Thursday, May 16, 2013

Girls hate Game of Thrones? Really???

Apparently, girls are not supposed to like Game of Thrones, but don't tell my daughters - or me. I love Game of Thrones. Loved the books. Wish George R.R. Martin would get on with pushing that sixth one out. Love the HBO series. Plan my Sunday nights around it, in fact.

It's the series that it is being assumed by some writers that girls don't like. There's all that gross stuff - incest, torture, dirt, guys getting hands or nipples or balls cut off. All those naked women - although they've tried to balance it with a few naked men this season. At least their butts. Unlike with the women, we don't get full frontal nudity. Plus, it's a complicated story that diverges in about seven different directions - just too much for our simple little girly brains, I guess.

But the fact is that I and many other women and girls agree with Alyssa Rosenberg of Slate.com that it is "one of the most outrageously enjoyable shows on television right now." And a big part of the reason for that, as Rosenberg goes on to point out, is because of the female characters in the show. From young Arya Stark to Lady Olenna Redwynne, from Ygritte the wildling to Danaerys Targaryen the Khaleesi and (maybe) future queen, from the lady and knight Brienne to the perfidious queen regent Cersei, these are strong women, women that a viewer can develop strong feelings about.

Those who think that fantasy does not appeal to females are just dead wrong. As a female who grew up reading J.R.R. Tolkien, I'm a prime example of that and there are, no doubt, millions like me around the world. I will admit that I am picky about my fantasies, but then I like to think I'm picky about everything that I read or watch. I only have so many brain cells available and I don't want to fill them up with schlock.

George R.R. Martin does not write schlock. Game of Thrones is a rich tapestry of a medieval society in upheaval, conflict, and change. Westeros has been compared to Europe in the Middle Ages and it is a fairly apt comparison. The political machinations and maneuvering, the emphasis on being faithful to and promoting your family, roiling religious discontent, it's all there and not so different from what you would read in history books of the period. A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman comes to mind.

Moreover, when translated to the TV screen, it is really a great soap opera. Women are stereotypically supposed to like soap operas, aren't they? So, why wouldn't they like Game of Thrones?

Although I have to say that if the writers of the series include one more unnecessary scene of Theon Greyjoy being mercilessly tortured, I may just have to leave the room for the duration. Give it a rest, guys. We get it already. Move on.

There are only three episodes left in this season. The series producers divided the big third book, Storm of Swords, in two and presumably will finish it up next season. I'm on pins and needles about where they will end this season. There is so much action they haven't covered yet, it is hard to see how they can get very much farther along in only three more episodes. But there are a few little details which I hope they wrap up this season and one of them is that sadistic twerp Joffrey!

Well, in three more weeks we'll know for sure. Then we girls who love Game of Thrones can begin the wait for the next season.


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