Game of Thrones has flung us into a social media frenzy. For years now, Monday morning news feeds have been consistently filled to the gills with spoilers galore from Sunday night's episode. We are addicted to the show—sure—but also the conversation that surrounds it. How'd this all come to be? Let's discuss.
It all started a year and a half prior to the show's release on HBO, somewhere in the realm of 2009. Marketing executives at HBO began cultivating what they hoped would become a cult following, and boy did they do a good job. Much like what we do in the early stages of an Inbound Marketing strategy, the GoT marketing team created personas for the show's fans. One, for example, was a book nerd through and through—a literary fanatic who, even though they may not have been a huge TV fan, would ultimately fall head over heels for a show based on a fictional series. Two: gamers. Gamers? you might be thinking. Yes, gamers. See, the marketing geniuses over at HBO though to themselves, a lot of these to-be fans will enjoy the fantastical part of the show—they'll take solace in the suspension of belief regarding a lot of what goes on (read: the Red Woman, for starters). It’ll be familiar to them, they thought, and therefore attractive. Further, they realized that following the show's debut, there'd likely be a great deal of talk about it on Reddit. Reddit is, of course, where hundreds of thousands, if not millions of gamers spend a lot of their time online. It offers a multitude of game-specific forums, and GoT was about to blow up on it, too. The Wall Street Journal wrote that in 2015, the site had more than 82 billion page views, and more subscribers for its GoT section than for the NFL, "Star Wars", or Marvel. This is all to say that, in no uncertain terms, the personas the GoT marketers created is why the show first gained a head of steam online.
In 2015, Tech Talk reported GoT as the most tweeted about show in the world. In the world. As far as 2016 goes, things seem to continue to look up for Game of Thrones. We talked briefly in our last piece on GoT about Hodor, potentially a hero, and Bran, who many of us may now view as a victim. The constant character building the show provides is, without a doubt, one of its more addicting attributes.
Upon further consideration, and following the incredibly upsetting Hold The Door episode (try not to shed a tear in remembrance right now), we started to think a little deeper on Hodor's potential hero status. Sure, that episode was a tearjerker. But did what happen really make him a hero? Or was that “just” fate? (If you're having trouble remembering what did in fact happen, click the link above to read our last post, which includes a recap). We're beginning to think that what happened to Hodor—and how it all went down—is just another genius plan by the HBO writers and marketing geniuses. (After all, the show is no longer sticking to the George R.R. Martin version, as he never got this far in the story!)
Now, don't get us wrong, we’re not putting down the folks over at HBO for their P.R. virtuosity. It’s simply stated fact that in following the Hodor-centric episode, viewers were quite literally forced to decide a few very important things, including but not limited to: is Hodor a hero? Is Bran, via everything that happened to Hodor, a victim? It might seem simple: make a decision and stick with it. But scroll through even a single forum online about what happened to Hodor, and we can almost guarantee you'll question your decision. See what we were saying about the marketers over at HBO? They know what they're doing; creating a story so complex, so addicting, that we feel compelled by some otherworld force to tune in at 9 pm every Sunday. It was seven years ago now that they first created the personas we talked about earlier, and we'd venture to say they've never looked back. After all this success, why would they?
What do you all think about the Hodor-Hero, Bran-Vicitm dilemma? Is it even a dilemma? Is it all part of a bigger plan by the HBO writer and marketing-talent? Well, one thing’s for certain: we’re going to keep watching to try and find out.