The human race tells a lot of stories. Everyone has a life story and some have a lot of stories…
We call them authors.
But what do these stories do? Why are they important?
I feel that they give guidelines and road maps that help us understand what it means to be human.
Joseph Campbell wrote “The Hero’s Journey” and in it tells how the protagonist faces problems, how he meets these problems and how he is transformed by the problems he faces.
From the beginning to the end, most stories show the struggle of life and how love, loyalty, “Doing the Right Thing” triumphs over wrong and evil.
It’s a template for how we should live our life. A path that points the way for human behavior.
Sure our character stumbles at times, we all do, but perseverance usually wins out to a satisfying ending. Good fights evil with courage and ultimately wins.
Usually, the bad guys go to jail, get killed or suffer. Tragedy reveals that wrong and evil carry a penalty.
And then the movie “The Thomas Crown Affair” came along.
The rich handsome bank robber got away with breaking the law. He didn’t even need the money. The story ended differently.
No one blinked.
Now George R. R. Martin has taken it a step further.
I don’t mind the soft porn sex in the HBO series. It actually got my husband’s attention. Let’s face it, we humans are attracted to sex…
It’s a good thing too…for the continuance of the race.
I don’t mind the grittiness of how the characters live. Both in the book and the series my face is rubbed in the dirt of the rough side of living. Not only does Tyrion Lannister get conscripted into fighting, tramp through the mud, he gets dysentery and we get to read about him throwing up. Can’t wait to see what the HBO version does with that.
Martin piles it on.
What I do mind, however, what enrages me, is that I get to know a character with good qualities…and they are tossed away, usually brutally, while one such as Jaime Lannister who had incest with his sister, who crippled the Stark boy, killed thousands in battle to control the throne is now being portrayed with sympathy. Oh, poor Jaime is being mistreated. And Martin doesn’t just slap his hand for saving Brienne from rape, he cuts it off.
Because he did something noble.
Finally…and gets punished.
Ned Stark loved his family, gave up Winterfell to serve his king because he was loyal, and he is betrayed. He had more than a hand chopped off.
If he were the only example, I wouldn’t be complaining so much.
But most characters that portray any desirable traits of love, loyalty, perseverance, courage, are tossed away, killed, punished, hurt. And the innocent Starke children are punished the most. Whether it’s Sansa in the opulent royal court being verbally abused, Bran on the run for his life in the snow, or Arya in the wilds of the woods scrambling for her life against vicious criminals, innocence and goodness are deadly traits whereas cunning and deviousness ensure survival.
What message is that telling us subliminally? That striving for good is a dangerous and fruitless endeavor? One not worth following?
But like the girl who can’t give up the bad boy, after I am literarily punched, beaten and dragged through the mud, I crawl back to the book or turn on HBO for more punishment.
And get it.
Yet again, I throw the book against the wall and yell, “Enough!” Only later, to pick it back up, hoping, hoping that there’s a good ending somewhere. That there is hope for good. That the struggle to “Do the Right Thing” is worth it.
When the tale is told and the dust finally settles in the Game of Throne Series, I’ll be curious to see who triumphs…
And what it finally says about how we should live our lives.
And wonder if anyone blinks.