Sometimes a cultural phenomenon sneaks up on you. Before you know it, you’re already hundreds of pages or tens of hours of viewing behind. When that happens to me, I generally approach it the way (I’d imagine) a surfer approaches a wave they were just a second too late on: I put my head down, dive down so it doesn’t knock me out, let it wash over me, and tell myself, “I’ll catch the next one.”
I completely missed Inception. By the time I would have seen it, I already had heard what the deal was. The ring spins, or it doesn’t. It was a dream or something. I don’t know. Like I said, I never saw it. I caught the tail end of Breaking Bad, after putting in some legwork and cruising through a couple seasons before the final season aired. I didn’t completely catch up, but it had a good enough background to get the picture.
That was college though. I don’t have that kind of time anymore. I’ve been thinking about trying to get up to speed on Westworld before season two comes out, but that’s only one season. What is that, like 10-12 hours? Sure they’re HBO full hours which take approximately 200% as much attention as your commercial ridden and cut down 45 minute show. But 10 hours is do-able. In this case, the wave is approaching and I need to decide if I’m going to hop up and hang ten like a cultural Bodhi or dive under and live to surf the big one.
Game of Thrones, on the other hand, if we want to extend this surfing metaphor (which I may have chose solely so I can try to sneak in Point Break references) is a wave that is so far gone in my case that it has already crashed against the shore and ruined some poor kid’s sandcastle.
To catch up on Game of Thrones, it would take me about 60 hours. That’s a full-time job, for a week and a half. And if I don’t start literally right now, I’m going to start falling behind further, because the new season starts July 16th. I could watch Point Break (not the new one, obviously) 30 times instead. I wouldn’t, but I could.
And that’s just the show. You want to get the full effect with the source material? On top of those 60 hours, toss another 3411 pages on…for now. More books are coming, unless that old guy with a beard dies, then I have know idea what’s gonna happen. According to my inside source called the internet, that’ll take the average reader another 73 hours. So we’re up to 133 hours to catch up, with more crashing down on me in less than two weeks. Needless to say, I had written this wave off..until yesterday.
Slate published a piece called “A Song of Ice and Fire and Soup,” and my whole perspective changed. Apparently, this Martin guy is using soup as a major literary device, using it for symbolism and foreshadowing and going on and on for pages about leeks and hints of saffron simmering in what I imagine are giant cauldrons for days, with regional differences and available resources leading to different varieties throughout whatever world Westeros and the wall exist in? If you were my friend between 2011 and now and were trying to get me into Game of Thrones you should have skipped the sex and the violence and world-building and the politics. If you had been like, “Yeah, it’s pretty good but like five percent of those 3411 pages are about soup and actually are super important and relevant to the story.” There’s your hook. Read the room.
This Slate article has really put a burden on me. The excerpts about the soup included sounded awesome. However, 173 hours is a long time. If someone could make a supercut of all the soup scenes and a book of excerpts with the soup-related text, I’d really appreciate it. Until that happens though, I think it’s time to paddle up on Westworld and hope robots eat soup too.
(This was not paid for by HBO, and I know next to nothing about surfing)