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“I’m the same as you”

Screencap from Game of Thrones 1x04. At the top of the Wall, a thick, horizon-spanning slab of ice, in a little gutter at the top, Jon and Sam stand around a fire.

(Game of Thrones 1×04)

1 Spring

There should not be more than a month between me watching ones of these — the break strikes me as not particularly conducive to keeping up with yer who’s whos and what’s wheres and all that. Who was that prince again? Who’s fucking who again? I suppose for this one I’m Sam — who I like — on account of I, too, am new here.

2 A long time ago

People love to tell each other history in this show. When did people do what with dragons, who built the throne, who built the room, what made who legendary.

Do we do that in real life? Do we go on and on about what people did five hundred years ago? I feel like when we do it tops out at the edge of human memory — an American might reference Lyndon B Johnson, Brits might talk about the Blitz. But we don’t go much further back than that. As a cartoonist, the history of my field doesn’t stretch that far back, as a Dutch person the history of my country is fractured and divided. What emperor Karel V got up to on these lands in the year 1514 is functionally irrelevant to my life, and–

Wait, fuck, I teach art history, I do actually bring up 16th century artist Albrecht Dürer all the time.


3 Summer

I like Sam. But I especially like what his presence at the Wall tells us about the people around him. He’s not the fastest, the strongest, the hardest, or the best at anything. Their boss goes on and on about this, how Sam is soft and useless, about how he eager he’d be to eat him in a Donner Party situation. But Sam is kind and nice, qualities in short supply at the wall. And so, we must notice, who does and doesn’t value him and include him, who does and doesn’t see that he might not be all of those things everyone else has to be at the Wall, but that he is still there, with the rest of them, at the Wall?

“I’m the same as you,” Jon tells him. They’re talking about virginity, and bonding about both having been somewhat unlucky in the relevant regards. But they were both essentially sent there to get out of other people’s ways, they’re both at the edge of the world they know. They’re both there.

4 Winter

Tyrion: “I must say I received a slightly warmer welcome on my last visit.”

Well, yes. Winter is coming, after all.

Things That Are Coming

  1. Winter, still.
  2. A war of some kind.
  3. Bran’s testimony, though he supposedly has no memory of the accident.
  4. White Walkers.
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