Craven LovelaceKAFM NOTESGrand Junction Free Press Music Columnist

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March 21, 2013
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CRAVEN: Westeros swing

Winter is coming.It would be understandable if you took a look outside and said, "Whoa, dude, winter is going, not coming!" But if you understood that Craven was alluding to the words of the House Stark from the HBO series, "Game of Thrones" (as well as the series of best-selling fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin which is set in the medieval continent of Westeros and upon which the series is based), then you, as well as Craven, are probably ready to ignite like Wildfire, that mysterious, green substance with which Tyrion the Imp surprised the forces of Stannis Baratheon during the battle of the Blackwater, at the prospect of the series' return on March 31. While we're waiting the nine days or so until then, let's consider the little-known connections "Game of Thrones" shares with the world of popular music. It turns out that at least three of the series' most violent characters have surprising pop backgrounds. Take the character of Theon Greyjoy, for instance. The son of Balon Greyjoy, ruler of the Iron Islands, but raised since boyhood by the Starks, Theon is a tortured soul who allows his conflicted allegiances to transform him into a murderer and turncoat. You would never suspect, then, that the thespian who portrays Theon on "Game of Thrones" was once musically immortalized as a lazy slob who smokes too much pot and wastes his time playing video games. Actor Alfie Allen is the younger brother of British singer Lily Allen, who sang about Alfie's slacker proclivities in the song, "Alfie," from her debut album, "Alright, Still" in 2007. Although Lily Allen is a big star in her native U.K., it may well be the brother she decried is better known than her now in the United States, thanks to his role as Theon.Then there's Bronn, the macho sellsword who becomes Tyrion's right-hand man. On "Game of Thrones," Bronn is played by Jerome Flynn who, back in the '90s, was half of a musical duo called Robson & Jerome with fellow actor Robson Green. Together, the duo produced two #1 singles and two #1 albums before parting ways. Ironically, like Flynn, Green went on to find fame as an action star, on British TV series such as "Touching Evil" and "Wire in the Blood."But the "Game of Thrones" actor who has had the most important musical career is Wilko Johnson, who plays the grim-faced Ser Ilyn Payne, a character who despite having had his tongue removed with hot pincers on order of the Mad King Aerys, apparently has no problem performing the same operation on errant minstrels. The role of Ilyn Payne is Johnson's first acting role, after a lifetime of making music as a founding member of the iconic pub band, Dr. Feelgood and in bands like Ian Dury's Blockheads. Sadly, it would seem Ilyn Payne is also Johnson's final acting role, since he was diagnosed in January with inoperable pancreatic cancer. The guitarist (whose unique playing style was extremely influential among the first wave of British punk rockers) has chosen not to take chemotherapy, and is expected to live less than a year. What strange magic and tragic goings-on will the upcoming third season of "Game of Thrones" introduce? Those of us who have not read the novels can only guess. But one thing, I think, can be relied upon: Winter is coming.Notes is funded in part by the Gill Foundation's Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, a proud supporter of local organizations like the Colorado School Safety Resource Center. Craven Lovelace produces Notes, a daily cultural history of popular music, for KAFM 88.1 Community Radio, kafmradio.org. You can visit cravenlovelace.com for more of his musings on the world of popular culture.


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 21, 2013 12:53PM Published Mar 21, 2013 12:51PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.