Black Sabbath, Game of Thrones and Class Warfare in The Realm of the Seven Kingdoms

GoT

Hello there and welcome back! I hope you enjoyed the family friendly theme of our Kure Beach vacation. This entry will also be about family, but with none of the wholesomeness. Well, it may seem wholesome if your family is full of double crossing murderers and/or has a dragon farm.

This week we’re pairing television’s most culturally significant program, HBO’s Game of Thrones (primarily the season 6 premiere) with Black Sabbath’s 1970 epic Warner Bros. release Paranoid. We will also be making rabbit stew, wild boar sandwiches and sriracha deviled eggs. As always, I pair a drink with each stage. Use your own judgement on the pairing, I won’t be available to drive you home and you probably can’t steer a dragon.

The theme of this week is class and economics. Game of Thrones and Paranoid – even if they span 35 years in release dates – mix similar imagery (dragons, warriors, the supernatural) with social commentary. Let’s delve deeper into these concepts:

Appetizer

I saw this on tap, and it was a no brainer to make this a part of this entry.

tap

 

Ommergang’s ‘Bend the Knee’ is 9% ABV (Alcohol By Volume) Golden Ale (Cooperstown, NY). Licensed by HBO, this Game of Thrones inspired ale is sharp and crisp with a hint of honey. It goes down easily, so beware of the ABV (for comparision, Miller Lite’s ABV is 4.2%).

I had a growler filled at House Wine, which always has a great tap selection heavily loaded with Ohio Brews. Full disclosure: I used to work at House Wine, BUT objectively I can say that they offer a great selection of high quality and affordable beer and wine. Stop into this great neighborhood hangout and see Jim and Donnie. They won’t steer you wrong.

Now that you have a 9% ABV beer, it is an appropriate time to crank some Paranoid.

sabbath

Dust off your turntable, subscribe to a streaming service or pull up YouTube. Even if you think you aren’t familiar with this album, I assure you that you have heard Iron Man, Paranoid, and War Pigs.

A little backstory of my love affair with this album: I was first introduced to Sabbath as an 8-year-old while watching NWA wrestling. The NWA had Ric Flair and the WWF had Hulk Hogan. The NWA were rebels, rock stars and double crossers. The WWF had slick production values, cartoonish super villains and cheesy stereotypes. And even though the WWF had Miss Elizabeth, it was no contest– the NWA was the place for me.

Man, the 80’s were great. So was was Miss Elizabeth. RIP.

elizabeth

ANYWAY, all wrestlers have intro music. My favorite matches were tag team matches. My favorite tag team was The Road Warriors. The Road Warriors intro music was ‘Iron Man’.

That was it. Game Over. I was a Sabbath fan for life. The amount of joy this song and tag team brought 8-year-old me was incalculable. I would spin in circles, flap my arms, chew my shirt and jump off my parents’ huge orange couch onto the green shag carpet that covered the living room floor.

Four years later, I outgrew wrestling, but I have never outgrown Sabbath.

It is impossible to overstate the cultural significance of this masterpiece. Recorded by four early 20-something musicians from Birmingham, England, Paranoid is the follow up to Black Sabbath’s debut album, aptly titled Black Sabbath. If the Black Sabbath release invented heavy metal (which it most certainly did), Paranoid solidified heavy metal as a legitimate genre.

The United Kingdom, like the United States, was going through economic and social strife in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and Paranoid reflects those themes. Perhaps the most poignant track, as related to the time it was recorded and to Game of Thrones, is the opening track ‘War Pigs.’ ‘War Pigs’ is an 8-minute opus that chastises wealthy politicians for starting unnecessary wars, laments the fact that young  have to do the fighting and calls attention to the Military Industrial Complex.

These themes are still topical. In last week’s season premiere of Game of Thrones, a group of young soldiers are discussing fatherhood. One particular soldier hopes he has a daughter because “Girls grow up and take care of their papas. Boys grow up and fight in someone else’s war.” Westeros is full of War Pigs. (I was only repeating dialogue for social commentary and am fully aware of and support the role of women in today’s armed forces. Thanks for kicking ass, ladies!)

