Monday, June 10, 2013

Storm of Spoilers From Y2K!

Um... spoilers?  I guess?  If you're not caught up with the TV show.  Just read the book, it's gonna be a long off-season.  But don't just get all, "My teacher made me read in high school and I faked it because not reading and popping pills is how you get ahead in life," and start reading the second half of A Storm of Swords, because you will be lost.  Read them all like an adult would.

“The things we love destroy us every time, lad.  Remember that.”  -  Jeor Mormont

Poor Game of Thrones TV show fans.  You'll know them if you see them, moping around, clutching their plush dire wolf.  Give them a hug.  They need it, they just sat through an incredibly disastrous wedding.  Or, if you're like me, you can just snicker and go on about your life, since you already read the source material and knew damn well that Ned Stark getting his head chopped off was just the appetizer in Westeros' seventy-seven course feast serving up the noblest family in the land on a nice-guys-finish-last platter.

And it's covered in cat hair.
Now, you might cry foul and wonder why I have no sympathy for the average GoT tube viewer.  "They didn't know!" you might lament to me.  "Why must you be so cruel?! They killed the puppy, for the Crone's sake!"  It's simple why I feel nothing but relief and amusement at their sorrow: I can finally stop holding my own grief in, and, more importantly, where the hell were they when I read through the same event way back in February of '012?!  Where were they for the original A Song of Ice and Fire fans when they went through this heartbreak back in 2000?  I'll tell you where they were, busy holding their hands over their ears going, "Blah blah blah no spoilers blah blah!" like a child who just found out that the Tooth Fairy isn't real and their mom still keeps the baby teeth in her dresser under her socks.  

Why should I be punished for having the gumption to notice that after the first season of Game of Thrones, I might should pick up some of those there novels that tell the rest of the story of Middle Ea… I mean Westeros and Essos?  It's right there, on the shelves of your local book depository.   Since 1996.

The Virtual Assistant Journal
Places like Borders... oh wait...

777 Peppermint Place
Or Wald... dammit!

Here.  It's here and you don't have to deal with piss poor alphabetizing or stale coffee smell.

I’ve learned well enough that TV shows based on books are never as good as they could be.  Why wouldn't I exercise my gift, given to me by my parents at an extremely young age, of competent and lightning fast literacy to know as much as I can about something I love and care about more than any real, tangible thing in my life?  Why should I, when allowed into a Game of Thrones TV conversation and inquire whether anyone else has read the books, be the one subject to eye-rolls and groans.  First of all, you'd be wise not to piss me off, I know things series watchers won't know until 2015 or later.  And secondly, I'm really awesome at talking about Game of Thrones, and if I'm given an honest answer where everyone is: show, reading, or otherwise; I can cater my spoilers accordingly like a champ.  But nope, some people are just smarmy, and sadly, I imagine it’s not the only time someone has been scoffed at for opening their mind by doing something so stupid and pathetic as, wait for it, reading a book!

Apparently, we live in a world where people seemingly have no time to sit down with a good solid book anymore.  Don't get me wrong, everyone is busier than I am, but if a person can wait an entire week to see the next installment of a TV show, I feel like they have ten minutes every day here and there to read a chapter or two of a book series that's seventeen years old.  Some people may not know it’s a book series.  Judging by some of the Twitter comments, they seem to think that the TV writers hurt their feelings, and should be held accountable.  It’s not like the Internet doesn’t exist and they could waste five seconds doing a smidgen of research before they cry havoc at the wrong people.  Seven hells, it even says, “based on,” in the opening credits.

Most kids don’t even know Titanic was based on a comic book.

Or maybe, and this is worse, people just don't care.  But that can't be true, because people who threaten a television staff over a piece of fictional programming obviously care a little.  They might be the people that buy a kitschy shirt and wear it once to a special event to prove their fandom, but they care enough to spend the ten dollars to half-assedly prove it.

But that's not completely fair, not everyone who hasn't read the Game of Thrones series has avoided doing so on purpose.  I didn't start reading it right away, but the second Dany survived that fire and birthed those dragons, I needed more, and the books deliver more.  Every time Sean Bean stares longingly when his sister is mentioned, the book's flashbacks fill you in, or makes you wonder even more about who Jon Snow's parents really are.  “But it’s Ned Stark and some wet nurse!”  Oh... you sure?  There are people who, “can’t get enough of Game of Thrones, OMG, smiley face smiley face!” and are the same people to instantly dismiss the idea that someone, somewhere, cares about this universe enough to read five whole books and spend hours on the Wiki of Ice and Fire cross referencing characters who will never have the opportunity to be on camera.

