"Game of Thrones" - HBO vs. George RR Martin...frustrating & unsatisfying battle for Westeros

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Whom do I blame for all this? HBO for opting for the spectacle over content or Martin for writing at an elderly snail pace? Last night’s episode was visually and emotionally exhausting. I never knew what NOT breathing for 82 minutes felt like but here we are.

THOUSANDS of years coming…ended up with the youngest Stark ending the Night King and with him, his entire cohort of generals and zombie humans bent on wiping sentient life off the planet. Thousands of years of anticipation, build up and conflict ended in mere seconds because Weiss & Benioff wanted something “unpredictable and fun.”

It also ended the long-awaited and theorized Azor Ahai prophesy, something late Rhaegar Targaryen put in motion when he abandoned and annulled his marriage to Elia Martell and her two children, to marry and father a third son with Lyana Stark. “The Dragon has three heads” Rhaegar dreamt.

Rhaegar Targaryen

Rhaegar Targaryen

He dreamt of the Long Night. And only “The Prince Who was Promised” would end it…possibly his son Aegon Targaryen. Some theorize its Daenerys because Prince is genderless in old Valyria and the Prince “Shall wake dragons from the stone”

There are so many theories…so many prophecies. I’ve personally rambled about it for years. Husband and I have countless conversations about it.

The world of Game of Thrones is filled with rich content, nuance, and intricacies...and the HBO guys literally went “fuck it”…we’ll have Arya do it because its unexpected.

As thrilling as that scene was…it's incredibly anti-climactic.

It abandons Martins’ books. It ignores the history that it was built on. The books are leading to the Long Night…HBO decided Cersei is more important. HBO decided that the “A Song of Ice and Fire” (Jon & Dany per Martin himself) are bullshit.

So now, we are here. And I hate to be this person…but as a book reader, I am unsatisfied, mad and forever left longing for more.

To understand my frustrations, you have to understand the world Martin built. It’s complicated and nuanced. It’s filled with complex characters that are always skirting in the shades of gray. Humans are not necessarily all good or all evil. He understands that. No character is safe. He demonstrated this when he chopped off Ned Stark’s head at the end of book 1.

Legendary warrior Azor Ahai plunging the Lightbringer into his beloved wife (Nyssa, Nyssa) heart to end The Long Night.

Legendary warrior Azor Ahai plunging the Lightbringer into his beloved wife (Nyssa, Nyssa) heart to end The Long Night.

“The show is not the books”

Well, you can just f*ck off because I’m aware of that. Then call it something else. Don’t f*cking call it Game of Thrones. Call it “Martin wrote some cool stuff and here’s our take on it” and call it a day.

Azor Ahai prophesy is the BACKBONE of the story and they lazily rewrote it.

I love Arya as much as the next person, but this is a massive joke. She has never met the Red Woman. She is not the blood of Aerys and Rhaella. There is no build up or suggestion that she is the Prince that was Promised. “But Jovana here are the links to episodes that bring her to the Night Knight”

I don’t give a shit. None of that stuff is in the actual story.

A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers.  —the three-eyed crow to Bran Stark

A thousand eyes, a hundred skins, wisdom deep as the roots of ancient trees. Greenseers.

—the three-eyed crow to Bran Stark

And I fear if HBO decides to capitalize on other content from the books, as in, create series based on the histories dating back to the First Men or even when the Wall was built, they’ve opened themselves up to massive plotholes and they will have to completely reinvent and re-write the history of the Westeros because they opted for a crowd-pleasing moment instead of sticking with in-story mythology.

“Well Jovana, in season 3, Melisandre spoke and prophesized about Arya.”

Benioff and Weiss said they planned for Arya to kill the Night King since season 5. These fuckers retconned they're own made up shit story.

I sound bitter, sure. I also understand that the show has surpassed the books in every way shape and form. And it wouldn’t bother me so much if the last 4 seasons of the show were actually, you know, good.

But let's keep on pretending that it took Unsullied days to get from Dragonstone to Casterly Rock. That the level of detail Martin writes his books would allow for that.

