Monday, April 25, 2011

It's not an egg hunt

music: TV on the Radio - You

It's a WILD hunt!



The trailer for The Wild Hunt is really smart. If you don't know anything about the movie, and you just happen to see the trailer you might think, at first, that the narrative is set in medieval times. But then you realize the movie might be just a comedy about a bunch of nerds who take LARPing a bit too seriously: "dude, you're fucking dead" "no, I have a magical cloak of protection, it's like armor". Then, you also have this music that suggests the movie is a drama. And then: it all gets really serious and fucked up and you might think this is actually a horror.

So which is it? Actually, The Wild Hunt is all of the above (a bit light on the comedy, though). At the first level of reading, it's a movie about a LARP game that goes too far. But believe me when I tell you that you don't have to be a Dungeons and Dragons geek to enjoy and appreciate The Wild Hunt.

I also enjoyed that haunting music composed by Benjamin Bagby (and based on a text by the monk Otfrid of Weissenburg). I would actually like to listen to more medieval music. The problem is I don't really know what I'm looking for - "medieval music" is too broad a search term.

*****

On a similar note: I've seen the first two episodes of HBO's Game of Thrones, and I have mixed feelings about it. My first impression after having seen the first episode: lots and lots of sexism and racism swept under dungeons-and-dragons bs. I know nothing about the fantasy genre, but isn't fantasy supposed to be a chance to create other worlds - worlds that are nothing like the one we know? Obviously, this genre isn't meant to create better worlds, but is it really too much to ask for different worlds? Perhaps it's a silly question. All I know is that there's this tv show which in the course of its very first episode exposes viewers to extreme violence, rape (and one of the most appalling lines I have ever heard), incest, racism. And have I mentioned the porn dwarf? (Romanian tabloids should be interest in this.) Of course, you have a young female character, Arya Stark, who, unlike other girls her age, is not interested in embroidery needles, but in a different type of needles: arrows, swords, and the like. But she's just the exception, and when there's an exception, there's a rule. The problem is that the sexism here can be easily justified by the narrative being set in mythological/medieval times (I'm making this up, I don't really know what era this is supposed to be), when women were considered to be inferior to / the property of men. The same goes for the racism. Because there was a time when non-whites were considered to be savage, "it's okay" to have this fictional people, the Dothraki, formed of non-whites who act like complete savages.

Daenerys (Game of Thrones, 1x01 "Winter Is Coming")

During the second episode I thought I had seen some improvement, but now... I'm not so sure. Daenerys was sold in marriage by her own brother to Khal Drogo, the leader of the Dothraki, and now we see her taking charge of her own sexuality. However, this isn't in the least empowering. Is this scene supposed to be a magical eraser? Because if it is, it's not working. This doesn't change the fact that a) she was sold into marriage and b) she was raped "like a bitch" by her "savage" husband.

Despite all this, I'm gonna keep watching Game of Thrones because I seriously doubt I'll ever read the book(s) on which it's based and I'm curious as to where all this is going. Plus: I like the visuals (if you can ignore the blood and guts, the show is genuine eye-candy). And if you're new to this, like me, and it's all too confusing, do check out the Viewer's Guide (there's a map and a guide to the Houses).

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