On Thursday the 2015 Emmy nomination were announced and Game of Thrones leads the field. Though it’s disheartening to see that Kit Harrington and his lovely hair did not get a nomination, Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady and Emilia Clarke will all be hoping to take home a shiny golden trophy.
When one looks at the nominations on a broader scale, the actors who are up for the big prizes are no longer people who found fame in TV. Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin Spacey and Liev Schreiber are all up for acting gongs, and all are big, well-established names in the world of film. What is turning them to TV all of a sudden? When you look at the current situation of the cinema box office, it is filled with sequels, prequels and reboots. It would seem that in the two hours or so that the director has to establish a relationship with the audience, they go for what works rather than something new and innovative.
We love TV now. It’s the viewing equivalent of sitting down with War and Peace or Moby Dick, investing a long time in a fantasy world, building relationships with characters and becoming seriously affected by their outcome (farewell Jon Snow). Televisions series allow for character and plot development in a way that film cannot provide. So, since audiences want familiarity, we have an extremely long film series with characters that we know and love time and time again. Don’t get me wrong, I love a superhero movie as much as any 15 year old boy does, but it doesn’t provide me with as much satisfaction as a ten part Game of Thrones series.
Producers and actors are now wise to the shift to television that audiences are making. With the creation of HBO and Sky and of course, bigger tellys, we are now closer than ever to having the movies in our very own home. It is a radical shift to the Hollywood business model and producers are finally waking up to what the audience wants. How can Hollywood compete with Netflix, a fast streaming service that gives the viewer autonomy (or so they think) to watch whatever they want , whenever and at a reasonable price?
It is unlikely that the Emmys will ever rival the Oscars for prestige and glamour, but it is clear the heavyweight actors, once nominated and winning at the Kodak Theatre are now finding themselves on the other side of the fence. Could giants such as Netflix and Amazon Prime actually reinvent the business model of Hollywood that has remained steadfast for over 100 years? Perhaps it’s too soon to tell, but with countless Emmy nominations to its name, Netflix is all set to ‘break the wheel’, much like our favourite queen, Daenerys Targaryen.
We love business and we love popular culture, what better way to celebrate the Emmy nominations and the build up to the awards by reading Game of Thrones on Business. Netflix, take note!
I am hoping by now that fans of the fantastic Netflix series, Orange is the New Black are all caught up with season three and now regretting that five-hour binge last Saturday so that they could drag out the magic just a bit longer. That’s the problem with instant streaming, it’s like crack, we can’t help ourselves and before we know it, we’re left waiting eleven months for the new series.
So Litchfield is evolving and we have learnt that it is still no fun being on the Inside. Favourite Nikki learnt to her peril that going into business with the guards will only end badly for half of the partnership (hint: not the one on the government payroll). Our hearts were simultaneously broken when we realised that we were so desperate for the fairy tale of John Bennett and Daya to work out (even though we knew it was never going to happen). And who’d have though back in season one that Pensatucky would turn out to be the favourite?!
So now that we’re on the comedown, we’ve had time to think about the lessons that we can take from the Litchfield crew. Piper, though arguably the most boring character on the show despite being the centre point, really came into her own in season 3. Hardened by months in prison, too many (we’ve lost count) breakups with Alex and Larry and learning that the love of your life ‘dobbed you in’ is enough to turn even the most optimistic of people against the world. Piper is now top dog of the prison contraband but, when in seasons 1 and 2 things were being smuggled into the prison (by Red and then Vee) now Piper has come up with a genius plan to bring the business of Litchfield to the outside world.
I won’t give you all the gory details of her business model but essentially, she uses extra fabric from her sewing job to make knickers for the girls to wear and then sell to creepy men on the outside who are into ‘that kind of thing’. It turns out that there are quite a few men who love women’s unwashed underwear (in the world of Orange is the New Black, at any rate) and so Piper’s business is booming. However, as with any illegal set-up, there are issues, how will she get the contraband out of the prison? (befriend the vulnerable boy-guard) how will she convince the ladies to participate? (offer them food as a reward – they’re not dogs, Piper!).
Nevertheless, in a prison, there’s a fair few crafty criminals afoot and it isn’t long until they realise that Piper is making a killing from her business while they, the workers, are getting the flavouring from a pot noodle. It isn’t long before workers’ rights are on the agenda. But prison isn’t like the outside world and Piper, keen to stay ahead of the game and in charge fired Flaca but ensures that the girls will be paid. There are less-than-subtle references to The Godfather as Piper tells Flaca that she is the Luca Brasi of the group.
Piper’s rise to ‘Godfather’ of Litchfield status was definitely not what we saw coming when she walked into the prison two seasons ago. After her very long and poetic business proposition, she now calls the shots and it is her that the prisoners go to when they need something.
