Television has been uniting fans across the country for decades, bringing families and friends together in their living rooms as a part of weekly traditions.
Even reality fans have had a taste at competitive bonding, with ESPN sponsored “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette” leagues. According to Forbes, over half a million fans took part in last season’s “Bachelor” fantasy league.
— The Bachelor (@BachelorABC) July 12, 2017
And that’s small stuff compared to the 57 million Americans and Canadians who take part in fantasy sports each year.
And now, it seems like television fanatics have another trend to latch onto. But this time, it’s a little bit darker.
Meet the “death pool,” a morbid betting game that has seen a resurgence due to the wildly popular HBO series, “Game of Thrones.” According to GQ’s Scott Meslow, the game can be boiled down to this:
A death pool is a game in which a group of people compete to predict who will die, with the winner netting a cash prize.
Some might be familiar with death pools that have revolved around the death of real life celebrities, but fantasy television fans are ardently trying to pull this sinister game in the mainstream.
According to LifeHacker, contestants place real money bets on which character will lose their life, and one very happy winner will rake in the big bucks at the end of every week or series of weeks.
Meslow recommends a weighted point system, which operates similarly to weighted wagers on sports like boxing:
You pick five characters from the entire cast, and rank them from most to least likely to die by the end of the season—Jaime Lannister, Olenna Tyrell, that snotty little kid at the Vale—with points awarded as soon as a character gets killed off. If you put Jaime at the top of your list and he gets eaten by a dragon, you get five points. If you put him at the bottom of your list, you get one. And if you don’t list him at all, you’d better hope none of your rivals did, either.
Since the pool was announced, fans have been sharing their ‘death pool’ enthusiasm on social media:
Someone at the office is doing a #GameOfThrones death pool and I've never watched the show. I might enter and just choose random characters.
— Justin Monsewicz (@JMonsewicz) June 30, 2017
— Gareth Cliff (@GarethCliff) July 13, 2017
This dark game is expected to sweep through many homes across the country and perhaps, across the world, as “Game of Thrones” has consistently dominated the entertainment game.
Since its 2011 inception, the often lewd and salacious fantasy TV program has received 612 award nominations, and has secured 212 wins. Accolades include recognition from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild of America Awards, and Peabody Awards, among others.
And the ratings show that viewers keep tuning in. 2016’s finale episode garnered a record breaking view count for any HBO drama — over 8.9 million people watched the violence, sex, and fancy, Time reported.
You still have a little time to start your own death pool, as the Season 7 premiere of “Game of Thrones” is Sunday, July 16. Good luck.