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Review – Game of Thrones

I have heard it before. Over and over friends have said the same thing. I can’t count the number of times we have heard this in the last couple of years.

“You guys should watch Game of Thrones. You’re gonna love it.”

And now I have to admit that they were right.

The wife and I went out with friends this last weekend and heard about the show again. All of the same points about why we would love it and as usual, I said that I would try to remember it. The difference was that this time I did remember it. So we found season one and gave the first episode a try.

I was hooked the moment I saw the White Walkers. Fantasy monsters had me. I believe the wife was hooked at the discovery of the Dire Wolves. My daughter, I think she got caught up in the Stark girl that wanted to be queen, but I could have that wrong. As the Hand of the King said, “War was easier than daughters.”

I know that everyone has raved about the series. The books are famous and I understand why, it’s just that I haven’t had enough time to sink into a long fantasy series. However, this is really good.

So, for those who have seen it, you’re right, I love it. For those who haven’t, everyone else is right, you should be watching this.

L. E. White

Bullseye

The shaft of the arrow was smooth. It slid under the cold, wind cracked skin of my fingertip without a sound. The only noise was that special one that the bow made. A tiny groan as the string shifted and the wooden arms flexed. It was the sound of my bow preparing to throw the steal tipped timber towards my target.

Every time I heard it, I felt goose flesh crawl down my spine in anticipation.

As a child, I had grown up with stick and string in hand. My father had been an archer in the King’s army and a hunter outside of it. We made our way in the world by selling meat and fur.

I took to his trade with smiles and joy. It wasn’t that I enjoyed killing, but shooting. To place an arrow into the air was my greatest joy. I practiced as much as I could, learning the art of fletching and bow making when I could not shoot, so that I could care for the tools of my trade. Our bows were legendary, but never for sale. Neither of us bothered to make bows to sell, for I had inherited my love of archery from my father. We were not craftsman.

We were archers.

Many times, the elk and deer we had shot decorated the tables of the king. Many times, the enemies of our king had died before they ever reached the line because our arrows stood quivering in their chests.

The king had praised our skills and paid us well. He admired our work and personally offered my father commissions and honors. Each time, my father said that he was no more than an archer. Each time, he swore his loyalty to the crown and swore to leave the hunt to defend the realm. Yet, in truth, each time he refused his king. Each and every time, he chose our freedom over the king’s gold.

The king called us to his castle and asked that we hunt with him. A high honor to some though we did not speak of it as such. In his simple way, my father said he would be happy to hunt with our king, and that was his undoing.

The king was growing older, and his arm was not as sure as it had once been. Our monarch’s sharp eyes had dulled over the years and his ears did not hear as clearly as he remembered. When we out shot him, both his prized archer and the man’s son, the lord of our land became angry.

Like many a spoiled child, the king could not accept that he had been beaten by age and practice. He claimed that our bows were the secret and demanded that my father make him one.

My father was a simple man. He was not quick or wit and this may have been the thing that caused his death.

My father refused, saying that he did not have time to fashion a bow with the winter hunting season approaching. Our king flew into a rage. He commanded his men to drive arrows through my father’s hands and then tied him by those arrows to one of the horses. As soon as the king bellowed, “seize them,” I had hidden. I watched what happened, crying in silence so that the soldiers who were searching for me wouldn’t hear me. None of those pondering clods would ever find me in the woods.

I was almost a man when that hunting trip began. I am sure I was a man afterward. I stole through the woods in the night and headed to the south; away from my home and on to another future.

I spent years making bows and arrows. I built and crafted until the caves I had claimed for my home were filled. Then, I made my way to an archery tournament held in the land of our neighbors.

I won.

I stood before a king whose men had once died to my father’s aim, and declared my heritage. I offered my bow to that king. I told him of what had happened, and offered my bow, all of my bows, to help him expand his kingdom, if he but decided to ride north first.

Today, I stand in front of my old king. His army fell to a sky full of arrows that I had made. Arrows shot from the bows that I had crafted. He kneels in front of me, groveling for his life, but I do not hear him. My arm is steady as I listen to the music of my bow being drawn.

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Categories: Fantasy, Flash Fiction, Review
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