The Doors of Ice and Fire

Okay, hear me out.  I’m throwing this blog together without giving it much thought, because, well…I just have to make sure I’m not completely crazy.  Or, you know…more crazy than I already believe myself to be.

I was listening to some tunes recently.  In particular, a bunch of songs on my Spotify playlist of Vietnam War-era songs.  Anyway, the Doors classic “The End” comes on.  If you aren’t familiar with it, well…okay, here’s a YouTube link with the lyrics (which, as it turns out, might be helpful for what’s to come.)

I’m sitting here listening to this thing and a really strange, and seemingly far-fetched theory starts to manifest itself, and it’s so nutzo that I can’t shake it.  So indulge me as I explain my latest crackpot fan theory.  Ready?  Here it goes.

The lyrics to The End at least partially influenced the story of George R.R. Martin’s epic “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, which many of you know as the book version of “Game of Thrones” (the very popular HBO series.)

No, really.

So without any further forethought (I’m seriously doing this before I over-think it and think better of it) here are the lyrics to Jim Morrison’s epic song and how it relates to GRRM’s epic tale.  I’ve made my notes in red.


This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again
(The coming of Winter and the White Walkers)
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land
(The Stranger represents death and the unknown in pantheon of The Seven. He leads the Dead into the underworld)
Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah
(Children of the Forest? Waiting for the Summer Rain that will come after the long winter.)
There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the King’s highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby
(The Kingsway. Also, “The Gold Mine” could be Casterly Rock)
Ride the snake, ride the snake
To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
The snake is long, seven miles
Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold
(Snake=Dragon. A lake called “The Womb of the World” lies near Vaes Dothrak. Vaes Dothrak translates to “City of Riders”)
The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here, and we’ll do the rest
(Westeros)
The blue bus is callin’ us
The blue bus is callin’ us
Driver, where you taken’ us
(Possibly the Blue Graces, the Blue Winter Rose of Winterfell, The Blue Bard, or even Daario Naharis, who sports a three-pronged beard dyed blue in the novels.  Also ‘Daario Naharis’ almost sounds like ‘blue bus’ if you’re ridiculously stoned, I suppose.)
The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall
(The assassins who serve the Many Faced God in the House of Black and White)
He went into the room where his sister lived, and…then
(Jaime and Cersei Lannister? Or is this Tyrion’s POV?)
he Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door…and he looked inside
Father, yes son, I want to kill you
(Tyrion again?)
Mother…I want to…fuck you
(Sweetrobin in the Vale? Or a reference to the Mother of Dragons?)
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
On a blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
C’mon, yeah
Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill
This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
(Jaime releasing Tyrion, or Dany and her dragons?  Theon and Jeyne/Sansa?)
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die
This is the end
(And now his watch is ended.)

Brotherhood Without Bass  (See, some of you will totally get that)

Brotherhood Without Bass (See, some of you will totally get that)

Well, it’s fun, anyway, to think that way back when George was first contemplating a new fantasy world in which to set his masterpiece, maybe he smoked an enormous bowl and listened to The End.  Hell, maybe he tripped acid and watched Apocalypse Now.  We’ll never know for sure.  Or maybe he’ll explain it all in the afterward to the last book in this series. HA!!  GOTCHA!  THERE WON’T BE A FINAL BOOK!  HAHA! HAHAHAHAAAAAAAA!

Oh, now I’m sad.

The Blog of Castamere

Hooooooo-boy!  You like that Game of Thrones, huh?  HAHAHAHAA!!!

I think this would be a good, responsible time to warn you:  this blog will contain MAJOR spoilers and MAJOR amounts of profanity, especially in the embedded media.  I’ll try and keep any spoilers out of here that haven’t already aired on the HBO series, but…you’ve been told.  If you’re DVR-ing this series or waiting for the DVDs, well…maybe you’d better read one of my other numerous (and totally incredible) blog entries.  Last chance.  Stop reading now, unless you know what’s up or just don’t care.

Okay, okay.  Full disclosure time (I tend to disclose a lot on this blog, don’t I?  Huh.  The secret to a clean conscience, I suppose.)  I don’t have HBO.  In fact, I don’t even have cable anymore.  But I have read all of the existing volumes in George R. R. Martin’s masterpiece, A Song of Ice and Fire.  Why HBO decided to use the title of the first book, A Game of Thrones, as the title of the series is a bit of a mystery.  I figure they weren’t sure there would be a second season, so they figured GoT was a little less unwieldy than ASoIaF.  Good call, now that I think about it.

