Game of Thrones' Fandom: Lebanese anxiously prepare for the premiere

Fans are eagerly anticipating the new season of GoT, which is a series of seven episodes down from high of 10.
by Rolande El Ghusayni

7 July 2017 | 16:39

Source: by Annahar

  • by Rolande El Ghusayni
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 7 July 2017 | 16:39

People carry Lebanese national flags and banners as they take part in an anti-government protest at Martyrs' Square in downtown Beirut, Lebanon. (Reuters Photo)

BEIRUT: No more waiting- Game of Thrones’ seventh season is set to launch on July 16 and Lebanese fans are anxiously preparing for the airing of the first episode locally on July 17.

Fans are eagerly anticipating the new season of GoT, which is a series of seven episodes down from high of 10. “I’ve binge-watched all six previous seasons in only 10 days; this show is the sole reason as to why I’m looking forward to the month of July,” said Amal Ghamlouch, a student at the American University of Beirut.

Twenty-year-old Sara Hassoun, a student at the American University of Science and Technology, expressed her enthusiasm by also re-watching the show with her friends for the fifth time so far and re-reading the books for a second time round.

According to many of the show’s followers, it has raised a huge fan base in the country. Jad El Khoury, author of fantasy novel "the Jade Necklace" noted that this HBO hit has a huge fan base in Lebanon demonstrated by the Martyr Square dedication to Jon Snow in Beirut, after the presumed death of the popular character.

The author also noted that the sheer amount of activity going on within social media and the high number of people who have watched the show, or a least have heard of it, confirms even more so how locally popular the show has become.

GoT enthusiasts are organizing events in preparation for the program's awaited premiere. Joon on the Moon café will be organizing a Game of Thrones quiz night where there will be teams of two to six people each named under a name of the show's characters competing against each other.

Fayez Al Zouheiry, a manager at Joon on the Moon, told Annahar that the winner will get a final prize which could be an accessory related to the TV series.

Also, the House of Music Pub will be doing a GoT quiz night every Monday. "Fans usually attend wearing hats, t-shirts, or accessories related to the show. The quiz consists of three rounds of 10 difficult questions, and there will be a first, second, and a third-place prize awarded," said the manager of the pub.

This growing preparation for the premiere is "shocking" for Khoury. “I thought this kind of obsessive fandom only happens in the west and was quite shocked that the Lebanese people who usually disregard art and rarely fangirl/boy over things would go to that length to proudly show obsession in a show,” he said.

Many places in Beirut are even preparing for an exclusive screening of the show on the 17 of July. Several venues will be doing a payable screening of Game of Thrones’ first episode. A bar in Gemayze is selling tickets for the screening for 10,000 L.L. While another place in Ain Saade is selling the tickets for 5 dollars.

However, the main problem of the venue's payable screening is that it's illegal. The copyright holder of the show, HBO, has the right to halt the showings of the seventh season in pubs or venues if they attempt to get profit out of it. This, indeed, happened at the Hamra-based Metro Al Medina theater which HBO threatened with litigation if the playhouse did not stop showing the program.

"Copyright infringement is any public screening making money out of something that doesn't belong to you," said Alan Mehanna, an award-winning screenwriter, and filmmaker.

Alan adds, "In the US, public screening for GoT takes place in bars for free. The 'Burlington Bar' in Chicago screens the episode, but the people don't pay to watch it, but for the services of the bar; unlike in Lebanon."

According to the shows' fans, the program presents a new approach in the world of fiction. "In the HBO hit, a character is seen as capable of doing the worst of deeds as well as the best of them. I am a proud Game of Thrones fan, for not only does it have amazing graphics, but because it's a translation of life, as it is, with greed and politics, into a much more exciting frame," said Tracy Chamoun, a twenty-two-year-old GoT fan.

However, HBO confirmed that the show is coming to an end, and many fans are upset.

"This show is very medieval unlike other fantasy drama shows, it has a lot of plot twists, Gods, magic, incest, and most importantly it's not cliché," Reem El Tayech, a student at AUB said, adding that "I am really excited to see how the story will end, but I am also sad that it's ending soon, especially that we waited longer this year for this season to come out."

With Game of Thrones seventh season approaching, GoT's fans are counting the hours and hyped as they prepare for the premiere of its new season's first episode.

It remains to be seen, however, what will be the cable-watching fate of this show's Lebanese fandom as the series is coming to an end? 

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