Arab Spring – Thank you for Game of Thrones
My latest addiction is to the Game of Thrones. TV and print. I would never have picked up the books because fantasy isn’t my thing, but after getting a taste of the HBO series I began recording the previous seasons. But even watching each and every espisode, I felt I was missing something, so I began tracking down the books. I had to buy them out of order because so many bookstores are low on stock due to its popularity. Luckily, I found the first in the series early on, and have been reading avidly in an attempt to catch up to the tv series. The book is better. Some of the best lines from the show are taken directly out of the text. This is the first time a show or movie has influenced me to read the book. Usually it’s the other way around, and I’m usually disappointed.
It turns out that I’m not alone, and almost anyone who’s watched an episode or two becomes a fan, so my point isn’t to write about Game of Thrones. I also don’t plan to write about book vs. movie, it’s been overargued already. To me, the most interesting part is how I came to even watch something that would never have caught my interest.
I arrived at Game of Thrones via my Twitter addiction. Which is mostly focused on two interests, regional politics and philosophy. More politics than philosophy, tho.
As an avid follower of regional politics via Twitter, I naturally began following Arab Spring tweeps, those who posted from Egypt and later Libya and Syria on the revolutions. I began following some Egyptian bloggers who’s work I had read prior to following them on Twitter. Slowly, my reach grew, and I began following interesting Egyptians and Syrians. Those who proved most interesting usually also had blogs. It’s more challenging to find interest in a twitter stream alone. Most of the regulars I follow also write longer opinion pieces in other forums. Some in the mainstream press and some on their private blogs.
I was fortunate in that some of my new Tweeps were willing to engage me, even though my profile notes that I’m Israeli. When I first encountered Twitter, I wasn’t aware how rare it was for Arabs to agree to discuss topics with “Zionists”. They use it as a curse word. More about Zionists/ism here.
I was lucky enough to meet up with interesting Arabs and to learn more about how “the conflict” and it’s possible solutions is viewed by their liberal elite. Amid the intense emotions of the Arab Spring, as it spread to Syria, where things began in an optimistic non-violent manner, I began following a Game of Thrones fan. Somehow, amid the emotions of losing the Tweep as the violence got out of control, the term, “Game of Thrones” stayed in my memory. I’m happy to say that the person apparently survived, just stopped tweeting. In any case, the die was cast, and when cable began replaying earlier seasons in the build up to the new one, I decided to watch it, once. That was all it took. Now I record and later watch and savour each show, and am finishing up the first book. So happy there are lots more books to go!