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A Complete Guide To The Mythical History Of Westeros

Long before the events of Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin’s fantasy books, Westeros was home to magic and strange, sinister creatures. We’ve only just started to glimpse this backstory on the show, but the books contain lots of hints. Here’s our complete guide to the fantastical past of this grim world. » 6/09/15 3:55pm 6/09/15 3:55pm

On Game Of Thrones, Remaining True To Yourself Is The Worst Lie Of All

A few characters face terrible choices in this week’s Game of Thrones. They pretty much all choose expediency over principle. In the midst of all this, one character says these choices should be easy as long as you remain true to yourself. But that’s the most insidious lie of all. Spoilers ahead... » 6/08/15 12:46pm 6/08/15 12:46pm

On Game Of Thrones, Recruiting Followers Is Hard...Unless You're A Wight

Last night’s Game of Thrones was a welcome return to form. It was also a weirdly structured episode: Half a series of vignettes about faith and learning to read people, and half a rip-roaring apocalyptic action movie. But it was all tied together by the contrast between single-minded zombies and undependable humans. » 6/01/15 12:01pm 6/01/15 12:01pm

Last Night’s Game Of Thrones Was Actually Pretty Hard To Watch

Two different groups of scary fanatics went on a rampage in the latest Game of Thrones episode, and it was pretty upsetting to watch, even by Thrones standards. The Sons of the Harpy and the Sparrows both want to restore old traditions, and they both build on the weaknesses of two very different queens.Spoilers… » 5/04/15 12:17pm 5/04/15 12:17pm

On Game Of Thrones, All The Oath-Breakers Debate The Meaning Of Faith

Many of our favorite Game of Thrones characters have broken sacred vows at this point. Jon Snow slept with a Wildling girl. Cersei made a mockery of her wedding vows. Roose Bolton stabbed his liege lord. But last night, we got to see them solemnly debating the meaning of religion, and what it means to be faithful. » 4/27/15 11:33am 4/27/15 11:33am

On Game Of Thrones, Too Much Loyalty Can Be More Dangerous Than Betrayal

Game of Thrones keeps delving into murkier and murkier territory, as we sift through the ashes of war and the show adapts George R.R. Martin’s most morally ambiguous books. So maybe it’s not a surprise that too much loyalty poses as much danger as betrayal. Spoilers...
» 4/20/15 11:15am 4/20/15 11:15am

On Game Of Thrones, It Turns Out You Win AND You Die

Back in season one of Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister told us that when you play the game of thrones, "you win or you die." But by now, it's become clear to Cersei (and everyone else) that this isn't an either/or proposition. You can win the game, and still be toast. Just ask Tywin Lannister. » 4/13/15 11:51am 4/13/15 11:51am

Trying to Make Game of Thrones Valyrian Steel Sword With Real Materials 

Nothing reigns consistently in HBO’s Game of Thrones (and George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” book series that inspired it) except Valyrian steel, a magical sword material. Valyrian steel is, of course, extremely not real. But materials scientist Ryan Consell took a look at its chemistry anyway. » 4/07/15 10:30am 4/07/15 10:30am

10 Authors Who Wrote Gritty, Realistic Fantasy Before George R.R. Martin


When George R.R. Martin released A Game of Thrones in 1996, he helped to change the game with his grounded approach to fantasy tropes. At the same time, people sometimes talk as though Martin was the first to bring realism to epic fantasy. So here are 10 other authors who were doing "gritty" fantasy before Martin. » 4/01/15 4:30pm 4/01/15 4:30pm

Wow, Game Of Thrones Season 5 Is Even Darker Than We Expected

We kind of assumed this year on Game of Thrones was going to be as bitter and dark as graveyard-shift coffee. After all, it's based on the two ugliest books, A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons. But we saw the season premiere last night, and it's even nastier. Here are our spoiler-free impressions. » 3/24/15 5:09pm 3/24/15 5:09pm

5 Game Of Thrones Book Plots We're Glad The TV Show Is Skipping

The Game of Thrones TV series has been a remarkably faithful adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy series so far, but that will change when season 5 debuts on April 12th. But not every alteration from the books is a bad thing! Here are five storylines from the novels we won't miss at all. » 3/16/15 2:52pm 3/16/15 2:52pm