Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 16

Our final Book Club podcasts are here, a two-part examination of the last chunk of George R. R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons. I’m joined again by Topher Cantler and Brad Nicholson.

It’s obvious to me that reading the Song of Ice and Fire is greatly improved with the added value of perspective, an idea Martin makes pretty explicit in the series structure and plotting. Attempting to speak authoritatively about Dance without knowing its implications seems intimidating to me.

In any case, there’s how these two podcasts shake out: Part One deals almost exclusively with Meereen and Daenerys Targaryen while Part Two focuses on the North — Jon at the Wall and the battle for Winterfell.

It’s been a pleasure blasting casts to and interacting with our audience. I do hope you’ve enjoyed it and — if the Electric Hydra still exists in 2048 — maybe we can regroup for A Winds of Winter.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 16.1 and 16.2

Image via Damned Direwolves

Editor’s note: At the end of the second podcast, we discuss a future retrospective podcast. It’s, unfortunately, no longer in the works. Sorry about that.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 15

Our latest Book Club episode — featuring the newly-acquired Topher Cantler! — is a demure and subdued, perhaps slow-witted, discussion on the meandering middle of A Dance with Dragons. There’s no denying that the beginning of our humble show is rather slow, and the host claims full responsibility.

But at least meet me halfway here — Danaerys’ chapters put people to sleep. It’s literary laudanum.

In any case, we discuss all things Meerenese and Northern as well as what Brad calls “George Martin’s Google Hour”: his own weird version of auteur theory in which A Song of Ice and Fire is just a look into GRRM’s browser history.

Or something. It’s weird.

In any case, our next two episodes will tackle the remainder of Dance — one MegaPod, sundered in twain.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 15

Image credit: Tyrion in King’s Landing, by Marc Simonetti

Book Club – A Song Of Ice And Fire – 14

I’m happy — and somewhat confused —  to present to you the fourteenth episode of our Book Club series of podcasts. In a startling departure of the series norm, there are few tangents, only one Korn reference (see if you can find it!), and absolutely no blowjob noises on this podcast, which covers the first 24 chapters of George R. R. Martin’s A Dance with Dragons.

That number — 24 – might seem like a slight to those of you who wanted to slow the pace of our podcasts. I can only think of two reasons to do this. One, that our audience may savor their time with Brad and myself. I doubt this is true for several reasons, the primary of which is that my voice sounds dumb. The second: a slower pace would force us into more detailed discussion in each episode.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 14

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Book Club – A Song Of Ice And Fire – 13

As predicted, this installment of the Electric Clegane Book Club podcast was a fair bit livelier than the last. I’m tempted to say rowdier, but that’s an adjective so uncommonly found in tandem with podcasts about medieval fantasy that I’m afraid to pioneer. I ain’t no Laika.

In any case, a slew of technical difficulties (someone had to poop) and social obligations proved more disorienting than usual, and our frequent jokes about nipples and (on?) Gregor Clegane are punctuated by uhhs and umms and other stalling tactics.

Book Club — Song of Ice and Fire — 13

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Book Club – A Song of Ice and Fire – 12

This week’s episode of the Electric Hydra Book Club podcast would have been relatively subdued if Brad’s arm hadn’t literally fallen off halfway through.

For the sadists among you, that might be the most interesting thing that happens this week — whether that says more about my podcasting or George R. R. Martin’s well-documented penchant for slow build-ups is debatable. I’m assuming that, given the velocity at which shit gets real at the end of Feast, our next episode will be a fair bit livelier.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 12

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Book Club – A Song of Ice and Fire – 11

My struggle over the course of the last eleven weeks has been the overabundance of rad Ice and Fire-related shit to talk about. It manifested itself last week in a fit of existential angst. This week, my frustration is more practical: the last chapters of a Storm of Swords contain the resolution of the series’ most enduring extant mysteries, and I forgot to fucking mention it.

So it’s with my bemused apologies that I present episode 11 of the Podcast Formerly Known as Fingerblast.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 11

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Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 10

Another week, another episode of HBO’s original series, Game of Thrones, and another raucous, somewhat-focused Electric Hydra podcast. As we discuss in the second half of the episode, there’s a certain appeal to a structured life: watch; record; edit; post.

For better or worse, though, our Game of Thrones discussions must needs come to an end with the culmination of season 1. And with that realization comes a certain amount of retrospective angst: How are Brad and I, admitted noobs in the TV podcasting game, supposed to say something new and cogent about the series that a.) we haven’t been saying all season or b.) hasn’t been said by other, better critics?

