My father never understood how I could watch a movie twice. "Didn't you understand it the first time?" he used to tease me. Reading the same book more than ten times (as I easily pile up my rereads of "A Game of Thrones") would have left him only shaking his head. The same is true for writing about issues like the ones this blog is dedicated to. When I mentioned my essays about the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series to a personell manager in an application, all I got was an incredulous "And people read that?!" She was totally perplexed. It didn't hurt me, by the way, the application was succesful besides the Nerd label it earned me. But really, most of you will be able to tell a story like that of their own. Some relative, perhaps, or a friend who isn't that much into fiction. After all, who signs up to internet forums to discuss whether or not a person in a book was in truth fathered by a person which didn't even appear in the damn book and exists only as brief mentions by other characters?
|I of course would never do such a thing.|
We Nerdstreamers do. We like to watch a well made series multiple times. We take books in our hands that are already tattered from reading. But why do we do this? My point is that we do it because it generates a feeling of homecoming, again and again, every time we take upon our beloved stories. It's not like these clichee creatures who can't differentiate between reality and fantasy anymore and imagine themselves to be a space warrior or a fantasy princess. It's not like that. To quote Old Nan:
"Stories are like old friends. You have to visit them from time time."
|Very old friends, indeed.|
That's what I feel like, at least. I'm currently watching the re-imagined "Battlestar Galactica" for the fith time, including one run with the commentary. Yeah, I can quote certain dialogues as it goes on, and the plot can't surprise me anymore, but that doesn't matter. When those bagpipes in the wonderful score accompany the reunion between the two Adamas, I'm feeling reunited too, at least a littlebit. And the Red Wedding doesn't come as a surprise for me, neither, and it still has its impact on me, perhaps even more than it did the first time.
I feel at home with these characters. Knowing what they will do and what they will say is nothing to keep me from reading, it motivates me even more. I want to get to know them even better, discover layers that still lay untouched. I'm feeling a connection to these few, well-written stories that never was possible with the light action-flicks of the 1980s, for example. Or would you really want to discuss what "Dutch" Schaefer comes from, what he thinks about when he's not trying to survive the Predator? Yeah, thought as much.
|To be, or not to be. Real intellectual, that one.|
It surely is a bit of escapism. That always plays into it, but so does sitting in a football stadium cheering "your" team. When a story reaches the kind of potential that allows you to visit it over and over again without being a nine-year old boy in a castle, then the feeling of coming home to it really is something. The characters seem to wait for you, to take you with them as you turn the pages. And they will still be there when you return from your daily chores, coming home to them.