Laura Bogart

'Game of Thrones' Recap: The 'Battle of the Bastards' May Be the Most Intense Episode Yet

This season of “Game of Thrones” has delivered some of the most fan-servicing scenes since wicked King Joffrey dropped his wine goblet and clutched desperately at his throat: The season opener featured a merciful ending to the Dornish debacle with a few quick stabs in the chest; and one episode later, of course, Jon Snow, in his glorious nakedness, awoke from the dead. There was a Stark reunion; the ax-swinging, profanity-spewing return of Sandor “the Hound” Clegane; and Daenerys assuming command of a Dothraki horde after righteously incinerating their boorish khals. Though fan service can seem, on its surface, a derogatory term—connoting a kind of light, pandering entertainment—when delivered successfully, it can fulfill the hopes and expectations that we the viewers have for the stories and characters in which we have so richly invested. At its best, fan service lets the weakest, most terrified character—a young girl we’ve watched be maligned, abused, and raped—harden into the kind of stoical bad-ass who can stare her vilest torturer right in the eye and tell him that he is going to die.

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'Game of Thrones' Recap: The Fate of One Major Character Is Finally Set

Whether you’re a dragon-riding khaleesi or a deposed queen regent, the witty scion of a wealthy family or a legendary rogue, your identity means everything across the seven kingdoms. Sure, fans can joke about the poor Starbucks barista who has to squeeze Dany’s full name on a cup (I’d imagine that “Stormborn of House Targaryen, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons …” might barely fit on a Venti) or debate if Jaime Lannister deserves such scorn as “the Kingslayer” (who, in driving his sword through the Mad King’s back, saved thousands of innocents from being roasted alive), but the ancestral titles and the whispered smears, the ballyhoo and the reputations as strategists or warriors or immaculate bedfellows do more than precede our characters in their travels around the realm—they inform everything our characters believe about themselves (and others) and everything they’d like to be. Though this episode’s title is “No One,” it is very much about what it means to be a very specific someone.

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I Am Trying Not to Hate and Fear Men

When I finally told my mother that the neighbor boy she’d been “babysitting” — which meant leaving the two of us alone together while she watched her soap operas upstairs — had started “touching me in weird ways,” she told me, with a forcefulness I’d never heard in her voice before, to never ever say anything to my father, because “Daddy would kill him,” and “we’d lose Daddy forever.” And we certainly didn’t want that.

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I Grew Up in the Kind of Family Beloved By Republicans - And It Was Hell

My father asks me what four times four is, and all I can think is “eight,” though I know that’s wrong; whether it’s better — safer — to be wrong or to say, “I don’t know,” depends upon his mood. The way my mother smiles at me as she clears my plate is of no help, there’s no telltale tightness in her eyes. He drums the flashcard against the tabletop and sighs. My fingers worry the edges of the iron-on patches — a rabbit and a duck — that Mom has fixed to my corduroy jumper. I gamble on “eight,” but a yawn slips out instead. I haven’t even closed my mouth before he smacks it open again. He backhands me hard enough to blot out the world.

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Why I Choose to be Fat

The doctor glances up from the first page of my chart — the only page he actually looks at — with the condescending smile that men in bars will flash me, the fat chick, when they edge past me to chat up my friend. As if merely acknowledging me is an expression of great tolerance.

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Why I Choose to be Fat

The doctor glances up from the first page of my chart — the only page he actually looks at — with the condescending smile that men in bars will flash me, the fat chick, when they edge past me to chat up my friend. As if merely acknowledging me is an expression of great tolerance.

Keep reading... Show less

I Grew Up in the Kind of Family Beloved By Republicans -- And It Was Hell

My father asks me what four times four is, and all I can think is “eight,” though I know that’s wrong; whether it’s better — safer — to be wrong or to say, “I don’t know,” depends upon his mood. The way my mother smiles at me as she clears my plate is of no help, there’s no telltale tightness in her eyes. He drums the flashcard against the tabletop and sighs. My fingers worry the edges of the iron-on patches — a rabbit and a duck — that Mom has fixed to my corduroy jumper. I gamble on “eight,” but a yawn slips out instead. I haven’t even closed my mouth before he smacks it open again. He backhands me hard enough to blot out the world.

Keep reading... Show less
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