Sunday, May 15, 2016

After the Thrones (Spoilers Season 6)


Trying to expand upon the possibilities of its huge audience for Game of Thrones, HBO has started a new Monday night (the night after GoT) program, After the Thrones, which has the look and feel of a curiously literate after-game show on ESPN. Had they called it After Game of Thrones, it would have looked even more like a post-game show. Co-hosts Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan review, analyze, and admire the show we all saw the night before with the same incisiveness of TV's keenest football analyst-commentators.

The lively, often funny, and sporty feel is no accident because Greenwald and Ryan both come out of a sports and pop-culture blog called Grantland, which was operated by ESPN. The site is now an archive because ESPN canned the project, but there is a lot of good writing here, among it, the reviews written by Greenwald. Ryan, who was also an editor and writer there, seems to have left before the site was moth-balled, so his name and mini-bio is not on the masthead (and deeper research is beyond the scope of this blog and left as an exercise for the NSA).

In about the last third of the program Mallory Rubin, also a former Grantland contributor, joins the co-hosts, and she not only gives a nod to what Greenwald and Ryan have had to say so far, but she adds some keen insights of her own. Personally, I would like to see Rubin on the panel from start to finish. Three may be a crowd, but she brings something uniquely her own and provides a fresh counterpoint. Her insights on the rise of powerful women in Season 6 were particularly insightful—she specifically mentioned Lady Brienne's new alliance with Sansa Stark in the north, and Ellaria Sand's coup in Dorne. Rubin also has an almost scholarly background in the books, and that information provides an interesting counterpoint, particularly as the HBO's television production, having exhausted the books, is marching bravely ahead with its own plot line (even as George R.R. Martin is set to publish a sixth volume, and the series may reach eight before he's done). Here is Mallory talking about how it feels to see the Tower of Joy twenty years after she first read about it in the books:

BOOKS ON SALE

The collection of my poems, Counting Stars at Forty Below, will be substantially discounted between 13 and 20 May. The discount will be best on the 13th. Each day afterwards the price takes a small step back toward the original price, which it will reach on the 20th or 21st. If you like the poems I've been publishing on my Monday blogs, now is your chance to seize the book for a good price.