Monday, July 22, 2013

Hate The Freys, Not The Game

Since the emotional goddamn ROLLERCOASTER that was the latter half of series three of Game of Thrones, also known as the time George R.R. Martin trampled all over our feelings and punched us in the kidneys on his way out, I've been frantically horsing my way through A Storm of Swords, A Feast For Crows and now A Dance With Dragons in order to find out what the HELL happens next and it's all just so GODDAMN EXCITING.

As such, I've been wanting to write a post about it all, but there's no real point I want to make, so these are really just a bunch of my thoughts on the books, TV show and characters. Mostly because I just wanted the opportunity to call Joffrey a malevolent little fucker.

(Just so you know, I'm not going to give anything away past the point where the TV show finished up, so there'll be no book spoilers from me. Book spoiler people are the worst and I REFUSE TO BE THOSE PEOPLE.)

The Books

I have to say, I am absolutely loving the books so far. At first I thought I might end up being slightly bored or impatient with them when I knew what would happen next up to a point, having been so familiar with the TV series at that stage, but I found myself eating up all the extra details and back stories and characters that there just wasn't room for in the telly version.

I also learned that tourneys are sort of like the Westerosi version of a festival, as they mostly consist of lots of brightly coloured tents and people getting hammered in a field. Like Electric Picnic, but more murdery. The Oxegen of Westeros.

Before I started reading the series, I had heard a few people mention how overly descriptive the books are, how there's endless paragraphs about food and what everyone's wearing (boiled leather, mostly), and yeah, there is quite a bit of that but I'm actually really into it, especially the food stuff.

It's weird, because cookery shows bore the living fuck out of me, but for some reason I love knowing exactly what everyone's eating, whether there's grease dripping down their fingers or not and what EXACTLY the wild boar or lark or trout was roasted with. It's like one big medieval Marks & Spencer food porn ad.

And anyway, it's not nearly as bad as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which could spend anything up to two solid pages at a time listing furniture that Lisbeth Salander bought in Ikea. Now THAT shit was boring.

The TV Show

Here's the thing about the TV show. If you've only watched it once and haven't read the books, go back and watch it again RIGHT NOW. It gets even better the second (and third!) time you watch it, as this time around you're not wondering who the hell this person is and why these people don't seem to get along and just what the flip a maester is when he's at home. This time you can actually just enjoy it and end up noticing a heap of things that passed you by the first time.

It took a second viewing for me to realise that I didn't have a fucking clue what was going on the first time I watched it. I was so busy getting my head around the eleventy million houses of Westeros that I didn't even register Theon Greyjoy and what his deal was until the second series, when he dropped the hand on his sister. I was genuinely surprised to see that he'd been knocking around Winterfell all through the first series while re-watching.

Also, you're a dick.
The fact that there's so many Irish actors in it and so much of it is filmed in Belfast means that spotting certain characters out and about in Dublin can happen surprisingly often. You just don't get that with Mad Men or Breaking Bad or True Blood. So far I've seen Joffrey, Ser Jorah and Bronn out and about in the city.

It's a weird feeling seeing Joffrey in real life. I know that Jack Gleeson is meant to be a totally lovely guy in real life and I'm sure he is (I mean, look at him messing with this pug puppy for God's sake! A pug puppy!) but Joffrey is just such an unrelentingly malevolent little fucker (yay!) in the show, that when he's walking past you minding his own non-sociopathic business the urge to kick him in the shins or at least glower at him is disconcertingly strong. The poor guy. I'm suddenly beginning to understand those old ladies you hear about who accost soap opera villains in the street, shouting at them for being such terrible people.

I actually saw Jorah and Bronn within minutes of each other while a few of us were standing outside The Stag's Head last year, which led to excited speculation about the potential of a secret cast party happening somewhere in the city centre and a brief temptation to follow them. Gotta catch 'em all. (We didn't follow them. That would be creepy.)

The Excellent Female Characters

As well as making for addictive viewing and reading, Game of Thrones features some brilliant female characters and unlike certain other shows *cough*THEWALKINGDEAD*cough*, there's loads of room for more than one strong woman at a time. (I'm still raging with that show for making Andrea into a headwrecking gowlbag as soon as Michonne came on the scene. Dicks.)

Dammit George, get over here so I can give you a big feminist hug.
Anyway, in the Seven Kingdoms and across the Narrow Sea we've got:

Daenerys Targaryen - Stormborn, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons and GODDAMN KHALEESI OF THE GREAT GRASS SEA.

