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To Kill a Protagonist


The first story I ever wrote was about a young girl who walked through a magical door and found herself in a fantastical new world. Since I was seven I have been a storyteller, a lover of intrigue, dynamics, and possibility. I found solace first in the books by Lloyd Alexander, then in Wilbur Smith. My love of fantasy and Sci-Fi even led me to study creative writing in university. 

I have always pursued the dark truths in whimsical stories, the humanity in fantasy, and I have never been satisfied with a happy ending. To be honest, I was a fiction snob. I completely annoyed my partner with scoffs and complaints during movie nights. To me, off-scene escapes, easy ways out, or acts of God had no place in a film or a story. 

What was I seeking for all those years? What would satiate my lust for the perfect plot? When I first watched Game of Thrones, I was thrown off kilter. Here was a world I was not used to, so saturated with color and chaos. I'd seen hundreds of medieval fantasies, yet this one was seeping into my own daydreams. Not only the scenery and story, but the characters too. Finally, I'd found a storyteller who was not afraid to kill the good guy... and his entire family.

Here were characters I had to root for because they may not be there in the next scene. Furthermore, here were characters I thought I hated, truly trading their sword hand for the life of another. I had never been introduced to anti-villains before this series. 

All along, I'd been pining for this author who was prepared to destroy all that is good in his world for the sake of realism, symbolism, and depth. Within Martin's chronicles, I have discovered a piece of my own journey that was missing. 

Through engrossing myself in the books, I have learned the desperate need for reality in fantasy. The action cannot only stem from magic prophesies and dragons. What is at risk? Who is willing to make the difficult decisions, and who will stand by them? There must be that depth of character and motive that makes it difficult to choose whose side to believe, whose oaths to believe, and whose future to believe in. 

In my own writing, I can see many areas for growth that would have been hidden from me had I not read GOT. For example, not being afraid to add too much description. When I started reading GOT I kept skimming over all the information about what people were wearing. I just thought, why would I care? Then I realized each time I actually read those details, I could visualize them. I could see the armor and the finery, and these minute details made the whole character come to life. 

At the same time, the films have helped me to add that cinematic texture that is so necessary to fiction. Now I slow down my dialogue, and I slow down the camera movement too. It's not always about action. There must be rests for character growth and processing.

I feel so lucky to have this treasury to watch and read and dive into. Despite my mixed opinions of the eighth season, I am not disappointed in the slightest. I am compelled by my love of GOT to write, to contribute in some way, to follow in the footsteps of such an inspiring author, such incredible producers, and such tremendous actors, editors and crew. This series has opened a magical door for me. I am thrilled to step into the fantastical world beyond.

(The photo is my own dragon, Rambo, in all his glory)