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Sunday, September 7, 2014

HarryPotter and the Human Genome - A Critique of Fantasy in General and of House Targaryen in Particular, or How I Learned to Love Fire and Blood

It all started in the middle of an innocent dialogue with James Andrew Gravil:

James: This fantastic idea of people who are half-human, half-dragon (that's how I understand it so far) reminds me of the #Targaryens in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire (the TV series Game of Thrones.) They too are a royal family, ethereally beautiful, with mystical powers, albeit possessed of a mistaken belief in their ability to shapeshift into dragons. You weren't inspired by Martin's series, by any chance? The name of their homeland, Valyria, is even similar to your Valaya.

I wouldn’t say Viserys, Dany’s brother, was ethereally beautiful: in my opinion, his #literary and film impersonations both matched Ser Jorah’s “less than shadow of a snake” allegory. Looks included.

Warning: long text ahead! But who said we can't tolerate big texts - hem-hem-manuscript-of-Winds-of-Winter-hem-hem?

Dany’s description reads quite lovely, but in reality it’s actually weird… I saw a fantasy drawing once where Dany had really silver hair, silver eyebrows and eyelashes, and really purple eyes. I can’t say it’s ugly, but it’s kinda#alien-looking, although her features were finely chiseled. I just felt the urge to say: “hey Stormborn, you need some color; here, take my make-up kit”.

Have you noticed Emilia Clarke’s eyes had been jade-green for the first three seasons? In Season 4, they added bluish-violet contact lenses that didn’t cover the middle circle of the iris and it was still green, and the effect was just stunning. I used to wear colored contacts all the time before I had my LASIK, so I notice those things. I just hope the fandom is not developing crazy theories, like, how Daenerys’s eye color changed because she wasn’t getting laid after she helped Khal Drogo convert to Islam. Here, “to convert to Islam” is a subcultural Russian euphemism for death – rather racist, to be sure.

Re: euphemisms for death. My favorites are:

- “to be sawed out of existence” – only I changed it for “to be #hacked” in English, and it normally refers to violent death;
- “to join your legs” according to the joke about a prostitute’s tombstone inscribed with “Finally, they have joined each other. Her #legs, that is.”
- “to glue your sneakers together” – same logic.
- “to move your horses” – this hints at the fact that at #grand last-ever shindigs like State funerals, horses pull the catafalque.
- “to select your oak” – an allusion of wood for coffins… Sorry, this is getting morbid. The last one is:
“to pass beyond the Rim”, which is a tribute to #Babylon5.

Now I have to pace myself as I’m so into B-5, I’m almost Green sector resident – hey, I speak languages, so #AmbassadorDelenn and I would definitely be able to share some ailecococ over dinner (ailecococ in Minbari means both a small fish and the pleasure of meeting someone for the first time). Not to mention the possibility to use swear words when talking in Commander Ivanova’s native language – few on the station would understand anyway…

Back to House Targaryen exterior appearances. Emilia’s Daenerys is a platinum blonde, not truly silver-gold-haired. The only jarring note in her looks are those black eyebrows – it’s genetically impossible for such fair-haired persons to have such dark facial hair. If they trimmed them and made them a couple of shades lighter (not 50!!!!!!), she’d be an ideal #Daenerys.

Daenerys holding the black egg was on a Season 1 poster hanging on my wall over my desk for two years, and I am a genetics aficionada (AND a woman, and dissecting other women’s looks is in our genes), so I can talk )) You don't have to read my talk unless it's Caelin edits, of course, but I just love talking to you in letters... ever since we discovered, among many other common grounds, our mutual penchant for badmouthing poorly written but very popular literature like #Twilight or – excuse me, I have to stop and vomit here – 50 Shades.

So, I guess, “ethereal beauty” works in Daenerys’s case. So does “smart” – she didn’t waste time trying futilely to transform into a dragon. She hatched THREE. My kinda girl. You’ll see, she’ll handle brilliantly all the trouble her gentle heart got her into. Just give her time. And let us all hope #GRRM will not hurl her beyond the Rim prematurely, in his usual manner that has already earned martyrdom for the Starks and made #TheNorthRemembers grow into a freaking political party.

As for mystical powers, only Dany seems to possess them – she’d appreciate the blistering lava wine my own King Vlad aka King Bloodlust enjoys so much. Neither Rhaegar nor Aerys MK (Mad King, not #MichaelKors, y'all) had manifested any ESPN stuff that could have changed their fate.

Or maybe GRRM wanted them weak enough to have them glue their boots together with ease, just as becomes a House with centuries of inbreeding in their wake. In real life, where the #HumanGenome is serious business, the Targaryens would have been hunchbacks with rickets, flatulence, and six toes on the third foot. Tyrion would be an Edwardella compared to them. Hell, Daenerys would probably have three breasts – and the fans of #TotalRecall would die happy men.

I even made up a distich on Twitter to that point:

In real life, Daenerys would be 3-breasted and small like a #gnome
You don’t mess with inbreeding and the human genome

By the way, I’m @FantasyVortex. Czech me out (a little linguistic joke inscribed on a T-shirt I bought in Prague) I have a principle: a Tweet must be a joke, a pun or a crack-up to every possible extent. Unless it's death or need to be politically C. And as you already know my type of sense of humour, you can imagine what Bacchanalia of ye-ha-ha! is going on in my Tweets feed.

OK. Back to Fire and Blood. So, to sum up, Viserys glued his boots together because he had a thing for bling (and good riddance); Dany rules; Rhaegar Targaryen was hacked out by Baratheon too soon to talk about him, although I would; the #MK(TM) was a genetics textbook case; Young Griff aka alleged Prince Aegon is a dark horse, and methinks we’re dealing with Dragons here. Who else?

Ah. Poor darling Maester Aemon – I, a most ardent House Targaryen bannerwoman, love him best despite relating to Daenerys. He could have used a little abracadabra-esque power, too, I guess. Although he’d probably be too old for spitting fire – and you can’t stop an army of wildlings by spewing soot and ashes on them. Not to mention the Others who’d just think Maester Aemon is dropping dandruff off the Wall.

By the way, did you know #JKRowling made up Avada Kedavra based on abracadabra, which is believed to be an ancient Zoroastrian spell that reached our days? Anyway, in the ASOIAF canon, not a single Targaryen has supernatural powers, except Dany et Aegon the Conqueror avec sisters who could fly on dragonback. But I think this last skill was more like superb animal training and lots of nerve rather than magic.

Also, when Viserys threatened Dany with waking the dragon, I think he meant he’d become seriously pissed off and turn into a royal asshole… or he would have meant it if he were smarter. But then, if he had been smarter, he wouldn’t have been Viserys, ergo, Khal Drogo wouldn’t have hacked him out of existence with a jaunty crown of molten gold. Honestly, to see a man killed by his exaggerated flair for #fashion! Disgraceful.

Oh gosh, this is an effing novel. My only excuse is that, while making yet another joke, I decided I’d make a blog entry out of this rant.

To be continued...