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Showing posts with the label Game of Thrones

Shadows Dance: The Magic Lantern on Game of Thrones

In a series that's been full of mythical beings, prophetic dreams, wights, and dragons, this week's episode of Game of Thrones tipped the balance more firmly into the supernatural camp, giving us to date possibly the most visceral (and disturbing) reminder that magic is slowly creeping back into the Seven Kingdoms Westeros. Our reaction to that as viewers takes two directions: one is excitement, the other is dread. Some have convinced themselves that this isn't a fantasy series, and that's perhaps the wrong approach. While Game of Thrones is certainly populist fare, it's rooted in the fantasy genre and its slow integration of supernatural elements is to be applauded, though they were part and parcel of the series from the very first scene. The White Walkers have always posed a threat to the Seven Kingdoms and therefore to the realm of man. Whatever happened thousands of years earlier to drive the White Walkers beyond the Wall and also end the reign of the Childr

Summer Knights: What Is Dead May Never Die on Game of Thrones

"Power resides where men believe it resides. It's a trick, a shadow on the wall, and a very small man can cast a very large shadow. What is weakness in the end? The inability to let things go, the desires that make us who we are, the sense of sentiment and of familial bond? Should we all strive to be as unyielding as stone and sea? Or is that weakness is inherently part and parcel of who we are as human beings, defined as much by those frailties as we are by our innate strengths? In the end, can we help ourselves from giving into our true natures? On this week's episode of Game of Thrones ("What Is Dead May Never Die"), written by Bryan Cogman and directed by Alik Sakharov, the concept of weakness, both political and psychological, weighed heavily on the action, as Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) sought out ways of securing his hold on the small council, while unaware of his own potential soft spot, one that could easily be exploited by those looking to do him harm.

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones' Emo Hero"

In Season Two of the HBO smash drama Game of Thrones , Jon Snow becomes a true warrior. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled " Game of Thrones ' Emo Hero," in which I sit down with Kit Harington and talk about playing Jon Snow, fame, what’s to come in Season Two, Ygritte, Samwell, and why he refuses to wear a wig. Within the harsh world of HBO’s fantasy series Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, you either live by the sword or you die by it. In the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, court is a deadly pit of vipers, with each of the titular game’s players scheming and manipulating their way to higher realms of power and influence. Not everyone is engaged in these sordid power plays. Bastard-born Jon Snow is a child of the North, raised in the ice and cold of Winterfell before being packed off to the Night’s Watch, a brotherhood of men sworn to protect the 700-foot ancient Wall and the realm from the thr

The Vale of Death: The Night Lands on Game of Thrones

"Sometimes those with the most power have the least grace." What is the difference between a threat and a promise? Whether in this world or the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the only true promise in this life is death. It is, after all, the one destination that we're all inexorably headed, and while we can perhaps temporarily avoid that journey through a series of detours or byways, the night lands are the one place we all end up eventually. Of course, the danger is increasingly higher for those enmeshed in the war for control of the Iron Throne than, hopefully, the readers of this review. Extending one's lifespan, staving off the various threats that rise up to hurry you on your journey, requires a certain skill of bargaining. Or the ability to play the titular game. You can choose to be a player or a pawn, or you can have that choice made for you. The notion of threats lingers over this week's episode of HBO's Game of Thrones ("The Night Lands"

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones and Mad Men Characters Fight to the Death"

Don Draper vs. Tyrion Lannister? Betty vs. Cersei? Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Game of Thrones and Mad Men Characters Fight to the Death," in which I imagine 10 tongue-in-cheek battles between the characters of AMC’s Mad Men and their Game of Thrones counterparts on HBO. With the return of AMC’s Mad Men and HBO's Game of Thrones , Sunday evenings have become a tug of war, with the two critical darlings exerting an irresistible pull on the faithful. It’s hard to escape certain similarities between the two shows: both take place in distant times (OK, Game of Thrones , based on George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels, is set in another world altogether), both delve into racial and religious issues this season, and both feature heavy drinking, illicit relationships, and completely inappropriate workplace behavior in worlds that celebrate ambition, cruelty, and Machiavellian power grabs. Which raises an imaginary questio

Bleeding Stars and Fiery Hearts: Thoughts on the Second Season Premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones

"For the night is dark and full of terror..." Where does power reside? Is it contained within the knowledge of a wise man? The sword of a warrior? The magnanimity of a king? The coin purse of a wealthy man? The foresight of a manipulator? When a sharp knife is drawn against your throat, who is the one who actually holds the true power? These are but a few of many questions pondered in the sensational opening chapter of Season Two of Game of Thrones (“The North Remembers”), written by David Benioff and Dan Weiss and directed by Alan Taylor, which returns with all the roar of a lion, the beating wings of a dragon, the pride of a stag, and the cunning of a wolf. Finishing its first season on such a pitch-perfect note of dread and chaos, Game of Thrones returned with a stellar episode that picked up the multitude of story strands from last season and gave them a meaty tug. (You can read my spoiler-free advance review of Season Two of Game of Thrones over at The Daily Bea

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones' Glorious Return"

