Me, immediately after last night’s Game of Thrones finale:
Me, after realizing that I have to wait almost a year for more episodes:
It’s going to be a long hard lonely winter (sorry) until season 7, but lucky for us, we live in an age of millions of hours of entertainment at our fingertips. Even if you’ve already read all of A Song of Ice and Fire, there’s plenty to distract you from the emptiness that awaits us all on Sundays at 9 p.m. A few of these may even help you predict who ends up on the iron throne.
The Dark Tower series is an 8-book masterpiece that’s part fantasy, part western, and part horror (it is by Stephen King, after all). Think King Arthur meets the myth of the American Cowboy meets the Syfy channel. If you start reading now you might finish in time for the movie, coming early 2017 (and starring Idris Elba).
Gritty historical drama, but in medieval Scandinavia! It’s inspired by the Norse hero/villain (depends on who you ask) Ragnar Lothbrok, a man who rises from farmer to king around the year 800.
Lore is a delightfully creepy podcast about the truth behind common folktales. If you love delving into the mythology of Westeros, you’ll love this too. (The podcast is so successful, it’s being turned into its own TV show.)
If you’ve already read all of A Song of Ice and Fire and you want more, try the series that George R.R. Martin himself called “the original Game of Thrones.” Where ASOIAF is epic fantasy with a hint of historical fiction, this is historical fiction with a twist of fantasy, based on French aristocracy in the 14th century. The seven volumes should keep you busy at least until next season, if not necessarily until Winds of Winter (*cries*).
Fan of classic power struggles transposed into a new setting? How about Hamlet as a biker gang? Sons of Anarchy follows Jax (our Hamlet) as his loyalties to his California biker gang, and his family, are tested. Plus, with seven seasons, it gives you a lot to sink your teeth into.
By this point, you’ve probably heard that Game of Thrones is loosely based on a real historical conflict, The War of the Roses (illustrated nicely in this video). To dig deeper into GRRM’s source material, try this six-book series by the Queen of Historical Fiction herself, Philippa Gregory. You may just come away with some insight into how the series may end, not to mention an edge for historical trivia night. Bonus: The White Queen is also a Starz series, and another one based on The White Princess is on the way.
Need a break from zombies? Try vampires! (Plus fairies, werewolves, and plenty of other magical beings.) This show is extremely binge-able, with dramatic cliffhangers ending nearly episode. Despite centering on a sweet Southern belle, there’s plenty of sex, violence, and family politics—not far off from GOT.
As the name implies, this podcast is not merely the CliffsNotes on historical conflicts and sagas. Host Dan Carlin delves deep and creates hours-long series about events like the Mongol conquests, the Punic war, and WWII. Don’t get the wrong idea, though—these are not 8th-grade-history snoozefests. Each episode is painted as vividly as an episode of your favorite TV show, and is just as compelling. The educational side effect is just a bonus.