Why is Game Of Thrones so popular?

Theres no denying that HBO’s television series ‘Game Of Thrones’ has been a global success across cultures, but apart from the fact that the show has been dubbed into different languages, what are the REAL reasons that the globe is so into into Game Of Thrones?

Some may say people enjoy it for the sex scenes or graphic violence, but there is actually a lot more to it. The underlying reasons as to why GOT is so popular, reflects how we feel about the current world (English, 2018). 

Here are three main themes from Game Of Thrones that aren’t culturally specific and perhaps explain the popularity of the show:

  1. The escape to a medieval fantasy where politics are grey

‘Readers often cite the moral complexity of GOT as being a key part of their enjoyment’ (Irwin, 2012). 

EVERYTHING in Game Of Thrones is about politics. The way that these politics are conveyed and related back to modern day life is really interesting. The cultivation theory (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, & Signorielli, 1982) suggests that television presents a distorted but uniform picture of reality that is internalised and accepted by viewers (Elasmar, 2002).

The moral grey zones explored throughout the show offers viewers an escape from reality and perhaps mirrors parts of todays reality that isn’t openly spoken about. The wide spread enjoyment of Game Of Thrones can outline peoples unconscious desire to be more liberal. 

2. People enjoy the complexity of it 

Critics say that Game of Thrones caters to the rising ‘mass intelligent’ and that it has spawned a whole new genre of TV (Walton, 2014). 

Guessing what is going to come next is REALLY hard in this show, just when you feel you have a lead on whats going to happen next, the show proves you wrong. You have to expect the unexpected, weddings turn to bloodbaths, main characters are killed and bad guys come good. This takes curiosity to a new level and forces our brain to really work which is very exciting for a lot of people who want to be stimulated. Following the complex plot line is hard but rewarding. 

3. Women rising to power

There is defiantly a lot of controversy around the way that women are portrayed in Game Of Thrones, however most will agree that there are themes of strength and power among the female characters in the show. Game Of Thrones displays that even when women are placed in a male ruled world, they can use their intelligence to end up on top. The story line begins with placing the female characters in stereotypical roles such as the wives and maids but their rise to power is what makes the show empowering. 

“Game Of Thrones was not meant to be played by women,” says Donovan. “In a medieval society like that, women are pawns and tools for the advancement or the pleasure of men. Therefore they must all learn to use their wits to manoeuvre and manipulate the more powerful men around them.” (Walton, 2014)


English, S., 2018, ‘Why is HBO’s Game of Thrones so popular?’. World Socialist Web Site, accessed 13 August 2019.


Irwin, W., 2012, Game of Thrones and philosophy: Logic cuts deeper than swords (Vol. 51). John Wiley & Sons.

Walton, A., 2014, ‘Deeper Than Swords: 10 Reasons We’re So Hooked On ‘Game Of Thrones’. Forbes, accessed 13 August 2019. 


Elasmar, M., 2002, The Impact of International Television: A paradigm shift, Routledge.

Words by Erin Waugh

Image by Vector Illustration

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