Seven seasons, totalling sixty-three and a half hours of screen time, across six days. The numeric summary of my Game of Thrones (GOT) experience. (At least the first time I watched it)
What these numbers do not show, is my emotional investment in the story: how I cheered for my favourite characters, cried when they died, and cheered again when vengeance delivered poison to the cup of those responsible (or a knife to the gut, sword through the neck, or dragon-fire… everywhere).
My experience was one of utter enthral-ment and addiction. And when it was over, I felt like something was missing; like my life was lacking the magic and wonder in which I had been enveloped for the past week.
Though this may sound negative, it is a symptom of a greater positive; being that I got to enjoy feeling a vast range of emotions (from joy to grief to anger, and beyond) unattached to real-world consequence; and that I got to enjoy living in a world where fantasy is reality and the impossible is tangible.
As a consequence of watching every single episode by myself, I was liberated to experience all these enjoyable things without fear of being judged (for crying or mutely screaming), and without fear of disrupting others. In short, it permitted me an unadulterated cinematic experience.
This was especially useful as it let me better understand the nuances of the plot, thus enriching my overall experience as an audience member.
Though I was just one person, sitting in a bedroom, with a computer on her lap, navigating the pop-up ad minefield that is Putlocker, I was connecting myself to a larger media audience. A media audience that has totalled at least 16 million people. Thats 16 million people who have cheered on the same characters as me; 16 million people who have cried at the same deaths as me; and 16 million people who share one common experience with me; all as active members of the GOT audience.
It’s easy to feel connected to them. The saturation of social media fan writers makes it feel that though the episodes are over, GOT is everywhere. Some may see this as a good thing, but to me, (unpopular opinion alert) when stories are taken by those who aren’t the original creators, and made into something else (like a fanfic), the original character, event or message is distorted. Oftentimes I read them and feel as though I am witnessing imposters, poorly masquerading as a story which I love, leaving me with a bitter aftertaste.
There are other aspects to this which I do enjoy. The sense of community which arises from having a passion in common with a newly met stranger is heartwarming. As is the sense of community I find when watching reaction videos on YouTube (my favourite being the Burlington Bar series.
One other great thing about social media is that you, the reader, are able to respond to this blog post. You can comment down below or on Twitter, and expand on both our experiences being an active part of the GOT media audience. Whether you share your favourite GOT moments, or your predictions for what happens next season, I’m keen to read it.