It is easy to fall in love with Game of Thrones, the infamous HBO original TV Series, following the success of The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, or True Blood. I like fantasy movie and Game of Thrones gave all of those in one hell of a series. As each layers unveiled, there is more and more action, there is more and more story to discuss. The creatures, the dragon, the myth, the King beyond the Wall, the undead, the God of Light. As if all element of story is there. You got the action, the drama, the mystery, the fantasy, love, sex, politics, war, everything.
It is a different tale than The Lords of The Ring trilogy, which the original book series—The Song of Ice and Fire has always been compared to. If I’m going to say one distinct thing that I love more about Game of Thrones it is how George RR Martin made his characters so alive. How he painted each character as a protagonist, as well as an antagonist.
It reminds me of the story of Mahabharata, the tale about Pandawa and Kurawa that have been told million times, on different cultures. As a child, I watched the TV series (originally made by Indians, broadcasted at Indonesian local TV channel) with my dad. We used to record it on VHS and watched it together after my dad got back from work. I also owned the comic book written by the legend, R.A. Kosasih (PS: You can order your copy at Anelinda if you’re interested).
The story about Mahabharata isn’t entirely about good versus evil, which I found so confusing at that time. Yudhistira the eldest of the Pandawa, being portrayed wise and always telling the truths, gambled his own wife—Drupadi—at a dice game. That was the most interesting scene that I remember (along with Baratayudha war), the gambling table and how Sangkuni threw the dice. Drupadi, being a faithful wife to all Pandawa (yes, all the Pandawa shared Drupadi as their wife) is actually a racist. Bima, which always portrayed as a strong and reliable knight is a jock and a bully. He teased the Kurawas, challenged them into battle, and in the end, out powered them.
Growing up, it is weirder to see people portrayed them as heroes. Many babies named after the Pandawa just because they would make a good role model, it is amusing to find how I haven’t met someone named after Karna. Yeah and then there is Karna. You should read about this character and you’ll get exactly the point why the story of Mahabharata is so interesting to discuss. If we look closer at each character and giving reasons to their action, you’ll realized that it is just the same formula. When you’re playing the game of thrones, you either win, or you die.
Just like Drupadi, the women in Game of Thrones often seen as a consolation prize. Political marriage arranged to gain power and strengthen position, as if they are nothing than a tool to seal the deal. They’ve been raised knowing what would be their fate and how to deal with it. But what I like about Game of Thrones is some female characters in the series portrayed as a bad ass rebel, a strong force that ride on Dragons or become the assassins. But even characters that look like an annoying bitch has a depth story. Look Sansa for example.
Original image can be found here, along with easy guide of Game of Thrones.
The series also famously said to have political reference because each character represents a house, a banner (as well as a sigil and a motto) that identified them. They live to it, sworn to it, die with it. Here I quoted one of interesting conversation between the Shae and Master of Whisperers, Varys.
Varys: If you let yourself believe that a foreign girl with no name could spend her life with the son of Tywin Lannister…
Shae: I have a name.
Varys: You have one name. As do I. Here only the family name matters.
After all, Game of Thrones hooked me with such angle of storytelling. It is weird that you have so many character that you actually root for instead of just one hero. It does make me seeing the world more colorful, even if it is a dark color.
“Let me give you some advice, bastard: Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you.”