Visiting Game Of Thrones sets to waking up early to watch premier, Pune GoT fans do it all!

Prajakta Joshi
Tuesday, 16 April 2019

“I hardly ever wake up early in the morning. I was so scared that the alarm clock would fail me, so I did not sleep at night at all,” said Pune-based Rahul Bulbule.

PUNE: If you hear anyone happily cheering ‘Winter is Here’ while you, on the other hand, are burning in the summer heat and humidity, do not freak out.

The person might just be a fan of the popular TV series Game of Thrones (GoT), whose characters are facing one of the worst winters ever.

The long-awaited season 8 of the series has commenced on Sunday, April 14 (Monday in India).

Puneites are not far behind in the global craze for GoT, for which the trending hashtags, posts, tweets and memes circulating on the Indian social media platforms are clearly evident.

Even those claiming not to be a-morning-person made it a point to wake up at 6.30 on Monday morning to watch the episode right when it was released in India.

“I hardly ever wake up early in the morning. I was so scared that the alarm clock would fail me, so I did not sleep at night at all,” said Pune-based Rahul Bulbule.

He owns a photography firm in the city and taking full advantage of his studio setup, he was there at dawn to watch it on the big screen.

What makes the show even more interesting for the Indian audience might be the break that it has given the younger population from the mostly melodramatic, repetitive content of Indian television. “Through GoT, Indians got an opportunity to watch a show based on fantasy that is so realistic. It introduced us to an amazing plot line, beautiful music and superb acting. As a new season would be released after a gap of a year, it would also raise the curiosity of the audience,” Chinmay Bhatambrekar, a student of mechanical engineering, said.

“It has exclusive imagination and storytelling technique. The amazing story is the soul of this series,” GoT fan and practising cost accountant Sukhada Kakde Bhalerao said.

“There is greed, love, hatred, loyalty and so much more. It’s not just the war for the throne, it’s about its people."

Taking her fandom to another level, travel content creator Lavinia D’Souza recently took a trip to Ireland, where she made it a point to visit the shooting locations of GoT there. Indians are among those who visit Northern Ireland in large numbers.

“I came back from Ireland three days ago. I visited some of the sets three years ago and saw some new ones this time. They have used some of these spots for the latest season too. The experience was thrilling. Nothing like imaging the actors in those very locations and actually being told how things were shot and how exactly it was all put together. They’ll be opening all of the locations to the public soon,” D’Souza said.

GoT fans also indulge in buying merchandise related to the show, visiting GoT themed places and indulging in long discussions about the same with GoT buddies on social media.

The sale of T-shirts, keychains, pendants, books, etc, related to the show have surged not only on the e-commerce platforms but also at some of Pune's street markets.

The GoT themed cafe in Wakad too has got an added love and popularity as the new season is being aired after almost two years. “We have many more GoT fans coming in to click photographs with things like the Throne, Swords, etc, which we have in our cafe. We also had requests from many fans to hold a screening of the episodes, but that could not be arranged due to some technical issues. But the new season has certainly added to our popularity,” Indu Bhaitiya of Cafe of Thrones said.

Pune has a very active social media group called ‘GeBhaPa’ (GoT Bhakta Parayan), which means a group of GoT worshippers. While the group is usually active with forums on different theories, queries, memes related to the show, the episode discussions have taken a new turn since Monday morning. One could see the research each GoT fan puts in their comments, thus showing how seriously Puneites are taking their fandom.

- While the social media platform Hotstar was HBO’s official partner in India for GoT, between 5 am and 8 am on Monday, the most searched word by the Indians on Google was ‘Torrent’.
- While Indians are one of the big fans of the show, the stats show that Indians are also leading in downloading the show illegally.
- A global Instagram survey has revealed that India is ranked at number four amongst the countries most excited for GoT in the world, and the first in Asia.

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