Spoiler alert: Caution, “Game of Thrones” fans who are not caught up to and including season 8, episode 4, here be spoilers!

Going into a recent episode, “Game of Thrones” fans were primed for big developments in the aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell. Did anyone really dare to breathe easy after several of our favorites were inexplicably spared from the Night King and his army of wights in episode 3?

The Media Insights Group here at Agility PR Solutions—with several devoted GoT fans among us—took a look at the social media buzz surrounding the latest episode. Looking at all the chatter on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, it was apparent that fans were heartbroken over three key moments in the story:

  • Rhaegal’s sudden demise at the hands of Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Fleet
  • Missandei’s kidnapping and execution, ordered by Cersei Lannister and carried out by the Mountain
  • Jon Snow’s apparently cold farewell to an unlikely survivor from season 1: his direwolf, Ghost

GoT PR: How Starbucks’ cup cameo stole the spotlight—and the conversation

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GoT PR: How Starbucks’ cup cameo stole the spotlight—and the conversation

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GoT PR: How Starbucks’ cup cameo stole the spotlight—and the conversation

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While these events struck right to the heart of the fanbase, there was one more moment from the show that outpaced all others with a viral momentum that we haven’t seen since Jon Snow’s death in season 5. Gory death and heartbreak was apparently no match for the errant Starbucks cup that appeared on a table in front of Daenarys Targaryen as the battle survivors celebrated their unlikely win at Winterfell.

GoT PR: How Starbucks’ cup cameo stole the spotlight—and the conversation

Image credis: HBO

GoT PR: How Starbucks’ cup cameo stole the spotlight—and the conversation

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A quick look at the volume of social media mentions of select keywords for the episode shows the extent to which the Starbucks Cup dwarfed actual events from the show in terms of interest and discussion. (The chart below depicts the total volume of mentions on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for Sunday, May 5 to Friday, May 10.)

Daenerys Stormborn, Breaker of Chains (Excluding Starbucks)

Not only was the Starbucks cup mentioned nearly 10 times as often as the other show events combined, it tended to be mentioned by users with more followers overall, so the potential reach of the cup mistake was proportionately even larger. The “potential reach” of the Starbucks cup incident, a measure that adds up the follower count for each user who posted about it, was more than 1 billion—twenty times the reach of poor Missandei, and 100 times the reach of Ghost or Rhaegal.

Even before the cup mishap in episode 4, season 8 has been subject to a high degree of criticism from “Game of Thrones” fans who are widely displeased with the direction of the driving storyline and the main characters. While HBO was quick to issue a corrected version of the episode, the far-reaching impact of this oversight has us wondering if a humble Starbucks cup will be the thing we remember most from the final season of one of television’s most groundbreaking shows.

GoT PR: How Starbucks’ cup cameo stole the spotlight—and the conversation

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Thumbnail image source: StayHipp.com

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Stephanie Coulter

Stephanie Coulter

Stephanie Coulter is Manager, Research and Analytics at Agility PR Solutions, overseeing the execution and delivery of media measurement and analysis reporting.

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