Game of Thrones: Born as Taboo, Dying as Mainstream
The HBO hit series Game of Thrones is heading into its eighth – and final – season and here we decided to have a look at how the epic fantasy show reshaped the pop culture landscape for good.
The series fans will have to wait for early 2019 to find out the actual Game of Throne airing dates so we might as well consider this piece a bone to chew on. An appetiser if you like it better.
As progressive as the world we live in claims to have become, there was hardly an eyebrow that did not get raised at a notion of a mega-money blockbuster cinematographic project being laid on the foundations of death, (incestuous) sex and bloodshed.
But gut-wrenchingly gruesome Game of Thrones sneaked its way into our world without us even noticing. George R. R. Martin’s product of imagination outgrew the boundaries of TV production and emerged as the cultural phenomenon we still fail to wrap our heads around.
Baby steps were taken at first. Quite literally as well. Two years into the life of Game of Thrones, the United States Social Security Administration reported that Stark’s youngster daughter, Arya, served as inspiration for the names of no less than 1,135 babies across the pond. To highlight the series’ impact in the trend – such a number stands as a stark (pun intended) contrast to 757 Arya babies in 2012 and 387 in 2011.
Maisie Williams’ character was not the only choice. The total of 241 babies was named Khaleesi in 2013, after George R. R. Martin’s “Mother of Dragons” whereas Tyrion held the banner for boys with 43 babies named after him.
Hitting the Limelight, Big Time
The obvious surge in Game of Thrones’ popularity put Middle Ages back in the scholar spotlight by reshaping the way it is studied at college. Harvard was the first to offer an undergraduate medieval studies course inspired by the show, whereas the Boston College followed with one of their own at a graduate level.
Going one step further just for good measure, Berkley invited students to learn the language of Dothraki which, in a poetic twist of events, was invented by a former Berkley student, David J. Peterson. “The Linguistics of Game of Thrones” and “The Art of Language Invention” course – led by Peterson himself – was supposed to teach students more about creating their own languages.
Furthermore and beyond, Game of Thrones spurred the uptrend in the movie-making industry. A growing number of medieval fantasy titles has emerged since the show was first aired and the theme exploited is still one of the most popular ones across the entertainment industry. Art, music and even game-making can support the claim.
The award-winning show even got its branded online slot tribute thanks to the gaming industry giants Microgaming whose version of the show is available here and not only for real-money gambling but also for pure fun.
Not All is Peachy…
It is for a twist of an arm that you’d have to find the negatives Game of Thrones had on our lives.
Residents of Victoria’s Geelong found themselves locked in a housing battle after Charlemont Rise Land Development renamed streets for Game of Throne characters and locations. Lannister Road sparked rage and forced the developer to change its name due to a particular ring to this name.
The association to inbreeding twins of Jamie and Cersie was simply more than what Australians were willing to accept. A change of lettering was a compromise no one would settle on and the Lannister Road quickly became Precinct Road.
Game of Thrones and its power on society – especially this close to the final season – brought up another highly criticised aspect of the show. Dealing with a medieval age in which members of the fairer sex did not have a lot of rights of their own, the HBO series did get a fair share of battering for its misogynist portrayal of women.
To round it off in a manner that suits a show of Game of Thrones’ stature, there are inclinations that women will come out on top in the final season. With Arya Stark leading the line into the eighth season, Game of Throne is set to reshape its own image and emerge as the mainstream product fighting for a trendy cause of women empowerment.
From a taboo toddler into the fully-flourished trend setter, Game of Thrones’ influence on our everyday life has never been stronger.
Occasional writer and fan of video games and scifi TV shows!