Unusual for me, I spent last Thanksgiving with my biological family instead of the one I’ve made. Good food, but an uneventful day. It’s sad when you can not rely on your dysfunctional family for entertainment. But one of my brothers whom I don’t see often passed along a copy of The Game of Thrones to me, suggesting it as a good read. I’m not a big fan of the fantasy genre. Usually, when dragons appear unicorns soon follow. You lose me at that point so it’s just better to never crack the cover
Several weeks later I decided I should at least give it a try. HBO’s version of the tale has been scheduled for a second season and I’d seen a few episodes of the first season. More importantly, I was bored. The introductory book to the proposed seven book series of A Song of Fire and Ice, The Game of Thrones hooked me with its first chapter. I’ve quickly polished off the five published novels of the series, and even took the time to read an excerpt of the sixth yet to be published book.
Some of you who are fans of the show may be getting a bit nervous right about now, knowing that any opportunity I have for posting a spoiler I jump on. But this time you’re safe. I think. I didn’t watch the entire first season, have no idea where they left off, and thusly can not ruin whatever cliff-hanger they went with to lead into the next season. Plus I’m feeling benevolent because I got to use the word ‘thusly.’ Oh, but there is a good reason they cast such an ugly young man to play the part of Theon Greyjoy. And neither you nor he should get too attached to his bulge. As impressive as it is. For now.
Generally, I like HBO’s series. And The Game of Thrones was beautifully filmed. The setting and attention to detail easily draws you into the world they’ve created. Until a few hundred main characters all show up at once. It’s not just that there are so many of them, or that there are so many entangled relationships to try and sort out, but that being unfamiliar with their worlds – which there are seven of – means you are asked to devote far too much time to trying to figure out who these people are and why they are all acting so strangely. I liked the look of the show, but I watch television to be entertained not to be forced to think. Part of the joy of being a couch potato is being able to put your brain on cruise control.
This seems to be a new trend with HBO. The old paradigm was the show’s premiere set up the plot and methodically introduced the characters, the storyline was left for future episodes. Now you have to watch an entire first season just to figure out what is going on. I just finished watching Luck, and unlike with The Game of Thrones, stuck with it. Luck was entertaining but it wasn’t until the last two episodes before anything started to gel. But ya know, Dustin Hoffman staring in a television series . . . you gotta hang in there for the payoff. Okay, and because I used to have a big crush on Jason Gedrick and was hoping to see some skin too.
Luck though has none, or more correctly has only the bad kind. They’d started filming the second season when they accidently killed a horse during filming. Since it was the third one, PETA got in a huff and now HBO has dropped the series. Since it is only dire wolves that get killed in The Game of Thrones, that show was allowed to continue.
Oh damn, Did I do it again?
You’d think that any show that features Jason Momoa’s gorgeous ass in all its glory would be one I’d be glued to. And I was lucky enough to catch that episode. But since the whole thing was just too confusing, not to mention that all of the leads are in serious need of a good shampooing, I gave up. Now that I’ve read the books, the characters all make sense. And I’m impressed with how well HBO has done in bringing that world to life.
They also did well with casting. Often the problem with reading a book after seeing the characters on screen is you are then stuck with those actors playing the roles in your head as you read. That can be dangerous. It’s like with Tom Clancy’s novels. Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan is a natural and his craggy features work well with the part when you are reading any one of the numerous books he appears in. Hollywood also tried Alec Baldwin and Ben Affleck in that role, neither fit, both suck. And the latest word is that in the reboot Chris Pine will tackle the role which is like casting Pee Wee Herman to play the Terminator. But I’ll suspend judgement on that one on the off chance there will be lots of male nudity involved. Uh, Chris Pine’s, not Herman’s pee wee. In any case, HBO hit the bull’s eye and even cast a real dwarf in their series. I mean in The Game of Thrones. Not Dustin Hoffman.
The other episode I managed to catch had a brief but titillating gay scene with a Castro clone and an obvious bottom indulging in a bit of manscaping and a suggested blow job. Gay sex is always a good move, but then since the Castro clone looked like a bottom too, that was just as confusing as the rest of the series. I appreciate that HBO takes good care of its gay audience, but now that I’m a fan of the books I just have to ask, “Who let the gays out?”
The queen in this case, Renly Baratheon, does not come across as gay in the books. Or at best, obliquely so. And though the other bottom is known as the Knight of Flowers, there is nothing really gay about him either. At best you could claim they are both bisexual. But then what straight man isn’t? Not that I’m complaining that HBO decided to drape their characters in pink. Though if HBO really felt the need to get their gay on they could have at least gone with Momoa’s character and had long naked love scenes in every episode. But then he does wear a lot of mascara, so . . .
True gay fans of the books – the kind of people who save up to attend sci-fi conventions and can repeat the dialogue from any and all Star Trek movies of television series word for word – argue both characters were gay in the books. And then go on to repeat lines from several other characters as proof. Word for word. Now even author George R.R. Martin says both Queen Renely and the flower girl were gay in his books. Though imperceptibly so. “I like to handle things subtly. I couldn’t ever actually say, ‘such-and-such is gay,’ because, as I’m sure you know, the word wasn’t invented until the ‘60s. And I’m talking medieval times, and I’m not going to say, ‘so-and-so is gay.’ But I thought it was pretty clear in context,” he says.
Huh. I’m pretty good at sniffing out gayness, even when it is subtle. And you don’t have to use the word gay. A throw away line about hard penises pressed up against each other would do it. Besides George, you threw in dragons. If your defense is realism, gays have got to come in before the dragons do.
Not that Martin fails completely in interjecting a bit of gayness in his stories. The Red Viper of Dorne gets outed as a bisexual character (and since you won’t remember the character anyway that spoiler doesn’t count) and Brienne, the Blue Knight, smells suspiciously like a lesbian. There’s more fish on fish involving Daenerys, but then that’s forgivable because after you’ve had Jason Momoa riding your ass what other man could ever compare?
Being on HBO, you know there’s gonna be lots of nudity and The Game of Thrones does not disappoint. Nor does it satisfy much either. The penis/mammary ratio is a bit off, and the penis that is shown is anonymous. Sure gay guys appreciate having a gay character or two in any television series; we like to be represented too. But when push comes to shove, we’ll always choose cock over character. And it’s always better if that cock has a name. Other than Theon Greyjoy’s because we’ve already established it is not long for the world. No matter how long it appears to be.
Richard Madden, who plays Robb Stark, also appears on British television in the series Sirens, portraying a gay paramedic and has been more than willing to strip down for that role. It’s only fair the American audience gets to see his best feature too. But that will depend on which fans Martin listens too. But we are on record. “I’ve got a few letters from gay fans who, while they were pleased by the naked male sexuality, were upset that the penises were not actually erect,” says Martin.
And you’ll notice none of those fans mentioned dragons, George.
I’m looking forward toward the new season, Winter is Coming, which starts on April 1st. Now that I known who the characters are, I’ll be able to pay more attention to the plot. And keep an eye peeled for penis. Just in case. Not that my hopes are high. Or fully erect. I mean it’s not like we’re talking Spartacus: Vengeance.