Tag: game of thrones

George R.R. Martin gets his own Flipboard magazine

Posted by – September 21, 2013

World of Ice and Fire Flipboard magazineUp until recently, I’d been extremely selective about the “Song of Ice and Fire” commentary and analysis I paid attention to. The Westeros.org wiki can be a spoiler-laden minefield to navigate while you’re still trekking through the existing books, and I have no regrets yet about allowing BoiledLeather.com into my life. I was wrapping up an epic read through the latter’s chapter remix of A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, though, and since it was my first time looking at both of those books, the goal had been to let as many shocks and delights unfold in their full glory as possible.

I’m 100% caught up on the series now, however, so I have no qualms about reading the new George R.R. Martin Flipboard magazine that Random House has launched. The publisher is actually backing two such author-themed ventures right now, one for Martin and one for author Margaret Atwood. And the more I think about them, the more I think these magazines mark a pretty smart move on Random House’s part.

Now, I’ve been on the fence and off again about Flipboard since I first tried it out on my first-gen (now aging, slow and nearly useless) iPad. At first glance, my thoughts were, “Why do I need an RSS reader that shows me fewer headlines at a time and requires more gestures and navigation to see everything I want to see?” Nevertheless, the interface and design have grown on me. Flipboard is a clever platform for tablet (and smartphone) reading when the content plays nicely with it. A lot of publishers just sort of show up, and some barely look like they care about being in Flipboard at all, but when it works, it works well, and I hope the library of accessible publishers who don’t make you click through to a web browser continues to grow.

Fan magazines like this new George R.R. Martin one seem like sensible fits, though, in theory. As I mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of Flipboard stories that require normal web browser viewing, but for magazine-type articles with curated content being mixed in, I could see “The World of Ice and Fire” working out really well. The iPad is where I do most of my novel reading these days, and having a magazine-like experience to complement that makes a lot of sense on Flipboard, both for reader use and an easy option for book publishers, who (let’s face it) can use all the help they can get to corral and connect with audiences these days. I’d love to see some similar Haruki Murakami and Salman Rushdie options show up to the party as well.

Breakfast Links: ‘Games of Thrones,’ Spotify and Dark Energy

Posted by – April 2, 2012

The New York Times did a laudable job assembling this interactive piece on the Trayvon Martin shooting.
• Do you want to see how to take Facebook’s Timeline feature and use it to your media company’s advantage? Look no further than Spotify’s page. It’s one giant historical rundown of landmark music events, complete with clickable links to play tracks in Spotify.

• “Game of Thrones” returned to HBO last night for its second season, and I’m currently just over one book ahead of where the story is at right now. Stannis (played by Stephen Dillane) seemed understated, and Melisandre (Carice van Houten) bore a much closer resemblance to Celine Dion than I’d pictured while reading A Clash of Kings. Nevertheless, “The North Remembers” really nailed the drama and essence of its scenes one at a time and at the right pace. Meanwhile, I recommend checking out the commentary of a couple of old colleagues of mine, Josh and Sean, over at MTV.com. Sean is also covering the new season for Rolling Stone (and I’m in the same boat as he is in regards to the baby killing).

• Ashton Kutcher has reportedly been cast as Steve Jobs. I just recently completed Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs bio, so this choice took a few minutes to play out in my head. I can definitely see Kutcher capturing Jobs’ more manic moments. However, I’m just having a tough time envisioning how he’ll deliver some of the more condescending scenes that are going to have to be a part of the story.

• The “Girls Around Me” app is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever heard of, but if you’re into innovative API use, it’s definitely a case study (on use and user policies) worth being aware.

• My new favorite acronym is BOSS (Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey), and think you’ll agree that it certainly is when you see what kind of cosmic measurements it’s taking. I’m pretty much all for most things that involve better understandings of dark energy.
• If you like bite-sized Men’s Health-style advice and spunky insights, I recommend checking out my friend Patty Hastings’ new blog at YogaYumYes.com. She’s full of practical suggestions for nutrition and yoga novices such as myself.

TV Reception: ‘Game of Thrones’ Episodes 1-3

Posted by – May 5, 2011

Three episodes into HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” I feel like I’m finally ready to have a fair opinion about it. The first two episodes, “Winter is Coming” and “The Kingsroad” really seemed to wander for me.

If you’re curious to know how the series deviated from George R.R. Martin’s original work, I recommend starting out with Sean T. Collins’ initial review; suffice it to say the series does take a few liberties, but none of them involve compartmentalizing plot for the sake of writing episodes that are much more thematically or structurally cohesive than the chapters they were plucked from.

Meandering story was a problem for me during Episodes 1 and 2, but as of this week’s installment, “Lord Snow,” the pacing of the adaptation seems to be more established, and the momentum and tension leading up to winter are lively and taught. All three episodes work much, much better as a whole, and I’m inclined to believe that when Season 1 is over, the same will be the case with future installments. That’s fine, and it’s probably fair to the books. However, it may keep the show from entering the same realm of TV masterworks that I consider “The Sopranos” and “The Wire” to be in.

The range of settings and landscapes that HBO has employed are incredible. Breaking down all of the drama and history that the Targaryens, Baratheons and Starks bring the story takes no small amount of exposition. The consequence of this exposition is that the very large cast cycles around on a sizable merry-go-round of storytelling turns, and the show spends more time focusing on characters telling tales to set up political and historical circumstances and getting bloated by lingering on sex scenes. By the third episode, the sex arc with Emilia Clarke’s character does makes a lot more sense, but it also seems to weigh the first two down.

The show’s greatest strengths thus far lie in its fully-realized world and strong acting from its leads. The bleakness of feudal existence in an unforgiving world of brutally long winters comes across, and by the time “Lord Snow” ends, the personalities and rivalries have been made much more clear than they were during the pilot.

As of right now, the wait has been worth it. I’m optimistic that the rest of Season 1 will be as well after the snow settles in.