Ten days ahead of the season eight premiere, more glamorous candidates such as King in the North Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) are also very much in the conversation.
Lauren Christison, a supply manager in her 30s who lives and works in New Jersey, said she was “beyond eager” to see what unfolds, and plans to watch with her sister, who turned her on to the program.
Well known for its record-breaking audiences across the world, the show has also proven a critical darling and an awards juggernaut, its first seven seasons garnering a staggering 47 Emmys.
“I think there may have been other shows in the past that hooked people, but never like this,” Christison said.
– ‘Power, love, family, conviction’ –
The website Archive of Our Own counts more than 22,000 “fan fiction” entries in which devotees have produced DIY stories based on the series’s universe.
Dark, complex, violent, medieval — “Game of Thrones” doesn’t fit the typical profile of a cultural phenomenon, but its sweeping storylines and epic themes have pulling power beyond the geek clique.
The show builds on the witty, wry and sometimes adult approach to nerd culture popularized by Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, which treats its audience like grown-ups and has been rewarded with $18.5 billion in ticket sales.
“In the end, I think ‘GoT’ resonates with people because the themes of power, love, family, and conviction are woven into each of the characters as they vie for the Throne,” she said.
– Life after the end? –
“The story arc is so vast that it can appeal to a variety of viewers at once,” added Lisa Woolfork, a literature professor at the University of Virginia who teaches a “Game of Thrones” class.
“Those interested in political intrigue, family drama, historical fiction, sword and sorcery, costume drama — all of these representational styles are present in ‘Game of Thrones.'”
The motif returns in the upcoming season, with characters facing threats from the sinister Night King and his army of frozen zombies — the frankly terrifying White Walkers.
“What do people do when there seems to be an unsolvable problem that could mean the destruction of humankind?” Garver asked. “Will they try to solve that or will they pay attention more to the things that seem more immediate?”
Though some fans are pulling for another season or two, most seem to have accepted the impending conclusion and, like Christison, are “ready for the shock of who will live and ultimately who will die.”
Anelli says a 2020 “Con of Thrones” gathering isn’t yet planned, but added that “much like Harry Potter, ‘Game of Thrones’ fandom will continue to exist past the core content expiration.”