So we’re not advising that you go get yourself arrested and then become leader of the gang in a prison, but what business lessons can we take from this? Firstly, always have your wits about you. When you’re at the top of the food chain, so to speak, there will always be those who will seek to usurp your power (take note, Cersei Lannister). After getting a (not very cool) prison tattoo that read ‘trust no bitch’ from new girlfriend Stella, Piper should have taken the hint rather than let Stella take all of her money. However, it was Stella who paid the heavy price and followed Nikki to maximum security after Piper set her up for a fall.
We have learnt from Piper’s backstory that she has spent lots of time with drug lords and so is wise as to how to deal with those who betray her trust. Though she is not dealing in heroin, the underwear might as well be Class A drugs. Piper’s instinct for business has been formed from a business model that is more than likely going to land you in jail.
But what we can take from Piper’s story is her entrepreneurial spirit. Even in prison she is taking full advantage of her position and exploiting the gaps in the system that have allowed her business to flourish. So no, please don’t sell your used knickers on the black market, but look for opportunity even in the most dire of situations. If Piper can make loads of ‘dollar’ behind bars, imagine what you could do with a great idea, enthusiasm and a small start-up company.
We at Infinite Ideas love popular culture and we love business. What’s that, we hear you say? Why not fuse the two into a gripping read? We already did! If you, like us are not only suffering from the long wait for season of Orange is the New Black but also season 6 of Game of Thrones, why not read our book, Game of Thrones on Business and take some interesting lessons from the Seven Kingdoms right into that next meeting with HR!
You may remember that a while ago we asked what Jon Snow knew about office politics. As Tim Philips and Rebecca Clare suggest in Game of Thrones on Business, it does not always pay to be a clever little twat. Yes, Jon was a great leader and showed much promise as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. He has an excellent knowledge of tactics and strategy that he was taught as a child from his father Ned. However, not everyone enjoys the young know-it-all usurping their power. Last night Jon learnt the hard way that burning your bridges and leading without getting your subordinates on board can lead to mutiny. Now I’m not suggesting that in a business context you will be stabbed to death and left to die in the snow (Snow!) but be wary of how you rise up the ranks, those you pass on the way may seek to bring you down any chance you get. We in the Infinite Ideas office, however, are not planning any sort of mutiny.
So Jon Snow was a loser in last night’s finale. I have heard many fan theories about how not all may be lost but I’m not going to get my hopes up. I do have 42 weeks to grieve until the next series will be aired but I’m not really sure if I want to go through all that again. Why does George Martin hate the Starks? Ned we sort-of understood and Robb hurt a lot but nothing is comparing to how we feel about Jon.
Another loser in last night’s finale was Cersei. She may have escaped with her life but her dignity has certainly been sacrificed. She may find it difficult to come back to her old ways after having paraded through the streets to the tune of ‘shame’. We’re not massively fond of Cersei but we do think that her punishment was a little severe. Perhaps death would have been kinder to her? Cersei needs to be in control, she likes being at the top of the food chain and has been pulling the strings of her puppet kings for a long time now. Next season will prove very interesting for Cersei, with Myrcella now dead, her power is slipping.
Let’s be honest, the finale was never going to end well for Stannis. When you put your trust in a red witch who tells you that burning your daughter at the stake is a good idea, things are rarely going to come up roses. Arguably, Stannis had little option but to charge on Winterfell, but his poor battle strategy and depleted army meant that there was little other option for him but to fail. Yes, we would have loved to see Ramsay impaled on a very long lance, but it wasn’t to be. However, I think that after episode nine, I preferred Ramsay anyway (never thought I would say that!).
Nevertheless, not all of the finale was filled with grief and sorrow. Our first winner is Samwell. What a lad. Sam has been very lucky this season, and indeed in the whole show, having killed a White Walker Sam was almost killed by his Night’s Watch colleagues but survived thanks to Gilly’s intuition. So now he’s managed to negotiate a nice little homestead for his girlfriend and baby and escaped Castle Black before all hell broke loose. I would love to think that if Sam was there Jon would have survived, but most likely Sam would have been killed too.
We’re thrilled to say that Jorah was definitely a winner this series though, shockingly, I would have rather seen him die a noble death last night than lovely Jon. Jorah ended season 4 on a bit of a low point having been exiled from Meereen and all hope for a happy future seemed lost. Now I’m not saying that season 5 has been an easy ride for him, we still need to know how he is going to fare having been touched by the stone men but he is now back in favour with Daenerys and in the small council with Daario and Tyrion. Yes, perhaps he should have been less clingy, but without his intuition Daenerys might not have made it to the finale.
