Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"We Are All Infected:" Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, and Other Supplements and Diversions

I am in love with my diversions.  I call them diversions, but I think that gives them a bad rap. Diversions are something that makes you forget your live, takes you away from things you should be experiencing, and dulls the senses so that you don’t feel as much of your pain.  Diversions are the opiates of the masses.

I prefer to think of them as ‘supplements’.  Things that enhance my life, reflect something about myself, highlight the drama of the human experience, reflect or draw upon some inner emotion or notion or relationship dynamic and present it in front of me.

And this is a great week for supplements.  And as I look at my list, they are a Geeks dream


“Let me tell you something, Bastard. Never forget what you are, the rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor and it can never be used to hurt you.”
 “I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses. My mind is my weapon, and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetsone if it is to keep its edge. That’s why I read so much."
Tyrion Lannister

Daenerys Targaryen, mother of dragons

 Let's start with the book I just finished, ‘A Clash of Kings’, or, as I think of it; “Game of Thrones, Part 2” and the HBO Series Game of Thrones which starts on April 1st. I rarely read full series of books, but this series has me hooked. Clash of Kings is one of those books I looked forward to diving into more than many others, and it will probably make the rest of the 30 books on my kindle jealous the way I slobbered over it. And the dismay over losing my favorite character from the book one was laid to rest when I realized that his presence is felt all throughout the second novel.  Each and every character in a sense is haunted by his ghost. 

A much coveted seat.

The book is character driven by rich  personalities with sharp motivations that run the spectrum of human nature and this is perhaps it's greatest feat, right after the incredible world the series portrays. The land is so vast, so rich, with Shakespearean family legacies, mystical flavoring sprinkled in, and majestic in its scope. Yes, there are mostly second hand accounts of rape, incest, extreme barbaric acts, but this just magnifies the nobility of the actions of many of the characters and makes it all more riveting.

The HBO series only enhances my pleasure of the reading and maintains its same depth and maturity while adding to the beauty of the kingdom.  I'm sure I will be diving into the next book shortly after the next HBO series is over. The book feels like historical fiction rather than fiction, and even though intellectually I know the land and the characters don't exist, I feel it more than the real world much of the time, and isn't that what great books do?   So, on April 1st I will be there watching.

Also on April 1st, the second season of The Killing will premiere.
I love Linden, and won't believe Holder has gone rotten

 This is an atmospheric, deeply engrossing, slowly unraveling, and I find plenty satisfying Onion of a series were the detectives aren’t all gorgeous, the good guys aren’t all good and the bad guys have a backstory that makes you think twice.  The show follows only one killing, and the mystery isn’t solved in a 52 minute no commercial hour. The characters are multi-dimensional and ever unraveling, the parents response to their daughters murder was done with such realism, and the resulting shattering of the family and the large community hits with powerful subtly.

Oh yeah, and it rains. It rains a lot.

Then there’s the geeky delightful book I am currently reading called “Ready, Player One”
What books used to look like before the kindle.
The novel is set in the grim future where  a Steve Jobs type of guy who has created a powerful virtual reality where much of the society spends their time to escape their bleak poverty. When he dies, he leaves behind a contest based on the glory days of the 80’s and it becomes the obsession of the masses.

So far, the best way to describe this book is "neat." Neat with a capital "N!" The story is interesting, the writing is not lyrical but easily digestible, the world is interesting but sort of done before, but the 80's movies and video games references make me smile every page. Yes, I was a nerd who played Robotron and all the atari games and can quote most of  the John Hughes movies, and the author itches the nostalgia scratches (or scratches the itch?) enough to make you go "ahhhh, this is fun. A little to the left" and yes, the author does go a little to the left inevitably and gives you what you want.

Love the game where you have to memorize Matthew Brodericks lines from War Games, but so far I’m very upset the iconic movie Red Dawn is given no mention.

The movie version is on its way.

MAD MEN (season one)

"The reason you haven't felt (Love) is because it doesn't exist. What you call love was invented by guys like me, to sell nylons. You're born alone and you die alone and this world just drops a bunch of rules on top of you to make you forget those facts. But I never forget. I'm living like there's no tomorrow, because there isn't one."

Before antabuse.

I was never able to keep up, and thus the series passed me by, but alas, here I am finally with Netflix streaming and going back to season one, and currently on the tenth episode. Love the whole notion of advertisers and marketers selling and ‘inventing’ want, making people think they need a certain product to be happy, trying to outwit the public out of their nickels and dimes, all the while they have already bought into their own false sense of happiness, with ongoing buyers remorse that all the whiskey and sex can’t wash away.  Existentialism, consumerism, materialism, gender wars - my only regret is that I keep stumbling upon spoilers.

And then there’s that other AMC series; The Walking Dead. 
The whisper.

I found the three next to last episodes incredible and the final episode satisfying.
“We are all infected” was the season's secret, which really seemed to get little play out there compared to the teasers for next season, but for me this was profound. When you realize "we are all infected" with the zombie gene, that your afterlife is to be forever aching and hungry and mindless and heartless until you are put down again. Well, damn, that’s a tough break.
Yes, this means you too.

We are all infected.  Isn’t that a neat theme.  We are all infected with this human experience, it’s a virus that lasts approximately 70 years, give or take a few decades, and during that time we look for meaning.  This can be done through all sorts of  diversions and supplements.  Or, as the Buddhists say; All existence is suffering and all of our efforts are to relieve that suffering, if but for brief moments. Grim, I know, but , don’t blame me, blame the Buddhists.


Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

I have read the Fire and Ice Series several times, love love love the books, you are so spot on about the characters, I love how intricate the plots are and how you find yourself liking characters you thought you hated. I hope to watch the HBO series someday.

I was so shocked when they killed off Stark the first time I read it, I was sure he would be a hero throughout the series. I continued to be shocked at others deaths. What an excellent series. Have you read them all?

I read your book the Jade Rabbit, seems like it was awhile ago now, but I do recall enjoying it. Thanks for a great read.

Mark Matthews said...

No, I haven't read the full series, just the first two books, so thanks for holding back any spoilers.

And Ned was such the moral compass, that when he was killed off, it was like God, or (maybe at least your dad) was now gone and everything felt in chaos. It was shocking, but I think his presence is still felt.

And thanks for reading The Jade Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

Fire and ice is supposed to have 7 books.

I've read 4, and the 5th is for sale.

Sad I read that fast. Too good.

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