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Thursday, November 15 News

The Home Team / ‘Game Of Thrones’ and me 

I have a theory: If there’s an activity you’ve seldom or never done in your life, and then all of a sudden you start doing it, it’s going to have an outsized effect on you.

I know, not exactly E = mc2, but still pretty sound, I think.

Let’s start with coffee-drinking as an example. I seem to have been away from the planet during my college years when the rest of my generation was picking up the coffee habit. I didn’t catch up until six years ago. And when I did, the result was fairly startling. As I wrote in this space in “Caffeine To the Rescue,” back on Jan. 13, 2012:

“I’ll never forget the time I arrived at our ski place in Vermont, after a coffee stop in Greenfield, Mass. Our middle son, Greg, was already at the house, and as soon as I opened the door I started babbling to him about the Knicks, the weather, ski conditions, his job, his girlfriend. Nonstop. Greg turned to my wife and said, ‘Who is this guy?’ ”

And then there’s TV. I’ve never been a big TV fan; in fact, it’s possible I watch fewer shows than just about anyone else in America (we’re not including sports in this count; I am, after all, a human being). Over the past five years, the only two series I’ve been devoted to are “Ray Donovan” and “Homeland.” As a result, those programs became deeply ingrained in my sensibilities.

So when I’d hear lawyer Michael Cohen referred to on the news in recent months as Donald Trump’s “fixer,” all I could picture was Liev Schreiber chasing around Hollywood after bad guys with his big wood baseball bat.

And Carrie Mathison in “Homeland”? I’d worry about Carrie, with her penchant for recklessness and impetuosity, as if she were my daughter. At least until last season, when her horrible mothering of her own daughter Frannie got me disenchanted. We’ll see how my feelings for Carrie evolve when the show returns to the air next June.

Meanwhile, for a long time now, everyone I know has been raving to me about the greatness of “Game of Thrones” ... and insisting that even I would like it. So I finally decided to bite the bullet. In September, my wife (who, unlike me, loves TV) and I began streaming “Game of Thrones” starting all the way back with Season 1, Episode 1. Our goal is to be caught up when the show resumes, reportedly in the spring of 2019. As of this writing, we’re up to Season 4, Episode 3 (no spoilers, please). And, in order to be totally versed in the land of Westeros, I’m simultaneously reading all the books by George R. R. Martin, and am currently well into book four, “A Feast for Crows.” As you’re probably aware, these books average around 55,000 pages, and weigh about three-and-a-half tons.

And, no surprise, with this immersion, I’m starting to see, or at least infer, “Game of Thrones” inspired references everywhere I look. I have to assume, for instance, that Bud Light’s medieval “Dilly Dilly” campaign can trace its roots to “Thrones.” The most amusing installment in this series is the one currently being aired, in which the banquet guest asks for an autumnal mead that’s malty and full-bodied instead of a Bud Light, and winds up with his neck under the blade of a guillotine where, presumably, his fate will be the same as Ned Stark’s.

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With “Game of Thrones” top of mind, I found myself earlier this week at a physical therapy session in Greenwich for a neck-shoulder-arm pain related, no doubt, to my throwing tennis balls to my hyperactive Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever some three hours a day. When the therapist put me on the traction machine to stretch my neck, it reminded me of something. Aha! Theon being tortured on the rack!

My wife hopes it doesn’t end for me the way it ends for Theon.

The Home Team” appears the first Friday of every month. You can also keep up with Hank’s adventures on his blog, “Beagle Man,” at blog.ctnews.com/beagleman/ To reach Hank, email him at DoubleH50@gmail.com.

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