Spoiler Alert: Talking about Game of Thrones scenes
So far, it’s been a fabulous summer for studying A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Between readings, I’m working my way through the first seven seasons of Game of Thrones. I bailed on the series initially, because I struggle with anything even remotely suspenseful, graphic, or scary. I mostly watch cartoons. PTSD sucks. After my third reading of the novels, I decided to give the series another try.
I’ve since learned how to marvel at the FX (and look away) when things get all stabby. It helps me figuratively step back a little so I don’t panic. It’s as if I never saw the show before. I missed so much last time, it’s astonishing. While the show does stray from the books, it does so meaningfully. The actors do such a fantastic job of giving the characters dimension.
I’m studying this story so intensely because it’s thick with wisdom about the human condition. People interest me more than anything else. My lifelong journey to create artificial intelligence is a lot like falling in love with the human mind. I had no idea how incredible we all are until I worked for decades to simulate a tiny bit of what we can do.
George R. R. Martin has a profound understanding of people and shares fabulously through his novels. A Song of Ice and Fire is an incomplete masterpiece. The producers of Game of Thrones understand this. The entire crew does it justice. I’m barely into season 3, but what I’ve experienced so far has me enthralled. There’s a lot of new information that wasn’t presented in the novels.
Even the opening credits are brilliant. The details and hints I missed before are like finding Easter Eggs, now. I’ve been watching with headphones to eliminate distraction. I’ve caught myself feeling out of breath while sitting still watching this TV show more than once. It’s a combination of excitement, anticipation, and fear that keeps me glued to the screen until the credits roll at the end.
Characters who didn’t provoke much thought while reading are now obsessions. Cersei and Tywin Lannister, in particular. What I know of Tywin from the novels, and what I see on the screen combine to create a remarkably fascinating man. Valar Morghulis, (season 2, ep. 10,) had a scene where Tywin is on his white horse in the antechamber of the throne room in the Red Keep. It begins with his horse taking a dump.
It’s directing at it’s best in my opinion. It’s disgusting, yet deeply symbolic. In the novels, when Tywin is murdered by his son, his corpse reeks of an odor so foul even the Silent Sisters want to gag. He virtually rotted from the inside out, figuratively and literally. It’s confirmation of a secret need we all have for there to be justice and balance in the world. He was rich, powerful, and ruthless, but it was all a facade hiding the steaming pile of shit he chose to be.
Yet Tywin Lannister served the realm well for many years as the Hand of the King (to the mad king.) He endured all the manipulation and cruelty from the king and did nothing over it for years. It was awful, but he bore it. When his wife died giving birth to Tyrion, I suspect he changed for the worse. He lashes out at Tyrion, along with Cersei. Neither has forgiven him for the crime of being born. It’s the root of Tyrion’s sorrow. Tywin sees him as proof the gods are cruel and unworthy of his consideration.
The same event (birth of Tyrion) seems to be the root of Cersei’s sorrow. A father who is ashamed of him, a sister who sees him as the killer of her mother, and a brother who feels guilty for playing with his heart. Tyrion is a lot like Tywin, which is the real reason Tywin can barely stand to look at him. He looks at him and sees himself, and steaming piles of shit generally hate looking in the mirror. I’m delighted by how well the series is taking shape as I watch. The crew is doing so well it makes me giddy. I’m off to continue.