Cool.

Catelyn Stark reanimated as Lady Stoneheart after Beric Dondarrion resurrects her with the help of Rhllor (God of Fire) by giving her the kiss of life, and thus he dies permanently. She goes on a revenge rampage after The Red Wedding.

Catelyn Stark reanimated as Lady Stoneheart after Beric Dondarrion resurrects her with the help of Rhllor (God of Fire) by giving her the kiss of life, and thus he dies permanently. She goes on a revenge rampage after The Red Wedding.

Don’t even get me started on the show’s treatment of Bran Stark, the dragon riding scene and the House of Undying. That part ALONE could have been a season. And where the hell is Lady Stoneheart?

Also, f*ck you Martin for writing so slow and letting HBO butcher your magnum opus.

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Enigma & Tragedy of Nabokov’s “Lolita” - a Story not of Love & Passion but of Corrupted Youth & Crime

I read “Lolita” back in my early twenties when I was finally done being brainwashed by Jane Austen’s perfect, nearly flawless people. Took me a few years to finally understand the flaws in Austen's heroes and heroines. Lets be real, Darcy can be a real dickhole. This isn’t a jab against Jane, whom I consider somewhat a personal hero. Dissenting into darker fiction and meeting Humbert Humbert, I had finally quit fetishizing and romanticizing shitty men in “romance” novels.  “Lolita” is one of the more difficult, disturbing books I had ever read in my lifetime. There is no gore, no clowns with red balloons, no fire-breathing dragons, no Red Weddings…there is only a criminal who uses and abuses a child under pretext of “love.”

Not only is “Lolita” one of the darkest works of fiction, it is also the most misunderstood. Many people cannot and refuse to stomach it and I completely understand them. To read it, is to be responsible about it. To view it through a romantic lens is to disservice it and discredit Nabokov’s dark narrative that exposes corruption of youth through satire. Real life crime from 1948 is what inspired him. He explicitly asked the publisher NOT to feature young girls on the cover design. 
“I want pure colors, melting clouds, accurately drawn details, a sunburst above a receding road with the light reflected in furrows and ruts, after rain. And no girls.”
“And no girls.”
Yet, five decades later, a google search of Lolita will bring up images of teenage seductresses in red lips and heart shaped glasses. No American landscape…
Image result for lolita book covers
These images will sway you to view Lolita as the sex symbol who seduced her much older lover…not as the child he kidnapped and raped. It’s amazing how a book cover can shape the narrative, isn’t it?
If you ever decide to read this book, keep in mind that you will be reading it from Humbert Humbert’s point of view, which means he will attempt to trick you. HH is intelligent, well-spoken, funny…a master manipulator. He will bend the reality to shape a narrative you will find yourself almost pitying him. Do not fall for it. That is what abusers do. They victimize themselves. "She made me do it. She seduced me. I couldn't help it. She asked for it, Did you see what she was wearing? You make me hit you!" Nabokov even starts the book by calling the reader JURY…it is your job to maneuver around a charming rapist. You have a role while reading this book and it will make you laugh, cry and vomit. Do not let HH or Nabokov's writing sway you. The writing is absolutely gorgeous. Nabokov is the master of language and this book is the living proof of it.
I recall certain moments, let us call them icebergs in paradise, when after having had my fill of her –after fabulous, insane exertions that left me limp and azure-barred–I would gather her in my arms with, at last, a mute moan of human tenderness (her skin glistening in the neon light coming from the paved court through the slits in the blind, her soot-black lashes matted, her grave gray eyes more vacant than ever–for all the world a little patient still in the confusion of a drug after a major operation)–and the tenderness would deepen to shame and despair, and I would lull and rock my lone light Lolita in my marble arms, and moan in her warm hair, and caress her at random and mutely ask her blessing, and at the peak of this human agonized selfless tenderness
This sentence is so gorgeous and despicable, it makes me vomit and awe at the same time. That juxtaposition alone makes the book one of the best written pieces in English language, and English wasn't even Nabokov's first language. Two movies were made about it. Two movies you need to avoid like a plague because neither director really "got it" (captured its dark essence.) Its an incredibly hard thing to capture inner dialogue of a perverted criminal while he lusts after a child. Especially when both directors hire older, attractive actresses to play Lolita and completely miss the point. One would think Stanley Kubrick wouldn't be so gutless, and even he couldn't help but be a coward towards this novel. 

