By ROSIE WATERLAND AND JAMILA RIZVI
Game of Thrones. GAME. OF. THRONES.
You either watch every episode and love it, or you’ve never seen it before.
There is no in between.
Here at the Mamamia office, we’re split. Jamila, Melissa and Rosie LOOOVE Game of Thrones. Everyone else wonders what the hell we’re talking about when we say “Arya and The Hound won’t make it to House Frey before the Lannisters stir some shit with Lord Walder.”
And when we each came to the office last week completely traumatised after the Red Wedding, our obsession finally started to raise some questions. Questions that, as is the way with GoT fans (GoT is what the insiders call it), we were only to happy to answer. In detail. Again. And again. And again.
Now we’ve decided it would just be easier to answer all GoT related questions in one easy post (we also just really, REALLY wanted to write about it).
1. Um… What is it actually about?
(Warning GoT fans – we know this will seem waaaay too general to you, but we’re just trying to explain the essence of the show here to get people in. We’re keeping it simple for a reason – DON’T FREAK OUT.)
The show is based on a series of fantasy books (I know, I know – but stick with us), and is basically set in medieval-type times, but with a whole lot of crazy magic shit thrown in.
There are a bunch of kingdoms throughout the land, but there is only one ultimate throne, and whoever sits on it rules everything and everyone.
Each of the kingdoms is ruled by a rich and influential family called a ‘House’, and each of those ‘Houses’ wants to to be the big boss on the big throne – the Iron Throne.
Thus, they are in a constant ‘Game of Thrones’, fighting in wars against each other trying to be on top. Basically, imagine if every state in Australia had a ruling family, and each of those families were constantly at war trying to take over Canberra. Except it’s the year 1400. And there’s dragons.
The scary kicker? While all these Houses are busy with their petty fights over the Iron Throne, an epic army of undead zombie-like ice people are descending on everything, so soon it may not even matter who sits on what chair where. Not if an ice-zombie is eating you.
2. Yeah, I’m not in to fantasy. That sounds crap. Why would I like this show?
Because it is just SO MUCH MORE than a fantasy show! We swear. None of us are usually that into fantasy either, and never thought we’d be obsessed with a show that has fire gods and wargs (we also never thought we would use a sentence with the words ‘fire gods and wargs’).
But there is also family intrigue, epic love, complex politics, fiercely independent women, an unfair class system… we could go on. It’s kind of like The Sopranos or, The West Wing set in Middle Earth. Allow us to demonstrate with this complex algorithm:
3. I can’t be bothered playing catch up – can I just start watching now?
No. No, you cannot.
You need to settle down for a weekend and plough through from the start. But trust us, you’ll be glad that you did. Every House has many characters and most of those characters have their own storylines – and you WILL become invested in every one. Seriously. It’s not unheard of for people to start watching the first episode, only to emerge from their homes 7 days later confused about the date, desperately seeking fresh food and water and in need of a good shower. It’s that good. SRSLY.
4. Why is everyone losing their shit about this ‘Red Wedding’?
Ah, the Red Wedding. Excuse us while we take a moment to rock back and forth in the feotal position…
Okay. So, the Red Wedding took place during the second last episode of the third series, that aired two weeks ago. It was basically a wedding in which a LOT of people died, very unexpectedly and very violently. The red wedding was red because of all the blood.
The thing that really shocked everyone though was that not one, not two, but THREE main characters were killed. That’s the thing about Game of Thrones – no one is ever safe. As soon as you like someone, as soon as you become invested in their story and have some hope for their future happiness – SWISH (that’s the sound of a swift sword slicing through an unsuspecting neck) – they’re gone.
5. Still don’t care. Give me something else.
Sheesh, all right. The characters KICK ARSE. Here are some fan favourites:
6. But why would I like something that involves so much violence, especially against women? Isn’t the show anti-feminist?
There is absolutely no question that GoT is violent. Very violent. This is not a TV show for those who get woozy at the sight of a little bit of blood, or indeed a headless corpse riding a horse. And a lot of the violence in the show has a sexual element.
But – in almost every episode of the show, the families are at war. And sadly, in the real world rape has often been (and still is) used as a tool of war. It’s also important to note that the sexual violence is committed by the most heinous of characters. That is, it’s not glamourised, it’s not held up as a positive action, and it is certainly not sexy. It’s a brutal reality of the war(s) taking place.
In one famous scene where a young King Joffrey (the baddest of the bad guys who was no doubt based on the historical figure of Rome’s Caligula, he’s THAT sick) forces one prostitute to physically abuse another while he watches. And while incredibly difficult to watch (Jam admits to leaving the room during this particular scene because she couldn’t hack it) there is certainly nothing sexy about it. It’s disgusting in the extreme and used to expose the utter depravity and evil of the character.
Is the violence too much? Is it over the top? Perhaps at times it is. But is GoT as a whole anti-feminist? Certainly not. Because the show is responsible for creating some of television’s strongest female characters, who are ass-kicking awesome.
Exhibit A: Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons who raises a giant army of devoted, former slaves to back her efforts to recapture the throne.
Exhibit B: Shae, the low-born former prostitute who has strength, guts, brains, integrity and loyalty in spades (and puts most of the rich men in GoT to shame).
Exhibits C, D, E, F and G: Arya Stark, the tween wonder woman, Margaery Tyrell and her grandma who are a ruthless and clever feminist duo, Talisa Stark the nurse who marries for love but sticks by her principles of social justice, Gilly, who has the guts to leave an abusive partner and raise her inbred son as her own, and Brienne, the tower of strength who has an absolute devotion to king and country.
7. And what about all the gratuitous nudity? Are you trying to get me to watch porn…?
Okay so GoT is a tad pornographic. But who doesn’t like a little bit of porn, eh?
How to get your eager little hands on the goods: This is the most pirated TV show in history for a reason – but stealing is bad, okay? In Australia, GoT is made available just hours after the US. You can watch it on Foxtel’s Showcase channel or purchase it on itunes. Easy.