One of the biggest television moments happens this weekend when season 6 of Game of Thrones premiers globally at the same time Sunday night - 3am local South African time on Monday, 25 April.
Not since JR Ewing was shot in the third season finale of Dallas, about 35 years ago, has a show left a cliff-hanger of this magnitude. Lead Game of Thrones character Jon Snow, was stabbed brutally by his fellow Night’s Watch brothers in the finale of Season 5, leaving no doubt as to his fate, it seemed.
But fans have been left hoping for the past year that he is still alive, because... Magic! Because zombies!
So anything is possible and speculation has been wild, with many theories bandied about, especially since filming started on season 6 last year and Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, was spotted in battle garb again. But that was dismissed as a flash back, by some. The actor has refused to confirm if his character is still alive.
In an unprecedented move, the Game of Thrones premiere for season 6 will screen at the same time across the world to prevent spoilers and Game of Thrones viewing parties are being planned - from private parties to mass cinema viewings and outdoor screenings. Someone’s even done a party planning guide to a ‘North vs. South’ premiere party with period-appropriate fantasy food and decor.
In the day when JR, the most famous villain on the small screen then, was shot, streets emptied, restaurants closed and 53 countries tuned into the shooting of JR; and eight months later, 83 million watched to find out who done it. I remember newspaper articles and discussions on radio about who had shot JR. There were even songs written about it ‘Who shot JR down?’ by TR Dallas and ‘Who shot JR?’ by Gary Burbank.
The actor who played JR, Larry Hagman, later recounted how the late Queen Mother had come up to him at a show in the UK and asked him to tell her who shot JR! The producers kept the secret during filming by having the whole cast, including the make-up team and production staff, filmed ‘shooting JR’.
In the case of Game of Thrones, we know who done it, but what we really want to know, is if there is a possibility of our hero living to fight and die, another day?
Over the years many memes have been spawned too, based on the dramatic scenes.
Game of Thrones, is a historical ‘War of the Roses’ plotline of a powerful feud between two rival families for the famed Iron Throne of Westeros, with magic, zombies, dragons and other mythical creatures. It is the ultimate show down between good and evil, of course.
It has an 18 age restriction in South Africa, mostly because of the violent manner in which characters are butchered routinely on the show.
Students at the Technical University of Munich in Germany have even built a computer algorithm to predict which characters will die next on the show. Of the 2028 different characters mentioned in the first five books, over 500 characters have died in the five TV seasons, each with 10 episodes, so far. The International Business Times even produced a handy graphic of key character deaths.
There may only be one person in the whole world who finds out the truth ahead of the rest of the GoT franchise fandom on Sunday/early hours of Monday, and that is the most powerful politician in the world, United States President Barack Obama, as Time reports. He is reported to have asked for advance episodes and he got them. Who’s going to argue with the man who holds the nuclear codes and the secrets to Area 51, if he wants to know if Jon Snow lives?!
What makes this cliff-hanger all the more unique, is that the TV series has caught up to the legendary books, penned over decades by the irascible George R. R. Martin, who has notably missed the 2016 publishing deadline for the next book in the Song of Fire and Ice series ‘The Winds of Winter, leaving even those of us who have read all the books to date (me) and watched the whole series (me too), without a clue as to what happens next.
Writers of the HBO show, David Benioff and Dan Weis, and Martin, have now admitted that the show and the book storyline will now diverge.
Nielsen data on the cable show puts viewers at 7 million for season 5. The season 5 finale broke Twitter TV records with 426,000 tweets seen by 5.1 million people.
The years that Martin takes to finish a book has spawned legions of fan sites, complementary fan fiction and an author’s cult second to none. Martin has, according to legend, threatened to kill off popular characters in the book if fans complain about the time he takes to finish the books, so fans are careful not to overstep the mark in badgering him to get on with his writing!
HBO, which produces the famous show, has been releasing a series of trailers to tease frustrated fans.
And for diehard fans who want to tap into the rumour and innuendo and intrigue that dogs the various kingdoms and characters, MyWebRoom compiled a handy guide of the top Game of Thrones fan websites.
DStv has confirmed that tune in details for Game of Thrones season 6 for South African fans, are Monday 25 April at 3am (express from the US) and Thursday 28 April at 9pm (prime time). Episode 1 is called ‘The Red Woman’.
Given the hype around the series, M-Net Edge Channel 102 is also adding a weekly talk show, hosted by TV critics and aficionados of the show, called ‘After the Thrones’ directly after each episode has been screened each Thursday night.
You can also follow the conversation and contribute to the various theories of where plotlines are headed on Twitter with this season’s Game of Thrones hashtags: #GOTSeason6, #GameOfThrones, #MNetEdge.
Louise Marsland is currently Africa Editor: Bizcommunity.com; a Content Strategist and Trainer; and Trend Curator for Bizcommunity.com and her own TRENDAFRiCA.co.za. She has been writing about the media, marketing and advertising communications industry in South Africa for over 20 years, notably, as the previous Editor of Bizcommunity.com Media & Marketing; Editor-in-Chief AdVantage magazine; Editor Marketing Mix magazine; Editor Progressive Retailing magazine; Editor Business Brief magazine and Editor FMCG Files ezine.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This Message Board accepts no liability of legal consequences that arise from the Message Boards (e.g. defamation, slander, or other such crimes). All posted messages are the sole property of their respective authors. The maintainer does retain the right to remove any message posts for whatever reasons. People that post messages to this forum are not to libel/slander nor in any other way depict a company, entity, individual(s), or service in a false light; should they do so, the legal consequences are theirs alone. Bizcommunity.com will disclose authors' IP addresses to authorities if compelled to do so by a court of law.