CLOSE
Macall B. Polay/HBO via Facebook
Macall B. Polay/HBO via Facebook

5 Game of Thrones Podcasts For Every Type of Fan

Macall B. Polay/HBO via Facebook
Macall B. Polay/HBO via Facebook

Last weekend, Game of Thrones stormed back into our lives, delivering more head-scratchers than answers (which is how we like it, right?).

Fortunately, dozens of podcasts aim to help us unpack every detail. This week on iTunes, several Thrones-themed shows popped up in the top 25. HBO even launched its own post-show, After the Thrones, hosted by Grantland’s former Game of Thrones podcasters, Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan. (And hey, mental_floss has partnered with Den of Geek for a GoT podcast now, too, featuring mental_floss magazine's executive editor Foster Kamer and art director Lucy Quintanilla. Stream the first ep of You Still Know Nothing over at DenofGeek.com.)

So, in a sea of shows, which might suit you best? Some ideas:

1. OR FANS OF THE HBO SHOW AND/OR THE BOOKS: A CAST OF KINGS

The lowdown: Hosted by Dave Chen and Vanity Fair writer Joanna Robinson, this podcast offers the perspective of someone who has read the books (Robinson) and someone who has only seen the TV show (Chen). A spoiler-free policy keeps it kosher for all listeners, and while the hosts do love the series, they aren’t afraid to criticize it.

The hosts say: “What fascinates me about Game of Thrones the most is this question of adaptation: What kind of storytelling works really well in the books but not so much onscreen, and vice versa,” Robinson says. She adds, “While I do love the show, I love the community around it even more. … Everyone, from the president down to your barista, is probably watching Game of Thrones. That makes it so fun to debate, theorize, and rehash.”

Chen, who also hosts The /Filmcast, notes the podcast’s audience has grown exponentially. “I couldn't be more psyched to go through this journey with our listeners for yet another season of one of the best shows on TV,” he says.

Already love it? Try A Storm of Spoilers, a Game of Thrones podcast hosted by Geek.com’s Da7e Gonzales, Film School Rejects’s Neil Miller and … Joanna Robinson. Yep, Robinson hosts two Thrones podcasts; the difference here is that Storm is chock full o’ book spoilers and gleeful “crackpot theories.”

2. FOR LOVERS OF DRAGONS AND PUBLIC RADIO: NERDETTE RECAPS GAME OF THRONES WITH PETER SAGAL

The lowdown: The title pretty much says it all. Here, the hosts of WBEZ’s gloriously geeky Nerdette, Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda, team with Sagal from NPR’s popular weekly quiz show, Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!. While Sagal and Bobeda are gaga for the GoT, Johnsen is completely over it, which adds to the fun. (“They are the fire, I’m the ice,” she says.)

The hosts say: “We take making a fun show seriously,” Johnsen says. “We want our recaps to be satisfying for the somewhat casual watchers and superfans in the audience. And we want it to feel like they get to commute or cook dinner—or whatever it is they're doing while they're listening—with nerdy friends.”

Already love it? Try the Boing Boing-approved Boars, Gore, and Swords from comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott or Sistah Speak: Game of Thrones, which offers lengthy recaps and reactions from its enthusiastic female hosts.

3. FOR FANS WHO LOVE FANS: GAME OF OWNS

The lowdown: It can be difficult to distinguish fan-created Game of Thrones podcasts from each other, particularly since most have pretty similar names. This long-running show mixes excitement with information and the occasional Thrones-y guest, like Kristian Nairn (Hodor) or GoT writer Bryan Cogman.

The host says: “I think that definitely this first episode is starting to confirm the suspicions that this is gonna be the best season yet,” co-host Hannah Panek noted in the April 25 episode, posted hours after the HBO credits rolled.

Already love it? Try Game of Thrones: The Podcast, a popular and detailed offering from the folks at Bald Move. (It often ranks as the most popular GoT podcast on iTunes.)

4. FOR FRESH TAKES FROM SEASONED JOURNALISTS:THE CITADEL

The lowdown: After talking about starting a podcast for years, Guardian national security editor Spencer Ackerman and pop culture writer Laura Hudson finally made it happen. Launched this week, The Citadel approaches Thrones from the perspectives of two journalists who have loads of expertise in very different arenas. In each episode, they discuss the show as it relates to politics, human behavior, and other issues.

