Game of Thrones: Land of Fandom

I recently became a fan of Game of Thrones. And what started as enjoying a cable TV show has quickly compounded into full-blown nerd-iness. As many previous television shows and movies have come into existence, Game of Thrones was adapted from a series of books. Whether it was high numbers of book sales, the success of a pilot, or the work of George R R Martin’s networking that brought the series to the small screen (he previously wrote for the TV series The Outer Limits, Beauty and the Beast, The Twilight Zone, and The Hitchhiker dating back to 1984), it has been eaten up by viewers and adapted and expanded on in many different forms. Now preparing to broadcast the third season on HBO, the internet and social media have only added dragonfire to the flame that is Game of Thrones fandom.

Stemming from a story that is epic (meaning both totally awesome as well as freaking huge) at it’s core, wikis and forums immediately sprouted up online. Detailed pages on the Wikipedia were quickly accompanied by “A Wiki of Ice and Fire” (awoiaf.westeros.org) and GameofThrones.wikia.com for anyone wishing to expand on their knowledge. Wikis and forums have become increasingly more common since the advent of Web 2.0, and are both a source of online community and a way to enhance viewers’ enjoyment – after all, how am I supposed to remember the family history and sigil of House Frey when they are only given 20 minutes of face-time in the first two seasons? While the book bombards readers with tedious lineage, house words, and backstories, a television show can only devote so much time to a House that is not in one of its 4 main story lines. Because I was introduced to Game of Thrones on HBO before I started on the novels, online communities (primarily wikis and forums) proved to be invaluable to helping me understand the show’s progression in addition to vastly increasing the show’s re-watch value. (Now that I know Tyrion isn’t “just another douchebag Lannister,” I can watch season one in a different light.)

Social media (as it seems to do with everything) allows for popularity of of the show to spread from the elite class of HBO subscribers to the common folk like myself. As a result of my daily diet of Facebook and Pintrest, the first Game of Thrones I noticed online was good ‘ol internet memes.

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(Well I guess that’s unfair to say considering that the illegal copies of the HBO series currently on my hard drive are what first introduced me to the show… But if that’s social media, then it is another conversation entirely.)

Stupid for Game of Thrones is a fan-created, 100% YouTube distributed talk show (similar to The Walking Dead’s immediate follow up show – Talking Dead) that is based completely on commentary regarding Game of Thrones. The idea of the show may be a rip off of previous show formats (not to diminish it as a work on its own), but the idea a talk show devoted solely to fantasy fiction while remaining completely independent of HBO and George R R Martin is fascinating for two reasons. First, the web-talk show is an example of participatory culture because it is being produced completely independently from any of the producers – cutting out the middle man completely in the creation of pop culture commentary. And second: the fact that YouTube is it’s only broadcaster. The development of YouTube and its accessibility to virtually anyone has come so far to enable us to take the next step after creating our own media – and that’s to just get it out there!

Hey remember 10 years ago when we had to wait for a big production company to get with the program?

Yeah me neither.

Collaboration between social media giants is becoming more and more common, but in Stupid for Game of Thrones, participation is welcomed with open arms by adding Twitter handles under both of the hosts’ introduction graphics. So while they are generating fan commentary, they are also encouraging feedback.

(If you care about about Stupid for Game of Thrones hosts, here are their handles -Bob Jennings – @BobJen, Sarah Penna – @severshed, Mike Rotman – @mikerotman)

Game of Thrones may not be for everyone, but it has taken me in rapid succession from knowing nothing about it, to enjoying it passively as a fan, to participating in online communities using only original text and social media, and the addition of the internet to my personal road to fandom has been an amazing addition to the experience.

Just because I had to put something that made me laugh in this freaking blog, here ya go!

  1. Game of Thrones as a Seinfeld Sitcom –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=864gdSC9KOA

2. Game of Thrones – 1995 Style – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fPgIIB67bw

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