Not being a Game of Thrones (GoT) fan is a bit like being the lone vegetarian at the table. Everyone else looks at you with a mix of mild shock and pity. You’re reminded time and again that you don’t know what you’re missing out on. You’re pleaded to give it a shot. And when you still don’t relent, you’re a lost cause.
In a world where most people really seem to care about the fantastical history of a medieval era, not showing similar levels of obsession can lead to strained relationships. Don’t accuse me of exaggeration; millennials take their pop culture very seriously. A colleague who gave the show a chance but didn’t like it made the mistake of telling her boyfriend that. He said it was time for him to find a new girlfriend. For my colleague’s sake, I hope it was said in jest.
Also read: Beware, GoT fan: Spoilers are coming
When a friend first told me ‘All men must die’ (‘Valar Morghulis’ in GoT speak), I took it to be a war cry: a general’s instructions to his army perhaps. She then patiently explained it was a salutation that spoke about eventual mortality.
It’s hard to escape the GoT fandom. Social media, especially, is full of memes, listicles, and references. You tend to pick up bits and pieces of what’s happening on the show, or who’s who. For instance, thanks to the Starbucks coffee memes, I know that Khaleesi has an insane number of titles to her name. And that a teenage girl named Arya Stark, apparently, has no name.
And then, last Monday, a friend’s status update on Facebook read: ‘Subramanian Swamy is the Hodor of Indian politics. He has a giant stature. Can be somewhat influential. But is as annoying as a broken record.’ Now, the only thing I know about this Hodor guy is that he can only say is name (and, therefore, must be a bit slow). So, the status is only mildly amusing to me, but going by the ‘reactions’, it seemed to be a wisecrack.
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I also distinctly remember how excited people were when winter was coming. People in their mid- to late-twenties acting like teenagers at a Justin Beiber concert never stops being amusing. Watching friends take ‘Which Game of Thrones Character are You?’ quizzes online does get a little annoying, though. Everybody wants to be a Stark, which I’m guessing is the GoT equivalent of Gryffindor. I’ve even scrolled past DIY video tutorials on how to make Celtic headbands to wear to a ‘red wedding’. And, inevitably, every once in a few days, I come across an article saluting the genius of the actor who plays Tyrion Lannister.
And of course, when Jon Snow (why does he know nothing, anyway?) apparently died, thousands of hearts broke. I figured he was like Wolverine in the X-Men series. So loved a character, it’d be criminal to kill him. But then, George RR Martin does have a reputation for bumping off characters like nobody’s business, so people were understandably worried.
In any case, here’s what I have gathered: no matter which side of the GoT camp you are on, Valar Morghulis.