Saturday, December 21, 2013

Game of Hype: Ron Watches Game of Thrones

Episode One
I am not a Christian but I have come to believe that Christmas, modern Christmas anyway,is a good thing. Christmas is worth celebrating in my opinion because this most consumer oriented of holidays--the Super Bowl, Halloween, and Mother's, Father's, and Valentine's Day are other central holidays of the American consumption ritual calendar--allows a consumer like me to purchase DVD's at Target and WalMart for a really reasonable price.

I recently made my annual Xmas pilgrimage to Target and WalMart where I picked up seasons of the HBO series Carnivale, Deadwood, Girls, Newsroom, and Game of Thrones. I recently watched Aaron Sorkin's Newsroom which I found superb if flawed. Next I started watching Game of Thrones. I found the first episode of Game of Thrones neither superb nor flawed. I found it to be, to put it bluntly and rather unacademically, crap.

Let's start with the cliches on which fantasies like Game of Thrones seems to be based. There's the retro mediaevalism. There's the manichean tale of good guys and the bad guys. There's the tale Roman and Byzantine imperial stab you in the back and throw kids off towers intrigue. There's the tale of a do anything including prostituting his sister cynical royal who wants to get his kingdom back. There's the tale of the youngish queen who is married to a fat middle aged older man but who finds a little cock action amongst the younger really bad guy set.

As I watched the first episode of Game of Thrones I couldn't but think that the show is aimed at a target demographic of literal male teens and males who have never grown out of teenhood who like their heroes good, their villains bad, their queen's beautiful and t&a naked--no dicks need apply save imaginary ones humping beautiful bare jiggly breasted and bare assed women--and who, if they are good guys, imagine themselves as Prince Valiant's who will save their beautiful queen's from a fate worse than death--in this instance, a queen married to a barbarian whose sole reason to be, like those of his ilk, seems to be boffing and killing; I fuck and kill therefore I am--or if they are bad guys who, imagine themselves those barbarians boffing beautiful bare jiggly breasted and bare assed women. The last, of course, seems to be the human condition for most homo sapiens. As for me I think I will stick with the far more intellectually satisfying and much more witty I Claudius. Colour me unimpressed, very unimpressed thus far with Game of Thrones.

Episode Two
Amidst the T&A and the appearance of "barbarian" (read Mongol?) male ass a story that is relatively interesting has begun to appear. Still it is a pity that after fifty years of reflections on females as eye candy for the male gaze we haven't gotten beyond this. One wonders whether Tamzin Merchant, who backed out of the role that Emilia Clarke plays, did so because of all the T&A women have to show in Game of Thrones.

Episode Three
The T&A continues. It appears that Emilia Clarke's "role of a lifetime", as one boosterist online magazine put it, is to show a lot of T&A for the male gaze. She also appears to be someone the female members of the audience can perhaps sympathise and empathise with. The relationship between her and her "barbarian" husband is growing more romantic by the episode and she is starting to act the role of khaleesi, barbarian queen. Meanwhile back in the "civilised" world the byzantine intrigues continue and continues to intrigue even if it is old hat for those who have a historical sense and a knowledge of genre cliches.

Episode Four
Brutal visual violence is added to the T&A. What more could a growing or a grown boy wish for?

Episode Five
I got part of the way through episode five when the DVD froze up. The DVD had numerous scuff marks on it. Needless to say HBO, I have learned again and again, has some pretty poor quality control when it comes to its DVD's.

Intermission
New and improved DVD that actually works obtained.

Episode Seven
A cock doth appear.

Episode Nine
Heads do roll.

Episode Ten
funeral pyres, forebodings of war, and dragons, oh my.

Envoi
I asked some self proclaimed fans of Game of Thrones if George R.R. Martin's work was indebted to Plantagenent history. One had no idea who the Plantagenent's were. Another got defensive. Another said yes, it was in part. Game of Thrones and others in the Song of Ice and Fire series is clearly a riff on Plantagenent history likely via Shakespeare. And Martin admits it. It is a pity that fans of media get so emotionally caught up in their loves that they can't see empirical reality through the ideological mist they live their lives in.