George R.R. Martin

Why Religion Is the Best Part of the ‘Game of Thrones’ Fantasy World

At the onset of Season 4, the newest power player in King’s Landing was Oberyn Martell, a formidable warrior and passionate lover who set up shop in a brothel. One season later, Oberyn is dead, and his replacement as the thorn in the Lannisters’ side seems almost calculated to be his exact opposite. The High Sparrow, played by Jonathan Pryce, is a religious ascetic and avowed (at least initially) pacifist — and the head of a zealot mob that destroys the very establishment Oberyn once frequented. With his ascendancy, Game of Thrones has ushered in a new thematic focus in Season 5, one that emphasizes the show’s careful balance between fantasy and realism:… Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Episode 5 Recap: “Kill the Boy”

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to judge a Game of Thrones episode by its color palette. “Kill the Boy” takes place almost entirely in the North, meaning it’s dominated by blacks, whites, greys, and blues. After scene upon scene in a dirty kennel, dark hall, or dank library somewhere in the bowels of Castle Black, it’s hard not to miss the bright reds and golds of King’s Landing or Dorne. Even Meereen, normally a dependable source of blues and yellows—come to think of it, isn’t it odd for an entire city to color-coordinate its outfits?—is comparatively drab this week to match Dany’s mindset. … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Episode 4 Recap: “Sons of the Harpy”

“Sons of the Harpy” is an episode populated by ghosts, moving the chess pieces of Westerosi geopolitics from beyond the grave. All three Lannister children are haunted by their father and the circumstances of his death; their Dornish counterparts and enemies, the Sand Snakes, likewise. Rhaegar Targaryen, albeit opposite sides of him, comes up in conversations on opposite sides of the globe. And after spending the last three episodes pretending he’s above attachment, Jon Snow finally lets the mask slip a few centimeters, revealing how much he’s still struggling with the deaths of both his family and his first love. … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Episode 3 Recap: “High Sparrow”

What does Arya Stark want? Our four main story lines this week see characters making big, ambitious moves. But as Peter “Ambition Incarnate” Baelish reminds us, every ambitious move is a gamble, and it’s not clear any of our protagonists know what it is they’re gambling. That’s especially true of Arya, who’s latched onto the Faceless Men with a ferocity that belies her ignorance of what, exactly, the Faceless Men are. Jon, Cersei, and Sansa, however, don’t seem any more cognizant of the risks they’re taking by walking straight into the lion’s den (or in Jon’s case, smugly staying in it). Some of them can’t be blamed—word of Ramsay’s sadism hasn’t even reached Littlefinger, let alone Sansa. Some of them should know better, and characteristically don’t. … Read More

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In Its Fifth Season, ‘Game of Thrones’ May Finally Surpass the Books

There are two equal and opposite forces at work in the fifth season of Game of Thrones, which HBO will unleash on our DVRs — and now, our Apple TVs! — this Sunday. On the one hand, displacement, a state that’s arguably the status quo on a series so fond of stabbing its characters, and the viewers who identify with them, in the heart (and pushing them out windows, and exploding their heads, and killing their parents in front of them…). And on the other, stagnation, in which characters previously defined by their forward momentum find themselves stuck, in one notable case, between two angry dragons and a hard place. … Read More

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Let’s Overanalyze The New ‘Game of Thrones’ Excerpt!

Last week, patron saint of procrastinators George R.R. Martin got all of geekdom to stop breathing down his neck by releasing a new chapter from The Winds of Winter, the sixth installment of the A Song of Ice and Fire saga. It’s not quite a release date, but since we won’t have new Game of Thrones for another five days or a full book until God knows when, it’s time for the next best thing: a gratuitous overanalysis of the new chapter and what it means for its heroine, the artist formerly known as Sansa Stark! Spoilers for the first five books of A Song of Ice and Fire, and thus the entirety of Game of Thrones, follow. … Read More

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This Is Why Queen Elizabeth Refused to Sit Atop the Iron Throne

Queen Elizabeth is surely allowed to sit on regular chairs that aren’t strictly representative of English royalty; the life… Read More

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Expect Unexpected (as in, Not in the Book) Character Deaths in ‘Game of Thrones” Upcoming Season

Faithful readers of George R. R. Martin’s bloody and harrowing A Song of Ice and Fire are going to be in for… Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Book Proposal Shows How Much the Series Changed — for the Better

British bookstore chain Waterstones posted and hastily deleted George R.R. Martin’s book proposal for A Game of Thrones yesterday, as sent to publisher HarperCollins in 1993. Of course the proposal is now available in perpetuity on the Internet, and the hard copy is reportedly on display at HarperCollins’ new London offices. The document has already attracted notice for how dramatically it departs from the final product as published so far; the book series supposedly still has two volumes to go, and Game of Thrones is still going strong on HBO. It’s also remarkable for how much of an improvement the changes are over Martin’s original vision for the series.

[Book and show spoilers unsurprisingly follow.] … Read More

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