Season Premiere: Game of Thrones – “The Wars To Come”


“The Wars To Come”

April 12, 2015

Over the past four seasons, I’ve very much enjoyed writing about Game of Thrones here at Cultural Learnings, and have been privileged to have a wide audience for those reviews. The subsequent conversations have been among my most rewarding, and I want to thank everyone who has read, commented, or otherwise engaged with my reviews during that period.

However, I was given the opportunity to take over from my friend and former colleague Emily VanDerWerff writing the “Experts” reviews for The A.V. Club, and therefore there will be no more reviews here at Cultural Learnings. It also means that if you are someone who has not read the books, these reviews may potentially be something you do not want to read—while they will not explicitly spoil future events, they are written for those who know what’s coming, and may occasionally make references to foreshadowing and other forward-looking developments. I apologize for this, but it’s a byproduct of the opportunity.

However, given that the comments can be a bit more fast and furious over there, I will be posting a link to the review each week, and I encourage anyone with any specific questions or comments to leave them here, and I’m happy to create a side dialogue if anyone desires it. Thanks for reading, and hopefully you’ll still find something of value in the new reviews in the new location.

Game of Thrones (experts): “The Wars To Come”

“We have reached a stage where reader and non-reader are closer than ever before. Each group comes to the text with similar levels of expectation, shaped by their respective understandings of this world and its characters. Readers, admittedly, still come with expectations that are based on what unfolds in the novels past this point, but those expectations have been destabilized such that some of them hold no clear authority over the expectations that non-readers have developed on their own. Where once readers had lengthy emotional connections to the text that outstripped those only recently encountering the story, non-readers may now have been diehard fans for four years, growing in number as the show evolved into a mainstream phenomenon. And while there are more readers than ever before (I certainly didn’t use to see people reading the books on public transit before it premiered), they’re a different kind of reader, one for whom the show was likely the entry point.”


Filed under Game of Thrones

4 responses to “Season Premiere: Game of Thrones – “The Wars To Come”

  1. It’ll be interesting to see how the show deviates from the books. Bring on S5!

  2. Al

    Best and most comprehensive observation of anyone who writes about the show. Love reading these reviews.
    As to the Ironborn. So why have they doggedly inserted Yara(Asha) in seasons 3 and 4? If IMDB is to be believed Gemma Whelan is back for episodes at the end of the season.
    From the ‘leaked’ chapters of Winds there is the indication the Ironborn are a ‘broad stroke’ in the story. So do some of the rest show up in season 6?
    For that matter what’s Theon and Asha (Yara)’s story purpose in the books (show?) going forward?

  3. Nilan

    Would you mind creating new entries here with a link to your A.V Club review as they come out?

  4. Boojam

    So Myles

    From ET March 25 (Yeah that’s Hibberd):

    “People will complain about things because they don’t know what’s coming up ahead,” Benioff said. “ ‘Why haven’t we seen this guy?’ And I think it will be easier once everything is out and it’s 70 hours. Not that people shouldn’t complain—that’s why God invented the Internet—but I think we’d be better able to have that argument later. Sometimes we’re going in a different order or telling a different story. We think the story will all make sense at the end. Otherwise it will be eight wasted years.”

    So Mance seems Really Gone, so at the end of the whole series (be that 7, 7.5 (Benioff recently), or 8, or god-knows-what) all will make sense, I guess!
    A couple of speculations:
    Mance does not make it out of Winds of Winter , say, he is not even a player beyond chapter 10 , dies at Winterfell , so not an end game player.
    (The same would be true of any ‘core’ character who is in the ASoIaF story. We now get echo-back plot developments , just placing character elimination at an earlier time.)
    Conspiracy theory… George fearing spoilers ruining sales, has an agreement with Dave and Dan that they go forward with , not the Butterfly Effect, but the Square Wave.
    In other words we are getting Not-Spoilers (or is that Null-Spoilers?). Readers will buy the books to find out what happens prose-wise.
    See the ending will be the same but with a different or shall we say augmented (or will it be decimated?) cast of characters.

    So which ever is true would you buy Winds and Dream of Spring?
    Seems to me enough of Feast and Dance will be done in S5 so that if Winds comes out before S6 , which I expect, sales will be good.
    It’s gonna be queer to read Winds as a parallel universe compared to the show GoT! Which is a different parallel universe!

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