By Shane McAdams
The largest television production ever to hit screens across the globe costs $15 million for 60 minutes each week. That’s how much money goes into a single episode of the eighth and final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones has come a long way since HBO aired its pilot episode in the spring of 2011. It quickly grew from an adaptation of a popular book series, into the biggest television series in the world.
What makes Game of Thrones the biggest television production in the world? There are many factors when considering the why Game of Thrones is the biggest and most watched TV series in the world.
First, the show has one of the highest production budgets ever for a television series. Last season, the average production budget per episode of season seven of Game of Thrones sat at about $10 million per episode. Season eight is reported to have episodes that are even longer in duration than the previous seasons. With the run time of episodes being almost double, the episodes are costing almost double the amount as they have in seasons past. The production budget of each episode of season eight has risen to almost $15 million per episode.
Another area where Game of Thrones is crushing all other television series of years past, is in the views it receives. The season seven finale of Game of Thrones received over 16.5 million views the night that it aired on HBO. With numbers as staggering as this it easily dwarfs shows of past years like Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
What has Game of Thrones done to its viewers to create such a cult following? One of the things that Game of Thrones has done so well is give you a plethora of characters with extremely lengthy and developed character arcs. It spends years developing characters and ideas, yet it isn’t afraid to take all that invested emotion and crush it to pieces. Game of Thrones is famous among its fans and viewers as never knowing what is going to happen next or who is going to die next.
Quincy University senior Adam Rogan started watching Game of Thrones in January in preparation for the season eight air date in April.
“Game of Thrones is probably just about the best TV series I’ve ever watched. It is on a whole different league than other shows. It’s like watching a huge move like the Avengers play out over multiple episodes. One of the biggest ways Game of Thrones is different is you learn not to get too attached to any one character because you never know when they are going to flip on you and kill off your favorite character,” Rogan said.
For many viewers, Game of Thrones transcends the concept of simply a show that you watch once a week. For many, Game of Thrones has become something they think about and theorize about way beyond the bounds of the show. Many viewers, including QU students, spend hours scouring the source material, looking for easter eggs in the show, and theorizing about what could be happening next. With popular YouTube channels like Talking Thrones and The Last Harpy each with hundreds of thousands of subscribers and their theory videos with millions of views between them, it is easier than ever to look into and theorize about what could happen next on Game of Thrones.
“I’ve been following and watching Game of Thrones for years now. It’s safe to say I am really invested in the show. I’ve looked at and thought about just about every theory that there is regarding Game of Thrones. For like four seasons now i’ve been watching and hoping that some of my theories and predictions are going to come true. Most of the time they don’t amount to anything, but every once in a while one of your theories pans out and turns out to be true. That really just makes you want to look into it more and hope that your other theories are true. The show is really like an addiction now, I just have to find out how it all ends,” said Conner Martin.
For many viewers including QU students, Game of Thrones goes beyond just a television series. For many viewers Game of Thrones has been something that they have had for a number of years. It represents a big part of your life.
“Game of Thrones for me is kinda cool because I’ve been watching it since high school. I’ve been watching it for years, so it’s more than just a show, its kinda like hearing your favorite song from when you were in high school, except it’s a show. I re-watch episodes and a lot of the time I think about when I first watched the episode and for the early stuff I was still in high school when I first started watching. It’s really just a good chunk of my life so far that i’ve been watching Game of Thrones,” said Noah Randall.
However, like all good things even Game of Thrones must come to an end. Game of Thrones his currently in its eighth and final season. With episodes that are pushing feature length airing every week, the show’s producers are tying up many plot lines and character arcs.
“It’s going to be hard when the last episode airs and i realize hat there isn’t anymore. You know after this it’s all over. I just hope the ending is satisfying. You know it would suck to have made it this far just to have it end and be disappointed,” Martin said.
“When I watch it I’m in my room on my computer or tv, lights off with the volume way up or with headphones on,” Randall said.
Connor Martin watches his Game of Thrones a little differently.
“I have this projector that I bought off Amazon. I plug my computer into that and project it onto a sheet in my room like a theater,” said Martin.
When it comes to Game of Thrones, whether you’re one of the many fans on campus or one of the millions of viewers from around the globe. Game of Thrones is an important part of your Sunday night that you can’t miss. Whether you’re watching on a mobile device or projecting it onto a wall, Game of Thrones is a must watch every week that simply isn’t an option to miss.