Hear Me Roar
News of a leaked Game of Thrones episode broke out over the weekend and then everyone I’ve ever known just DISAPPEARED. I thought I missed the rapture. GoT fans are hardcore and devoted and they’re everywhere!!! It’s spread like wildfire. People are acting like Game of Thrones is the best thing to happen since Hawaiian Pizza but here’s the thing: They’re right.
Game of Thrones is amazing. The storytelling, the action, the drama, the intrigue, the complexities, the rawness, the escape… it’s all there and it’s all awesome.
But that’s not what I want to talk about today. We all know Game of Thrones is a great series. What we have seemed to have lost overtime is the ability to curate our own taste. I griped about this last week when I gushed over my precious DVD collection. Being guided by Netflix visibility, star systems and what I call “projected popularity”, the idea that something is only popular because everyone says it is but it’s not actually that great of a product. Pokemon Go is a great example of this. A flash in the pan trend that lost steam because it didn’t have the legs for longevity to begin with.
Game of Thrones is not that. People like it because it’s good and more people like it because it’s popular. But stay liking it because it’s good.
Television used to be different. Anti-heroes weren’t in heavy spotlight, villains weren’t praised, violence wasn’t glorified and taste was individual and discoverable. We’re not discovering our own taste anymore because others are discovering taste for us.
I watched over 4 seasons of Game of Thrones. I thought it was a very good show. (Spoilers ahead…) The last episode I watched was Sansa’s wedding night where she was raped by the evil guy who ate Theon Greyjoy’s penis. See, the story content is weird when you write it out so plainly. I remember thinking to myself: Why am I sitting down for a nice evening with my wife to watch a woman be raped on television? I understand storytelling is what it is and storytellers will delve into whatever territory they feel, that’s the art part of this equation. But it’s simply content I’m not interested in watching. As good as it is, as addictive as it is, I would rather watch Voltron or Freaks and Geeks for the umpteenth time.
Quick fun story before moving on: When I stopped watching Game of Thrones, I told a friend. His first reaction was dude it gets so good!! Just wait. Then I asked him to spoil me on what happens next. He told me a young girl with a facial deformity gets burned alive. Then I was like, yeah… no.
Above The Rest
This isn’t about a projected view of my own morality. In fact, I’m quite fluid with what I’ll watch and not watch. It’s simply coming down to personal preference. We pick and choose the good and bad in what we consume. This is a concept I want to drive home. There’s always a double-edged sword bargain with most television shows and movies.
A good example of this is Big Brother. I love Big Brother but it’s essentially a show about lies and deceit and glorifies manipulation. I see social strategy as a living part of our daily lives. In our workplaces, our families, our social circles, so Big Brother to me is a free education on human behaviour in a pressure cooker. It’s taught me how to be confident and brave and I found inspiration in this show.
Others may find the same strength with Game of Thrones. Maybe they’re inspired by Arya’s perseverance or they relate to Jon Snow’s desire for purpose. I’m a firm believer of “to each their own” but the reactions kill me! When people go, “Wait, you don’t watch Game of Thrones?” And I’m like, “Yeah, not my cup of tea.” They just don’t get why I wouldn’t watch something so good. And they don’t have to because my consumption habits have nothing to do with them and theirs have nothing to with mine.
We’re just a bunch of bored monkeys watching other monkeys play.
As a new father I’m becoming increasingly concerned about the content my son will consume as he grows older. He keeps trying to sneak a peak on the television and I’m like, “Oh no! Your eyes! Don’t see that!” I enjoyed Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later but it’s not a show for children. There’s sex comedy and inappropriate jokes that I found… really funny. Curating the content that’s played in my own is more-so giving us the parental control to have the difficult life conversations that some of these shows definitely instigate to the untrained brain. One episode of Game of Thrones would have a child asking a lot of question. What is that man doing to his sister and why did he throw that little boy out the window?
It’s just a conscious effort to control what we consume as a family. I’m doing this with food and drink and friends and work. We’re very careful on what we allow in our house and why because we want our son to have a childhood. He has all the time in the world to grow up. This has nothing to do with sheltering and it isn’t a morality march. It’s just a choice. A countercultural choice that people choose to criticize.
Now, I don’t plan on catching up on Game of Thrones but maybe one of you can tell me in the comments below: Did winter come yet? Always been curious about that one! I know they’re pretty stoked about it!
Did you ever have an experience like this where you stopped and asked yourself, “Why am I watching this?” What was it? Was there a specific trigger. What shows do you permit in your life that goes against your own values? What shows have you removed from your life because of your values? Find any contradictions in your own logic?
Clifford Myers is a comedian from Hamilton, Ontario who’s just not that into Game of Thrones.