Five reasons why you should be reading “Game of Thrones”

20 Jul

I used to have a life. It involved going outside from time to time, maybe eating a snack or taking a shower. And then I started reading George R. R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, also known as “A Game of Thrones. ” Now I don’t do anything except come home from work, sit down and turn on my Kindle. I cannot put these damn books down. Which is funny because I resisted reading them even after my husband told me how amazing they were. I’m not a fan of fantasy and a series that runs to more than 5,000 pages seemed like a pretty big commitment for something in which I’m not even interested.

So let me try and save you from the same mistake with these five extremely motivational reasons for why you should pick up the first volume in this set NOW.

First, here’s a very basic and poorly written synopsis of what the book is about: the king of the fictional continent of Westeros dies and a wild scramble among the land’s most prominent families to take the throne ensues. At the same time, some seriously weird shit is happening in the north, beyond the Wall that protects the civilized world from its “uncivilized” counterpart.

Why should you be reading this? A few suggestions:

Reason #1: If you’ve ever wanted to go blind, this is a great way to do it.

Did I mention these books are long? If he were alive today, James Joyce would look at these things and immediately feel tired. It is a lot of reading but what makes it all worth it is the story. These books are page turners from the get-go. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent, struggling against sleep, because I just have to know what happens next. Sure, the next day I can’t read the instructions on the aspirin bottle — how many pills for blurry vision and headaches? I don’t know. I have blurry vision and a headache.

Reason #2: They’re really good.

Did I mention that these books are really good? Like I said, I’m not a fan of fantasy. I am one of the three heathens in this world who can’t stand Tolkien and who has never finished a single “Lord of the Rings” book. (Hobbits freak me out.) These novels, however, are written almost like historical fiction. Martin does such a great job of making the people, places and situations in his work feel real that when “unreal” things happen, it seems organic. Because each chapter is told from the point of view of an individual character, all of those characters are three-dimensional. There is no right or wrong — everything is gray. Good guys do bad things and bad guys do good things.

Reason #3: When every single view of the HBO series freaks out at some shocking development, you’ll already have worked through your grief with your therapist.

Martin does not pull punches. At all. No one is safe in this book. If you think something bad is going to happen, it will and it’s going to be worse than you thought it would be. I have literally sat in stunned silence for hours after some of the book’s more shocking moments. And then I have to ask my husband, “Did that really happen?” He’ll say yes and will gently pull me off the ceiling. So take it from me, if you’re going to watch the series, it’s going to be better to know what’s coming up so you can maybe take a walk to the kitchen to escape the screams of your unsuspecting viewing partners.

Reason #4: Tyrion

Even if for some unfathomable reason you dislike every other character in this book, you will love the character of Tyrion, a dwarf known as the Imp whose family is among the most powerful in all of Westeros. Constantly shunned, mocked, abused and belittled, he is one of the ballsiest, funniest, bravest characters I’ve ever read. In a series filled with unforgettable characters, he is easily the star. His character is also the main reason you should be watching the HBO series. Peter Dinklage was perfectly cast as Tyrion and plays the role to the hilt without ever going overboard.

Reason #5: Did I mention it was really good?

Now I know I may have misled you in the past, swearing perhaps that the 411th video of Maru, the cat who loves boxes, was the greatest thing ever and you had to watch it now but I’m totally serious with this whole “Game of Thrones” thing. If you would like to give up your free will for a few weeks (or months) and surrender to this incredible series, I promise you will not be sorry. And if you are sorry, I will send you a great video of Maru in apology. I promise.

Unexpected celebrity encounters: a modest proposal

15 Jul

This past weekend, my husband and I unexpectedly ran into one of my very favorite actors, Bradley Whitford, at a local restaurant. More about that in a minute because first I would like to address the broader issue of meeting someone you’ve gawked at on the TV for years and dealing with the fact that you have had no preparation for this moment whatsoever.

Because if life was fair, this is how all unexpected celebrity encounters would go:

You would wake up looking better than you ever have before and your normal morning ablutions would elevate your personal appearance to somewhere north of 11. Your breath would smell like roses and sunshine, and your skin would be extra soft, as though you just molted and are sporting an entirely new epidermis. While you slept, your IQ skyrocketed and the ghost of Oscar Wilde descended from the heavens to deposit an inexhaustible supply of bon mots in your ear. Also, the little wobble that’s been forming under your upper arms for the last five years? It would be gone.

