This week at UGO, I got to combine two of my greatest current nerd-culture loves, Game of Thrones and Skyrim, by comparing the two of them. It’s jokey as hell, but there’s a lot of truth to it, because as much as I love Skyrim, the game’s got some serious problems. Some of them are endemic to the video game medium, some can be chalked up to lower expectations of the same, and others are just because it’s a humongous game with too many things that could potentially go wrong.
Still, never let it be said that I’m not a true Dohvahkiin – Skyrim is looking more and more like my favorite video game ever, and I’ve probably spent more time on it than any other single game (if you combine Virtua Fighter games, it’ll almost certainly get bumped to No. 2). Check out the article now, and as always Facebook Like, Twitter Tweet and Comment as much as you can possibly stand it.
In related news, another chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter situation involving two of my favorite geek-obsessions: The dragons of Skyrim as played by “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Shockingly, I hadn’t seen this before yesterday, and I blame pretty much everyone in my life for not showing it to me earlier, except of course for Dave Wallin at 8 of Swords Tattoo, who stepped up and did what needed to be done.
Posted by Aubrey Sitterson on March 14, 2012
For this week’s Game of Thrones article over at UGO.com, I looked at the most shocking moments from the first season of the show (season two returns on Sunday, April 1 – set your DVRs). Despite being written as individual, humongous novels, one of the most impressive things about George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series is how well it adapts to a serialized medium. That’s due in no small part to the fact that Martin isn’t afraid of pulling the rug out from under his audience, and is a skilled-enough storyteller to do it well.
It’s not spoiling anything to say that this trend continues throughout the entire series, as Martin kills off characters that were once focal points, elevates minor ones, and keeps plates spinning while bringing in wholly new story arcs and angles. The second book, and basis for the show’s second season,A Clash of Kings, is my favorite of the series, as it manages to keep all the shocking and sometimes gruesome surprises, even amping them up a bit from the first volume, while also maintaining a high level of quality.
I still like the books that come afterward, but while reading them, I increasingly started feeling like they were oftentimes little more than “tragedy porn,” as terrible, awful, unthinkable things continued to happen to characters I want to have at least some measure of success. There’s nothing wrong with giving your characters a hard time – it’s what makes good drama – but the tragedy has to be leavened with triumph occasionally, otherwise, you end up just chasing the high (or low, rather) of your last tragic event.
I love the Song of Ice and Fire books – they’re an absolute triumph, and I’m excited to see every last one of them adapted to television as long as it’s handled as artfully as Game of Thrones first season, but I still find it fascinating how shock value, which was once a great strength of the series, slowly evolved into a crutch.
Check out “Game of Thrones’ Shocking Moments,” but beware, there be SPOILERS ahead.
Posted by Aubrey Sitterson on March 7, 2012
I love the HBO series Game of Thrones. I’ve read all of the Song of Ice and Fire novels, and not only is the television series a phenomenal adaptation of a very complex work, it’s also a very distinct form of entertainment that’s every bit as good as the books – maybe even better, though I’d need to do another reread to make that call.
I’m a big Lord of the Rings fan too (the books more than the movies, truth-be-told), and nothing will ever displace LotR in my geeky fantasy-loving heart, but there are a few areas that George R.R. Martin totally out-double-R’s J.R.R. Tolkien himself. One of those, naturally, is the fact that Martin actually put dragons in his massive fantasy series (Smaug in The Hobbit doesn’t count). Another, more significant one, however, is that Game of Thrones is about family and interpersonal relationships.
In Lord of the Rings, family certainly has its role, but only in the most impersonal removed manner. Even the fated romance between Aragorn and Arwyn is handled at arm’s length, and the familial backstories read more like Biblical genealogies than things that have any kind of bearing on the present. That’s not the case in Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire, where the characters are regularly impacted by the choices and actions of their ancestors going back hundreds of years – sometimes even more. For me, that’s one of the most fascinating and compelling parts of Martin’s work, that it’s ultimately about the way people’s families determine their lives and destinies.
If you need a refresher on who all those families are and how they connect to one another, you could do a lot worse than my recent article on UGO.com.
Game of Thrones: Families of Westeros
Posted by Aubrey Sitterson on February 29, 2012