New York Times wrote another piece sweepingly snubbing Game of Thrones. Last time it was called “boy-fiction” and raised an uproar from the legion of fans – most of which were of the lady variety. This time it is more informed and articulate, but ultimately misses something important. I think this oversight is generally what lies beneath the sweaty keyboard pounding when fans take to defending their interests.
After I read the article I wrote a long blog that basically amounted to “YOU DON’T LIKE WHAT I LIKE, YOU’RE A DOO-DOO HEAD!”, but when I hovered over the Publish button I recanted. I think there is something going on that is larger than what I think critics and the arbiters of taste realize; it is something as old and old itself. Perhaps I am late to the party on this, but I just realized it.
There is a shift going on in societies’ taste, genre is becoming accepted and mainstream. The old and stodgy snubbing of the fantastic is becoming dated, like a geriatric wildebeest falling behind the rest of the pack, waiting to be picked off by a hungry lion. If GoT did indeed only appeal to the small D & D audience and the fans of the books, I don’t think it would have been as successful as it is.
If we look at the top twenty highest grossing movies of all time, excluding “Titanic” and “The Passion of the Christ”, the other movies are steeped in fantasy and science fiction. If we go back in time and adjust for inflation we see less movies with strong fantastic elements dominating the top twenty. So what has changed? I can’t help but notice a trend between the super hero movies and the revamping of classic fairy tales.
I think as time progresses we will see fewer reviews of this nature; dismissing and brushing off shows/movies based on heritage of appeal and unconventional means of story telling. I understand that it is easier to dismiss something out of hand because of unfamiliarity, say that it should get with the program because this is how these things work, but everything changes and sometimes . I’m predicting in a couple of years people will look back on Game of Thrones and remark on how different and ground breaking it was, and the people raising that banner will be the same people who scoffed at it.
Despite having a lot names to follow and killing off the “main character”, there is still a sense of something. It feels big, nasty and oddly cold. This sense of wonder is what I think drives at the heart of the show, and ultimately drives the audience. We love a good underdog story, we love when good conquers all, but perhaps we want to see the more visceral side of humanity. Maybe we want to know how much hell a character went through so when they finally find heaven we can equally share in their moment. Whether or not GoT will deliver that feeling, book or show, is yet to be determined but for now the ride is entertaining. Until the conclusion of this epic story, I can’t forget that winter is coming.