During my March week at Downtown Abbey, we revisited last year’s “Game of Thrones” obsession with a new season. Absorbed by the epic narrative, we fast-forwarded through all the gratuitous bits. What fun to see the characters we’d read so much about come alive, and appreciate the casting of Brienne of Tarth or the Stark children.
These shows aren’t the usual stuff of “Her spirits rose…,” but their human dynamic, mothers and lovers and power mad people engages. And the costumes and settings are terrific – the sun struck “greatest city that ever was or ever will be,” the heaths, hills, and cliffs of Ireland, and the snow-caked expanses of Iceland.
When the peoples of the North crossed crevasse-scarred glaciers, bundled up figures trudging over mountain faces and ridges – they looked like nothing so much as multiplied, larger versions of Lady Baby toddling the two blocks home from Fire Island Bakery!
Anchorage had sunshine and blue sky every day this visit, but night temperatures dropped near single digits. The temperature would be up later in the day when we ventured out, but walking into the north wind hurt. Heading to the bakery, Lady Baby rode in her winter-ready stroller with protective windshield. On the way home she walked, one little purple boot in front of the other, negotiating icy patches and pushing away my hands. The snow bank sidewalls over her head might as well have been the 700-foot ice wall of the books.
When she stopped to study a branch on a carregana hedge – looking carefully, touching it with mittened hands – I realized that it’s all new. She’s never examined dirt, fir cones, dried grass, or puddles full of icy water. “Winter has always been,” since she’s been mobile.
It takes a long, happy time to return home. Lady Cora is ever patient, walking beside us, sometimes serving as steadying post. She’s as faithful as a dire wolf.
Those references may not be fair, since few readers here may have read the books or seen the shows. But you will know the experience of sharing reading or viewing with people you love, like my young friend who knows the Tolkien books so well and gets such shared pleasure with her friends. Such a world created by an author becomes a place you know, where you get the references and speak of the people (though my knowledge is very superficial).
One of the characters is named Jon Snow (you can tell he’s a bastard by the name Snow). The brave and feisty woman he loves often says to him with a combination of truth and affection: “You know nothing Jon Snow!”
And when I asked one too many dumb questions of my viewing mates (mixing up timing, setting, or characters) – it was just right to hear: “You know nothing Granny Katy!”