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Monday, 30 April 2012

THAT BLOODY GAME OF THRONES!


Fantastic, thrilling and breath-taking – yes, I couldn’t stop reading, totally unable to take my eyes of the pages until I finished each of five parts, one by one, night by night. But “A Song of Ice and Fire” is also full of violence, brutal sexuality, moral ambiguity. As is the real world in which we live – you may say. That’s why I love fantasy: the better it is, the more complicated and altogether integrated world it creates.

After Narnia and Harry Potter we are used to fantasy in which good wins over evil, heroes do have their bad qualities but are unable to commit serious crimes, villains have hearts as black as the heart of darkness. However, Martin mercilessly breaks this convention. He starts with all range of people’s characters but when the whole Westeros is at war, they behave as if their only choice is ‘change for the worse or die’. Noble Edward Stark? Dead. Smart boyish Arya? Killing machine. Tender barbarian Khal Drogo? Dead. Friendly Theon Greyjoy? Traitor. Victorious Robb Stark? Dead. Brave Catelyn his mother? Monster. Jovial Renly Baratheon? Dead. Cunning Tyrion Lannister? Father-slayer. Handsome Jon Snow? Dead. Cute baby dragons born in fire? Deadly even for their mother Daenerys. She herself becomes cruel too… No angels at all, only outlaws and devils in those books of G.R.R. Martin.

Maybe that’s the saga’s most important message given to us: during the war noone can stay positive and survive, because war is as night: dark and full of terrors... I keep telling myself that fantasy shows us what we want to be like, how we shouldn’t be and makes us believe in happy endings. Is it possible with that gamebook?...

TV series 
American author, American screenwriters and directors – mind you, it’s HBO production. But only one American actor, Peter Dinklage! Rest of cast is European, mostly English, Scottish and Irish. Good choice, they totally prove their superiority – not superbeauties or superstars, ordinary people by appearance, we could meet them on the street and not notice. But in the series they glisten and make the story come true in every second – thanks to their accents too. I love listening to all of them: queens and kings, knights and peasants, adults and kids.

Back to the brilliant American exception among actors, ‘halfman’. He plays my favourite character and I’m looking forward to his show up in each new episode. The most intelligent but physically the weakest, as powerless in this violent world as a child. He’s almost always endangered, with life at risk, but able to remain sensitive and fair. Totally opposite of ancient Plato’s values: beauty = good = truth. Don’t judge the book by the cover, when lovely Cersei is the most wicked of them all…

It seems that Peter Dinklage is literally tied to roles of dwarves. But I’ve seen him as a ‘Little Pocket Friend’ in Chronicles of Narnia and a train chaser in The Station Agent. This last title is not fantasy and still fantastic. Shows that the biggest problem of the hero is not having a short stature but simply being human.  Cause all the people suffer from something that may be not as visible as dwarfism and still destroys their psyche. It may be terminal illness of a relative, death of a child, unwanted pregnancy and so on.

As for now The Station Agent gives more positive message than Game of Thrones, season 2, episode 5. But – is it optimism or naivety? – both the book and the series are to be continued…

Saturday, 7 April 2012

DOES EASTER BUNNY LAY CHOCOLATE EGGS?

In the mythical years of my childhood I didn’t know ‘Easter rabbit’ tradition. We had doughnuts on Fat Thursday, three lenten meals on Ash Wednesday, dried flowers bouquets on Palm Sunday and – the most important of all – Easter Lamb with colourful eggs and plenty of different food products in a basket for blessing on Holy Saturday.

In these magical times I had no idea that there are other countries; not to indicate other customs. Like flying home-made kites in Bermuda, reading detective stories in Norway, ornamenting trees with Easter eggs (specially red and green) in Germany. Or decorating wells with spring flowers in Switzerland, growing wheat in pots on windowsills in the USA and Easter egg hunt in the UK. As for this last convention, I was shocked to find out that children of the British Isles often think eggs come from rabbits, not hens – ‘cause that’s Easter bunny hiding tasty eggs for them in March or April every year!

Worth mentioning fact about Australia: fertile bunnies brought from Europe have rather ‘black PR’ down under so that’s not them who provide children with new-life-eggs but the Easter Bilby (an endangered species of Australia).

On the whole I recognize cultural diversity as a great value in our globalized world; yet it was very nice to read that in ‘brother-like’ Hungary they throw water on each other – exactly as our ‘shower pour’ on Holy Monday. Even if I personally hate this idea and hide myself at home on this very day!