a song of ice and fire

08 “Hardhome” (Game of Thrones season 5) [SPOILERS]


game of thrones season 5

I’ve seen more than a few people say that they’re no longer watching Game of Thrones, for more than a few different reasons.

Some I can understand. If you actually don’t enjoy it, then fair enough. One of the most common reasons is dislike of the violence, particularly towards women, that the show displays. I get the discomfort, really I do. But I also question what they thought they were watching, when they first set out. It isn’t a new facet, at any rate.

The other, even more perplexing, reason that I’ve heard is that it’s too bleak, it’s too hopeless. Which is, frankly, bizarre. We are coming to the end of the fifth season in what looks set to be a seven-season story arc. Of course things are bleak and hopeless now. We’re coming into the darkest moment before the dawn. That’s how basic conflict in storytelling works.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

07 “The Gift” (Game of Thrones season 5) [SPOILERS]


game of thrones season 5

How many Game of Thrones viewers do you reckon have also read the books? A third? Fewer?

I don’t mean, how many started watching the series, picked up a copy of A Game of Thrones, and are presently marooned midway through A Clash of Kings, whilst the series picks over the bones of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.

The truth is that, however good the books are (And they are very good -Ed) the fact that they tend towards the sprawling epic side of fantasy fiction (And they are epically sprawling -Ed) will always make a five-series-and-counting TV series more accessible to 90% of people. That’s a criticism of neither, but a fact of life.

The fact is also that the distance between the books and the show is growing with each season. There are several storylines in the TV series which do not, directly, stem from the books. Others are being truncated, abbreviated, accelerated, to make up for the fact that whilst George R.R. Martin can take as long as he bloody well likes to finish his story, TV execs are a lot less patient.

So if there seems to be a lot going on in Thrones, spare a thought for those still labour through the books (And waiting for the next one to be published, which to be honest takes the bulk of the time -Ed).

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

02 “The House of Black and White” (Game of Thrones season 5) [SPOILERS]


game of thrones season 5

It’s amazing what a phenomenon Game of Thrones has become. Even in our fad-ish world of viral whatevers, it really does seem to have taken over.

Especially amazing given that it’s a fantasy series about dragons and knights, packed to the rafters with sex and violence.

Actually, these days it’s more violence than sex. I like to think that the story has gotten so interesting and labyrinthine that even “sexposition” can’t untangle it. I shudder to think how impenetrable this would be to anyone coming in cold to the fifth season.

You know what, though? Good.

You wouldn’t come into a book at chapter seventeen and start complaining that you can’t immediately pick up the plot threads, so it’s a mystery quite why for years that same arguemnt was used to stop TV shows from having extended story arcs.

(Yeah, we may have stumbled on a bugbear that needs a whole blog post of its own, here. How about we just get on with the review? -Ed)

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

01 “The Wars to Come” (Game of Thrones season 5) [SPOILERS]


game of thrones season 5

Not to go all hipster on you, but it wasn’t that long ago that I could mention A Song of Ice and Fire, and would be still be greeted by a room of blank expressions. That is still, to a degree, true, but if I mention Game of Thrones almost everyone has a theory and opinion.

It’s not, no matter what anyone tells you, a bad thing. Game of Thrones has thoroughly earned its popularity, by being incredibly bold for a mainstream TV show. It has kicked (…and stabbed. And shagged -Ed) its way into common cultural awareness.

My praise for it isn’t unfettered. I think that season three, for instance, dropped the ball on the story, turning into a plodding, dull lead up to the Red Wedding. If nothing else, Game of Thrones needs an urgent direction to its story, rather thank just to kill time.

Read on…(and mind the spoilers!)

Heresy of the Week – Not everything needs to be filmed


dragonriders of pern

Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.

This week’s heresy:

There is, with high profile and successful book properties, always a rush or a drive for that property to be adapted for screen — whether for TV or cinema. Alongside the film industry’s ongoing originality drought, books are proving the go-to option for film companies. But not everything is filmable, and not everything should be filmed.

Read on…