inkasrain asked: Why do so many fans respond with seemingly-reflexive negativity to GAME OF THRONES, Sean? I have a few issues with the interpretation myself, but it seems like the show is automatically guilty of screwing things up until proven "innocent". Why the automatic naysaying? Hasn't two years been enough time to come to terms with GOT's identity as an adaptation? Why do we do this to ourselves? (I'm sorry. You probably have no better idea than I do. But it's late and I'm tired and this upsets me.)
When my brother talks about unusual, remarkable, or unfortunate stuff that’s nonetheless just a given, he likes to quote Yankees radio play-by-play guy John Sterling as he talks to his broadcasting partner Suzyn Waldman: “That’s baseball, Suzyn.” That’s fandom, Michal. A culture of complaint coalesces around virtually every non-Joss-Whedon thing that nerdy internet people are interested in, so that eventually arriving at the properly negative response to new information is almost instinctive. This can get pretty amusing when unexpected intersections of nerdery arise: Witness the recent buyout of Lucasfilm, and nerddom’s struggle to determine if their hatred of Disney trumps their hatred of George Lucas. And I’m hardly immune to this myself! When Dan Nadel, who runs the excellent art-comics publisher PictureBox Inc. and is also my editor at The Comics Journal, attacked the Kickstarter campaign for a tribute to the alternative-manga anthology <i>Garo</i> to which various well-regarded alternative/underground comics creators were contributing, I was only half-kidding when I asked people to tell me which was the cool side of the fight to be on, so that I could be on it too.
Anyway, I think there are a lot of totally legit objections to the show, from “the pervert side of the audience” to the handling of the House of the Undying to the translation of Catelyn to whatever else you’d care to name. From book purists like Linda Antonsson to tumblr-social-justice-complainants to people who simply think it’s not as good a television program as others — I get it. Totally legit if that’s where you’re coming from. Shit, man, there are plenty of non-legit objections that are within everyone’s right to have, too! The thing about fandom, though, is that it short-circuits your natural instinct to simply stop partaking in something you don’t enjoy. The tumblrs that offer lengthy armchair psychoanalysis of D&D based on single lines of dialogue, the people who think the whole project falls apart because someone’s hair color is different, the people whose favorite lines or scenes or characters didn’t make the cut — ironically, it’s their love and passion for the material that fires their disdain and distaste and disgust. If this were just a season of Mad Men, they’d probably stop watching it, stop talking about it, stop thinking about it, and that’d be quite healthy and reasonable. But it’s a season of an adaptation of a book series they care about deeply, so they’re locked in. And that gives rise to that weird dynamic wherein people can be counted upon to come up with the most negative possible response to virtually everything. Again, this is not something I’m immune to: I’ve spent an awful, awful, awful lot of time reading stuff about comics that drives me completely crazy, because “comics” is a part of my identity, whereas if I were not a “comics person” I could just read the new Chris Ware book when it comes out and not worry about the ancillary industry/commentary bullshit. That’s baseball, Suzyn.