The Game of Thrones final episode may have been the most anticipated TV show finale of the past 20 years, but fans of the show in China were unable to watch it at the expected time, due to mysterious delays that may be related to current political tensions with the USA.
Game of Thrones is broadcast by Tencent in China, which is the media conglomerate with the exclusive distribution rights to the show in the region. Game of Thrones is just as popular in China as it is in other regions of the world, even though the show is more censored than it is in the other countries, with much of the trademark nudity and violence being edited out, along with most of the colorful language.
It seems that the Chinese Game of Thrones fans had to suffer as a result of real-life political tensions with the United States of America, as the final episode of the show was delayed with no reason given as to why, nor was any new date given for the broadcast. According to CNN, HBO confirmed that there was no issue on their end and that the delay was due to Tencent.
The mysterious delay of the Game of Thrones finale could be a result of growing tensions between China and the USA, due to a current trade conflict that is growing between the two nations. U.S. President Donald Trump has increased tariffs on Chinese products to the tune of over $200 billion, which prompted a response from China in the form of a tariff increase on US goods that is worth around $60 billion. The trade war is still ongoing as of the time of writing, with no sign of concession from either side.
Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated TV shows in the world and delaying the official broadcast of the highly anticipated finale only hurts Tencent, as it gives the audience an incentive to seek out illegal means to watch the show. The last season of Game of Thrones was met with a polarizing response from fans, but even the show's harshest critics wanted to see the finale. Game of Thrones has been a major part of pop culture since it was first released and the fans were curious to see how the many story threads were resolved. It's a shame that the Chinese Game of Thrones fans had their experience soured by real-life political issues that should never have spread to Westeros.