And now our watch is ended. But did Game of Thrones, or its characters, get the ending they deserved?
GAME OF THRONES
The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones demands that we reconsider everything—including our investment in this show and these characters.
A sometimes infuriating episode reminds us that neither Game of Thrones nor its characters are going to suddenly become perfect at the last minute.
Visually muddy, and emotionally clichéd, "The Long Night" begs the question: What sort of ending are we hoping for from Game of Thrones?
"A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms" is Game of Thrones at its absolute best. It is a last chance to remember—before all hell breaks loose—that this show was always about people, not special effects.
"Winterfell" feels a little too much like a box-checking prologue to the final season of Game of Thrones, not the exciting opening chapter.
Announcing the first of three e-books, collecting all my writing on Game of Thrones.
The Wall is down, and the games are over, and the surviving characters must now prove whether they've actually absorbed any of the show's lessons.
"Beyond the Wall" might just be the dumbest episode of Game of Thrones ever, but there's good stuff here if we look beyond the contrivances.
"Eastwatch" is something of a table-setting episode, but it also looks at how fathers live in their children, for better or worse.
The stunningly good "The Spoils of War" packs a lot of emotional subtext into a short and action-packed episode.
In "The Queen's Justice," ice and fire finally come together, and everyone needs to let go of the things they think they know.
With new allegiances being forged, "Stormborn" tests the strengths—and limitations—of different kinds of loyalty.
In "Dragonstone," the Season Seven premiere of Game of Thrones, survival may depend on reconciling the sins of the past with the needs of the future.
The sixth season finale of Game of Thrones finds women seizing control of the board. But who will these women need to become to hold onto power?
"Battle of the Bastards" is a magnificent hour of television. But is it a great episode of Game of Thrones?
"No One" ever thinks they're the bad guy, but there comes a time when everyone has to ask themselves the question.
This week, we see all the broken people trying to figure out what can be built from the shattered pieces of the past.
An awkward and underwhelming episode focuses on the question of family loyalty.
"Terrible things happen for a reason," we are told in "The Door." But is that really a comforting thought?
In "Book of the Stranger," the ladies of Game of Thrones are gettin' in formation—cause they slay.
In "Oathbreaker," we are reminded that the game of thrones is largely a game of words. Control the stories, and you can control the world.
In "Home," everyone grapples with how the mistakes of the past have led to the horrors of the present.
We sing of bodies eclectic on the sixth season premiere of Game of Thrones.
As the season ends with brutal examples of the Father's justice, we look to the Mother—and the mothers—to teach us all a kinder way.
What shall it profit a man if he gains the Iron Throne, but loses his soul?
Game of Thrones has always been about "us vs. them," but former enemies are finding common ground as the walls tumble down around them.
As snow descends on Westeros, the battle lines between ice and fire are becoming clearer.
Plot developments can be logical, realistic, and narratively justified, and still be a mistake.
What's an apology worth, when there's been so much pain and bloodshed? And which sins are truly unforgivable?
This week, as men fight back against progress, we think about the weapons women have at their disposal.
"It's only a name," the High Sparrow says—but names are important on Game of Thrones.
On Game of Thrones, people used to fear their governments. Now, governments are learning to fear their people.
The good lords are dead, and the rest are monsters. But in the new world order, individuals have the freedom to choose what kind of world they want to live in.
In the beginning, GAME OF THRONES seemed like a show about keeping the children safe. Now it's becoming a show about keeping safe from the children.
The concept of a "trial-by-combat" presupposes the intervention of a fair and just god. But what if the gods are all just vicious cunts?
We all have a vision of the world the way it should be. It's a place where we all grow up in happy families (who care for us as they should), and we all go on adventures (which work out just the way they're supposed to), and we all fall in love and live happily after (with the person who will love us back forever). It sounds like a nice place, that world.
Maybe character really is fate, as Heraclitus said. Maybe everyone gets exactly what they deserve—or what they think they deserve.
