Matt Cavanaugh was caught in a holding pattern, as it goes for American military personnel leaving a place like South Korea. He had spent most of 2015 and some of 2016 away from his wife and two young daughters, and he had to wait a few more days before finally returning home to Manitou Springs.
"You're just in a crummy hotel room doing nothing," he says.
Since the military kicked off its global campaigns in 2001, war has turned ordinary officers into heroes. Well, some of them anyway. The same can be said of the wars of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Over the course of seven seasons, we’ve seen war tear apart Westeros, making boys into men, enemies of brothers, and traitors of honorable soldiers. And winter is only just arriving. For the hundreds of thousands who have served in the Global War on Terror, much the same has happened, making the careers of some like James Mattis, and breaking the careers of others like Mike Flynn.
Across the military, service members often squabble over which branch is best, smartest, strongest, dumbest, laziest, fattest, and fittest. It’s a tradition that dates back since the establishment of the branches, with soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coasties all vying not to be the worst (sorry, Coast Guard, but everyone knows it’s you). But what if we looked at each service branch through a different lens — say one of ice and fire?
After spending the weekend, and part of this week, binge-playing “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare,” I think one of the highlights of this month was talking to Jamie Gray Hyder, who plays Lt. Nora Salter in the newest installment of the game. The other highlight was finally killing the game’s nemesis: Adm. Salen Kotch, played by Kit Harington of “Game of Thrones” fame. Mars aeternum, my ass, get back on the wall, Jon Snow.
Picture yourself on Sundays night at 9 pm. If you’re anything like me and it’s April, May, or June, you’re probably sprawled out on your couch using your chest as a plate for popcorn while you watch people murder each other for sport on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” While you’re laying there, do you ever wish you could be there, in the midst of a bloodbath, wielding your sword, slaying a bastard who stole your home? Because I do.
George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” may have its roots in history. The popular HBO television and book series draws many parallels to England’s “Wars of the Roses,” which took place during the 15th century.