Game of Thrones has become a national not-so-guilty pleasure. Book sales are through the roof and people are actually willing to pay the outrageous amount HBO demands for DVD seasons. But why is the series such a good one? How is it attracting millions of people with such varied interests? I suspect it’s because there’s something in the story for everyone.
The elements of magic in Game of Thrones can be subtle sometimes. Certain “magic” is just accepted as part of the world, so it’s easy to overlook. While magic is not the main focus of the story, it certainly plays a huge part. There’s wildfire, created by Alchemists in King’s Landing, that isn’t extinguished in water. The fact that there’s wildfire stored in pots under the city Is kind of terrifying. Then there’s the Others, mysterious beings that kill and bring the dead back to life. Obviously magic there. And there’s Melisandre’s magic that allows her to disguise people’s faces and create demon monsters, but I’ll get to that later.. This could be a crossover between magic and religious miracle, but it’s definitely presented more as magic than the latter. And that brings us to…
The religions that George R. R. Martin created for his world are well-developed and quite fascinating. We are introduced to the Old Gods of the North and the Seven of the South relatively early on. The Old Gods seem to be more connected to the earth and magic of the past. The Seven are focused on people, with each of the seven gods protecting and seeing over people in different roles and walks of life. It is with the introduction of the Red God, the Drowned God, and the Great Stallion, that we begin to understand how diverse the cultures of the world are. For someone who is interested in religion, there’s a lot to chew on.
Sansa Stark is the epitome of a romantic lead. She’s innocent, naïve, and loves cute boys. For many people beginning the series, Sansa seems like an idiot. How could anyone love Joffrey,even temporarily? But as the series continues we see her grow. No matter what happens, she never loses hope that a white knight will come save her. Even when her white knight happens to be an old man. Poor Sansa is forced to marry Tyrion Lannister, who’s both significantly older than her, and ugly. Though she does not want to marry him, she does her duty. As a young woman, it would be hard not to identify with Sansa and the way she reacts to the situations she finds herself in. As of yet, she hasn’t found her prince, but we’re still holding out hope.
These books were pretty much made for the action-adventure lover, so I’ll be brief with this one. Rob Stark marches into battle to secure is spot as King of the North. Jon Snow ventures into the world beyond the wall to look for lost rangers and see what the wildlings are up to. And if that doesn’t satisfy you, how about Tyrion venturing east and seeing the glow of Valyria?
For the Horror Lover
There’s more to this one than you think. Game of Thrones is not at all presented as a horror show, but there are some terrifying moments in it that cannot be denied. The looming threat of the Others constantly pervades any scene with Jon Snow in it. Seeing the monsters with the glowing eyes is pretty creepy too. Not to mention after the Red Wedding, somehow Catelyn Stark stays alive…sort of. That one still hasn’t been explained but she is wrought with vengeance and incredibly creepy. Also, can we talk about Melisandre birthing a demon baby to apparently go kill Renly Baratheon? If that doesn’t satisfy anyone’s need for horror, I don’t know what will.
There are so many political undertones in the books. Who’s siding with whom, how their family will be affected, and what underhanded deals need to be made. Daenerys talks a lot about what she must do for her kingdom in “A Dance with Dragons.” She makes concessions she doesn't agree with, including marrying Hizdar zo Loraq because she thinks it will please her people. Another politically minded character is Cersei Lannister. Throughout the show and books she tries to make decisions that will benefit herself and her children, but often regrets them. If you wanted an inside look at what it’s like to rule a kingdom, you've got it.
The moral of the story is that it doesn’t matter what sorts of books or shows you usually partake in. There is something in this series that you will enjoy. This is what fuels the fire of fandom for Game of Thrones.
What’s your favorite part of the series and why? Comment below!