Monday, April 02, 2012

An Irishman can't help himself -- scorn for Game of Thrones

John Doyle in the Globe and Mail:
A second reason is an aversion to medieval-fantasy material that is ludicrously inauthentic when compared with real history and genuine mythology and legend. I’ve no problem with the Arthurian legends because they arise from a bona fide cultural impulse. As an Irishman of a certain age, I could talk to you till your eyes fell out about the magic of An Táin Bó Cúailnge (The Cattle Raid at Cooley), the central story of the Ulster cycle of legends. It’s about an attempt to steal a particularity fertile bull. But it teems with warriors and magicians, dominated by the god-like warrior Cú Chulainn. There are even ravens swirling in the mist. It shares much with Game of Thrones in surface detail but there’s a powerful, authentic poignancy to An Táin, and a rawness to the action, the work of many hands and storytellers, generation after generation. In comparison, Game of Thrones is slick and contrived.


  1. John Doyle seems like that guy at a party who wanders into a conversation about something popular, declares his dislike for it, derails the conversation into a personal monologue about something only vaguely associated but something which he considers vastly superior, and then stands there all self-congratulatory as everyone evaluates how they can reconvene together without him and recommence their conversation.
    I'll admit, I've been guilty of that sometimes, but I realize that and fight the tendency. However, it seems absurd to me that Doyle's method of introducing the Cattle Raid at Cooley is to first bash the show/books that are central to his article and then expect people to want to go and read more about the history. It's such an off-putting thing to do. Of course, Doyle isn't trying to get people interested in the Cattle Raid. Rather, he just loves posturing as so supremely discerning when it comes to the cultural significance of something popular.
    As always with Scotch, or Irish Reviewers: to sling mud, one must have some muck of their own from which to draw. Doyle does have just enough learning to misrepresent, and a man must serve his time in every trade save censure - critics are ready made.

  2. Anonymous5:42 pm

    Doyle has a right to his opinion. However, many would disagree. The show and books are very popular with the public. It's probably the best tv fantasy I've seen. To me it's entertainment. Critics panned Star Wars when it 1st came out in the movies then changed their tune later on. Sometimes critics can be too full of themselves. I don't always pay to much attention to them. I find the best critics are the people who see the tv show or movies, not the critics.