A quick personal reflection on Game of Thrones…
I am truly heartened by the restraint exercised with regard to the White Walkers–that widely dismissed as apocryphal but all too real army of magical creatures and their undead minions who are on the march north of The Wall. I confess that ever since we saw this guy
at the end of last season, I’ve been worried about the whole thing getting hijacked by zombies.
I know, I know, I should know to trust George R.R. Martin for more than that. But in an age when pop culture itself is under siege by a horde of zombie dramas, comedies, and survival guides, I’ve been feeling perhaps a bit overprotective of the mostly medieval-ish, politics-laden fantasy world of Westeros.
Perhaps the scant screen-time afforded the White Walkers is a show of narrative self-discipline to build suspense, perhaps the White Walker threat will be far more magical than “undead,” or perhaps the obsessively detailed world of Game of Thrones is simply staying true to how very very long it would take zombies to shuffle across a continent. In any instance, I send up a resounding, “Huzzah!”
As the third season in Martin’s multi-book epic A Song of Ice and Fire wraps up, flames blaze from Daenerys Targaryen’s ambition and from her dragons–who, like the White Walkers were also believed to be extinct. For a long while, I’ve been waiting for a “history repeats itself” maneuver where the old gods, the Starks who still pray to them, and the White Walkers who dominated in the old god era would square off with the new gods, the currently-ruling southerly nobles, and the next-gen Targaryen dragons. But (duh) I am realizing that we may have hope for something a bit more novel to be afoot.
I’ve not been paying enough attention to what the god of light might signal. A god who’s new to Westeros entirely and whose followers worship through fire, the lord of light and his coming–through that exquisitely creepy Melisandre who’s been hanging out with Stannis and now also through the Men Without Banners–may signal a whole new era of Westeros’ history. A third era of gods, maybe? At the very least, this new god–whom I’d once dismissed as likely a one-season entity–is an emerging source of fire in the ice-and-fire conflict to whom I’ll be giving more consideration.
Nonetheless, left with Martin’s structuring opposition–a choice similarly and more famously posed by Robert Frost—I’m still rooting for the world to end in ice.