As Game of Thrones nears its own tragic death and Winter ceases to come (metaphorically), fans around the world are bracing themselves for one epic finale. As a way of counsel and to prepare for the upcoming season end, self-proclaimed ‘Mother of Kittens’ and comedy performer, Natalie Bochenski is bringing her GoT tribute show to Brisbane.
As part of our town’s annual Comedy Festival, ‘Raven On’ will present nine years of fangirl devotion in order to get final season fit. As a writer of the popular recap series of the same name, Bochenski will relive episodes, speculate on what’s to come and give some behind-the-scenes goss on close encounters with the series stars.
Theatre Haus was lucky enough to talk to Bochenski about what GoT fans can expect from her upcoming show, her work for the charity Best Friends Felines and her unhealthy obsession with Jon Snow.
How much has Game of Thrones imprinted on your life?
It’s become a huge part of my life through this decade! My recaps have led me to reach thousands of people with my writing; I’ve had the opportunity to meet some key creatives from the series (with mixed results, as I say in the show), and last year I planned a trip to Iceland and Belfast just to visit set locations! It’s fair to say the obsession is real.
What do you love about the series so much?
It’s brilliantly realised, with superlative production design. But of course, it’s these incredibly well-written characters, who are flawed and terrible and wonderful and noble and stupid and clever and marvellous.
Is there a standout moment that you think was unforgettable and really had an impact on you?
Obviously, the beheading of Ned Stark at the end of series 1 made me realise this wasn’t a series where people had happy endings (well, unless they were in one of Littlefinger’s brothels). Even worse than that was the Red Wedding – I howled with disbelief at the murder of so many main characters. But the one that I wept and wept at was Jon Snow’s murder by his fellow men of the Night’s Watch at the end of Series 5. I was not okay for a while after that!
Your new show opens on Tuesday next week, what can fans expect?
I wanted to take a moment before the series ended to really reflect on the show, why it’s been so important to me, and how I got so entranced by it. But really it’s a way of having group therapy with fellow fans. I tell a lot of stories about my close encounters with the show and its stars; I’ve also found a way to recap seven whole series of episodes in just 4 minutes. Finally, there are a few twists that hopefully fans will appreciate.
Will you be predicting anything regarding the upcoming series?
I find my predictions are often wrong, so I don’t try to crystal ball gaze too much. Although I do predict a final battle between Jon Snow and the Night King is on the cards.
You’re taking on the role of ‘Mother of Kittens’ – how much have you been inspired by Khaleesi?
I started fostering cats in 2015 and called myself “Mother of Kittens” as a gag in one of my recaps. It stuck. I still have three foster cats – and cats, I can assure you, have a lot in common with dragons. Sharp claws, sharp teeth, fast and often deadly – and try as you might to control them, they do what they want to. I love Daenarys as a character; she’s had an incredible story arc from naive girl to all-conquering queen. I’m not much fussed with her and Jon Snow hooking up, though. They’re related!
Part of the ticket sales will be donated to your Cat Rescue, Best Friends Felines – why is this so important and what will your contribution help with?
I’m donating $1 per ticket sold to BFF because I fundamentally support the desexing and responsible rehoming of cats. Cats are marvellous creatures and great companions – but left to their own devices, they will breed furiously and kill native wildlife. So many people still dump unwanted cats and kittens; it’s a huge problem in Australia. Rescues like BFF get cats off the streets and into foster care, where they can be desexed, microchipped, vaccinated, treated for fleas and worms and then adopted into loving and responsible homes, where they can be kept inside. Some of the stories of abuse and poor-treatment just break your heart. A lot of people don’t like cats, and that’s fine, but they should be treated with respect. In 2018 BFF spent $170,000 on vet bills for animals, and only $60,000 of that was covered by modest adoption fees. The group gets no government or council funding, so I know whatever I can raise through “Raven On” will go towards BFF’s inspiring fundraising efforts.
We know Winter is Coming. What’s your favourite GoT saying or quote?
I am quite fond of “What do we say to the God of Death? Not today”, which Arya Stark learned from her fencing instructor back in series 1. I also love “Valar Morghulis”, which is Valyrian for “All men must die”. In terms of quotes, pretty much anything Tyrion Lannister or Tormund Giantsbane says is pure gold.
Who would have been your favourite character in the series?
I mean, the one I LUST over is Jon Snow. He’s my beloved dreamboat. Except he went and ruined the dreamboat aspect by having sex with his auntie onboard her ship at the end of last season. Harrumph, not impressed, Jon. I adore Tyrion and Tormund as mentioned above, Jaime Lannister has wound up going from one of my most hated to most loved (such a credit to the writing because he is so awful in the first two seasons). Dany is fantastic of course, and I love to hate Cersei. Ser Davos Seaworth is a dark horse; he’s so sweet and noble of heart. Grey Worm and Missandei are super cute; Sansa and Arya are both just badass queens and I cannot rave about them enough. I’ve probably named everybody, haven’t I?
Lastly, why should GoT fans see your show?
So we can get ready for the eighth and final season together, and have a laugh. Think of it as preparatory group therapy!
‘Raven On’ opens at the Brisbane Comedy Festival on Tuesday, 12 March 2019. Tickets are available at https://www.brisbanecomedyfestival.com/artists/raven-on/.
If you’d like to donate to Cat Rescue, Best Friends Felines, or adopt your own furry friend, you can visit their website at http://www.bestfriendsfelines.com/.
Natalie Bochenski is a performer, writer, producer and director with more than 15 years’ experience. Her ‘Raven On’ recaps have been a popular series since 2012, and are currently published on John Birmingham’s website cheeseburgergothic.com. She also maintains a popular Facebook page at facebook.com/nataliesthrone. She is a founding member of independent theatre company Act/React, and co-wrote and starred in the hit 2015 production Speed: The Movie, The Play. Read more about Natalie – https://www.nataliebochenski.com/.