Blog of Thrones

Game of Thrones: Joffrey

This recap includes spoilers up to and including season four, episode two, “The Lion and a Rose.” Watch the episode first, then come back. We’re not going to tell you again. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: this episode changes everything. In past seasons, the single episode written by author George R.R. Martin has always been one of the pivot points of the show. He penned the “Blackwater” episode in season two (source of a monumental battle) and “The Bear and the Maiden Fair” (an episode that was packed with foreshadowing). For his season four work, he’s given us a royal wedding and perhaps the show’s most triumphant death. But before we get to the big nay, huge moment at the end of “The Lion and the Rose,” there is so much else to talk about. Because so much happens all over Westeros before the wedding.

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Game of Thrones: Season Four, Episode 1

As it has done in previous seasons, Game of Thrones has used its first hour of the year to give us plenty to talk about. Because even after so many of the characters we love were killed off at the end of last season, there are still plenty of people with whom we need to catch up. The other primary goal of episode one — a goal it accomplishes swimmingly thanks to the ever-sharp writing of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — is introducing season four’s new faces. As Westeros takes a deep breath and begins to pick up the pieces left by The Red Wedding, the world of its fans lets out a long sigh of relief. It’s good to have Game of Thrones back on our TV screens, even better to have it back in top form.

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Ned at Baelor in Game of Thrones

So many people have died on Game of Thrones that keeping track of them is quite the undertaking. It’s such a pervasive element of the show (and the books upon which the show is based) that we’ve even resorted to gambling about when characters will die while blogging previous seasons. And with the upcoming fourth season’s tagline of “All Men Must Die,” the marketeers as HBO are assuring us that these next 10 hours of thrones will be the bloodiest and most unpredictable yet. Which is all the reason we need to take a pause and remember fondly those who have died. HBO did this with their Beautiful Death art project, which wraps up this weekend just in time for the season 4 premiere. We are doing it with our own Oscar ceremony style In Memoriam tribute, which can be seen below. But first, we’d like to take a moment to rank the five most important deaths — those that had the greatest to do with moving the show’s narrative forward.

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Danaerys in Game of Thrones season 4

When we last left Westeros, it was with a heavy heart, was it not? Fresh off the horror of The Red Wedding, fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones were left with the sinking feeling that a tectonic shift was underway in the narrative landscape built and then often destroyed by author George R.R. Martin. Even those who had read Martin’s books, fully prepared for the events, were shaken by the imagery of watching several beloved characters die violently and unexpectedly. In that moment, the battle for power in Westeros was changed in a manner so irreparable that no matter how much justice is delivered upon those who orchestrated the story’s bloodiest moments, it may never be enough. But that still won’t stop the show from trying. In season four, with this world-altering massacre behind it, Game of Thrones sets an accelerated course toward vicious revenge. If the events of season three took place to show us that no one is safe, season four has arrived just in time to hammer the sentiment home.

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Game of Thrones art

Of course there are spoilers here. How could we even begin talking about the roadmap of Game of Thrones and its first three seasons without talking through some spoilers? It could be like therapy, though. Perhaps we engage in longform conversation over the legacies of those we lost in The War of the Five Kings. We could perhaps even spend an entire 1000+ word article on the aftereffects of The Red Wedding. But let’s face it, we’ve got all of season four to work out those emotions, just as the denizens of Westeros have all of season four to work out their revenge schemes. As we sit on the precipice of another season of Game of Thrones, it’s important to look back at how far we’ve come since episode one, when Ned Stark taught his children about the justice of the world. A justice many of his children — bastard, borrowed or otherwise — would never find before being struck with tragedy. We could spend word upon word walking through just how tortured this Stark clan is, but we don’t have to. The good news is that the Internet is doing the work for us. So let’s watch some video.

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Game of Thrones: dragon

It’s being billed as the “final” Game of Thrones trailer before season four sets off into a night that’s dark and full of terrors, and boy does this one have some game. Featuring the song “Devil Inside” by London Grammar, this new trailer shows us a bit more of what we can expect in the coming frame. There is plenty of talk about the payment of debts, further clearing up the fact that season four has revenge to offer. From the season’s tagline “All Men Must Die” to just about every trailer talking about some form of revenge, it’s easy to see that season four is about to deliver some much needed payback in Westeros. Or it’s all a ruse and George R.R. Martin’s creation will continue killing everyone you love. It could still go either way.

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Game of Thrones in Vanity Fair, by Annie Leibovitz

Not by us, but by someone. And we mean someone beyond the people living inside the mind of A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin. In a sprawling feature in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, both Martin and the Game of Thrones executive producer team of David Benioff and D.B. Weiss talk at length about one of the most prevalent threads that plagues all of Westeros: endings. Usually the “endings” of note are those of characters we love, meeting their untimely deaths in service of honor or the quest for power. This time around, the creative team behind the books and the beloved show are talking about where and when the story itself may come to an end. The simple answer: seven or eight seasons. The how and why of it are a bit more complicated.

