Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Jon VIII, ASOS

“We should have twenty trebuchets, not two, and they should be mounted on sledges and turntables so we could move them. It was a futile thought. He might as well wish for another thousand men, and maybe a dragon or three.”

Synopsis: Mance Rayder throws his army against the Wall, Jon ascends to command, and two giants fight to the death.

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.

Non-ASOIAF Content: Alan Moore is Wrong About Fascism and Superheroes

Today, I got a fascinating Tumblr ask that really captured my imagination:

Anonymous asked:

Kinda of random but what do you think of Alan’s Moore comments about people liking comic book movies could lead into fascism? Seems like bitter old man territory but what do you think?

This question sparked a full-blown essay about Alan Moore’s conception of the superhero and of fascism, which I’m posting below the cut. Enjoy!

Race for the Iron Throne Update

So it’s never easy to explain why you straight-up disappeared for nine months and stopped writing a long-time project. The complicated and ultimately rather human answer is that my life got very hectic and I found myself getting squeezed when it came to both free time to do writing and available emotional/intellectual energy to motivate me to keep going with these rather complicated essays. Over the summer and during the fall, a big part of this had to do with being assigned a new course at work on a subject that I thought was important enough for me to do a lot of research into in order to teach a high quality course. I was still writing, but I was writing about urban demographics and immigration rather than Westeros.

Over the winter, however, I started to experience a series of lung issues that landed me in the hospital a couple of times. This kind of health stuff can really have a certain shrinking effect, where your life turns inwards in trying to get your body under control, and during this period I have to admit that, while I was still answering ASOIAF asks on my Tumblr page, I had sort of “lost my place” when it came to where I was in A Storm of Swords.

HOWEVER! This is not a post that’s just woe-is-me, I-can’t-produce-content. Instead, I’ve decided to take advantage of the fact that I’m not teaching this semester to restart writing chapter-by-chapter essays. After all, I need to do something to keep my creative and intellectual life active for several months since I’m temporarily unemployed and otherwise have nothing going on.

The next chapter in ASOS is Jon VIII. We’ve just experienced the emotional climax of the battle for castle black with the death of Ygritte, but rather than proceeding to the falling action/denouement, things unexpectedly accelerate because the assault from the south was just one of Mance Rayder’s shaping actions – it’s now time for the main assault to begin, and pretty soon Jon Snow is going to be the only thing holding the Night’s Watch together.

This should be fun.

Non-ASOIAF Content: Guest Appearance on Cerebrocast

Hello folks! I’ve been silent on the blog for several months – I have a more extensive update about what’s been going on in my life that put a nine-month hold on Race for the Iron Throne’s chapter-by-chapter essays coming out soon – but I haven’t been entirely idle.

Most recently, I did a guest appearance on one of my favorite podcasts, Cerebrocast. Building off some of the writing that I’ve done as part of the People’s History of the Marvel Universe, Connor and I had an amazing, almost five hour discussion of Sebastian Shaw, the villainous mutant billionaire leader of the Hellfire Club.

Check it out!

Non-ASOIAF Content: Talking Venture Bros with Elana at Graphic Policy Radio

Hey folks, first of all I owe you an update: I haven’t been working on the blog for a couple months now because I’ve been handed a new class for the Fall Semester, so I’ve been a bit frantically busy assembling readings, reading the readings, and writing lectures. I’ve put together a bit of a buffer so that I shouldn’t be scrambling from week to week, which should mean that I can start working on the blog again soon.

In the mean time, I managed to do another Venture Bros podcast with my friend and colleague Elana Levin. This episode, we’re covering the Season 1 finale, “Return to Spider-Skull Island!”


Non-ASOIAF Content: People’s History of the Marvel Universe, Week 20: The (Mutant) Registration Act(s)

In his sixteen-year tenure of the X-line, Chris Claremont put his own spin on the mutant metaphor any number of ways, but one of the longest-lasting and most influential has been the idea of a Mutant Registration Act. In the original Days of Future Past storyline, Claremont first mentions the Mutant Control Act passed by a “rabid anti-mutant candidate…elected president,” as a reaction to the assassination of Senator Robert Kelly.

RFTIT Tumblr Weeklyish Roundup

Hey folks! So with Davos VI done, I’m taking a bit of time off to go on vacation for a week or so. To keep you company in the mean-time before I get back to the grind with Jon VIII, we’ve got some good stuff on the Tumblrs.



Patron Questions:

  • Was Aegon the Conqueror’s greatest mistake the invasion of Dorne, not incorporating the Riverlands into the Crownlands desmene, not turning over the social order of the Iron Islands, or something else entirely?
    • By order of magnitude, the invasion of Dorne.
  • Who do you think is the Blackfyre sympathizer among Rowan or Tarly? I’m inclined to think it will be both of them, and Tarly might quite literally stab Mace Tyrell in the back.
    • Probably Tarly.
  • Do you think Daenerys will go straight into war with fAegon once he takes the Iron Throne, or do you think something else will finally push it over, like him mounting Viserion instead of Rhaegal?
    • I think it’s inevitable once he takes the Iron Throne and offers to take her as his second wife.
  • What are your thoughts on the new Batman film?
    • I liked it, but I thought it was about the last “dark and gritty reboot” of Batman that I’m going to want to see for a while.
  • What are your thoughts on the thematic overlaps and character parallels between Elden Ring and ASOIF? I find it really interesting how GRRM reused character archetypes in extremely exaggerated forms, like how Morgott is in essence Stannis turned up to 11. Or how the Dung Eater comes off like what would happen if Ramsay and Euron did a fusion dance.
    • I haven’t really played or watched much Elden Ring, tbh, so I don’t know how much GRRM’s influence really affected the game.

Chapter-by-Chapter Analysis: Davos VI, ASOS

“Do you mock me to my face? Must I learn a king’s duty from an onion smuggler?”

Synopsis: Davos engages in a pivotal act of smuggling, and then reads out a letter.

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.

Non-ASOIAF Content: People’s History of the Marvel Universe, Week 19

As discussed last time, starting in Captain America and the Falcon #120, various Marvel writers[1] made a good deal of use out of the Falcon’s secret identity as Sam Wilson, social worker – Stan Lee used it as a vehicle for stories about youth problems, organized crime, and urban unrest (albeit ones that ended with costumed superheroes getting into punch-ups with similarly-attired supervillains), while Steve Englehart and Alan Weiss used it as a pretext to have Captain America and the Falcon investigate abuse in America’s prisons and encounter the Queen of the Werewolves.[2]

Non-ASOIAF Content: Talking People’s History of the Marvel Universe with Elana at Graphic Policy Radio

As long-time readers know, I write an essay series over at Graphic Policy where I look at the intersection of history, politics, and pop culture in the Marvel Universe. Recently, I sat down with my friend Elana over at Graphic Policy Radio to talk about the series – past, present, and future – and it was a really fun conversation.

Take a listen!

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