The hosts say: “We decided we'd sacrifice recapping—there are already a lot of great Game of Thrones recap podcasts—for picking apart the themes, implications, and deeper meanings of what the show presents and examining its resonance in the real world,” Ackerman says. Adds Hudson: “Spencer is particularly adept at analyzing the politics—and the military strategy—of the Seven Kingdoms, while I tend to focus on issues of culture and gender, much as we both do in our real-life writing and reporting. I think it's a pretty strong combination.”

Already love it? Try EW’s new podcast devoted to the show, Game of Thrones Weekly. Hosted by James Hibberd and Darren Franich, it also offers analysis from fans who have almighty press access to the show’s inner-workings.

5. FOR SLEEPY AMUSEMENT:GAME OF DRONES

The lowdown: Hosted by Sleep with Me’s Drew “Scooter” Ackerman, this podcast has the same concept as his other show—to help listeners fall asleep—only he does it through rambling, droning Game of Thrones recaps. He’ll post a recap of the first episode May 1; until then, you can stream compilations of previous seasons that run 10+ hours each.

The host says: “There’s just so much rich detail [on Thrones] for me to go on meanders about or trigger my curiosity,” says Ackerman, who stopped reading the series after the second book in order to avoid spoilers. Listeners can expect weekly “tangents based on what happened in the episode [and] what I was curious about.” (He told me he’ll probably do some research on “hounds, mood rings, mirrors, and doppelgangers” before recording the next ep.)

Already love it? Try Earwolf’s Hardcore Game of Thrones, a Westeros-themed parody of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History hosted by Alex Berg and Jason Greene. While the gruff vocals certainly won’t put you to sleep, it will make you laugh.

For more podcast recommendations and interviews, head to the archive.

Banner image courtesy HBO via Facebook.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI
arrow
entertainment
13 Great Jack Nicholson Quotes
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI

Jack Nicholson turns 81 today. Let's celebrate with some of the actor's wit and wisdom.

1. ON ADVICE

"I hate advice unless I'm giving it. I hate giving advice, because people won't take it."

From Esquire's "What I Learned"

2. ON REGRETS

"Not that I can think of. I’m sure there are some, but my mind doesn’t go there. When you look at life retrospectively you rarely regret anything that you did, but you might regret things that you didn’t do."

From an interview with The Talks

3. ON DEATH

"I'm Irish. I think about death all the time. Back in the days when I thought of myself as a serious academic writer, I used to think that the only real theme was a fear of death, and that all the other themes were just that same fear, translated into fear of closeness, fear of loneliness, fear of dissolving values. Then I heard old John Huston talking about death. Somebody was quizzing him about the subject, you know, and here he is with the open-heart surgery a few years ago, and the emphysema, but he's bounced back fit as a fiddle, and he's talking about theories of death, and the other fella says, 'Well, great, John, that's great ... but how am I supposed to feel about it when you pass on?' And John says, 'Just treat it as your own.' As for me, I like that line I wrote that, we used in The Border, where I said, 'I just want to do something good before I die.' Isn't that what we all want?"

From an interview with Roger Ebert

4. ON NERVES

''There's a period of time just before you start a movie when you start thinking, I don't know what in the world I'm going to do. It's free-floating anxiety. In my case, though, this is over by lunch the first day of shooting.''

From an interview with The New York Times

5. ON ACTING

"Almost anyone can give a good representative performance when you're unknown. It's just easier. The real pro game of acting is after you're known—to 'un-Jack' that character, in my case, and get the audience to reinvest in a new and specific, fictional person."

From an interview with The Age

6. ON MARRIAGE

"I never had a policy about marriage. I got married very young in life and I always think in all relationships, I've always thought that it's counterproductive to have a theory on that. It's hard enough to get to know yourself and as most of you have probably found, once you get to know two people in tandem it's even more difficult. If it's going to be successful, it's going to have to be very specific and real and immediate so the more ideas you have about it before you start, it seems to me the less likely you are to be successful."

From an interview with About.com

7. ON LYING

“You only lie to two people in your life: your girlfriend and the police. Everybody else you tell the truth to.”

From a 1994 interview with Vanity Fair

8. ON HIS SUNGLASSES

"They're prescription. That's why I wear them. A long time ago, the Middle American in me may have thought it was a bit affected maybe. But the light is very strong in southern California. And once you've experienced negative territory in public life, you begin to accept the notion of shields. I am a person who is trained to look other people in the eye. But I can't look into the eyes of everyone who wants to look into mine; I can't emotionally cope with that kind of volume. Sunglasses are part of my armor."

