A Game of Thrones

Ominous post title, right? Especially given the closed-society, shelter-in-place situation we’ve got going on here. Now in the interests of full disclosure, I made it about 10 minutes into the very first Game of Thrones (GOT) episode when it came out ages ago and – with limbs and heads flying hither and thither – I quickly admitted defeat.

My husband (Jonathan) and son (Simon, age 16), however, recently finished the series. They started with Season 1 on Christmas Eve. Seriously, Game of Thrones on Christmas Eve! My daughter (Lucy, 13) and I, meanwhile, re-watched The Sound of Music on the other side of the house. I’ll leave you to draw your own inferences about our family, values, moral virtues, etc. To that point, our favorite quote from The Sound of Music: “Mother, I have sinned.”

My daughter and I have, however, experienced Game of Thrones vicariously through dinner-time catch-ups of who died in the prior episode, how Daenerys was faring (my daughter and I both partial to the idea of a dragon-handling lady), and the comparative strengths and weaknesses of various characters’ hairstyles. And then we’d have Jonathan’s perennial complaint about people in the way up north (Winter is coming!) not wearing hats.

Is this what your family dinner-time conversations are about? Honestly, it makes a nice break from the general squabbling among us.

So as Simon was anticipating their finishing up the series, he got the idea that we should get the Game of Thrones board game (“deliciously complex” in Simon’s words). It arrived about a month ago and now, finally, worn down by shelter-in-place, the GOT board game was taken out and we all started playing a couple of nights ago. For anyone who knows Simon (who had spent a substantial amount of time reviewing the many manuals that arrived with the game), the outcome was completely predictable. Two rounds into a game that should take 10 rounds, it was clear that Simon was so far ahead that there was no way any of the rest of us could catch up. How did he end up with the Iron Throne? And with more power tokens than anyone else? More crowns, more castles, more…everything (“like this wasn’t rigged!” per Lucy)? Per Simon, “Not to put too fine a point on it, but the rest of you stink at board games.” Here is what the board game looks like. I give myself credit for even attempting to start the game:

You know it’s bad when the rest of us started feeling really nostalgic for Settlers of Catan. Me: “How about we switch to Uno?” Simon’s suggestion is that we start the GOT game afresh tomorrow night. We’ve learned today that the kids will not be going back to school (physically) this academic year so we may have time.

Published by Lianne Kurina

I am an epidemiologist, the proud director of the Program in Human Biology at Stanford University, and a very keen horsewoman.

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