The Winds of Winter Studies

I’ve been off drawing for a while thanks to my old friend insomnia. I now tend to bite my tongue and keep it to myself should anybody ask, because the one thing I’ve learnt is that people who’ve never struggled through real insomnia and anxiety never quite get it. Funnily enough it’s the oddest things that give me comfort and help me cope. Possibly the reason I love fantasy so much is because it tells the stories of people whose lives are on a whole other plane of difficulty.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve always defended Theon Greyjoy ever since his treatment at Ramsay’s hands. It’s so easy for most people to criticize him when he jumps overboard in Season 7, Episode 2, when Euron takes Yara captive. But poor Theon was having major PTSD. It was the first real battle he’d been in since the torture and violence Ramsay inflicted on him, and those of us who haven’t gone through something like that can’t even begin to imagine the effect that must have had on him. I maintain that it wasn’t cowardice. It wasn’t even an instinct of self preservation that made him, quite literally, jump ship. It wasn’t even fear, not as we understand it. It was sheer terror, terror that forcefully struck the very parts of his brain that had been violently broken in and broken down.

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It’s for this reason that I’m actually rather looking forward to seeing how the showrunners resolve Theon’s redemption arc. At this point in the series, I genuinely think that he’s the bravest character on the show. I also think he deserves to be ruler of the Iron Islands more than his sister. Dany’s ‘no more reeving, raiding, or raping’ condition will be much better carried out by him. As Jon points out, he’s both Stark and Greyjoy, and some of Ned’s ideals have been inherited by him. Brutally tortured and castrated, there’s no man more capable of understanding the ‘no rape’ rule than Theon. Especially after being forced to watch Ramsay rape Sansa. Game of Thrones throws unexpectedly touching moments our way in the midst of all the shockers, and I believe there’s a happy (ish) ending in store for Theon.

The final scene of Season 6 is one of my favourites. Not only for all the aesthetic and artistic reasons (the cinematography and music is high quality stuff) but also because it symbolically represents the act of marshalling one’s forces and moving on, towards a dangerous and uncertain future.  I’m looking forward to completing my storyboard study of the scene, although from here on out I might skip doing coloured panels if it’s too tedious.

On a side note, my iPad Pro has been a little sluggish lately. I’d hoped it would continue to run smoothly considering it’s still getting regular updates and the hardware inside is powerful even by today’s standards, but I guess two years of heavy usage starts to show on the best of devices. It’s weird how I almost never use Procreate when I really want to focus and get work done, despite it being the most fully featured art app on iOS by a long mile. I can’t put my finger on it- it should be perfect but somehow I always find myself going back to Sketch.

 

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