So you’d go outside in this optimal state and discover a world full of smiling fellow human beings. What clouds there are in an otherwise clear blue sky would have been transformed into the shapes of fluffy bunnies and a functioning U.S. Congress.

You’d go into your favorite coffee shop where, for once, the guy behind the counter does NOT act like a douche and instead greets you with a congenial handshake and highly profitable stock tip.

It is at this point that you would turn around and find your favorite celebrity standing patiently in line behind you.

“Good morning,” he or she would say, waving the Emmy, Oscar, ESPY, Pulitzer or Grammy award they carry around to signify their celebrity status.

“And a good morning to you,” you would say cheerfully. Then you would exchange a witty word or two about the weather, capped off with one of those Wilde bon mots you were graced with overnight. You’d say, “It is a pleasure meeting you. I am a fan of your work and your exceptional talents have brought me great joy over the years.” (If they are not, in fact, talented, you would find a suitably polite way to amend this last bit.)

And then your celebrity would say, “No, no, the pleasure is all mine. I look forward to writing about this encounter in my memoirs.”

And then you would both high-five each other on account of being mutually awesome before going your separate ways to enjoy the free unicorn rides outside.

In short, what I’m trying to say here, is that in the event of unexpected celebrity encounter, your optimal goal is to not look like an ass.

I did not achieve that goal this past weekend.

My husband did because he’s cool and suave, but me? I stood there and stared at Whitford like a slack-jawed yokel, a tiny voice in my head whispering urgently, “Stop being an ass. Stop being an ass.” But by then it was too late as Whitford smiled graciously at my husband and cast a quick look of pity and possibly fear in my direction as he backed his way out the door of the restaurant.

I would like to suggest the following safety protocol in order to save myself and others from future embarrassment. My modest proposal is this:

We all start carrying pre-printed compliment cards that we can quickly fill out if we find ourselves face to face with Justin Bieber or some random prom king. The card would read something like this:

Please circle the appropriate choices.

Hello ___________, it is a pleasure/not a pleasure meeting you/stalking you/accidentally hitting you with my scooter. I am a big/moderate/don’t know who you are but you look like someone I’ve seen in Entertainment Weekly fan of yours. How weird is it to run into you here in Los Angeles/The White House/this cell we are sharing after the robot ascension? I hope you have a nice/ok/tolerable day at the hands of your manager/the President/our new overlords. Before you go, may I shake your hand/snap a picture/pat your bottom as though one of us just scored a touchdown? No? That’s okay/not okay/now I’m embarrassed and this card did nothing to prevent me from looking like an ass.

Sincerely,

Your name here

*********************************

I really think this could save all of us a lot of trouble.

A change is as good as a rest. Wait, is that how it goes?

14 Jul

If you’re reading this right now, thank you! If you’re skimming it, thank you for pretending. Even if you’re just staring blankly at the page, thinking of fluffy kittens or maybe that Dairy Queen blizzard you wish you’d stopped off for after work, well, that counts too in my book.

Basically, thank you to anyone and everyone who made time to peruse this new blog. As you may know, I used to write a blog called The Park Bench but then I read in TIME that blogs were dead and I thought, holy cow, what am I doing to this dead blog, writing all over it? No, actually what happened was that I ran out of things to say. Honestly. I just lost my passion for it, much as I had enjoyed doing it. So, I felt it was best to step away and regroup.

Now here I am on a site I didn’t even realize I’d started until I randomly typed a log-in and password into WordPress and lo and behold, here’s Monstrous Little Voices. It seemed like a sign from the Internet gods to go forth and blog. And so I shall.

I won’t be blogging everyday, but my goal is to keep this puppy going as consistently as possible. And I won’t necessarily be writing exclusively about geeky stuff, like I did at The Park Bench, although it will still creep in from time to time because I just can’t help it. Mostly, I’m just going to try to entertain myself and hopefully you and that person behind you who’s totally going to spill their coffee on your shoulder if they’re not careful. Do not startle them!

So thank you again for being here! I missed you!

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