Category Archives: ASOIAF Podcast

Episode 12: Year in Review

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Today, we present our final podcast of 2015. Appropriately, it’s our Year in Review Episode covering the many essays, podcasts that we wrote/recorded as well as some of the things that we loved from the ASOIAF community over the year. Finally, we talk about some things in store for the future in movie-trailer voice!

Listen to us here or at:

Here’s some of what we cover in the podcast:

New Developments on Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire

Some of our Favorite Pieces to Write

Our Favorites from Each Other





Some of our Favorite Concepts/Theses of 2015

Favorite ASOIAF moments outside of WaPoIaF

Our Favorite Podcast Episodes That We Did

No podcast episode would be complete without a few comedic moments and laughs too. So, we share things that made us laugh this year like:

  • Jim doing his best impression of Viserys I folding his royal flush
  • “It ain’t easy bein’ green.”
  • “Valyria? More like Gary, Indiana.”
  • Long Dawn Silver

We wrap up our episode by talking about what’s in store for the future of the blog and podcast and each contributors’ plans for the future.

Follow us on facebook, twitter and tumblr and follow us individually on twitter at:

Thanks for a great year! See you all next year!


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Transcript: I Come Not to Praise Rhaegar Targaryen

Merry Christmas Eve, kids!

I love Christmas. I love Christmas a lot – always have. I love decorating my little geeky tree, I love making house sigil snowflakes for my window, I love hanging with my family (my brother-in-law brings his Nintendo 64 on Christmas Eve and we play all kinds of Mario Kart and GoldenEye). It’s just a really nice, magical time for me.

But I also love you guys. Not in a sappy way, but I know that this blog, the Tumblr, the podcasts – none of that would mean much of anything if we didn’t have fans like you all reading, listening, commenting, and generally being awesome. It’s really awesome to be able to engage in the fandom as we do here at Wars and Politics, and I can say that the vast majority of interactions I’ve had with my work on here have been wonderfully positive and enhanced my experience of the series.

So I wanted to do something nice for you all – a little Christmas present, as it were (or a present for whatever holiday you celebrate – if nothing else, today is National Eggnog Day). For the past – eh, more time than you want to know – I’ve been transcribing our very first podcast episode, “I Come Not to Praise Rhaegar Targaryen”. If any of you have ever transcribed video or audio, you know how fun it can be, and I am by no means a professional at this. There were moments I could not for the life of me make out what was being said (even from me!), so I made a best guess; for a 90 minute podcast, I think I did a pretty good job. So if you’re hearing-impaired – if you’re a visual rather than an audio learner – if you want to read along like those books-on-tape we used to have in my library, where the book and the tape came in a cute little bag together – any reason at all, you’re welcome to enjoy this transcript.

I hope you all have a merry Christmas, and if you celebrate a different holiday, I hope you have a wonderful time as well. Enjoy the season and have a safe and happy 2016!

The Queen Regent (NFriel) Continue reading


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The Three Heads of The Dragon: Kings, Pretenders, and the Ladies of Fire: Heirs to the Great Black Dragon and the Man Clothed In the Bittersteel


File:Marc Simonetti Bittersteel.jpg

Artwork by Mark Simonetti

Hello again readers. Today I present you with my penultimate entry in the Three Heads of the Dragon series, Aegor ‘Bittersteel’ Rivers. Though not a pretender to the throne, Bittersteel played a central role in the Blackfyre Rebellions that plagued Westeros for decades. He was the left hand of Daemon Blackfyre, and he and his Golden Company would become the sword, armor, and shield of Daemon’s offspring. While the Blackfyre name might be on the name of the war, in many ways it was Bittersteel’s war to wage, and no examination of Targaryen royal pretenders would be complete without the man who drove them.

Aegor Rivers was a bastard born of the adulterous union of King Aegon IV ‘The Unworthy’ Targaryen and Lady Barba Bracken of the Riverlands. Though she was favoured by Aegon IV’s palette for a while, this would not be enough for Barba. When Queen Naerys was rendered infirm after a difficult pregnancy, Barba openly boasted of her desire to replace the Unworthy’s loathed sister-queen. Yet when Naerys recovered her health, Aegon’s favor was insufficient to protect Barba, for soon enough she would find herself exiled from Aegon’s court at the behest of Queen Naerys’s greatest two champions; Crown Prince Daeron II Targaryen and Aemon the Dragonknight. So it would be that the young Aegor would be raised away from the capitol and his father, and grew up in Stone Hedge, the seat of House Bracken.

Not only was he cast out and away from the delights of courtly life and his father’s company, Aegor would have to deal with a dishonour to his mother and her house when Aegon IV replaced Barba Bracken with Melissa Blackwood, a daughter of a house with whom the Bracken’s had been feuding with since time immemorial. Melissa would then go onto give birth to another bastard of Aegon’s, the albino Brynden ‘Bloodraven’ Rivers as well as two other bastard children.

To add more to Aegor’s already-impressive feelings of resentment and anger was the fact that though Aegon IV’s appetites would lead to him continually throwing away mistresses, Brynden Rivers and Melissa Blackwood would still be allowed to remain at court in spite of this, largely due to the popularity of Melissa Blackwood at court.

