The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

The Geologic History of Westeros and Essos

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Learn all about the geology of Game Of Thrones at Generation Anthrophocene.

“How Patriarchy Screwed The Starks”

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There are spoilers in this interesting discussion: “Game of Thrones is about how patriarchal systems damage men as much as they damage women.”

Beach Reading

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It may not entirely feel like it, but it’s finally summer. Commercial fiction gets its second biggest bump of the year during the summer (the biggest is at Christmas, obviously), and  because the Romance genre is the largest section, its uptick in sales is the most noticeable.   That’s because mild and humid as it might […]

Pondering The Red Wedding

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The AV Club consider the emotional impact of Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding episode.  Gus Mustrapa considers pranks, punchlines,  Schadenfreude and the Red Wedding: “This weekend a booby-trap three years in the making was sprung. Millions of TV viewers watching A Game of Thrones took the proverbial blow. A good many nerds, having read the books […]

The Religions of Westeros

George R.R. Martin talks about the religions in Game of Thrones.

How HBO Makes Money With Game of Thrones

Slate is wondering, “If premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime aren’t judged by the Nielsens, how do they define success? And how does a niche program like Game of Thrones—beloved by fans, but watched by a tiny fraction of the viewing public—make money?”

Two Interviews

John Hodgman talks to George R. R. Martin and Fresh Air talks to Maurice Sendak.

Unsatisfactory

Call me an online oddity: I ran out of steam, years ago, on doing the whole harsh-criticism thing in my review work. For a couple of reasons, summarized as “enthused librarian who points elsewhere for sad talk.”

Future Self, Meet Past Self… Now Fight!

I just finished re-reading A Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin’s first volume in his (currently very hot) fantasy series, and I quite enjoyed it. Looking back on my notes from my first read-through ten years ago, I was startled to discover that I found it ho-hum and/or offensive! What gives?

NPR Interviews George R. R. Martin

Callers ask fiction and fantasy author, George R. R. Martin questions on NPR’s “On Point.”  “I never saw distinctions between these two genres. They all seemed to me to be flavors, if you will, of imaginative fiction, romantic fiction The great romantic tradition as opposed to realistic tradition in literature. My father called it all […]

The Superiority of Game of Thrones as a Show

Abigail Nussbaum writes about how television has improved George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. ” I can think of no response that more thoroughly encapsulates how much Game of Thrones improves on Martin’s novel–the same death that left me yawning on the page when I only suspected it was coming, riveted me on screen […]

See You Later (Scifi) Suckers!

Lately I’ve noticed a few examples of a trend: authors who got their start writing science fiction have switched to writing fantasy. Why might this be? Probably because it’s become a bigger market!  

George R. R. Martin in The New Yorker

The New Yorker writes about George R. R. Martin, his fans, his angry fans, his fantasy epic, A Song of Fire and Ice, the upcoming HBO series based on it, and his next book, A Dance of Dragons, six years in the writing:  “I’m living the dream here. I have all of these readers who […]

Game of Thrones 15 Minute Preview

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HBO offers a 15 minute preview of its new series Game of Thrones, based on the George R. R. Martin series. Given how long the series is so far, a 15 minute taste seems about right. And if that’s not enough, Gutter favorite Peter Dinklage talks about playing Tyrion Lannister. (Thanks, Dr. O!)

Winter is Coming

Gianluca Maconi’s gallery of characters makes a great case for a comic based on George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. (via Robot 6)

Genre on TV: Fantasy, Zombies

HBO has a teaser up for George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones.  Meanwhile, AMC has a clip up of actors learning to act like zombies for its upcoming The Walking Dead, based on Robert Kirkman’s comic.

Navigating the Mores of Fan Fiction

Hal Duncan navigates the mores of fan fiction. With stops at the kerfuffled shoals of Diana Gabaldon and George R. R. Martin’s blogs.

A Dance With Fans

George R. R. Martin has a few things he wants to get off his chest. Like he’s not lying about A Dance With Dragons completion dates. So deal with it. (via Super Punch)

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Royal Court Theatre hosts a conversation among former Anonymous LulzSec members facilitated by anthropologist Gabriella Coleman.

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    “Japan’s estimated population at the time of their last census was 127 million, and people have been living on this small collection of islands since the Jomon period (~12,000 BCE.) In an increasingly crowded country with a strong traditional belief in ghosts and hauntings, the question of avoiding a marauding ghost becomes impossible to solve, without outside help.”Atlas Obscura has more (with neat illustrations).

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    At Mostly Film, Blake Backlash writes about films “mixing of Hollywood’s Grande Dames with Grand Guignol.”  “Such cinematic mixing of Grande Dames and Grand Guignol had its heyday in the second-half of the sixties, and such films are sometimes (more-or-less) affectionately known as psycho-biddy pictures. They tended to feature an actress over 50 in some sort of peril, a melodramatic plot and a title that ends in a question mark.  But there is another, related tradition that goes back further that I think we could place these films in.” (via Dr. Giallo)

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    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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