Three Swords in the Fountain

As the new season of HBO’s Game of Thrones begins the editors at every news outlet and literary website are assigning articles about the meaning of it all. Here are three pieces I recommend.

Andy Greenwald’s “Winter Is Here” for Grantland is filled with interesting observations about the way HBO’s Game of Thrones is changing the medium – really, making TV more like a book.

Washington Post critic Hank Stuever stands up for inexpert admirers of Game of Thrones like himself who love the show although they’re unable to keep track of its details. Stuever argues the series’ popularity is revealing about the American audience:

That “Game of Thrones” has achieved zeitgeist status should offer a shred of hope for anyone who prematurely mourned the American attention span. It turns out we can pay meticulous attention when we want to. Imagine if the power exerted in analyzing and comprehending “Game of Thrones” could be exerted on the debt crisis?

This era was made for such a story. “Game of Thrones” is a reward for people who know too much. It’s one of the few places on TV where they can use their advanced multi-tasking and light-speed comprehension skills; where, at last, one can sink deeply and satisfying into the couch and feel like that college degree is doing more than accruing interest.

John Lanchester’s commentary for the London Review of Books deals collectively with the novels and TV series in a glib and entertaining style.

These are not peripheral figures but richly imagined, textured, three-dimensional portraits of central characters: the kind many writers couldn’t bear to kill off. Nobody needs to give Martin any advice about how he needs to slaughter his darlings.

Lanchester blabs rather too many plot points — so beware if you haven’t already read the books.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster for the last link.]