Move over son! This skeptic is hopping on the bandwagon!

Are you a book person or a movie person?

The way you answer that is going to make a big difference on how you feel about books being made into movies.

CringingWhen you are a book person, the words “They’re making it into a movie” can be cringe worthy ones.

When I hear that Hollywood is taking on one of my favorite authors, I nearly always cringe. Yes, I might feel a cautious feeble flicker of hope, but the trepidation I feel tends to squelch that tiny flickering flame.

Movies so rarely do justice to a good book.

Yes, I know that there are exceptions, Lord of the Rings being the most obvious one, but more often than not, what the end result is is a butchery of a truly good book.

butcheryTake “City of Bones” for example. Butchery, sheer butchery!

And, if it’s not an outright butchery, it still just falls so very far short of the written work itself. “Memoirs of a Geisha.”  “Gone Girl.” Decent movies, even “good” ones, but such a pale shadow of the written work!

Given this track record, you can understand the anxiety I felt when I heard the “Game of Thrones” was going to be turned into a TV series…

I wanted to be excited. I really did, but experience had taught me that I was likely to be disappointed. Very, very disappointed. The fact that it was HBO taking it on, and not some alphabet network, did give me some hope, the flame did flicker, but…this was my favorite series of all time. My favorite author of all time. Even if it was good, it was unlikely to be good enough.

bandwagonYou have to understand, I am a true fan, not a bandwagon fan. I’ve been with GoT since the beginning.

I remember well when my father told me, my freshman year of college, that if I liked Robert Jordan, he was about to wow me with his new find, a guy named George R. R. Martin. I was skeptical, as at that time I thought that Jordan was the best fantasy writer of all time. Still, as it was my dad giving me the tip, and he’d never done me wrong, I knew I needed to give it a try. With a fair dose of skepticism, I cracked the cover…

And felt into the pages, real world be dammed! Who needs to eat? Work? Sleep? I needed to know what would happen!

I gobbled “Game of Thrones” up in a day and a half, great tome though it was.

I was stunned. Martin had ripped my heart out, chewed it into a pulp, and spit it out right in front of me, the great red, pulpy mass that it now was–and I loved it.

oliverI found myself muttering to myself for several days, “I can’t believe he did that! Did he really just do that?!” It was unconventional. It was brutal. And yet I felt a bit like Oliver holding out my bowl saying, “Mo’ please.”

He changed the way I looked at literature.

I anxiously awaited every new release, and I re-read all the books that came before in anticipation of each new release. I found myself waiting on pins and needles–just what would Martin dare to do next?

I converted all my friends to fandom. We would sit around and cast the TV series for fun– a good decade before HBO decided to take it on.

eddard-starkWe would argue over which actor or actress would best portray what we saw so clearly in our heads. We’d argue and debate until we came to a consensus.

We dreamed that it would happen. For years we talked about what if it happened, but a part of me dreaded the possibility of it truly happening, because how could they possibly do it justice?

Then I heard HBO was taking it on…I followed all the news about casting, very concerned. So many of the choices just didn’t fit my imagination. Sure, you had some that were just perfect like Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), and LittleFinger (Aidan Gillen), but then there was Cersei (Lena Headey) and she just didn’t fit what was in my head…

Despite my fear, I found myself excited, but when it came down to it, fear won out. I couldn’t watch the show. It might spoil the books, and I just couldn’t risk it.

GoT-1024x512But then began the long wait.

And more waiting.

And yet more waiting.

And the waiting became so long and embarrassing, that Martin himself wouldn’t even project dates any more. Heck, he stopped even mentioning the book in his blog!

He’d talk about Comic Con. He’d talk about watching the TV series as it was filmed. He’d talk about going here and going there. He’d talked about his games. And all the little side projects he did. Anything except the book.

And I began to wonder if Martin would ever finish his series at all. And not knowing how it ended…well, that would be truly awful! (After all, my friends and I use to joke and worry about Robert Jordan dying before he could wrap up the “Eye of the World” and, lo! Our fears ended up being quite justified (Though I will say that Brandon Sanderson did a wonderful job of wrapping up that behemoth!))

Then I heard the news that the late comers, the bandwagon hoppers, the new flock of groupies, officially knew more than we, the true and faithful.

Unacceptable. Diabolical! A true outrage!

outrage

The true fans were being left behind!

And I kept hearing how awesome the show was. By everyone. And their brother.

Then even my brother, one of the true and faithful from the beginning, told me I really had to watch it. That I wouldn’t be disappointed…

So, I swallowed my fear, made myself a drink (A nice strong one for the occasion), and curled up on my couch with a good dose of skepticism.

At first, I noticed every difference from the book.

Cersei wasn’t pretty enough. Brienne wasn’t ugly enough. Jamie wasn’t blond enough.

But, I had to grudgingly admit it was good. Maybe not great, but good.

And the further I got, it was more than good.

And as it picked up steam, and increased in budget, it became everything that was in my head–it became amazing.

winterfellIt truly did this brutal world Martin had created justice.

As it went on, I realized that the casting choices that I had questioned were downright inspired. (Lena Headey, I owe you an apology. You are freakin’ amazing and make the absolute perfect Cersei. I can’t help hating you!)

And I mostly stopped questioning the differences from the book (But,why was Caitlyn Stark not brought back by the Lord of Light? Martin, will you please answer where you were going with that story line??).