Like this guy, you know, Jon Snow’s dad... whaaaaaaaat?

There are dozens of fan universes that not only benefit from extra material written for and about it, but most of them take on lives of their own.  Star Wars: The Movies, are such a tiny slice of the ten thousand year old galaxy that these characters inhabit.  As my buddy excellently pointed out here, without a small understanding of the Expanded Universe, these new movies are gonna seem, well, as alien seeing a Ryn.  No matter how corny some of the ‘90s novels were, even George Lucas admitted there is twenty years worth of literature that they can’t just ignore if they plan to set these new movies in a respectable timeline to keep the age of the returning characters in perspective.  Some of those favorite side characters people just expect to return and have cameos, might not even be alive anymore.  Let’s face it, there’s no might about it.  They’re not.  They got George Martin-ed.

So, no, I don’t mean to come off as a Game of Thrones snob, and I suppose saying that automatically makes me one.  If I really was, I would say, “A Song of Ice and Fire,” snob. or abbreviate it, “ASOIAF,” just to prove how non-snobish I am.  It's not snobby to say, honestly, that this universe is exponentially larger and amazingly more expansive in these books.  It almost rivals the diverse complexity of Adventure Time, and that's saying something, cause that's some deep math.  The backstory of Jon Snow's birth, which I already mentioned, is reason enough to waste a few hours with your nose in a book.  Robert's Rebellion, the Greyjoy Rebellion, the Landing, the First Men and the Children of the Forest, and the Night King that lived at the Nightfort that Bran and Sam were just at in the season three finale!  The Night's King was a Watch commander who married a white walker!  Come on!  That's insane!  That story doesn't fit in an hour a week, ten episode season TV show.

That said, I don’t really feel sad at all for viewer victims of the Red Wedding.  None of you felt bad for me.  Being the second person I knew that actually read that far, I was alone in my room, about to go to sleep when the shitty musicians started the Rains of Castamere.  When crossbows appeared in the musicians hands and Robb sprouted bolts from his body.  When one of his kingsguard, Dacey Mormont, cousin of Jorah Mormont, took an axe to her stomach.

This gorgeous lady.  And this girl’s art is awesome, even if you don't know who half of these characters are... cause they're in the books.

When Smalljon Umber, after throwing a table over Robb to protect him, was decapitated; his father wounded and captured while trying to fight his way free.  When Grey Wind escaped and murdered four hounds and tore a man’s arm off while being shot, repeatedly, to death.  When Catelyn watches as her, to her knowledge, last living son is run through and she herself has her throat cut, all the while her last thoughts calling out to Ned for it all to stop.  And it didn’t help that Arya’s next chapter ends with her getting hit on the back of a head with an axe, and you don’t find out she’s alive for a good long time after, something the viewers of the show were spared from.  No one was there for me when I turned off my iPad and struggled to go to sleep, completely drained and seriously considering never opening that stupid Kindle file ever again.

So you’re upset over the Red Wedding?  Join the freakin’ club.  You know what I’m upset about?  Every single thing that breaks my heart after the Red Wedding, especially the end of book five that nearly spoiled my mood enough to very nearly not enjoy a Childish Gambino concert.  I mean, I enjoyed it, I’m not a child, I can separate reality from fiction.  I only stood vigil for a few hours, not the normal days and days like Jamie; I had a rap concert to attend.  So the next time someone brings up the books to your favorite, “Oh my god, I love that show so much!  Book, what book?  I don’t read.  I don’t have time.  I don’t understand all this, ‘the book is better,’ talk, the show is enough but I’m still like the biggest fan ever!” program, maybe you should listen for a second, because there might be a cry for help you’re missing.  They might just need to vent.  And if they’re anything like me, they most likely won’t spoil anything for you; I hate spoilers as much as the next person.  And maybe let them gloat a little to you, because they might be holding in more than sadness; dark magic in the Game of Thrones universe doesn’t just affect the underdogs... and it hates weddings...

Game of Thrones wiki
The Status: Alive page, just in case you were worried... and you should be...