Season Two of the Emmy-nominated fantasy series Game of Thrones begins on Sunday night. And it’s fantastic. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Game of Thrones ' Glorious Return," a review of the first four episodes of Season Two of HBO's superlative drama, based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novel series by George R.R. Martin. "Season Two of Game of Thrones is fantastic, overflowing with majesty and mystery," I write. "The night, we’re told, is dark and full of terror, and so is this provocative and enthralling show." After the ratings and critical heights scaled by the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones , expectations are dangerously high for the launch of Season 2, which begins this Sunday. Based on the second volume ( A Clash of Kings ) in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, Game of Thrones has a lot to prove to fans of both the books and of the award-winning HBO drama. Can it top the addict

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones Season Two for Dummies"

HBO's fantasy series Game of Thrones returns Sunday for a second season with its jargon and (most of its) vast cast of characters intact. Who is the Red Woman? What's the significance of a white raven? What's the difference between the Lord of Light and the Drowned God? I've got you covered with a new glossary that breaks down the jargon of Season 2 of Game of Thrones , returning Sunday at 9 p.m. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Game of Thrones Season Two for Dummies," in which I break down who's who and what's what in the second season of HBO's sweeping fantasy drama. There are actually two features in one: an alphabetical glossary of terminology, places, and concepts within the second season and a gallery that breaks down the 15 new and newish characters (from Melisandre to Xaro Xhoan Daxos) that we meet this season. In its first season, Game of Thrones—based on George R.R. Martin’s behemoth A Song of Ice and

The Daily Beast: "Spring TV Preview: 9 Shows to Watch, 4 Shows to Skip"

With the return of Mad Men and Game of Thrones , spring is officially here. Over at The Daily Beast, I offer a rundown of what’s worth watching over the next few months, and what you can skip altogether. You can read my Spring TV Preview intro here , which puts the next few months into perspective, and then head over to the gallery feature to read "9 Shows to Watch, 4 Shows to Skip," which includes such notables as Mad Men, Community, Game of Thrones, VEEP, Girls, Bent , and others... and those you should just skip, like Magic City, Missing , etc. What shows are you most looking forward to this spring? And which ones are you pretending don't exist at all? Head to the comments section to discuss...

The Daily Beast: "Little People, Big Controversy: Game of Thrones and Life’s Too Short"

Game of Thrones ’ Peter Dinklage used the Golden Globes last month to draw attention to a dwarf-tossing attack in England. But with the launch of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Life’s Too Short on HBO, it’s hard to imagine a stranger time to be premiering a potentially exploitative comedy about a dwarf. At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "Little People, Big Controversy: Game of Thrones and Life’s Too Short ," in which I look at Ricky Gervais' new HBO comedy Life's Too Short and ponder its exploitative potential. When Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor last month, he used the award show’s significant global viewing audience to name-check Martin Henderson, to whom he dedicated his award. While millions of viewers raced to Google Henderson at Dinklage’s suggestion, it quickly became clear that he was not speaking of the Australian actor (who costarred in The Ring), but rather a 37-year

The Daily Beast: "Most Memorable TV Deaths of 2011"

Looking back, 2011 proved to be a particularly deadly one for television characters, whose bodies were stacking up even before the return of AMC’s The Walking Dead , which rather notoriously raises the body count each season. From Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones to Downton Abbey and Boardwalk Empire , TV-show creators this year proved that they were only too willing to kill off beloved characters or shock their respective audiences with deaths involving characters long believed to be “safe,” whether those were little girls, Halloween trick-or-treaters, or heroes. Safety, it seems, is an outmoded idea. Head over to The Daily Beast to read my and Maria Elena Fernandez's latest feature, "Most Memorable TV Deaths of 2011," in which we examine our choices for the most memorable TV demises this year, rounding up an unlucky 13 who left their fictional lives too soon. But beware : if you’re not up to date on the 12 shows discussed below, you’ll want to avoid reading any

The Daily Beast: "Homeland, Justified, Downton Abbey and More: The Best and Worst TV Shows of 2011"

At The Daily Beast, it's finally time for my Best and Worst TV Shows of 2011 list: with 10 shows up for recognition as the best (including Justified, Homeland, Downton Abbey, Community, Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife , and more) and five for worst of 2011. (Plus, you can also compare my Best/Worst picks to my colleague Maria Elena Fernandez's.) Head over to The Daily Beast to read my latest feature, " Homeland, Justified, Downton Abbey and More: The Best and Worst TV Shows of 2011," which--as the title indicates--rounds up the best and worst television that 2011 had to offer. Warning: the story may contain spoilers if you are not entirely caught up on the shows discussed here. What is your take on our lists? Did your favorite/least favorite shows make the cut? Head to the comments section to discuss and debate.

