When Game of Thrones Leaves The Nest

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Rebecca Kordesh, Director
Twitter | Blog

 

 

A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF) by George R.R. Martin has been around now for over 20 years, and the HBO show adaptation, Game of Thrones, has just completed its sixth season. Both the book series and the show are incredibly popular with a huge, devoted fanbase. As a result, the official forum as well as sites like Reddit have ridiculously active discussions filled with fans who have massive amounts of information about the ASOIAF universe and people who have very strong feelings about them. My participation in such communities has taught me many things, the primary of which is that the fans who utilize these sites tend to be extremely critical of the HBO adaptation.

My pop psychology analysis of this widespread criticism leads me to believe that a lot of negativity comes from fan frustration concerning how long it has taken Martin to write the much anticipated sixth novel of the ASOAIF series, The Winds of Winter. As the years stretch on between the release of A Dance with Dragons and its sequel, everyone waiting for it wants it more and more desperately, and finds themselves increasingly frustrated with the fact that the only new ASOIAF material being released is the television show. I can’t tell you how many people have outright said the only reason they watch the show is because they need something to fill their time while they wait for the books, and while I think this amounts to a very small percentage of show viewers, it seems to be a large percentage of vocal internet critics. Understandably, the thing you turn to for distraction while you wait for the thing you actually want is never really going to meet your needs, so you probably don’t feel overwhelmingly good about it.

Although this post does not discuss specific events, it will be most interesting to people familiar with both the book and TV series, and links may contain spoilers. You have been warned.

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Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch

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Madeleine Cassier
Producer
Website | Twitter | GoodreadsBookTube

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” (Exodus 22:18)

Game of Thrones has now concluded its sixth season in what can only be described as ‘epic’ fashion. And while I would love nothing more than to write a small dissertation on every single scene from the season finale “The Winds of Winter”, I want to, instead, focus upon one specific moment.

Spoiler-warning

CAVEAT EMPTOR: The following post will contain spoilers for specific incidents in HBO’s series, Game of Thrones, from Seasons 5-6. You have been warned.

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The Wardrobe Metamorphosis of Sansa Stark

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Sara Bachouros
Web Content Contributor

 

It’s no understatement to say that the costuming of Game of Thrones is brilliant. (Thank you, Michelle Clapton and April Ferry!) The designs have always been chosen with the storylines and personalities of each character fully in mind, and the careful details add a layer of depth to the show that isn’t always noticeable in a first viewing. In the latest season, the most exciting costume thus far has been, without a doubt, Sansa’s direwolf-embroidered dress. However, this is far from the first time that Sansa has undergone an image change. In this post, let’s take a journey back in time and revisit the wardrobe transformations of Sansa “I made it myself” Stark and all the personal growth that she’s experienced along the way.

Spoiler-warning

SPOILER WARNING: Due to the nature of this discussion, the following post may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones through Season 6. You have been warned.

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Dat White Savior Complex

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Rebecca Kordesh, Director
Twitter | Blog

I have to admit I’m not always great at identifying the social or cultural issues that exist in the world of Game of Thrones. While I can certainly be sensitive to certain things (like what I consider an absurd amount of unnecessary boobs on the TV show), a lot of the subtle stuff flies by me because I love to immerse myself in the world of the show and not think too hard about it. Generally. There are always exceptions.

But when I was watching Season 6, episode 6 (“Blood of my Blood”), I had a moment where I thought, “Oh my, this is a major white savior complex thing going on here.” That’s why I think it was probably absurdly obvious, because in a really cool and epic moment on the show, all I could think about was how we white people have such an issue figuring out how to do good, culturally sensitive narratives.

And I know, I know, nobody wants me to rain on their parade and make Game of Thrones sound any less awesome than it is, so I’d like to take a moment to say that I love the heck out of the show. I’m very obsessed, and I enjoyed the episode. It is possible to both enjoy something and recognize its issues. But if you don’t like hearing about social issues and Game of Thrones, this is probably not the post for you.

Additionally if you are not caught up on the show and you don’t want spoilers, this is not the post for you. Many spoilers (up until “Blood of my Blood”) appear in this post. You have been warned.

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From Doormat to Dominance

 

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Rebecca Kordesh, Director
Twitter | Blog

One of the coolest things (in my humble opinion) about long-running book series or TV shows is the potential for character growth that they allow. When you’re with people over the course of several books or several seasons of television anything can happen to them and there are myriad opportunities for their characters to develop and grow and change (hopefully in good ways, but people get broken, too). The sign of a good series tends to be this kind of development; after all, nobody likes it when things start to feel stale and predictable.

An especially exciting thing for me, as a female consumer of all things Game of Thrones, has been watching the way the women of Westeros (and beyond) have moved from traditional medieval-type roles into more interesting physical and symbolic spaces over the course of the series. But before I go on, I’m going to insert the obligatory spoiler warning here, because obviously I cannot talk about development without, you know, talking about the things that have happened recently in the world of Game of Thrones.

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SPOILER WARNING: If you are not caught up with at least Episode 5, Season 6 of Game of Thrones and you do not wish to be spoiled, run away. This is not the post for you.

