“Valar Morghulis”: all men must die. And so, it seems, must our favorite TV shows – at least for a little while until they come back for another season…
Winter is coming – specifically on June 9th, when this season of HBO’s Game of Thrones comes to a close. There’ll be a hole the size of Westeros in the hearts of GoT nerds all around the world without our weekly fix. I can barely get through the seven days between episodes – so how in the name of the old gods and the new are we expected to survive until next spring when the show returns for season four?
1. Relive the Story with the Books
To date, five books have been published in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series: “A Game of Thrones”, “A Clash of Kings”, “A Storm of Swords”, “A Feast for Crows” and “A Dance with Dragons”. With each book weighing in at over 1,000 pages, the series should keep us entertained through the long winter. But be warned: given the time gap between each book’s release, it’s likely that the final two books (“The Winds of Winter” and “A Dream of Spring”) won’t be released for some time, so pace yourselves…
If you’re a devoted fan of sword & sorcery fantasy epics, you might also consider reading all 78 books in the Conan the Barbarian series – arguably the largest fantasy series/franchise in existence.
2. Relive the Action through the Video Game
The Game of Thrones RPG video game (Xbox 360/PlayStation 3/PC) is based on the story of the first novel and, in part, on the TV series. Although it didn’t garner rave reviews, any chance to stomp around the Seven Kingdoms with a broad sword sounds good to me.
Cool nerd fact: George R. R. Martin has a cameo appearance in the game as Maester Martin.
3. Get Your Kill on with “Vikings”
History Channel’s Vikings has all the battles and bloodshed of Game of Thrones with the added bonus of being inspired by real life people and events. The show follows Viking Ragnar Lodbrok, a Norse hero and notorious scourge of France and Britain. Ragnar and his band of warriors lead the first raids into Britain to rape and pillage their way to riches and glory.
4. Enjoy Political Backstabbing with HBO’s “Rome”
Rome, like Game of Thrones, is a beautifully ambitious show, from the gorgeous visuals to the deliciously deep storylines and the sprawling ensemble cast of characters. Set in 52 B.C., the series revolves around the events leading up to the assassination of Julius Caesar and is the perfect mix of treachery, betrayal, family dysfunction, sex and violence that Game of Thrones fans are sure to love.
5. Savor the Regal Drama of “The Tudors”
The Tudors is another perfect example of complex, well-crafted television that delivers both style and substance. The show explores the perilous relationships of England’s King Henry VIII, who famously divorced and beheaded his way through six wives during a dangerous time of political and religious upheaval. With a sumptuous visual style and a seductively sexy cast, it’s worth tuning in for the eye candy alone.
Geek crossover: Natalie Dormer stars as Anne Boleyn; Game of Thrones fans know her best as Joffrey’s betrothed, Margaery Tyrell.
Indulge your fantasies of what a wildling life beyond the Wall might be like with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Part one of this three-movie adaptation of Tolkien’s famous novel is a veritable feast of dark magic, necromancers, orcs and giants – basically all the dangers of the Frostfangs and beyond. It might make you consider joining the Night’s Watch – or follow Osha’s advice and ride out the long winter in the southern kingdoms…
7. Quest Epically with “The Lord of the Rings”
Continue the J. R. R. Tolkien kick with The Lord of the Rings – the book or the films – for an epic adventure across Middle-earth, a land to rival Westeros in its diversely fantastic elements.
8. Go Medieval with “Camelot”
Camelot, yet another lavish series from the creator of Vikings and The Tudors, infuses the well-known Medieval tale of kings and knights with some good old fashioned sex and violence – and there’s plenty of ambitious throne-coveting and black magic thrown in for good measure.
9. Become a Smuggler with “Black Sails”
If, like Stannis Baratheon’s loyal adviser, Ser Davos, you’re more comfortable feeling the sway of a ship beneath your feet, Black Sails is for you. The upcoming show takes place 20 years before the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the fight for New Providence Island – a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers.
Take care not to lose the ends of your fingers – or worse – should your pirating ways end in your capture.
10. Indulge in Retail Therapy
If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, you can purchase a replica Iron Throne for $30,000 (or one full-grown dragon).