HBO's adaptation of the Game of Thrones series has taken television by storm (of swords) the past two years, dominating the Sunday night airwaves like Jose Cano's meatball dominates his son, Robinson.
More importantly, however, is the way Game of Thrones has integrated its way into mainstream culture. It's gotten to the point where missing an episode will make you a pariah at Monday morning's water cooler. In that sense, it's sort of become the NFL-lite––a 10-week spell during the football offseason where Sundays actually matter again.
This phenomenon shouldn't surprise anybody, though. The only fundamental difference between high-end cable television and sports is that the former is scripted, while the latter's narrative unfolds organically.
In both cases, we're captivated not just by what's happening, but whom it's happening to. We form bonds with people we've never met (or in the case of TV, don't even exist), vicariously inviting them into our living rooms night after night. And if we look closely, we start to recognize certain character archety...
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