What Game of Thrones is teaching us

Our generation is one of great comfort and diverse entertainment that goes along with this comfort. Even though this context is provided to us by the great technological advancements, that reshape our ways of working and our ways of spending free time, as a society we seem to be getting closer and closer to what the film „Idiocracy” (2006) was picturing a few years ago.

Evolution on the one side brings involution on the other.

The entertainment industry is a well-working mirror when it comes to this process, being that the types of fun we are searching for provide us with a report about how our brain works in other areas as well. And that report writes that leisure of the body becomes leisure of the mind, and with that, even the fun has to be lazy in order for us to be able to enjoy it.

Regarding the film industry, Hollywood hold for years the first place in the satisfaction business, being a recipe factory for easy to grasp films that relax the day to day working man. We are provided with full action packed movies which made certain ordinary people into famous actors and mediocre producers into billionaires. We got the comedies and the romantic stories and the present’s most famous romantic comedies which follow the exact same structure which the almost look-alike actors in order to create a reason for you to be there consuming popcorn and soda.

The thing is, people have always been looking to get rich fast and with the simplicity that the public started asking from the film industry, it became an opportunity for eager to do anything to realize their dream.

The result of all this is the mass of junk that the cinema is throwing us every year, through which you must go in order to occasionally find a good story to delight your soul.

This is where Game of Thrones comes in, a show that is both popular and not junk, appreciated by the masses and the critics alike. A phenomenon such as this must be carefully looked at in order to understand what the present generations are going through.

What we know about this show so far is that it kills lots of its main characters when you least expect, it has the soap-opera feeling but with a nerdy, Tolkienish flavour, its production cost is huge given to the  fact that they actually create natural sets from scratch and film in a number of different countries at the same time.

All those combined has made people say that this is the greatest tv-show of all time and that everyone, no matter the personality or social status, is inclined to like it.

But is it really that? Some people combined elements from all the easy minded films and made the greatest show of all time? They got special effects, which all Marvel movies have but none leave you with a perfect feeling after the viewing. They put together some SF with the most watched genre of all time, soap-operas and they got the perfect mind numbing crap?

Most of the people I asked say they are driven to watch because they never know what might happen to the characters and they always fear for them. In a very simplistic way, this is also what R.R. Martin said he wanted to do – a real fantasy world but in which fantasy hurts, because all the magic and the creatures can really harm and kill a character which has been a focus of the book in one instant.

My guess is that what GoT is really captivating us with a series of real life stories gathered in a fantasy world. Like love, the ups and downs that you experience from the other person make you love him more, because, the more complex, the more real that person unravels to you. In the same way, a complex story gets to be realistic not by being set in the real world and by approaching day to day matters of normal people, but by developing the overall complexity of both the characters and the world at the same time.

Even if no character would have died, this show would have still been successful. It is not their actual death that is striking but the fact that they are no longer part of the story, after meaning so much to it in the beginning.

Death means something when it transforms the world and in itself is a transformation. It makes the familiar into unfamiliar, it makes the future unpredictable, and this is the complexity of life that authors struggle to implement into their stories – the fear of the unknown.

Predictable movies are junk because they muck what a story should represent, and people that think stories should relax them by leaving their brain on hold don’t understand anything about themselves.

When an audience of 70 people leaves a cinema room after viewing a romantic comedy, they are all like „meh”. For them, it’s just a time in which they can stop worrying and stop thinking. GoT needs you to think about what you have learned about the characters up to a point in order to understand what is going to happen to them further. You won’t understand anything about the hype if you haven’t watched the whole show until now. If a whole world is waiting for an episode, it means they are ready to think and to still be amazed by a great and complex story for an hour every week, and that should say more about the film industry than the cinema box office does.

There are still greater series out there than GoT but people haven’t yet discovered them or aren’t yet willing to give them a chance. True Detective is only one that comes to mind now. The important thing is to understand that the need is not for the special effects or for a certain amount of production cost, it is for great stories, and in time it will be for stories that make us understand something about our own story.

With this ahead, you should start deciding what is best for you to watch and start demanding that from the industry. Although the more complex things the industry will imply, the less get-rich-or-die-trying people will be willing to participate. So even if the industry will not change, you should!


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