Illumination in the oddest places

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of popular culture, but on occasion I am pleasantly surprised by it.  And on even more rare occasions, it shocks me.  Not in a bad way, but in the way that you are shocked when you experience a true windfall.

That is how I feel about A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of ThronesThe books AND the TV show that they inspired.

I had started reading the first novel many years ago, and for whatever reason put it aside and never finished it.  But after Tim Buckley, a favorite comic artist of mine, talked about George R.R. Martin at great length in his comic, Ctl-Alt-Del, I started thinking about it a lot more, until I finally decided to go back and finish the book.  And wow.  Just, wow.  I couldn’t put them down until I had read all of them.

I love medieval history.  And I love the fantasy genre, high and low.  And the idea that someone could actually take a book series like A Song of Ice and Fire and adapt it, really adapt it properly, to the screen, well, that is just too good to be true.  I love the books and the show, and the fact that Kelly loves them too makes me feel good.  Ecstatic, actually, because now we have something else the two of us can really enjoy together.  I mean, to put this in perspective, Kelly and I are a couple that actually talked on several occasions about how we would build our own castle, if money was no object.  To hell with McMansions.  They’re ugly and frail.

So yeah, we love the story, as it has been told through the two mediums.  Truly they are immensely entertaining.  But they are smart entertainment.

Don’t take my word for it.  Read what other people are saying.  Read what this writer and former sex worker says about how it affected her, how she thinks Martin’s epic empowers those that society has cast aside.  Or how another writer sees how GRRM has cast aside much of the fantasy stereotypes of women and created widely diverse, compelling, powerful female characters.  And as one feminist writer has asserted, it is for good reason that many fans (like me) see the show as quite feminist-friendly.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I find odd, even disturbing, about the books (and the TV show) but I still think it is one of the most compelling things to arrive in popular culture in many, many years.

-Geoff

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