I’ve been thinking a great deal about Game of Thrones since its conclusion. Specifically, I’ve been trying to pinpoint its most captivating quality. I love it. You love it. Most of the world loves it. But why? Is it the characters? The actors? The fights? The special effects? The plot? Maybe even the dialogue?
It’s only since I started reading the first book a few days ago that I’ve been able to determine what I actually love best about it.
Of course, it must be said that I love books first and foremost. TV and movies are wonderful, but literature is where my imagination gets to run wild. My job is to envision whatever the author puts down on the page. I have no budgetary limits set upon my special effects. I have no location concerns or production issues. I read what the author wrote, and then my imagination is off to the races.
However, in some cases, such as with Game of Thrones, the author is writing details about a reality so foreign, so extraordinary, that my imagination has no context from which to draw upon in order to formulate an image. Yes, I can generally come up with something, but nothing that does the text justice. Sure, I know what a wolf is, but is that the same as a dire wolf? (Turns out … yup, it pretty much is the same.)
The creatives behind the Game of Thrones program have to show us these details, though, and so they must work out the nuances of clothing, castles, armor, weaponry, magical creatures–even chambers and cutlery! They must take into account the climate of the various settings and depict an environment suitable to the source material. They have to actually work out the cadence of languages and the visual practices of religions.
Game of Thrones has essentially created an alternate reality for us to behold. They don’t just give us a single castle, or a lone homestead, they grant us an entire world. And though the scope of the show constricted quite a bit during the last two seasons, we were previously offered a planetary civilization made up of unique elements specific to the culture and customs of its local inhabitants.
In this rare case, the show outperformed my own imagination in such a way that I felt as though I embarked upon a new realm, and I love that about it.