Game of Thrones Internet Survival Guide

So, I was late to the Game of Thrones party.  DON'T WORRY YOU GUYS I'VE WATCHED ALL OF THEM NOW, so please hold off on contacting me and telling me how amazing GoT (the most unfortunate acronym) is or how I need to stop everything and watch it.  Because I did, y'all.  I stopped lots of things and watched it.  In fact, my husband and I watched all three seasons in as many weeks and shirked phone calls and dinner plans (sorry real life friends) because all we could think about all day and night was getting another fix of Game of Thrones like the nerd crack that it is.

I mean, sure, at first it's sort of a shallow, Medieval melodrama: all fantasy staples (broadswords, wizard sleeves, DRAGONS) and boobies and beheadings.  But then it fleshes out its villains, takes control of its violence, and escalates out of being so tawdry and Tudors-y and finds its sense of the epic.  And also zombies.  Oh, spoiler.

But really, the show's first season-- because it's based on an Ann-of-Green-Gables-sized series of books -- was burdened by some serious exposition and the need to explore tangled past webs and family tree branches.  But when we get past the past, GoT finds its rhythm, nuances its characters, spends more time lingering in each place and less time flying Indiana-Jones style over its 3D map.  The second and third seasons pepper its more sophisticated, pointed gore with crackling, sharpened dialogue; by season three you love it so much you're begging for more, even if it means suffering the hail of unceasing injustice that rains down on all the good characters.  It gets so good that critic Alan Sepinwall likened it to that quintessential slow-build, long-form, novelistic golden child, The Wire. (And not just because of Carcetti!)  And while I don't quite think GoT quite approximates The Wire, it's certainly a superlative example of its genre; a darker, more ambiguous Lord of the Rings, a sexier, more fantastical Pillars of the Earth.

Anyway, my favorite thing to do in the whole world is watch an episode of a really awesome show and then go read what smart people who get paid to say stuff about it say about it, most especially the people at Vulture who are pretty much the Tyrion Lannisters of pop culture (loveable, witty, almost certainly drunk).  But with GoT I couldn't do that because the internet is a damn landmine of spoilers.  It's like, all I wanted to do is just read a little about the finale to Season 2 or the time when [redacted for spoiler] or see who plays Arya Stark, but I couldn't even get on IMDB for fear they'd list how many episodes she was in or feature some trivia about how in Season 3 she finds a time machine and goes into the past and runs into her own parents at the South of the Wall dance!

So I had to watch all thirty episodes before I got to read ANYTHING about it, and then I spent a day just gorging myself on GoT commentary like one of Melisandre's leeches.  Oh come on, you guys, that's not really a spoiler.  But what follows DOES contain a lot of spoilers, and a lot of hilarity, and a lot of awesomeness.  Today I present to you my carefully curated:

The Best the Internet GoT: A survival guide for the next year without Game of Thrones

  • Arya Stark, aka Maisie Willians (because I now know her real name!) is also the Queen of Vine.
  • This guy on a unicycle plays the GoT theme on a flaming bagpipe, because... his bagpipe caught on fire and he's a trooper?
  • School of Thrones: Game of Thrones as a high school dramedy set at Westros Valley High.  
  • Insight into the GoT casting room, via SNL:

  • But, nothing sums up my feelings about "The Red Wedding" more than this:

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