On Sunday night, a record 17 million people tuned in for the premiere of Game of Thrones’s eighth and final season, making it one of the last examples of a collective viewing experience in American culture. And while we all enjoy the same show about feuding kingdoms and flying dragons, black fans have built their own universe out of Westeros.
They’ve taken a show with more magical creatures than recurring characters of color, and have somehow turned it into something unapologetically black.
Rod Morrow and his wife, Karen, are the hosts of the podcast called “The Black Guy Who Tips,” and they’ve popularized the hashtag #DemThrones, where black viewers put their own lens on the shows dramatic twists and turns.
“Moments that resonate with black people I think are a little bit different than just the major moments of the series,” Morrow said. The hashtag has everything from explicit, black humor to deep analyses of elements of race, class, and enslavement in the show.
VICE News went to Charlotte, North Carolina to watch “The Black Guy Who Tips” in action and then attended a premiere night cookout in Brooklyn.