How Nassau is a lot like Game of Thrones

Hello all. I’ve been back in The Bahamas for two months now and I’ve noticed a few things. I’m an avid reader, voraciously so. I am also primarily a fan of fantasy and sci-fi genres. That being said I’ve come to notice a few things about this precious island called New Providence and it’s similarities to feudal Westeros. Let us begin.

1. We have Direwolves, known as the Potcake

Let’s talk about this for a second. The Stark family’s sigil is the Direwolf, now if we were to take New Providence to be one giant family house, our sigil would be the Potcake. Why? They are everywhere, and much like the Direwolves, they’re huge.

2. Like the Kings fighting for the Iron Throne, everyone has a sweetheart

Like King Robert Baratheon, or the leader of any house (Frey, Martell, Greyjoy), someone always had a sweetheart. This is directly analogous to New Providence and The Bahamas at large because like these giant Kings of Westeros, everyone has a sweetheart. They place a lot of stock on marriage but erry’one got them a sweetheart. Men. Women. Alike.

3. Violence everywhere. Westeros has an excuse though (claiming the Iron Throne and all) what excuse do we have?

If you’re a fan of the books or you’ve just watched the series on HBO, I’m sure you’ve noticed a common thread? Yes? Oh yes, it’s the violence. From Day 1 GOT was a violent series. And greets me when I step off the plane and hop into my ride to my new apartment? Violence on the radio. Violence on the newspapers. Westeros had an excuse though, a million Kings all vying for the one true throne. We though, Nassauvians, don’t have much of one. I shouldn’t be afraid to live alone, but I am.

4. Cersei was born into wealth. Daenerys has dragons. What do Bahamian women have to do to get into power?

If you’re a woman in Westeros, chances are your lot sucks. Your opportunities suck. Your life expectancy, also sucks. Now we’re a bit better than them but certain themes do reoccur, in that like Cersei born into power or Daenerys who gained it (through dragons no less!), women have to be born into some semblance of power (coming from a powerful family or have a modicum of wealth or opportunity) or work their butts off doubly hard to get it.

5. Like Sansa, Daenerys, Cersei or Arya, women don’t have a ton of options

We get to the next thing! Women don’t have a ton of options. Sansa, Daenerys, Cersei and Arya are all prized for their marriageability. I’d like to think that as Bahamians we’re beyond this concept, beyond looking at women as alliance makers and breakers, but at the end of the day, what options do Bahamian women have? Things like race and class intersect with this as women born into positions of privilege (class/race) will have relative chances of upward mobility but not everyone though.

Let’s go back to Westeros, the common woman, the farmer’s daughter or fisherman’s wife, unattached to a castle or man with a fancy title, what options did she have? None.

6. Shitty. Roads. Everywhere.

Riding their carts over wobbly terrain, Westeros travelers have it hard, and like our fantasy brothers and sisters, those potholes, dips, dents and bumps don’t make Nassau roads no darn better.

7. High Born. Politicians.

Like the ‘high borns’ or the nobles in Westeros, we have our own set all vying for their own Iron Throne. What are they called? Politicians! What do they want? To win elections!




Why Do We or Don’t We Read?

Well this is my first post of the year, I go by Claire.

We really don’t read enough do we? I used to work at the Sir Jack Hayward Library in Freeport and we had a lot of patrons. But they were the same people, every week coming. Kids would come in, teens would also venture in and sometimes they’d pick up a book, but I think it was the free AC and computer use that drew a lot of people. Which is fine, but I wish they’d also left with a book. I’ve also met people who have proudly told me that they don’t like reading or have read a book since high school.

Below is an interesting infographic on reading and it’s plight.

I’m no writing this into guilt tripping anyone into reading something, but I want to encourage someone, anyone, to read anything if they can. I know there is sometimes ‘cultural’ or personal embarrassment to be seen reading something that is ‘below’ your age group (what that means anyway, I sure don’t know because you should read what you want to read regardless of the ‘recommended age group’ sticker) but to the naysayers, I say: screw it. Also who get’s to determine if reading is cool? I never understood that.

We have a lot of distractions out there, I know I don’t want to read sometimes when I can watch TV or chill with friends. But what about those moments when you’re not, those precious seconds of alone time? Would you pick up a book then? What stops you from reading the most? Lack of interest? Time?

There are a number of sites on the web that help with finding something to read. Goodreads is a good website and sometimes browsing Amazon helps as well! You might not be the book kind of person, so short story’s might be fun or even interesting articles on the internet (like this blog for instance!). What I’m trying to say is reading doesn’t have to take a stereotypical route, it can be on your phone or tablet, computer or in physical format. It can be a book, graphic novel, blog, newspaper or online article. I know our public libraries in The Bahamas aren’t the prettiest, or have the latest stock in best sellers but they are an underused resource, so also check them out!

What about me? Well in 2013 I read 100 books or short stories. I had a lot of fun doing it. Some were serious non-fiction, but most of the time I prefer the fantasy or young adult genre. No shame in being 24 and reading teenage stuff, it helps me pass the time. Two of my favourite books were The Help by Kathryn Stockett and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. I am also a huge lover of Nancy Drew and Malcolm Gladwell‘s books on human behaviour and society.

So what do you say, is this something that you think you can change? Make a bit more effort to do? What stops you from reading the most?