Game of Thrones : a small television revolution

Game of Thrones
Game of Thrones
More than a week before the long-awaited beginning of the end. The eighth and final season of the most popular television series of the last decade begins on April 14. True phenomenon, Game of Thrones has revolutionized the small screen. Here’s why.

The numbers do not lie. The ratings of millions of viewers per episode, the host of awards, and countless enthusiastic critics are clear indicators of the resounding force with which the HBO Game of Thrones has rocked its industry. We are already expecting the last season to smash a ton of records.

At a time when the TV series is sovereign, why this story of endless conflicts, where power-hungry depots, repeated slaughters, dragons and creatures come to annihilate humanity, he distinguished himself?

From the start, everything was in place for Game of Thrones to achieve the master stroke that earned him his success. Series, as a format, have never been so popular. “Some talk about a kind of golden age of television […], there is a craze for the television format that has been built [in recent years],” says Antonio Dominguez Leiva, author, professor specialized in cultural history and co-founder of the magazine e Pop-en-sto ck. If series such as The Sopran os set the table at the turn of the century, “Game of Thrones is the pinnacle, the crowning of this phenomenon,” he believes.

In addition, no matter the medium, “the fantasy is experiencing its hour of glory.” An adaptation of the (still incomplete) series of George R. R. Martin’s novels fell just after the public’s appetite had begun in the 1990s.

“While for a very long time, science fiction and fantasy were niches, often minorized and considered something that could interest only a limited number of spectators, these genres became hegemonic. ”

– Antonio Dominguez Leiva, professor of literary studies at UQAM

Large deployment

Game of Thrones did somehow what was already happening, but the series has taken tremendous means to outpace, by far, the competition on the planet TV series.

First, by deploying adequate resources to transpose fantastic universes to the small screen.

“The budget is important because it is what will allow to have a series of mouth or not to have,” says Yan Lanouette Turgeon, director of the 4 th season of the country from above, the Quebec series with the highest budget currently (about $800,000 per episode).

He observes that the sum given to the creation of a series “allows to have a container that stands out from others when it comes time to put a story in pictures”, but also influences “all kinds of things” in the creation, like the time spent shooting.

For example, Game of Thrones was able to afford, for a single battle scene in the coming season, to shoot for 55 nights. “For the countries from above, we had five days of filming per episode! “Says Lan Lanette Turgeon.

If the production costs rise for each season to several tens of millions of dollars, it is because they reflect the efforts made to create a complete universe, with a vibrant realism.

The fabulous shooting locations, the creation of epic sets, the shooting process, all wrapped up in revolutionary special effects for television: nothing was left to chance.

“It’s a fiction that has a great attention to detail, which is essential, because we can at least give credit to what we see, otherwise many people drop right away,” said Antonio Dominguez Leiva.

Quality basic material

It will be understood, success stems largely from the means deployed. But all the money in the world will not make a successful run if the scenario is not good.

“The starting material for the series, [George RR Martin’s] novels, had already attracted a lot of interest from the literary fantasy community. Criticism had hailed the exceptional side of the work, “raises Antonio Dominguez Leiva.

The author has always said that he was inspired in large part by the popular saga Les rois audits, by the French Maurice Druon. From there, “he has managed to reconcile the world of dynastic conflicts of a late Middle Ages [found in the Druon universe] with the epic and marvelous of [JRR] Tolkien [author of the Lord of rings]. ”

This “transgression”, within a genre often “accused of routinely following outdated formulas,” was applauded, but above all gave a canvas of choice to the writers of the television series, David Benioff and DB Weiss at the head .

“The very strong coherence in Martin’s work is visually rendered by all the production efforts. There is also the talent for handling Martin’s dialogue. This is his main talent [and] it is transmitted very well in an audiovisual format. ”

– Antonio Dominguez Leiva, professor of literary studies at UQAM

And when, for the seventh season, it was necessary to do without the novels to write the scenario of the series – the literary saga has no end – the creators have not failed in the task.

Loyal fans

“What also reinforces the universe is that it relies on characters who are extremely well worked,” adds Dominguez Leiva.

And behind these protagonists, actors repeatedly applauded for their benefits, as evidenced by the dozens of quotes for different awards. Peter Dinklage, the most nominated (46) and most awarded (8), has so far won three Emmy Awards for his interpretation of Tyrion Lannister. In total, eight cast members have been nominated for these awards, which crown the excellence of television programs.

And above all, behind these characters and this universe, there is a community of devoted admirers. “There is a very rich material for this, says Melanie Millette, professor in the department of social and public communications at UQAM. The large deployment, the great complexity in the history and the aesthetics are conducive to arouse a strong enthusiasm of the fans. ”

In the end, it’s the popularity of the series that makes its prestige. They were over 16 million watching the first episode of the penultimate season. On April 14, there will surely be many more to come to find out who will finally sit on the mystical Iron Throne.

The series of all records

In seven seasons …

47 Emmy Awards won (out of 132 quotes)

16.1 million viewers on HBO platforms, the first episode of Season 7. The average number of viewers for the episodes of the 6 th season was $ 7.6 million

1 billion: approximate turnover of the series in 2017, including derivatives. The budget of the ultimate season amounts to 90 million, or 15 million per episode


300 girls named Arya in England and Wales in 2017

About 174,000 deaths on the screen since the beginning of the series.