Jul 052011
Authors: Allison Sylte

Usually, I’m not really down with a story detailing an incestuous relationship between twins that involves pushing a small child off of a tall building while vying for the throne in a bankrupt kingdom with extinct dragons.

And I’m especially not down with watching explicit sex scenes between these two twins while my conservative and perpetually awkward father sits next to me, twitching while thumbing the remote, inevitably wishing that he could fast-forward live TV.

But, thanks to HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” none of this feels particularly abnormal anymore, other than the fact that it has definitely forced me to see more boobs than I’m particularly comfortable with on a Sunday night.

My fixation with “Game of Thrones” began earlier this summer, when my normally cheap father informed me that he had purchased HBO for the sole purpose of watching what appeared to be some dumb looking fantasy series that starred the actor who played Boromir.

He had tried to get me to read the books multiple times, but I never got all the way through them. As anyone who has tried reading the books can attest, they’re basically full of sex, war, incest and courageous speeches. It’s like a smutty romance novel for men, only with more blood.

I told my father, each time he inquired as to why I couldn’t finish them, that he can read his man-candy, and I’ll stick to my “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” novels, thank you very much.

But, because I’m mooching off my dad this summer, when he asked me to watch the “Game of Thrones” with him, I said yes — figuring that because my father helped give me life, I guess I could suffer through an hour of TV to satisfy him.

And from the moment I watched a group of zombies attack an innocent guardsmen, I was hooked.

Yes, the battles were awesome and the actor who plays Jon Snow was hot, but what really drew me in was the story, how “Game of Thrones” took every fantasy novel cliche and threw it out the window. Even though at its heart it was a swords and dragons thriller, it takes those characters you’ve seen a million times and adds flaws.

Instead of the pious, heroic knight, it’s the pious heroic night who is sleeping with his sister. And instead of the wise king, it’s the 300-pound idiotic king who gets drunk and gets himself killed by a wild boar.

On top of the characters, it details power struggles, and is one of those rare stories where, although the Starks are painted as heroes, no one is really the protagonist. Instead of simple, black and white moral conflicts, it explores a whole other side of human nature — those grey areas where the only real way to get what you want is to duke it out.

In other words, even though it’s part of the fantasy genre, it’s as realistic a portrayal of human nature as you can get.

It’s a fantasy story without a hero, and a political thriller where no one really has political ideas. It makes you uncomfortable, it makes you squirm and more than anything it makes you think.

And that’s precisely what good entertainment should do.
Sure, it’s not as enjoyable as “Sex in the City 2” or as fast-paced as a “Harry Potter” movie. But it actually has something to say.

And so, I’m eagerly awaiting the next season of “Game of Thrones,” not only to check out Jon Snow, but to also be engaged again, to learn something kind of awkward about mankind and myself, and to think a little bit while simultaneously watching people get impaled.

And maybe that’s the best part of “Game of Thrones”: It’s about the contradictions. That men are both good and evil, that you can be a midget who constantly hires hookers but still manages to be a good guy and that you can make a manly fantasy TV show that a girl can actually watch.

Content Managing Editor Allison Sylte is a junior journalism major. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 1:32 pm

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