Even if you didn’t watch the latest Game of Thrones episode, you’ve most likely heard other people talking about it around your office or castle or brothel or wherever you spend most of your time.
The TV show has become the mass media phenomenon of the 2010s, picking up the pop culture torch from other juggernauts such as the Harry Potter series, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Star Search, and Rawhide.
Games of Thrones is now in its final season and there are just a few episodes left. Sunday night saw the eruption of the battle that has been building since the series began, a showdown between the lady who has pet dragons and the zombie snowman guy.
Normally at this point I would use the term “spoiler alert” to let people know that if they continue reading, those who have not seen the episode but wish to watch it later are in danger of having some of the plot points revealed to them. But Game of Thrones is such a cultural phenomenon that it has almost outgrown spoiler alerts – if you haven’t watched by Monday, you can’t really complain if the water cooler talk is about a dragon crashing into a zombie UFO or whatever.
The show is basically the Super Bowl now – no one would berate their coworkers for “spoiling” what Tom Brady and the Patriots did in the big game (spoiler alert: Tom Brady is the Night King – 8,000 years old, arm like a cannon, ice in his veins, pure evil).
There is one thing different about Game of Thrones than those other cultural touchstones that captivated a mass audience: the social media era is now in full effect. My favourite moment of this week’s Game of Thrones experience (oh, alright: mild spoiler alert!) involved a dagger and some ice cubes.
My second favourite moment, however, was scrolling through Twitter afterward and seeing all the reactions to the episode. Some were poignant, many were stupid, but a lot were really funny. Laugh out loud funny, which was welcome because there certainly weren’t many laughs in the actual episode, which was all very dimly lit and confusing – it looked like it was filmed through a mug of root beer.
According to Twitter, Sunday’s Game of Thrones was the most tweeted about scripted TV show ever, with some 7.8-million tweets flying around that day. That’s about one for every time a person squinted at the screen and said “does our TV have brightness controls?”
In fact, the post-show chatter may have even been better than the episode, even the dagger moment. Social media is mostly stupid and often despicable, but this is one thing that is not so bad. It’s fun to know that there are other niche nerds out there who like to obsess over the same quirky little things (anyone else think it’s funny that a character named Bran is so irregular?).
I’ve happened upon a few net nerd niches recently that have brought me immense joy. One was local basketball nerds, who couldn’t stop gushing about a playoff-series-winning shot made by Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers. The entity known as “NBA Twitter” of course went mad over what was one of the coolest shots I’ve ever seen in a basketball game – you could make the case that his real-life dagger was better than the one dreamed up in Game of Thrones dragon land. It was neat, however, to see Lower Mainland locals that may be known in much different capacities outing themselves as giant hoop nerds too.
Another shared niche moment came for Canadian baseball fans last week when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. made his debut for the Toronto Blue Jays. Not only is he the son of former Montreal Expos great Vladimir Guerrero, which is cool in its own right, but he is also one of the greatest hitting prospects the sport has ever seen, predicted by some, even before he played a single MLB game, to be on a path that will take him alongside the greatest hitters in the game’s history.
If you couldn’t be there in Toronto to see it all begin, you could still follow along and share the moment with other social media dreamers. Who needs real championships when you can tweet Babe Ruth back to life in a Blue Jays uniform?
That’s good social media. It’s a shame that with such fun available, so many people spend their time on social media harassing women, picking fights and forgetting who won the Second World War. Knock that stuff off, have some fun out there!
What do we say to the Twitter trolls? Not today!
Andy Prest is the sports editor for the North Shore News and writes a biweekly humour/lifestyle column. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.