Asha Greyjoy (or Yara Greyjoy on telly) - fearsome pirate queen and badass maritime motherfucker.

Cersei Lannister - okay she's riding her brother and an AWFUL wagon but you have to admit that she's one bad bitch who gets shit done. Nobody can wield a backhanded compliment like the Lioness of Casterly Rock.

Brienne of Tarth - kickass knight, excellent with a sword and won the fuck out of a tourney melee against a bunch of dudes. (Who, by the way, is an utter knockout in real life.)

Arya Stark - ferocious she-wolf hellbent on revenge, destined for utter greatness and takes absolutely no shit.

That's before we even get near Catelyn Stark's steely resolve, Shae's wily resourcefulness or Margaery eye-fucking and power-dressing her way to queendom. Not to mention the awesomely acid-tongued Lady Olenna aka the Dowager Countess of Highgarden and Sansa Stark, who (to drag out the Downton Abbey comparison) is sort of the Lady Edith of the show - the ginger girl you don't really like all that much to begin with, but before you know it you're 100% rooting for her and digging her quiet strength. Oh AND wildling Ygritte not giving a single fuck, being handy with with a spear and the absolutely magical way she says Jon Snow.

The Ridebags

So, yes, the characters in the series, both male and female, are great and complex and flawed and in some cases just trying to get along as best they can in the fucked up realm of Westeros. But allow me to lower the tone somewhat by saying DAMN there are some total foxes in this series. And in fairness, the show is pretty much an equal opportunites deal in terms of whose ass you get to see, which makes a nice change from the usual naked lady/fully dressed dude trope, like the skeezy Blurred Lines video or the People of the Year series of GQ covers from last year.

As well as typically gorgeous people, (i.e. Jaime Lannister and the big Disney prince head on him and Daenerys being ridiculously beautiful) it also provides an array of weird and slightly guilty crushes, like Sandor Clegane and Roose Bolton, and those are always fun. I'd also just like to point out what a difference a few years and change of hair colour makes in the case of Iain Glen. Villain in Tomb Raider? Move along, unappealing oily-haired man. Ser Jorah? BACK THAT FINE ASS UP, MORMONT. No friendzone for you. A touch of face cragginess did him the world of good.

So what I'm really wondering now is what the hell I'm going to do when I run out of books to read. Oh, who am I kiddding, it'll probably be a fourth go at series one and onwards.


  1. Best telly ever.
    I swoon for Jason Momoa and Kit Harington. I said to himself one of the evenings that if we ever had a boychild, I demand his name be Kit. Sadly I was shot down. He reminded me that we flipped a coin to name the dog and whoever won lost any claim to name offspring, and that those conditions were my idea.
    Meh, you can't win them all.

  2. Oh my God, completely agree with you on much of this, Kitty! I've become obsessed with GoT this summer, and am just re-reading the books for the second time since I first started them in June. They're AMAZING. Also, while I'm not usually one to buy into merchandise, I absolutely adore some of the Etsy offerings available lately - well worth checking out!

  3. Have you seen the Funko figurines? Want them all.

  4. Ciara - Ah lousy! Apparently his real name is Christopher, so you might get away with that and then BAM! he's nicknamed Kit.

    Evana - I really want that direwolf t-shirt now.

    Anon - They're SO cute. I love their giant heads.

  5. I like to think that the next book will be out at that stage, the next chapter of the next book was released on Martin's website a few months back and makes great reading.

    I'll say, I love the story and he's a great story telling BUT (at least 2 bigger than mine!) 1) The english gets lazy from the mid point of the series on - hello how many times does the really really mad "as useless as nipples on a breastplate" have to appear 2) I'm just not sure he can do the story justice given the rate of characters that get the chop.

    One thing that's sure though, winter is coming!!

  6. Can I just high-five you right now for mentioning Sandor Clegane as crushworthy? BAM. Had a class dream about himself and meself pootling around Westeros and hammering the bejaysus out of any Bolton/Frey assbags we could find. Oh Sandor, I SO WOULD. Also, can I just say that Ser Jorah and Bronn are both gods, and how you didnt follow them that day, I will never know. I would have revelled in the restraining order than would have been slapped on my stalker ass heh heh (Old Man Frey chuckle there for ya)

    1. *high five*

      That sounds like an EXCELLENT dream.


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