How “Game of Thrones” Slightly Affected My Life

Image via Pixabay

Being a Filipino that spent his childhood during the late nineties, I am one of the fortunate kids who grew up with the privilege of watching television. While I mostly enjoyed the cartoons, quiz shows and noon time shows (with the hosts and their slapstick antics), I never really liked the box too much.

This was during a time when local networks can barely produce their own series and their prime time programming consisted of soaps borrowed from other countries; Mexico, primarily — who I thank for dearly for indirectly giving me and the rest of the internet the very entertaining Senyora Santibanez parody account.

If someone asked my younger self if he would elect to spend hours and hours just watching TV series, the answer would have been a resounding no.

Anyway, that is how any kid of ten would answer and it is way different now. People my age have different interests along with an infinite variation of emotions to deal with, but I’m one of the few who ended up liking television. While local networks produce their own shows now, I fell in love not with them, but with American and British television.

I still remember the exact moment when Game of Thrones gripped my heart, and that was when I saw Jaime Lannister (played by the brilliant Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) carelessly push the young Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) off the window of a very high tower. He’s just a kid! I pleaded. Then I remembered that this was a kid who basically walked in on incest, so I don’t know if Bran was better off crippled and suffering memory loss than to be keeping the ghastly image of Jaime and Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) in his innocent mind forever.

I think that when Bran witnessed that pivotal scene, I lost a part of my innocence as well; the part that is so used to the Filipino style of overused tropes and cheesy acting, the part that is tamed by half-assed “character deaths” and selective amnesia for plot convenience. One of my first thoughts as I was watching that scene was, Whoa, is this how they do it in the States? We should get more shows like this!

Of course, I would later realize that American television has its share of cheesiness, too, and amongst its peers in the American media, Game of Thrones is still a class of its own. It is unforgiving, and it doesn’t (seem to) care about what you think or how you feel. It gives one the illusion of a world where anything can happen — as opposed to one that is supposedly directed by puppeteers and producers and authors. I think that’s what makes the world of GoT very exciting and very much alive.

All this got me wondering: if just one Filipino show decided to be as brave and as bold as to do what Thrones is doing, would there be rekindled interest in Philippine television? I would like to think so. To be clear: it’s not that there is “no interest” in Philippine TV; there is. It just seems like it is home for bored housewives and love-struck high schoolers — and that’s not a bad thing! I’m just asking, where is the programming for us people who wants to dissect a very well-built world; a very well-developed character? When will we get intricate and overarching plots worthy of Thrones or Death Note or even Sherlock?

Game of Thrones launched their sixth season last Sunday, and while many people said that the premiere episode was slow (I agree), the creators sure know how to maximize every scene so that everyone who watched it now has to have some kind of theory as to what some revealing scenes imply. This is one thing I liked about it, too, the endless theorizing. But while I do have some speculations of my own, I don’t think I have something that is genuinely new. Instead, I think I’ll just express how I appreciate it so much for being one of the shows that inspired me to explore more of this very powerful medium.