In Preparing for the Pod we give you a rundown of how to best prepare for our next podcast episode. If we're discussing a television show or film we'll tell you how you can watch, and what exactly to watch if you're looking for ideas.
Ben Wyatt (the Parks and Recreation character) probably describes the phenomenon that is the bloody, dense fantasy series Game of Thrones best.
"It's a crossover hit."
Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire is an intersection of a lot of exciting things: a fantasy world that isn't just dominated by only dudes and one token princess or elf witch; morally complex characters that are constantly reacting to life-or-death situations; a vast mythology/background story that spans an entire continent and centuries; and plenty of good old fashioned incest.
Whether you read the engrossing novels or watch the "it's not TV, it's" HBO show you'll find yourself deep within a story so rich with conflict, characters, intrigue, and detail when you meet other fans you'll spend an hour on Sansa's storyline alone. The books and the show aren't vastly different (yet), but they do diverge in many huge ways, so it can be fun to enjoy both.
The television show is still only (*whispers "legally"*) available on HBO Go, HBO Now, DVD's, and on HBO itself. HBO has got that struggle for the Iron Throne on lockdown. Except they don't. You can probably find other (*whispers "illegal"*) ways to watch it if you don't want to roll your eyes every time you have to sit through previews for Real Time with Bill Maher.
The books are books. Go to a damn library. Or, better yet, just check out the wikis! There are two dedicated Wikis that will just fill you in bluntly about all the weird book shit the show doesn't mess with -- like that freaky jester who hangs out with Shireen and eerily predicts the Red Wedding via riddle or the fact that Arya's direwolf has been spotted a few times gathering a god damn army of wolves in the forests of Westeros (GIVE UP THE CGI OF THOSE STUPID DRAGONS FOR LIKE ONE EPISODE AND PUT THIS IN THE SHOW ALREADY, PLEASE). Man... I'm so glad I read those wikis.
It's hard to get "basic" when it comes to Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire. They are both totally serialized and everything is super intricate. Sometimes the show can feel a bit like a college course -- there are many times I find myself having trouble recalling a fringe character's name ("wait, which one is becoming one of those creepy trees? Bran or Braun?") -- but it's worth it.
If you're not entirely sure if the show is right for you or you haven't watched it in a while and need to get back into the spirit before you commit yourself to watching yet another character you loved die then feast your eyes on this trailer for the second season of the show. It perfectly captures the mood of the series by focusing on its vivid, fully realized cinematic shots and dramatic moments as eloquent quotes about power and conflict said by the major characters play against a haunting Florence + Machine song.
This trailer also quickly reminds you of the key players in the game. It can be easy to forget all the whacky stuff Arya has done and been through, so it's always good to recap or refresh. Game of Thrones is a mega-hit, so if you're worried you need a refresher and you don't want to sit through 40 hours again check out comedian Jonathan van Ness's hilarious Funny or Die Game of Thrones recap series Gay of Thrones. Leave the recalling what happened to him.
Fred Saez is an artist soon-to-be based in Tokyo, Japan. Fred is also a huge fan of Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire.
Fred recalls the fight between Oberyn and The Mountain as a slightly scarring moment in his fan history. It's the fight that will devastate you if you don't know the results going into it, and poor Fred was in the middle of a work shift when he came upon the bloody battle in the books.
Jordan Dooms is a romance/horror fiction writer based in Wichita, Kansas. Jordan is also a huge fan of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones.
One of the draws to A Song of Ice and Fire for Jordan was the incest and passion. As a fan of gothic romance it shouldn't be surprising that Jordan would find incest to be a welcome intrigue in a wide-spanning story. And who doesn't love the weird sexuality of everybody's favorite freaky twins? Cersei and Jaime's weird romance is actually kind of the catalyst for all of the events of the show anyway, right? You know you love it.
Supplement these plot points with any episodes of the show or any chapters of the book you want (and don't forget those Wikis!). This is another huge series with lots of plates spinning, so if you're having trouble spend some time with your favorite characters. Hate Jon Snow's boring escapades in what-appears-to-be the dirty North Pole? Skip 'em. Love Hot Pie's weird dreams of being a baker? Then go find all those Hot Pie moments and relive all the glory, you big goof.