Game of Thrones

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Game of Thrones (GoT) was an enormously popular epic fantasy TV series on HBO based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels (a fantasized retelling of the Wars of the Roses). It ran from April 17, 2011–May 19, 2019, with 73 episodes broadcast over eight seasons.

The location filming in Northern Ireland led to the TitanCon series of conventions in Belfast. In 2017, ThronesCon was held in Melbourne, Australia. It has a Brotherhood Without Banners fanclub.

In 2013 and 2014, a traveling exhibition of costumes, props, armor and weapons from the series visited major cities in Europe and the Americas.

HBO licensed a variety of merchandise based on Game of Thrones, including games, replica apparel, weapons and armor, jewelry, bobblehead dolls, beer by Ommegang and whiskies by Diageo. High-end items included a $10,500 Ulysse Nardin wristwatch and a $30,000 resin replica of the Iron Throne, a throne made of swords, the literal and metonymic seat of the monarchy of Westeros in the series.

A prequel series created by George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal, House of the Dragon, premiered on HBO in 2022.


The show and Martin’s books inspired a number of catchphrases, including:

  • Winter is Coming,” motto of House Stark, one of the Great Houses of Westeros, meaning “Be prepared, hard times ahead.”
  • Sweet summer child,” meaning someone naive or overly optimistic, usually said pityingly. Martin didn’t originate this phrase — it appeared as early as 1849 in the poemThe West Wind” by James Staunton Babcock — but GRRM used it in his 1996 novel A Game of Thrones and it was further was popularized in “Lord Snow,” the third episode of the television series, first broadcast on May 1, 2011.
  • Valar morghulis” (“All men must die”), a saying in the High Valyrian language from the city of Braavos, usually answered, “Valar dohaeris” (“All men must serve”). It first appeared in A Clash of Kings (1998). Valar morghulis has been used fannishly as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the high mortality rate of characters in the series.

High Valyrian is among the languages taught by the popular educational app Duolingo. As of September 2022, the series’ fictional language had some 566,000 students, more than Czech (549k), Welsh (523k), Swahili (433k), Hungarian (408k), Klingon (307k) and Esperanto (299k).

"'Valar Morghulis' and the Histories of Game of Thrones Words: From Septon to Smallclothes," Merriam-Webster.

Awards and Honors

Media 2013
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