A Scene of Ice and Fire

The Game of Thrones podcast that examines the show scene by scene with Andrew (@MearnsPSA) and Manu (@ManuclearBomb).
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Apr 23, 2021

It's been a minute, hasn't it? Andrew and Manu are back on the podcast airwaves for the first since, well, a pandemic began to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the premiere of "Game of Thrones" on HBO.

Personal lives have prevented the podcast from returning in full (though we still hope to eventually!), but we had a lot of fun taking 75 minutes to look back on how we first got into "Thrones," and many more topics -- favorite moments, episodes, and castings & characters. We also took some time to discuss how we've reckoned with the most frustrating aspects of the end of the series, and how we hope that audiences don't dismiss so many good memories from the show just because of its conclusion. Not everything's about "sticking the landing."

At the end, we look toward the future and all the prequel possibilities in the works, most notably "House of the Dragon," which will come to a Home Box Office near you in 2022. Wherever there be dragons (or even just Westerosi lore), we will follow.

Sep 16, 2019

It's a King's Landing party for the latest podcast, as Andrew and Manu continue the season 2 premiere. Tyrion and Shae discuss the dangers of King's Landing, Cersei asserts her power over Littlefinger in trying to locate Arya, and Joffrey subsequently turns the tables on Cersei by threatening her after she smacks him for a rude comment about Robert's affairs.

The worst part comes at the end of the episode, when Joffrey has all of Robert's bastards brutally executed (unlike in the books, where Cersei does it; more on that in the podcast), save for one smith's apprentice, who happens to be traveling with Arya on the way to The Wall. Wuddya know!

Don't worry, Stannis Crew, we have a special episode coming very soon on everything surrounding his introduction to the series.

Sep 2, 2019

"The North Remembers" continues with the two eldest remaining Stark men (not counting the AWOL Benjen). Jon and the Night's Watch have arrived at Craster's Keep, and it turns out that dude is a real incestuous shithead! You hate to see it. He gets a tough lesson from Jeor Mormont about why they're working with such a detestable dude, but it leaves us plenty of room to critique.

Further south, Robb and his Northern army are deciding their next best course of action. He sends the Lannister cousin Alton back to King's Landing to give Joffrey & Cersei his terms, which are understandably steep. Then, much to Catelyn's chagrin, he listens to Theon's suggestion of sending him to try to align with his father, Balon Greyjoy. This will not end well.

There are some great nuggets in here about Robb and Jon (to a lesser extent) asserting themselves in leadership roles. Tune in.

Aug 26, 2019

Andrew and Manu roll along in their second podcast on "The North Remembers," where the red comet that tracks everyone throughout the episode first seen over Bran, who is presiding as acting lord of Winterfell with Luwin and Osha close by. We see how he's growing and dealing with the new responsibilities, as well as his first exposure to wolf dreams.

A world away, Daenerys and the Dothraki also hover under the red comet, but it's just about the furthest thing from their minds. Survival in the Red Waste is proving to be an arduous task, but an intriguing podcast topic (#congrats to us, I guess). Starvation is a brutal enemy. Dany sends her bloodriders off in different directions to find some hope.

Aug 19, 2019

At long last, it's come time for Andrew and Manu to hit the books on Game of Thrones season 2. Expectations were high on the show following a breathtaking initial run that ended in shock with the death of Ned Stark. The sophomore season shows the aftermath of this turn of events, as kings rise and fall throughout the Seven Kingdoms while trying to truly take control of Westeros. The second book of the series is called "A Clash of Kings" for a reason.

We begin in King's Landing, where Joffrey is sadistically enjoying his name day with some casual violence and we see how the captive Sansa to trying to maintain her dignity in this tough situation. Joffrey's smiles turn to unease when Tyrion marches in with Bronn and the Hill Tribes, and he quickly takes the leading seat of the Small Council as Acting Hand of the King, much to Cersei's chagrin.

Thus begins Peter Dinklage's absolute tour de force of this season of Game of Thrones. To paraphrase Michael Jordan, "we're back."

May 21, 2019

Andrew and Manu reach the end of road of one part of their journey. "Game of Thrones" aired its finale, "The Iron Throne" on Sunday, and offered a glimpse at the new future of Westeros. This is definitely a time to reflect on how fascinating characters like Arya, Daenerys, Sansa, Tyrion, Jon, Brienne, and more wrapped up their arcs.

We touched on pretty much every major plot point of the finale before offering some last thoughts. Of course, you're not done with us just yet. (At least we hope you're not!) Soon, we'll jump back in time and begin our normal scene-by-scene coverage of season 2.

We can't wait and we can't thank you enough for joining us in our journeys through the final season.