This book is not a tale of ill-fated, forbidden romance. Its a cautionary tale of stolen life and corrupted youth. It gives a voice to a pathological abuser and a rapist. It is YOUR job to judge him harshly. Humbert stole Dolores's life. He shaped it in his own twisted way, took away her choice, her life, her decisions, her childhood, her youth, her mother, school, friends, home....his perversion corrupted her in every shape and form, until nothing but a shadow was left. It is your job as the Jury (the reader) to navigate past Humbert's unreliable narration and not fall into his trap of internalized victimhood. He is a rapist and a pedophile. Dolores "Lolita" Haze is the victim - a CHILD he victimized and destroyed. If you can stomach this type of content, if you can bare to read thoughts of a pedophile, all the excuses men give for sexually abusing their victims...you will come out of this experience disgusted. Or at least that's what I hope for. Fester in your own disgust, in your own literary vomit...I don't care, just evolve from it. I did and have never felt more furious and awake.

"13 Reasons Why" - glamorizing suicide or bringing awareness?

I binged it in two days. One night, I just didn't even bother to sleep. Whenever you have sensitive topics such as suicide and rape, told by teenagers, its bound to be coated in layers of controversy. I see schools putting up trigger signs and warning parents. I see people criticizing the subject matter and the way it was portrayed. I haven't read Jay Asher's book. I've seen it on Goodreads and Amazon with excellent reviews, but my interest in Young Adult genre at the time was specific to medieval fantasy, science fiction & dystopia. I guess I just wasn't attracted to real-life, sensitive topics. With all that said, I'm no longer interested in just...escaping.

The buzz over 13 Reasons Why is REAL. I can't remember last time I saw something that was on exact same spectrum of love & hate. And I'm right there with it: I love it...and I hate it at the same time.

If you haven't seen the show, beware: this post will be spoiler heavy

Before I express my thoughts on a show about suicide, here are some real facts about suicide:
*38,000 people die of suicide every year in US. 
*Depression is the leading cause.
*80 to 90% of people who sought treatment are treated successfully. (This number is HUGE and telling of how important mental health and available resources are.)
*More males commit suicide while more females experience suicidal thoughts and episodes.
*Its a THIRD leading cause of death for young people between 15 and 24. (This is terrifying to me.)

There are more facts and numbers out there for you to research. I wanna dig into the show itself. More often than not, when someone commits suicide, the big question is WHY. Why would someone do that? What drove them to that? Why? Why? What were the signs? Why? 13 Reasons Why gives you just that. And I think its what shocked the people the most. You can always speculate, judge, make guesses, assume...never really know what exactly happened. Hannah Baker tells you: here are 13 reasons that drove me to that bathtub. Do not for ONE second think that the subject matter is watered down and diluted for "sensitive" eyes and minds. Hannah slitting her wrists was by far one of the most disturbing, heart wrenching things I ever watched. I caught myself looking away because its so graphic and devastating. That doesn't even include the emotional and physical abuse, rape, slutshaming, bullying, drug & alcohol abuse, poverty, homelessness, male privilege, internalized misogyny, sports worship over human beings, parental ignorance ("my special, perfect snowflake could never do such thing" - kind of bullshit), cyber bullying, etc. 13 Reasons Why covers all those bases. 

On the surface (and maybe the main reason I "hate" the show) its just that its too simple. Boys are mean to the pretty white girl and she can't have any friends since she's so pretty, other girls ignore her. So she kills herself. Please bare with me for a moment. 

