Laura Bedrossian, VP Social Strategy, Hot Paper Lantern
SPOILERS & LINKS TO SPOILERS AHEAD. Sunday night was the end of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ series that has brought together millions and created a pop culture phenomenon that has already seen its share of restaurant and café chalk board references.
Not getting into the specifics of the show finale where there were plenty of “twists” that seemed like a culmination of bad fan fiction come to life (come on, the title of the history book Sam brings in is “A Song of Ice and Fire”?!). And, more than enough fellow fans have called out all of the obvious and ridiculous plot missteps—just see Twitter this thread.
But, what I’m more impressed with—and frankly thankful for—is the sense of community and sheer spread of this storytelling and content unlike any other. It’s been a while since folks were clamoring to watch one show, which would have been on one of the major TV networks to catch [Insert any popular show here] show and proceed to talk about it for days on end. What other show in history has brought this many people together? And, now in the age of streaming services for every network, how many come together at the same time when you could watch on demand? Or how many show had media projections around how many people may miss work because of a finale?
We’ve seen tons of marketing partnerships born out of the iconic series especially when it was announced that this would be the last season. And, we’ve seen tons of think pieces over the seasons as the show continued to grow in popularity . . . and opinions.
I’m not sure if or when another “GOT” show will come along (you know, a show we’ll all watch, love, and complain about in real-time blowing up social media each week and beyond). With rumors of spinoff shows, it remains to be seen if they will have as much of a fandom.
Tyrion Lannister makes a point to highlight the importance of storytelling—something that was arguably lacking in this last season. According to him, the person with the best story to tell, wins. There’s an obvious connection PR and marketing folks can make, but the statement also rings true in other areas: from what makes it into our history books to what’s being churned out in Hollywood. Perhaps storytelling is the lens through which we should be thinking through our content (though we likely should have been doing that before) across the board?
I’ll miss the endless amounts of live-posts and sharing while watching a show in real-time with my GOT friends near and far. The public shaming of production gaffes (seriously, do you people watch the show with a microscope? How are you catching these things?).
So, what do we do now?
As they say, all things must come to an end, but not everything has to have a good, neat ending. This was very clearly a rush to the end for the GOT showrunners, but one with an amazing cast and storytelling that was good to a point and that left us craving more. That’s good storytelling.
After all these years, thank you for keeping us all so entertained and giving us, the public, something fictional to rally around. But also showing that good storytelling is compelling, engaging, and makes everyone into a television writing expert.
P.S. Thank you to ‘VEEP’ for the perfect ending and to ‘Avengers: Endgame’ which shows that you truly can end a series well (movie or otherwise).