Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What I Have Learned from "Game of Thrones"

I am feeling kind of depressed today, and I think it's because Season Six of "Game of Thrones" just ended.

If you read this blog, you know I am a hopeless TV addict, so you will be surprised that I have not watched or binge-watched the many long-running dramas such as "Mad Men," "Orange is the New Black," "Breaking Bad," "The Good Wife" and other shows that have been so popular.  I guess I've been too busy with "Naked and Afraid" and "Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars."

However, there is one drama that Hubby and I have become hooked on and that is "Game of Thrones."

It wasn't that long ago that I didn't know my Cersei from my Jon Snow.  "Game of Thrones" had already been on for five seasons when I decided to give it a try.  My daughter was an avid fan and had been talking about it so much that I was intrigued.  So when Season Five began last year, I started TIVO'ing it and then ran to the library to get the earlier seasons to binge watch and get caught up. I figured that if we watched a couple shows per week of Seasons 1-4, we would be caught up by the time I had all of the Season Five episodes taped (I have since been disabused by a friend that watching a show two times a week is NOT binge-watching so I guess I'm still learning). 

We had a trip to Rome and the Amalfi Coast planned during that catch-up time, so we even took some of the discs with us.  I have fond memories of sitting on the bed in our room in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome after a long day of sightseeing and watching The Night's Watch prepare for the attack of the Wildings (Season 4) on Hubby's laptop.

So when we arrived home from our trip, we were well and truly ensconced in "Game of Thrones."

Warning:  If you haven't been watching "Game of Thrones" and plan to, proceed with caution.  Possible spoiler alerts.

As I said, Season Six ended the day before yesterday (Sunday), and I am not happy that I have to wait another year to find out whether Daenarys will take control of the Seven Kingdoms, get a boyfriend (or girlfriend) and live happily ever after, who Jon Snow's father is and what will happen to Sansa and Arya, though I have to say there is some deep satisfaction that the icky High Sparrow has finally been dispatched. What a pain he was!

What is it about these TV shows that draw us in to the point that we will spend entire weekends watching episode after episode because we can't get enough? 

I think that telling and listening to a good story is in our DNA. 

A good story speaks to who we are and some themes transcend time and place. Where once we sat around the fire eating our mastodon steak and recounting our adventures fighting dinosaurs, now we stand around the water cooler at work with our Starbucks and retell our favorite moments in our favorite TV shows. Some things never change. We can all come together and bond over a good story and "Game of Thrones" is a damn good story with elements we can relate to, despite the fact it takes place hundreds of years ago and features dragons.  

In the end, it doesn't matter if you are a "Game of Thrones" fan or an "Outlander" fan or a "Mad Men" fan.  If it's a good story with family problems, mother and daughter relationships, royal intrigue, romance, danger, war, friendship, loyalty, betrayal, sex, all of which are part of the human condition, it speaks to us as humans. We can relate in some fashion to all of those.  Well, maybe not the royal part, but all of the other stuff.

All of those things draw us together in common experience.  For example, we realize that mothers throughout time have had to deal with children who didn't do what they wanted them to do.  Friends have betrayed friends and fathers have been disappointed in their sons then and now.  Dragons have come to our rescue.  Well, maybe not that, but the gamut of human emotions and frailties are played out. There is usually a sense of catharsis at the end of a particularly intense or satisfying episode, and we can also feel grateful when we realize that their lives are way worse than ours. For example, unlike in the "Game of Thrones" world, I don't particularly need to worry that when I am feasting on a big leg of lamb at a banquet, that I could very well get my throat slit. There is comfort in that.

Watching "Game of Thrones" also gives us an escape from our sometimes mundane lives and allows us to be a part of something epic without having to leave home and actually participate in bloody battles or live in drafty castles.

It's also educational.

We can learn some things when we watch stories like "Game of Thrones." 

Here are some things I learned:

  • I learned that I wasn't such a bad Mom.  My kids would have been mortified and probably never forgiven me, if, like Cersei, I had pissed off the local clergy and had to do a naked "Walk of Shame" down the streets of our town with the soccer moms shouting "Shame! Shame!" and me wishing I hadn't eaten that extra piece of chocolate cake. Cersei probably would also have caused scenes at ball games or blown up the hot dog stand if her kids didn't get to play. I also didn't kill my kids. I managed to avoid all of that.

  • I learned I have a vengeful side.  I couldn't wait to see Lord Ramsay Bolton, one of the most insidious and sadistic characters of all time, get his, and, boy, did he.  I HATED him!  During the penultimate episode, I sweated so much that I think I lost about 30 pounds or maybe it was all that jumping up and down in glee I did.

  • Lord Bolton's demise also taught me that it's a good idea to keep your dogs fed, especially if you are an abusive husband and your wife plans for you to go to the dogs, literally.

  • I learned that family feuds don't end well nor does running off and joining a cult.

  • Women can be badass warriors.

  • It's not just me.  Wine has always been with us.  They drank a lot of it back then.

  • We should have some dragons at our beck and call or at least a dire wolf or two.

  • I learned that if you are a hunky, handsome leading man, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that you will be brought back from the dead, especially if we pray really hard.

  • And in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, "It ain't over till it's over." In a really good series like "Game of Thrones," the story and characters are unpredictable and continually surprising. Just like Jon Snow coming back to life, you can't predict what will happen. I can't wait to see what is in store.

I have a question though.  With all of that velvet, brocade, leather and lace everyone wore back then, where did they get their clothes dry-cleaned?

Watching "Game of Thrones" has helped to wean me off of my diet of "Housewives," home tours, food competitions and other reality shows and to broaden my TV watching horizons. 

So "Game of Thrones" may be done for this season, which makes me sad, but I plan to drown my sorrows by immersing myself in one of these series. 

"Breaking Bad"
"Orange is the New Black"
"House of Cards"
"The Fall"

Along with some wine and my very own little dire poodle, that ought to do the trick until "Game of Thrones" comes back!

See you next year "Game of Thrones!"

Until then...

Thanks for Reading!
See you Friday

for my review of

"Now You See Me 2"



The Week in Reviews
(What to See or Read and What to Avoid)


and the latest on

"My 1001 Movies I Must See Before
 I Die Project."


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  1. Try The Killing on Netflix...its superb!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation. I have added it to my list!

  2. GOT seems way too intense for me. My binge-watching runs more along the lines of Mad Men! I have been following Outlander recently, after my bookclub couldn't stop raving about the novel they read a few years before I joined. Last season was very intense and the season was filled with a great deal of sex and violence...some of it kind of cringe-worthy. This season has been blasé by comparison. Your blog post about GOT made me curious though, so I watched the You Tube video of Cersei's "Walk of Shame". Wow...that was intense. I felt a bit like a voyeur... Not my cup of tea. Despite the raves of fans who insist I am missing a great show, perhaps I will catch another episode of Rehab Addict instead.

    1. I didn't think I would like GOT either, but I am totally hooked. I recommend starting at the beginning. I guarantee you it will grow on you! I covers the gamut of human emotion and familial pain! :)

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