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Game of Thrones season 4 art

Valar morghulis. All men must die. If you haven’t learned this much about Game of Thrones by now, then you haven’t been paying attention. If the third season of the runaway hit HBO series has taught its audience anything, it’s that no one character is safe from the death’s cold hands. This is something that readers of the A Song of Fire and Ice book series have known for a long time. George R.R. Martin likes to kill people in the most heinous (and thankfully literary) ways. With the fourth season set to begin in just over a month, the folks at HBO want us to remember that death comes for all men, women, children, babies, direwolves, giants, and whatever the hell those White Walkers are. In addition to the season four trailer and the epic 15-minute season four preview, HBO has now released 21 new posters for the upcoming season. One main poster featuring a three-eyed raven and some pointy iconography as well as 20 character posters featuring faces new and old, all of which simply state “Valar morghulis.” Because if it wasn’t clear enough yet, this show is about death.

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Joffrey in Game of Thrones S4

Last week HBO put out a 15-minute season four preview for Game of Thrones, filled with promises for the future and a number of great GIF-able shots. This week they are keeping it simple and showing us a two-minute trailer. Labeled “Vengeance,” this one takes us through the state of revenge that is simmering in Westeros. Arya Stark has plans to kill some people, plenty of people want to kill Joffrey and Tyrion doesn’t look too happy about where he ends up. That and we get some strong ultimatums from Daenerys on the other side of the world. The entire gang’s back together — even Stannis — so without delay, let’s watch this trailer.

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The Red Viper in Game of Thrones

In a 15-minute preview special aired last night, HBO pulled back the curtain on the highly anticipated fourth season of Game of Thrones. And with it, we return to our wall-to-wall weekly coverage of everything happening in the land of Westeros. Yes, Blog of Thrones has returned and so has all the death and destruction we’ve come to expect as clans clash for that big, beautiful Iron Throne. This new featurette goes well beyond the season four trailer, exploring some of the sets and themes that will light up the screen when the show comes back on April 6. As Peter Dinklage explains, it’s time to “pick up the pieces and top” what has come before. In picking apart the new preview, I’ve found five promises that Game of Thrones has made to its audience this year. Will they come through on these promises? So far their track record is pretty solid.

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redviper

One of the most entertaining and vibrant characters in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series has finally been confirmed to appear in the HBO show Game of Thrones. Throughout the first three seasons of the massive hit drama, the land of Dorne has only been mentioned in passing. It’s the hot, dry, sand-covered land at the southernmost point of Westeros, far south of King’s Landing, where Joffrey sits the Iron Throne; south of Casterly Rock, the yet unseen homeland of the Lannisters; and south yet of Oldtown, another location we haven’t seen, despite its status as one of the largest cities in all the land (it’s where Maesters train). But as season four dives deeper into the second half of Martin’s “A Storm of Swords,” the third book in the series, Dorne will play a much larger part in the politics of ruling over the Seven Kingdoms. Chief among them is their prince, their most fierce warrior, The Red Viper. And now we have our Red Viper of Dorne…

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Game of Thrones

Spoilers for Game of Thrones through the end of season three begin now. Consider yourselves warned, lowborns. The formula is there, all executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have to do is follow it. In season one, a massive ninth episode saw the head of the show’s poster hero roll in “Baelor.” What followed was a tenth episode that reshuffled the deck, brought into focus the “War of the Five Kings” and propelled the story forward with little stops along the way with all of our favorite supporting characters. At the end of season two, the massive, focused effort of “Blackwater” was followed by a road-trip around Westeros (and beyond) to check in on all the now-scattered pieces of what remained. The War of the Five Kings certainly wasn’t over, but it had hit its most dire hours. Armies burned to a crisp, the men of the North far from home and a Queen on the far side of the world barely escaping with her life and those of her dragons. For season three, there was no other way to end. After “The Rains of Castamere,” or more appropriately The Red Wedding, an event so monumentally brutal that it instantly became one of the cornerstones of this show’s very legacy, the only way to go would be softer, quieter, warmer. Otherwise no one would want to wait a year to see what happens next. And so it went with “Mhysa,” season three’s uneventful reshuffling. Some pieces had to be […]

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power_of_got

There’s a scene in Silver Linings Playbook, one of last year’s big Oscar contenders, in which Bradley Cooper’s mentally unstable character, Pat Solitano, is reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms. He ends up tossing the book through a window, following with a rant about the unnecessary heartbreak that plays out near the end of the oft-assigned reading for high schoolers. It’s bullshit, he shouts in the wee hours of the morning (I’m paraphrasing, of course). Why should an otherwise heroic and heartwarming story end with such agony? Mental instability aside, I know that feeling. I remember it vividly. My moment occurred similar to that of the fictional Pat, both happened in the wee hours of the morning and both involved throwing a book violently in disgust with a particular turn of events. The only difference, of course, is that I don’t look much like Bradley Cooper. And the slayer of my goodwill and optimism wasn’t Ernest Hemingway, it was George R.R. Martin. Tonight, somewhere around 10:00PM in whatever time zone you reside, those of you who have never read any of the Song of Fire and Ice books found out exactly to what I am referring. And thanks to some exceptional storytelling choices by the Game of Thrones team, you really got to feel it. Like that night I put a dent in the wall with A Storm of Swords, this is one you’ll never forget.

