Last night I made the questionable decision to stay up to watch the premier of series six of Game of Thrones live, despite its timing of 2:00 in the morning. However it was a fantastic watch to explosively start the new season and I regret nothing! Whilst the show itself sees characters cross borders and cultures and crosses the globe for filming locations, after watching it occurred to me how many other people around the world would have been seeing this episode at exactly the same time revelling in the same plot points and set pieces. Season seven’s premier garnered an enormous ten million, nearly double the population beyond the wall (Scotland) and it can be assumed that season eight’s viewer base will only increase in number. With viewer ratings this large, it can be safely argued that Game of Thrones has passed from a tv show into being something of an international cultural phenomenon. It may have been my sleep deprived mind overelaborating but I couldn’t help but feel connected to everyone across the world who was watching at the same time. When I was looking back through previous projects as well, I saw that a previous student of the module had based their project off the international permeation of Disney. I found it interesting to contemplate how mundane and small transnational linkages can apparently be. Although Game of Thrones as a fantasy adventure series is unlikely to have a massive impact or ramifications, it is undoubtedly true that other internationally watched forms of media may do. What message does it send that the FIFA World Cup has been held consecutively in Russia and Qatar two states with infamously poor records on LGBTQ and in Qatar’s case women’s rights? Similarly Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, which at its peak had seventeen million viewers used its platform to preach a liberal centrist philosophy of government. It is noticeable that much of the occurrences on The West Wing presaged actual events, with the show seeing the placement of a Latino Supreme Court judge nine years before Obama followed suit. All this amounts to the conclusion that with such an internationally broad viewer base, whilst it might not be the job of shows such as Game of Thrones to proselytise positive values and equality, many media executives would do well to remember the powerful transnational platform upon which they operate and the messages which they choose to spread from this foundation.
Game of thrones, A Transnational Phenomenon. (spoiler free)