May 14, 2019

Thrones is almost at an end, and the most recent installment, "The Bells," felt more like a cinematic blockbuster to Andrew and Manu than an episode of television. There are definite positives to that in terms of directing, set design, cinematography, and more!

Unfortunately, we also get some questionable storytelling choices, resulting in huge moments like Dany's heel turn on the innocents of King's Landing feeling rushed. But between that, the Jaime/Cersei storyline, Cleganebowl, Arya's wanderings, and the last stand of Varys, there's so much to talk about!

Next week's finale will be something to behold.

  • Lindsey Romain's Nerdist post on the white horse symbolism
  • Bookshelfstud's referenced episode recap
  • Nathalie Emmanuel's EW interview about Missandei's death and GoT's larger diversity issues
  • This GIF of the Cleganebowl step staredown with Drogon in the background is just an incredible shot
  • Andrew's post about "Last of the Starks," the previous season 8 episode which we did not have time to podcast about
  • Register with the discount code "Manu" for Con of Thrones (Nashville, July 12-14)
  • iTunes link
  • Google Play link
Apr 30, 2019

Andrew and Manu talk about "The Long Night," where the Battle of Winterfell spans the entire episode. It's visually stunning with unbelievably cool effects! But unless you have top-quality streaming, it's hard to see. It has bold plot decisions with incredible character beats from the likes of Arya, Melisandre, and Theon! But some of its decisions are very strange.

The fandom seems split on this episode, and we fall somewhere in the middle, though we like talking about its positives more. Join us! Thoughts gather, and our watch begins.

Please note: The initial recording of the section where we briefly recapped the episode was disjointed at parts, so Andrew went back and recorded it solo. The sound quality will briefly be different, and then soon go back to normal.

Apr 23, 2019

So, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," huh? The show knocked it out of the park with a tremendous battle prep episode. Andrew and Manu talk about their favorite parts, particularly Jaime's trial, the warm hearth scenes with Jaime knighting Brienne and Podrick's moving rendition of "Jenny's Song," the vast war council, Theon's return to Sansa's side at Winterfell, and much more.

And yes, we do sigh heavily a lot because boy oh boy are so many of our most beloved characters gonna fall next week.

Apr 16, 2019

Andrew and Manu (and everyone else) have finally been able to watch the first episode of the final season of "Game of Thrones." That is truly something in it of itself.

So, it's back to our full episode reviews, like we did in season 7. This was a great place-setting episode that did a little extra to make it an even better season opener than normal. Everything at Winterfell alone would be enough to make it memorable, and talking about it is over half the podcast. But we do also touch on everything at King's Landing, on the Greyjoy ships, and the horror-filled craziness of Last Hearth.

RIP Ned Umber. You were a good lad.

Apr 1, 2019

It's time to at last wrap a bow on the remarkable first season of "Game of Thrones." Andrew and Manu dish out their own awards, including Best Scene, Worst Scene, Best Show Invention, Best Main Performance, Best Supporting Performance, and Best Quote.

Season 8 coverage is next. We can't wait.

Mar 6, 2019

So, yeah. The Game of Thrones season 8 trailer is out and it might be the last one we ever see for this show. The hype for the trailer is definitely deserved if you ask Andrew and Manu. Which you might. Because you are considering listening to this podcast and you are a sweet soul. Thank you.

Feb 25, 2019

Andrew and Manu finally complete their long journey through the first season of "Game of Thrones." Scenes discussed include Yoren explaining the plan for "orphan Arry" to Arya, her first encounters with Hot Pie, Lommy, and Gendry, and the Old Bear revealing to Jon that he knows about his attempted escape. With a stirring speech, he urges Jon to stay loyal to the Night's Watch and join the great ranging beyond The Wall.

Oh yeah, also dragons are born through sacrifice in a ridiculously good set of scenes with Dany, Jorah, and the Dothraki. NBD. It was okey dokey.

Thank you all for joining us through this trek through season one, and we can't wait to get started on the next one.

Feb 18, 2019

Today's podcast is the calm before the storm of the very end of Game of Thrones season 1. Andrew and Manu watch as Daenerys tearfully puts Drogo out of his misery, then observe Pycelle aimlessly ramble about kings to Ros before revealing (after her departure) that he's actually quite fit and far more on the ball than he appears. This is also one of the few scenes we get with characters talking about the Mad King's reign before he was truly mad.

We wrap up with another verbal showdown between Littlefinger and Varys, where they each briefly delve into each other's personal histories and impressive ascents to the Small Council. It's essentially a sequel to a similar scene earlier in the season, during "The Wolf and the Lion."