This is where the young Aegor’s rage and bitterness would begin to form. He was exiled, his mother was dishonoured, he was replaced by what he saw as a lesser freak, and neither his replacement nor his replacement’s mother were cast out by Prince Daeron and Prince Aemon like Aegor and his mother were. Aegor seethed at the perceived unfairness, at his exile for something he didn’t do. Making matters worse, when Aegor was but six, King Aegon found his new lover, Aegor’s aunt Bethany, abed with Terrence Toyne of the Kingsguard, and had both Bethany and her father executed, killing any chance of Aegor being welcomed back at court. Herself having lost a father and sister as well as royal favor, Barba Bracken would no doubt do little to curb her son’s rage during his youth at Stone Hedge.

Thus, in a bed of adultery, betrayal, and bloodshed, the start of Aegor’s lifelong vendetta against both the Targaryens and Bloodraven would begin and Bittersteel would carry that bile with him almost from the cradle to the grave.

Continue reading


Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF History, ASOIAF Military Analysis, ASOIAF Podcast, ASOIAF Political Analysis, ASOIAF Speculation, The Three Heads of the Dragon

Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire Podcast, Episode 10: The Book That Never Was

In early 2015, Harper Collins UK in conjunction with Waterstones, a British Book Retailer, released pictures of a letter that George RR Martin wrote to his agent Ralph Vicinanza in 1993 outlining his idea for this brand new book that he was writing entitled A Game of Thrones, the first book in an exciting new trilogy that George RR Martin was calling A Song of Ice and Fire. This early letter provided insights to George’s agent on how he could promote this new series as well as provided a plot diagram for where GRRM thought that  A Game of Thrones  and A Song of Ice and Fire were going.

In Episode 10: The Book That Never Was, we do a detailed analysis of this letter and the book that could have been had GRRM written A Song of Ice and Fire to follow his initial diagram. We cover the topics of:

  • The History of ASOIAF: How it came to be and where we are now
  • GRRM’s original idea of plot, counterplot and murder centered on dynastic struggle
  • Daenerys Targaryen: Dothraki Conqueror
  • The, um, interesting love triangle had in mind
  • Similarities and differences to the material that was published
  • The foreshadowings that never were: leftover lines intended to foreshadow plot points that never came to be.
  • Our take on the blacked out text and what it could mean for the future of A Song of Ice and Fire

Listen to us here or at:

Special thanks to Adam Whitehead for his excellent series on the history of ASOIAF called A Song of Facts and Figures for his work in writing about the history of ASOIAF!

Find us on social media!


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What if Season 5 Was Good, Like Really Good? (Winterfell, Meereen and Dorne) — Corrected!

Part 1 dealt with storylines we thought were the best in Season 5, but for every good storyline, there’s always the bad one (the bad pussy one). Today’s podcast episode delves into the worst storylines of Season 5. From underwhelming battles to poor dialogue to convoluted motivations, we explore:

  • The Boltons: the sole Northern House in Season 5
  • Stannis’ tell-don’t-show march on Winterfell
  • Brienne the Candlewoman
  • The Coming Mask Making Industry Bubble in Meereen
  • Jorah Connington’s/Varys’ travels with Tyrion
  • Dorne…

But instead of criticizing the show, we offer ideas to make it better. At the end, we give a few thoughts on where we think Season 6 might go!

Agree or disagree, and let us know your thoughts on Season 5 and what you would have done to improve it in the comments below!

You can also listen to us at itunes or podbean.


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What if Game of Thrones, Season 5 was Good, Like Really Good? Part 1: King’s Landing, Braavos and Castle Black

Game of Thrones Season 5 is the most controversial season of the show so far. Many factors went into this. Whether it was the show perhaps passing the books in some storylines, the show’s deviation from the source material or the way that the show adapted scenes from the books, fans had mixed reactions to the season. In this podcast episode, we delve into Season 5. But instead of simply hating on the show, we talk about the parts of the season that we liked. And we liked some of it quite a lot. But there was some that we didn’t like.

In this 1st of 2 parts, we talk about 3 locations, the 3 locations that we thought had the best plot-points from Season 5:

  • King’s Landing: Cersei & the Tyrells, the Faith Militant, Tommen and Qyburn
  • Braavos: The Faceless Men, the House of Black and White, Meryn Trant and Mace Tyrell
  • Castle Black: Jon & Stannis, Samwell, Jon’s Election, Jon as the Lord Commander of he Night’s Watch, Hardhome, “For the Watch”

We also mentioned the 2016 ASOIAF calendar during our intro which can be purchased here!

So, listen to us here or at the following spots:

Thanks so much for listening, and let us know what you think! Were our criticisms fair, accurate? Did our changes make sense? What changes might you make?

Final note: We’re coming up to our 10th(!!!) episode, and we all thought it might be fun if in our 10th episode, we answered any questions or addressed any theories that you all might have for us on the blog. So, if you have questions about ASOIAF (or really anything, within some reason) or a theory that you’d like to get our opinion on, leave a comment below to this post or send us an e mail at, and we’ll answer or discuss anything you all want to hear analyzed or discussed!