The album’s self-titled single ‘Paranoid’, is perhaps rock’s most engaging all time guitar riff. As great as Ozzy Osbourne is as a lyricist and singer, Geezer Butler is as a bass player, and Bill Ward a drummer, they all owe their career to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Inomi. Inomi has made a career for himself, and his bandmates, out of crafting songs around his gritty, dirty, blues-infused riffs.

At its core Black Sabbath is a blues band. A blues band that turned up the distortion and sang about topical issues against the backdrop of dragons, wizards, robots and the supernatural. Other songs from Paranoid, such as Fairies Wear Boots, Rat Salad and Planet Caravan are either long jams or instrumental tracks  that give the band members a chance to show their chops. Tracks like these helped give birth to the Stoner Rock and Jam Band genres.

Whether these links and this synopsis have made you a fan or not, there is no denying the influence of Sabbath. Sabbath influenced Prince, and Prince influenced Bruno Mars, and Bruno Mars is influencing a whole new generation of young musicians. These young musicians (and producers who guide them) will eventually find their way to the Paranoid album, pick up a guitar and try to play the riff from Paranoid. That’s just the way the world works.

Okay, there is no Rat Salad on the menu, but let’s eat!

ENTRÉE

Megan and I invited our friends Erik and Lindsay to share dinner and watch Game of  Thrones. If there is something you don’t like about this blog, please contact Lindsay – she is my editor and whatever the problem is can be linked to her.

lindsay

Just kidding Lindsay, thanks for your all of your hard work!

Dragon Fire Deviled Eggs

This is a reference to Daenerys’ hatching her Dragon children from eggs.

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 strips thick cut bacon
  • Sriracha sauce

What to do:

  1. Put eggs in individual slots in muffin pan
  2. Put muffin pan in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes
  3. After 30 minutes, remove eggs and insert them into ice bath
  4. After another 30 minutes, remove eggs from ice bath, peel and cut lengthwise
  5. Put all yolks in bowl and mix with mayonnaise, mustard and white vinegar. Mix to desired consistency
  6. Scoop mixture back into eggs
  7. Top with cooked bacon. I used scissors to make easy, clean cut pieces.
  8. Add Sriracha

Hopefully your finished product looks like this:

eggs

 

Hot Pie Biscuits and Rabbit Stew

This dish is an homage to Arya Stark’s friend, loveable coward and baker Hot Pie.

Rabbit Stew:

I bought rabbit from Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati. If you have never been to Jungle Jim’s, I recommend making a budget and taking a cooler.

  • 1 lb rabbit meat
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups diced baby carrots
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 10-oz cans condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 packet dry ranch dressing (I used a packet, but think it would have been just as good and had less sodium without.)
  • 8 small quartered red potatoes
  • 2 thick cut sliced bacon

What to do:

  1. Melt butter in crockpot
  2. Brown rabbit in sauce pan with vegetable oil..
  3. Add all non-solid ingredients and stir
  4. Add solid ingredients and stir
  5. Cook on low 4 hours

Drop style biscuits

You could certainly use store biscuits, but homemade are really easy and taste a lot better.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup 2% milk

What to do:

  1. Cut butter into very small pieces and THOROUGHLY mix together all dry ingredients in large bowl.
  2. Add milk to dry ingredients and mix with hand mixer until dough is soft. This should take roughly 1 minute.
  3. Drop biscuits onto lightly floured baking sheet.
  4. Insert pan into 400-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Put stew on top of biscuits and that is it. Hopefully your final product looked like this:

stew 2

In honor of Prince Oberyn I paired the stew with Oberon (5.8 ABV) beer from Bells Brewery (Kalamazoo, MI). Oberon is a light, crisp and spicy wheat ale that pairs nicely with summer fare.

