An Ode to House Lannister

In honor of tonight’s “Game of Thrones” Season 6 premiere, I decided to dedicate a post to my assigned House. (You can click here to find out which House you belong in.)

Everyone knows that being labeled a Lannister is sort of like being sorted into Slytherin. You’re misperceived as pretentious, power-hungry, and maybe incestuous.

Anyone with a real heart of a lion knows differently.

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Aside from the money and the proximity to power – qualities that often coincide with the negative perception of the Lannisters – they are loyal, complex, and brave.

Lannister Loyalty: Tywin, for all his other shortcomings, instilled family pride into his children. Once you have won the respect of a Lannister, you can expect their loyalty. Additionally, they inspire loyalty in others (i.e. Pod to Tyrion, Bronn to Jaime).

Lannister Complexity: Think of your favorite storylines in GoT. No doubt a Lannister is involved in some way. Because the Lannisters thrive in the morally gray department, they are more fascinating to watch. We want to know why Cersei is so loving with her children but so awful to the rest of the world. We want to know how Tyrion will outsmart his next foe. Their complexity makes them a compelling family.

Lannister Bravery: Even proud Lannisters are hesitant to defend Cersei, but you have to admire her unfaltering bravery. Hear me out! She was forced into marriage with a drunken brute who still pined for another, and she went to her duty without protest. Moreover, she would face anything, including the shame of being paraded through the streets in her birthday suit, just to see her goals achieved. Let’s not forget Jaime. Though he can be misguided, he has stared down death more than his fair share of times. And Tyrion! Where do we even begin? Tyrion’s whole existence is a shining example of bravery. Anyone else who had suffered his abuse and neglect might have given up, but Tyrion used it as the armor that made him stronger.

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Still not convinced? No matter. We Lannisters always have a way of making our roar heard….one way or another.

Enjoy tonight’s premiere!

 

How “Hamilton” Turned My World Upside Down (And Made Me Care About History Again)

How does a (usually) plastered, poor one, former Peace Corps one, living in Boston get dropped in the middle of the hottest plot?

That’s right, my fellow countrymen. I’m talkin’ about “Hamilton.” Lin-Manuel Miranda’s instant classic debuted in early 2015, and I have no qualms with admitting it took me until last month to discover it for myself. It also took me until 2009 to fall in love with “Wicked,” to put things in perspective.

But I digress. You all came here to read a love story. And as everyone knows, a good love story begins with a “Meet Cute.” Ham and I met at work, of all places. I run the in-house studio for a marketing firm, and one of our presenters is big in the East Coast theater community.  One afternoon, in between shooting video blogs for our clients, my thespian friend asked, “Have you listened to ‘Hamilton’ yet?”

My eloquent response can be found below.

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In short, no. Not only hadn’t I listened to this so-called masterpiece, I didn’t even know what she was talking about. With a patience level I could never have achieved, she pulled up the show’s opening number, the aptly named “Alexander Hamilton,” on YouTube . Nothing would be more accurate than to describe what I felt as love at first listen.

As any self-respecting Millennial would do, I immersed myself in the world of “Hamilton” via social media and music streaming platforms. The original Broadway cast recording became the soundtrack to my life. Honestly, I could probably log a marathon with the numbers of miles I’ve run to “My Shot,” and don’t get my started on the countless shower solos of “Wait for It.”

But more than making me feel culturally relevant and giving me disillusions about my rapping abilities, “Hamilton” reignited my passion for history. I even read “The Reynolds Pamphlet” and enjoyed it! I was inspired to listen closer to the songs, and I found something new to research each time. For example, the line “God, you’re a fox!” in “Blow Us All Away” sent me on a purely academic investigation of Philip Hamilton’s attractiveness. Let me just say that my journalistic curiosity paid off. He was indeed a fox. See below:

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Still, one of the best things about “Hamilton” is that it lends a fresh voice to those long dead. Moreover, that voice can be appreciated for generations to come. Amidst the addicting beats and clever lyrics, we are shown that, while our Founding Fathers wore powdered wigs and puffy breeches, they won this country with cunning and courage, battles and brains, words and war.

This Pulitzer-winning musical reminds us that those same men were human. Men who fell in love and learned to hate. Men who felt desire and pain. Above all else, they were just men (and women, of course).

In between the rap battle-styled songs and the Beyoncé-esque numbers, we’re taught that history was written by people just like you and me.  It gives one that notion that history does, in fact, have its eyes on you.

For a musical to achieve what “Hamilton” has achieved is phenomenal, and I wish it much continued success. If you need me, I’ll be listening to the soundtrack on repeat and praying for the day when I can get my hands on tickets. (Lin-Manuel, if you’re reading this, hint hint.)