Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan… heart-pounding action, devious characters, a rollercoaster-like plot, family rivalries, struggles for power, dragons – Thrones has it all. If I had to sum up the series in one word it would be: gripping. Its story pulls you in, attaches you to the characters emotionally, peaks your interest, then it takes you on an epic journey through a medieval world with shocking surprises around every corner. It’s one of my favorite shows, and I find it to be nothing short of a masterpiece.
At the end of March, a few days before the first episode of season five officially aired, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an exclusive pre-screening event at LMU. In order to promote the show, HBO partnered with a number of universities around the country, offering to air the first episode to college audiences three days before it aired on television. LMU was on the pre-screening tour and students were invited to attend the event (just one of the many perks of going to this university). As soon as I heard about it, blood rushed through my veins and excitement coursed through my body.
The event was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. My girlfriend and I arrived 10 minutes early, hoping to get a decent seat. Much to my dismay, we were one of the last ones in line and hundreds of people were already there. Clad in cardboard crowns, students were waiting in suspense for the doors to open. I watched eagerly, overwhelmed by a feeling of privileged excitement resembling the time I got a VIP pass at the VMAs, except minus the celebrities. I think I can speak for the majority in saying it was pretty awesome to see the first episode before the public, and I silently thanked my university for allowing me the opportunity to do so.
It’s now been just a couple weeks since the season finale aired and what a season it was! Complete with its fair share of shocking plot-twists, deceptive kidnapping efforts, rebellion and, of course, heart-wrenching deaths of beloved characters. Season five maintained its predecessors’ uncanny ability to combine captivating excitement and surprise with disappointing, sometimes unbearably harsh, plot lines that leave viewers feeling emotionally torn, distraught, and cursing the show’s makers. Yet despite the emotional hardship the show brings, its fans still hail its cinematic and narrative brilliance and wait in implacable suspense for the next episode.
Juxtaposing the experience of watching the premiere on a massive screen amongst hundreds of my peers to watching the finale on my laptop in my dorm room, I’m touched by a slight feeling of disappointed reminiscence in my viewing experience. But mostly I feel lucky. Lucky that I enjoy the freedom to watch the show at all (many around the world do not). Lucky that I was able to see the first episode three days before everyone else. And lucky that I’m privileged enough to attend a university that plays host to awesome exclusive events like this one on a regular basis!