Posted by: ritagone | May 1, 2019

What I Learned From the Most Recent Episode of “Game of Thrones”

I hate to keep harping on television shows for lessons in life, and yes, I do do other things besides watch tv mini-series, but this one is so amazingly profound that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about it today.  Plus…it’s somehow also incredibly funny.

Last week’s episode of “Game of Thrones” – and I know many of you reading this are not GOT fans, but don’t stop reading just yet, because the moral of the story is just as applicable to non-fans as to those who have been feverishly following the series for years and anxiously awaiting the last batch of episodes before it all ends in a few weeks – was the much anticipated Battle of Winterfell.

You don’t need me to tell you all about it if you’re not a watcher of the show; all you need to know is that the bad guys are corpses brought back to some semblance of life just so they can kill the good guys or even the semi-good guys, in true GOT fashion, because there are plenty of those.  There are also dragons and crypts and lots of swords and fire. Not to mention thousands upon thousands of fighting men (and some women), so the spectacle was long-waited for.

Plus, the on-going publicity for this episode made much of the expense the producers and HBO had gone to to insure that the viewing audience would absolutely be enthralled by the spectacle of the battle scenes; the claim – reiterated many times – was that no motion picture or television series had ever seen the likes of this kind of pageantry and grandeur when it came to battle scenes.

There was only one problem:

The show was so dark that it was almost impossible to see much of anything, including all the action that you knew was taking place because the sound track was doing a great job of portraying the screams and groans and dying sounds that accompanied what were probably incredible battle scenes.  I sat there wondering if there was any way to make my room – my home office – any darker, because I absolutely could NOT see what was going on.  Every once in a while I’d get a flash of something – thank you, dragons breathing fire! – but then…darkness again.  Blackness.  Just shadows and motion that indicated something was happening.  But you couldn’t prove it by me.

I was amused to see on Facebook the other day so many Twitter feeds about this very thing, some of them hilariously funny.  For example, in a article which referenced quite a few of these remarks, someone tweeted: “Turning off my own lights isn’t enough. Everyone in DC needs to turn out their lights for it to be dark enough in this house to see what’s happening in this episode.”  Another tweet: “Imagine spending millions of dollars on history-making battle sequence and you don’t even bother to light it well enough for anyone to see what’s going on…” And another comment, “I was absolutely convinced that we needed to upgrade our television and watch it again.”

Well, you get the point, I’m sure.

And as I smiled and laughed reading these comments, I was struck by a few life lessons, because indeed life lessons are all around us if we are willing to look for them.  Here’s what this episode of Game of Thrones, The Battle of Winterfell, taught me:

First, you’re almost never the only one to react a certain way.  While watching the episode, I was sure I was going blind or that old age had finally done my eyesight a turn and I’d have to adjust the tv for it permanently.  I was a bit shocked when I saw the abundance of comments that agreed that the episode was too dark for so many viewers…and these are just the few I read on Facebook.  I imagine there are many, many more out there, and so I am not alone.

Second, you can spend an awful lot of money and still make a horrendous mistake.  I don’t know where the buck stops on something like the lighting or lack of it on a tv episode, or if everyone on the crew came away after watching early screenings of The Battle of Winterfell and said, “This is amazing; just what we want!” But surely there’s a gap between what they created and what the viewing audience wants, and that’s a lot of money for what may be a big mistake.  Not the end of the world, but it teaches me that mistakes come in all price ranges.  And this one isn’t going to cause a war or global warming furtherance, so on that kind of scale, it’s not so bad.  There, I’m calmer about the darkness of the episode already, seen in this light (no pun intended).

Third, there’s a potential moral or story in everything.  Look for it, shape it, tell it, and laugh about it.  Share it if it’s good enough to share, or just tell it to your spouse or a good friend if it’s not that good.  But just creating the story in your mind is a good exercise of your creativity, so be willing to do the work to put it together.

And now, I’m going to watch tv tonight, and I’m going to look for the lightest, brightest shows I can find.

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