I also cooked up the rabbit legs separately. I sprinkled the rabbit legs with olive oil and Italian seasoning from Mrs. Dash (the fancy stuff) and put it in the oven (for the same amount of time and temperature) with the biscuits. I then served them with a side of buffalo sauce. Hopefully your final product looked like this:

legs

The final part of the dinner is King Baratheon Pulled Pork Wild Boar Sandwiches – in honor of the wild boar that set in motion this Game of Thrones. Recently, Megan and I were gifted wild boar – in the form of shoulder and ground. The original plan was to make sloppy joe sliders and combine the ground pork with ground beef. That WAS the plan.

I accidently thawed the shoulder instead of the ground pork and only found out about 3 hours before our guests arrived. As a result, I broke out the crockpot, dumped in a MINI can of A&W Root Beer, added the 1 pound shoulder and covered the shoulder with a simple store brand BBQ sauce. I cranked the crock pot to high and hoped for the best. As a result of this mayhem, I am going to give you a traditional and SIMPLE crock pot pulled pork recipe.

King Baratheon Pulled Pork Sandwich

  • 3 lb pork shoulder
  • 1 can root beer
  • Enough of your favorite BBQ sauce to top shoulder in crockpot and to serve with sandwiches

What to do:

  1. Add root beer to crock pot
  2. Add shoulder
  3. Top with BBQ sauce
  4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, depending on crockpot
  5. Remove shoulder from crockpot and shred with forks
  6. Return shoulder to crockpot and turn temperature to warm.

Personally, I like to top my pulled pork with coleslaw. It is incredibly easy to make.

Cole Slaw

  • 1 bag of coleslaw mix
  • 1 cup of miracle whip
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar

What to do:

  1. Add all ingredients to container with lid
  2. Shake vigorously
  3. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving

To finish this sandwich, I put two slices of sourdough bread in the oven heated to 400 degrees and topped with one slice with pepper jack cheese. I then removed the bread, added the pulled pork and coleslaw.

Hopefully your finished product looked like this:

sandwhich 2

You can still pair with Oberon or Bayonette (a Grenache, Carignan, Syrah blend that pairs well with pork) from Robert Swift.

wine 2

We finished the evening with donuts from Peace, Love, & Little Donuts. Worthington is the newest location for this franchise. The donuts are small and made to order. The store has a decent selection at a fair price. I don’t think that I would drive across town for these donuts, but they certainly are a great addition to the Worthington.

donuts

I hope you enjoy this meal! Let’s talk Game of Thrones, class politics and the struggle to obtain and maintain power.

Night Cap

Relax after dinner and make The Mother of Dragons happy with some Dragon’s Milk.

milk

It is a bourbon-aged barrel stout from New Holland (Holland, MI). At 11% ABV, it will keep you warm, especially with Winter Coming.

For those of you living underneath a rock, Game of Thrones is an HBO fantasy genre program developed from George R.R. Martin’s literary series A Song of Ice and Fire. The books and television show slightly differ, but are mainly compatible and follow the same story.

Game of Thrones is set in a medieval like time frame and on two separate continents: Westeros and Essos. King’s Landing is the capital of Westeros and the civilized world. The continent of Essos is less sophisticated but larger. Threats to the ruling family come from both continents.

Like modern day politics, there is always a struggle to gain and maintain power. Different factions and families lay claim to the title of ruler. Some claims are legitimate and some are not, but the common denominator is that all families want to sit on the Iron Throne and rule The Kingdom.

At its core, Game of Thrones is a show about class warfare. It resembles a Charles Dickens’ novel and the title could be: A Tale of Two Cities in the Realm of the Seven Kingdoms.

Some obvious Dickensian comparisons are:

Tyrion Lannister is Tiny Tim (A Christmas Story). Both of these characters are small in physical stature and represent the social stigma attached to persons with disabilities. And even though Tyrion was born into one of the wealthiest families in the Kingdom, he (like Tiny Tim) becomes a representative of the lower socio-economic class.

Jon Snow is Oliver Twist (Oliver Twist). Both are orphans whose mothers die in childbirth. In early adulthood, both fall in with crowds of criminals, Twist at Saffron Hill and Snow at The Wall. Both fall seriously ill and have miraculous recoveries and both have long lost kin (Monks and Lyanna).

