July 14, 2017

Watch: Why Do We Keep Finding Ourselves Hooked on 'Game of Thrones'?

Throughout its six seasons, the fantasy epic has managed to keep us emotionally engaged for a few important reasons.

[Note: GoT season six spoilers ahead.]

Game of Thrones will be kicking off its seventh season this Sunday on HBO, cementing its place as one of the greatest television series of all time. The show has certainly been revolutionary in a number of ways, but when you examine its success, it's one of the most traditional writing fundamentals that really contributes: Those writers sure know how to craft a scene.

As Robert McKee defines in his classic screenwriting book Story“A scene is a story in miniature…no matter locations or length, a scene is unified around desire, action, conflict, and change.” In the case of Game of Thrones , a single scene can come to define the plotline for an entire season. Lessons from the Screenplay’s video essay first highlights last season’s reunion of Jon Snow and Sansa Stark as an example.

Sansa’s desire is to go back home to Winterfell, so she takes the action of attempting to convince Jon to try and take it back. When Jon resists, this leads to conflict and finally, we see the narrative change as Sansa reveals she will be trying to retake her home with or without her bastard brother.

For the famous “The Battle of The Bastards” episode, all of these points are heightened. Jon Snow’s desire is to defeat Ramsay and reclaim Winterfell, the action he takes is going into battle, the conflict is the battle itself, and the change comes when he is ultimately victorious and re-takes his home. 

"When the plot takes the audience through a change in emotional values, we become engaged in the story and experience emotion."

To heighten the stakes even further and keep the audience from tuning out of a twenty-three-minute long battle scene, the writers employ a concept known as the “Transition of Emotional Values.” McKee defines this concept as “the understanding of how we create the audience’s emotional experience begins with the realization that there are only two emotions - pleasure and pain.” 

The real payoff comes when pleasure and pain are reversed, or when the two emotions jump back and forth and keep an audience on their toes.  “As audience, we experience an emotion when the telling takes us through a transition of values,” McKee explains.

This can be seen as we follow Jon through the ups and downs of his own struggle throughout the battle. As LFTS describes, “All of this demonstrates how critical it is for story to have an emotional ebb and flow. When the plot takes the audience through a change in emotional values, we become engaged in the story and experience emotion.”

Throw in a healthy amount of misdirection and toying around with audience expectations through the use of various cinematic tools, and you have a compelling show that keeps us guessing who will take their place as the rightful heir to the throne, and makes us care about their journey along the way (for as long as they remain alive anyway.)      

Your Comment


Everything about it is really catchy!

July 15, 2017 at 1:42PM


Wow cool stuff. I am a huge of Game of Thrones. The last season is really interesting. I watched all the previous seasons and episodes of Game of Thrones before watching 7th season. Terrarium tv (https://terrariumtvpro.com) is a good app to follow previous episodes of many tv series not only Game of thrones.

July 28, 2017 at 5:34AM


The game of thrones got more popularity and fame in the comparison of other TV series, it doesn't mean that other TV series are not good it’s because the game of thrones is unique with different style having unique story which attracts the people especially young people take more interest recently I have seen that some students were talking about this tv series. I am a writer and works at a private company and provide high school assignment writing while researching I got this post so I decided to share my thoughts and experience about this series one more thing is this is the best ever TV series I have ever seen with full of emotions with an engaging story.

August 16, 2017 at 3:01PM


What is the Game Of Thrones about?

I need to begin watching the show, however, online assignment help uk I'm calm lost, so would someone be able to please clarify what its about and what happened hitherto.

August 18, 2017 at 7:44AM


September 3, 2017 at 5:12AM, Edited September 3, 5:12AM


I Just love this most exciting Episodes GAMES OF THRONES.Am the member of https://gamesdro.com/classic-solitaire and i like to say many many thanks for this extra ordinary and adventures Episode for us.

September 4, 2017 at 2:55AM, Edited September 4, 2:55AM


I fully agree with you.Congratulations on sharing such a detailed post. Many thanks for sharing this lovely post. Have a super nice day.
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September 20, 2017 at 11:54PM