i need media

Final fantasy: Why you won’t find me at a Game of Thrones party

By Matthew Singer 04/05/2012

Confession: I hate wizards. No, I wasn’t touched inappropriately as a child by a guy dressed as Gandalf. Other than dismissing that particular scenario, though, I can’t really tell you where my distaste for men of magic originated. It’s not just wizards, either;  it’s the entire world they represent. Epic fantasy is a genre of fiction that’s never appealed to me, even as a kid, when boys are pretty much expected to dig that kind of stuff. Ironically, the ostracism I experience for rejecting swords and sorcery is much more vehement now. We live in an age dominated by elf-kings and fairy princesses, where adults may spend half their waking hours prancing around virtual forests, fighting goblins and arguing that books about a prepubescent wizard are somehow not meant strictly for children. Want to hear another outrageous confession? I haven’t read a single Harry Potter book, nor have I watched any of the Lord of the Rings movies. And I don’t feel the slightest bit bad about it.

Having learned these things about me, you’re probably assuming I wasn’t exactly buzzing with excitement over this past Sunday’s premiere of the second season of Game of Thrones on HBO. You’d be right. I know the show is a darker, more “adult” strand of fantasy. (It’d have to be with all the rape that allegedly goes down). I know the magical elements are supposedly downplayed. I know it’s referred to as The Sopranos in Middle Earth. It doesn’t matter, though. Even if it literally was The Sopranos transposed into some fantastical setting, it’d still take every ounce of willpower to force myself to watch, and I probably still wouldn’t like it.

Obviously, that says a lot more about me than about the show itself, or anything else that falls under the high- fantasy umbrella. What exactly it says, I’m not quite sure. But I feel that this particular bias goes beyond entertainment preferences.  I’d like to think it has something do with the fact that, as a so-called “journalist,” I find the real world so endlessly fascinating that the notion of exploring fictional realms just doesn’t excite me, but that’d be disingenuous. Maybe it’s why girlfriends have called me “coldly pragmatic.” Maybe I don’t dream enough. Maybe I’m more conservative than I’d like to believe. Regardless, thinking about it now, it definitely explains why I’ve never been a big Led Zeppelin fan.

Trust me, I wish it were different. My friends held a Game of Thrones viewing party on Sunday, and I wasn’t invited. Sure, I didn’t watch the first season at all, but there was pie involved, and wherever there’s pie, that’s where I’d like to be. My roommates have also entertained the idea of spending a full Sunday watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they’ve kept me out of the plans. When everyone wants to live in Middle Earth, regular Earth can get pretty lonely. 
I Need Media is a biweekly media column. Matthew Singer watches everything from PBS documentaries to Community to Showtime’s Gigolos, but mostly he’s just filling the void until Breaking Bad starts again. Follow him on Twitter at @mpsinger.

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