More Thoughts on Game of Thrones

[spoilers seasons 1-7]

I finished all seven seasons of Game of Thrones in the fall, catching up to and watching season 7 shortly after it aired. I am now slowly rewatching the series, presently on season 2. While I still find the series amazing, it also still gives me a feeling after viewing like I just ate a huge piece of chocolate cake. I hesitate to use the word pornography, but just as food porn can be, well, food porn, likewise is game of thrones cinematic porn (and no I don’t mean that in the sexual sense). The sets, scenery, costumes and effects are so visually luscious that I often feel blinded by prettiness.

Things that made no sense to me last time still make no sense this time. Why does the witch kill khal drogo’s horse to save his life, only to let daenerys’ baby die? Surely the khal would have given his life for his child. How do we know the baby is really dead? Daenerys has no memory of the birth and we never see a body. When daenerys ‘projects’ and sees her husband and child, the child is not deformed as the witch describes.

Why does daenerys kill the witch to hatch her baby dragons? Do they need a sacrificial victim or something?

If jon snow is targaryen, why does he burn his hand when throwing a lamp at the zombie? Or is his hand otherwise hurt?

Why does jon snow sharpen targaryen steel with a rock? Targaryen steel is strong enough to break zombie swords, but a rock is going to sharpen it?

Why isn’t samwell tarly executed for abandoning his post when he leaves the citadel?

Why does the sexy priestess lady randomly sacrifice people… or just need a drop of blood? What is the decision making process here?

If the sexy priestess lady has the ability to give birth to assassin demon babies, why hasn’t she simply taken over the seven kingdoms on her own?

The most annoying characters for me are Sansa, Littlefinger, sexy priestess lady, Stannis (although my 15 year old loves him, she calls him STANNIS THE MANNIS), Missandei, Varys, all the Sand sisters and their evil mom, Catelyn Stark, Meera and her brother (seriously she’s whining that the one eyed raven isn’t affectionate enough??), High Sparrow, and Mance Raydar.

My favorite characters are Daenerys, Jon Snow, Arya, Bronn (Bronn may in fact be my all time favorite!), Tyrion, Jaime, Brienne, Ygritte, Jorah, Tormund, Gilly and her cute baby, Bran, Samwell (LOVE Samwell!), and Olenna.

All the other characters I’m kind of neutral on, even the evil ones like Ramsey and Cersei. Yes Ramsey is a terrifying sadist, and Cersei is a bitch, but they are both intrinsically watchable and believable in terms of character development.

I always wonder which Game of Thrones characters fans identify with. I identify with all the mothers, whether they be Gilly or Cersei; they all want what they believe is best for their children. But I would say I most identify with Bran. While I can’t enter the minds of animals, I do have the ability to project outside my body and see what is beyond this world. Of course, unlike Bran, I cannot control it nor can I gather perfect information (though I have had a few solid validations). But people like me who can easily astral project are, in a sense, real life wargs.

What about you? Which characters do you identify with?

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I L L I D I A N and S T O R M R A G E

Yesterday I was watching TV with my husband- or rather I was re-re-rewatching Game of Thrones while he was buried in his iPad, periodically giving gleeful play by plays of the latest sex scandals plaguing hollywood- when my 6 year old daughter trotted into the room.

Her: Mommy, I just fell in the lava.

Me: Can you talk to the angel? (running back to her body is, as of yet, too complicated)

Her: But I didn’t die.

Me: Oh… [pondering advice. Find the ramp to climb out? is there a ramp? I’ve never fallen in Ironforge lava. But Undercity has ramps and steps to climb out of sludge. Jump? Jump really, really high (slamming the space bar)?]

Uh… I finally said, Just click your hearthstone.

Okay! she said brightly, and trotted off.

My husband looked up from the iPad, blinking. That has to be the strangest conversation I’ve EVER heard.

I laughed because you know what? He’s right. Say what you will about the game, but once within the warm embrace of World of Warcraft, no matter how amateur or deep your involvement, you have migrated to a different dimension with its own lingo.

And don’t knock video games for little kids! My now 18 year old learned to read playing WoW. As a young child she struggled for years with reading. Despite our coaching she could barely sound out words, much less understand what she was struggling to pronounce.

Anyway… I think she was 8 or 9… World of Warcraft entered our house. She was transfixed!  Mesmerized! And absolutely desperate to read those darn quests.

