HBO’s “Game of Thrones” leads many to imagine bloodshed, treason and a certain level of exposure, we’ll say.
While these first impressions may ring true to an extent, often overlooked is the intelligence and wit that accompanies the show, which is easy to do when we are consistently thrust into battle and brothels.
However, I wanted to take some time and reflect on other offered qualities in the series.
Here is the necessary spoiler tag:
If you have seen season four, read the novels or you welcome hefty spoilers, please continue.
Never underestimating its viewers, GoT upsets expectations with plot twists, battles and weddings (an entire study can be conducted on the ability to survive a Westeros wedding, I’d wager) at a pace that may overwhelm the new viewer.
Occasionally, the writers pack every proverbial punch into a single episode (the Red Wedding, anyone?).
Though taking place in the fictional world of Westeros (akin to Tolkien’s fantasy world of Middle Earth), GoT assaults our senses with breathtaking views of scenery and a variety of faces to create the compartmentalized storyline that is GoT.
The locations are stunning and the acting is superb, but it is the created characters that keep us coming back for more. Credit must be given to George R.R. Martin for creating such human and developed characters in the novel series titled “A Song of Ice and Fire,” but also to the writers of the television show that adapted his characters for the screen.
Tyrion Lannister, specifically speaking, is a character that I find fascinating. He is a dwarf despised by his sister and loathed by his father. He handles the emotional turmoil foisted upon him by his family with wit, charm and knowledge. Tyrion is well known for reading any material he can get his hands on and that thirst for knowledge often makes an appearance when he slays his enemies with words even if his height hinders him from accomplishing that goal with a sword.
Allowing this character to capture our hearts puts the idea that knowledge is more powerful than a pretty face or steel in the forefront of our minds. An important message, right?
Another beautiful maneuver of George R.R. Martin is the position of power given to Daenerys Targaryen, a woman many of us either want to be or want to marry. Daenerys, the estranged princess, has conquered cities, amassed an army and raised three seriously dangerous fire-breathing dragons that she recognizes as her children.
In the novels, we even discover she takes it one step further and breast feeds them as new hatchlings. She is fierce.
In a medieval and patriarchal world where kings, lords and knights reign high, women are consistently told how to behave, what is proper and whom to marry. Daenerys sheds this mold and becomes a strong and capable female leader that we identify with and root for.
Pitting this incredibly capable woman against the inflated egos that permeate King’s Landing (eventually, we hope) gives the show a fascinating dynamic. For now, we must be satisfied to watch her learn the lessons of a queen from afar.
With his equalizing of power between the sexes (think Brienne, Arya, Daenerys, Cersei…), I really think that George R. R. Martin and I could be friends.
I could rattle on about the surprising characters that make Westeros a place we’d like to visit during a long summer, but Martin not only gives us characters to look up to; he gives us characters to assign our anger to, as well. Joffrey Baratheon is number one on the list, obviously. He is a character that exemplified not a single redeeming or endearing quality in the entire time we suffered his presence. Who else couldn’t wipe the smile off of their face when he was publicly poisoned and suffered a humiliating death at his own wedding? He was dark, twisted and cruel. I’m assuming the incestual union that resulted in his birth may have contributed to his warped view of the world.
If you haven’t begun watching GoT or reading “A Song of Ice and Fire” yet, I’m sure you’re excited to start now what with the poison, incest, dragons and continuous war.
The level of complexity that each character portrays, whether it’s a humble, hated or honored character, assigns the television show and the novel series a certain significance that is hard to ignore.
This tale isn't something that came out of a so-called dream (yes, this is a knock at Twilight’s door) or a sudden brilliant thought. These characters and bodies of work are the fruit of excruciatingly hard work and years of thought.
Therefore, the intelligence that exists within the story shouldn't surprise us. After all, far more intelligence went into creating it from scratch.