In Defense of “Game of Thrones”

I am still pretty livid about Ginia Bellafante’s review of “Game of Thrones” for the New York Times. It isn’t so much a review as a load of drivel about why females should not have to see illicitness on t.v. or like things that aren’t about unicorns and faeries. I’m paraphrasing here, but that is the distinct impression I get from this “review.”

Of course, I have not yet seen HBO’s treatment of the story, but I have begun to read the books. And all of the illicitness that Ms. Bellafante refers to that is in the television series actually comes from the books. It is not something HBO just threw in to please the mass hordes that like sex, violence and nudity, as she claims. Of course, if she had bothered to read even the first book, she would have realized that. This story is not traditional fantasy. It is a bleak tale about war and humans who continue to make the same mistakes over and over, regardless of the world they exist in.

That is not a bad thing. But Ms. Bellafante seems to think that if there aren’t any pretty flying dragons or unicorns or poor maidens needing rescuing, then it’s not worth bothering to watch.

Of course, when she mentions “Sex and the City,” I already know she isn’t going to quite get it. She is a woman who can’t be bothered with keeping up with the various characters, something she actually mentions in the “review.” I quote:

“Keeping track of the principals alone feels as though it requires the focused memory of someone who can play bridge at a Warren Buffett level of adeptness.”

I am having no problems keeping up with the characters as I read the books, but then again, maybe Ms. Bellafante just basically admitted that I’m smarter than her.

But the thing, I believe, that irked me the most, was her mention of Dungeons and Dragons. And again, Ms. Bellafante shows us exactly the person she is. She seems to be that high school girl who made fun of people who dared play things like Dungeons and Dragons, who dared to call themselves geeks, who dared to read Tolkien (and I would bet that Ms. Bellafante’s only knowledge of Tolkien stems from Peter Jackson’s films, which I’m certain she also did not understand).

Well, I have news for Ms. Bellafante and the New York Times: there are plenty of us women who enjoy George R.R. Martin’s work (something which she calls “boy fiction”) and there are plenty of us who will enjoy HBO’s adaptation of it. So stop telling us what we’re supposed to be watching. You do not represent the female population, especially those of us who proudly call ourselves geeks: those of us who have played Dungeons & Dragons and read science fiction and fantasy. And if you have a problem with that, you should probably get out more. There are a LOT of us!

“If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.”

Nearly everyone else? Really? She thinks there aren’t that many of us? I can’t wait to see the huge numbers HBO rakes in for this series. Then maybe she’ll realize that she is in a smaller minority than she obviously thinks.

To the New York Times: My idea of a review usually involves things like discussion about the actors, the sets, the costumes and delving into how the story adapts itself to screen. But this requires a more researched writer than you obviously currently have on-hand for such things. Next time, hand your reviewer the book upon which the material is based and make sure that he/she has read it. And make sure they are capable of keeping up with characters so that they can at least tell us if the actors are doing a good job (or not) of portraying them. This review contained NONE of that, so I wouldn’t exactly refer to this as a review. Especially when written by a woman who seems to have a very misplaced idea of feminism.

I think Felicia Day disagrees with Ms. Bellafante, as well. This was posted on Felicia’s ¬†Twitter account in response to the “review.”

7 thoughts on “In Defense of “Game of Thrones”

  • April 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm
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    You know what I think. Since I ranted extensively on your FB about this… Nice job on your response. I knew you’d take her to school, teach.

    • April 15, 2011 at 10:30 pm
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      Thanks! There’s so much more I could have said, but I had to stop myself before I just resorted to name-calling! LOL

  • April 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm
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    I’m still railing about this. I am a woman, I love the series, I love fantasy, and not the unicorns and fairy type of fantasy, I like the dragons and the violence and the fighting. I play D&D and I even make my own character sheets *spits* Stop stereotyping us!

  • April 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm
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    I would argue that HBO is overdoing the sex a little bit. For example, Tyrion Lannister was shown in the first episode surrounded by topless prostitutes. That does not occur in the novel. Then, in the scene when Catelyn Stark receives the letter from her sister, she is clothed. She was naked in the novel. I wouldn’t put it past HBO to up the sex a bit.

    It’s sad, especially with Tyrion, because he is one of my favorite characters, and I’ve always thought he fell in love with his whores, in a twisted kind of way.

    But that doesn’t mean I agree with Ms. Bellafante’s review. I have countless women friends who read and love fantasy, with sex or without.

    • April 19, 2011 at 6:40 pm
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      I see your point about that scene with Tyrion, especially since I’m on book 2 and he seems very particularly fond of the one prositute that he has in that one (I’m only about halfway into that book, though). But on the other hand, he is a very vulgar little man and I thought that scene in the first episode really helps solidify that.

      However, HBO is known for adding lots of sex into their shows, because they can. I found it odd that Ms. Bellafante seems to think that’s done to attract women to the show, because I would think it would be just the opposite (to attract men with all the nudity).

    • April 19, 2011 at 7:54 pm
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      I have to say HBO has taken the graphic sex we see in the books, and HBO styled it. For some reason HBO loves doggie style, where in the books it seemed that on the whole you mainly saw that among the Dothroki. But in my opinion the books have quite a lot of sex and without it we would lose something.

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