Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

In Defense of Otto Hightower

Posted: September 10, 2022 by patricksponaugle in Game of Thrones, TV
Tags: , ,

So, here’s some background. After the third episode of House of the Dragon, I felt some sympathy for Otto Hightower, and as a joke I tweeted (as one does…)

New Draft: In Defense of Otto Hightower

People got so crazy about that, it was clear that I had just committed myself to writing an Otto Hightower defense.

The good folks at Watchers on the Wall did not deny me when I suggested this as a feature article, and the die was cast.

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House of the Dragon, HBO’s next series set in George RR Martin’s Seven Kingdoms (more or less Seven) is now airing, and I’ve been fortunate enough to resume my role as occasional contributor to the Game of Thrones-centric fansite Watchers on the Wall.

The second episode featured the crown’s heir-designate Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, tasked to choose a replacement Kingsguard, to fill in an absence. I felt that this was a good opportunity to talk about the institution of the Kingsguard. Look, this might sound dull, but I’m a funny writer. My dad will back me up.

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Daemon Targaryen: You are all cursed with me.
Viserys Targaryen: OR NOT!
Daemon: (Somehow, still cursed. Trust me.)

Hey, with House of the Dragon, the prequel/successor series to HBO’s Game of Thrones airing, I re-started my avocation of writing articles about the show for Watchers on the Wall, the Game of Thrones fan site.

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HBO, roughly a month before the new show House of the Dragon is set to premiere, released a final trailer for the show. They’ve previously released two teaser trailers and a series of character photos. Because my dad has read the A Song of Ice and Fire books and seen the Game of Thrones adaptation on HBO, but has not read Fire and Blood – the Targaryen history – to provide him baseline context for the upcoming show, I’ve been making non-spoilery (or, very light-spoilery) posts that focused on the trailers.

This is one of those posts. It’s long, because the trailer had close to 100 shots to present and talk about.

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Wow, the titles are getting long on these posts.

HBO once again released a trailer for their upcoming House of the Dragon show, a series that takes place roughly 150-170 years before the time period of Game of Thrones. (I’m giving myself a fudge on the dates because there are two different time periods that will be shown. AT LEAST two different time periods. Since we have two different actors playing younger and older versions of two of the characters.) I covered the previous trailer and the series of cast photos that was released a few months ago here on the blog, specifically designed for my dad.

My dad has read the main series books – A Song of Ice and Fire, but has not read the Targaryen history volume Fire and Blood (part 1 – there is no part 2 yet) that House of the Dragon is drawing on. So I’ve been wanting to provide him with some casual context. Mostly non-spoilery, I just want him to be familiar with the cast of characters, and some background info that will probably be appropriately communicated via the show, but one never knows about these things. Anyway, this is for you, Dad, but if anyone else is reading this, hey there.

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Woohoo! HBO saw fit to announce the date of House of the Dragon‘s first episode (it’ll be August 21st, 2022.) Right now is the time where Game of Thrones seasons would typically air (right around the end of March, beginning of April) so getting more Westeros content at this time, even if it was just photos, was still welcome.

Back when the first (and at the moment, only) trailer came out for House of the Dragon, I wrote up an explainer breakdown for my dad, who has read the main series books but is not too familiar with the setting of the Targaryen Civil War. I wrote it up to be more or less spoiler-free, but to give some context for him. (I’m very pleased that my dad watches the shows and has read the main books, it makes for fun conversation.)

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HBO has released a teaser trailer for their upcoming fantasy show House of the Dragon, taking place in the same universe as their hit show Game of Thrones. It’s the first of several potential prequel series in the world of Westeros. Nearly everyone and their relations have already scrambled to put out trailer breakdowns via YouTube videos or podcasts or whatever. That’s cool. But I wanted to do one, specifically for my dad.

Sometime after Game of Thrones first aired, I got my dad a copy of the first book – A Game of Thrones – as a Father’s Day gift. My dad likes to read, and we’ve had good experiences talking about books we’ve read in common. (I got my dad to read science fiction books when I was a teen – he probably wanted to figure out some way to have a conversation with me – and that has carried on through my adult life.)

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The 2020 quarantine time has encouraged a lot of TV binge-watching, with people either catching up on shows they’ve never seen or getting a chance to re-watch some old beloved shows. My wife started listening to Joel McHale and Ken Jeong’s podcast The Darkest Timeline, which is a blend of medical info, observations on the dystopia we’re currently in, and nostalgia for the television series Community. My wife and I started re-watching Community, and to our delight, the cast reunited recently for a table read of one of the season 5 episodes.

One of the hallmarks of Community was its meta-referentiality. Although not necessarily a rule, episodes would often be constructed on pop cultural properties: nods to The Right Stuff, Star Wars, Spaghetti Westerns, Mafia movies, zombie outbreaks, all can be found in exemplary episodes of Community. The show was excellent at adapting pop culture for engaging storylines about seven study group misfits at Greendale community college.

Coincidentally, one year ago Game of Thrones had its finale. The bulk of my blogging career hobby has been writing about Game of Thrones (or the source material, A Song of Ice and Fire) and when I get a reason to write about Game of Thrones, I do. Even if the reason is extremely thin. Bear with me. Also, spoilers for Community will be in this post. If you haven’t seen the show, reconsider reading further. I must emphasize that you would be much better served to stop reading this and watch Community. All of Community. Even Season 4.

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Game of Thrones is over, but that shouldn’t stop us from talking about the show or the logical consequences of what might happen going forward in this fictional universe. Particularly in regards to politics, because the political situation in Westeros was a topic that we could all (mostly) discuss with our family at Thanksgiving, without fear of being written out of the will or something.

Arya: Cowards! Challenge your Republican relatives to Trial by Combat!

The final storyline in the show, after Season 8 dealt with the White Walkers (Arya took care of business by stabbing the icy Night King), dealt with the treacherous Lannisters (Daenerys Targaryen brought the Red Keep down on Cersei and Jaime Lannister), dealt with a Daenerys who was tired-of-not-being-taken-seriously (Jon Snow took her seriously and pulled an Arya on her), was the show dealing with the question of who would be on the Iron Throne at the end.

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While Game of Thrones was on the air, I was fortunate enough to write about the show over on the excellent show-centric website Watchers on the Wall. But, even though the show has concluded, there are still books due to be published. Over on the WotW site, I have a new feature that largely involves book speculation. Sort of.

In the post, I speculate that Bran Stark’s book storyline might act as a reference to the failed ambitions of his grace, King Stannis Baratheon.

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