Jun 30

HBO’s Game of Thrones is an epic fantasy based on George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire books. After watching and loving the first few episodes of the TV series, I started reading the books. I only needed to read the prologue of the first book to make an awesome realization: This is a story about zombies.

Now, it’s not just about zombies. It’s also about war and dragons and sorcery and people. But I found the zombie part really compelling. In the prologue of the first book, A Game of Thrones, we are introduced to a creepy race of beings called the Others, which the characters speak of but don’t believe to exist. Then they meet one. It is gaunt and pale, with eyes that are blue and glowing. That is all well and creepy, but then we get to the part that caught my attention: After the Others kill a man, he comes back to life as one of them, also pale, gaunt, and with glowing blue eyes. Could the Others be zombies?

Game of Thrones - The Others

Game of Thrones - The Others


In truth, they’re not the typical zombie. It seems that these ones are capable of sword-fighting and talking, it’s unclear whether they eat brains, and of course there are the demonic blue eyes. But they’re definitely the living dead – and I expect that they’ll be coming in hordes.

The first season of Game of Thrones is a pretty faithful adaptation of the first book, and I’ve only just begun to read the second. So, if you haven’t seen the series, some of what I’m about to say might be spoilers, but not much. I’ll mostly be talking about the world Martin created, not the actual plot. You’ve been warned.

Game of Thrones - The Wall

Game of Thrones - The Wall


In this world, there is a wall cutting off the northern part of the continent, which is so ancient that no one knows quite who built it, or how or why. It’s almost 700 feet high and is simply called the Wall. The Others are a legend south of the Wall, spoken of mostly in jokes and children’s stories. But north of the Wall, we’ve seen that they’re real.

So, this situation seems rife for an epic zombie battle: We have an ancient wall that was likely built to keep the Others from infecting those in the south of the continent. We have the unexpected emergence of the Others in the north, though they are generally believed to be creatures of fairy tales. And we have them creating new Others – a swarm that must travel south to feed. I can’t wait to see what happens. I’m expecting some zombie mayhem.

Game of Thrones is a great series, regardless – but I’m happy to find a little living-dead action in there. Because everything is better with zombies, right?

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Feb 18

thelivingdeadI recently picked up The Living Dead, edited by John Joseph Adams, an anthology of zombie-themed fiction that includes stories by authors such as Stephen King, George R. R. Martin and Clive Barker.

The Living Dead offers a fresh take on zombie fiction. These are stories that you’ll enjoy for their literary value as much as for their zombie mayhem. They include great characters, great ideas and great writing.

Although The Living Dead provides its share of Romero-style zombies, there are also some new and liberal interpretations of the zombie theme. Some stories feature zombies can think and talk (“Beautiful Stuff” by Susan Palwick), characters that have been influenced by zombies in popular culture (“Everything is Better with Zombies” by Hannah Wolf Bowen) or zombies that might not really be zombies (“The Dead Kid” by Darrell Schweitzer).

Adams’ compilation is might not be the most zombie-bang for your buck (although there definitely is some R-rated zombie banging), but it is a must-read for anyone watching as zombies amble and claw their way into popular culture.

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