Luckily, I did get to borrow the first season DVD set from my friend and former morning show co-host, Barry Thickk (spoiler:  that’s not how he spells his last name in real life, but hey, rock radio!!) That gave me a nice perspective, and I like how HBO found a look and tone all their own.  And that musical score?  Brilliant.  Perfect.  In fact, let’s hear one of my favorite interpretations thereof:

Now, the thing is, those of us that have read all the books? Yeah, we’re pretty much a bunch of dirty hipsters.  No, we are.  We were saying “hodor!” before it was cool.  We know what’s going to happen next.  We do.  And we love, LOVE, LOVE LOVE gloating about it.  How many times have you had a friend say (in either real life or in a blog or Facebook comment) “Oh, you like [GENERIC CHARACTER]?  Just wait until next season!” Or even more smarmily “Yeah, that story line doesn’t play out like you’d expect.”  Oh, we love it so.  Being “in the know” is so wonderfully powerful.  That’s why when Ned Stark lost his head towards the end of Season One, I laughed and laughed at videos like this now-famous offering…

When I first read A Game of Thrones, the Ned Stark scene gutted me.  Absolutely destroyed me.  My lovely wife, Heidi, watched me slowly lower the book and stare at nothing, jaw agape.

“Holy fucking shit…” I muttered.

“What?  What’s wrong?” she asked, genuinely concerned.

“They just…this guy, the main…holy shit!  They fucking killed the main guy!”

For readers and viewers alike, that should’ve been all we needed to know.  GRRM had stolen our childhood innocence.  He’d given us the much-needed slap in the face, reminding us that this world wasn’t Middle Earth or Narnia.  This world was infinitely more real, and so very dangerous.  It was a book about war, and in war, well…good people die.  It reminded me of the scene in The Princess Bride where the grandpa tells Fred Savage the bad news: the Prince lives.  Wesley dies.  The kid’s reaction, “Jesus, Grandpa!  What did you read me this thing for?!” is the same question we asked ourselves.  But, like that bedridden child, we knew we had to go on.  For good or ill, we had to know what happened next.  The difference is that Martin’s book series isn’t a fairy tale, and “true love” doesn’t make a goddam bit of difference.

Still, we hoped.  We had the faintest dream that somehow it would all work out.  That evil would be punished.  That the good guys would win.

We should’ve fucking known better.

Just like a child that must be conditioned to think or act a certain way, another hard lesson was required.

The Red Wedding.

Jesus H. Tapdancing Christ.  I’ll tell you this, people who have only watched the series and not read the books:  the book was much, much worse.

“Wait a second,” you bellow.  “You admitted that you haven’t watched all the latest episodes?  How can you make that kind of call?”

In response, I’ll offer that I’ve seen footage and scanned enough websites to get a feel for the televised version, and yes, it does seem well-shot and gut-wrenchingly performed.  But there are limitations to a teleplay, time (or lack thereof) being the most critical of those factors. In the novel, the buildup to the Red Wedding is a slowly building feeling of dread, of impending horror.  Most of it is told through Cat’s point of view, and the moment she knows what’s up, the instant she perceives what’s happening…you’re broken.  Everything after that is just devastating icing on the horror-cake.  (Actually, Horror-Cake is the name of my new black metal band.)  But you can’t look away, can’t stop reading.  Just as viewers cowered behind sheets, blankets, and couch cushions whilst watching HBO, only to peek out again and again, out of curiosity or just to assure themselves that the horror was over.  Luckily, someone put together a six-minute compilation of reactions…

And boy, the aftermath.  The sheer, internet-crippling frustration, sorrow, and hate.  Some of the best are being cataloged by Red Wedding Tears on Twitter…check ’em out and feel better about your plight:

https://twitter.com/RedWeddingTears

Here’s a wee sample:

red wedding tweets

So.  George R. R. Martin is kind of an asshole, huh?  He’s just NOT FAIR!!  Yeah.  Tough titty, kid.

But now you’re seriously wondering why you should continue watching or reading this painful series.  Let me give you something akin to hope.  I told you, no spoilers…but I can tell you this:  GRRM does have a sense of justice (COUGH! Theon Greyjoy COUGH! Jaime Lannister COUGH!) and that sense certainly manifests itself in shocking and, yes, satisfactory ways in the books and television episodes to come.  No, I will not give you specifics on certain characters.  Just know that there is a great deal of comeuppance headed your way.

But it won’t be without further cost.  Yes, there will be more heartache.  But there will also be triumph, and that is always so much sweeter after you’ve been stabbed, kicked, and thrown into the mud to die. After all, in the game of thrones, you either win…

Or you die.