THIS WEEK on Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere”


Astute viewers knew something was wrong when the wedding musicians started playing the Lannister song of war and battle, ‘The Rains of Castamere’.

I remember feeling physically ill for an hour after reading the chapter in George R. R. Martin’s ‘A Storm of Swords’ that corresponded to the end of tonight’s episode.

The interesting conversation is: what happens now? What’s become of the North? The Starks are dead or scattered all across the world. Winterfell is in ruins. Where are all of Robb’s generals, like the Blackfish, and the groom himself, Edmure Tully?

The still-more interesting conversation: will viewers be encouraged enough to hang on, persist, and see this story through? Many people I know felt completely gutted after this chapter years ago, and the ones I saw watching tonight seemed doubly so – it’s quite something to see these events play out visually.

How do you hang on when the good guys get torn apart so viciously, so brazenly?

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THIS WEEK on Game of Thrones: “The Climb”

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It’s getting tougher to piece these recaps together in recent weeks on account of a school schedule that’s getting busier than ever; but it’s a labor of love, and a true pleasure to get to reflect on some of the most memorable television being made. Apologies to the OL community for the tardiness! Hopefully, this look back on ‘The Climb’ will whet your appetite for the next Thrones ep we’ll have coming this Sunday.

The episode this week was a strange mishmash of plodding and excellence. Let’s start with the rotten side of the apple.

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THIS WEEK on Game of Thrones: “Kissed By Fire”

Beric Dondarrion.

Game of Thrones has been kissed by fire in Season 3 – ratings are at a series high, and it’s easy to see why. The escalation all year has been almost out of control – new characters almost every week, new fantasy elements (to some viewers’ dismay), and new plots that aren’t in line with expectations.

The fifth episode’s title, “Kissed By Fire” is culled from a quote from red-headed wildling Ygritte, in reference to the boy that deflowered her. Red on red, as it were.

It’s a phrase very easily applied to half of Westeros, as well. The country is ravaged by war, farmlands are on fire, the religion of the Lord of Light and its affinity with fire are slowly creeping into all parts of the land, and Dany and her dragons have charred a city, and are marching to another.

And then there’s Beric Dondarrion.

This fool has had less than ten minutes of screen time and already reach maximum swagger allotment. It may have something to do with his pocket priest, Thoros of Myr – a red priest, not unlike Melisandre, Westeros’s resident shadow baby factory.

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THIS WEEK on Game of Thrones: “Walk of Punishment”


Daenerys Targaryen has quickly captured the imagination and hopes of every viewer of HBO’s Thrones. Small wonder then, that the episodes are frequently titled after her story, and focus heavily on her story, even if it’s a story that’s been mostly divorced from the war in Westeros for over two years.

The “walk of punishment” is blatantly reminiscent of the crucifixion-executions of the Roman Empire. The condemned were forced to hang, nailed to wooden crosses, in rows lining the roads surrounding Rome (historians can correct me if needed).

This walk of punishment doesn’t seem to instill fear in Dany, as intended, but instead, compassion and fury.

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THIS WEEK on Game of Thrones: “Valar Dohaeris”


Welcome back to one of the most exciting and visually-astounding shows on television. The third season of Game of Thrones, based (mostly) on Martin’s third novel in the Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series, A Storm of Swords, began last night on HBO.

The cinematographers on the show have a lot of fun with framing, shot direction and imagery; why shouldn’t we as well?  The film student in me from a decade ago still likes to assert itself, and Thrones is a show worth recapping through its powerful imagery. There are enough recaps on the net doing blow-by-blows, so hopefully, we can dig a little deeper here and tackle things from a different angle.

Let’s do it.

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LAST SEASON on Game of Thrones, Part II: “Valar Morghulis” – Fire, Ruin & Promise


This is the image Season 2 left us with last year; a horde of White Walkers and wights marching on the Wall.

The third book in Martin’s fantasy saga, A Storm of Swords, opens with this scene. It was moved to the end of the second season of Game of Thrones to up the cliffhanger quotient for a finale, and that was probably a very smart decision judging by its reception.

Before Season 3 kicks off this Sunday on HBO, let me remind us all where we left off, and guide us back with some potent imagery from “Valar Morghulis”.

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LAST SEASON on Game of Thrones, Part I: “Blackwater” and Sound Design

Does everyone remember this moment? Explosive, practically living wildfire punctuating the climax of the Clash of Kings. Half of HBO’s budget for season two of Game of Thrones blown in one orgiastic fell swoop.

When I popped the disc for Season 2 in for a replay this month, I realized how much the last two episodes work together as two halves of one finale that complement each other in surprising ways. They couldn’t be two more different episodes from one another.

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