There are certain TV shows and film franchises where being a real fan feels like a big deal. Call yourself a Whovian, a Harry Potter or a Star Wars super-fan and you need to know the intricate details, the insider jokes, what happened before, after and off camera. There are theories to pore over and spin-offs to read. Being a fan means being part of a fandom, and that’s a serious business. It’s not just a case of tuning in once a week and liking what you see.
Game of Thrones has always felt that way for me. I have watched and loved every single episode but I’ve never considered myself a real fan, because I haven’t read George RR Martin’s books.
That’s not to say I don’t want to read them, or I won’t ever read them – I normally advocate reading the source material before watching an adaptation – but in this case, I joined the party a little late. Keeping up to date with the TV show is all I’ve managed, and it’s made me feel like a Snow masquerading as a Westerosi Lord.
I’ve been afraid of unmasking myself by asking the wrong question, a question any real Thrones fan would already know the answer to; hesitant to Google anything in case I uncover some huge conspiracy I know nothing about; and painfully aware that the novel-readers already know what’s coming at every shocking, suspenseful and bloody turn.
But, now the hit HBO series has all but overtaken George RR Martin’s book series, that’s not the case. Now it’s a level playing field, and, going into season six, every Thrones fan is just as clueless as I am.
When it comes to fan theories and fervent speculation, everyone is in the same Braavosi boat.
Book-lovers won’t be able to predict episode nine’s stomach-churning shocker. There will be no knowing looks and no smug smiles. And I can’t wait.
Game of Thrones starts on Monday at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic