No, Tyrion isn’t just like me

A little while ago both Erik and myself were giggling over this clip of Ben in Parks and Recreation passionately casting down the idea that HBO’s Game of Thrones would ever be canceled. Ben argues that it’s a hit because it tells real world stories in a fantasy setting. At the time, I said that that was a perfect explanation of why the show and series among non-traditionally fantasy inclined fans:

What I love about the clip is that the explanation is also one of the best and most succinct ones I’ve heard/seen of why the show/series is successful.*

Really? Do you know someone who’s fathered three children through his sister? Is your best friend a stunted dwarf desperate for love, drowning his sorrows in the bosoms of whores? Has your older brother been killed and his family’s home put to the torch because he decided to marry someone for love?

No. Ben’s explanation is incomplete. The reason the show is successful among non-fantasy lovers is because the characters think like normal people. This is not the clichéd epic where the protagonists talk in faux old English and are constantly worried about honor. These characters are appealing because we can understand how they think and we see that they aren’t always inclined to do the right thing. Sometimes they do the selfish, wrong, ugly, stupid, thing instead. It’s entirely human.

*I realize how absurd it is to quote oneself. I’m only doing it here because I’m criticizing my own comments.

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24 thoughts on “No, Tyrion isn’t just like me

  1. Eh, I quote myself all the time (especially in arguments with myself!) But I think you and Ben are making the same point, actually.

    I also think that, like Harry Potter, the writing style itself is just accessible. The names of characters aren’t quite so far-fetched. For all its complexity, the story itself is fairly straightforward. We’ll be delving into R. Scott Bakker’s work shortly, and I think it’s actually better fantasy, but it’s less accessible for a number of reasons, and I think we’ll want to talk about why as the book club(s) draw onward.

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    • Well I think that’s not necessarily the same as quoting oneself. My gripe with the self reference we’re talking about is that it’s often rooted in egotism. The self-quoting happens because the person thinks it sounds good, not because it’s uniquely insightful. I think you need someone else to better know when something you say is worth quoting or not.

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      • I think you need someone else to better know when something you say is worth quoting or not.

        I have one of those but she hates political arguments so we’re back at square one more often than not.

        In that vaccuum we are left saying “is there someone who already made the point I’m trying to make?” and, if there is, there ain’t no shame in quoting this person. Even if it’s you.

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        • Fair enough. Either way though, I just don’t like quoting myself. I don’t think I’m that insightful…although I realize that writing as a form is an egotistical medium and blogging semi-anonymously as I do is even more so.

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