eter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy reawakened in us a love for medieval myth. What is it about those times that seems so romantic to a modern audience? I daresay 99% of us, if we pulled a Connecticut Yankee and found ourselves back in the era of “Soap? What is soap?” we’d be miserable, filthy, and probably covered with boils.[ref]On the plus side, we’d be taller than pretty much everyone else.[/ref] But we’re still fascinated with the Middle Ages. Is it the chivalry? Sexist, right? The hats? The shiny suits? Really? How easy do you think it is to get around in that getup? And do you really think knights wore that shit every day? And why am I writing this in the form of a questionnaire?
Maybe it’s the simple, unambiguous ideas of good versus evil that most of the tales of those times, even the modern versions, have in common. Transpose LOTR to a modern setting and audiences would thoroughly reject the powerful good guy dressed all in white and the baddies in black as over simple and unrealistic. But unrealism is forgiven—celebrated—if you push the story back a millennium or so; then unicorns and swords in stone seem less out of place than plagues and infant mortality.
To feed the appetite—the gaping maw of ravening hunger—for such stories that the LOTRilogy awakened in a jaded modern audience, HBO has birthed a phenomenon (it’s more than just a series) called Game of Thrones.
Based on a series of novels entitled A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones is the title of the first volume) by George R.R. Martin, a mediocre writer but an epic fantasist, the HBO series Game of Thrones tells the inextricably interwoven stories of three families: the Starks, the Lannisters, and the Targaryens (with a knotty tangle of tangential bloodlines filling in the gaps) in an alternate universe where 90% of the reality follows the basic contours of our own medieval reality, with just enough WTFs (zombies, dragons, witches) sprinkled in to keep us wondering what could possibly happen next. Most of the fantasy elements are incidental, on background, which makes them seem all that more realistic: they’re no big whoop to the characters in the story. Martin (he’s a producer) doles out glimpses of supernatural things to come in tiny little teases—usually as cliffhangers—in such a skillful manner that it generates in the audience more anticipation than frustration.
At this point in the seasons of television, the anticipation of GoT is at a fever pitch. Most of us fans have watched and rewatched the first two seasons so many times that we can no longer deny, even to ourselves, our complete surrender to geekdom. Luckily for us, the universe has aligned itself so that, just as I find myself reciting accidentally memorized dialogue in that crepuscular slide from conscious to unconscious, trailers for season three have begun to appear.
Fut the literal wuck. “Death is coming for everyone and everything”? Well OK then, sounds like a short season. Not to mention, hello, spoiler? But it does look awesome. I know it doesn’t show everything, but the scenes chosen for this trailer are mostly pretty dark, visually, except for the shots of Daenerys and her army of heavily armed slaves.[ref]The NRA revisionists will be disappointed: if the book offers any clues, these slaves are not likely to rise up and free themselves.[/ref] But the images themselves are, as always, breathtaking. Plus dragons.
The main thrust seems to be Revenge. We’ve had two seasons to accumulate some wrongs; there is much butthurt in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. And now it looks like it’s time for a little payback. This trailer suggests that season three will be pretty battle heavy. With dragons and shit. And of course with little shits like King Joffrey. If there is a more punchable face anywhere on the planet, I welcome your nominations in the comments section. This kid has officially unseated Quentin Tarantino and Tom Hooper, the previous reigning champs of face punchability. He must need an armed guard to leave his house. Jack Gleeson, the kid who plays Joffrey, does way too good a job. I’m almost ready to say that it wouldn’t bother me a whole lot to hear he gets bullied at school, because hell, I would totally bully this kid. I hope season three is just a series of scenes of him getting his ass kicked over and over and over again. That’s the kind of deviation from the source material I can get behind. Plus dragons.
K so anyway. Trailer #2:
“I forbid you to die.” Better check with Catelyn Stark, she’s already announced there will be no survivors.
Trailer 2 is heavier on the intrigue, but there’s still no real shortage of battle scenes. And it turns out Tyrion Lannister has an iPad! Maybe the Dark Ages weren’t so bad after all.
So if the trailers are to be believed, Game of Thrones Season 3 will offer a satisfying mix of battles, butthurt, and blood vengeance. Let’s just hope that it’s out of a respect for spoiler etiquette that the trailers don’t show King Joffrey having his head fed to a dragon.
With that in mind, let’s go out on a positive note, shall we?