" normalized dramas about family lives on television, now people expect only the best of the best on TV. Season 8 of "GoT" has cost HBO an estimated $15 million per episode, according to VanityFair. And the real number may actually be much higher than that. Remember "Rome?" This show was "GoT" before "GoT." It was canceled for the reasons listed above. I’m sure that with the influence and success "GoT" has had on the masses, other television studios will try to replicate its success with a massive budget and insane set designs.
I also believe "GoT" has normalized killing off main characters and making other likable characters unlikable. Daenerys is a seemingly strong female character, but she is also a tyrant. Cersei is another strong female character, but likewise, she is a murderous tyrant. I personally like how "GoT" has added nuance to female characters in this way. Instead of making them badasses who kill without emotion, as we’ve seen in many other films, they are human beings with motivations for why they act the way they do. I think "GoT" has found success where shows like "Breaking Bad" and "The Sopranos" did not because their female characters are likable. Skyler White was universally panned by fans, and so was Carmela Soprano, when they are just as nuanced and complicated as Daenerys and Cersei.
"GoT" has had as much of an impact as, dare I say it, "Harry Potter." According to BBC, in 2017, the name Arya was one of the most popular girls name in the United Kingdom. Khaleesi was also on the rise. It's safe to say that if you meet a Khaleesi, a Daenerys or an Arya in the future, their parents were, more likely than not, "GoT" fans. It is interesting to see how much of an impact character names have on society. Atticus (yes, that Atticus) topped NameBerry’s list of popular names in 2015, according to the Huffington Post, and "To Kill a Mockingbird" was released over 50 years ago.
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We shall see if this is a show that ages well à la "Breaking Bad" and "The Sopranos," or if it's like "Full House," where it's only good in the decade it was produced in. I think much like those shows and even "Harry Potter," it will stand the test of time and become a marker for great television in the years to come.
If you need your "Game of Thrones" fix in the meantime, there’s always the books. Just saying.
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