I Refuse to be a Game of Thrones Junkie

Pop Culture

I Refuse to be a Game of Thrones Junkie

Illustration: Juergen Dsouza

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ometime last night, an event broke the internet and it did not involve Kim Kardashian’s ass. The most pirated show of all time, Game of Thrones, released a juicy, three-minute trailer for its upcoming season. Right before the Season 7 trailer released, HBO announced the premiere date of the penultimate season of the hit fantasy drama via a live stream on Facebook. The stream didn’t feature actors or directors – all it featured was a block of melting ice, as viewers triggered a spurt of flame by typing “Fire” or “Dracarys”. When the ice melted, the release date was revealed as it emerged from its frozen chamber. Over 1,05,000 GoT addicts were tuned in, staring at a block of ice, frantically banging away at their keyboards in desperation for their fix.

We live in addictive times. Once upon a time, people planned their annual calendars around Holi, Eid, and Christmas. Today they do it around the season premieres of Game of Thrones, House of Cards, and Orange Is The New Black. Shows have become the new coke and studios are the new dealers.

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The GoT makers are clearly one of the biggest dealers in the world today. Their entire off season is devoted to giving you an itch that only Cersei can scratch. For the months that the show is off-air, they keep dropping reminders that Winter Is Coming, leading to an almost Pavlovian response of increased excitement.

And now with the premiere only months away, they are openly flaunting how completely wrapped around their fingers we are. We are so fucked up that we will repeatedly watch a seven-second clip of a hand holding a sword and rejoice. We are so fucked up that we will sit and stare at a giant melting block of ice for as long as it takes.

The Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility kicks in – the more you smoke, the less it affects you.

The studio, like all good peddlers, operates on the golden principle that keeping customers hooked is paramount. Small doses at regular intervals are all part of a sound business policy. So they crank out teaser trailers, official trailers, uncensored trailers, first-look trailers, origin trailers, and even song trailers (do you seriously need a primer to enjoy roughly three minutes of music?). Showbiz has gone from the business of creating fans to creating junkies, and we’re standing around with glazed eyes waiting for the next hit… however tiny and disappointing the dose.

If you don’t agree, observe the behaviour of internet forums when a trailer is released. Fans sound like crack addicts conversing in a back alley. “This is dope!” “I’m creaming my pants!” “Can’t wait for more!” A well-made, slick trailer can supersede the limitations of poor filmmaking and fuel an insanity that has no logic.

But as it is with drugs, so shall it be with trailers. The Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility kicks in – the more you smoke, the less it affects you. I was a junkie once. I would explode with excitement anytime a new trailer dropped. The endorphin release of watching my favourite characters appear for a fleeting glimpse in a 90-second video would get me high. Posting the trailer on my timeline was my equivalent of a stoner raving about the stash he just scored.

But I kicked the habit after my dealer fucked me over. Warner Bros and DC Comics amped up their trailer game for two films in a row, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. SS was a highly anticipated film, whose promos promised a wild incarnation of Jared Leto’s Joker. What we got instead was a formulaic potboiler with as much wildness as a pot of daisies. BvS, on the other hand, had at least 10 minutes of its runtime revealed through multiple trailers and ad endorsements, which then turned out to be the best parts of the movie, leaving the rest of the runtime more boring than a lecture on trigonometry. It was like the dealer who gave you a taste of stuff that made you fly, but when he finally delivered, it put you to sleep instead.

So I quit. I gave up on trailers and decided to revert to being a fan rather than a junkie. I’ve decided I don’t need trailers to enjoy a movie or show. Either the story will stand on its own merit or fall flat. It’s a healthy way of living… addiction free. I’m now reaching out to lost souls to spread the word: Stop being trailer trash. You are better than that.

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