“Game of Thrones” isn’t the most popular show on TV; it just seems that way, because “Game of Thrones” is the most important show on TV. In terms of cultural impact, every new episode is like a Super Bowl or an Oscars broadcast.
George R.R. Martin seeded the phenomenon with his densely plotted and detailed books, but executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss turned it into something bigger by making it accessible to millions of people, across 67 installments and counting.
Another way of putting it: They’re the most important assets at HBO, and HBO is the most important part of Time Warner, and AT&T thinks Time Warner is worth $86 billion and a high-stakes fight with the Trump administration.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.