‘Game of Thrones’ prompted a massive communal experience

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This Sunday, “Game of Thrones,” the biggest TV show on the planet, will end its bold and bloody run, forcing legions of passionate devotees to find something else to obsess over.

“Oh, I will miss it horribly,” said Taylor Follett. “I will be a wreck.”

For the past few years, Follett, a UC Berkeley English major, has been all-in on “Thrones” — so much so that when she wakes up on mornings after HBO airs an episode, “It’s all I think about. I can hardly focus on anything else.”

Millions of fans can relate. “Game of Thrones,” which follows the vicious power struggles in the mythical realm of Westeros, grew into a worldwide phenomenon in the years following its 2011 small-screen debut. But the six-episode final season that launched last month has been off-the-charts colossal in terms of a collective viewing experience, becoming the rare TV series that — as Time magazine critic Judy Berman wrote — had people from all walks of life “losing their minds over the same thing at the same time.”

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Indeed, as the show inspired by George R.R. Martin’s novels prepares to wrap up, pop-cultural observers are lamenting its departure as the demise of television as a mass cultural event. (“As goes Westeros, so goes TV,” proclaimed Matt Zoeller Seitz of Vulture.com). In an era of deeply fragmented audiences, it brought people together to not only watch it, but breathlessly analyze every single frame of it, via podcasts, social media and countless fan sites, as well as at viewing parties.

Addicts feverishly tweeted — and commiserated — about “Game of Thrones” in real time. They also celebrated it with friends at costume-optional watch parties, or “Thrones”-themed pop-up bars like the one at San Francisco’s 25 Lusk restaurant, where patrons are invited to take selfies on a replica Iron Throne and “Eat like a Stark and drink like a Lannister!” That particular pop-up, dubbed “Taste of Thrones,” transformed the restaurant’s downstairs lounge into an elaborate six-days-per-week Westeros-inspired bar, complete with Night King cocktails and dragon photo ops. (It runs through May 25; https://tasteofthrones.com.)

The communal experience — that feeling of being part of something larger — is one of the things that excited Follett.

“We’re living in a super divisive time and …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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