Recently I finished the fourth book of Song of Ice and Fire – Feast for Crows. I’ve also been binging on old Sopranos seasons (up to season 4). As different as they are, these two staples of their respective genres are remarkably similar. In fact, I’d go so far as to call them the same tale dressed up in different clothes.
Both are filled with “political” intrigue, but also plenty of realistic sex and violence. Even the character types are the same. There’s the beleagered patriarch (Tony Soprano, Robert Baratheon, Eddard Stark), the conniving upstart (Ralph Cifaretto, Theon Greyjoy), the brash youth (Jaime Lannister, Chris Moltisanti), the depressive matriarch (Carmella Soprano, Catelyn Stark), and the backstabbing bitch (Cersei Lannister, Janice Soprano). Family is of central importance, and the murder, sex and mayhem is only multiplied by blood ties between characters.
I’d even go so far as to say the Mob Drama (and perhaps the Western) are America’s analogue to the European Knights. America never experienced the granduer of Arthur and his Knights, but we did have the immigrant communities of the big cities, and the wild west – both breeding grounds for rich stories.
My next series is Deadwood. We’ll see how close those whores, sherifs, gamblers and sharpshooters resemble the knights, lords and sellswords of Westeros and the wise guys of New Jersey.