Monday, May 28, 2012

Archetypal TV: Chavez at King's Landing

I have never been much of a ran for medieval fantasy epic.  Science Fiction I did better until I realized that taming wormholes for intergalactic travel was not compatible with my increasing knowledge of science.  But at least science fiction holds the promise that one day, maybe....  True, I did enjoy the Lord of the Rings, but then again these books were also literature. But mass market?  No thanks.  And this has not much to do with a French Cartesian approach to life: after all, we may be the ones that wrote the first drafts of La Morte d'Artur.  Nor is Gothic my cup of tea: I could not get past Interview with the Vampire.
It is thus no surprise that it took me until this weekend to finally finish to watch season one of Games of Thrones which I had dutifully recorded on my DirectTV TiVo thinggy.  Not that it was easy, Direct TV makes all sorts of mistakes so programming does not necessarily result in recording the actual episode, even after more than one attempt.  Of that first season I could not manage to record chapter 6, A Golden Crown, nor do I think I missed much.

Still, Game of Thrones is worth watching: acting is good and reconstruction done well enough (except for that dragon revival scene....).  And, wonder of wonders, it is politically relevant for third world countries.

In episode 7, You Win or You Die, Robert Baraethon on his bed of agony has the bad idea of writing a secret will to name Ned Stark the regent while his illegitimate child (unknown fact to Bob).  That is, the appointment would be read only once King Robert is dead.  "What a terrible idea!  This is never going to work!" I thought on the spot.  Yes, I know, I have a hard time letting go from reality even in the best of series but I was proven right since a couple of episodes later on Baelor square Ned's head was promptly sliced as the illegitimate king family was taking over power, and exerting it as a butchery shop.

Isn't this exactly what Chavez is doing?  Keeping secret the name of any possible successor, or regent for his daughters if he could get away with it?  Which are the chances that his succession work out with the games he is playing for the last year, pitting against each other people from his entourage?  Whatever heir he appoints in the end will lack legitimacy because he never took the care to establish that legitimacy before he dies.  Bad results may be surely expected.

Hugo I Baratheon, at Sabaneta's Landing..........

PS: yes, I finished last night season 1, and season 2 is being recorded.  It looks like it is going to be a gory blood bath and I am not looking forward to  it, but the dwarf is quite something.  Besides, maybe I will gather more TV archetypal studies on third world politics which apparently have not changed in Venezuela since our XIX century middle age fantasy.


  1. Daniel, just a little fact check... season 2 is actually close to the end here in USA (last episode is next week). If you do reconsider watching the gory blood baths, I think the best part is yet to come in season 4 and 5 assuming they follow the books complicated story-line (geek alert!!! I know...). Now, if your comparison to Venezuelan succession of power is any close to reality, I suggest you start stockpiling some food and find a good hiding place because it is going to the get ugly :)

    1. Season 2 is also finishing anytime soon. I know that because I have been recording since April 1 and there is already like 6/7 shows to watch.

      And no, I am not planning to read the books, thanks for the warning! :)

    2. I just realized that by recording season 2 you meant in your TiVo. I thought you meant like in the studios... My bad!

  2. Maybe you are right,but I heard it said by Lannister (I think) that when you play the 'Game of Thrones', you either live or die - there is no middle ground.But the way I see it, there will be no war against the opposition because the opposition will not fight back- And as for the war between opposing Chavista factions ( generalizing revolutionaries vs.drug gangsters) , I see little to gain by a prolonged fight- after all they all benefited by 'Chavismo' quite nicely. Also they seem to have have that special talent for political maneuvering that comes with the combination of ruthlessness and questionable morals and have coexisted together quite nicely for a long time now.

    Personally I think it likely that they mostly end up striking deals.


  3. Hi Daniel thank you SO MUCH for letting us know the Game of Thrones is worthwhile. I will buy the books following your recommendation. And there are many books in the series. A VERITABLE GOLD MINE. Thank you thank you!
    If you like politically relevant science fiction there is the Dune series. But surely you have read it? In case you have not I truly envy you. My grandfather, a politician in his late years, began reading Dune when I recommended it to him and he called me two days later to complain that he had not been able to get any work done because of the "damn" book.
    Do you like biology evolution novels?

    1. STOP! I a not recommending the books¡cause I have not read them.

      Dune. I read the first one ad could not go further.... Just like for the vampire saga. I like my science fiction to have a hint of plausibility. Jules Verne is still the best of the genre and many oh his stuff still strangely readable today (in French, of course).

      But yes, Dune had interesting political aspects, but so did star wars, etc... good fantasy, medieval or astral, need to be held relevant through a plot we can relate to.

  4. So, are we going to see two of Chavez' brothers fight it out like Renly and Stannis Baratheon? Who is there besides Adan?

  5. By the way you are absolutely right about Chavez and his daughter. Most Venezuelans I have spoken to say the military will never ever allow this to be even proposed. However, I think Chavez political nose is sensing the role of women in the succession of populists, something history teaches us.

  6. I have purposely stayed away from watching the TV shows because I have read the books and am currently pissed at George RR Martin for Gross Continuance of Plot Without Furtherance of Story In Order to Sell More Books.

    I am also Charging him with Abuse of Sympathetic Character Traits and Unoriginality in the Treatment of Dragons.

    Other than that, the books have been satisfying and I will wait for the written books to end before looking at renting the DVD's just so I can see how far they diverge.

    So what, is Capriles John Snow? Jaua as Tyrion Lannister?

    1. Ooooohhhhh!!!! Guess the character!!!! I love that.

      I concur on your first two approximations though chavistas would rather be closer to Drogo type.... Tyrion is way smarter than Jaua.....

    2. Jaua as Tyrion is a stretch, I agree. I just wanted to equate Jaua to an evil dwarf!!

  7. Anonymous2:50 AM

    You really missed one of the most 'Effed up' scene in the whole first season of Game of Thrones by not watching episode 6. I guess watching those 'previously on GoT' that they put at the start of the following episode gave you a spoiler. Read the first book. If you like it, then move on to the others. The Blu-ray version of the series has several videos that explain the world of GoT.

    1. I am considering getting the DVD (I own no blue ray yet).

  8. Oooohhh!! I LOVE GoT!!! I started watching it last year (first season), and before the end, I had purchased the first 4 books (in a boxed set from Amazon); it took me about 3 months (give or take) to read them. I also got the newest one, A Dance with Dragons, as soon as it came out. Tyrion Lannister is certainly NO Jaua; Tyrion is far from evil! In fact, I don't believe that there's a Tyrion in VZ politics as I see it. Lots of Joffreys, though. Warning: each of the GoT books is at least 1,000 pages, small print (at least, the paperback version). However, I found it both addicting and fascinating!

  9. Milonga3:46 PM

    My favorite blogger plus my favorite TV show: what more can I ask? Great post. And don't miss Season 2 - it's even better!

  10. Lucia6:55 PM

    Game of Thrones books are more nuanced than the show -- and an excellent guide to power and politics. Much more sophisticated than anything else in the fantasy or sci-fi genre. A few characters are one-note...but most are textured and complex. (The show does as well as it can to portray the complexity...but the books are even better).


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