How black "Game of Thrones" fans made #DemThrones more than a hashtag

It's a "shared experience of blackness," enjoying these characters in a mostly white fictional world

The "Game of Thrones" final-season premiere Sunday night pulled in a record 17 million people for one of the rare collective-viewing events left in American culture. But one group of fans view "GoT" a little differently than most: Black fans have taken a show with more magical creatures than recurring characters of color and turned it into something unapologetically black.

Black "GoT" fans have amassed around the #DemThrones hashtag launched by Rod and Karen Morrow, hosts of the podcast "The Black Guy Who Tips." Comments span everything from explicit black humor to deep analyses of elements of race, class, and enslavement in the mostly white fictional world of Westeros.

“Moments that resonate with black people I think are a little bit different than just the major moments of the series,” says Rod. Like the scene where a crowd of black and brown people hail Khaleesi as their savior, which drew comparisons to Hillary Clinton. In #DemThrones, Rod says, "We can have those kinds of conversations without interruption."

VICE News went to Charlotte, North Carolina, to watch "The Black Guy Who Tips" in action and then attended a GoT premiere-night cookout in Brooklyn.

This segment originally aired April 16, 2019. "Game of Thrones" and VICE News Tonight both air on HBO.