Toying with expectations: Michael Tucker examines the storytelling of #GameofThrones

Jon Snow at the Battle of the Bastards (image courtesy HBO)

 

With season 7 of Game of Thrones mere nanoseconds away from kicking off – a slight bit of hyperbole but after waiting so long, it does feel like that – Michael Tucker aka Lessons From a Screenplay arrives with a timely look at the way HBO’s ratings juggernauts frames its narratives for maximum effect.

Using the storytelling lessons of Robert McKee’s Story, which says that “a scene is unified around desire, action, conflict and change“, Tucker expertly dissects a number of key scenes from Game of Thrones, including the epic 23 minute long Battle of the Bastards which sees Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), illustrating in the process how this most complex of shows skillfully uses the most simple of narrative devices to powerful effect.

In doing so, he underscores why this show is so successful – it’s not just epic for epic’s sake, a mistake made by many hollow modern blockbusters; rather, it employs great characters in extraordinary situations well-told where there are real issues at stake.

This creates a deep and compelling emotional resonance that invests people in the fate of the characters, and ultimately, the show itself.

But hey don’t take my word for it since Michael Tucker, who you can sponsor via Patreon, does it so much better.

 

Winter is here – and so is a fearsome new Game of Thrones S7 trailer and posters

(image via IMP Awards (c) HBO)

 

SNAPSHOT
At the end of season 6 Daenerys’ (Emilia Clarke) dragons and her immense army were finally on the way to Westeros, where Cersei (Lena Headey) has now become Queen after the death of her children. The Night King’s (Vladimir Furdik in season 6) army is heading south, and a battle appears to be imminent. (via Coming Soon)

Winter is here.

Oh lordy, by the Old Gods of the Forest and the Seven, winter is most definitely, catastrophically here.

And as expected, it is bringing death, destruction and near-apocalyptic menace as the Night King sweeps south with his ghoulish undead army trailing menacingly behind.

As Jon Snow rightly observes in his entreaty to his allies and enemies to come together against their common foe, the White Walkers are the real enemy to worry about, and should they prevail the game of thrones that has sustained the show for the last six seasons, will be exposed as a futile waste of time and energy.

“Don’t fight in the North or the south. Fight every battle everywhere, always, in your mind.” (Ser Petyr Baelish)

That doesn’t mean of course that anyone will likely listen to him, and we can expect a great deal more death and destruction before the truncated seventh season, which runs to seven episodes (though two episodes are 60 minutes plus and the finale is 90 minutes long), runs its blood-stained course.

Game of Thrones premieres its seventh season on 16 July on HBO.

For a far more detailed plot recap, go to Game of Thrones Wiki and for a breakdown of the trailer and what it all means, go here and here.

 

 

Want more posters? Here’s more posters plus you can find the full set here.

 

(image via IMP Awards (c) HBO)

 

(image via IMP Awards (c) HBO)

 

(image via IMP Awards (c) HBO)

 

(image via IMP Awards (c) HBO)

Everybody wants to rule the world: Gloriously good Game of Thrones montage video

(image via Gamespot (c) HBO)
(image via Gamespot (c) HBO)

 

It’s no secret, not after countless books by George R. R. Martin and six seasons of HBO’s watercooler-stomping megahit TV show, that everybody, and I mean everybody, wants to rule to rule the world.

Or in this case, sit upon the Iron Throne and look out upon the Seven Kingdoms and many and varied lands beyond.

We have witnessed this grand ambition played out in many different ways by many different people – the one constant being people died … A LOT – but never have I seen it captured eloquently and artistically, and damn near poetically, as in this montage video by Vine user Winterfell’s Princess.

Using the pitch-perfect cover by Lorde of Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”, first released for the Hunger Games: Catching Fire soundtrack, which is saturated in portentous beats and grand melodic forebodings of doom, the video captures in all its melancholic glory just what it means to reach for power.

Not everyone gets there – haha Ramsey that means you! Never have I been happier to see someone … wait no I danced all over Joffrey’s poisoned corpse so as you were – and even those that do find it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

The video captures all that and more and will hopefully help us to last the long and forbidding distance between now and the middle of 2017.

And no doubt wholly dissuade me from ever launching a quest for the Iron Throne … unless of course Lorde is scoring it in which case I may to reconsider that decision.

(source: IO9)

 

“Oh the Places it’ll Snow”: Game of Thrones gets a whimsical Dr Seuss touch

(image via C|net (c) Alex Cohen)
(image via C|net (c) Alex Cohen)

 

Oh the weather outside is frightful
Adn the White Walkers are not delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It (Jon) Snow! Let It (Jon) Snow! Let It (Jon) Snow!

Granted those lyrics are from the famous song by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne, “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!” but they go to illustrate just how very differently we view winter (for the most part) to the residents of Westeros who see the impending. or not-so-impending arrival of winter, given we’re neck deep in a freezing season 6 of HBO’s monster (literally) hit of a show, as something to be feared not welcomed.

After all it lasts for a really, REALLY long time, and with it comes hardship, deprivation and snowy zombies known as White Walkers who mean to have this wintery world for themselves.

Sounds pretty scary right?

Well yes, but in the hands of illustrator Alex Cohen, whose books Oh, the Places It’ll Snow lends a whimsical, jaunty Dr Seussian air to winter’s arrival in the Seven Kingdoms, it isn’t as scary.

At the very least, its playful and it rhymes, and it features the adventures of one Jon Snow – current state of actual deadness TBA – and his faithful direworld Ghost as they venture out into the tumultuous lands around them.

