Nixon (Helen Sloane / HBO)

So I've never watched "Game of Thrones."

Yeah, I know. Let that simmer for a second. What kind of an asshole self-proclaimed nerd isn't devouring each new episode of the most sprawling fantasy epic in recent memory as soon as possible?

Well, my kind, apparently.

It's not by some twisted pact of self-denial that I haven't sat down to watch the show; it just hasn't happened, and that's even after cajoling my way into a friend's HBO GO login. I haven't found myself up for the task of absorbing the history of Westeros and its constant barrage of rape, murder and intrigue, even when access is on the cheap.

I have, however, read all the books. Except for that last third of "A Feast for Crows," I just couldn't care about all those Dornish douchebags that GRRM found the need to introduce. (A person can only remember so many names of folks likely to get killed off in the next 10 pages.) But even that's something I can no longer lord over watchers of the show now that the onscreen story has passed ahead of and (potentially, kinda-sorta) morphed away from the print version.

It's a bit weird knowing that I'm now technically behind on the action after pouncing on the last book at launch five years ago. There's a special bond you form with an original work when it gets translated into a different medium. Whether it's a book, comic or whatever, you get to be a little of a hipster soothsayer, someone who was in before it was cool and with the ability to dole out snarky premonitions — usually to the effect of "Oh, it hasn't even gotten good yet" — to those just now paying attention.


Can't do that too much anymore. Premonition pass denied, and now I'm the one on the receiving end of gleeful and sideways threats that I "shouldn't get too attached to that character." Oh how the nerdy and snide have fallen.

I have, however, still found myself following along with episode recaps every week because I am a giant and unabashed consumer of spoilers, and I feel like I've devoted enough hours to these characters to not feel bad about skipping ahead a bit. So while I might be technically caught up with who's alive, who's dead and who's seemingly fallen off of (or climbing back up from) the cliff at the end of the Seven Kingdoms, it's been through secondhand commentary and usually wrapped in admonishments of how nasty that Ramsay Bolton fellow is. (He's rather shit in the books, too, in case you were wondering.)

The publication timelines for the last two books are locked in the same state of limbo they were years ago, but I'd reckon most readers like myself have moved beyond anxious anticipation for the next installment into a comfortable resignation. I'm alright with waiting a bit longer while picking the bones of the show's story arc to keep afloat. As they say, if you love something, watch the YouTube montage every now and again to keep yourself sated, then get on with your life.

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