There are some lingering questions like, where is Gendry? Is he still floating in the sea? Did he drown or did he wash up on an island somewhere and is now enjoying a carefree life away from House rivalries? Where is Bran? Yes, his storyline is incredibly dull but I miss Hodor and also, isn’t Bran supposed to play a big part in the battle to come? Is Jaqen H’ghar good or bad? Poor Arya really had a tough time of it, but I’m sure she’s strong enough to overcome her blindness. Did Sansa survive? I’m sure she did but I cannot forgive Reek/Theon, it’s a case of too little too late.
If you can’t wait until season 6 airs, perhaps you should take some career tips from the Seven Kingdoms and try and progress up that corporate ladder.
Usually with episode nine, Game of Thrones likes to throw us a curve-ball, think Red Wedding or Ned’s death. However, given the mastery of last week’s episode, the writers were hard-pressed to come up with something as shocking and exciting as the final twenty minutes north of the wall.
I would say that the first half of last night’s episode was just terrible. Not in a badly-made kind of way but in a what-the-hell-are-you-doing-Stannis kind of way. Can someone please tell me why his daughter had to burn to death? The Red Witch certainly has a lot to answer for and she proved last night that she is more influential and dangerous than Stannis hopes to be. I would say that after last night’s performance we learnt that Stannis is now the least attractive man in the show and that Sansa should look on the bright side, I doubt that Ramsay has plans to burn her at the stake any time soon. Stannis’ actions, aside from being wholly abhorrent and disgusting, show him to be a leader that is easily influenced by his subordinates, who cannot think tactically or effectively and does not take advice easily. Melisandre is too powerful, she is the real driving force behind Stannis’ army and the North is in danger of being ruled by her, a woman with no legitimate claim to the Iron Throne and poor Shireen will have died for Melisandre’s sport.
We also learnt last night that it is now snowing a lot in the North, either that or Jon needs a good wash with some Head and Shoulders. Though Jon and the Wildlings managed to make it to Castle Black, not even Sam’s optimism was enough to make Jon crack a smile or forget that the worst is still to come. We may not have seen any White Walkers last night but their presence was not forgotten. Jon needs help and quickly. They are coming.
So where will the help come from, you ask? After the highly upsetting first half of the episode, the second half was much more enjoyable. I’m sure that Arya will get some use out of Needle before the series is ended, after heading to Braavos she seems to have had very little to do in the way of blood lust and she hasn’t been able to cross any more names off her list. However, it wasn’t Arya’s oysters that got us all excited. Over in Meereen, it wasn’t just wonderful Jorah who proved himself worthy in the fighting pit.
After almost five series of showing her potential, Daenerys finally proved that she is worthy of taking back the Iron Throne. After a nail-biting fight in the pit, we think (and desperately hope) that Jorah is now not only accepted back into the Queen’s council, but heading out of the Friend Zone. We knew that he would win, his time is not yet up. However, after a spectacular hijack by the Sons of the Harpy it looks like it is time for Daenerys to finally leave Meereen. Now, I haven’t read the books so I am unfamiliar with the backstories of many of the characters, as well as missing out on key details, nevertheless, when Daenerys mounted Drogon for the first time and flew out of the arena, I was aware that this was a game-changing moment in the series. She finally took flight, both physically and metaphorically. If the look on Tyrion’s face was anything to go by, this is the woman to follow, this is the true heir to the Iron Throne. Now, while Drogon was great fighting off all those Harpies, he is really needed back over in Westeros, at the Wall. We’re not sure quite yet what part the Dragons have to play in the story, nor how or even when all the characters will meet, but it seems critical that Daenerys and Jon finally team up. For what can undo ice if not fire?
So we have one episode to go before we have to wait another year for season 6. We have come further than the books and now all the fans are in unexplored territory. Our key predictions for episode 10: Cersei’s time is up, she has lived at the top too long and made too many enemies to come back from her current predicament. I don’t see her getting out of it unscathed. Where is Bran? Will he finally make an appearance and contribute something to Jon’s fight? I’d like to see more of Brienne and Pod, what part will they play in the clash between Stannis and House Bolton. Honestly, I really don’t know who I would rather win that fight, they’re both pretty bad people. There are too many good/bad wars going on, but we’re sure that the finale will be as gripping as ever. We would like Jon, Daenerys and Jorah to stay alive please and thank you!
I hope you’ve all come out from behind the sofa after last night’s incredible episode of Game of Thrones. Picture the scene: I usually watch Game of Thrones with my housemates on a Monday night, with a cup of tea and some lovely chat. Last night I watched it alone, I felt a bit like Jon Snow. Nobody should have watched that episode alone.
There’s nothing like an episode of The Walking Dead, er, I mean Game of Thrones to make you feel prepared. Since season one we have been told that ‘Winter is coming’ and, yes Ned, we get it, but in this latest episode, we finally got a taste of what it will be like when winter is actually here. We can learn several lessons from being prepared, the Stark motto teaches us that we should always be ready should the worst happen (…perhaps Robb should have suspected that something was afoot at the Red Wedding).
