‘Tis a Puzzlement

Today is the first Tuesday night since my yoga experiment started that I wasn’t at my “regularTuesday night beginner class.

I’m good with that. Today marked the final work deadline in a series of 6 such deadlines scattered across 10 days—and 4 of those six in the last 48 hours. Me’s tired, and all I wanted to do tonight was have a single cocktail(1), start packing my suitcase, and get all-the-way caught up on Game of Thrones in advance of the upcoming Season 8 premiere.

It’s a plan I stand behind.

Now, I’ll talk about my suitcase tomorrow(2). Tonight, a few frivolous thoughts now that I’ve watched all the way through to the end of Season 7.

(Spoilers ahead!)

Full disclosure: this is not a thoughtful filmic or narrative analysis of the series so far, nor is it an exercise in predicting what’s ahead. I don’t even have an elegant circle-back on my discomfort with the show’s gender politics that led me to step aside for so very long. The short version on that is that women’s strength and agency were enough in play during Seasons 6 & 7 that I was able to watch again. But I’m still uneasy.

But this post isn’t about that uneasiness. Instead, it could best be summed up in this title:

Incest tropes in fiction: what up with that?

I’m not being as flippant about this as it may seem. I’m also not clutching my pearls about Jon & Dany breaking this cultural taboo. Because there’s something fundamentally innocent, at least to me, in the act of crossing a boundary that you literally have no way of perceiving. (See also: An Awfully Big Adventure.)

But seeing the consummation of a season’s worth of smoldering glances did get me thinking about the quantity of times GRRM (or Benioff and Weiss, I’m not 100% sure which) have played this particular trope card—Jaime & Cersei, Dany’s parentage. And that started me thinking about all the other times that trope card has been played in fiction and film. (See: V.C Andrews or Cruel Intentions. See also: An Awfully Big Adventure. Or Sophocles.)

I don’t get it. I’m just grappling at this fundamental level with the question of why this is interesting to authors. What thematic or aesthetic gains come from going down this road? Showing how bold and outré you are?

puzzled

I’ve just sat here for ten minutes staring at that last sentence trying to come up with alternate hypotheses for why this line of exploration would be interesting to an author. Can’t come up a single thing: I have literally got nothing.

What up, indeed.

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(1) It’s a “school night,” don’tcha know. Also: heartburn.

(2) Well, not the suitcase so much as my upcoming trip.

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Image credit: Flickr user Kate Ter Haar, via a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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