VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 501
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The vassals continue their 500 revelry with a heated round of ASOIAF trivia! Join Duncan (Valkyrist), Casey (blue-eyed-queen), Zach (Alias), Greg (claudiusthefool), Michal (inkasrain), Adam (drownedsnow), Patrick (Ser Patrick the Tall), and Nadia as they go head to head in a battle of wits, wills and White Walkers.

Who will be crowned champion and who will be fed to the dogs? There’s only one way to find out…

Credits:
Edited by Valkyrist

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VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 500
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The curators of Vassals of Kingsgrave celebrate their 500th episode!! Join Casey (blue-eyed-queen), Zach (Alias), Greg (claudiusthefool), Michal (inkasrain), Adam (drownedsnow), Patrick (Ser Patrick the Tall), Duncan (Valkyrist), Glen (Dagos_Rivers), and Nadia as they answer listener-submitted questions about the books, the podcast and the fandom of A Song of Ice and Fire.

Topics include: our favorite episodes, meetup experiences, Westerosi survival tips, best and worst tinfoil theories, dream podcast guests, stalking George, how the series has affected our lives, and what the future holds.

Stick around for the Aftershow (at 2:31:51) for an interview with Amin Javadi from “A Podcast of Ice and Fire,” in which he elaborates on the early years of the ASOIAF fandom and the origins of VOK.

Credits:
Edited by Valkyrist
Music from Age of Empires


VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 495
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Praise be! The Vassals have delivered us a blessed review of the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Join Michal (inkasrain), Stephanie (gsdg), David (davidhhh), Duncan (Valkyrist), Matt (Varley), and Adam (drownedsnow) for  a sermon on female agency, radicalisation, systems of oppression, and symbolic wolves. Under his eye…

Credits:
Edited by Valkyrist
Music from Malia J and Goldfrapp


VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 491
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Join us for episode 76 of the Great Linear ASOIAF Re-Read ! Today we enjoy one of the few Sansa chapters (Alayne 1 from Feast), we learn again how great George is at writing horror stories with Brienne 4 from Feast, and we ponder over the passing of time in the last Bran chapter of the published books : Bran 3 from Dance. Your hosts are Sarah (Lady Weaver), Zach (Alias), Duncan (Valkyrist), Jock (munrojock2), Marie (Nymeria). These events take place between March 23rd and 27th 300 AL.

For those following along at home the next episode of the re-read will be hosted by Adam. It will cover Jon 5 and Tyrion 5 from Dance and Sam 3 from Feast.

Beware! This podcast is dark and full of spoilers for all published works in the A Song Of Ice and Fire series, but not the show or TWOW samply chapters.

Credits:
Edited by Bina007
Music by Alpine Universe


A PODCAST OF ICE AND FIRE: EPISODE 233
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Episode 233 for the week of September 2, 2018. A panel of returning guests from the Vassals of Kingsgrave convene to discuss the history of Orientalism in Western fantasy and whether it is an issue in A Song of Ice and Fire. Here is a link to the academic article  discussed in the episode.

VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 489
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The Vassals jack into cyberspace for a review of William Gibson’s Neuromancer. Join Duncan (Valkyrist) and Dana (Taindana) for an indepth discussion of cyberpunk fiction, artificial intelligence and the dark side of technology.

Credits:
Edited by Valkyrist
Music from Eurythmics and Valve Corporation


VASSALS OF KINGSGRAVE: EPISODE 487
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The Vassals return to the Tower of the Hand to address the state of the realm. Join Duncan (Valkyrist), Sara (DrBlood) and Wilson (WanderingProphet) for a review of A Hymn for Spring, a collection of essays on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Essays covered in this podcast include:

09:08 – “Songs and Singers of Ice and Fire” by Amin Javadi
1:03:27 – “The Curse of Harren the Black” by Aziz and Ashaya
1:51:16 – “The Word Is Groleo” by Stefan Sasse
2:41:26 – Aftershow

Credits:
Edited by Valkyrist
“The Bear and the Maiden Fair” by christocakes
“Rhaegar’s Harp” by feliciacano

This is a series of notes and reflections I compiled while reading Jean Baudrillard’s 1981 book Simulacra and Simulation. It examines his theory of the “hyperreal” and how it manifests in society’s relationship to art, movies, mass media, advertising, education, architecture, technology, and language.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Simulacra and Simulation is a book written by the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard and published in 1981. It is primarily concerned with the role that images play in contemporary society and the way that reality is mediated by these images. Baudrillard introduces the concept of the “hyperreal,” illustrating it through references to a wide range of cultural products, from advertising and architecture, to cinema to universities. This is a series of notes and reflections I compiled while reading the book.

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This video essay examines the philosophical response to moderism and the effects of urbanisation on the human being. In particular, it compares Georg Simmel’s The Metropolis and Mental Life and Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproductions.

FULL TRANSCRIPT

One of the major philosophical concerns for modernists was the effects of urbanisation and industrialisation on the mind of the individual. Georg Simmel observed that it was difficult to maintain our sense of self in the wake of a rapidly changing social and sensory landscape. He identifies the city’s primary element as being a “plurality of stimuli”, which the citydweller would gradually come to suppress (176). Similarly, Walter Benjamin wrote that technological advances have fundamentally changed the way we create and interpret art. As the artists techniques change, so too do their ideas and habits; and moreover, with the ability to reproduce on a mass scale, the relationship between everyday people and art has also been irreversibly altered from what it was in pre-modern times (222). Both men equate the modern individual with a sense of dislocation and detachment, as though some vital part of our selfhood and creative potential has been severed by modernisation. They reveal in their work a tendency to romanticise pre-modern society, referencing the greater cohesion of rural communities and the “aura” present in singular artworks, now dissolved by big city anonymity and mechanical reproduction. However, it could be argued that the sense of loss exemplified by Simmel and Benjamin is more emblematic of how the people in those societies felt, rather than what they were genuinely experiencing. Admittedly, this is a small distinction, but perhaps important, and one that can be explored more objectively from the privileged gaze of the early twenty-first century.

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There are so many amazing lines in George R. R. Martin’s magnum opus, often found in the most unlikely places. I was rereading Arya’s first chapter from A Storm of Swords recently, and was struck by how perfectly one passage captured the characters transforming psyche: “They thought they were hunting her, she knew with all the strange sharp certainty of dreams, but they were wrong. She was hunting them.” It shows how Arya is beginning to externalize all of the violence and abuse she’s been subjected to, and how her psychology is being rewritten by the threat of death that constantly hangs over her head.

But in terms of a quote that summarizes the whole series (or, at least, one of its major themes), I’d have to go with this Tyrion line from ASOS: “It all goes back and back, to our mothers and fathers and theirs before them. We are puppets dancing on the strings of those who came before us, and one day our own children will take up our strings and dance on in our steads.” I think every character in the series is living under the shadow of those who came before them, especially their fathers. Look at how large the figure of Tywin looms in the thoughts and feelings of the Lannister children, even after his death. Whether they want to imitate him, or carry on his legacy, or transcend his cruelty, or drown out his voice with wine, he is a fundamental part of who they are.

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