Lauren Brownlow

Do ACC football players have Game of Thrones fever?

Posted July 15

Not every person on earth watches Game of Thrones, even if it feels that way when the seventh season of HBO's show is upon us.

Game of Thrones averaged 23 million viewers per episode across platforms last season, and it seems like even if people aren't watching yet, they plan to watch.

So are ACC football players any different?

Here's the tally: of 18 players and one coach asked in a very informal ACC Kickoff poll, eight watch the show and three plan to start. Two were on the fence, four weren't interested and one "tried and couldn't."

Syracuse was probably the most Thrones-friendly team with head coach Dino Babers and senior linebacker Zaire Franklin both being BIG fans. The other Thrones watchers among the ACC players were North Carolina's Bentley Spain, Boston College's Jon Baker, Wake's Cam Serigne, Virginia's Kurt Benkert (formerly of ECU), and both Duke players in attendance: Daniel Jones and Bryon Fields.

Who's your favorite character?

Babers: "I don’t know if I have a favorite. I like it all. I even like – she’s not a king or a queen, but the woman knight that fights, I think she’s cool. (Brienne of Tarth.) And then that other guy is weird as heck, what is he, part Frankenstein or something? The one that works with the mean lady that blew up the whole church? The Mountain? Yeah. When (Cersei Lannister) walked out of there with the priest lady, the nun, and she’s going ‘Shame, shame’ I’m like, ‘Good God, women are evil.’"

Franklin: "Jon Snow."

Baker: "Jon Snow. I just like him."

Serigne: "Everyone will say Jon Snow usually. Should I be different? I love Tyrion. I'll say Tyrion. Let's give Tyrion some love."

Benkert: "Probably Jon Snow, because I want his horse that he has, that horse. And he looks good on a horse with his flowing hair."

Fields: "Arya is my favorite character. I’m hoping they have a lot of her storyline in this season."

Jones: "Probably Tyrion. It was Jon Snow for a little bit, but, nothing Jon Snow did. It was just time."

Spain: "Probably Ghost, the direwolf. I think he’s the most consistent character."

Which character death had the most impact?

Baker: "I would say the last season when they blew out the sept, that was shocking. I was not expecting that. It was out of left field."

Franklin: "I was mad with Ned Stark. I couldn’t believe that. You’re getting into the show and you’re like, I like Ned. You’re thinking, it’s a TV show. They’re not going to kill him."

Serigne: "The one that got to me the most was the first one, Ned Stark."

Benkert: "Jon Snow, and then when he came back. I was devastated. I was contemplating not watching anymore. It was nice that I didn’t have to wait a week to see if he was alive. I just jumped to the next episode and he was there."

Fields: "So the finale of the last season shook me when Cersei kind of just killed everybody. That probably shook me the most. I was like of like ‘whoa’. When she killed the priest and everybody and kind of blew up the whole city, that was crazy."

Jones: "Can I say a death that excited me? Probably Joffrey's death."

Spain: "I think the first time I saw the Red Wedding I was just like – I thought everything was about to be okay and then, yeah."

Theories or predictions?

Babers: "You know this is the last year of Game of Thrones, the last season. And you know it wasn’t written by the original author. It’s being written by everyone else that’s been on the side, and now they get an opportunity to write the series, right? You know they’re going to do what’s based off of the American dollar. So if you’re really a Game of Thrones person, it’s hard for you to predict because they just changed head coaches. They just changed starting quarterbacks. You don’t know what to predict."

Franklin: "I think (Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow) are cousins. I think they’re brothers and sisters or something. They’re definitely related. I think her, Tyrion and Jon Snow are all related. Somebody broke it down and was like because Tyrion, no one knows who Tyrion’s mother was and they think his mother was the same woman who had Jon or something like that. I forgot. I read it. It was something crazy. I get really into it."

Fields: "I don’t really know where it’s going now. They kind of took the whole route of the women in power type of thing, which is cool. I’m excited to see where that goes. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen."

Spain: "This is a theory, but I also kind of hope it happens. I hope that Jon Snow and Daenerys get a little union going and take things over."

Is it watched or discussed among the team?

Babers: "No, we just talk football. But, July 16: Winter is coming."

Franklin: "I’m kind of like a Game of Thrones disciple so I’m out here spreading the gospel, trying to bring people to the light. I watched it twice actually. I watched it by myself and then my girlfriend, she wanted to get into it. But then when I watched it again, it made me understand so much because for like four seasons, they’re just talking about people and you don’t even know who they’re talking about. You don’t understand what’s going on. You’re like, 'why are they fighting?' But when you watch a second time you’re like, ‘Oh, dang, that’s crazy.' You put the pieces together and it’s awesome."

Baker: "Oh yeah, every Sunday night a whole bunch of guys get together in one guy’s room and we watch it."

Serigne: "Actually we’re looking forward to it because it’s going to be during camp for most of it. We start camp the 27th of July, so I think we’ll watch most of the season there. On Sunday nights after practice and stuff, we’ll probably all get together and watch it."

Benkert: "I probably will (watch with teammates) this time around. I was so far behind last summer. I watched everything last summer in free time. So that was like all I did last summer in my free time, besides football and school. Game of Thrones. So I’ll probably watch it with some of the guys now. Last year, I told them not to talk about it because I was catching up. They would talk about it last year and I would just walk off and get away from them."

Fields: "I caught on to this series a little late. I think I came around in like Season 3 or 4, maybe, so I had to binge-watch by myself. Now, we try to get together and watch it when we can. In the locker room, everybody is talking about it the next day, talking about their theories that they have and what happened in the show. It’s a lot of fun."

Jones: "I live in an apartment with five other guys and we’ve got 3-4 who watch Game of Thrones. So I’m going to spend the weekend in Charlotte because I live here, but I’ll definitely be back Sunday night and we’ll watch Game of Thrones together. That’ll be a lot of fun."

Spain: "(We don’t watch) necessarily as a team, but my friends on the o-line, on Sunday when it comes on, we’re all going to be together. We’re going to be ready."

If you don't watch, do you plan to? If not, why not?

MJ Stewart, UNC: "​I’m not really a Game of Thornes type of person. It’s not really my thing. I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of people on our team that watch Game of Thornes, but the closest I’ve gotten to medieval is probably Shrek."

Andrew Motuapuaka, Virginia Tech: "I don’t really hear anybody talk about Game of Thrones on my team, but people at school definitely. I’ve heard a lot of things about Game of Thrones. I just hear that as soon as you start liking somebody, they die. That’s accurate? So I’m going to try not to like the person that’s going to die. When I go to watch, I’m going to be like, I’m going to reverse it. He’s going to die because they want you to like him and he’s going to die. I can get ready for it. I’m not trying to – no, I’m not doing that."

Avonte Maddox, Pittsburgh: "I was supposed to do a project and she’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m finishing up the Game of Thornes.’ I said, ‘What video game is that?’ She started laughing. I said, ‘What?’ She explained to me it was a TV show. So that was probably the first time I started hearing about that. I’m watching The Flash now, so I’m finishing that up. This is my last episode now. Then I’m going to head into the end of Shameless and then I’ll head into Game of Thrones."

Harold Landry, Boston College: "People tell me about it and it just sounds kind of low-key like a porno. I don’t know. I’ve never gotten into it. Yeah. I don’t know. What is it like medieval, maybe? I’m not into stuff like that. The shows that I watch are like Suits. My fiancée and I just started watching Grey’s Anatomy. There’s a lot of those. I used to watch the Vampire Diaries."

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