From Esquire's "What I Learned"

9. ON MISCONCEPTIONS

"I think people think I'm more physical than I am, I suppose. I'm not really confrontational. Of course, I have a temper, but that's sort of blown out of proportion."

From an interview with ESPN

10. ON DIRECTING

"I'm a different person when suddenly it's my responsibility. I'm not very inhibited in that way. I would show up [on the set of The Two Jakes] one day, and we'd scouted an orange grove and it had been cut down. You're out in the middle of nowhere and they forget to cast an actor. These are the sort of things I kind of like about directing. Of course, at the time you blow your stack a little bit. ... I'm a Roger Corman baby. Just keep rolling, baby. You've got to get something on there. Maybe it's right. Maybe it's wrong. Maybe you can fix it later. Maybe you can't. You can't imagine the things that come up when you're making a movie where you've got to adjust on the spot."

From an interview with MTV

11. ON ROGER CORMAN

"There's nobody in there, that he didn't, in the most important way support. He was my life blood to whatever I thought I was going to be as a person. And I hope he knows that this is not all hot air. I'm going to cry now."

From the documentary Corman's World

12. ON PLAYING THE JOKER

"This would be the character, whose core—while totally determinate of the part—was the least limiting of any I would ever encounter. This is a more literary way of approaching than I might have had as a kid reading the comics, but you have to get specific. ... He's not wired up the same way. This guy has survived nuclear waste immersion here. Even in my own life, people have said, 'There's nothing sacred to you in the area of humor, Jack. Sometimes, Jack, relax with the humor.' This does not apply to the Joker, in fact, just the opposite. Things even the wildest comics might be afraid to find funny: burning somebody's face into oblivion, destroying a masterpiece in a museum—a subject as an art person even made me a little scared. Not this character. And I love that."

From The Making of Batman

13. ON BASKETBALL

"I've always thought basketball was the best sport, although it wasn't the sport I was best at. It was just the most fun to watch. ... Even as a kid it appealed to me. The basketball players were out at night. They had great overcoats. There was this certain nighttime juvenile-delinquent thing about it that got your blood going."

From Esquire's "What I Learned"

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Netflix/Facebook
arrow
entertainment
9 Things We Know About Stranger Things Season 3
Netflix/Facebook
Netflix/Facebook

[Warning: There are lots of Stranger Things season two spoilers ahead.]

Stranger Things season two is in the books, and like we all hoped, it turned out to be a worthy follow-up to an addictive debut season. Now, though, we’re left with plenty of questions, mysteries, and theories to chew on as the wait for a third season begins. But for everything we don’t know about what the next season of Stranger Things will bring us (such as an actual release date), there are more than enough things we do know to keep those fan theories coming well into 2018. Since it was officially greenlit for a third season by Netflix in December 2017, new details have been trickling out. Here’s everything we know about Stranger Things season three so far.

1. THERE WILL BE ANOTHER TIME JUMP.

The third season of Stranger Things won’t pick up right where the second one left off. Like the show experienced between the first two seasons, there will be a time jump between seasons two and three as well. The reason is simple: the child actors are all growing up, and instead of having the kids look noticeably older without explanation for year three, the Duffer Brothers told The Hollywood Reporter:

“Our kids are aging. We can only write and produce the show so fast. They're going to be almost a year older by the time we start shooting season three. It provides certain challenges. You can't start right after season two ended. It forces you to do a time jump. But what I like is that it makes you evolve the show. It forces the show to evolve and change, because the kids are changing.”

2. THE IDEA IS TO BE SMALLER IN SCALE.

If the series’s second season was about expanding the Stranger Things mythology, the third season won't go bigger just for the sake of it, with the brothers even going so far as to say that it will be a more intimate story.

“It’s not necessarily going to be bigger in scale,” Matt Duffer said in an interview with IndieWire. “What I am really excited about is giving these characters an interesting journey to go on.”

Ross Duffer did stress, though, that as of early November, season three is basically “… Matt and me working with some writers and figuring out where it’s going to go.”

3. THE MIND FLAYER WILL BE BACK.

The second season ended on a bit of a foreboding note when it was revealed that the Mind Flayer was still in the Upside Down and was seen looming over the Hawkins school as the winter dance was going on. Though we know there will be a time jump at the start of next season, it’s clear that the monster will still have a big presence on the show.

