I’m going to start out this post with the sentence that drives some of my friends crazy – I don’t watch Game of Thrones. I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.
I gave the book series a chance before the show was even a glint in HBO’s eye. I read the first one, and felt solidly meh about it, but figured I’d read the second and see if the storyline got more interesting. In my opinion, it did not. So, when they announced they were making a television series from the books, I didn’t feel any need to watch it. Even with all the hype, and the merchandise, and the societal obsession, I still don’t feel any need to watch it.
Part of what bothers me about the constant badgering to watch it is this idea that I have to like a certain thing simply because I like certain other things. I love science fiction, but I’m not a fan of fantasy. To put this in book terms, I love the Foundation series of books but I honestly can’t stand Lord of the Rings. And this isn’t just me deciding I don’t like LOTR because I don’t like fantasy. Just as with Game of Thrones I read them and didn’t like them.
What’s worse is the idea that I have to like all of a certain type of thing. For example, I’m a huge fan of dystopian writing. Brave New World is on my top 10 book list, and I recently got around to reading (and loving) Battle Royale after being a fan of the film for quite some time. But that doesn’t mean that I’m obligated to like every piece of dystopian fiction ever published. I read the Hunger Games and thought the series was ok, but not great. I read Divergent and thought the trilogy was absolutely atrocious. Yes, I know that those are YA books, but it shouldn’t matter what audience a book is written for if it’s good. The Giver is dystopia written for teens and it’s a phenomenal read for all ages.
I think society is still way too focused on trying to put things into boxes, the same way kids seem to instinctually form cliques. We may grow older, but I don’t think we grow out of the need to feel part of a distinct group. For me, it’s more about managing expectations than anything else. Because I like Batman, people expect that I like all comics when the truth is I simply like Batman. I don’t actively dislike comics (except Spiderman, but that’s a story for another day) and there are other comics that interest me, but I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a fan.
The bottom line is that humans are wonderfully complex by design, and that means their thoughts and opinions are as well. I could rattle off examples all day of things I like and dislike, but I’d much rather you get to know me (and in the process, my interests) by getting to know me. Rather than say, “I can’t believe you don’t watch Game of Thrones!” I’d prefer you ask me why I don’t watch it. I’ll be happy to tell you what I think of the books, and I’ll be open to hearing what you think about them as well. I love that my friends and I don’t always agree on things, because life would certainly be a lot more dull if we did.