The truth is, GoT is one of the rare occasions where the screen version actually lives up to the literary work.

David Benioff and Brian Kirk, you set yourselves up for failure when you took on this behemoth, and yet somehow, you more than pulled it off.

This fan humbly thanks you for not butchering my favorite tale. You won over this skeptic, and I am waiting on pins and needles for the last installment…

I know I can’t hope for a happy ending, it is, after all, Martin, but maybe a semi happy ending?? Pretty please? Just this once?

burningWho am I kidding. The world is going to burn, and yet I can’t make myself look away…

I’m once again sticking out my bowl asking “mo’ please.”

I guess we never learn, do we?

 

 

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Evil Tree Spirits…If I promise to knock on wood next time, will you give me a break . . . Please?!

I’m starting to become superstitious. I think our ancestors knew something that we don’t. They warned us that bad things happen in threes. They warned us to knock on wood (have you ever wondered where that came from? I have. So I consulted my trusty friend google and it told me that it is to keep the evil spirits that live in trees from hearing, lest they take away our good luck or to keep the tree gods from hearing and thinking that our pridefulness needs to be brought down a peg or two) to prevent our good luck from souring into bad. They warned us not to jinx ourselves.

tree spirits

But what did they know? They’re just old fashioned and unenlightened. We, being so much more advanced, don’t believe in such archaic myths. We are beyond that. Smarter than that. They’re just primitive–and more importantly–wrong.

Or are they?

I know that I feel like I have a great big cosmic bullseye affixed to the front of my “Sons of Anarchy” t-shirt (yes, I am dressed like Gemma from that hit show to portray them and their drug smuggling, gun toting ways as villains for spirit week here at my high school. How many of your high school teachers dressed up like biker babes?! I think I should score a few cool factor points on this one.). I must have forgotten to knock on wood when I shared how much better I am enjoying this school year teaching my Sophomore classes. I must have forgotten to ward against jinxes when I shared how much better my son was doing at school. I must have forgotten to not allow my contentedness with life to be too obvious. The tree spirits heard, and they retaliated.

tree spirit attack

Both of our water heaters broke at the same time last week. Not too big of a deal unless you live in a place like, oh, let’s say Texas– where the flood plane is too high, and where there is too much clay in the soil, and where flash floods are so common, that we can’t have basements.

Where do you put water heaters if you can’t put them in a basement because you don’t have one? The attic, of course! Duh! Silly you! We don’t want anyone to see them after all. No one will see them up there. It’s the perfect place!

Ummm, okay architect genius who came up with that idea . . . did you not take into account the fact that water heaters have a shelf life and are prone to start leaking when they corrode, and by the very nature of being out of sight, they often leak without detection, until they leak so badly that it, quite literally, starts pouring from the ceiling?!?!?!?!?

Yes, that’s right. Pouring from the ceiling. That is what my children came home to on Friday. Ceilings that had actually collapsed from the water pouring down, beautiful wood floors that were already warping, and carpets that squished when you walked. Fun times!

ceiling

Thank God for insurance companies! They set us up in a hotel for a week until they could dry things out. They even insisted on a hotel with a kitchenette for our convenience. But then it came time to check out, and, oops! They hadn’t quite remembered to send that check on time so, “Sorry! You’ll just have to cover that on your own for now! We’ll reimburse you!”

Ummm . . . $1000 hotel bill plus a $1500 bill for a newly installed water heater . . . I don’t know about you, but we don’t have that kind of cash lying around so financial crisis ensues. Ho–ly–Crap!!!

Being a silver lining kind of girl, I take my best friend up on a girl’s night out to take my mind off of it all. This will be good. I’ll get to see a preview of the movie “Gone Girl” with one of my favorite people. Just what I need.

Where is that damn wood when I need it! If only I had had some to knock on!

lurking

Just as I tried to leave my school to head to the Angelika, the heavens opened and burst. My drought dry land was all of a sudden Venice. I think I could have gotten there faster on foot. Even running to the car with my head covered, I still managed to get sopping wet, and then I had to sit in traffic for a good 2+ hours only to arrive at the wrong location (thank you GPS). By the time I finally got to the theater, it was too late to eat, so we had to make a dinner of popcorn. I love popcorn and all, but not really what I had in mind for dinner!

But all’s good. I was with my awesome friend who I hadn’t seen in far too long, and I was getting to see one of the most anticipated movie screenings of the year. Lucky me!

WHERE is that damn wood when I need to knock on it!

Great friend, great movie, feeling better . . . and then the lady sitting next to me got up. She got up and quite literally dumped an entire coke in my just finally dried from the spontaneous flood lap. From shoulder to foot, I was covered with cold, wet, sticky coke.

The fitting end, to a fitting week. So apt. Almost poetic really. How could I be upset? It was the epitomy, the concrete portrayal, of my week–quite literally getting dumped on. It couldn’t have been penned better.

Surely, it’s over. At last. It’s a fitting ending, so that means it’s the end, right?

Dammit! Where is that wood!

Excuse me, while I take this phone call . . .

“What? My daughter ran into the door on her way into school this morning? Did you say concussion watch?! What the *&%^$#@#@@#$$%!”

knockonwood

That’s it. Our ancestors KNEW something. Bad things come in threes (or tens) and I am never again going to forget to knock on wood. Jeez already! I learned my lesson now back the *&%$ off! 😉