It’s no secret that many people were annoyed by Game of Thrones‘ final season, and if you weren’t one of them, you’re probably pretty damn annoyed by hearing about it. But HBO doesn’t care what you think—not in a defiant, sexy maverick sort of way. HBO doesn’t need to care what you think because, if you watched the episode and subscribed to the network, you helped generate the billion-dollar machine that is HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones effect.’ Unsurprisingly, the show has made HBO hi$$$tory across the board: this past Sunday, the finale garnered 19.3 million total views. Those are the highest ratings not just for the fantasy juggernaut, but also for all HBO shows. Over the last decade, the show has won the network 50 million subscribers, which is no joke.
This, of course, is the joke:
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Google searches for ‘how to cancel HBO‘ spiked directly after the sixth episode’s ending. The only previous comparable spike in cancellations occurred directly after the seventh season, but the current looming threat of mass cancellation is still greater by far. Take a look, and imagine that you’ve got a job at HBO. Feel the existential terror? Unlike the rest of our general existential dread, theirs probably won’t be cured by memes—at least, not if the memes are about unsubscribing from HBO.
Image Via Google Trends
The pressure to keep the machine in operation is immense, hence the network’s desire to promote its spin-offs this early on. We know that four are potentially in development. We also know that there are currently only details on one: a yet-untitled prequel set in the “mythic ‘Age of Heroes,'” produced by Jane Goldberg and George R.R. Martin himself. S.J. Clarkson of Marvel’s Jessica Jones is set to direct. But there’s been heavy speculation about what the other spinoffs could be. Given fan-favorite Arya Stark’s relatively open ending (“what’s west of Westeros?”), many have speculated that we could see more of our favorite little stabby baby—especially since she didn’t do any face-swapping this season.
Honestly, imagine the possibilities. Pirate Arya? Badass female pirate captain Arya??? Okay, so it’s one possibility, but with an ever-increasing number of question marks. Badass, unstoppable pirate captain Arya stealing from her enemies and stealing all of our hearts???
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Dead-set on killing our dreams, HBO programming president Casey Bloys definitively shut us down:
Nope, nope, nope. No. Part of it is, I do want this show — this Game of Thrones, Dan and David’s show — to be its own thing. I don’t want to take characters from this world that they did beautifully and put them off into another world with someone else creating it. I want to let it be the artistic piece they’ve got. That’s one of the reasons why I’m not trying to do the same show over. George has a massive, massive world; there are so many ways in. That’s why we’re trying to do things that feel distinct — and to not try and redo the same show. That’s probably one of the reasons why, right now, a sequel or picking up any of the other characters doesn’t make sense for us.
Okay, so it’s true that we’d hate to see Arya’s character transform in a way that we don’t understand. With a different showrunner, Arya’s characterization may feel inconsistent. While some fans would be all on board (that is, aboard Arya’s PIRATE SHIP), others would certainly be disappointed—and, presumably, be pretty vocal about their disappointment. But there’s one thing we can all (mostly) agree on: we’ve got high hopes & dubious expectations.
Featured Image Via Screen Rant.