Game of Thrones – “Dragonstone” – Season 7, Ep. 1 (HBO) SPOILERS
“Through it all, the Wall has stood. And every winter that has come has ended.”
I can’t have been the only person yesterday whose afternoon and evening were spent keeping vigil in fairly rapt anticipation of the Game of Thrones premiere. “Are you ready for Sunday?” asked the amiable bartender (on Thursday), who’d seen me reading George R.R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons in his fine establishment not two weeks earlier. Unprepared for the question, I was momentarily nonplussed. What the hell was Sunday? When he clued me (of all people) in, I did feel a touch foolish, but also realized at just what a remove from the hoopla surrounding Thrones’ return I’d inadvertently placed myself. This is, after all, a global phenomenon I heard not incorrectly described the other day as, “the last great water cooler discussion show in the history of television,” and I, as unabashed and informed a casual fan as you’d want to find without expending terrible effort in so doing, had paid the prospects of its revival embarrassingly short shrift. Much of that has to do with the fact that while the bulk of the show’s fans have waited with bated breath and rapidly deteriorating patience to re-enter the world of Westeros, I never really left Continue Reading
WARNING: This post will discuss George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series in varying degrees of detail, often in direct comparison with its TV adaptation, HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. I will endeavor to avoid spoiling events that have happened in the books but not yet on the show, nor to use prior knowledge gained from the books to speculate on the upcoming season of “GoT” in anything but the most general terms. Fair game for discussion will be any events occurring through the end of “GoT” season four, which roughly parallels the second half of “ASoIaF” book three (“A Storm of Swords”). FYI – Mentioning that something happened differently in the books than it did on TV does not, in my view, qualify as a bombshell anymore, merely a point of interest. I’m pretty sure there are no do-overs forthcoming. Valar spoilhaeris.
Now that its ubiquity in the popular mindset and conversation has marked it as not just a phenomenon, or an institution, but rather as cultural shorthand, it is tempting and altogether too easy, on the eve of its fifth season, to discount the intoxicating complexity and bottomless intrigue of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Both aspects are gifts passed down from its literary forebear (and, interestingly enough, contemporary…as we’ll get into later), George R.R. Martin’s towering A Song of Ice and Fire series, and though a great many fans of the HBO adaptation are not nearly so bewitched by the history and machinery behind Martin’s curtain as I am, the world of Westeros, in itself, remains a fairly breathtaking achievement. Continue Reading