I invite you to follow us on twitter, facebook, tumblr or itunes to stay up-to-date with every last thing that we are getting into!


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Writ Small: Character Evolution in The Winds of Winter Part 1: The Good and the Neutral

A Song of Ice and Fire is nothing if not a character study painted against the canvass of politics, war and culture. George RR Martin is fond of paraphrasing Faulkner’s “The human heart in conflict is the only thing worth writing about.” As such, we expect that GRRM will continue to develop characters in The Winds of Winter. But interesting for our purposes, George RR Martin seems to enjoy contrasting and comparing character growth to historical and currently-living characters in the series. Characters often wonder about whether they’re the Smiling Knight, Tywin Lannister or Doran Martell.

But in contrast to the sometimes-popular view that all the characters are moving into dark moral and plot paths in The Winds of Winter, Nfriel, SomethingLikeaLawyer, Militant Penguin and I believe that there are some who are moving towards more positive or neutral directions. As such, part 1 focuses on the good. Thus was born a podcast idea and topic.
So, today, we analyze the following POV characters:
  • Tyrion & how he’s moving from Mushroom to Lann the Clever
  • Jaime & how he’s evolving from the Smiling Knight to Ser Arthur Dayne
  • Bran’s wolf-knight to knight of the mind development
  • Theon’s surprising redemption & movement from Reek to Torgon the Latecomer
  • Asha’s pine-cone evolution & her desire not to be a boneheaded Iron Kraken.
  • Arianne’s movement from Cersei to Doran Martell

If wordpress isn’t your primary spot to listen to podcasts, come listen to us over at:

And if you’d like to listen along with your notes, go ahead and head on over to this link to read our manic google documenting. 

Thanks for listening!


Filed under ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF History, ASOIAF Podcast, ASOIAF Speculation

The Murdered and the Missing Part 2: The Missing

Benjen Stark, artwork by Fantasy Flight Games

Earlier, the podcast team published a podcast discussing the murder mysteries and missing persons of the book series. The podcast ran a little long, so the podcast was split into two podcasts, one discussing the murders, and the other the missing. The second part is now available for your listening pleasure.

In this chapter, we discuss the following:

  • Benjen Stark
  • Tyrek Lannister
  • Gerion Lannister
  • Raynald Westerling
  • Ashara Dayne

We also talk about what it means for a narrative to have a character disappear to show up later, and to disappear to remove them as pieces from the plot, wonder if Brightroar is its own “missing person,” and voice such controversial opinions as: “Septa Lemore has hands.”

Check us out on Podbean or itunes. As always, feel free to check out our podcast notes on the topic.

You can pre-order the next Tower of the Hand e-book featuring essays by Jim (SomethingLikeaLawyer) and Jeff (BryndenBFish) over at Amazon if you’re interested in pre-ordering a copy. It’s set to come out on May 8, 2015.


Filed under ASOIAF Analysis, ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF Podcast

All the Spice You’ll Want: An Analysis of the new Winds of Winter Sample Chapter

As many of you know, George RR Martin released a new Winds of Winter sample chapter on April 2, 2015 from the perspective of Alayne (Sansa). So, of course we had to analyze it. In this special edition of the Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire podcast, the entire team delves into the chapter and the various plots, themes and characters revolving around the chapter including:

  • The history of this Winds of Winter chapter
  • The Conflict of Identity between Alayne & Sansa
  • Lynception
  • Myranda Royce, Frenemy
  • The Hunger Games of Lord Littlefinger
  • The Controversy Surrounding this Chapter (and the controversy about the controversy)
  • Our predictions for the future of Sansa Stark

Listen to us at the following places:

Thanks so much for listening and being our And if you’d like to follow along with the podcast, here are the notes that we used when we recorded!


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The Murdered and Missing Part 1: The Murdered

A Faceless Man” by Fantasy Flight Games

A Song of Ice and Fire starts with 2 major mysteries. In the Prologue, we discover that the Others have mysteriously returned and in the King’s Landing chapters of A Game of Thrones, Eddard Stark investigates the death of Jon Arryn. Through it all, George writes mysteries but especially murder mysteries and strange disappearances with some relish. In this 2-part podcast series, the Wars and Politics of Ice and Fire podcast team investigates some of the famous and not-so-famous murders and disappearances in A Song of Ice and Fire. Today’s episode covers the murder side of the series. Today we cover the motivations, suspects and all the intriguing clues and possibilities of some of these infamous cases:

  • The Death of Ser Hugh of the Vale
  • Balon Greyjoy
  • Domeric Bolton
  • Little Walder Frey
  • The Meereenese Weavers
  • The Murder of Elia Martell

We also get to argue about Tywin Lannister at the end. Finally, we’re looking to have part 2 out in fairly short order as it’s already written!

Listen to us at the following places:


Filed under ASOIAF Character Analysis, ASOIAF Mystery, ASOIAF Podcast, ASOIAF Speculation