Another Sunday another Game of Thrones. Seems the folks at HBO have decided to create some new plot lines for the series. Throw out the book ladies, lords and minor hedge knights; Dem Thrones done gone rogue! Big huge spoilers, the size of gorillas and what not, to follow.
Sometime in the mid 1990s, around Easter, I stumbled upon a VH-1 showing of the film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar. I caught it in the middle, but I sat mesmerized, watching what appeared to be a rag-tag bunch of 1970s hippies and yippies singing and dancing a passion play. In the desert (!?) Before I knew it, the film had ended. But, being VH-1, it naturally started up again. So I watched it a second time. A few hours later I couldn’t deny it. I was hooked. And most shocking of all, the character who affected me the most wasn’t the guy playing the requisite Lord and Savior. It was Judas.
Two Swords. This Sunday marked the return to HBO’s grimdark fantasy epic, A Game of Thrones. This season is based on the second-half of George RR Martin’s A Storm of Swords, book 3 in his A Song of Ice and Fire series. The first episode takes us through Westeros and the lands beyond the Narrow Sea, displaying palace intrigue, spoiled kings, Wildling cannibals and (of course) dragons. As usual, spoilers and then some.
In 1900 a black laborer named Robert Charles set off a massive manhunt after an altercation with New Orleans police. Before all was done, Charles would shoot well over 20 whites sent to apprehend him, killing several. Altogether, 28 people (the exact number is truly unknown) would die in riots, including Charles, who made a last stand in a burning building. The violence that surrounded him continued to swirl and claim others even after his death. The last turbulent days of Charles life would make him a monster to many and a folk hero to others. For black musicians, he became one of the legendary “bad men”–those near mythic black anti-heroes of superhuman capabilities, whose acts of defiance were both celebratory, captivating and frightening.
painting: Cruel Old Stagger Lee, by Van Orno