‘Tis March, when enigmatic teasers for returning spring TV shows pop up like crocuses. AMC has released key art for the mysterious-as-usual April return of Mad Men, inviting fans to read symbolism and clues into an enigmatic pen-and-ink drawing that people are already dissecting like the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s. (Spoiler alert: the season premiere will take place in the ’60s and feature small interpersonal moments and signs of a changing society. Or something.) Meanwhile, Game of Thrones, which comes back at the end of the month, has released some trailers and some eye-catching advertising featuring dragon shadows. Because dragons.
My advice—skip all the advance parsing and dissecting, wait for the shows to return, and in the meantime enjoy School of Thrones, the above parody video, which re-imagines Westeros as a high school with the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, and Targaryens battling it out for prom king and queen. It’s funny not just for the concept but the execution. Of course Joffrey would be a douchey bro with bad dance moves. Of course Dany would be into dragons the way another teen girl might be into vampires. And is it sacrilege to say that, by making her the narrator, the parody makes Sansa more immediately sympathetic than the books and series do?
In fact, at risk of overthinking things, there is at least half an idea for an actual TV series here. Not a Game of Thrones parody per se, but some of the greatest teen dramas have worked by taking the heightened stakes of fantasy or the tropes of royal warfare and applying them to the heightened emotions of high school. (“Renly, you dick!”) Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the classic TV example, of course, but beyond that, take a story of bad blood between feuding aristocratic families, add teen hormones, and you’ve got Romeo and Juliet. It’s one reason teen shows can (at best) take risks and go into a kind of emotional overdrive that wouldn’t work in adult drama: in high school, life really is The War of the Roses and Grimm’s Fairy Tales rolled up together.
In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing more of School of Thrones. Just one kibitz: Joffrey, while a Lannister by blood, is in fact a Baratheon by name. Ahem. (Pushes up glasses, gets dragged to bathroom for a swirlie.)