In a nutshell. It proved that if you just slap gratuitous violence and lots of sex on something, it will be popular. Most of the HBO series are simply old ideas repackaged with the above additions to one extent or another.
I once read something to the effect that George R. R. Martin was a Conscientious Objector during Vietnam who never saw combat, who wrote a series filled with soft core torture porn and lowest denominators and base entertainment. J.R.R. Tolkien survived the hell-pit of the Somme and penned a work of soaring beauty and profound insight.
Maybe there is something about suffering and hardships. It makes me think of what Stephen Ambrose said about his book Band of Brothers. He noticed how, after the war, many of the veterans went into professions like construction or teaching. It was if witnessing such horrors of destruction and death at a young age made them want to build things and help others.
Purely opinion, but something to think about.
HT Donald McClarey