Two nights ago, around 11PM in the night, I finally finished A Clash of Kings and two Fridays ago, the movie Brooklyn just in time for me to root for it during the Oscars. And both were freaking marvelous. So this entry is some sort of review / reflection to the concepts of home found in both media, most of what I’m going to share is probably based on my Modern Asian Lit class and the paper I wrote for said class which was to me the best paper I’ve ever written.
The 1000-paged sequel to the A Game of Thrones is my comeback to reading. I wanted something to help me with my reading drought so I committed to the longest one I have in my bookshelf. This way reading becomes some kind of routine and the writing would be the same unlike when I read different books with different writing styles, tones, and techniques which is confusing and tiring.
It’s an exciting world that George R. R. Martin paints, it’s the entire country of different aspects of it-from gender, social class, and jobs. Successfully, Martin narrates the lives of the very different characters in bright light and development. Though there were times the descriptions were too much, it was part of the experience.
My favorite characters in both tv and book is Sansa and Catelyn Stark or at least some parts of their personality. Most found Catelyn annoying but when she recalled her experiences as a mother, it breaks my heart. The actress who plays Sansa Stark, Sophie Turner helped me visualized the silent Sansa. I’ve rooted for her in the later seasons. Her adventures, though minimal and less bloody unlike Arya’s, are dangerous enough to have cost her life. Her wits and a lot of luck have helped her along the way. And Sophie Turner’s goddamn gorgeous.
Speaking of Arya, her adventures could stand alone. Sometimes they’re boring especially the later ones but she is important. I feel like she is but at the moment she is not. She feels like a filler. Sometimes I feel like we could remove her from the books and the other characters would stay the same. I even wonder if she has a large role in the main plot but in the last six seasons of TV, she doesn’t. I wish we could get a character’s adventure compiled from book 1 to 5 into one novel, though I know most of it would not make sense, I’d like to have that option.
Okay, now let’s go to Theon Greyjoy. If you didn’t read the books, here’s a little history. He was born in the Iron Islands, taken by the Starks as a ward to keep the Greyjoy rebellion hushed when Theon was ten. Though Theon was raised like a Stark, it’s basically kidnapping, and Theon had no choice but to be a leverage against the Greyjoys. If the Greyjoys do something rebellious, their prince would be killed.
He grew up in Winterfell then, spending the most important part of your life – puberty – in a land where you’re supposed to call it home. Maester Luwin would educate you the maps and history and teach you how to read. You’d know the godswood, the entire kingdom of your father’s enemy, which to you is your new home with Robb who treats you like a brother. You’d feel at home but it isn’t really yours.
Then, Theon goes home for the first time to the Iron Islands since he was ten and it becomes very difficult. He is no longer the same. He does not wear what Ironborns wear, as his sister laughingly pointed out. He does not recognize its culture of We Do Not Sow, of its preference to durability than beauty. He tries to impress his unfamiliar father and fails. He is both an outcast to where he was born and where he grew up which is terrible and he tries so impeccably to impress both places and fails.
When he comes back to Winterfell to invade it, he is not loved. He is hated. Though he grew up there, those who helped him grew up did not love him. Not because he invaded it. Well, partly. But it is because he is a Greyjoy which required Theon to impress his father by invading Winterfell. And he failed both miserably…
Similar to this is Brooklyn, the Oscar-nominated film directed by John Crowley which tells the story of a young beautiful Irish who moves to Brooklyn played by Saoirse Ronan in search for a better life. She is polite, homesick, ambitious, and hard-working. As was the techonology during the 1950s, there was no Facetime or Snapchat to help you recognize and remember what home looked like. There is no closure once you moved to the city especially into the eccentric and lovely New York City, only sepia pictures and memories.
One of my favorite parts is the contrast between Eilis (Saoirse Ronan’s character) and another woman who tells her the do’s and don’ts in the ship that they came in. She prepares her for Brooklyn, an unknown territory, which that woman had already frequented, making her up and advising her not to cough ever on the immigration desk. And then, in the last scene, she then becomes that woman as a newbie to Brooklyn asks her about it. It was a full circle, character development and all. And it was very well-written.
Along the way, she falls in love to Tony, an Italian plumber who captivates her heart and mine. I’d like to think he is a metaphor for the love that she cultivated in Brooklyn. She loved him and she needed to come back to him. (Sidenote: their love story is gahhhh!!)
When she comes back to Ireland because of something I won’t spoil, everyone whispers and everyone wants to know what America was about. Similar to Theon Greyjoy, she became a different person when she comes back. An example is the swimming suit, as her friend had noticed. She wore a yellow one-piece which is new and beautiful. She is torn between two worlds and she no longer belongs to one. She knows she is both two and she should go back to Brooklyn and to Tony, the life she slowly built on her own, not one she had been handed to. And it makes total sense.
My take on both of this is to adjust as I’m in a new home myself. Or that we’re going to be in constant search of a home. Or that maybe a person is a home. Or a group of people. Or a state of mind.
People always tell me to never change wherever I go and it’s problematic because the only way we could all survive is to adapt, to stretch ourselves over the land. We’re all going to be in different places in the world, in doing so, we’re going to lose ourselves and question who we are to be. People will question who you were and why you became the ‘idealized’ past version of you.
But the thing is, we just have to be the best version of ourselves. It’s cliche but it works.Be in complete chaos of yourself. Forget about labels. Irish-American? Iron-born Winterfelli? Be everything all at once. As my friend had once said, why are we so afraid of chaos?
Pictures aren’t mine. Take the credit.