The Land of Happy
Have you been to The Land of Happy,
Where everyone’s happy all day,
Where they joke and they sing
Of the happiest things,
And everything’s jolly and gay?
There’s no one unhappy in Happy,
There’s laughter and smiles galore.
I have been to The Land of Happy –
What a bore!
– Shel Silverstein
*** Spoliers Alert ***
I wonder at what age George R.R. Martin read this little poem. He certainly took it to heart. I don’t know about you, but after last night’s Red Wedding, I almost banned Starks and Lannisters and Freys for good. I knew that what happened was going to happen, but I was still holding out for a possible last-minute story change. Martin may look like Santa Claus, but this guy is definitely on my suspect list of possible Dementors. It seems like every time a character in his series has a string of hope – snap, crackle, pop – string of hope diminished. It gets very frustrating to me as a reader and a viewer, because I fall in love with these characters (especially Jon Snow!), and their hopes and horrors become my desires and fears. I mean, we’re in a world of dragons and direwolves. Can’t we get a fairy godmother or two?
However, before I told the whole of Seven Kingdoms to kiss it, I began to understand (kind of) what Martin was saying: life is not a fairy tale, and happy endings are hard to come by. And, although we may not be facing Tywin Lannister on a daily basis, we’re facing all kinds of other obstacles. I hope this doesn’t make you too depressed, because I just reread it, and now I’m a little depressed. At least I didn’t bring up the White Walkers…oops.
Okay, so I’ve decided that even though Martin’s characters continue to suffer and struggle but sometimes overcome – usually not – they’re still moving forward. So the next time you ask yourself, “Why am I still watching/reading this?” “Why do I continue to put my soul through this torment?” just remember that like the characters, you’re still moving forward, you’re still hoping…. It’s going to get better (maybe). It can’t get much worse (possibly).