The Westeros Edition

“I am no ordinary woman. My dreams come true.”

— Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and

Mother of Dragons

 

I envy those who have not yet watched Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined), and I envy those who have not yet read One Hundred Years Of Solitude.

Both are sweeping epics of high mythology coupled to master storytelling.  To allow a great story to embrace and penetrate you is to lose yourself to larger realities. It is to enter the perennial, irreconcilable themes of good and evil, the misery and atonement of our human frailty, and to participate in the collective DNA written wisdom found in first-rate storytelling’s grand themes.

One thing that great myths-as-stories do is take the story wheel and fashion it in new, unexpected ways, and with unpredictable results.  Battlestar Galactica and One Hundred Years of Solitude weave stunning mythologies of character, religion, and cosmology in novel, inventive ways. In One Hundred Years, poetry and metaphor permeate every history as myth element; in BSG sci-fi’s small screen imaginative limits blow wide open.

Both works have knock-your-socks-off, breathtaking endings.

Some people love these brilliant if unexpected endings, some people hate them. Howard Stern loudly hated the ending of Battlestar Galactica. I suspect he was too literal about the storyline, and he wanted some things clearly answered. (His biggest gripe was about Starbuck, which tells me he missed the point.)

Grand mythic cosmologies require an appreciation for ambiguity and the irresolvable; some cannot tolerate their stories without clean seams. They need distinct lines drawn from point A to point B. Others not only love the empty space between A and B, they think that’s what makes the story magical, memorable, compelling, unforgettable, repeatable, enviable.

It’s in the space of the unknown that one “leaps beyond” what can be known. This leap is what these big stories invite: embracing those things that keep us searching, questioning, creating, the things that will always elude our grasp.

To enter worlds like Battlestar Galactica or One Hundred Years Of Solitude for the first time is like falling in love: in those narrative moments, you want to be nowhere but in that world, you want to be only with those characters, and you yearn to see what the next chapter or installment brings

[BSG spoiler follows below. Scroll down to the asterisk break to avoid.]

I stumbled on Battlestar Galactica well after it originally aired. I remember even in the early episodes it had an odd personal resonance, a resonance that soon became clearer. My life in Cambridge was dissolving; everything was falling apart on every front.  It’s as though my life and Galactica’s were connected, we were both coming undone, and we were both looking for a home.

Starbuck became a metaphor for my survival.

She died.  I died.  She resurrected then completed her mission.

I believed that I could, at the very least, resurrect yet one more time.

“Just trust yourself. . . There must be some kind of way out of here.”

And BSG has incredible music by Bear McCreary that along with brilliant editing ties film, story, acting, and special effects together in superlative ways.

Music, story, character, cosmology — all these came together for me in a creative, empowering, dare I write, redemptive Big Bang.

***

Sunday night, another epic begins its finale, Game Of Thrones season 8 episode 1 airs.

I’ve not read any of Martin’s books. My reading list is a century-long, and my time is filled with enough. I’m content to guiltlessly sink into HBO’s Westeros reality.

What an adventure it’s been.

For those of us besotted of high Sci-Fi and Fantasy, Game Of Thrones has been a bloody, incestuous mythic joy-ride.

“Hold-the-door” is now a metaphorical reference in my repertoire, and I think it is a perfect metaphor in the era of 45, even if the reference is only understood by the GOT faithful.

“Hold-the-door,” one of the small screen’s greatest moments, no exaggeration.

It’s bittersweet knowing that Westeros’ history will end, soon. Within the next couple of months, we’ll have the story’s resolutions, and a great myth’s circle comes to a close.

I envy those of you who haven’t seen it yet.  When the time is right, you have truly great storytelling moments waiting. To experience for the first time the thrill of the unexpected twists, the pleasure of imagination pushed to the limits, the glory of big characters, the delight of gorgeous scenery and costumes, the discovery of great heroes, the resolve of even greater heroines, and the tense bucking up to endure truly hideous and complex villains.

Oh, yes, and most important, dragons!

Dragons! Dragons! Dragons!

If you haven’t seen it yet, maybe watch the first episodes of Season One.  It’s an epic, so you need to start where all great epics do, “In the beginning . . .”


For those of you who have watched the series, I invite you to share your season 8 theories.

I’d enjoy reading your take on what you think will happen on the way to The Iron Throne.

 

(Images taken from public domain .gif and .jpeg sources.)

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