"First of His Name" explores a theme that has been present all season: the way women are forced to navigate this world differently than men do, and to find ways to use their power differently.
In a world in which every person is defined by their house, family, nation, class, gender, and allegiances, deciding to change can be a bit of a challenge.
It's a tricky thing to be a hero. And—as Game of Thrones continually reminds us—it's a trickier thing to believe in heroes.
The wedding of King Joffrey the First provides an opportunity to contemplate the nature—and degrees—of evil.
"Everything has changed," Cersei Lannister says this episode, and she's right. Welcome back to GAME OF THRONES.
"Mhysa" asks us to reconsider the concept of family, which has been so central to GAME OF THRONES.
When bad things happen to imaginary people: some thoughts on storytelling, sympathy, and "The Rains of Castamere."
As we discuss "philosophical differences," we learn it's not just the what of something that matters: it's also the why.
"The Bear and the Maiden Fair" is mostly about sex, but—as Freud may well have said—sometimes a bear is just a bear.
GAME OF THRONES is no fairy tale. If we think this has a happy ending, we really haven't been paying attention.
The peaks and valleys are a large part of the appeal of GAME OF THRONES, and the highs would not seem so high, or the lows so low, if the emotional beats weren't completely earned.
My perspicacious analysis of this episode can be summed up thusly: "HOLY FUCKING SHIT THAT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME."
I take a little break from analysis, and approach "Walk of Punishment" as an excuse for some general appreciation and a long overdue geek-out. Because DAMN this show is good.
Houses have fallen, families are scattered, and the old order changeth: so what will happen to all these orphans of the storm?
Welcome back to GAME OF THRONES, and brace yourself. All men must serve…and all men must die.
Horseshit is the foundation, glue, and currency of this entire society. For all the talk about honor in the Seven Kingdoms, it's lies that have the power to form alliances, grant kingships, topple lords, and move entire armies into battle.
As the penultimate episode of Season Two of GAME OF THRONES, "Blackwater" doesn't just meet expectations: it blows them out of the water.
Life is nasty, brutish, and short on Game of Thrones, so who could begrudge characters acting from the heart?
"A Man Without Honor" is an interlude, of sorts, but it's the kind of interlude that lends color and depth to this entire season of GAME OF THRONES.
Animals have always been important symbols on GAME OF THRONES, and now, as the walls of civilization crumble, the wild things that live within us all are refusing to be tamed.
We're one king down, and those remaining may find that their power depends less on strength and more on the loyalty they are able to inspire.
Some people are born evil, some become evil, and some—if they're not careful—may go through life with the best of intentions but still leave evil in their wake.
"What is Dead May Never Die" focuses on men who do not quite fit this society's harsh definition of manhood, as we see them fight to hold onto their hearts in a culture where a heart is largely seen as a weakness.
"The Night Lands" is largely about the role of women in this male-dominated world.
The old gods are burning, and there's a king in every corner. Welcome back to GAME OF THRONES. We've got a lot to talk about.
"Fire and Blood," the 2011 finale of GAME OF THRONES, gives us a brutal dividing line between the prologue of history and an uncertain future.
Given a choice between love and honor, wouldn't we pick love every time? And, by that logic, can something be dishonorable and still be right?
The slender threads that held this world together have all snapped, and Westeros is quickly falling back into chaos.
As we learn this week on Game of Thrones, all politics is personal.
"A Golden Crown" is all about justice; it's filled with characters all protesting, "It's not fair!" But justice, as we see this week, is very much a work-in-progress in GAME OF THRONES.
Of all the shows that could feature a guy getting a knife through the eyeball, a bludgeoning dwarf, a breast-feeding 7-year-old, a spontaneous equine decapitation, and a discussion of the economics of cadaver fucking, GAME OF THRONES has definitely become my favorite.
In such a heavily structured society as that of Westeros, what happens to the outcasts, the cast-offs, the people who just don't fit?
I needed a new television addiction like I needed an ice-cold broadsword up the ass.