Jon Snow (played by Kit Harington) in Game of Thrones. (Photo: Game of Thrones, Facebook)

Winter Is Here: Game of Thrones revives TV’s water-cooler moment

After a two-year hiatus, Game of Thrones is finally back for its eighth and final season on April 15.

Following its premiere in 2011, the fantasy-drama made a quick departure from being simple entertainment to becoming a cult phenomenon, sparking many “water-cooler moments” worldwide thanks to its jaw-dropping display of dragons, racy plots and captivating battle scenes.

A”water-cooler moment” is a significant moment in television history that’s the topic of conversations in the workplace the following day.

Warning: *Spoilers ahead if you’re not up-to-date*

GOT has an endless list of talked-about plot points, most notably season three’s “Red Wedding” and Jon Snow’s tragically premature death at the end of season five.

The first episode of the show’s final season is estimate to bring in over one billion viewers across 170 countries, and it is suspected there will be more due to illegal online downloads.

So, how will Game of Thrones‘ anticipated “water-cooler moments” and ratings compare to some of the most-talked about moments in Australian TV history?

When Molly Jones died on A Country Practice

Hearts were heard breaking all around Australia when beloved A Country Practice character Molly Jones died after a 10-week battle with leukaemia in 1984.  The episode was one of the most-watched in Australian TV history, garnering about 2.2 million viewers at the time.

The Honey Badger not choosing anyone on The Bachelor 2018

Nick “the Honey Badger” Cummins was left “sweatin’ like a gypsy with a mortgage” after he left his season of The Bachelor last year without picking a lady to ride of into the sunset with.  The final two, Brittany Hockley and Sophie Tieman – along with 1.2 million Australians who were watching from home – were left shell-shocked by the unorthodox decision.

When Offspring‘s Patrick died while Nina was days away from giving birth

Initially left with only minor injuries after being hit by a car, anaesthesiologist Patrick Reid’s (Matt Le Nevez) condition became critical, and he later died mid-surgery.  Just over one million Australians were watching and felt the weight of Nina’s grief; “How do you grieve for a man and prepare for a baby at the same time?”  Safe to say we still aren’t over it.

Married at First Sight’s explosive finale

Responsible for creating some of the most-talked about moments in Australian reality TV history, Married at First Sight ended its 2019 season with a bang.  It reeled in 1.8 million viewers for its final dinner party episode, all eager to see the explosive wine-throwing, name-calling extravaganza it was expected to be.

Ron Casey and Normie Rowe punch-up on daytime television

Famous broadcaster Ron Casey, dubbed the “Controversy King”, and rocker Normie Rowe collided on The Midday Show in 1991, stunning viewers at home more used to pedestrian daytime fare.  Casey, who died in October of 2018, famously came to blows with Rowe (who was also a Vietnam War veteran) over whether Australia should become a republic.

Claire McLeod plunging off a cliff in her car on McLeod’s Daughters

In 2003 fans of Aussie drama McLeod’s Daughters held their breath as TV favourite Claire McLeod (Lisa Chappell) faced death as her ute balanced on the edge of a cliff, ultimately watching her die as her sister Tess (Bridie Carter) and baby Charlotte looked on.  It was a shock to everyone – and the show, which ran for another five seasons, was never the same.

The Neighbours extravaganza that was Scott and Charlene’s Wedding

An estimated 2 million Neighbours fans tuned in to watch their favourite bogan couple, played by Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue, tie the knot in 1987, making it one of the highest rated soap opera episodes to date.  It’s hard to believe the wedding almost didn’t happen, after Channel 7 axed the show before it was picked up by Channel 10.  This allowed fans to fawn over Charlene’s extravagant lace dress and was sure to make Scott’s  golden mullet the most requested ‘do in barbers across the country.

When Mel died on Packed to the Rafters after driving through a stop sign

When Ben Rafter’s beloved wife Mel (Zoe Ventoura) was killed after playing with her phone while driving, viewers were beside themselves.  There is never a bad time to emphasise the dangers of distracted driving and when the accident aired in 2010, it really made its viewers stop and think about the relevance of the episode.

With only three days until the beginning of the end, fans know that 38-time Emmy winner Game of Thrones will be laden with moments that we’ll talk about for weeks, months, even years after the series ends.

Who will die?

Who will ultimately sit on the Iron Throne?  Daenerys?  Cersei?  Beloved bastard Jon Snow?

Will there even be an Iron Throne in the end?

If there’s anything we’ve learnt from Game of Thrones, it’s to expect the unexpected.

The final season of Game of Thrones kicks off in Australia on Monday April 15 on Fox Showcase, express from the US.