What we’re reading

unnamed4This year marks the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta–perhaps simultaneously one of the most cited and most often forgotten documents in legal history. The New Yorker‘s “The Rule of History” examines the document’s relevance throughout history and its lasting legacy in Western society, particularly the United States.

As China continues to urbanize and works towards its goal of having 60 percent of the country’s population living in urban centers by 2020, many citizens have been fighting to maintain their old way of life. The Atlantic‘s photo essay, “And Then There Was One,” documents several cases of “nail houses,” buildings whose owners have resisted selling their land to the government. The pictures show lone houses standing in the middle of construction sites, a phenomenon that can be seen all across the country.

Netflix has had one hell of a year so far, having just launched Daredevil, its 17th original series of 2015 (!). The company plans to air over 320 hours of original material in 2015–a threefold increase from last year. The New York Times explored the future of the company and the changing nature of television programming with Reed Hastings, Netflix’s chief executive.

With the recent leak of the first four episodes of the latest season of Game of Thrones, many fans are wondering what the show would be like if it were released all at once a la Netflix. Though this doesn’t seem likely anytime soon, we can read about one phe’s quest to watch seasons one through four in one sitting. Vice News’ Allie Conti goes through all of the ups and downs, one episode at a time.  Continue Reading


An Evening with George R.R. Martin

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In celebration of the inaugural Harris Collection Literary Award this past Thursday, the Brown University Library organization awarded and interviewed author George R.R. Martin and publisher Tom Doherty. While Tom Doherty, founder of Tor Books, is renowned in the world of fantasy novel publishing, it was Martin who attracted crowds of students and Providence residents alike.

Martin, a plump man with a friendly face, talked about his upbringing in Bayonne, New Jersey and his childhood love of comic books nearly as often as he mentioned the famous book series that has launched him to international fame. Yet his reputation and popularity were clear; the Salomon auditorium was approaching full capacity thirty minutes before the event and the following reception was crowded with fans.

That famous book series, A Song of Ice and Firewhich began in 1991 and has gained a resurgence in popularity since the arrival of its HBO television adaption, Game of Thrones, was the hot topic of the night. Not unlike the comic books he loved so much as a child, Martin’s book series has become a franchise in its own right, producing not only a television series, but action figures, pop-up museums and board games.

Yet Martin does not consider this franchising to be a slight on his product, even going as far to say “Fitzgerald would’ve sold it in a minute.” He spoke on his conditions of approvals and notes before the releasing of a franchise product, even mentioning early disputes with HBO over such rights that could have endangered the television show.

The book series, along with Game of Thrones, has become famous for its unexpected deaths and atypical storytelling techniques. Martin has been compared to J.R.R. Tolkien, though he expressed his resistance to reusing the Lord of the Rings author’s images and tropes unlike many other fantasy writers.

Instead, he utilized techniques picked up from his screenwriting days during which he worked on shows such as Beauty and the Beast and Twilight Zone. “Each chapter leaves you wanting more,” Martin said of his novels, which are lauded for their usage of numerous point-of-view characters and usage of suspense.

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Winter [read: George R.R. Martin] is coming to Brown

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If you know me at all then you know my not-so-secret secret: I am obsessed with Game of Thrones. In fact, I was so depressed after the culmination of Season 3 that I read the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series. And for that reason I tell you with great reluctance that the series’ author George R.R. Martin is bringing his mass murderer self to Brown on October 23. He will appear, along with distinguished publisher Tom Doherty, to receive the Library’s inaugural Harris Collection Literary Award. The presentation and subsequent interview will occur in Salomon 101 at 7 p.m.

Why would I be reluctant to tell you this, you might be wondering? Am I not excited? That’s just it. I am so excited that as I write this I hope no one reads it so that no one thinks to get tickets. Then maybe I’ll get quality time with G.R.R.M. so I can ask him all my burning questions. (What does the R.R. stand for? Why do you kill all of my favorite characters? Is there any chance you can give my resume to the producers of Game of Thrones?) Maybe if I tell you guys not to go, then you’ll listen. So here goes nothing…

You should definitely not go to this link on Monday, October 6 at 12 p.m to reserve your spot. It will certainly not be amazing nor will the Q&A be enlightening. Seriously, you really don’t want to go. Don’t get tickets. In fact, forget this post even happened. Please.

Image by Jason Hu.


A Misanthrope’s Guide to Television: Mad Men (spoiler alert!)

We all know that there is lots of TV to be watched on Sunday nights, and we all know that the TV fans that scream loudest are the Game of Thrones maniacs. Now, far be it from me to judge anyone for their choices in life, television or otherwise, but Game of Thrones is stupid (Ed. YOU TAKE THAT BACK). Full disclosure, I haven’t watched it, but I can only keep track of so many boobs and swords at once. So, in the event you need to stop looking up to the Khaleesi (or whatever), turn your sights on my hero: Joan.

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Mother of dragons? Cute.

Joan never went to college, but she’s got a B.A. in bad-assery and that’s all she seems to need. In the final season premier, Joan takes matters into her own hands and is on her way to becoming an account executive OVERTHROWING THE PATRIARCHY. Her masculine counterpart, Roger, seems to be spiraling into a crisis only orgies and incense can resolve, as his daughter attempts to absolve him of his sins.

Meanwhile, Pete is happy, and Peggy isn’t! What?! But Peggy is riding high with a corner office and underlings while Pete seems to be feeling bohemian way out west. They’re both raging workaholics who define themselves through rank and recognition, so why does Peggy end the episode collapsed on the floor while Pete raves about some stupid sandwich to Don?

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Game of Concentrations: You either declare, or you die

It’s been a long year since Game of Thrones Season 3 premiered, and, if you’re like me, you’re probably dying for the show’s return. Despite last season being a bit… red, it left fans everywhere begging for more. Well get excited, because GoT comes back this Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO (or HBO GO, ain’t nobody got time for actual TV). In honor of the show’s return — and today’s concentration declaration deadline for sophomores — we’ve decided to determine how the houses of Westeros correlate to Brown concentrations.

So recap yourself on all the people who’ve died all the events of last season, figure out your concentration, and find which house speaks to you.

House Lannister – Economics

This one is obvious. Nobody knows the market quite like the Lannisters; they’re always swimming in cash. The Lannisters would be that one kid in your economics section answering all the questions while everyone else copies it down. After all, a Lannister always pays his debts.

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House Targaryen – Political Science 

The Targaryens are all about politics. They’re probably UCS president and the head of every major group on campus. If someone steals their spot, they come for them with a nasty sense of revenge. A lesser known fact is that they’re double concentrating with Chemistry, but that’s mainly just so they can set stuff on fire.

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Winter ISN’T coming: ‘Game of Thrones’ meets Brown

(BlogDH) Game of Thrones

The time has come for another exhilarating, drunk season of Game of Thrones. What does the future hold for the land of Westeros? More importantly, what does this season mean for your liver?

Behold, the Game of Thrones Drinking Game: Brown Edition. Take the quiz below to get sorted into a house and let the fun begin.

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