I first met Ned Stark during a crisp fall evening. He came to me through a television screen full of magic, darkness, and images of castles and forests illuminated by the new moon. My first taste of Game of Thrones came with a preview of a new exciting series presented by HBO, my go-to world of TV viewing. As I watched the preview I commented to my husband sitting nearby that I might bypass this one. The great pay-to-view network that gave me Six Feet Under, Tremé, and True Blood among others may have to do without me for this series. “I’m not that much into fantasy Dungeons and Dragons cataclysmic stories and fables. I think I’ll sit this one out. Or…maybe I’ll watch the first episode and see where it leads.”
I watched the first episode and really, to be honest, wasn’t greatly impressed. But I liked Ned Stark. Ned had a confident air and age-old wisdom about him that stuck with me. He was able to navigate his way through all the calamities that befell men and women in that “other-world” time. He loved and protected his family but still gave a sword to his youngest daughter. He could find strength in both women and men. Ned was beyond prejudices, beyond petty grievances. He was solid.
So, I continued watching. I watched the entire first season. And then, during the last episode of the first season the unthinkable occurred. Spoiler alert: (and from this point onward) They cut off Ned’s head. My Ned! How dare they!! And by “they” I meant the writer of Game of Thrones or Song of Ice and Fire to be literally correct. I blamed George RR Martin. And I couldn’t help but get angrier thinking “Who has a name with two letters in the middle anyway?” Then I blamed the other writers, the ones responsible for the series as well as Mr. Martin. Then I blamed my darling, HBO.
“I’m not going to watch another nano-second of this damn show,” I told my husband. “If you want to continue watching it next season go ahead. But I won’t be there!”
This is one of the ultimatums I have made in my life in which I had to concede to failure. The second season had me by “Hello. My name is John Snow.” Now, John (as he is known in my familiar circles of Throne Game fans) was in the first season. But he was a might overshadowed by many other things worth mentioning, like the little prince being pushed several 100 feet to the ground by a ruthless (later turned nice-guy) man. Overshadowed by the king of “another-land ” kidnapping a lovely ex-princess and marrying her. Oh, and then having the ex-princess, now Queen I suppose , losing said King and becoming sole heir to a kingdom (though small) of her own.
But John Snow comes into his own in the second season, and so it goes into Season 4. And there I sat, watching Season 4. Just as I did Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3. I am now a die-hard Game of Thrones fan. To this day I don’t like medieval fantasy. But Game of Thrones isn’t fantasy…not to a real Gamer!