Trek & Wars: Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off

Original image by Brian Nielsen

OK Folks, we need to talk. I’m sure you’re aware that there’s this whole Star Trek vs. Star Wars and which one is better and why thing. Horsefeathers, I say! It needs to stop. You can not compare the two, it’s like apples and oranges.

Yes, that’s right. Two different things. Star Trek is Science Fiction. And yes, I’ll say it. Star Wars is not.

I will pause while you recover.

Don’t start thinking that this is some sort of secret ploy to draw you in while I bash Star Wars and tell you how much better Star Trek is, it’s not. I simply hold the opinion that Star Wars, while set in space, is not Science Fiction. Yes, it is set in a universe that is more technologically advanced than us, but that doesn’t make it Science Fiction. No, instead I believe that Star Wars is in fact a fantasy tale.

Have you heard this story before? A young man, orphaned, is living a very modest life. One day something happens and he learns the true identity of his parents. He leaves home and goes on an adventure meeting new friends, and eventually leads the fight against a supreme evil. Sound like Star Wars? Yeah, well I also just described Wheel of Time, A Sword of Truth, and Harry Potter. Among others, I’m sure. Along with that plot line Star Wars also has a princess, a pirate, several wizards, and bumbling comic relief. Still sound like Science Fiction?

Star Wars being Fantasy and not Science Fiction isn’t a bad thing, it’s just a genre change. A paradigm shift. Nothing more.

Star Trek, on the other hand, is Science Fiction. It’s set in a possible Earth future where we, as humans, have overcome problems and united for the betterment of all. Eh, for the most part. There’s no Force or other magical system, it’s entirely science based. Except for Q, but we can file that under “Science we haven’t figured out yet.” Star Trek, in fact, like most good science fiction, is a parable. Except for most holodeck episodes. It’s a story to helps us learn right from wrong, though usually at the expense of some other hapless and less enlightened race.

Thus, other than personal preference, there’s no reason to argue over which is better. If you liked apples better would you argue with an orange enthusiast? No, because it would be stupid to argue over the virtues of two different kinds of fruit when the only reason you like one over the other better is taste and texture. Neither of you is right and neither of you is wrong. The same is true for Star Trek and Star Wars. You can like both of them equally for what they are separately, or you can choose to like one over the other based solely on preference. But really, fighting over it is just silly.

Jaime Lannister is the Bravest Man in Westeros

Jamie Lannister, Photo courtesy HBO.com

If you’ve only seen the show Game of Thrones or not read all of the Song of Ice and Fire books, you might think I’m off my gourd. If you’ve never done either of those things, you haven’t got a flipping clue what I’m talking about.

Let’s back up for a moment. Assuming you know who Jaime Lannister is, you know that on the surface, he his an arrogant jackass who pushes children out windows. You know he’s known as the Kingslayer for killing King Aerys II Targaryen. And you know he’s been having a nearly life long incestuous affair with his twin sister, Cersei. Not the guy you want to be seated next to at the next family wedding, right? You would be right on all those counts, Jaime is all of those things.

Without getting into spoilers from the book, Jaime is also a lot more. I don’t want to give a lot a way for those that either haven’t read the books or haven’t read all of them. The gist is that after Jaime leaves the Stark camp with Brienne, she rubs off on him. Brienne is the anti-Jaime. They are both knights, but where he only takes his vows somewhat seriously, she’s devoted to them to her core. If she promises to do something, come hell or highwater, she’s going to do it. Jaime starts to reflect on himself and it affects him later on in the series.

That’s not what I mean though.

Jaime began life as a squire in his youth and was inducted into the Kingsguard at age 15, the youngest of any goldcloak. He does this for Cersei who manipulated the situation to get Jaime out of a marriage. This backfires when because her father becomes upset at the King for taking his eldest (and by his estimation, only) son into the Kingsguard. Goldcloaks swear for life, forsaking all lands and titles. Tywin picks up and leaves King’s Landing and his position as Hand of the King, and returns to Casterly Rock with Cersei. Jaime as a teenager in the Kingsguard witnesses the Mad King continue to become more mad and more cruel, especially with the rebellion that rose up around Robert Baratheon and Ned Stark. At the sack of King’s Landing the Mad King raves all day and sets his newly appointed Hand, a pyromancer, to burn the city, as he would rather murder a whole city than allow it to be taken. Aerys II had already killed his previous Hand by burning him alive when he dared argue with this plan. At all of seventeen years of age, Jaime Lannister, faced with a mad king who is ready to kill himself and everyone in King’s Landing, finally steps up, killing the pyromancer hand, and the mad king.

So while Jaime Lannister is a jerk, a murderer, and an arrogant piece of shit, he also had the bravery to stand up to his King at at seventeen and strike him down, saving a whole city of innocent people. How many grown men would have done the same? Not many. Certainly most didn’t bother. We don’t know for certain that saving the city and innocents was Jaime’s motivation for killing Aerys, but it seems so. For being able to stand up to a King, for doing the right thing and saving countless lives, that is why Jaime Lannister is the bravest man in Westeros.