Game of Thrones
Originally published 06/27/2013
Washington politicians would learn more from following HBO fantasy dramas than cable talk shows.
Originally published 04/01/2013
Michelle Dean's writing has appeared at The New Yorker's Page Turner blog, Slate, Salon, the Globe and Mail, and a variety of other publications.Game of Thrones is a pageant of a show, all velvet-curtain costumes and dye jobs that somehow never extend to the eyebrows. The accents are weird and randomly assigned, particularly the ones that are English by way of Denmark and New Jersey. And the CGI’s not all that different from the psychedelic drawings in 1970s cartoons. But somehow, every year, it rolls around just in time for people to feel like the real world’s a little much to handle, and we forgive its pieties and excesses for a few hours of entertainment.In fact, it rarely feels like the ten hours we get each season are enough, and that feeling arises in spite of the amount of violence, exploitation, rape and suffering on the thing, which makes the daily headlines of life in America look like they were written by Captain Kangaroo. This season, whose prose analogue is the third book of the trilogy, A Storm of Swords, starts dark—the rotund and lovable Samwell Tarly running from one of the blue-eyed northern zombies they call the Others, or White Walkers—and will end darker. I won’t say a lot more, except to say that the first big twist comes three episodes in and things devolve from there....
Originally published 04/01/2013
Dan Jones is the author of “The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings And Queens Who Made England” (Viking), to be published on April 22.Is it possible for a historian to dig “Game of Thrones”? Short answer: yes. The new season of the HBO smash premieres tonight – and while it is the sight of dragons in flight and white walkers on the prowl that excites the fantasy heads, it is the show’s deep roots in “real” history that has given the show such huge crossover appeal.There have been plenty of successful fantasy shows on the major cable networks in the last two decades of television. The staple subject matter is vampires and werewolves (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “True Blood,” “The Vampire Diaries”), but successful shows have also been spun out of time travel (“Doctor Who”), Greek mythology (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) and a cryptic meditation on the potential permeability of spacetime (“Lost”).
Originally published 03/26/2013
Tom Holland is the author of numerous historical works, including "The Shadow of the Sword," and is the presenter of the BBC's Making History. Although Hilary Mantel is apparently yet to begin the third volume of her trilogy of novels about Thomas Cromwell, we can be confident of several plot twists that it will not feature. Cromwell will not precipitate a civil war. He will not betray the husband of his foster-sister, with whom he is in love. He will not escape the executioner's block. His downfall is scripted. The history books cannot be cheated. Mantel's Cromwell is as bound to the inevitability of his doom as any prisoner to a rack.
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