6 Ways “Game of Thrones” Changed The Game

“Game of Thrones” is one of the strongest, if not the strongest show on TV. Now into its seventh season, it continues to win fans and influence people. We take a look at the ways it has subverted expectation and become the biggest game changer in TV history!


1. Its cast is constantly changing.


In other long running TV shows, you can rely on the main cast coming back to greet you week after week with little fear of any of them being suddenly and brutally murdered.


Things are a little different in Westeros.


The first series set up Ned Stark (Sean Bean) as the star of the show… and promptly beheaded him at the end of the first series. This move threw viewers out of the false sense of security into which they had been lulled, and has never let them feel at ease again. This brings us to our next point.



Ned Stark saying 'Winter is coming'

Via Fan Forum 



2. It’s so strong it can kill off its most important and beloved characters and be forgiven. 


If ‘Star Trek’ had killed off Captain Kirk, or ‘The Simpsons’ killed off Homer, that would arguably be it. Legions of loyal fans would turn their backs, too devastated to keep watching, seeing no point in continuing on without their favorite character. Not so with ‘Game of Thrones.’ When everybody’s favorite good guy Eddard Stark was dispatched at the end of Season 1, the death was met with gasps of disbelief, wails of horror, and… a need to know what happened next.


Instead of turning their backs on the show for doing away with poor Ned, fans tuned in for more. Even after the infamous Red Wedding where several main characters were gruesomely murdered at once, the ratings continued to soar, gaining millions more viewers with each season. 



Rob Stark shot down at the Red Wedding

Via Giphy



3. It is the first TV series of its scale.


Reminiscent of the Lord of the Rings movie franchise, the average budget between 2012 and 2015 increased from $6 million to at least $8 million per episode. The sixth-season budget was over $10 million per episode, with a season total of over $100 million. It is, unsurprisingly, one of the most expensive shows ever made. This level of expenditure has allowed for what have been described as ‘the most dramatically beautiful costumes of all time,’ incredible special effects, and expansive on location sets in places like Ireland, Croatia, Morocco, the USA, and Canada. 




Image Courtesy of Karge on the Road



4. It relies on audience knowledge.


Unlike other shows, it has been pointed out that Game of Thrones relies “on the audience to either possess or seek out additional information beyond what’s shown on screen.” Either from reading George R.R. Martin’s novels, or from diving into the depths of the internet in search of ever more knowledge, fans of the show need more than what is given to them on screen. 



Charlie in It's Always Sunny going crazy over a theory

Image Courtesy of Dorkly



5. You have to start from the start.


‘Game of Thrones’ is part of the revolution of shows where you can’t just jump into half way through an episode or a series. They have created a show so many layered and captivating that viewers become hooked and committed, tuning in religiously each week, knowing that if they don’t, they may well fall victim to the tidal wave of spoilers that will hit the internet, their workplace, bus conversations, and every other conversational medium they will experience in the coming days. 



Gif of Cersai looking scared and saying 'Spoilers'

Via DNA India



6. Most of the actors were totally unknown before the show.


With a few exceptions (Sean Bean, Lena Headly, Aiden Gillen etc.) most of the actors cast in Game of Thrones were pretty much unknown beforehand. Stars like Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Rose Leslie and Kit Harrington were all relatively unknown before landing their roles. It was a big risk to take, casting actors like Turner and Williams when they were children, knowing how their roles would grow and become larger and more important as the series progressed, but obviously the risk was worth it!  



Game of Thrones actors just after being cast in the show

Image Courtesy of WikiWand


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