Why Book Readers Care So Much

Posted: June 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

By Stacy of Old Dominion

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“The images of Myth are reflections of Spiritual and Depth potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating those we evoke those powers in our own lives to operate through ourselves.”

― Joseph Campbell: Transforming Religious Metaphor

So often, those of us who are angry with the writers and creators the current season of Game of Thrones are told that, “It’s just a show.” The insinuation of which is that it’s not to be taken seriously at all.

I disagree.

When George R. R. Martin created the world of A Song of Ice and Fire he brought forth something which he may not have intended. He formed a mythology. To many people that word has little meaning beyond having been required to read The Illiad in high school. For those people I feel sorry. A living mythology is a wondrous thing which draws people to it and compels them to, in one way or another, participate in it. Mythology causes one to not only reflect on the myth itself but to see themselves in the context of that story through its heroes. We are drawn to those myths with which we most closely identify. We see a reflection of ourselves in those stories. Those heroes are embarking on paths which we may only ever see through them. In this way, the mythology truly becomes a part of the individual. It gives us insight into the world, into situation we mace face in out daily lives, and it inspires us. They say “a person’s character is 33% nature 33% nurture and 33% the last movie they watched.” It doesn’t matter if its Star Wars, or A Song of Ice and Fire, or Gummi Bears, what we watch and what we read influences us, molds us, and affects us.

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The mythology is a part of the individual and shapes the person the rest of the world sees. To diminish that by saying its only fiction or its only a show is to diminish that hero impulse which drives creativity and adventure in humanity. Its kind of a big deal. For those people who have not yet found that story which compels them to dress up and go to cons… I hope one day you will. You’ll be a better person for it.

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So why, when the show changes so drastically the characters and themes of the books, do we get so upset? The answer is simple: Because they’re debasing our mythology to pander to the lowest common denominator. They’re stripping the Mona Lisa naked and giving her a big grin because her smile is too complex for people to understand and BOOBS. That wasn’t always the case. Through the first 3 seasons the biggest thing we had to worry about were French sleeves and the absence of Edric Storm. This season… I have no words.

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These are not the heroes which compelled the fan creation of Westeros.org. This is not the story which compelled such deep and heated debate over who Jon Snow’s mother might be (I doubt show purists actually care). This is not the same series that HBO took a bet on to turn into a TV show almost a decade ago. It sure as hell has nothing to do with the reason why I’ve spent way too much time learning to sew so I can participate in the mythology in my own way. I’d be ashamed to do that now. And that’s the real pity of it.

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To many people, myself included, it’s not “just a show” or “just a book” or “just” anything. It’s a reflection of who we are and who we want to be. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have taken a sharpie to that reflection. They’ve made a caricature because painting a proper portrait would take too much time. That’s why we’re angry. We were hoping to see the Mona Lisa. We were given a pin-up.

So yeah.. We’re pissed.

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Comments
  1. ServantOnIce says:

    If you and others are so pissed, why keep watching? I have learned to seperate The Show from the books. The show is entertaining and has fabulous moments. It is amazing show, but this season has stank.

    JMO

    • Book Stannis says:

      I used to try to do that- separate show from books. It worked for 3 seasons, began to dissemble in 4 and 5 just slapped me in the face. Many of us WILL stop watching, so yeah, you will hear less of us bemoaning the horrible writing, the absurd plot twists and the abuse to key characters. But what will you have instead? Apologists who just want good entertainment? We will see.

      I agree with this post as it became apparent to me with retreads that GRRM was creating a mythological parallel universe, particularly with the later books, dream sequences and Tyrion’s references to books. GRRM is weaving together many delicate threads. It is incredible to be a part of that universe as a book reader.

      I can’t say that as a show watcher. I never could. But I really enjoyed seeing what they were trying to do to bring this amazing vision to television. When it worked, it was so exciting (Ned, Littlefingers betrayal, Robb becoming King of the North, the Hound). But it isn’t working anymore. So yeah, I suppose we will have dismemberment of puppies and more brutal child murders with no book relationship because the viewer must be entertained. We book readers will leave the show, re read and wait for The Winds of Winter, and, I don’t know- find entertainment in the NBA.

    • crawlkill says:

      personally, I don’t watch most of the show, but I have to listen to the entire internet explode about the savaging of a story for ten weeks every time a new season airs.

    • Paulo Pereira says:

      If you don’t want people criticizing a show you like to watch, why are you visiting a site called AngryGOTFan?

  2. jenni4955 says:

    Hear, hear. Well said. Art has been sacrificed for boobs, bums and the odd snatch. And a great deal of loose ends, plot holes and character assassination along with them.

  3. teageegeepea says:

    I’m a show-watcher, and I resemble your remark regarding Jon Snow’s mother. Characters are interesting because of their actions, not who their parents are. It is a virtue of Martin’s writing that he gives viewpoints to “Cripples, bastards and broken things” rather than focusing on kings. I prefer Jon Snow as bastard & self-made man rather than being of some special birth. If his parentage was never subsequently addressed (although I’m sure it will be by the end), I’d be happy.

  4. Tis I, Dave of house Wigwam. says:

    I think of the show in the books as an episode of Fringe. Parallel universes with book versions and show versions. You kind of start to like show versions until you go back to the books and realize what you’ve been missing from the show version all along. Then the weird people who have never even tried to read the books criticize me for stating that the book version is vastly superior, it makes me care even less for the show version. Both versions can coexist, but I don’t have to like the inferior version. I will nod at it, cast a raised eyebrow or two in it’s direction, but I will NEVER become friends with it or care for it the same way I care for the book version. In fact, if given half the opportunity, I might want to strangle it in it’s sleep.

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