For those who don’t watch HBO’s brilliant take on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series, Game of Thrones, here’s a quick rundown of what you’re missing.
Everyone is a prick and the people you love die.
Like many people, I was only made aware of the book series after the announcement and subsequent airing of the show. I haven’t been reading the books since 1996 when A Game Of Thrones, the first book in the series, was released. In ’96, I was too busy pretending to be a Power Ranger during recess. I’m currently in the middle of A Clash of Kings, the book the current season is based on. I’m only a little bit ahead of the show’s narrative, and every week I scramble to stay ahead of what I will see come Sunday, with the hope of one day leaping far ahead of the TV show — possibly finishing what’s been written of the book series before the start of the next season, time permitting.
My biggest gripe of the show and the books so far is that Joffrey isn’t dead yet.
For those that have no idea who or what I’m talking about, Joffrey is a blonde-headed, petulant little asshole. He’s also the king. He falls in to the category of “a villain I love to hate.” He’s such a monumental prick that I can’t help but smile and laugh whenever he acts like a prick because I know by doing so he’s just making his eventual death that much sweeter.
That is assuming he ever dies in the series. I have no idea. Death seems to be a regular occurrence in the series so far, so I can only hope Joff gets his neck slit at some point. And that worries me.
I’m not worried about Joffrey dying and what it means for the show (how will the series go on if one of the main villains is gone?), I worry about what that means about me. Joffrey is, as I said, a prick that I love to hate, but when I think about it a little bit more I realize something troubling: I really want to watch a child die. Not any child. Just one specific child.
I not only want to watch that kid get his throat slit, but if that ever happens, I want the showrunners to dedicate the final ten minutes of that episode to a continuous loop of Joffrey getting got, kind of like this GIF…
…but with more neck slicing and blood sprays.
That’s f*cked up, isn’t it? In the world George R.R. Martin has created, death is fairly common, and it can happen to anyone – people you thought were the main characters, women, children, babies, innocents, and occasionally, villains. It’s a story in which no one is safe, and the people that seem safe are the most at risk. As one of the key lines in the first book goes, “When you play a game of thrones you win or you die.” Everyone in the show is deeply involved in the so called “game of thrones,” and so far there hasn’t been a whole lot of winning going on. But even with death being so built in to the show, I feel weird about wanting a child to die.
Joffrey is a great villain that totally deserves whatever horrible fate George R.R. Martin might throw his way. (Or already has. Again, I’m not too far in to the book series). The fact that he’s just a kid muddles things. If he were an adult, screw’em. Off with his head! But a kid? Ehhhh. That’s a moral grey area that makes me feel dirty, even if in this fictional world the death of a tyrant applies to any king, regardless of who or what they are. Hell, the series opens with the attempted murder of a child after the child sees something he shouldn’t have, and that kid was an innocent and had very little power, at least compared to Joffrey.
It’s not often I want to see a child die. There are plenty of kids I would love to see get kicked really hard, right in the mouth, with a heavy foot, but most of them are assholes I knew in elementary school that made fun of me for pretending to be a Power Ranger during recess. Only a proper time machine could make that possible. In fact, this might be the first time in my life when I have thought a child’s death might be a good thing, and very possibly the last time, unless I one day have a son that ends up being a demon. In that very specific case of demon possession, I’ll make the exception.
George R.R. Martin, you are a fantastic writer with a knack for creating characters that engage me. I just wish you didn’t make me want to take a very long and hot shower after reading your books.