Why Do We Watch GAME OF THRONES?June 09, 2013
Why Do We Watch GAME OF THRONES?
In our world where drones kill innocents in the Middle East and mentally ill young men shoot up a school full of five year olds right near where we live, it’s easy to want to escape into a fantasy world where magic exists. If that is the escape you are looking for, though, do not go near “Game of Thrones.” It’s a fantasy world, and magic does exist, but so does humanity with all of its inhumanity on full, brutal display.
The internet has exploded with reactions to the infamous Red Wedding, many threatening to quit watching the show, but I bet they’ll be back next Sunday night, ready for more. Readers of the books have already gone through the trauma, many with stories of throwing the book across the room or against the wall, and many vowing to stop reading, but they, too, continued reading. Now they are watching, and are enjoying the reactions of the previously “unsullied” who now share their pain.
Why do we come back to a piece of fiction that takes our expectations and hopes, slaps them around and then slits their throats? Do we enjoy being victims of emotional abuse? No. What we enjoy is a richly imagined world full of emotionally complex characters that takes us on an unexpected journey. There is very little that is black or white on this show, and very little that is obvious is true.
This season (which isn’t quite over, yet) has already brought us incredible moments. We’ve witnessed Daenerys’ triumph over the slave traders of Astapor and Yunkai. Jaime’s arrogance was taken down a peg (or five) and he is slowly realizing that he is not without honor. Brienne is awakening to the fact that not everyone fits into a neat category of good or evil (especially Ser Jaime who risked his own life to save her from a grisly death). The Hound just put himself in danger to save Arya when there was no payoff for him in it. Davos convinced Stannis to not kill Gendry, so Melisandre merely used leeches to suck some king’s blood to work her God of Light mojo on Robb Stark, Balon Greyjoy, and Joffrey Baratheon. Theon is paying for betraying the Starks (and paying and paying and paying). Samwell and Gilly have discovered that Sam is not craven, and Bran has discovered he is the most gifted warg ever.
Sansa new husband, Tyrion, promised not to force her into consummating their marriage, much to Shae’s satisfaction.
Jon Snow escaped from the wildlings, and ripped apart Ygritte’s heart (not literally). Littlefinger got a promotion to Lord of the Vale, and Cersei managed to get those perky Tyrell’s to shut up for a minute.
Now let’s take a moment of silence for Ser Jorah Mormont and Ros, and the victims of the Red Wedding: Grey Wind, Talisa and her unborn child, Rob Stark, Catelyn Stark, and untold Stark troops.
And let us swear vengeance on Roose Bolton, Walder Frey, and the father and grandfather of everyone’s misery: Tywin Lannister.
And PS: let’s put Michelle Fairley on the fast track to Emmytown and ditto for composer Ramin Djawadi for extraordinary contributions to the show (and my iPod).
Jean Tait is a contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. Currently the Director of Programming for the Connecticut Film Festival, Jean has programmed for the Jacksonville Film Festival and Sundance Channel.
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