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Game of Thrones turns 10, but it's too soon to celebrate its "Iron Anniversary"

  • Vox

    HBO's plan to celebrate today's 10th anniversary of the April 17, 2011 premiere of Game of Thrones with a month-long "Iron Anniversary" celebration seems to have been either met with indifference or scorn over how the show ended. "If it feels a little soon to be celebrating Game of Thrones, well, you’re not wrong," says Emily VanDerWerff. "The series finale aired on May 19, 2019, so when the 10th anniversary of the show’s premiere arrives, less than two years will have passed. And if the ambivalence I have sensed around this anniversary stems from anything, it stems from the fact that when Game of Thrones ended, it was an all-consuming pop culture story that even the show’s biggest fans had grown a little sick of. It’s only natural to want to give such cultural objects at least a little rest. Couldn’t HBO have waited for, you know, the 15th anniversary or something?...But I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that most fans of Game of Thrones felt some degree of frustration with how the series ended. For much of its run, Game of Thrones was the biggest show on television, and then it went out with a whimper. I suspect the show’s reputation will improve with time. There will eventually be another, more recent show whose finale makes many of the series’ fans howl with outrage. But for now, Game of Thrones is public enemy No. 1 when it comes to letting fans down. In even the recent past, a disappointing or even divisive finale would eventually fade from memory. Plenty of people had issues with the Lost finale (they were wrong!), but that show didn’t have any spinoffs or follow-ups, outside of a short film on the complete series DVD that lots of people don’t even know exists. As time has gone by, it’s been easier for even those who were unhappy with Lost’s finale to remember the show’s many other qualities and focus on those. Similar responses have followed the endings of The Sopranos and Mad Men, of Breaking Bad and The Wire. Not everybody liked all of those finales — because ending a long-running story in a way everybody likes is impossible — but get enough time and space from an ending you didn’t care for, and you’ll usually start to remember the good times too. We just don’t have that space from Game of Thrones yet, nor does it seem like the show has found a second wind among those who didn’t watch it the first time through. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve talked to lots of people who’ve finally gotten around to watching a TV show or two that they had been saving to savor, and even more who’ve revisited old favorites. I’ve talked to maybe two people who spent part of their quarantine watching Game of Thrones. Thus, an indifferent response to the Iron Anniversary — a kind of collective 'how can we miss you when you won’t go away?' — makes sense. But then again, so does HBO’s desire to turn the 10th birthday of its big hit show into a big deal. It wasn’t so long ago that Game of Thrones dominated pop culture discussion. Can’t the network get those days back?"


    TOPICS: Game of Thrones, HBO, Emilia Clarke, Harry Lloyd, Retro TV