Feb 11, 2019

Andrew and Manu catch up with Dany in Essos, where everything has gone to hell. She wakes up after collapsing outside Mirri Maz Duur's blood magic tent, where she learns to her horror that she traded her unborn son Rhaego's life for a comatose Drogo. (The identically named recent Targaryen history, "Fire and Blood" provides some intriguing parallels between what became of Rhaego and Maegor the Cruel's "children.") Dany demands to know why Mirri did this, but Mirri is unapologetic.

Other scenes include Tyrion deciding to bring Shae to King's Landing against Tywin's wishes, and Jon Snow's midnight ride from the Watch. In the latter, Sam unsuccessfully tries on his own to stop Jon from leaving, but he gets more help from Grenn & Pyp in a later scene in the woods of The Gift that we also discuss. By reminding Jon that they are his brothers now, he is convinced to stay. Stay tuned for some brief direwolf musings as well.

Feb 4, 2019

Andrew and Manu roll along with "Fire and Blood," as we get some slightly more pleasant scenes than last week. Spitting on the idea of kneeling to Renly, Stannis, or Joffrey Baratheon, the Northmen decide to crown Robb Stark the King in the North. Afterward, Catelyn has a tense discussion with the imprisoned Jaime Lannister in which he reveals that he pushed Bran from the window at Winterfell.

Meanwhile, the news of Jaime's capture has reached both Cersei (who we quickly see in a post-coital scene with her idiot cousin Lancel) and an enraged Tywin. After a brief war council discussion, he sends a stunned Tyrion to King's Landing to serve as acting Hand of the King.

There's some fun discussion of Northern history and Tyrion's complicated relationship with his father. And, of course, RENLY IS NOT RIGHT.

Jan 28, 2019

After several months of hiatus, Andrew and Manu are back and finally ready to wrap up season 1 of "Game of Thrones" by kicking off their discussion of the thrilling finale, "Fire and Blood."

Despite the episode title, there are no Targaryens to discuss just yet. We pick up immediately where "Baelor" left off with Ned Stark's execution and Yoren's scramble to get the dazed Arya out of King's Landing. This segues to the theme of this week's podcast, which is essentially how each Stark family member (aside from Jon) reacts to Ned's death.

We see Bran & Rickon learning the truth in visions before hearing the official word from Maester Luwin, Catelyn & Robb sharing in pure devastation in the Riverlands, and Sansa's quiet suffering at court in King's Landing before the shit Joffrey forces her to stare at Ned's head on a spike. (Immediately after needlessly having Marillion's tongue ripped out. Great guy.) It's at least a strong moment of personal strength from Sansa.

It's good to be back and diving into all this, so enjoy!

Sep 12, 2018

Andrew and Manu hit a true watershed moment in the history of television with the finale of "Baelor," where Ned Stark is stunningly executed right after his son, Robb, wins the Battle of the Whispering Wood and takes Jaime Lannister captive. Yowza.

Along the way, Manu brings up a theory that he's discussed on Twitter before with Malora Hightower: the decision to behead Ned was not just Joffrey's violent instinct but also an idea planted by Littlefinger himself. There's more evidence to this than you might think, so take a listen.

This all-timer features some excellent character work by Sean Bean, Michelle Fairley, Maisie Williams, and many others, so let's get right into it.

Aug 29, 2018

It's the penultimate podcast on the penultimate episode of season 1. Andrew and Manu watch as Tyrion learns that he and his Hill Tribes pals will be on the front lines for the upcoming Battle of the Green Fork, which forebodes a dismal fate.

Chagrined, Tyrion consoles himself by playing drinking games with Bronn and Shae, the sex worker the sellsword brought to him. Tyrion grows fond of Shae's sass, but she does force him to tell the awful story of his marriage to Tysha and how Tywin reacted to his son marrying a commoner. Manu helps delve deeper into Tyrion's background, and how it both defines his character & the slight divergence between the books and the show going forward.

The episode doesn't actually show the Battle of the Green Fork, but the aftermath tells us what we need to know -- the mighty Tywin has been fooled by the young wolf.

Aug 23, 2018

Andrew and Manu stick to Essos for a few scenes, as Daenerys scrambles to 1) Keep the ailing Drogo alive and 2) Retain some semblance of control over the quickly dissenting Dothraki. Drogo has fallen from his horse and no longer commands the respect that he once did among the likes of his bloodrider Qotho, so their loyalty to the Khaleesi will not last for long.

The tension boils over when Dany turns to the witch Mirri Maz Duur in a desperate hope to save Drogo's life. She goes against Dothraki custom (and Jorah's advice to run) by asking Mirri to use blood magic to save him, and they revolt.

Along the way, the show uses some super-creepy aesthetics to make the setting even more unsettling. (RIP Drogo's horse, gone far too gruesomely.) So let's talk about it!