With only two episodes left in this season, last night really set the ball rolling for what promises to be another nail-biting finale. The message of episode eight was that alliances are essential to survival. We finally got to see Daenerys and Tyrion discussing tactics together, it felt like that scene was what we had been waiting for for five seasons. And after having watched the trailer several times, hearing Daenerys finally declare, ‘I’m not going to stop the wheel, I’m going to break the wheel’ was just too exciting. However, Tyrion is the angel on her shoulder, offering her not just advice, but a reality check. Who is she going to rely on for allies when she finally mounts an assault on King’s Landing? Yes, she may have a legitimate claim to the throne, but there are several others who also believe this. I won’t lie, my heart broke somewhat when my love, Jorah was banished AGAIN from Meereen, can that guy not catch a break? Nevertheless, in the cut-throat business world of Game of Thrones and arguably the Square Mile, knowing your strategy and who you can trust is essential if you’re going to be successful climbing that corporate ladder. The alliance between Daenerys and Tyrion is one of equal minds and equal nobility but Jon Snow’s alliance with the Wildlings was one of necessity and desperation.
I think you’ll agree that Jon’s meeting with the Wildlings escalated quickly. Never was an exodus more hurried or needed than in the final twenty minutes of the episode. Perhaps Jon should have left some of the Dragon Glass back at Castle Black with Sam because now all he has to fight the White Walkers is his magic Valyrian steel sword (who saw that coming) which is great but not everyone has one of those. In what was possibly the best sequence of Game of Thrones so far, Jon proved himself not only as a worthy Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, as someone who understands the need for diplomacy and negotiations but also as a leader on the battle field, scrambling together an effective defence when it looked like there was no chance. The name of Snow marked Jon as an outsider from the beginning, forcing him to the Wall and cutting off many opportunities that he would have had if his birth had been legitimate. However, Jon’s strength of character has on many occasions throughout the series enabled him to rise above his illegitimacy and prove himself as a worthy son of Ned Stark and a leader capable of leading much more than the Night’s Watch.
In the past seasons, the tipping point has come in episode nine, so I will make sure that I am not alone to watch that one. Though we’re sure that Jon and Daenerys are more than capable of making their own strategies, they might do well to read Game of Thrones on Business, which could offer some helpful tips when winter is here.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that last night’s episode of Game of Thrones was more Gladiator than Westeros but the pace was picking up for the key characters. While Jon headed off to recruit the Wildlings, Samwell had a very good and very bad time, and Sansa’s situation has gone from bad to worse. Tyrion has finally come face to face with the queen across the sea and we will have to wait another week to find out whether our personal hero, Jorah will be forgiven by Daenerys.
Forgiveness is not a theme that appears often in this series and characters are more likely to get their heads chopped off before experiencing redemption. However, we are hoping that Daenerys forgives Jorah for his treachery, it would seem that though his past sins had come back to haunt him, he has more than atoned for them since.
A character not so familiar with atoning for her sins, though, is Cersei, Queen Mother and, until recently, the most powerful woman in King’s Landing. In an earlier blog post, we wrote about how her alliance with the High Sparrow was a dangerous one to make, forging alliances with those in haste for a quick fix are likely to end in disaster. With Queen Margery in jail and King Tommen powerless before the mighty High Sparrow, Cersei is beginning to regret sending her only ally, Jaime to Dorne. We ended last night’s episode with Cersei locked in a jail cell, where she now has plenty of time to think about all the cruel things she has done over the past few seasons, to name a few: lying to Westeros about the paternity of her children; sleeping with her twin brother; torturing Sansa and conspiring to have her husband killed.
Cersei has never been the most rational of women and has failed many times to put her people before her own interests. It’s tough at the top, when you’re top dog, there’s lots of pressure to remain there, rather than be usurped by those who are against you. It is undeniable that Cersei has never been the easiest character to warm to, but one has to admire the way she has handled herself in a man’s world.
There is no way out, it would seem, for the once-powerful Lannisters. Gone are the days when Tywin’s arrival at a battle saves the day, or when Jaime can get away with pushing Ned Stark’s son out of a window. As Lady Olenna learnt last night, the High Sparrow cannot be bought with jewels and riches. He does not want material things. I suspect that this series will end with the fate of King’s Landing much worse off than it was with two boy kings in succession.
This latest episode began at Castle Black in snowfall, winter is definitely coming and its arrival in imminent. With King’s Landing in turmoil, Strannis marching on Winterfell and Jon heading north of the wall, the future of Westeros is on the edge of a precipice and only one thing is certain, not everyone will make it to season six.