Monday, June 27, 2011

Hello, my name is Dorothy and I am a GOT addict

Yes, I admit it. I am addicted.

I'm not quite sure how it happened. I didn't intend it to happen. I only did it really to placate my daughter who insisted that I should. I didn't know what I was getting into. I had never even heard of George R. R. Martin before I started seeing ads for the HBO series based on his fantasy series of books about the continent of Westeros and the Seven Kingdoms. But I watched the first episode of "Game of Thrones" when it started on HBO back in April, and now I am hooked.

And how do I know that I am hooked? Because I am suffering withdrawal. The last show of the season aired on June 19 and yesterday at the time that the show would normally have been on, "True Blood" started its season. No more "Game of Thrones" until next spring. At 8:00 P.M. last night, I started suffering severe depression. How will I ever survive without my weekly fix?

Admittedly, GOT does not fit the profile of my usual choice for entertainment. It is filled with blood and gore, two things which I generally try to avoid at all costs, but the original hook for me was that it had Sean Bean. He's been one of my favorite hunks ever since I first saw him more years ago than probably he or I would care to remember playing Richard Sharpe in the "Sharpe" series on PBS. Then there were lots of movies over the years, including his turn as the conflicted but heroic man of Gondor, Boromir, in that other little fantasy feature you might have heard of, "Lord of the Rings." Sean got me to sit and watch the first GOT episode, but after that, it was really the stories that kept me coming back week after week. And it's the stories that I'm missing this week.

If you haven't been watching the series, there's really no way that I can begin to summarize the plot for you. It is incredibly convoluted and involves an amazing number and variety of characters. Suffice to say that the time is medieval, there are lots of swords involved, and society is very paternalistic with the status of women being very low. And yet the most interesting characters for me are the women and the dwarf son of the House of Lannister, Tyrion, who is actually one of the more appealing personalities in the stories.

I am particularly fascinated by the younger Stark daughter, Arya. In this first season, she is a child and she is seeking to break out of the straitjacket that society forces onto women and girls. When her father Ned (played by Sean Bean) realizes what her ambitions are, he arranges for her to be tutored in the use of the sword and in self-defense. She has a sword given to her by her bastard half-brother which she named "Needle" - the sword not the brother. (In these kinds of stories when a character has a sword that has a name, it usually means that that character is headed for great deeds of derring-do!)

And then there is Daenerys Targaryen, daughter of the house of the deposed and murdered king. She escaped the carnage with her despicable brother who bargained with a band of barbarians to have their vast army back him in his attempt to retake the throne. His bargaining chip was Daenerys. He gave her to the leader of the barbarians in return for his support. But, never fear, Daenerys is a very strong woman and she is up to the challenge. After all, as she assures us, she has the "blood of dragons" in her veins. I expect we'll see a lot more evidence of that in the second season.

George Martin's series has four books. A fifth one is coming out in July. So what's an addict to do when she can't have her weekly television fix? Well, read the books, of course! I am being enabled in that endeavor by my husband. He just ordered a boxed set of the first four books. I may have to arm wrestle him for them though. Yeah, he's an addict, too.

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