Friday, June 14, 2013
Game of Thrones
After the trash that was "Man of Steel", I needed this. I had to blog about something I love, especially since I'm going through it for a second time with my brother, this is his first time. How bad was "Man of Steel"? Let's just say that coming home to watch the Red Wedding with him was a great antidote to that wretched movie.
I'm a latecomer to this series, it was always on my "to watch" list, but three months ago I finally got into it. I marathoned the first two seasons and then watched season three as it aired. Honestly, I think it's not only the best TV show on the air right now, but the best TV show to air in many years, any and all genres and mediums. It is amazing. I am no stranger to TV shows with casts of thousands, but there were times when even I couldn't keep track of everyone, which is why I wanted to quickly watch the show a second time... to catch the little details I missed, and this time knowing who everyone is and what their deal is.
What I like most about this show is just how real this world feels. It's fantasy, yes; but the fantasy has been kept to a minimum, and this is a strength. When the supernatural does creep in, it's not familiar or ho hum, but it has an impact. When you first hear that the summers can last years and the winters can last up to a decade, you know you're not watching a period piece. And yet, in spite of all this, it feels more real than anything else on TV.
The series is dark. Very dark. Don't go in expecting noble heroes triumphing over dark evils, because you won't find it. You can have your favorites, but don't get too comfortable with them because anybody can die, and will die. Now I've seen other shows where it's been supposedly said that any character can die, but it's almost always bullshit. Not here. Not this show. I'll be honest, it was the Red Wedding that established this show as a favorite for me, because I have never seen anything like that outside of a history book. It broke all the rules of TV, movies, fantasy, you name it. When I first saw it, I sat there for twenty minutes in shock, and then the first words I said were "this show is a masterpiece." Westeros is a dangerous place, and you can't count on the safety of conventional television rules.
My favorite character in the series is Tyrion Lannister, who is probably everybody's favorite character. Peter Dinklage. He's just so much fun to watch, and one of the most clever characters on the show. He's a "dwarf" ... and not of the fantasy variety, he was born with dwarfism and the youngest son of Tywin Lannister (who may or may not be the Big Bad depending on your point of view, because he does have competition for the title). He drinks, he beds prostitutes, but he is also the closest thing the Lannisters have to a decent person. And he is so good at the game, so very good.
The Starks, at first glance, seem to be a family of fantasy heroes straight out of Tolkien or Nordic myths. We love the Starks, they value many virtues like love and honor and really have no initial interest in playing the game of politics, but necessity drives them into war against the Lannisters. Unfortunately, in real life, love and honor are seldom strengths but often weaknesses, as the Starks and the audience will bitterly learn more than once.
The other factions are equally as interesting, the Greyjoys who seek to be kings themselves; the Tyrells who might be giving the Lannisters a run for their money; Stannis Baratheon and his alliance with Melisandre, high priestess of the Lord of Light; the Boltons who are just creepy; and then, overseas marshaling her forces, the exiled Daenerys Targaryen... who many suspect will be the one to win. If I went into more details about each of them, we'd be here all night.
At this point in the show, I have no theories or predictions about where this is all going, and as someone who is used to being able to accurately predict story beats in other works correctly nine times out of ten, I'm not used to this feeling of such uncertainty. But I'm enjoying the ride, and loving this journey.
For now I'll leave you with this article and I'll meet you all back here for season four.