Midway through Thrones! The Musical Parody, I came to a realization. I have spent more time in Westeros than in any other literary kingdom.
As an audiobook reader, I am through book four (of five). I have listened to 121 CD’s regaling every strategic move, sexual relation, and torturous murder in George R.R. Martin’s series. That’s roughly 141 hours, which we can easily round up to 150 hours with the additional time spent on Wikipedia, where I have outsourced my memory of minor characters that disappear for thousands of pages and then reappear as critical players.
Even with 150 hours under my belt, I only caught about 70% of the jokes in Thrones! The Musical Parody, but my ignorance did not reduce my enjoyment of this Scottish import currently extended at the Apollo Theater through January 15. The jokes that flew over my head reinforced that the fan worship of Game of Thrones is just as ripe for mockery as the series itself.
The premise focuses on Brad (Nick Druzbanski), a millennial who arrives home from a long day at work and walks into a surprise party. “It’s not my birthday?” he responds. No, this party is to celebrate the season premiere of Games of Thrones. Somehow Brad’s wife and four friends did not realize the Brad had never seen an episode. In perhaps the most realistic aspect of the show’s premise, Brad’s friends ignore Brad’s protests and decide to perform all of Game of Thrones for him in the living room using household objects as props.
Wisely, the script (credited to five authors) does not attempt a chronological retelling of the first six seasons of the HBO series. Instead, it pieces together the main events and themes with songs that are catchy and often hilarious. “For the Watch” is a motivating group number with Tom (Christopher Ratliff)—the only one among the group that has read the books—flopping a wig of curly black hair to portray John Snow. “Push it Out” is a lightning-fast collection of scenes where characters are, well, pushed (think “high places” and “strange births”). Intertwined throughout are nuggets of Game of Thrones truths. “A Little Girl”—sung by geeked-out cosplayer Kelly (Victoria Oliver)—emphasizes that Daenerys spends much of her screen time naked. “… Everyone Who Isn’t Us” is an ode to the tortures inflicted by Ramsay Bolton and King Joffrey.
Once Brad has finished watching his first episode, his friends laugh at him when he thinks that the show is over. No, the fans break into “The Ending that We Want,” a tribute to the hours they will spend discussing, blogging, and speculating about every possible theory.
Thrones! lends itself to a larger question—how did this series become such a massive phenomenon? From Comic Con to Emmy awards, GOT has developed one of the most diverse groups of devoted fans in pop culture history. This musical may not offer all of the answers, but anyone who has been forced to listen to a workplace conversation about these dragons, stabbings, betrayals, beheadings, or reanimations from the dead will find a little something to sing abut in Thrones!