Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Game Of Thrones, episode one and... hmm.

I watched the start of Game Of Thrones cold, not having read any of the books and having just seen some of the preview plugs here and there, as well as a bit explaining how you can just read a summary of the Wars of the Roses and add the occasional blue-eyed zombie or the Predator-looking things they serve.

And also That Review where the writer suggested (A) this is Boy Fiction of no interest to her and (B) it includes sex to attract women and (C) so is fantasy in general and women don't like it.

And no, it doesn't support conclusion B or C. But if she only watched the first episode, I can see where conclusion A came from. All the women we see are defined by their husbands or families, and one of them is pushed into an arranged marriage with Conan after being told by her brother he'd give her to the whole tribe, "all forty thousand men and their horses too, if that's what it took." Had she responded "I don't see you volunteering" I would have cheered.

In this day and age, the lack of equality in what is not actually a historical piece is rather surprising. I am assured this develops later, but for now I just have to trust that Arya Stark (age nine) won't prove to be the only female character to wield a weapon in the entire series.

(Second episode edit - they get more to do, which is nice, although all that they do is not necessarily.)

Relevance to gaming? Well, y'know, big fat fantasy saga, has its own game, now on TV. Need more? Well, okay...

How much fantasy can you put into history, or vice versa, before it turns into alternate history, historical fantasy, or some other subgenre?

This question has come up for me before, when I talked about running Dark Ages: Vampire and one of my circle of potential players expressed concerns that, as I'm a history nerd and he isn't, I might get too caught up in the historicity. A fair concern, since it was the real-world horror and madness of the Fourth Crusade that made me want to try the game in the first place. And then how far do you bend things? Female troops on the Winterfell Wall? Or at Constantinople? Elves at Helm's Deep? Or Agincourt? I don't mind, but someone else might. DA: V comes pre-bent, of course, having been made to accommodate vampires and other things hiding from the candlelight. But everyone draws the line somewhere different, so it's good to talk this through before a player rebels against the restrictions already-fictionalised history places on their choices... or your Arthurian game turns out to be Alien Versus Pendragon.

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