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January 17th, 2017

Max’s View: Why I Love Game of Thrones

You know those people who ask a lot of questions while you’re watching television with them?

Questions like: “what just happened?” “who is that again?” “how are those two related?” “who just got killed?”

If you know somebody like this – somebody who needs to understand exactly what is going on 100% of the time – do NOT watch “Game of Thrones” with him.

“Game of Thrones” is the most imaginative and intellectually challenging program on television.

I just finished watching the third season on DVD. I still don’t claim to understand the show completely. But that doesn’t change the fact that I find it completely engrossing. I’m addicted and obsessed.

The premise of “Game of Thrones” is simple: a handful of royal contenders are fighting to the death. The winner will sit on the Iron Throne and rule the fictional land of Westeros (which looks and sounds a lot like medieval England).

The reason why the show is so complicated is the same reason why the show is uniquely great: there are dozens of interesting main characters. And none of them is simply heroic or villainous. Every single one can be loved or hated depending on your point of view.

Many viewers root for Jon Snow. Female viewers, anyway. I’m guess that it is mostly due to his good looks but perhaps they also appreciate his earnest desire to do the right thing.

I loathe Jon Snow. He’s the kind of joyless jerk who will break a vow, reluctantly do something he thinks is wrong, take no pleasure in the illicit act, and then feel guilty about it. A good man either sticks to his vows or breaks a vow with confidence and pride. Jon Snow is always indecisive and in between.

The actor who plays him – Kit Harrington – was clearly hired for his hair rather than his talent. In the books, Jon Snow is a perfectly admirable and likable kid. Harrington transformed him into a loath-some chump.

Most viewers root against Jamie Lannister. There are darn good reasons to hate him. He’s a cocky pretty boy from a rich family. In the very first episode, he slept with his twin sister and tried to kill a kid who accidentally caught them in the act.

Jamie isn’t a saint, obviously. But I’ve come to appreciate his virtues: stoicism, bravery, and a true loyalty that Jon Snow can never match. I’ve also come to understand the burden that comes with being the golden child of a powerful family. Jamie handles the heavy responsibility with quiet grace and selfless family pride.

I concede that it is possible to dislike the beautiful Mother of Dragons: Daenerys Targaryen (Dany). One can argue that she is irresponsibly single-minded and that her ambition for power borders on mental illness.

But the heck with that. I’ll always root for Dany to become queen. Her decision-making is unilateral and reckless, but it is confident and usually correct. She expects a lot from her subjects, but she genuinely loves them in return. Not only is she best suited to sit on the Iron Throne in the show, I wish there was a politician in real life who possesses Dany’s level of motivational leadership and deci-siveness.

Don’t just watch “Game of Thrones” because it’s the best show on television. Watch it because a generation of smart, young people are watching it, too. Watch it to stay entertained and stay hip. Just don’t ask a bunch of questions to the person sitting next to you while you watch it.

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