Hymn Cover

Political Analysis of HBO Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 1


So…this was supposed to be published elsewhere, and wasn’t, so here you go!

Game of Thrones Recap, Season 5 Episode 1: Regime Change

The first episode of any season of Game of Thrones can be a difficult endeavor, with so much to set out so that the audience understands where everyone is, what they’re up to, and what issues they’ll be dealing with this season. Without a through-line, the result can feel disconnected or lacking in momentum. Luckily, “The Wars to Come” has a great through-line to guide us through the episode and set up the major storylines for Season 5: regime change.

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Progress Update

Hey folks, since it’s been a few days since the last update, I thought I’d put this up to let people know what I’ve been up to. Over the last week, I’ve been primarily writing a series of essays that haven’t seen the light yet – I wrote a bonus essay about the history of the smallfolk that’s going to go in Hymn for Spring, and I’ve been writing two essays that update the Hands of the King and Hollow Crowns series for the upcoming “Analyzing” e-book. Needless to say, it’s taken a little bit longer for me to finish these than I had originally thought, which has slowed down the chapter analyses a little bit. I have the next two chapters outlined, so those are going to return to schedule shortly. I’m also working on some Game of Thrones recap stuff that I’m hoping to put up shortly.


In other news, I’ve also shaved off some free time this weekend to play through Telltale’s Game of Thrones – I’m going to start from Episode 1, set up some decisions a bit better now that I have a sense of how they open or close various options, and go from there.

“Video” Podcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 5 Episode 1, “The Wars to Come”

Game of Throne is back, and so are we! Although in our case, it wasn’t a year-long wait.





Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Sansa III, ACOK


“What is the meaning of this?”

Synopsis: Sansa is summoned to Joffrey to answer for her complicity in the Battle of Oxcross. Despite the best efforts of Sandor and Ser Dontos, Sansa is beaten in front of the court before Tyrion intervenes.

SPOILER WARNING: This chapter analysis, and all following, will contain spoilers for all Song of Ice and Fire novels and Game of Thrones episodes. Caveat lector.

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Guest Appearance on History of Westeros Podcast!

I’m very happy to finally announce that I’ll be doing some guest appearances on the excellent History of Westeros podcast, covering the First Blackfyre Rebellion. The first episode covered the reign of Aegon IV and how his actions as king set up many of the causes of the war. In this episode, Aziz and I cover the reign of Daeron I and the ways in which his policies regarding Dorne, the reform of the government, and his newly legitimized half-brothers also contributed to the outbreak of war:

If you want the full experience, you should probably be reading the Blacks and Reds series as you watch these.

“Video” Podcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 10, “Valar Morghulis”

And we’re back!



With this episode, Scott and I have come to the end of our Season 2 coverage, and indeed of our backlog of Game of Thrones materials. We should be beginning our coverage of Season 5 quite soon, but going forward we’ll have to find something new to talk about in the off-season.

Guest Appearance on Unspoiled, Episode 379!

And we’re back!


This time, Natasha, Miles, and I are discussing the North, and how the Starks conquered it. Unfortunately, this is my last episode on Unspoiled for a while, as Unspoiled is about to shift over to covering the show and I’m already booked for more podcasts with Scott. However, I will be back after Season 5 is over to continue going through WOIAF.

Quick Analysis of new TWOW excerpt, “Alayne”


A new Sansa Alayne chapter is up on GRRM’s website. Analysis under the cut

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A Hymn for Spring: Preorders Have Arrived!

Some news from Marc Kleinhenz:

Hymn Cover

No, this is no April Fool’s joke – at long last, Tower of the Hand: A Hymn for Spring is **currently up at Amazon** for pre-orders.

Our first ebook, A Flight of Sorrows, was an anthology jam-packed with insightful analysis of the Song of Ice and Fire series, but it only barely scratched the surface of the huge and complex world that George R.R. Martin has created.

Furthermore, with Sorrows only being our first release, we learned a lot from the experience. We’ve listened to all the feedback – both internal and external – and brought it all to bear on Spring, which has helped to make it the most comprehensive exploration of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros yet.

Here’s how:

  • For A Flight of Sorrows, each author was asked to contribute 3,000 words; for A Hymn for Spring, that minimum has been bumped up to 7,000. This means, of course, that the new anthology is more than twice the size of its predecessor.
  • While half of the writers are returning, the other four are brand-new – an effort to help provide fresh perspectives on the well-trodden elements of the Song of Ice and Fire universe while also delivering original insights.
  • The 11 essays touch upon all the newly published Ice and Fire material, including The Princess and the Queen, The Rogue Prince, and The World of Ice and Fire.

The single biggest difference, however, was a simple challenge that I personally issued to each and every one of the authors: when a reader finishes each chapter of the book, she should have a profoundly different perspective on the source material, whether it be looking at a character in an entirely new light or overturning previously-sacrosanct beliefs regarding Martin and how he handles his narrative (much like how Miles Schneiderman did with the “death” of Jon Snow in Sorrows).

This anthology, I’m happy to say, nails the challenge. Steven Attewell, the mastermind behind Race for the Iron Throne, corrects the mistaken belief that the more ruthless players in the game of thrones end up being the winners. Jeff Hartline, the founder of Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire, fundamentally changes the reader’s understanding of King Stannis Baratheon. And Amin Javadi, one of the co-hosts of A Podcast of Ice and Fire, ensures that the role of both songs and singers will never be looked at the same way again.

There is, of course, lots more, including the most authoritative histories yet devised in either academic or fan circles: Aziz and Ashaya from the History of Westeros podcast delve into Harrenhal, while our very own Jim McGeehin does so with Robert’s Rebellion. ASOIAF superstar Stefan Sasse touches upon a myriad of topics, including the debilitating effects of both patriarchy and civil war on Westerosi society, while the TOTH co-founders expand the focus to include other sources beyond the text – Alexander Smith considers how HBO’s Game of Thrones both improves and degrades Martin’s original story, and John Jasmin looks to traditional, tabletop games to help predict the success of all those who play the game of thrones.

Finally, there are several bonus features that are currently being planned, ranging from additional essays (from an even wider selection of authors) to sneak previews at the next big projects from the TOTH editors. (Trust me when I say that you won’t want to miss seeing how at least one of them is going to tie back into the main site here, completely for free for all our wonderfully dedicated readers.)

Tower of the Hand: A Hymn for Spring is available now for pre-orders. The ebook will release later this month, exclusively at Amazon, for $7.99. A print version will follow sometime at the end of this year.

In the meantime, be sure to check out our full-length sample here.

“Video” Podcast of HBO’s Game of Thrones, Season 2 Episode 9, “Blackwater”

Here it is, folks, the big episode you’ve all been waiting for:




Last episode of Season 2 on Friday!


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