It took a while but within 6 months she was, for the first time in her life, able to read with meaning. By age 10 she could read with complete fluency and tore through books as though they were going out of style. She read through the entire young adult section of one library branch (just as my son read through the entire adult history section) necessitating that we switch to a different library branch.

All my kids learned to read at different ages. My oldest son could read before he could speak, and could read fluently by age 5. We caught him reading Money Magazine over my husband’s shoulder at that tender age of 6.

My two next youngest daughters learned to read around age 5 with fluency. Then the next daughter- she struggled terribly and couldn’t read at all until age 9 or so (Minecraft, not WoW was her inspiration) but once up and running she too burned through books with alarming speed. The next daughter after that struggled, not quite as much as her older sister. She prefers graphic novels and draws her own snarky comics depicting the horrors of math class.

This 6 year old appears to be in the “struggle group.” She developed an aversion to books and refused to let us to read to her.

Recently I decided to renew my subscription to WoW. Not sure why- I mean I’m two expansions behind, don’t have much free time, and I occasionally find the game tedious. But the 6 year old took an instant liking to the game- as her sister before her, she was absolutely mesmerized and desperate to understand what exactly was going on.

She can now read and spell a number of emotes- you know, /sleep, /dance, /sit- meticulously typing them out at the keyboard. She listens intently as we read the quests, copies down server names (imagine I L L I D I A N and S T O R M R A G E penciled in cute little girl handwriting) and has learn to navigate the maps. She began asking about other words outside the game. How do you spell “look?” What does c-l-i-c-k spell? She no longer has that aversion to books, spelling, or even her homework. Yesterday she was pestering me midday to hit the books- usually homework with her is a last minute, teeth pulling enterprise.

So if your kids love video games, don’t panic. Look for games that are language heavy, require map navigation, and make sure to have a little faith. As far as my WoW subscription, can you say CLASSIC SERVERS??? I’ll gladly hand over my non-existent paycheck for that.

We Should Have Stayed in That Cave

[[very mild spoilers season 1 and season 4]]

After much procrastination I finally am watching Game of Thrones. I tried watching the first episode way back when. I thought it was stupid and boring. Too many plot lines, too many characters, the costumes silly. I couldn’t keep anyone straight. So many dark haired men in leather armor! So many women in bad wigs and sumptuous gowns! Borrring.

Then my husband announced we have a temporarily free subscription to HBO, and with it HBO GO via roku. HBO! They have a lot of good documentaries! And indeed I watched a few, including one about a veterans’ suicide prevention helpline. Did you know a US military veteran or active serviceman kills himself at the rate of roughly one man per hour, every day? That’s more fatalities than the recent wars put together. Anyway it was very well done, very sad, but too short. I hate short documentaries. They always make me feel cheated.

But there is no dearth of Game of Thrones. Since I never watched it before I theoretically had six seasons to plow through. It was so stupid last time you watched it (I said to myself)! But maybe you would like it this time around (I also said to myself). After much inner deliberation I pressed PLAY.

I still thought that first episode was stupid, however, Tyrion (the amazing Peter Dinklage) snagged me in his dialogue with Jon Snow. All dwarves are bastards in their father’s eyes. Such nuance, gravitas and wry humor in one man! Peter Dinklage, as they say in The Station Agent, is THE MAN! So I kept watching.

I still thought it was silly, perverted, way too violent. Could you please spare me yet another chopped off head? SO much sex. Gay sex, hooker sex, sadist sex, incest sex, underaged sex, interracial sex, rape after rape. I’m no feminist but I shudder to think how women would fare if George RR Martin ruled the world.

Yet… somewhere mid season one I was hooked. It wasn’t just about Dinklage anymore. I was asking my son (a rabid GOT fan) questions. How did Tyrion meet Ser Bronn? Why exactly did Daenyrus kill the black guy? I was in tears over the kidnapped baby dragons, and further along wept as Jon Snow cradled a dying Ygritte in his arms. We should have stayed in that cave Jon Snow

So would I recommend this series to my gentle readers? Uh, not sure. It ain’t exactly family programming, though apparently every family on the planet has watched it. It is a brilliant story, or rather a series of brilliant stories within other brilliant stories, the characters are beautifully villainous and multifaceted, but somehow I’m left with the same feeling as having eaten a sicky sweet, overly rich slice of cake when the credits roll. Gird yer stomachs men, and forward march!