So the penultimate season of Game of Thrones has departed from our screens, and now, we all feel a little empty inside. Just what are we going to do without our weekly dose of violence, foul language, incest and dragons? Well, I actually have a few ideas...
Join me and discover a myriad of ways to spend your time constructively instead of pining for Daenerys' return like a lost little puppy. You may as well do.
Game of Thrones may be the greatest thing on TV, but it didn't just materialise out of thin air, you know. It's based on the hugely popular A Song of Fire and Ice books by G.R.R. Martin, the very first one being called A Game of Thrones. Cretins like me are probably better steering clear of them, as they are known to be quite hard to follow, but if you're into reading words and love Game of Thrones then you should maybe give them a go. The final book in the series isn't done yet, so you won't risk spoiling the end of the show, and there's bound to be many surprises in store what with the condensed nature of the TV series.
Alternatively, you could read any of the huge number of fantasy novels out there. I don't think any of them will quite match up to the standards of Game of Thrones, but hey, what have you got to lose apart from your time, money and sanity?
Film and TV
Remember the time that what's-his-face stabbed Sir you-know-who in the back? No, me neither, so why not re-watch Game of Thrones from the very beginning and refresh your memory? It's one of those programmes that really stands up to repeated viewing, with you noticing little touches and hints that you missed previously. It's also funny seeing just how different many of the cast members looked some seven or so years ago! The box sets are available to buy, with season 7 releasing in December, and you can stream all seven seasons on Amazon Video.
If you'd rather not watch Game of Thrones again, there are other TV series you could watch that might fill the void. Why not give the excellent Vikings a go, or watch the box set of Spartacus? Both are full of sex, violence and bad language that fans of Game of Thrones are bound to love. A new series called Britannia is set to air on Sky Atlantic next year too, which looks like it will fill the Game of Thrones-shaped gap left in our lives:
Film-wise, you could give The Lord of the Rings franchise a go, although you may find it a bit tame: there be no beheadings, rumpy-pumpy or the uttering of the word "cunt" in the world of Middle-earth I'm afraid! You're probably better off watching something like Black Death in which Ned Stark himself, Sean Bean, gets ripped limb from limb instead. Or maybe the excellent but exceedingly violent Valhalla Rising, which stars the best Hannibal of all time, Mads Mikkelsen.
Believe it or not, there's been three Game of Thrones videogames over the years, though none of them are what you'd consider "essential".
Game of Thrones Genesis is a real-time strategy game that came out way back in 2011. As such, it's based on the books rather than HBO's adaptation of them. Now, I've never played it, but word is that it's terrible, and Steam reviews seem to agree. Still, it's cheap, so if you want to waste some time doing some strategy in the lands of Westeros, you might want to give it a go. Maybe.
Also based on the books rather than the TV series is Game of Thrones: The Role Playing Game. Now this one is actually pretty decent once you get past its now dated visuals and general wonkiness. It features not one, but two epic stories, each featuring their own protagonist. It's not going to set your world on fire, but if you want to adventure from The Wall to King's Landing it won't leave you on ice.
Finally, there's Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series series. Featuring some familiar faces from the HBO show, it's likely to please plenty of fans out there but it's nothing amazing. It's just like watching an extended Game of Thrones episode without the sex and beautiful visuals. Plus, it's really hard to give a damn when its cast of original characters die because they are all just so unlikable. Oh well.
Memorabilia and Other Useless Tat
Another way you could spend your time before the next season of Game of Thrones airs is by lining the pockets of capitalists across the globe. The show's success has resulted in a smorgasbord of merchandise, memorabilia and other useless tat to be released upon the general public, and if you really want to, you can buy some of it.
Funko has quite the range of Game of Thrones POP vinyl figures to collect, many of which you might actually enjoy having on your desk at work or at home. Meanwhile, Dark Horse has created a range of detailed statues for the connoisseur. Fans of board games can even enjoy Game of Thrones-themed variants of many of their favourites, such as Risk and Monopoly - just try not to become an enemy of the Iron Bank, eh?
Personally, I'm holding out until they make LEGO Game of Thrones, although I know it's never going to happen. You can, however, buy this Throne Room construction kit, which may just scratch the itch.
LARPing and/or Cosplay
Swords are cool. Armour is cool. Combat, when not for real, is cool. So why not combine them all and take up Live Action Role Playing, or LARPing as it's more commonly known, in your spare time? Websites such as LARP Events let you keep track of any gatherings that may be happening throughout the UK, and while I've never been LARPing myself, I imagine all the folks who engage in it are a friendly bunch. Well, when they aren't trying to batter your face in with a fake morning star anyway.
Splash the dosh and get yourself a replica of John Snow's Longclaw, or why not really treat yourself and commission a suit of armour to rival that of Jaime Lannister's. It's your money, you can do what you want with it. You don't even need to go LARPing if you don't want. You could just dress up like your favourite Game of Thrones character in the name of cosplay. Go on, you know you want to!
So there we go. Five ways that you, a Game of Thrones fanatic, can waste your time until the next season of the show arrives. Probably in 2019 by the sounds of it.