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April is a pretty intense month if you are a pop culture junkie such as myself. This weekend, the final season of “Game of Thrones” debuts on HBO, and at the end of the month Marvel Studios’ Infinity saga concludes with the release of “Avengers: Endgame”.

I know there are far greater things that should be occupying my mental space, but right now, I’m all about the entertainment fluff. Not to say that either projects are fluff, but I know I could be focusing on more important things. Will the conclusions of these stories shape my life in a significant way? Probably not. However, I am fully prepared to weep my way through boxes of tissues as it is anticipated that both series will end with a casualty list including some of their most beloved characters.

“Game of Thrones” is no stranger to killing off important characters. That just comes with the territory. I half expect all of the key players to be dead when the final episode fades to black, but I’m more sentimental about the Marvel cinematic universe.

My first date with my husband was to see “Iron Man”, which kicked off what would be known as the Infinity saga in 2008. Granted it wasn’t an official date. We went “as friends” even though each of us spent a good portion of the movie wondering if would be OK to hold the other’s hand.

When Chuck and I married five years after that first “date”, we chose red as one of our wedding colors as an homage to “Iron Man”. Yes, we’re that nerdy.

The Marvel films just hold a special place in our hearts. Whenever we happen upon one of the films on TV, we watch it regardless of whether the film is 20 minutes in or 20 minutes from being over. Sure, we own all the films on Blu-Ray, but after 20 films, it’s pretty easy to find one of them on TV on any given evening.

Even though we’ve seen each film numerous times, Chuck and I are watching all the movies again – in order of their release – in preparation for “Endgame”. It’s fun because we like the films, but it’s also like traveling back in time – visiting different points in our relationship.

I remember grabbing ice cream before catching a screening of “The Incredible Hulk”, wearing Marvel spirit wear to see “Avengers: Age of Ultron”, and having Chuck cover my eyes during “Ant-Man” – not because it was scary but because actor Corey Stoll has a twin who taught at San Jose State when I was a student there. It was unsettling to see one of my college professors as a comic book villain, standing 50 feet tall on the big screen. Imagine seeing someone who looks like one of your teachers – a trusted mentor – vaporizing people. It’s creepy!

But I digress.

Chuck and I are movie fans in general. We are regulars at the Napa Valley Film Festival, and we go to the Oscar Best Picture Marathon at Century Napa Valley every year. Chuck was the first person I met with a DVD collection that rivaled my own. And he was the first person I met who loved the film “Garden State”, which remains one of my favorite films.

Movies are something we bond over and going to the movies is something that we can do together. And it all started with “Iron Man”. So, yes, I have better, more important things to occupy my thoughts, but I can’t stop thinking about “Avengers: Endgame”. It’s been a part of my life for 11 years –the same amount of time I’ve been with Chuck. It all feels connected in a way, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Samie Hartley is the Napa Valley Register online editor. Simple & Sassy runs every other Sunday. She can be reached at shartley@napanews.com.

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