Executive producer Dan Cohen told TV Guide: "There were other ways we could have ended beyond that, but I think that was a very strong, lyrical ending, and it really lets us decide to focus where we ultimately are going to want to go as we dive into Season 3."

What does the Mind Flayer’s presence mean for the new crop of episodes? Well, there will be plenty of fan theories to ponder between now and the season three premiere (whenever that may be).

4. PLENTY OF LEFTOVER SEASON TWO STORYLINES WILL BE IN SEASON THREE.

The Duffer Brothers had a lot of material for the latest season of the show—probably a bit too much. Speaking with Vulture, Matt Duffer detailed a few details and plot points that had to be pushed to season three:

"Billy was supposed to have a bigger role. We ended up having so many characters it ended up, in a way, more teed up for season three than anything. There was a whole teen supernatural story line that just got booted because it was just too cluttered, you know? A lot of that’s just getting kicked into season three."

The good news is that he also told the site that this wealth of cut material could make the writing process for the third season much quicker.

5. THERE WILL BE MORE ERICA.

Stranger Things already had a roster of fan-favorite characters heading into season two, but newcomer Erica, Lucas’s little sister, may have overshadowed them all. Played by 11-year-old Priah Ferguson, Erica is equal parts expressive, snarky, and charismatic. And the Duffer Brothers couldn’t agree more, saying that there will be much more Erica next season.

“There will definitely be more Erica in Season 3,” Ross Duffer told Yahoo!. “That is the fun thing about the show—you discover stuff as you’re filming. We were able to integrate more of her in, but not as much you want because the story [was] already going. ‘We got to use more Erica’—that was one of the first things we said in the writers’ room.”

“I thought she’s very GIF-able, if that’s a word,” Matt Duffer added. “She was great.”

6. EXPECT KALI TO RETURN.

The season two episode “The Lost Sister” was a bit of an outlier for the series. It’s a standalone episode that focuses solely on the character Eleven, leaving the central plot and main cast of Hawkins behind. As well-received as Stranger Things season two was, this episode was a near-unanimous miss among fans and critics.

The episode did, however, introduce us to the character of Kali (Linnea Berthelsen), who has the ability to manipulate people’s minds with illusions she creates. Despite the reaction, the Duffers felt the episode was vital to Eleven’s development, and that Kali won’t be forgotten moving forward.

“It feels weird to me that we wouldn’t solve [Kali’s] storyline. I would say chances are very high she comes back,” Matt Duffer said at the Vulture Festival.

7. OTHER "NUMBERS" MIGHT SHOW UP.

We're already well acquainted with Eleven, and season two introduced us to Eight (a.k.a. Kali), and executive producer Shawn Levy heavily hinted to E! that there are probably more Hawkins Laboratory experiments on the horizon.

"I think we've clearly implied there are other numbers, and I can't imagine that the world will only ever know Eleven and Eight," Levy said.

8. THERE MIGHT NOT BE MANY SEASONS LEFT.

Don’t be in too much of a rush to find out everything about the next season of Stranger Things; there might not be many more left. The Duffer Brothers have said in the past that the plan is to do four seasons and end it. However, Levy gave fans a glimmer of hope that things may go on a little while longer—just by a bit, though.

“Hearts were heard breaking in Netflix headquarters when the Brothers made four seasons sound like an official end, and I was suddenly getting phone calls from our actors’ agents,” Levy told Entertainment Weekly. “The truth is we’re definitely going four seasons and there’s very much the possibility of a fifth. Beyond that, it becomes I think very unlikely.”

9. CARY ELWES AND JAKE BUSEY HAVE JOINED THE CAST.

The cast of Stranger Things is growing for season three, and two of the most high-profile additions announced so far are Cary Elwes and Jake Busey. Elwes—of The Princess Bride and Robin Hood: Men in Tights fame—will be playing Mayor Kline, who is described as "Your classic ’80s politician—more concerned with his own image than with the people of the small town he governs." All we know about Busey’s character is that he’ll be named Bruce and is described as "a journalist for the The Hawkins Post, with questionable morals and a sick sense of humor."

In March, it was also announced that Maya Hawke, daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, landed a role in the upcoming season. According to Variety, she’ll play an "'alternative girl' bored with her mundane day job. She seeks excitement in her life and gets more than she bargained for when she uncovers a dark secret in Hawkins, Ind."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios