George R.R. Martin

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 8 Recap: “The Mountain and the Viper”

One of this season’s most-hyped subplots—introduced, as a matter of fact, in the premiere—has been the maturation and corruption of Arya Stark. Under the influence of the Hound, Arya’s previously latent killer instincts are set free, and we’ve watched her slowly absorb Sandor’s even more cavalier attitude towards other human beings’ right to live. She’s even received the treatment that’s made this Era of the Antihero so infamous: Game of Thrones invites us to cheer on a preteen as she acquires a taste for blood, then ask ourselves what that enthusiasm says about us as an audience. Fantastic as Arya’s development this season has been, though, is it possible we’ve been focusing on the wrong Stark sister? … Read More

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Robin Thicke is Still Awful: Links You Need to See

Today, the things we think we know and hold sacred are getting flipped on their head. For some people and cultural institutions, this for the better. For others…not lookin’ so great! … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4 Episode 6 Recap: “The Laws of Gods and Men”

“Judicial proceedings” sounds like a bone-dry theme for an episode, doesn’t it? There are three of them in a single hour this week, which only makes sense; when you get right down to it, Game of Thrones is a show about governance, and for every hour of Jon Snow sword fighting and murder via Hodor possession, the show has to compensate with an hour of sausage-making. Except the trial that caps off “The Laws of Gods and Men” is among the most emotional scenes in this series’ thirty-six hours of airtime, and while the Stannis and Dany scenes may pale in comparison, they’re important riffs on that core theme of what it takes to run a country.  … Read More

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The 10 Most Horrible Mothers in Fiction

We love moms. We love our moms, and we love your mom. But fictional moms that we’re supposed to hate? We love them, too, in a strange and special way. And with Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, we got to thinking about the absolute worst literary moms that we can think of. They’re too cruel, don’t pay attention, pay too much attention, or, in some cases, harbor murderous intentions. … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 5 Recap: “First of His Name”

Tonight’s Game of Thrones was not an episode with a particularly strong thematic through line. I could riff on something like “characters make tough decisions” (Daenerys, Bran) or “women deal with violence” (Cersei, Meera). But both are topics that come up every week on this show, and neither is an accurate summation of all the narrative ground “First of His Name” covers. Still, quite a few important important things happen in this episode. So while “shit goes down” is an awfully reductive starting place for a recap, it’s an adequate descriptor for an episode where solving the murder that began this whole series ranks about fifth on my list of topics to cover. … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4, Episode 4 Recap: “Oathkeeper”

Early on in “Oathkeeper,” it occurred to me that Game of Thrones has itself a little pacing problem. Meereen, or at least its masters, has fallen. Daenerys is once again victorious. And, minor book spoilers, we’re pretty much at the end of the Breaker of Chain’s story for the entirety of Storm of Swords, with six episodes left to go in the fourth season. So how in the hell is this series going to stretch out the tail end of a book into ten episodes of television? Luckily, my question was answered just a few scenes later. Not so luckily, the solution turns out to be making up at least one time-consuming story line nowhere near the caliber of plot threads pulled directly from A Song of Ice and Fire. Suddenly, I’m much less excited for the rest of season four than I was a few hours ago. … Read More

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How ‘Game of Thrones’ Book Fans Investigated Joffrey’s Murder

One could write several books, or at least media studies doctoral dissertations, on the differences between Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series on which it’s based. There are many, ranging from the insignificant (Theon’s sister has a different name) to the more substantial (the original Mrs. Robb Stark was a complete nonentity). Perhaps the most important, though, is the simple difference between the experiences of reading about 5000 pages of material at one’s own pace and watching a show. And there’s no better demonstration of that difference than the mystery of who killed Joffrey Baratheon, an event viewers have had just a few days to process but readers have been picking apart for the last 14 years. … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4 Episode 2 Recap: “The Lion and the Rose”

Come down from that endorphin high yet? Game of Thrones has never been big on the non-boob-related fan service; in fact, most of its major twists are dedicated to letting readers know that there’s no such thing as karma in Westeros. There’s also only rarely such a thing as a pure Bad Guy, with a few notable exceptions. So tonight’s ending, which I’ll refrain from talking about more specifically until after the jump (consider this a spoiler warning), was doubly shocking: one of the only deaths longtime viewers actually wanted, delivered to us on a silver platter just when we wanted it most. … Read More

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‘Game of Thrones’ Season 4 Premiere Recap: “Two Swords”

I’ve been a Game of Thrones fan for so long it’s often hard to tell whether I like an episode because it’s genuinely good, or because I’ve been telling everyone I know for years that this is the best show on TV, based on the best fantasy series in print. And as many have pointed out in the run-up to season four, Game of Thrones has firmly established its mood, complexity, and general quality by now; it may waver from episode to episode, but the feel of it is remarkably consistent. Still, it says something that as the credits began to roll, I found myself thinking I’d actually forgotten how good this show is. … Read More

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