Aug 1, 2018

Andrew and Manu travel to the Wall in "Baelor" through the eyes of Jon Snow. Since he saved Lord Commander Mormont, the Old Bear gifts him the Valyrian sword Longclaw, a Mormont family heirloom. They talk about the sword and Alliser Thorne, and afterward, Jon learns from Sam that Robb Stark is marching south.

Conflicted, Jon is summoned by Maester Aemon, who has a heart-to-heart with him in which he explains his Targaryen roots and the similar hardships he faced watching from the Wall as his house fell to ruin during Robert's Rebellion.

Every word from the late Peter Vaughan is chilling and moving, so we try to give this moment its due. It's incredible and chalk full of connections to the story writ large. Let's get to it.

  • Jon talks with Jorah about Jeor Mormont and tries to give him Longclaw back in season 7 (which we also touched upon in our podcast recap of that episode)
  • Helpful video with graphics explaining the Targaryen family tree (Note: The show simplifies it by skipping a generation and making the Mad King the son of Maester Aemon's younger brother Aegon the Unlikely, rather than the grandson)
  • Once more: Manu's appearance on the "Not a Cast" podcast discussing Bran IV
  • Just watch the scene with Maester Aemon and Jon again. It's too perfect.
  • iTunes link
  • Google Play link
Jul 25, 2018

Andrew and Manu have finally made it "Baelor," one of the most transcendent episodes of TV from this decade (and maybe ever). Appropriately, they start off with Varys' second visit to Ned Stark in the black cells of King's Landing, as the Master of Whisperers tries to convince him to support Joffrey to save Sansa.

Then, it's off to the Riverlands, where through his mother Catelyn, Robb enters into negotiations with the nefarious Walder Frey. We're introduced to the creepy environment of the Twins, and Manu provides some of House Frey's history and Walder's background with Cat's father, Hoster Tully.

Robb is presented with ominous terms, as he must agree to marry one of Walder's daughter to cross. He does so, but yeah, that doesn't work out well for him once he goes back on his promise.

Jul 11, 2018

A mere month after the Game of Thrones spin-off about The Long Night was announced (and discussed), another one is in the news! It's not official yet, but check out this Watchers on the Wall story about another Thrones series: "Empire of Ash," directed by Max Borenstein about the Doom of Valyria.

Andrew and Manu chat about the rumored details behind the prequel and also briefly touch on the update about the Long Night spin-off possibly going into production in October. Then, it's back to "The Pointy End," which came to its own pointy end in a series of scenes: Tyrion & the Hill Tribes meeting Tywin in the Lannister camp, Robb showing his mettle when a scout interrupts his War Council, and King's Landing, where Barristan Selmy is unceremoniously dismissed from the Kingsguard and Sansa begs for her father's life.

Tywin & Tyrion's oh-so-complicated relationship is explored, as are the Hill Tribes, Barristan's great respect, the Lannisters quietly orchestrating Sansa's request, and the show's subtleties with wine, furtive glances, camerawork, and more.

Away we go! Next up is "Baelor." Get hyped.

Jul 3, 2018

Andrew and Manu kick off July with a podcast on "The Pointy End" that mainly centers around Robb Stark. His events begin and end the scenes today, as he first stands up for himself against Greatjon Umber with the Northern lords gathered at Winterfell, then talks with Bran briefly about his planned early departure, and closes out the show by meeting up with his mother, Catelyn, who has tracked his army down. Richard Madden's superb acting offers plenty to discuss, as do the emotions behind Robb's actions.

Robb's not all there is to this episode, though. We also have eerie premonitions with Bran and a saddened Rickon, Sam Tarly musing on the wights burning at the Wall, and Osha talking to Bran in the Godswood about the old gods. Oh, and we also see Hodor's package. There's a big man!


Jun 26, 2018

"The Pointy End" continues as we pick up with Tyrion & Bronn making their way through the Eyrie. Bronn agrees to serve as Tyrion's well-compensated shield and is put to the test when the hill tribes descend on them. Andrew and Manu briefly explore their history and how Tyrion displays his aptitude for the titular game of thrones in turning Shagga (son of Dolf) into his ally.

Up at the Wall, news of Ned's imprisonment has circulated and Thorne goads Jon into trying to attack him, which earns Jon solitary confinement. Ghost helps Jon make up for it by alerting him to danger: a wight attacking Jeor Mormont in his chambers. Jon saves the day!

Dany realizes that the process of coming to Westeros isn't going to be as clean as she might've hoped when she witnesses the Dothraki slaughtering the Lhazareen. She does what she can to try to spare some, including the priestess Mirri Maz Duur, and Drogo affirms her decision by fighting his angry subordinate Mago to the death, though he suffers a fateful wound.

Points to Jason Momoa for telling the writers that we should see Drogo fight!

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