Fandom 250: The case for Game of Thrones fans

Every year, WiC’s sister site FanSided puts together a big giant list of the best fandoms in the world, ranked from 250 to 1. It’s called the Fandom 250, and it is happening again.

Granted, it’s hard to determine why some fandoms rank high and others low. What makes a fandom “good” anyway? The number of fans? The strength of their passion? A certain indefinable something beyond word and deed?

We’re not entirely sure, but we know that Game of Thrones fans have to rank very highly. The Game of Thrones faithful are both legion and passionate. Even before the show started, fans of the Song of Ice and Fire book series knew it was going to be big, so long as HBO stayed true to George R.R. Martin’s complex, sprawling vision of a medieval fantasy world with a gritty, true-to-life underpinning. “When we opened our office the response from fans of the book was incredible,” said Julie Gardner, who worked on casting for the pilot episode. “We had fans coming from America and rapping on our door asking ‘can I please be an extra?'” That’s how dedicated Game of Thrones fans are: they’ll cross the ocean for a chance to be part of this world, and this was before the pilot was even made.

One of the remarkable things about Game of Thrones is that it attracts fans from many different quarters — young and old, men and women, liberal and conservative…the Game of Thrones fandom cuts across national, generational, and ideological lines, which is one of the major reasons the show has become a proper phenomenon rather than just an ordinary hit.

Part of what attracts people is the density of the story, a twisting tale of political and martial oneupmanship driven by literally hundreds of well-drawn characters. There’s just a lot to Game of Thrones, so fans have a lot to sink their teeth into. And they have; this site it just one of many around the net dedicated to picking the series apart, to say nothing of the intense, detailed discussions that rage on places like Reddit. Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire have such a death grip on our imaginations because they are themselves so richly and fully imagined.

But Game of Thrones has something for everyone. Action fans can thrill to sequences like the Massacre at Hardhome or the Battle of the Bastards, scenes that — let’s be honest — beat Hollywood at its own game. History buffs can analyze how the show reflects events like the English War of the Roses. Do romances come more heartrending than the one between Daenerys and Drogo on the one hand and Jon Snow and Ygritte on the other? (And maybe Daenerys and Jon Snow in the future? Watch this space.) Cinephiles love how the show plays more like a super-long movie than a TV show, fans of period drama soak up the elaborate costumes and sets…if you like anything, you’ll like something about Game of Thrones.

Because it offers so much, Game of Thrones has become the rare series that is both incredibly popular and critically beloved. That doesn’t happen often, and the fans are taking full advantage. The inaugural year of Con of Thrones, a full-scale convention dedicated to the show and its source material, was a huge successGame of Thrones is routinely the most pirated show on Earth, a back-handed compliment but a compliment nonetheless. Then there are the crafts, fan fiction, and cosplay the show inspires. Like this. LIKE THIS:

The Game of Thrones fandom is the kind of fandom that comes along once in a generation, and it deserves the top spot on the Fandom 250. Just one guy’s opinion.

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h/t Belfast Telegraph