I love sci-fi, fantasy and geek culture, but I’ve always known I’m in a minority. No matter how popular superhero films, space operas and mind-bending TV shows become around the world, for most people they’re just “not for them”, stigmatised and confusing pieces of culture that hold no interest.
And that’s totally fine – there are lots of things I don’t like either, and a lot of sci-fi/fantasy stuff is an acquired taste. But it’s always a bit of a shame when you can’t find anyone to talk about the latest Doctor Who, run through what you’re hoping to see in Star Wars: Rogue One or bemoan the agonising wait for another series of Rick and Morty. Sometimes, liking nerd culture can be a little bit isolating.
But then there’s Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones is a show that turns the most mainstream TV viewer into the sort of rabid fan you’d expect to find lurking in X-Files messageboards, grown men who’d scoff at watching Doctor Who transforming into the sort of people who’d spend Mondays in the office earnestly debating the final aims of the White Walkers.
This year I’ve had random people of all ages come to me to discuss the ins and outs of warging, wildfire and wildlings, from the hippest 20-something to the most strait-laced middle-aged mother-of-three, and I’ve loved it. Somehow, this dark and complicated fantasy story has united and drawn in masses of people from all walks of life into the kind of intense love/hate/theorising relationship familiar to any lover of all things nerdy, and it’s been quite something to witness.
So when this series ends tonight I’ll be sad to see interest wane off, people return to their regular viewing habits and the general maelstrom of Game of Thrones chat start to die down. It’s been a brilliant few weeks, and it’ll feel like a long wait until we can do it all again for season seven.
But when we do, I’ll be waiting – I have a brand new theory about the Northern Conspiracy and why Wyman Manderly could still have a massive part to play, and how it could tie in to the Night King’s plan to get hold of the Horn of Winter. I just KNOW you’re all going to want to hear it.
Game of Thrones season six concludes on Sky Atlantic on Monday at 2am and 9.00pm