‘Game of Thrones’ Season Six: Return of the Snow

By Natalie Ortiz

The war and gore of “Game of Thrones” return April 24 for the show’s sixth season, and Lubbockites are greatly looking forward to finding out what happens next.

Since the show has caught up to the novel series, “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin, fans of both the books and the show are both in the dark on what is coming next.

Robert Peaslee, chairman of the Department of Journalism and Electronic Media, said he cannot think of another case in which “a prominent adaptation of a prominent form of source material has outpaced the source material.”

“It will be interesting to see how this will play out,” Peaslee said.

The HBO fantasy show averaged 20 million weekly viewers during its last season and was also the most pirated TV show, with 7 million illegal downloads before the season five premiere in 2015.

Peaslee said the show has become such a hit in part because of HBO’s marketing approach.

“One of the reasons [Game of Thrones] has been as successful as it has is that HBO has slowly but grudgingly accepted the fact that people are less and less willing to pay for access to a whole repository of content just to get the one thing that they want,” he said.

To prepare for a study abroad trip to Scotland and Northern Ireland this summer, Peaslee has been watching and studying the Starz show “Outlander,” a time travel story set in Scotland and based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon. Although both “Game of Thrones” and “Outlander” are about past cultures and societies, Peaslee said they represent different genres.

“Game of Thrones is primarily a fantasy,” Peaslee said. “The audience for [Outlander] is primarily romance readers, and the emphasis itself is not so much on the political intrigue or the violence. There is a history of where romance has been looked down upon, seen as unserious, less appealing.”

In honor of the “Game of Thrones” season premiere, Skyviews, a student-staffed restaurant, last month offered a two-night “Game of Thrones”-themed dinner series, which sold out completely. Putting together the menu took “blood, sweat and tears,” but worth the effort, said Meridith Cornwell, a senior majoring in restaurant, hotel and institutional management (RHIM).

Many Skyviews employees are devoted fans of the show.

Andrew Benavides, a senior majoring in RHIM, said the violence in the show is what appeals to him. His coworker at Skyviews and senior RHIM major Sammye Sharbutt said the suspense is what intrigues her.

“It keeps you on the edge of your seat,” Sharbutt said. “They’re always killing off someone while you’re getting attached and it’s like ‘okay, well, they killed my favorite character, so now I have to go find a new one’.”

For RHIM instructor and Skyviews manager Mike Nghiem, the show’s appeal is in the complexity of each character.

“Every character is both a hero and a villain in their own eyes,” Nghiem said. “You see both sides of the coin with each character, and you get to see what drove them that way.”

Jon Snow is one of the most popular characters on the show. Picture provided by HBO.

Jon Snow is one of the most popular characters on the show. Picture provided by HBO.

As far as predictions for this season of “Game of Thrones,” Peaslee, Benavides, Sharbutt and Nghiem all think Jon Snow will make his return.

But how? That remains to be seen.

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