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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Callie

Confession of a belated convert: catching up with 'Game of Thrones'

It’s been over four years since the inception of one of premium cable’s most celebrated series—HBO’s "Game of Thrones,”—and I must admit that until a few weeks ago I couldn’t have cared less. It’s not that I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it—I take pleasure in nerding out to medieval fantasy dramas as much as the rest of you—but at the time I had my nose in other pastures. Long story short, I had already been watching far too much TV and I just wasn’t ready for the commitment.

Despite this, I made sure to avoid all spoilers—including my entire Twitter feed on Sunday nights—like the plague, just in case the day would come when I’d feel compelled to give it a whirl. Well folks, today is the day.

I haven’t read “A Game of Thrones"—the first volume in the series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R. R. Martin—which is to say my previous knowledge surrounding the show is that people play games... with thrones. Anyways, you’re about to experience the aftermath of my first "Game of Thrones" experience. Here goes nothing.

Mere seconds after beginning the first episode I was met with a gruesomely chilling scene—severed heads and truncated body parts lay strewn among a blanket of freshly fallen snow. It was around this time that I felt inclined to press pause and give myself a short pep talk. “You have a strong stomach. They’re just pieces of meat. It’s not real.” Unpause.

Some time after a few more heads had been severed and my stomach had settled, the credit sequence rolled around. While whizzing through a three-dimensional map portraying the seemingly complex geographic relationships of Westeros, Winterfell and the like, I was questioning whether or not I should be taking notes. Better yet, I began to wonder if maybe I should have read the novels in order to gain a better understanding of the world previously created by Martin. Should these names mean something to me? Maybe so, however I have always been a little geographically challenged. I can’t remember the names of the streets in the town I grew up in so why should it be any different in Westeros? I accepted the challenge and carried on.

All doubts aside, it only took a few episodes to completely immerse myself in the fictional world of White Walkers, magic and dragons. Though it is technically a fantasy drama—Westeros doesn’t actually exist—I was immediately struck with an essence of familiarity. For subject matter so fantastical, the first season feels incredibly historic, due in large part to costuming, language and the addition of some medieval nuances. There’s jousting in Westeros! Rooted in quasi-medieval tradition, "Game of Thrones" is able to draw on pre-existing folklore and customs while diverging just enough to feel otherworldly.

So what about the world that Martin and showrunners have created? Well, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. Not only was it shot on location amidst the backdrops of various picturesque locales, the series serves as a paramount in art direction and set design, and I applaud everyone involved for its meticulous construction.

As for the inhabitants, I have already chosen a few favorite and unfavorites. My favorite character is undoubtedly Arya (Maisie Williams). She is honest, spirited, knows how to wield a sword and I respect that. Topping my list of unfavorites is, not so surprisingly, Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). Actually, I take it all back. I have never been so shocked as I was when I witnessed Catelyn Stark’s sister breastfeed her fully grown son and would give anything to be able to wash away that image from my now tainted brain.

Other miscellaneous thoughts while watching the show include: What percentage of the population is comprised of prostitutes? Is everyone corrupt? Why is Catelyn Stark’s sister so bizarre? When will Joffrey stop being a whiny little diva?

I am genuinely shocked that it’s taken me this long to jump on the "Game of Thrones" bandwagon but am hellbent on making up for lost time. By now I’ve already memorized the theme song, gained a muddled understanding of who is related to who in the tangled mess that is the Lannister family tree and can’t wait to figure out what all this Purple Wedding talk is about. No spoilers please!

Are you pleased Callie’s finally gotten on the GoT bandwagon? Tell her at ckollenbroic@wisc.edu.

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