George R.R. Martin

50 Great Books About Deliciously Bad Women

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What is it about bad girls that is so alluring? Maybe it’s the seized power they signify, or the agency their badness implies, or just the comebacks and leather jackets, but I always love the “bad” women in literature best. Here are some books that are blessed with such mavens, whose antics range from mere misbehavior to pure evil, who are antagonists and antiheroines and just plain heroines who just also happen to be jerks a lot of the time.
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How This Year’s Hugo Awards Turned Into a Battle Over Race, Gender, and the Soul of Fandom

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This weekend marked the 73rd annual World Science Fiction Convention, better known as WorldCon, and with it, the ceremony for the 2015 Hugo Awards, the prize that has recognized excellence in science fiction and fantasy since 1953. This year’s proceedings, however, were far more than a simple celebration of excellence in a genre. For those who haven’t been following the months-long controversy, headlines like “Diversity wins as the Sad Puppies lose” (or, on the opposing side, “SJWs Burn Down the Hugo Awards”) might seem incomprehensible. So we’ve put together a guide to what went down in Spokane, Washington, what it means for fandom as a whole, and what the hell sad puppies have to do with it.
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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 5 Episode 9 Recap: ‘The Dance of Dragons’

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Game of Thrones is an ambitious show, in controversy as much as anything else. Why settle for setting the blogosphere ablaze like Drogon in a fighting pit when you can…well, set the blogosphere ablaze like this episode’s less triumphant, more stomach-churning use of fire? Fans have approached the show’s depiction of sexual violence with scrutiny—some justified, some excessive—for years. “The Dance of Dragons” suggests, sometimes explicitly, that we broaden our focus to all forms of violence in this grim, gory universe. Whether this is a trollish jab at the online hornets’ nest or an earnest attempt to make watching as difficult as it should be will depend on how much goodwill each viewer has left.
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Why Religion Is the Best Part of the ‘Game of Thrones’ Fantasy World

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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

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

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

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“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.
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