Or, to put it another way, I’m disappointed that I’ll never get the chance to publicly announce how badass Septa Mordane is in episode 8, or how genuinely melancholy I get thinking about Hodor.

There is a related, though staunchly different, fear creeping into my soul as we move deeper into the Song of Ice and Fire cannon — the further into the story we get, the higher the critical stakes climb.  Brad and I have, justly or not, tasked our selves with sussing out something important about these books. That something can be different things: exploring some turn of phrase or unexplored symbol, some structural detail, some thematic element.

Our job is to be, if not insightful, then at least illuminating; and that job is getting harder and harder, not easier. In the same way that the Game of Thrones finale interrupts my weekly plan, George R. R. Martin’s insistence of expanding, not contracting, his saga is making it more difficult to find the cosmic structure of the whole enterprise.

In other words, I keep looking for the strand to untie Martin’s Meereenese Knot, but real-life time constraints and the weekly addition of even more convoluted bullshit keeps getting in the way.

In any case, all this belly-aching is really just a way of saying, “Hey, we’re trying to do a cool podcast and we hope you like and if you don’t, please just be nice about it, thanks.”

In any case, the rest of Storm of Swords and the first eight chapters of A Feast for Crows (through Cersei II) are on the docket for episode 11. If you’re unsure which chapter in Feast is the eighth one, check here.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 10

Image via Sir-Heartsalot’s deviantart page

Eddard Stark’s trial by combat and the moral economy

(There are superlatively minor spoilers for A Game of Thrones and A Storm of Swords in this post.)

“Grieve for your friend, but never blame yourself. You did not kill the butcher’s boy. That murder lie’s at the Hound’s door …”

DaniusKang posits a question I hadn’t considered before:  Eddard Stark, beleaguered Lord of Winterfell, Warden of the North, and Hand of the King, didn’t ask for a trial by combat prior to his unexpected execution.

Why doesn’t Ned demand a trial by combat? (I realize he is injured, but he could choose a champion — Ser Barristan, for example.) Is he not entitled to the King’s Justice under this circumstance? And if he is just being denied this by Joffrey and Cersei because they are corrupt douchebags, shouldn’t this cause serious problems with the noble class, who depend on this system?

Think of it like [a] social contract: couldn’t their right to trial just as easily be discarded if the Lannisters didn’t like them? If so, why should they give fealty to this new king, especially when his position is far from secure? If it is the case that Ned was given the short shrift by them, it seems like an overly risky political move (which. granted, does seem par for the course for Joffrey, but at this point Cersei seems smarter than that).

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Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 09

There’s an old joke about team-based sports and drinking — “We’re a drinking team with a soccer problem.” Brad and I seem to share a similar fate. Last week, we were a casserole podcast with a book problem; this week, we are a KoЯn podcast with the same book-based ailment.

It’s a troubling condition, and we’re all quite worried about it.

Over the course of another two-hour podcast (!!) — ostensibly about episode 9 of Game of Thrones (“Baelor”) and chapters 30 through 50 of A Storm of Swords – the Electric Hydra Book Club discusses Ned’s dead head, Jon Snow as the lynchpin of the Wall, and the impotency of magic, among other things (like nu metal).

As usual, you can find our latest contribution to armchair criticism on iTunes, Zune Marketplace, or the link below.

If you’re keen on reading along with us, chapters 50 through 70 of A Storm of Swords are on the table for next week.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 09

Image via Art of the Title

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — 08

I know the Book Club podcast is later than usual, but look at it this way — you’ve got just enough time to listen to Brad and I recap episode 8 of the HBO original series Game of Thrones before catching the new one tonight.

Such a recap would be of dubious quality, though — with E3 monopolizing Brad and my week, we were a little strapped for time and the ‘cast is accordingly scattershot. It doesn’t help that we took a culinary detour to determine whether or not casserole’s fit into Brad’s diet.

They don’t.

In any case, our ruminations on episode 8 of Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings (chapters 10 through 30) should now be available on iTunes and the Zune marketplace and, as usual, you can stream it below.

For those of you keeping up with your weekly reading assignment, we’ll be tackling everything through chapter 50 of Clash — Catelyn V — next week.

Book Club — A Song of Ice and Fire — o8

Image by Tomasz Jedruszek