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Confectionary Fandemonium

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Madeleine Cassier
Producer
Website | Twitter | GoodreadsBookTube

As you may well be aware, Game of Thrones, HBO’s television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, returned to television for its sixth season on April 24th in what can probably be accurately described as one of the biggest television events of the year. People gathered for viewing parties, some set their DVR, and others, like my flatmate and I, carved out our 9PM EST hour as “Unavailable for Consultation.” It is a church-like ritual, in which our butts are placed upon a couch and our eyeballs glued to the IMG_0299television set.

Except, this year, we added cupcakes to the mix.

The trend of “artisanal cupcakes” is popularly linked to “the moment Carrie Bradshaw and co stepped into the 1950s-styled Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan and ordered a cupcake in Sex and the City in 2000.” And while it has certainly quieted in recent years, unique and sometimes downright peculiar cupcake combinations are still popular. In the Fan district of Richmond, VA, there is a pink-painted building that houses Carytown Cupcakes. Specializing in “creatively-inspired cupcakes made with all-natural ingredients,” this confectioner opened its doors in 2009, and features 16+ flavours per day with at least 2 vegan and 2 gluten-free offerings. They accomplish this by having at least 9-10 “classic cupcakes” and then (usually) 6 specially-themed cupcakes.

As you’ve probably guessed, their special theme through May 1st was Game of Thrones. What amazed me was not that somebody would decide to make cupcakes inspired by various Thrones characters and foods — after all, there are plenty of cookbooks on the topic — no, it was the creativity with which they concocted these confections.

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Gastronomy and Fantasy

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Akhi Pillalamarri
Head Web Content Contributor
Twitter | Website

 

One of the great things about fantasy is learning about how people in premodern societies ate and learning many new recipes. Dorothy mentioned in her post a couple of weeks ago that she learns about real-world history from fantasy books, but my favorite historical detail involves what’s for dinner.

One cannot help but notice in both Fantasy-based games and Fantasy books that whenever you enter the average house or inn, there’s always someone tending to a pot of stew over the stove. Did everyone, minus the nobility, really always just eat stew almost every day? Was someone always making stew? Really? This seemed surprising to me, but then I learned about Perpetual Stew. According to Wikipedia, Perpetual Stew is

is a pot into which whatever one can find is placed and cooked. The pot is never or rarely emptied all the way, and ingredients and liquid are replenished as necessary. The concept is often a common element in descriptions of medieval inns. Foods prepared in a perpetual stew have been described as being flavorful due to the manner in which the foodstuffs blend together, in which the flavor may improve with age.

Of course, the nobility, who usually feature prominently in fantasy literature, at a lot more than just stew. These dishes are richly described by authors, like George R. R. Martin who put a lot of thought–maybe a bit too much–into describing the food of his world to readers. In fact, George R. R. Martin has described so many dishes, that there is an entire cookbook derived from his works: A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook.

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A Brief History of Modern Fantasy

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Akhi Pillalamarri
Head Web Content Contributor
Twitter | Website

 

A COMPANION TO TBT 07

Our most recent podcast on the “Evolution of Fantasy” featured a spirited debate about our favorite genre, from how we each defined “fantasy” to what we consider its developmental timeline. One of our biggest points of disagreement was about when what is considered “modern” fantasy started. Despite this, we at least had some general agreement that the publication of The Lord of the Rings‘ first volume, The Fellowship of the Ring, in 1954 marked a significant turning point for the marketing and publishing of the fantasy genre.

To bounce off of this initial discussion, I wanted to write a brief history of what happened after 1950s, with some admitted speculation on my part.

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In the Shadow of ‘The Ring’

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Madeleine Cassier
Producer
Website | Twitter | GoodreadsBookTube

A Companion to TBT Episode 07

Unpopular opinion alert: I’m not the biggest fan of Tolkien — specifically, of The Lord of the Rings.

516GyHY9p6LI know this is essentially heresy to admit to the teeming hordes of guys and gals who, like me, adore the fantasy genre. But, alas, ’tis true that I am not on the side of Mr. J.R.R. Despite this general dislike, I’m relatively fair-minded and can acknowledge that The Lord of the Rings is one of the most recognizable works of the fantasy genre — even with more modern series such as George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, The Lord of the Rings is the ultimate poster-child for marketing fantasy to a mainstream audience.

That being said: I don’t think that Tolkien “inventedmodern fantasy as we know it. This, I’m sure, is also going to rankle even more people, especially given that many people would argue that The Lord of the Rings “created ‘fantasy’ as a marketing category” (Yolen, After the King: Stories in Honour of J.R.R. Tolkien), despite the fact that fantasy existed long before Tolkien published his trilogy. 

But I don’t want to talk about the myriad of works previous to Tolkien…I actually just want to talk about one: Der Ring des Nibelungen, or The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner.

41Um5nZQuXL._SY355_For those of you unfamiliar with German opera: The Ring Cycle, as it’s frequently called, is a cycle of four opera seria (dramatic operas) written about a century before Tolkien, that’s loosely based on characters from Germanic and Norse mythological sagas, specifically the Volsunga saga and the Nibelungenlied. Its got giants, dwarves, gods, forbidden romances, action, adventure — basically everything you could ever want from an epic fantasy story, and all across four operas which, when performed, are staged over the course of several days.

Even with all of those elements, at the very centre of this massive tale is a magic ring fashioned from Rhine gold that allows its bearer to rule the world.

Sound familiar?

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