'It will be like losing a part of myself': 'GoT' fans mourn end of hit series
There have been quizzes, dinners, dress-up evenings, 3am wake-up calls, office debates, books, blogs, games, social media posts and much more ... but at 3am tomorrow it will be game over.
That's when Game of Thrones fans can watch the sixth and final episode of the eighth and final series of the most expensive TV drama ever made.
"It will be like losing a part of myself," said Fazielah Williams of Sea Point, in Cape Town. She said she had dedicated 10 years of her life to the show, and has more Thrones apparel "than should be allowed".
"I will grieve the loss of this huge part of my life for a very long time. So much of my identity and friendships are wrapped up in the Game of Thrones."
Hout Bay resident Leonie Mollentze said she had spent 10 years reading George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels and watching the TV series. Mollentze calls herself a "superfan" who has "lived the story, characters and magic since the beginning".
Lifestyle blogger Lelo Boyana began watching the first seven series only in February in anticipation of the final season, "putting aside three weeks to watch and watch it after work", and going to bed at 2am.
She woke at 3am to watch the first two episodes of season eight but decided 5am was more palatable, as long as she checked her phone and social media only afterwards, to avoid spoilers.
"It was so brilliant for so long," said Boyana, who started a Game of Thrones podcast with Sunday Times Lifestyle editor Pearl Boshomane.
"It was a lesson on how to make really, really brilliant TV. Each episode was like a movie. And it is a global phenomenon: I was in the Eastern Cape, people from Norway were on holiday there and we were having a Game of Thrones conversation."
Close to a billion people have signed a petition in the last week calling on the makers, HBO, to reshoot the final season.
"This series deserves a final season that makes sense," the petition said, but a Norwegian business website said a remake could cost about $150m (R2bn).
Fans were angry with the rushed and "unbelievable" ending. The Rotten Tomatoes website rated the second-last episode the lowest rated in the show's history.
Williams was among the disappointed. "The last few episodes have upset me greatly because while they were visually mind-blowing, the plotlines have verged on the absurd," she said.
"Characters' arcs have been rushed and abandoned with no thought given to the audience who love those characters.
"I've resigned myself to the fact that the final episode will not live up to my expectations, so all I want for now is to say goodbye to a series that has meant so much to me and the world."
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