Hello everyone! It’s that time of the week again! Top Ten Tuesday is a book meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Basically, you get a different bookish topic every Tuesday, and you comprise a list of ten (or however many you’re able to list) relating to said topic.
Today’s topic is ‘Ten Reasons I Love X.’ I thought long and hard about what I would make my post about this week, until I decided to do it on Game of Thrones, or A Song of Ice and Fire. This is an amalgamation of reasons I love both the books and the show, since I’m such a huge fan of both things. Season 6 is coming to an end soon, which is crazy because it seems like it just started two weeks ago. Winds of Winter is hopefully coming out this year, and I’m almost done with my re-read of the first book. In short, George R. R. Martin’s creation has once again taken over my life, so I thought it fitting to dedicate a blog post to it.
Note: click the pictures for the appropriate credits
1. The Characters
This is perhaps one of the most obvious reasons why people like Game of Thrones. The characters are expertly crafted. George R. R. Martin has stated multiple times that he does not believe in black-and-white fantasy, where the good guys are beautiful, gallant people and the bad guys are ugly and have no redemption to them. His own vision of good and evil is so commendable and close to reality despite being in a completely fantasy set-up. Our evil characters are not totally evil – Joffrey loves his parents, Ramsay Snow loves his dogs. As little as those things may seem, they just go to show that not everybody is pure evil. Even the good characters can do somewhat morally ambiguous things- Arya is a straight-up anti-hero at this point, and Sansa is secretive. Jon Snow’s honor is his very weakness, much like Ned Stark’s.
And perhaps what is even more baffling to me, as a reader and viewer, is how invested I become in characters I hate. For example, Cersei Lannister is one of the most despicable and lethal characters in the series; she is ruthless and she will do anything in her lust for power, and her love for her children. Yet I understand why she does what she does. And despite hating her so freaking much, I love how developed her character is.
This reason is another of the most obvious ones. Rarely have I ever seen such vivid, imaginative world-building in one series. George R. R. Martin took examples from our own world, and incorporated them seamlessly into his series. Each of the major areas in his world have a set of traditions and customs. Westerosi people consider themselves civilized; there is a monarchy and noble houses, and knights and all that. Essos is a completely different world, with different clothes and foods, different ways of government and state, different traditions and religions. There are various religions in Westeros itself. Then comes the Wall and the horrors North of the Wall- things which are still to be explored, things that probably will never be explored in their entirety because the world is so damn expansive and huge. But despite missing huge chunks of areas, Martin’s world comes together in a cohesive manner. He could write in this world his entire life and even after that, and I’d still find new things to marvel at.
Valar morghulis. All men must die, yet George R. R. Martin takes that to a whole new level. I remember when I was watching the first season (I hadn’t read the books yet), and I had a very distinct idea of who the main character was, who the good guy was. And then that thing happened, and I lost my fucking mind, because everything I had known about story telling and TV shows was shattered, because this TV show had killed the main character in the very first season. How could that be? Then I came across Season 3, when that particular wedding happened, and I just couldn’t handle it. I knew I had to read the books to see if more of my beloved characters die. I grew to be afraid to have favorite characters, certain that they wouldn’t live ’til the end of the series. But the thing is: GRRM doesn’t kill off characters for shock factor. No, he does it because it’s integral to the story, and that’s what makes him a master storyteller. Despite being attached to these characters, you understand why the decision was made, and why it was important. Call it being a good audience, or being a masochist.
4. The Costumes
Bonus points for Jason Momoa being half-naked for the entirety of his role. 🙂
5. The History
This may come under Point #2, but I thought it deserved a separate category just because it always blows my mind. The fact that Martin has the entire history of the world inside his head, and he gives us tidbits of it in every book and every episode is both astonishing and frustrating. There were the Targeryans with their dragons, Balerion the Black Dread whose skull lies in King’s Landing. There was the Doom of Valyria, which destroyed the prosperous kingdom of Old Valyria, the cause still remains largely unknown. There was the Long Night and the struggle between the Andals and the Children of the Forest, the birth of the Night’s King, and the conquest by Aegon Targeryan. There’s so much, so many novels that can be born from one world inside one man’s head. It’s insane.
6. The Soundtrack
Ramin Djawadi did such a brilliant job with the soundtrack, and I don’t just mean the theme music. I also mean the music playing in the scenes. Each score fits the scene perfectly. My personal favorites are from Season 4 during the Battle of Castle Black. Click the links below if you’re interested in listening to my favorites.
7. The Fandom
I think the Game of Thrones fandom is one of the most dedicated fandom out there. From cosplay kings and queens to spending an immense amount of time analyzing Martin’s each and every word, or each movement in every scene, coming up with outlandish (and awesome) theories to explain deaths, politics, motives, and power. Game of Thrones wouldn’t be Game of Thrones, if it weren’t for the fans who got me believing so staunchly in things that haven’t even been confirmed yet. R + L = J is basically fact in my mind, when Martin could come out and say “bazinga” and completely change the direction of the reveal, and it wouldn’t matter because it’s just true. And it’s that way because of the fandom.
8. The Supernatural
Remember at the end of Season 5, everybody was saying that Game of Thrones had done zombies better than The Walking Dead, which is a zombie show? Well, it’s true because the zombies in Game of Thrones are the ONLY zombies I have encountered in all my years of reading and watching fiction that fucking terrify me. The White Walkers, or the Others, or whatever you want to call them are terrifying, period. They aren’t just zombies who want brains. They aren’t just corpses that are ruled by their desire to feed. Nah fam, these are creatures with brains and smarts who raise zombies with those motives. It’s nuts.
Not to mention that Game of Thrones has many other things under its belt. Dragons? Check. They’re not nearly as bad-ass as I had hoped they’d be (partly because I’m not big on Daenerys), but they’re still pretty awesome to look at. Direwolves? Check. I love wolves so much, and Game of Thrones gives me my occasional fix. Magic? Resurrection? Weird forest-y children? Check, check, and check.
9. The Fighting
And I don’t mean the violence, which can sometimes get a little much, so much so that I have to look away. *cough Oberyn cough.* I mean the choreographed fighting: the tourneys or the duels or the trials, or the wars. They’re all so well-done that I find myself marveling that it’s TV, and not an extremely high-budget movie. Some of my favorite scenes in the entire series are the ones which involve fighting: the aforementioned Battle at Castle Black, Hardhome, Tyrion’s trial, the fight between the Hound and a certain someone. The flashback to the Tower of Joy in the latest season blew my freaking mind. Aaaaaand coming up is the Cleganebowl and the Bastard Bowl, and I’m just so stoked.
10. Tyrion fucking Lannister
Yes, yes, Tyrion is a character and technically he was included in the first one. You’re right, he was included in the first point, but I thought I needed to go a little further and get him his own category. Just because he’s that bad-ass. Apart from being one of the funniest, smartest characters in the series, he’s also the most complex. A dwarf born in a time where a man’s strength keeps defines his honor and keeps him alive. He’s the definition of the underdog, yet he’s survived through most everything. Hated by his own father and sister who blame him for his mother’s death, accused of something he had no hand in not once, but three times. Someone who was surrounded by vipers and spiders his entire life, only to come out as the most decent of them all. He’s the only Lannister who knows compassion or empathy or something other than sheer selfishness. He also says things like, “I’m not questioning your honor. I am denying its existence,” so bonus points.