8 Ways Malta's Changed Since Game Of Thrones' Debut 8 Years Ago
Winter has come and gone a couple of times, and the islands have been through a hell of a lot
Now that we're approaching the end of Game of Thrones and the end of the decade (wow I'm old), it might be easy to forget just how long the show has been running for. And while 2011 doesn't sound too far-off, it's time to go on a nostalgic feels trip.
Here are eight things that have changed in the eight years since Game of Thrones landed on TV sets worldwide back in April 2011.
1. We still had an Azure Window
No matter what happens, no matter how many people tell you "dude it was just a piece of rock", do not forget. Never forget.
Speaking of Game of Thrones and the Azure Window, the glorious Dwejra landmark setting the scene for one of the most iconic scenes of the show all the way back in Season 1 is something many of us won't forget. Although, to be fair, that's not the only thing we won't forget about that.
2. The Labour Party was elected into government... and kept building on its massive margin
On the night of 10th December 2012, Lawrence Gonzi's government was defeated in a vote on the 2013 Financial Estimates when then-Nationalist MP Franco Debono voted against the government's budget proposal.
The general election that followed on Saturday 9th March 2013 saw a massive victory by Joseph Muscat, with the Partit Laburista putting an end to a PN government spanning over two decades.
The rest is history.
3. The islands got a whole lot of influencers
Stella Cini, Sarah Zerafa, Tamara Webb, Madeleine Baldacchino... you may see their faces all over Instagram, YouTube and billboards nowadays, but the situation back in 2011 was a whole lot different.
Fast forward to 2019, and whether you like it or not, Malta has its fair share of celebs.
4. Not to mention a list of future superstar singers
Destiny, Gaia, Emma Muscat... nine years ago, all these names were mostly unknown.
Oh, and let's not forget that Giorgia Borg, Malta's latest superstar singer to blow past Britain's Got Talent, was barely born when Game of Thrones kicked off!
At this rate, who knows where all these starlets will be in nine years' time? The sky's the limit for these talented teens.
5. Malta became an EU leader in LGBTIQ rights
In the last couple of years, Malta has topped Europe-wide gay rights tables, gradually becoming the role model in the EU for LGBTIQ inclusivity.
Back in 2006, statistics had shown that a mere 18% of Maltese people were in favour of same-sex marriage. By 2016, that figure was up to 65%. One year later, the first of the island's legal same-sex marriages had already taken place.
6. And that's not the only massive legal change either
In 2006, Welshman Daniel Holmes was arrested with five mature cannabis plants and 25 seedlings in his €300-a-month flat in Gozo.
Over a decade later and with countless debates on the important, positive effects of what was once a solely demonised drug, Malta legalised medical marijuana in May 2018.
And sure; debates on the issue continue to reign and no one case is like the other, but could anyone imagine an island where medical marijuana was legal in Malta back in the 00s?
7. Malta officially became the summer festival island
Sure, the first ever Isle of MTV graced Floriana's Granaries back in 2007, but in the last nine years, a number of other massive festivals have been born, evolved and taken over our islands.
And with everything from Lost & Found and Glitch to Rock The South making festival headlines beyond our shores, Malta has managed to live up to its glorious climate and bring the heat.
8. We finally got the X Factor
I'm not condoning online piracy, but you could barely legally watch Game of Thrones when it started off unless you were ready to wade through a whole bunch of pop-ups and a back-door virus or five.
Nowadays, not only did we get exclusive rights to watch the HBO show on Maltese TV, but we also got a whole host of big names land on the island.
Case in point? X Factor! Not to mention the fact that most of us were watching the X Factor finale while sharing a couple of Dominos pizzas. What a time to be alive, and oh how things have changed.
BONUS: Lovin Malta was born
And seriously; where would we be without meme compilations of Game of Thrones GIFs? Nowhere, that's where.