Movies · TV

What to Read and Watch in the Game of Thrones Offseason

By  · Published on July 5th, 2016

Dear FSR

What do we do on Sundays besides weep?

At some point in your life, you’ve likely been faced with a question that has no solid answer. Some people may take such a puzzle to a trusted confidant, a friendly pastor, or the esteemed annals of Yahoo! Answers. But will they have the expertise needed to solve your most pressing film predicaments?

Think of Dear FSR as an impartial arbiter for all your film concerns. Boyfriend texting while you’re trying to show him your most precious Ozu? What’s the best way to confront the guy who snuck that pungent curry into your cramped theater? This is an advice column for film fans, by a film fan.

Dear FSR,

Now that Game of Thrones is over for the year, do you have any non-George R. R. Martin recommendations for A Song of Ice and Fire readers to consume while we wait for The Winds of Winter and/or season 7?


Jonesin’ for some Thrones

Dear Jonesin’,

As you might well imagine from your familiarity with our site, we’re all big Westerosis here. Everyone deals with the drought of their favorite shows in different ways. Some do anticipation podcasts, some craft elaborately detailed fan theories, and others reread the books in preparation. I know the withdrawals hits our staff hard and we’re all trying to fill that void, though we each tend to focus more specifically on what drew us to Martin’s fantasy epic in the first place. Was it the politics? The swords and sorcery? The pretty faces and arcane languages? Regardless, I’m sure something in this list will help provide a fix for those summer Game of Thrones jones.

Grand Hotel

On Netflix, this Spanish drama is like Downton Abbey’s cattier cousin. Its opening scene sees a maid murdered outside a spectacularly posh hotel at the advent of electric light. The ensuing drama involves marriages for power, sex, violence, and lots of mistaken identities. Plus, everyone’s just as gorgeous as our beloved Jon Snow.

The Wire

Put that HBOGo to good use now that your watch has ended. Get wrapped up in the immensely complex world of crime and justice in Baltimore while the series blurs the lines between them so hard that the very concepts begin to fade away. Like Game of Thrones, this isn’t so much a story about good and evil, but one about power and its infinite corruptibility.


A chosen one, mystical powers, and a struggle for a kingdom – sound familiar? Frank Herbert’s fantasy epic deftly captured the public’s imagination with its neo-feudalistic space empire, sand worms, and – of course – the spice. Unfortunately for those used to the longevity of GRRM’s saga, the sequels and film adaptation are all maligned, leaving the first book as the sole entry worth embracing in this canon.

American Gods

In preparation for Bryan Fuller’s new Starz series, consider reading Neil Gaiman’s novel of mythology and subterfuge. Join Odin and his mortal bodyguard as they gather the Old Gods (people like Ananzi) for a confrontation against the New (things like the Internet) in modern day America.

The Dark Tower Series

Speaking of preparation, we’re actually getting a Dark Tower movie after years and years of development hell. That means now is the perfect time to catch up on Stephen King’s free-wheeling meta-epic that takes place in a mystical land and an America so real that King himself is featured as a character. I did a full primer for the (admittedly complicated) series over here.

House of Cards

Political shuffling doesn’t get more devious than in House of Cards. The backstabbings might not be quite as literal, but they’re still just as shocking and satisfying. Frank Underwood will stop at nothing to get the presidency, whether that means screwing over a few friends or something much more sinister. Streamable on Netflix, it can easily become an obsession which also serves as a macabre civics lesson, especially in light of the escalating election conflict.

The Prequel Novellas

When all else fails, where else can you look but to the source? Martin has written a series of stories that take place in the same universe as Game of Thrones, only around ninety years earlier. The supplementary novellas (known collectively as the Tales of Dunk and Egg after the main protagonists, Ser Duncan the Tall and his squire “Egg”, the later King Aegon V Targaryen) were followed by two additional stories chronicling historic events long before the main books, though still as Targaryen-focused.

The Princess and the Queen covers the “Dance of the Dragons” between Aegon and Rhaenyra Targaryen over the succession of the Iron Throne, while The Rogue Prince covers the life of Prince Daemon Targaryen.

Stay strong. The unentertained Sunday night is dark and full of terrors,


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Jacob Oller writes everywhere (Vanity Fair, The Guardian, Playboy, FSR, Paste, etc.) about everything that matters (film, TV, video games, memes, life).