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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So, It’s Been A Year Or Something

Dear You,

When I think about what we have accomplished in the last year the first word that comes to mind is “stunning.” The response that we’ve had, the continued excitement for the next episode, the support, the dedication, the draw, and the work we’ve done is stunning.

I don’t think we set out to have a successful podcast. When I brought up the idea for this podcast all I wanted, at first, was a venue to continue work left unfinished. I also wanted to hang out with some of the finest people I know. It was mission accomplished from the first second we hopped on a microphone, but then this started turning into something else.

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A Song of Ice and Fire isn’t tragedy, but it’s close

(There are spoilers for A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords in this post.)

In the beginning of the second half of episode 5 of our book club, Brad and I discuss whether or not A Song of Ice and Fire could be labeled tragic in the traditional sense. Brad is outright dismissive of the idea, but I think it has some merit — it meets the nobility quota for sure.

After considering it further, I’m more inclined to agree with Brad, but with a few significant distinctions.

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How To Get Our Old Episodes

As our most faithful well know, we’ve had a problem figuring out what to do with our old episodes after the server switch. We’ve blasted a lot of pods over the last year, which makes it difficult to incorporate the content on our new host. We’re capped and strapped, so the obvious “just upload them” tact won’t work.

Good news: you can find the vast majority of our old stuff here via this Media Fire folder account thing. Just hit up the link, dive into the folder and get the content.

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On Those ‘Call of Duty: Elite’ And ‘Modern Warfare 3′ Logos

One of our most active, awesome users has shown the world [Edit: removed] logos from several Activision games. The kicker is that three of the images are from games that haven’t been announced yet, and two of those mention “Call of Duty.”

Specifically, one logo is for Infinity Ward’s still unannounced “Modern Warfare 3.” The other is for something called “Call of Duty: Elite.”

In Nick’s post on Destructoid about these images, he speculates that “Elite” might have something to do with Project Beachhead, the studio handling the social part of “COD.” I agree with the idea. Elite challenges have been a part of “Call of Duty” for a while and seem like the perfect kind of material to spin, tweak, and re-package as an add-on or community-based content.

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What Happened And Where’s Our Content?

Those are the questions I’m seeing most often, and now I can address them. On the eve of episode 45’s release about three weeks ago, our web host pulled the plug on us. Basically, it boiled down to us pulling way too much bandwidth, which was both a flattering and a terrible thing: we lost the web site and our podcast, but we also got the validation that we are indeed a thriving podcast with a hungry base.

So, when our host pulled us, it locked our content and told us to find someone else to bear the burden of hosting our stuff. We’ve done that. This blog and our forums are now being hosted at a small outfit in Atlanta, Georgia called “A Small Orange.” Our podcasts, in the meanwhile, are being hosted at Libsyn, a service that offers unlimited bandwidth.

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