I Miss Game of Thrones

Matthew Donnellon

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There are some things that come and go in your life. Things you like. Books. TV shows. Movies. Some stay with you the rest of your life. And others wiggles their way into your existences to the point at which you can no longer remember what it was like without it.

Game of Throne is one such thing.

My Game of Thrones' journey, like many, began with the books. I was always aware of the books. A Feast for Crows came out when I was in high school. I read fantasy, and even though I read plenty of fantasy, I never found my way to Westeros.

I didn't read the books until a few years later when I saw the first trailer for Game of Thrones. I was definitely intrigued, and I watched a number of the short specials they had to promote the show. One day in between classes, I walked to the book store and they had a display of the new editions of A Game of Thrones with the iconic image of Sean Bean's Ned Stark sitting on the Iron Throne.

And it blew my mind.

It was as if I'd finally found the book I'd been searching for. It's everything I've ever wanted to read. I loved every word of it. I devoured the books at an unhealthy pace.

Then, that April, I was able to watch the world I loved come to life. Those first few seasons were nearly perfect. I remember sitting on the couch and hearing the theme song for the first time. I hadn't had such a visceral thrill since seeing Star Wars as a child.

But I got something much better than entertainment from Game of Thrones.

I've always been a loner. I'm usually happiest by myself. Even in school, I had friends, but it was really a loose network of people I kind of knew. I spent my days in my own little world, which was usually more often than not filled with books.

It was the same with my family. I didn't have much in common with them. Yes, I loved them, and I enjoyed being around them, but I had completely separate interests. They liked sports. I played, but far too often my thoughts were full of dragons and Westerosi politics. I was the only one that liked fantasy, or anything with the barest hint of geek culture.

And then something happened.

Something strange.

I was still living at home, and one day my father, quite out of the blue, asked, "How come you never told me about Game of Thrones?"

I could not have been more surprised if my father peeled his skin off to reveal that he's actually a three foot tall blue alien from Mars. I was gobsmacked.

I believe my answer was some form of, "Because I never in a million years thought you'd watch it." But he did. Actually, it was his favorite show, and for the first time in twenty years we had something in common. And, it was just something between the two of us.

And, because I had read the books, I got to explain everything for once, instead of being the perennial student. Instead of me standing outside with a flashlight while trying and failing to understand the complexities of the internal combustion engine, instead I gave impromptu lectures on Westerosi history and the complexities of the political nature of A Song of Ice and Fire.

It helped in other ways. I am now a professional writer, and this was always my profession of choice. But, even though my parents supported any career I attempted, the idea of being a writer was not something they quite understood. Though they both read a lot, neither of them thought writing was a stable or even achievable career. But, when we watched the show and my dad saw the world created from one man's imagination, he understood it better, and suddenly my desire to become a writer made sense to him.

It was great. Not only did it give us something to do for an hour a week, but discussions would last through the week. I loved every second of it.

And this is Game of Thrones' legacy to me. Yes, I will remember the moments everyone talks about—Ned dying, The Red Wedding, Daenerys burning a city to the ground, but now when I hear that theme song, I will also think about sitting in the living room with my father, and all the talks we've had.

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Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories

Detroit, MI

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