I do not watch Game of Thrones. I have not read, nor do I intend to read, the books.
“Huh?”, I hear you say, and not unreasonably. Given my specs (Minor Fantasy Geek, Reader Of Big Books, and Married To Same), one could very well ask what the hell is wrong with me.
I’ll tell you what the hell: Everything I’ve heard/read/seen about both the books and the series based upon them (and I did watch a few episodes in the first season, and have seen a few scenes since) has impressed very firmly upon me that this is entertainment predicated on sadism, depravity, and hopelessness, and that’s all I need to know.
Both book and TV show may very well be laden with other things, too — the husband can’t stop talking about George RR Martin’s writing, and I’ve seen enough of the HBO series to know that there’s a little something called acting going on, not to mention the fact that I am surely a reasonable audience for representations of rich fantasy worlds — but I honestly don’t care. I’m just curious enough to follow online discussions and sort out the answers to questions that puzzle me about the plot, but for real: There is enough sadism, depravity, and hopelessness in the real world. I honestly cannot understand why I would seek it out in my entertainment.
Which brings me back to why I never liked Seinfeld.
Sadism? What would you call humor based in the foreknowledge that every.single.thing will go wrong for these people? Depravity – well, just consider the spectacular dysfunction of the relationships. And of course hopelessness – see: Point A. Moreover, there was not a single character in all of Seinfeld with whom I would have wanted to spend 20 actual minutes of my actual life. Why on earth give all of them 20 minutes on a regular basis?
I can handle death, pain, dismemberment, disappointment. I am, after all, the daughter of a dead man and an Israeli, to boot — you cannot frighten me with your human frailty and whatnot!
But I suppose I need just a whiff of hope. A bit of wiggle room for the human spirit and flights of grace — even in fantasy, even in comedy. Game of Thrones, no — but Fireflyand The Hunger Games, yes. Seinfeld, no — but WKRP and Sportsnight, yes. Is that too much to ask of my TV box?
Though looking at the above, it could be argued that I am, perhaps, due for a new sitcom in my life.
Hey, The Husband? I think I need to DVR Community and Parks and Rec.
Emily L. Hauser has been a freelance writer for 20 years. She has contributed to publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, Chicago Tribune, and Dallas Morning News, covering topics ranging from Israel/Palestine and domestic politics, to women’s issues and the occasional burst of geekery. She is a regular columnist at The Daily Beast’s Open Zion, and blogs at Emily L. Hauser In My Head. Follow her on Twitter at @emilylhauser.
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