Personally, I know what depression feels like. I know how badly it can alter your world view and how it can make you feel hopeless, lonely, isolated and worthless. I've been there and for a long time too. High school was a living nightmare for me. But a quiet sort of nightmare. Right at the brink of technological evolution, my high school generation was probably the last one that was cell phone free. My misery ended the moment I left that godforsaken property. Teenagers today don't stand a chance. Bullying does not end with exiting the school property. The world is brutal and it will do whatever it can to rip you to pieces. As much as I love technology, I see the deadly side of it as well, so yes younglings of today: I empathize and sympathize with you more than you can image. And no, I will not dwell into the specifics of my youth and every factor that plagued it. Just know that I was too invisible to be harassed...and please take that with a grain of salt.

I do think 13 Reasons Why is not complex enough. 

The issue of rape, suicide, depression and bullying is not to be taken and treated lightly. But maybe its not meant to be in this case. Maybe it is supposed to represent teenage fragility and cruelty down to its most basic definitions. After all, its from a POV of a teenager. I'm not saying teenagers are not complex creatures (quite opposite) but in terms of storytelling, it would be unrealistic to expect teenage mind frame on an adult level. That was one of the main issues I have with writers like John Green. His teenagers are 40 year old wise men. I don't believe in them or that they exist. I do, however, believe in girls like Hannah, Jessica, Courtney and boys like Clay, Alex and Bryce. While the show lacks complexity, it makes up for it with very cruel and real reality:  Bullying was and IS attributed to suicide.

For Hannah, it wasn't just slam to the locker room, dunk your head in the toilet - your corny cartoon type of bullying. She was sexually harassed, slutshamed, abused emotionally and brutally raped.


Is the show triggering? Potentially yes. I do feel like it made light of Hannah's tapes. I think that a suicidal person might follow this step and take the tapes to heart. Because the focus wasn't so much Hannah's mental health, but rather "This is all your faults" (which, don't get me wrong, it most certainly was) too many teens contemplate suicide out of "I'll kill myself, that'll show em!" reasons and that is problematic as fuck. I got the vibe that if you leave tapes or notes behind, people you left behind would come together in a kumbaya everyone-hold-their-hands and realize how much they've grown from someones suicide. Its bullshit. Its no longer Hannah's story, but a story of Clay - average, shy, awkward boy finally learns how to express himself. When he approached Sky in the conclusion of the story, I got the "white savior" vibe from the whole scene. Am I supposed to forget Hannah and her dead body in a tub? Motherfucker no. I feel like the balance shifted away from her, from her mental health...from her ordeal into super cheesy drive off to sunset category and rest of the teens.

I 101% agree that parents & teens really need to approach this show with an open mind and extreme caution. Its powerful story telling but its also very triggering. Some of the suicide parts may be glamorized - such as the mix of Hannah's blood with water in the tub, the way it spilled. That image CAN be construed as romantic. But then its followed by the mind and body numbing pain and her parents finding her. That anguish took breath from my lungs while watching. I've never seen anything more devastating than that particular scene.

Yes, 13 Reasons Why is FULL of flaws. Number one being the oversimplification of a complex issue. Second, the triggering aspects behind the tapes and her motivations. Third, the romantic imagery of some of the darkest moments and fourth, slew of minor characters whose overall character development was either non existent or so minor, it contributed truly nothing to the overall story. Why have them there in the first place? Why waste time?

But it also has some truly valuable lessons to be learned. When I was done with it I told my husband how important words are. How you NEVER know what's going on with someone and just how little can it take to push them over the edge. I mean, this is not something new. Don't be a fucking asshole to people - its really that simple. Also, if it took a problematic show on television for you to realize that: you are the problem and its time to re-evaluate because WORDS MATTER. Whatever you might think of 13 Reasons Why, one thing is certain: We are finally having a conversation about suicide & mental health.

To conclude: 

To find a support group, visit this website



Not ready or unable to attend a support group in person? Consider these online support groups:

http://www.pos-ffos.com/
http://www.solossurvivorsoflovedonestosuicide.com/online-groups.html

If you are a victim of sexual assault, please visit RAINN website for all the resources.
https://centers.rainn.org/

If you are a victim of bullying, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Suicide is never ever ever evvvvvvvver an answer. NEVER. Please seek help. Someone out there cares for you.