King Joffrey is Marquis St. Evremonde (A Tale of Two Cities). Both represent a cruel and arrogant aristocracy that purposefully harm the weak and vulnerable.

Arya Stark is Madame DeFarge (A Tale of Two Cities). Both are blinded (Arya literally and figuratively) by their desire to avenge the death of family members, specifically family members who are murdered by the ruling family. Fans of the show will remember Arya reciting the names on her hit list. Madame DeFarge knits the names of the persons on her hit list.

While I am not accusing Martin of plagiarizing Dickens, Martin had to be aware of the overlapping themes and similarities between characters. However, if you write as many characters as these two, there is bound to be overlap. There really is nothing new under the sun. Except for this blog.

For the majority of the show, the Lannister Family rules Westeros and struggles to maintain power. A rotating cast of Lannisters become ruler or rule from the shadows. The Lannisters are a REALLY close family and are mainly villians.

The Lannisters (the Bourgeoisie) are challenged by different families, factions and houses, but their main threat comes from Daenerys Targaryen. Daenerys is born into wealth and has a legitimate claim to the throne. However, in Dickensian fashion, she has to spend time with the working class to obtain legitimacy. In this instance, the Dothraki (Proletariat) are the working class.

Again like Dickens, Game of Thrones gives the viewer an in-depth experience into the lives of the lower class. Whether it be boys who are born into the warrior class, girls who are born into the sex trade, or a farmer who slaughter his daughters rather than let his daughter starve to death, the viewer experiences life on the bottom rung of society.

So, who will win this game? Will it be the Lannisters? They seem to be outnumbered and broke and Jaime seems to hate Cersei. Additional Lannister drama is brought on by Euron Greyjoy proposing marriage Cersei. I doubt that Cersei is in any immediate danger as long as The Mountain is still alive(ish).

How about the Stark crew? Jon and Sansa seem to be at odds and Little Finger is stirring the pot. Perhaps if they combine forces with their cousin/sister/master assassin Arya, they may get a little better odds. Of course, Bran can warg and I would bet my wife’s car (not mine, I need that for driving) that he will someday warg into a dragon. Daenerys isn’t going to be very happy when that happens.

Speaking of Daenerys, she has the most loyal and intelligent Hand (counselor), the two most talented armies and three dragons. She is back on her home turf and has momentum on her side. If the tournament started today, she would get the overall #1 seed.

Dark horse candidates could be House Greyjoy (rednecks on boats), House Tyrell (at least what is left of it) or House Martell (debaucherous sensualists). These families are all face long odds, but hey…MANY weirder things have happened.

Oh yeah…one last thing. There is an army of ice zombies who are coming to kill EVERYONE. These ‘White Walkers’ are nearly impossible to defeat. The fate of The Seven Kingdoms may rest in the hands of Samwell Tarly as he has faced a White Walker and survived. Currently, his is studying at The Citadel, building his knowledge base, talking with Jorah Mormont and cleaning bedpans.

As always, thanks for reading! Please subscribe and comment at the bottom of the page. Also, if you have any requests for Netflix shows, just let me know, and I will accommodate!

ADDITIONS & SUBSTITUTIONS

  • ‘I drink and I know things’ is everyone’s favorite line from the show, right?
  • Also, everyone is looking forward to The Hound fighting The Mountain, right?
  • #TeamMountain
  • No matter how the series ends, Brienne of Tarth and Tormund the Wilding should have their own spin off. Who wouldn’t watch that?
  • My favorite character is Davos Seaworth. He is honorable, smart and kind which means he is probably a dead man.
  • Another favorite character is Bronn. He gets the best lines.
  • It was a bummer to see giants united with White Walkers. Wouldn’t  Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch have burned the giant’s bodies to keep this from happening? I think these must be giants that the audience has not been previously introduced to.
  • The season 2 finale of FX’s Fargo is a cold open that blares Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. The link is Not Suitable For Work and contains minor spoilers. If you would like to get a feel for the show (which is in my top five of any individual season of television ever) click away.
  • Speaking of Black Sabbath, give soul singer Charles Bradley’s cover of ‘Changes’ a shot. You won’t be disappointed.

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