 

(image via C|net (c) Alex Cohen)
(image via C|net (c) Alex Cohen)

 

But that’s not to say, as Bonnie Burton observes in her c|net article, that everything is absolutely hunky dory since this is, you know, George R. R. Martin’s tale of rivalry, power and bloodlust.

“Needless to say, just as in the Game of Thrones TV series, this book parody also shows many deaths and the Dying Place.”

But not to worry there is “also a very uplifting message about flying dragons.”

And oh not-so-uplifting tales of White Walkers but hey when you talk about them poetically they seem almost fun and quirky right?

OK, not so much? Right then, moving on.

If you would like to join Jon Snow and Ghost on their playfully poetic trip through Westeros, you can read the full story of Alex Cohen’s fan-made book at Imgur.

And wish that somewhere someone would make this into a real book, hold the zombie-filled winter please.

Songs for all seasons: Watch Peter Dinklage + Coldplay in special Game of Thrones the Musical clip

Peter Dinklage belts out a a Coldplay-crafted tune for the first ever US Red Nose Day LIve Benefit Show on NBC, confirming he is "Still Going Strong" (image via YouTube (c) NBC)
Peter Dinklage belts out a a Coldplay-crafted tune for the first ever US Red Nose Day LIve Benefit Show on NBC, confirming he is “Still Going Strong” (image via YouTube (c) NBC)

 

*THERE ARE GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS AHEAD … BORNE ON SINGING DRAGONS WINGS*

What the world needs now is … love, sweet love?

No citizens of Westeros, and further abroad, what the world needs RIGHT NOW is Game of Thrones the Musical … or at least one song from it, created by Coldplay and sung by Peter Dinklage, who plays the urbane, crafty and utterly charismatic Tyrion Lannister on HBO’s watercooler-busting epic series Game of Thrones.

Released to mark the first ever Red Nose Day in USA, a campaign “dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh” – In Australia, it’s dedicated to raising awareness of, and money for the fight against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or SIDS – the song is part of NBC’s massive live benefit show on the day and is, according to Cnet, part of a swathe of Game of Thrones singalong-ableness (totally a word):

“Dinklage’s song is just one of the many Game of Thrones tunes that will be featured on the show, part of a series NBC is calling Game of Thrones: The Musical. The musical will feature several other Game of Thrones cast members singing the tales of Westeros and Essos with Coldplay”

Is there nothing that this amazing show and cast, especially Dinklage who can really a tune, cannot do?

I say no, and after listening to the song, it’s doubtful you’ll disagree.

Winter may indeed be coming but still, you’ll have this tune to sing along to so it won’t be all that bad.

 

 

 

 

Goodnight Westeros: The world’s most entertainingly bloodthirsty bedtime story

(image via YouTube (c) Mashable's Watercooler)
(image via YouTube (c) Mashable’s Watercooler)

 

Who, as a child, didn’t love a lovely relaxing bedtime story right before you went off to join the Sandman in the Land of Nod?

(A scary guy in himself, the very idea of whom gave me the heebie-jeebies as a child; neither he nor the land he inhabits actually sounds all that rest-inducing frankly.)

Everyone you would imagine … except posits Mashable’s The Watercooler YouTube channel, the good, sword-wielding children of Westeros who don’t want to be bothered with the sort of namby-pamby delightfully warm-and-fuzzy stories about happily ever afters that litters the usual bedtime story fare.

No, what these violence-prone youngsters apparently lap up is not something like the classic much-loved nighttime story book Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd with cows and cherubs flitting their way to the magical realms of dreamlands but blood-soaked tales of direwolves ripping out peoples’ throats, severed heads falling, treacherous whores and daggers, White Walkers and dragons setting cities ablaze …

Oh and good night George R. R. Martin who needs all the sleep he can get so he can finish the “f**king books”!

 

You thought winter coming was a downer? Try having Jon Snow as a dinner guest (Game of Thrones parody)

All that time on the Wall has left Jon Snow's social skills a little rusty, making him, initially at least, not the world's greatest dinner guest (image via YouTube (c) Late Night with Seth Meyers)
All that time on the Wall has left Jon Snow’s social skills a little rusty, making him, initially at least, not the world’s greatest dinner guest (image via YouTube (c) Late Night with Seth Meyers)

 

We’ve all been to dinner parties like it.

What seems at first like it will be a relaxed evening over great food and fine wines with very good friends suddenly becomes weird, awkward and interminably long thanks to the presence of one unexpected, strange and oddly-self-involved guest with the social skills of a longterm cult member whose only interests are canned goods and rainfall charts.

Or in the case of Jon Snow (Kit Harrington), the bastard son of Lord Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) of Winterfell, who turns up at Seth Meyer’s dinner party one night – it’s revealed they met at a Cross Fit class because even warriors need toning apparently – an understandably moody disposition, coarse dining skills and an obsession with death, betrayal and familial violence.

He is not exactly the life of the party and it’s not until Seth Meyers repeatedly takes him aside and coaches him on appropriate social etiquette that Snow realises the path to true dinner party acceptance, and possibly the love of a fetching single lass lies in tales of derring-do and high romance.

In fact, so well does he turns things around and enthral everyone with his tale that all the guests agree that Snow’s life and that of the rest of blood-soaked inhabitants of Westeros would make a fine series of books, or you know, even a TV series.

Fancy that!

Something to consider all right but not before all the wine is drunk, tales are told and a certain beguiled young lady is courted …