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Blog of Thrones

Well, that was a little awkward, was it not? Last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was far more glamorous than usual. The slightly more modern shift in setting, the sequins, the 15% increase in gay sex action. Also, the addition of Matt Damon to the cast is a real win for this series. It’s about time they started to pull in some bigger names, this is a cultural revolution, after all. Wait, that can’t be right. What did I just watch? Ah yes, Game of Thrones was off this week to make way for the premiere of Behind The Candelabra, the film about Liberace and his man-friend. So while there will not be any episode to review, Blog of Thrones continues its march across the lands of Westeros. There’s always something to discuss. So lets start with this week’s most important question: Was Behind the Candelabra fabulous, or what?

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Game of Thrones: Second Sons

Game of Thrones is many things, least among them is subtle about its weekly themes. It’s part of the experience, as we’ve seen it develop over the years, to watch D.B. Weiss, David Benioff and the rest of the writing team parse together stories from all over the world of Ice and Fire in a way that makes them fit together despite great geographical, philosophical and tonal differences. This week’s episode, “Second Sons,” is no different. It’s the kind of slower, more meticulous episode that digs a little deeper into the greater notions of faith and honor, love and duty. It’s also filled with moments both sweet and sour for characters we like, those we don’t and those whose true nature is yet to be revealed to us. It is on this note that we begin our weekly Blog of Thrones discussion of episode eight, a sweet and sour appetizer to whatever darkness lays ahead. From here, there will be advanced talking points from this week’s episode, “Second Sons.” Read on at your own peril.

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thrones_joffandgrandpa

In this week’s edition of Blog of Thrones, I’m going to tell you a few things that I learned from reading George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. Not spoilers, obviously. But insights that make this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, appropriately titled “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” all the more poignant and interesting. Because this week’s episode is rife with symbolism and plenty of George R.R. Martin’s favorite things. It’s appropriate then, that this week’s episode is also season three’s writing credit for Martin. It’s an episode that so perfectly embues all that makes Martin a fun read, that not talking about the books a bit would be a missed opportunity. And like the show it covers, Blog of Thrones does not miss opportunities. From here, there will be advanced talking points from this week’s episode, “The Bear and the Maiden Fair.” Read on at your own peril.

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got_theclimb

Compared with last week’s episode, Game of Thrones‘ sixth frame of season three was a bit of calm following what was a furious episode of movement. It’s fitting, then, that it begins with a rather quite scene by the fire, checking in on Samwell Tarly and his stolen wildling girl Gilly. Still her most awkward of heroes — not even fit to start a damn fire — Sam attempts to pass their time in the wilderness Beyond the Wall with a soothing song. Just as a fiery sword battle set the tone for last week’s rage, Sam’s tender moment establishes the big goal for “The Climb”: it’s about moving characters forward with smaller, calmer moments. And taking a trip into much darker territory. From here, there will be advanced talking points from this week’s episode, “The Climb.” Read on at your own peril. 

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Game of Thrones: Kissed by Fire

This may not be the real reason, but I’m ever-suspicious that George R.R. Martin’s third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire franchise is called A Storm of Swords because it feels every bit like a storm. So much happens in book three that Game of Thrones producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have had to break the thousand-paged behemoth into two seasons. Don’t worry though, this week’s Blog of Thrones won’t be digging into the who, what and why of the book. That’s not this column’s style. It’s here for those who have not read ahead. I only make mention of the book’s title and action-crammed nature because this week’s episode, “Kissed By Fire,” exemplifies the book upon which it’s based in every way. After two episodes of scheming and positioning, season three has broken into an all-out sprint. This being the season’s busiest episode by far is by no means a bad thing. It just means that we all have to keep up as the storm grows… From here, there will be advanced talking points from this week’s episode, “Kissed by Fire.” Read on at your own peril. 

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Game of Thrones

Season three of Game of Thrones has finally started killing people. And not just anyone, as we’ll discuss in this week’s epic, thoughtful edition of Blog of Thrones. For those reading along, as always, we’re not getting into any spoiler territory. Sometimes a little bit of bookishness will shine through, but at no point will we discuss any events that have not happened yet in the show. With that in mind, lets get on with it. Because as season three has its first big character death, it also now has a number of great accelerating storylines.

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Game of Thrones

Prior to this week’s episode, we’ve been doing a lot of walking, talking, catching up with old friends and for the most part, have not yet begun to spin up the wheels of this season’s rising action. While it has been fun, and as opposed to last season far better handled by the show’s brass, it’s about time Game of Thrones lets loose some arrows and dismemberment in its third season. As it turns out, that’s what episode three is all about. Reminder: Blog of Thrones is meant to be friendly to those who have not read the books. It will only discuss events that have happened up through the current episode. No spoilers in the article, so please no spoilers in the comments. Don’t be that guy (or girl). 

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published: 04.19.2014
A-
published: 04.19.2014
B+
published: 04.18.2014
C-
published: 04.18.2014
C

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