When I read the Game of Thrones books, I had no one to share the Red Wedding with. Sure I could tell people, but then I’d have to explain three books of lead up. Now that the scene has been depicted on HBO (officially called the Rains of Castamere episode), all of cyberspace is buzzing with reaction to this incredible scene.
I’ve got a lot of comments on and questions about The Red Wedding, but I won’t go over the story-related ones right now. That angle has been beaten to death more than a Stark at a reception. So let’s try a different tack: the meta questions. Questions about the questions. Let’s use The Red Wedding as a bloody Rorschach blot to psychoanalyze all of society.
Specifically, I’m wondering, “What if people freaked out over real events with the same passion that they freaked out over the Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding episode?”
For example, I can’t help but think there wasn’t nearly as much cyber-fuss over a couple real world Red Weddings, and by that I mean drone strikes that actually killed people at wedding parties. (One) (Two)
I enjoyed The Red Wedding as much as anyone can enjoy watching their favorite characters get murdered. I respect it for its artistic accomplishment, and I don’t want to rain on the parade through Castamere, but I wish the reaction to real events was just as intense. And I include myself in the wish. It would be great if following real world outrages that there was a Twitter storm and then stories about the Twitter storm.
Now to be fair, it’s possible this is all in my perception. Perhaps the circles I visit are focused on entertainment too much. That’s entirely possible, and I admit that the idea that there’s more outrage over a fictional scene than a real one is just a theory. I’m not saying it surely it is true, just that I suspect strongly that it is.
I think it’s valid to think that people (remember I’m including myself as I am also a people) don’t react with nearly such horror to a real event. For example, over the past few days I’ve heard about countless bombs, factory fires (where the doors were locked to keep the people in) and countless other horrific human on human violence. These events are like the Red Wedding in terms of unjust death, made infinitely worse because they are real, and they’re happening every day. Yet I shrug and move on. Is it a necessary defense to carry on through life? Is desensitization a somewhat good thing because without it you’d cry your life away?
Or have we taken it too far? All this horror on a daily basis and there’s no outraged Facebook updates. No cyberspace freakout. No depressed for days. No threats to boycott networks (or governments) for “crossing a line.” Nothing.
Well, I shouldn’t say nothing, but none that reaches the level of hysteria that the fictional Red Wedding did. Maybe we should take stock of that and not be so snobby when we see other cultures freak out over cartoons, low-budget blasphemy flicks and the like.
I have a theory we might be just as crazy.