The Daily Beast: "TV Breaks the Incest Taboo"

HBO's Boardwalk Empire , Game of Thrones , Bored to Death and other TV shows have recently featured incest storylines or themes. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "TV Breaks the Incest Taboo," in which I examine this troubling trend in scripted programming. In 1990, Twin Peaks gave the world a nightmare vision into the seediness beneath the placid veneer of small-town America. But while one of the many puzzles embedded within Twin Peaks ’ narrative was the identity of the murderer of teen queen Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), the true secret lurking at the heart of the mystery was the incest and abuse suffered by Laura at the hands of her father, Leland (Ray Wise) and the psychic damage this secret caused his wife, Sarah (Grace Zabriskie). It’s a reveal so horrific, so destructive, that the creators represented it in terms of the supernatural, having Leland possessed by a demonic entity in order to explain the cruelty and lack of humanity that suc

The Daily Beast: "A Gifted Man's Leading Lady: Jennifer Ehle"

Jennifer Ehle, best known for playing Elizabeth Bennet in BBC’s Pride & Prejudice , co-stars in a new CBS drama, A Gifted Man . Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " A Gifted Man 's Leading Lady," in which I sit down with Jennifer Ehle to discuss ghost sex, Game of Thrones, A Gifted Man, Pride & Prejudice , attachment parenting, Mr. Darcy, and more. A Gifted Man begins tonight at 8 pm ET/PT on CBS.

The Daily Beast: "Our Emmy Picks!"

While the Primetime Emmy Awards aren’t typically known for offering gasp-inducing surprises, last year’s ceremony did make an instant star out of The Good Wife ’s Archie Panjabi, who walked off with the award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, even as most of the crowd gathered said, “Who?” (Those of us who know and love The Good Wife, however, cheered for Kalinda’s win.) Anything is possible, particularly in some key races (like Panjabi’s category again this year) that are going neck-and-neck as we move into the days leading up to Sunday’s telecast, which will air—for the second year in a row—live from coast to coast. The winners will be announced on Sept. 18’s live Primetime Emmy Awards telecast on Fox. But, in the meantime, over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "Our Emmy Picks!," in which Maria Elena Fernandez and I offer their predictions of who and what will take home the top prizes in 10 key Emmy races. Will stealth frontrunn

The Daily Beast: "The Real Race for Best Drama: Why Mad Men May Not Win"

The race for the Emmy Awards’ top drama prize isn’t as cut and dried as it looks. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "The Real Race for Best Drama: Why Mad Men May Not Win," in which I examine the cutthroat competition this year for best drama, and why Mad Men may not win the top spot at next weekend's awards ceremony. (Though it probably will.) What's your take on the drama race this year? Will Mad Men four-peat? Will The Good Wife claim the top pick? Will HBO's Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire walk away with the statuette? Or will Friday Night Lights pull off the impossible and finally get some recognition for its outstanding fifth and final season? Head to the comments section to discuss.

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones' Creative Gurus:" (Interview with Dan Weiss and David Benioff)

Hungry for some Game of Thrones scoop? (I know I am.) Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Game of Thrones ' Creative Gurus," in which I catch up with Game of Thrones writer/executive producers Dan Weiss and David Benioff to discuss the show's numerous Emmy nominations (and Emilia Clarke's snub), the casting of Carice van Houten and Hannah Murray (as Melisandre and Gilly, respectively), "sexposition," and what's to come in Season Two of the HBO fantasy drama. All together now: "HODOR!" Season Two of Game of Thrones will launch in 2012.

TCA Awards: Friday Night Lights Wins Program of the Year, Game of Thrones Named Outstanding New Program

It is known: Game of Thrones is the winner of this year's Outstanding New Program by the TCA. As a member of the venerable Television Critics Association (TCA), I joined the professional journalists' organization this evening for the annual TCA Awards, which are always a fantastic evening celebrating the best of television. At the ceremony (which, as per TCA tradition, are not be televised), Parks and Recreation 's Nick Offerman was on hand as the host of the evening, which saw awards given out to Game of Thrones (Outstanding New Program), Friday Night Lights (Program of the Year), Mad Men (Outstanding Achievement in Drama), Modern Family (Outstanding Achievement in Comedy), Sherlock (Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials), and The Amazing Race , among others. Individual winners included Mad Men 's Jon Hamm, Parks and Recreation 's Offerman, Modern Family 's Ty Burrell, and Oprah Winfrey, who was the recipient of a career achiev

Dispatches from San Diego: Comic-Con 2011 Game of Thrones Panel (Photos)

I'm not in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con (marking the first year in about six that I haven't traveled south for the annual pop culture confab) for a number of reasons. Not surprisingly, the one session I'm most upset about missing out on this year is HBO's session for Game of Thrones , moderated by George R.R. Martin, given my slavish devotion to the show and Martin's novels. However, Televisionary correspondent Lissette Lira was on the scene to offer some photos from Thursday's Game of Thrones session. [Panel report tk later.] * * * [Photos from the session follow after the jump...]

The Daily Beast: "The Emmy Awards’ 10 Biggest Snubs"

The nominations are out: Parks and Recreation, Game of Thrones, Friday Night Lights , and Mad Men get their shot at the awards, while Community , Nick Offerman, and many others are shut out. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled, "The Emmy Awards’ 10 Biggest Snubs," in which I examine shows and actors were snubbed by the TV Academy. Plus, view our gallery of the nominees . The 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards will be televised live on September 18th on Fox.