By the time the gears and map appear and the first notes of the three-dimensional title sequence begin, I am in my place: Perched at the edge of the couch, lights dim, ale poured, remote in hand, my right index finger poised on the OFF button, tense and ready.
Along with winter, I know this: My heart attack is coming.
Like a habitual speeder accepts that she'll eventually be pulled over by a cop, like an In-n-Out addict understands nutritionally what is happening to his arteries but keeps circling back to the drive-through anyway, I'm playing with fire. Call me Melisandre.
I am a mother of two elementary-aged kids, Game of Thrones is my drug, and it takes all my parenting panic to try to keep it from my children. Under no circumstances can my kids ever witness even one split second of this show. Gods forbid they walk into the living room while some masochistic king's son is shooting a crossbow at the forehead of one of my favorite ladies! Never mind catching a glimpse of someone's skull (or other body part!) being sliced clean off, or a live session of gaggy twinsest. Just thinking about being walked in on while in the act of consuming my obsession terrifies me. This show is so far from Pixar that we might as well be in another galaxy.
SO MANY THINGS COULD GO WRONG.
And yet I have to watch it. I don't even know why I love it, it's gross on so many levels. It's disgusting. It's violent. Neither the women nor the children fare very well. Some characters are amazing, but you can't get attached because anyone can die at any minute. Probably gruesomely. But. It's. So. Good.
Maybe I should explain my house. I don't have a TV in my bedroom. The only TV we have is in the family room downstairs. My kids sleep upstairs, and they sometimes wake up at night and quietly creep downstairs. Especially my 9-year-old. We never know when she'll suddenly need a glass of water, or complain of a nightmare (kids these days: at least no one's trying to push her off a tower).
Sometimes we watch GoT at our friends' house. They have a bigger TV, which of course makes GoT even better! It also means if the kids disobey us and come down into the basement, the view they will get of gods-know-what will be that much larger.
I'm just about to start another season in this dungeon of my own making; it's a dilemma not even Tyrion could find a way out of. I have very few moments of mommy escape. I want to watch this one damn show. I don't want my kids even sniffing it, never mind seeing a single frame.
I've got my finger on that OFF button, but like Baelish, I need backup plans, plus backups for my backup plans. I'm working on a list of possible excuses — explanations I can quickly stammer, while punching for that OFF button, should any small children invade during (the almost guaranteed) inopportune moments...
Excuses to throw your kids off the trail if they walk in on the hell that is GoT:
(Spew these lies while wildly waving your hands, jumping up and down, smashing at the OFF button and shielding their eyes)
Neglected son shooting a crossbow at his father's head
"They're just practicing archery like in P.E.!"
Yet another wine-soaked orgy?
"It's a modern dance troupe."
Poor, sweet Direwolf killed forever:
"She's in doggie heaven now, honey, with Spot!"
Blood-soaked wedding massacre:
"You're just having a dream about Halloween."
And, when your wide-eyed kid asks why that Wildling and Jon Snow are having frozen, freaky S.E.X?
(Hustling them back up to bed): "You know nothing."