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Disclaimer: All data and insights provided by Meltwater were analysed before the broadcast of Episode 3.

Meltwater looks at what Game of Thrones fans are talking about in this fortnightly review as the fantasy series battle #ForTheThrone and draws to a close this season.

Bending the Knee

Now that Daenerys’ dragons have breathed fire and the ashes of fallen folk have settled into the new season of Game of Thrones, what does the future hold for the different house banners in the land of Westeros? And what does the realm of its fans say about potential permutations of realpolitik to claim the Iron Throne in King’s Landing? Prior to the Season 8 premiere, many cast their Three-Eyed Ravens to predict the future but not one Little Bird across the Seven Kingdoms had leaked any detail of the series. Even a group of German computer science students made their own predictions but only time will tell if they were correct.
game-of-thrones-volume-of-mentionsMeltwater dug our muddy brogans into the social data behind the cultural phenomenon. Within a fortnight of the season premiere and through more than 3 million social mentions, spanning blogs to forums to Twitter and many more, Meltwater discovered that most of the geography of conversation threads were unsurprisingly from the United States.

There was also great interest from Brazil, India and Nigeria and this showed the phenomenon transcended borders, traditions and cultures while captivating the audience with the story of power, political deception, international domination, familial bonds, and cultural representation that resonated with people around the world.game-of-thrones-mentions-on-socialUsing Meltwater’s proprietary natural language processing technology and analysis, most of the conversations were predictably more positive than negative. Conversations were encouraging on the development of the characters and the twisting plotlines while negative sentiments were mainly from critics of the series and those dismissive of the hype.

Long Road Back to Winterfell

The return of Jon Snow inevitably topped the conversations amongst netizens, especially the scene where he takes the reins (or spikes) of Rhaegal for a joyride. This scene was significant to the fans as the development of Jon’s linkage to the Targaryen family grew stronger as no one could ride a dragon that easily. This topic had more than 5,000 social mentions and it was also poignant as the beast was named after Jon Snow’s biological father Rhaegar Targaryen.

Another topical discussion was the three-sided power struggle between Jon, Daenerys and Sansa in Winterfell. Having taken the stewardship of the house, Sansa faces off with Daenerys as they both display their differences (and literal disdain) to each other. Jon also struggles to balance his personal alliances between family and love and doing what he knows best for his house. And there is also the revelation, which he reluctantly reveals to Daenerys, of him being the rightful heir to the Iron Throne. Fans continue speculating that even Daenerys might betray Jon as he becomes her direct rival to taking power of the Seven Kingdoms. This triangular psychological battle has sparked over 180,000 social mentions and fans are not slowing down with the different permutations of what will happen to the three of them.

The other Stark sibling Bran or the Three Eyed Raven sparked many conversations amongst fans as he is key to anything that happens – just because he foretells the future. Apart from Bran being a viral meme due to his lurking stare within the courtyards and his long-awaited reunion with Jaime Lannister, there were more than 35,000 Social mentions of Bran. The topic that led the discussions was a radical theory that Bran is the Night King. Fans are sieving through past seasons and are stoked that Bran wields a certain influence over the Night King. More revelations will be revealed and undoubtedly Bran will be front and centre of the story. Unless, he gets killed off in the next episode.

Expectedly, a sizzling topic that had every fan talking was Arya and Gendry’s consummation of their relationship. The pair first crossed paths at Night’s Watch and the attraction seemed to have not faded after seven seasons and the fans were elated with the union. There were more than 315,000 mentions of this topic in social media and sparked conversations spanning from whether it was an awkward moment for fans to watch Arya in the throes of passion to sexual empowerment of women where Arya had grown into a strong individual and taken a more dominant role in the relationship.

The King Is Nigh(t) and the Queen in the Red Keep

The impending doom of the Night King, flanked by his army of the undead and zombie dragon Viserion, is closing on Winterfell but fans are devising their own military tactics judging by comments on social media. There were over 235,000 mentions of the Night King on how he would take over the Stark stronghold.

The Night King’s epic and horrific message made from Ned Umber and the limbs of corpses dominated conversations. The grisly topic had 2,800 mentions and fans discussed what the spiral symbol meant and the significance it played in the folklore. Conversations also revolved on whether the Night King would raise the dead located in the crypts of Winterfell and how they would decimate the vulnerable population that were supposedly hiding there in safety. This topic had almost 19,000 mentions in social media and fans are waiting for the devastating end to the residents of Winterfell.

Cersei Lannister was also a main draw of conversations as fans were fairly amused with her fixation with elephants. There were more than 39,000 social mentions on the Golden Company’s inability to bring the leathery, lumbering creatures to the Queen in King’s Landing. Talk was also rife on the topic of her pregnancy – more than 7,000 mentions – fans were speculating whether she was scheming a move to name Euron as the father instead of her brother.

Beyond the Realm of the Iron Throne

Away from the episodes itself, social media was rife with conversations on Sophie Turner, the actress who plays Sansa. Fans discussed about the troubles she had to go through playing the character and she revealed that she suffered from depression and even harboured suicidal thoughts due to internet trolls who were critical of her. There were more than 5,200 social mentions of this topic. Her issues with mental health while playing Sansa received attention from fans and ultimately this has become a good platform for celebrities to spread awareness. Sophie Turner also created quite a stir when she reacted on Instagram about her offscreen best friend Maisie Williams’ intimate scene with Gendry and fans were much amused by her hysterical comments.

Much has been revealed and the struggle for power continues in the land of Westeros. And as Varys and Tyrion had once discussed early in the series, power lies where men believe it resides and the power of the Game of Thrones is one that has left us fans subservient to the next episode.

 

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