Being Beautiful: Where have all the dragons gone?


It’s hard to argue with a fire-breathing dragon.

In this case, I mean a literal dragon rather than a figurative one, although most of us have experienced the latter, if not the former, at some point. For the former, tune into the highly anticipated season premiere of “Game of Thrones” Sunday night. Join me and millions of others as we travel to the mythological kingdom of Westeros where debauchery of every kind blends with nobility to expose the best and the worst of human nature, often within the same person, often only moments apart.

Does that sound like anyone you know personally? Of course, not.

Based on the sci-fi novel series by George R.R. Martin, “Game of Thrones” fast became a cult classic, but it seems to have transcended into the mainstream with grandmothers and elementary school teachers joining Harley dudes and hard rockers as fervent devotees to the politics of the mythical seven kingdoms.

Foreign government interference, family and inner-circle in-fighting, espionage, partisan bickering, ruthless self-interest…wait, are we still talking about a hit HBO series, or have we moved into modern-day American politics? Are the two really that different?

I never developed an interest in sci-fi as a child. Batman and the Hulk couldn’t compete with tales of the stars and starlets in the magazines at the grocery store checkout counter. I have a hard time sitting through an episode of “Star Trek” because it just seems so implausible to me. Why, then, do I engage in the willing suspension of disbelief and make room in my imagination for an army of the dead attacking from the frozen north or three fire-breathing dragons fighting to put their mother, an attractive young woman who hatched them from eggs, on the Iron Throne?

I think it’s because as far-fetched and impossible as these elements are, the very human drama, as Shakespeare writes, of “vaulting ambition which oer’leaps itself” is presented so precisely, so credibly, that we willingly submit to the fantasy—or maybe it’s just because there’s a part of us that wishes we could climb onto the back of a dragon, speak a magic word, and burn a fleet of attacking ships in the harbor. I’d like to think I would use my powers for good, but maybe it would be nice to know how that level of control over destiny feels for just a moment.

So, those of us on the “Game of Thrones” journey can’t wait for this season to reveal whether sinister Cersei Lannister, dreamy Jon Snow, or mother of dragons Daenerys Targaryen takes the Iron Throne, or maybe a long-shot will surprise us all.

One thing is for sure:  millions of us will be watching Sunday nights this summer to find out!

Contact David at [email protected]

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