Claudine Jones-Scene4 Magazine

Claudine Jones

Feeling a bunch of thoughts coalesce as I contemplate the Present Situation; reading reviews of Game of Thrones final season (because of course I just bought HBO cuz I got sick and tired of not being able to access the GOT final season and so I figured as long as I'm stuck in the house I might as well pay 15 bucks a month to get access instead of waiting for my son to Pirate it for me.)

So now we're done watching it and I read a particular review which I very much admired. It was analytical, it was thoughtful, it was long; it went all the way back to the beginning of the first season laying out 10 years worth of foreshadowing and audience anticipation. I went to Rotten Tomatoes and discovered that the first 7 seasons were in the 90th percentile. The last season plummeted.

My question is what do I care about this and why do so many other people care about it. I read all the books way back when—my sons were devotees—and it was curiously refreshing not to be worried about spoilers. Except Whoa! Then they went waaay off course. That to me changed the title to “Game of Throwns” cuz seriously out of kilter. But I went with it cuz...Dinklage.

The reviewer makes a fabulous detailed case for derailed expectations. So now I ask myself how is that any different than what is going on now? How is it not everyone's expectation that they will live forever? And if they do the right thing, they will be rewarded? I thought I was doing the right thing my brothers thought they were doing the right thing and yet our mother died anyway. We couldn't control what Corporate America decided was going to be suited to their bottom line which eventually was not just our mother but many other people who were victims of their thoughtlessness. And yet how could it be expected to be otherwise.

How could we delude ourselves elsewise when the reality is that we were raised on Disney. I remember sitting in front of my tiny little television watching Mickey Mouse Club falling in love with just the concept of wearing a hat with ears and dancing and singing familiar songs, and watching these scrub faced little kids drew me into their fantasy. I remember my mother emitting her brand of disgust at one of the versions of m-i-c/k-e-y/m-o-u-s-e  being sung as if it were a hymn and it's true it sounded almost as though when at the end they slow down and get very solemn: em—oh—you—ess...eeeee   almost sounds as though the word should be amen. Complete with a minor cadence. You know, like Tony kissing Maria.

One of the points the reviewer of GOT made that most riveted me was the extent to which the women in the show were abused; Daenerys and Cersei were both miserably treated by men, their fathers brothers husbands. Who among us has a life that is blissfully free of any form of abuse? So then she gets to the crux of the matter which is how deeply invested we are in our fantasy since Hollywood had a lot to do with forming our impressions of what it was like to go west for example: hop in a wagon train and the next thing you know you have a kindly wagonmaster who is leading you into the unknown and fighting Indians and maybe even delivering a baby who the hell knows and he has certainly not been trained to do that but at the end the mother is holding her child and the father is shaking wagonmaster's hand and roll credits. What's that guy's name? Ward Bond. I saw that guy I thought that's totally the way it was until I grew up of course.

When am I going to grow up when are any of us going to grow up? The reviewer's point is that if you are sucked into the world of Disney and you rail against anything else because you want your version to be the version that really leaps off the screen and Embraces you you're going to want spoiler alert Jon Snow to be King of the Seven Kingdoms. You want Bernie Sanders to be president. I want universal healthcare. Who doesn't? Of course that only works if we have some kind of Dr. Kildare vision of getting sick and having somebody cure you.

So where am I going with this. Well I am terrified of men. Badass-crMy takeaway from watching Game of Thrones is that I am strong enough (I much prefer this to slasher movies for example which seemed to me to be a really sad way of spending your creativity.) So I gird my loins and I can watch some pretty grisly stuff. And I know it's not real. As a sidebar I won't say what show it was but I just finished watching something where a woman was being tortured by having someone force her to eat poop. I watched that and I recoiled so strongly I actually yurked a bunch of saliva out on to the front of my shirt. I wanted so much for that victim to turn her head away or duck her chin down or something to escape what was happening I couldn't accept it wasn't real, I guess. And then I settled down and just waited for the scene to be over. It was pretty extended.

With GOT it's come to be all about some iconic figures like tall and dark-eyed and muscular and sweet by turns and witty and also  incredibly violent. If you read the books too you know that Tyrion gets quite thoroughly disfigured I mean for crying out loud he loses half his nose. After that he is horribly ugly. I know everybody recognized the need to allow the actor to retain some visible Grace. I was okay with that but really when you look at some of the other characters like Gregor whose face is half burnt or Bron who stuck in a wheelchair all is not Rosy by any means. But I come away in agreement with the reviewer. There are multiples of purposeful deliberate cruelty aimed specifically at women. These women cannot overcome that abuse.

It plays its way through all of the seepage, poison and toxin, and they become men.

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Claudine Jones has had a long, full career as an Actor/Singer/Dancer.
She writes a monthly column and is a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives.

©2020 Claudine Jones
©2020 Publication Scene4 Magazine




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