Clearing out the cobwebs…

As most of you know I am a bit of a fan of the fantastic HBO show Game of Thrones… Such a fan in fact that it has become a Monday night ritual for myself, Lone Support Angel and The Entertainments Officer to gather around the Idiot Box (craving satisfiers to hand) each and every week… and woe betide anyone or anything that interrupts this little get together…

According to the media (primarily print media) Game of Thrones has achieved the status of “Phenomenon”. A title that the newspapers like to attribute to a programme or cultural aspect that has hit the Zeitgeist at just the right time*… Actually I think GoT has reached the even rarer niche of “Global Phenomenon”… Or as I tend to translate it when I read that phrase in certain newspapers… “A product that is enjoyed by a lot of people in the U.S and Britain and we understand by some of the better educated inhabitants of our former antipodean colonies…”

And that’s another thing… [Oh God, he’s already hit the first tangent… Are we ready for this?] ~Legal are on it sir. We have the “Allegedly” stamp inked and ready and have set up an automatic “Real Names Converter” on his visual/typing interface~

{What are you lot up to?}

[Nothing. Just clearing out some cobwebs. Look, here’s my duster.]


[Duster. For cobwebs. Like in the title?]

{What’s he up to, over there?}

[Legal? Oh he’s just clearing out some old boxes… Not stuff we need… Tort Law… Lyrics of songs by Madonna… Dates of the Wars of the Roses… That sort of thing…]

{WHAT? Don’t throw those out you idiot… I need some of them…}

[Oh we’re not throwing them out sir… We are just moving them to other departments…]

{Like where?}

[Various places]


[Well, Tort Law is being moved from “I must find out what that is one day” to “Life’s too short” though there does be quite a lack of space in there the past few years… Madonna songs is being uploaded into “Earworms” more specifically, the 2.30am slot… And Dates of the Wars of the Roses is going to… ah yes, “TOTT”]


[Yes, Tip-Of-The-Tongue Dept.]

{Oh OK…I think… Do you have to put Madonna in “Earworms”?}

[She’s next up on the rotation…]

{Well I suppose so… I look forward to that… }

Where was I? Oh yeah… *i’ve got embrassing memry’s 1982-4 prepped and ready to go* {What was that?} [Nothing sir. Nothing. Just a mis-communication. -Not now you muppet, he doesn’t need to know about those… They are only to be used in an emergency…- Sorry about that sir… I’ll just go and… go and… go…]

Of course when I talk about the print media I am only talking about those published in the UK… Not that I actually read any newspapers.. I read the occasional article online but would never actually hand over a penny of my hard earned per diems to the lie-mongers… As you may know, we have a two-tier newspaper tradition in the UK… We have the rags for the proles and the “Broadsheets” for the intelligentsia (or those that like to think they are)… As I said, I don’t read most of the papers but I doubt that the rags have covered GoT very much… reasons for this are many and varied but probably because GoT has not been proven to give you cancer, nor has it been smuggled into the country by “illegal immigrants”… It hasn’t had a story-line in which “the people’s princess” has descended from heaven to show them the error of their ways… It’s too intelligent for most of their readers even if it does have a pleasing number of potential “page three political commentators”… As for the Broadsheets… Well the readers of one or two probably watch it and cream themselves dreaming of the day they can legally own slaves again or, at the very least, wish to return to days when they can properly return to acting like a lord of Westeros without this disgusting Human Rights Act getting in the way of treating your staff and family like shit… Another probably cannot get off the fence long enough to turn on the TV… and that leaves us with the “Earnest One”…

[Hold on a minute, this wasn’t going to be a blog about the Grauniad…]

{I know, I just got side-tracked… I’ll get back to my point… Just give me a bit of leeway…}

[OK, but I’ll just get Legal on hold…]

{If you must}

The reason I brought up the Grauniad is because of this article. I read that earlier this week and thought… Yes you’ve raised some interesting points but I do believe you’ve missed quite a few too… GoT is Fantasy. You can tell if you know where to look… (I know I’m stating the obvious here but it does help to keep these things in mind). Right so it’s a fantasy, but it is also, I believe, practically the only show that has portrayed feudal societies in the realest way… Much as we like to romanticise Medieval Europe it wasn’t a nice place to live… Somebody once said that for the majority of our history human lives have been dirty, brutal and short… and for the most part this is true. GoT is set in a fictionalised version of Medieval Europe, a time and place that has been popular with fantasy writers since Geoffrey of Monmouth… There are hundreds of fantasy novels out there if you want a sanitised version of this period… Want the good guys to always wear white and win? Read LoTR. Want more dragons? Read Dragonlance. Want more magic? Read Harry Potter. How about Great Heroes and lots of clashing blades but with a bit more dirt and violence? Gemmel is the writer for you… Want to know what life was like for ordinary people and how brutally violent it really has been for women for the majority of the time humans have been a distinct species (but with added Dragons and White Walkers)? Watch/Read GoT.

