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New Escapist Video! “House of the Dragon is a Worthy Return to Westeros”

I’m thrilled to be launching movie reviews on The Escapist. Over the coming weeks and months, I will be joining a set of contributors in adding these reviews to the channel. For the moment, I’m honoured to contribute a five-minute film review of the first season of House of the Dragon, which is on HBO Max.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Black Queen” Captures the Inevitability of Political Violence…

I am doing weekly reviews of House of the Dragon at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the Game of Thrones prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next. This week marked the season finale.

One of the interesting tensions of the first season of House of the Dragon is the way that the show has somewhat weighted the audience’s sympathy. The show is undeniably in favour of Queen Rhaenyra’s ascent to the throne. However, what is interesting about The Black Queen is the way in which the episode is built around the idea that the individual intent of any one individual, no matter how decent or how powerful, is not enough to stop the mechanisms of state violence. Rhaenyra may not want a war, but what Rhaenyra wants may not matter.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Green Council” Captures the Intimacy of a Coup…

I am doing weekly reviews of House of the Dragon at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the Game of Thrones prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

The Green Council is an interesting episode of House of the Dragon because it very deliberately fragments the shows already tight ensemble. Unfolding in the immediate aftermath of Viserys’ death, The Green Council is an episode about the mechanisms of securing power while trying to minimise the chaos in the aftermath of such an event. It’s an episode that cleverly foregrounds all of the show’s core themes in interesting and ambitious ways.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Podcast! The Recap – “We Finally Got Some Real Action and Answers in The Rings of Power…”

We’re thrilled to be launching a weekly multimedia podcast at The Escapist, called The Recap. I’m hoping to be a regular fixture of it, stremaing live every Tuesday evening. This is kinda cool, because we’re helping relaunch the magazine’s film content – so if you can throw a subscription our way, it would mean a lot.

This week, we took a look at the splurge of recent news from Marvel Studios, including new trailers, new writer announcements, the first big reveals about Deadpool 3, directorial departures, and streaming shows that are becoming movies. We also caught up with our opinions on Rings of Power, House of the Dragon and Andor. It’s a fun discussion. Check it out.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Rogue Prince” Lets “House of the Dragon” Reflect the Modern World…

I am doing weekly reviews of House of the Dragon at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the Game of Thrones prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

One of the more interesting aspects of Game of Thrones was the way in which it was a high fantasy series that used the language and conventions of the genre as what felt like a compelling commentary on American identity, filtering the anxieties of the War on Terror through the prism of dragons and free cities. House of the Dragon continues that trend, offering a show that seems to reflect a particularly anxious and unstable moment in American history.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On Matt Smith’s Complicated Men…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist this evening. With the release of House of the Dragon last weekend, it seemed like a good opportunity to take a look at Matt Smith’s career. In particular, how the actor has cornered the market on a particularly modern take on masculinity.

As Daemon Targaryen, Smith was the breakout star of House of the Dragon. However, Daemon typifies the kind of roles that Smith has been drawn towards in the years following his departure from Doctor Who. In projects as diverse as The Crown, Last Night in Soho and Charlie Says, Smith exemplifies a fascinatingly contradictory portrait of masculinity, one that is by turns alluring and pathetic, powerful and fragile, arrogant and insecure. Smith’s ability to play these conflicting facets off one another is what makes him such a compelling performer.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

New Escapist Column! On How “The Heirs of the Dragon” Places House of the Dragon in Daenerys’ Shadow…

I am doing weekly reviews of House of the Dragon at The Escapist. They’ll be dropping every Sunday evening while the show is on, looking at the Game of Thrones prequel as it progresses from one episode to the next.

Part of what is so interesting about the first episode, The Heirs of the Dragon, is the way in which the show immediately positions itself in the shadow of Daenerys Targaryen, perhaps the biggest breakout character from Game of Thrones. The first three scenes of The Heirs of the Dragon place the show firmly in the context of Daenerys, fixating upon the idea of what it means to be a Targaryen Queen of Westeros. It is a bold move from the show, and a strong statement of purpose, one that immediately establishes House of the Dragon as a series in conversation with Game of Thrones.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.