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.