I was originally going to write a rebuttal to the above linked article (and quite a few others that I have read) in this blog but then I read this one and I realised I didn’t really have a lot to add…

I will say that part of the problems with the criticism of GoT is that we watch it with a 21st century mindset… And why wouldn’t we? We are (well a lot of us are) living in the 21st Century… And I’m not saying that you need a degree in Medieval History to fully appreciate the programme… I’m just saying that; Yes, it would be nice if the people inhabiting the GoT universe had access to people to help with the inevitable PTSD of being involved in the Battle of Blackwater… Or how about a branch of Relate being made available to Sansa and Ramsay..? Or maybe Tyrion Lannister getting in touch with the Campaign for Equal Heights to help him with all his tormentors..?

Hate to ruin it for you folks but that isn’t going to happen… We cannot… or rather, we should not, project our societal mores and prejudices onto a programme that is based within an entirely alien (to us) culture… Westeros is not London or New York in 2015… it is a thousand years away from that…

[Is that it? Are you finished?]

{Yeah, I think so…}

[OK. I’ll just get some of these boxes cleared and let Legal know that they can stand down…]

{Actually… I’ve got a couple more ideas…}

[-Shit!, Inner 5 Year Old, get those boxes of “Childish Ambitions” ready, we may need to bring out the big guns!- Sorry, sir… Carry on… we’ll just be over here if you need us…]

Before I sign off I just want to share a quick anecdote…

At work yesterday I had a real ego boost… In a good way too…

A couple of weeks ago one of our visitors brought in a piece of flint that they had spotted amid the gravel path that leads to our site… When it first arrived I gave it a quick perusal but as we were busy at the time it was placed on a shelf and forgotten until yesterday until one of my colleagues brought it out to examine… these days, when questions of specific periods or artefacts are brought up, some of my colleagues look to me for answers (don’t ask me why, I don’t know)… So here I am examining this “artefact” and giving  my not-at-all-expert opinion on what it is… is it worked? Is it natural? If it is man-made, what was it for? The usual questions… My theory is; Yes, it’s man made, yes it is a tool and it was probably made to do something like this… blah blah blah… and here’s why… see this here..? that shows evidence of hammering/knapping… see how this edge has been worked into this shape? that suggests it was used to do this… Blah blah blah… cue colleagues looking vaguely impressed and Our Hero feeling a bit chuffed…

At that point our Visiting Experience Specialist wanders along to join the conversation… and one of my colleagues (who shall be forever known to you readers as Daughter of the XBox) hands over this piece of flint and asks her opinion… Cue cold sweats for Our Hero… What if he has just made himself sound a complete muppet? What if everything he has just said so much hogwash? Will Daughter of the XBox and Our Lady of the Flowers mock him mercilessly for the rest of his career?

Visiting Experience Specialist (this is a temporary title, I will think of something more appropriate at a later date) knows what she is talking about… Our Hero is a bumbling amateur… With bated breath we await her conclusion… Her answer?… Yes, it’s man made, yes it is a tool and it was probably made to do something like this… blah blah blah… and here’s why… see this here..? that shows evidence of hammering/knapping… see how this edge has been worked into this shape? that suggests it was used to do this… Blah blah blah…

Our Hero breathes again… A sigh is released…. Not just of relief… Daughter of the XBox and Our Lady of the Flowers are both beaming now… Our Hero has had his hypothesis confirmed… Our Hero walks on air for the final 30 minutes of his shift…

{There that wasn’t too bad was it?}

[No sir. Rather a nice way to end. -OK, Inner 5 Year Old, you can put the “Stupid Things I’ve Said At The Wrong Time File” back in the warehouse- Oh! Are you still here sir? I didn’t see you standing by the “Interesting Facts or How-To-Bore-People-Rigid-In-Ten-Seconds-Or-Less” shelves…]

{I know what you are doing you know. I do keep and eye on you lot.}

[Of course you do sir. We all keep an eye out for each other here sir.]






*I do hope I’ve used that the right way… I’m sure at least one of you will let me know if I haven’t…


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