Last night I came home after a great carne asada barbecue with friends and set about my Sunday evening ritual of downloading the newest episodes of my favorite TV shows. I cut cable and 95% of TV in general out of my life long ago and I am far more productive because of it. Now, I just
pirate download any of the shows I want to see. I watch less than 3 hours of TV a week, it’s mostly comprised of education programs and documentaries. No matter how important brain-food is I still make it a point to indulge in shows that are just for fun.
Author George R. R. Martin penned a series of books called “A Song Of Ice And Fire”; I’ve *read them all, more on that later. The very first book in the series is “A Game Of Thrones” Unless you’ve been living in North Korea, you’re heard of it. The books are rich, all encompassing novels that delve into the sociopolitical games of strategy people play. It falls under the fantasy genre, but doesn’t rely on cheap magic and spells to sell the stories. In fact, Martin specifically make magic rare, and with great consequence when used. His stories are about people.
HBO did a great job translating the books to the TV show. In the beginning, my favorite character was probably the same favorite as most men, Khal Drogo! Just saying his name made my beard grow two inches. He is the leader of the Dothraki people, a take-no-prisoners, testosterone fueled, stoic meritocracy.
In this clip, Khal Drogo (played by Jason Momoa, a man voted model of the year & sexiest man alive several times) is telling his new wife about the presents he’s going to bring his future son…
Game of Thrones, Season 1 Episode 7
Unfortunately, as the saying goes “Gangsters don’t live that long.”
I hadn’t settled on a new favorite character since Khal Drogo, but a character named Lord Petyr Baelish, better known by his nickname Littlefinger (played by world class actor Aidan Gillen) really made a case for himself after this monologue he had with Ros.
Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 2
Littlefinger has one overarching main character trait and job, he is as a Pimp. His whorehouses have squeezed men for more and better information that any professional interrogator ever could. It’s how he built his substantial empire and worked his way to the highest reaches of government. Up until that scene, he hadn’t sold me on it. He was far to soft for me to believe he’d earned his street cred running a prostitution ring. There has to be a certain level of ice cold disconnect between the pimp, his emotions, and the girls he’s pimping. I just didn’t see him as having the stomach for it. After that clip, I shed all doubt.
Lets be clear, Petyr Baelish holds the titles “Master of Coin” and “Lord of The Fingers”. However, those are just words on paper, official governmental titles that are a footnote at best when compared to his central role as a well networked spymaster who has what is easily the most effective group of intelligence and information gatherers his world has ever seen. He wears his family sigil, the mockingbird as a brooch, it’s quite telling of his position in the Game Of Thrones.
The mockingbird is one of many lies.
Little Finger also lands several excellent monologues throughout the series that aren’t in the books. By far the best verbal sparring match to date is an ideological confrontation he has with his literary foil, Lord Varys. Lord Varys is often referred to as The Spider and is played by Conleth Hill, a man whose screen presence can be described as openly secretive and sincerely unnerving. Lord Varys is every bit the master intelligence gatherer and spymaster that Little Finger is, though his empire is built on a different network. His “little birds” as his spies are called, are almost entirely made up of children pulled from the poor, runaways, and cast-offs of society.
Game of Thrones, Season 3 Episode 6
The show is in hiatus, season four docent premiere until Spring 2014, between now and than you should read the books or listen to the audiobooks.
*I downloaded the audiobooks, Roy Dotrice does an amazing job as narrator! He’s narrated the entire series of five books and it got him his second, separate entry into the Guinness Book Of World Records. Martin is scheduled to write two more books in the series, I’m sure Mr. Dotrice will be narrating those as well. His first entry into the Guinness Book Of World Records was for having done more than 1,782 solo performances as an actor. This one was as The greatest number of characters voiced in an audio book, 224. This was my first time using audio books, I started here because I’d been told how good his narration is. It didn’t disappoint!
He drops a few “Easter Eggs” in this interview for those who are familiar with the series, but no spoilers. Lets keep it that way.
If you don’t want to
download buy the books or the audiobooks, you can listen to the entire series chapter by chapter on YouTube, starting here.
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.”
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