The Binge

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I’ve never been one to binge-watch television.

I didn’t get it really. I mean I understand what it is, but there was nothing on television that I could conceive of wanting to watch for hours and hours on end. Certainly you people have better things to do. Certainly I have better things to do. And I’d almost always rather be outside.

I think the most of anything I’d ever watched is maybe three episodes of Longmire in one sitting and maybe five in the same day, something like that. And even that would come on a rainy weekend and only happen during the weekend, never during the week and certainly it would not keep me up late.

I let very few things disrupt my sleep patterns and keep me up late. I’m not the type of person who can recover well from such things. I can be wrecked for at least a week or more by an ill-advised late night, and alcohol does not have to be involved to throw me out of whack.

Some things are worth it though.

The Washington Capitals are worth it.

Live music is worth it. Brothers Osborne are worth it.

But a TV show? Really?

I live on this planet so I know of the existence of Game of Thrones and the constant chatter and hoopla surrounding it. But I do not have HBO. I did not feel like my life was incomplete without GOT in it. Certainly not incomplete enough to add it to my endless stream of seemingly tiny monthly subscriptions that add up way too quickly.

I’m not sure what prompted me to sit down and watch the first episode of the first season last month-which is free on HBO’s site. Well, I am sure, but it now seems like the silliest of reasons, and in the grand scheme of the show very inconsequential and is not even someone I think about – no offense Michiel Huisman. But, yes, Michiel Huisman gets credit for me taking my first nibble of GOT one random weeknight. (And for those in the know, he doesn’t even show up until Season 4.)

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The problem with that first nibble was this, it was right before a weekend when I was having company come to town. So I had to be OK with the nibble and waiting a bit to take a full bite, which, if you know how that first episode ends, is no small feat.

But, wait I did, knowing I would go back to it, I would sign up for a free trial when I had more time to spare, watch Season 1 and see if I felt I wanted more. Other things worth noting. I LOVED Lord of the Rings, both the books and the movies, so this a genre I would gravitate towards anyway.

And so it began.

Innocently at first really. Two episodes one night, three the next, during a weekend.

Then I discovered I knew people who watched! Two co-workers. One has also read the books. I started showing up at work with questions, most I didn’t really want the answer to, and they took great delight in building my excitement each and every day. I discovered the internet is a very dangerous place for a Game of Thrones fan who showed up seven years late to the party and has a lot of catching up to do. But my appetite had been whetted and I was starving for info.

I found a bit of a safe place indulging myself with clips of Bronn’s humor, which did mean I realized he stays alive – phew! ‘cuz I love him – and I did find out a couple of seasons too early that he shoots Drogon, but knowing that didn’t make that battle scene any less heart-pounding.

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I did also already know how Season 7 ended up with Jon and Daenerys. Again, I live on this planet.

I listen and I hear things, that’s what I do.

(Please forgive the poor play on one of Tyrion’s best lines.)

So, a couple of episodes on a weekend afternoon and night, quickly turned into at least an episode every night during the week, which became a couple of episodes on Saturday mornings before my run, one after the run, and then more in the evening. The only time I have ever actually needed to walk away and take a breath was after Oberyn’s death. GOT will frequently leave you slack-jawed and breathless, but that episode…I think I just might have been screaming along with Ellaria. Did. Not. See that one coming. Oh my! I had to walk away for a few hours after that.

I didn’t just binge on Season’s 5, 6 and 7, I gorged myself.

I went so far as to mute the Washington Capitals season opener on TV after the first period to watch an episode of GOT on my computer!

People asked what my weekend plans were.

“More Game of Thrones!”

I roared through seven seasons of the seven kingdoms in 22 days (that does not include the first episode which I began more than a week before the binge began.) And yes I was left with a severe hangover! So much so that it has taken me a few weeks to blog about it! I am planning to read the books now and I have vowed that I will not re-watch anything until next year in preparation for the final season.

This is what I gained from my three weeks in Westeros…

I am ruined for all other TV now. IMO nothing is as well written, acted, directed, produced on the small screen right now as GOT, nothing! Which is fine, because I have lots of books to read and it’s hockey season!

And part of the fun of getting into this show is being able to talk about it! Every day my co-workers were excited to gauge my reactions to things, hear my theories and I was as excited to share them. This is a show meant to be shared and discussed and celebrated. It’s akin to discussing Monday Night Football…or the Caps shootout loss to the Panthers…or pick a sport, pick a team.

It isn’t very often, to me anyway, that a TV show actually brings people together and gets them talking, and I love that.

So, I may be a bit late, but I sure am glad I made it to the party.

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