Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog

April 27 2015 8:02 AM

This Week’s Worst Person in Westeros: Littlefinger

After each episode in Game of Thrones Season 5, we’ll be discussing a crucial question: Who is currently the worst person in Westeros? This week, Slate assistant editor Miriam Krule is joined by Slate senior editor Rachael Larimore.


Miriam Krule: Rachael! Thanks so much for joining me to discuss “High Sparrow.” So much happened in this week’s episode that I don’t even know where to begin! My favorite topic—religion on the show—is back front and center in at least three of our story lines: The episode starts with Arya being told by the faceless man that there’s only one God; most prominently, the ascetic Sparrows grow stronger with the embrace of Cersei; and, finally, Tyrion meets another red priestess like the terrible Melisandre. But that won’t help us figure out the worst person in Westeros (or will it?). This week I was more drawn to two characters: Margaery and Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger. They seem to be the two master manipulators on the show. The actors who play them are great, but the characters are even better actors. Which character on the show do you think is the best actor?


Rachael Larimore: The Oscar for best performance by a scheming Westerosi has to go to ... Littlefinger. Margaery is delightful; I adore the fact that she is the one person who can get under Cersei’s skin like she does. Last week, Cersei’s (er, Tommen’s) small council meeting went poorly and her Uncle Kevan just up and stormed off, but she maintained her steely reserve. But when Margaery asked whether she should call her new mother-in-law the Queen Mother or the Dowager Queen, I couldn’t tell if Cersei was going to melt or explode. Margery’s attempts to have Tommen ship Cersei off to Casterly Rock show how much potential she has, but right now she feels like a bit of a lightweight compared to Littlefinger, who is deeper, and more subtle. He made Sansa (who has the worst luck with arranged marriages of any woman in Westeros) believe he was empowering her to decide for herself as to whether she should marry Ramsay (né Snow) Bolton.

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April 27 2015 3:14 AM

This Is the One Real God On Game of Thrones

Religion is central to the world of Game of Thrones, but this season it’s becoming more prominent than ever. Hosts Marc Faletti and Amanda Marcotte offer a quick primer on who worships what gods in Westeros ... and which gods may even be real.

Meanwhile, three of the surviving Stark children are faced with the question of whether to cling to their Stark identity or forge a new path entirely. Religion, identity, and the God of death: House Slate covers it all.

April 26 2015 2:21 PM

The Hidden Violence in Wes Anderson’s Films

Conversation about Wes Anderson tends to be confined to a few shopworn talking points: his symmetrical compositions, his manicured dialogue, his whimsical sensibilities. Less discussed, but more interesting, is the curious undercurrent of violence that courses through his work—those moments when his impeccably appointed worlds collapse and something more brutal, more bloody, emerges.

Dávid Velenczei’s supercut, which threads together many of these moments, exposes the emotion that throbs beneath Anderson’s seemingly inert aesthetic. Whether it’s Max getting beaten up in Rushmore or a dog getting shot in the neck in Moonrise Kingdom, Anderson’s movies often use sudden, vicious acts to rupture a tidy narrative and bring raw pain to the fore.   


(via Indiewire.)

April 26 2015 11:57 AM

Obama and His Anger Translator Get Candid at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner saw Cecily Strong and President Obama crack some very funny jokes, but the latter had a little help: At the end of his set, the president was joined at the podium by his outspoken anger translator, Luther, played by Key & Peele’s Keegan-Michael Key.

April 25 2015 2:11 PM

The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” Gets a Lively Jazz Cover

Back in 2003, British band The Darkness climbed the charts with a number of upbeat, throwback rock songs, the catchiest of which was “I Believe in a Thing Called Love.” Now, over a decade later, the folks at Postmodern Jukebox have given the song a jazzy twist, replacing the tune’s ’80s-glam-rock sound with some brassy arrangement and a rich, luxuriant vocal by Maiya Sykes.

April 25 2015 12:16 PM

Jared Leto’s Joker Is the Stuff of Nightmares

When Suicide Squad confirmed its cast in December, fans immediately began speculating about how Jared Leto would tackle the challenging, storied role of the Joker. Details have been scarce, but on Friday director David Ayer tweeted our first look at the villain. Behold:

We should’ve expected this from Leto. The actor finds real delight in radically changing his appearance—see Fight Club, Mr. Nobody, or his Oscar-winning turn in Dallas Buyers Club—so it’s not too surprising that his Joker is a startling, near-unrecognizable vision of terror. Initial reaction has been mixed, but I dig the look: it’s not like Jack Nicholson’s kooky, suit-clad portrayal, nor like Heath Ledger’s grungy, menacing interpretation, but it still seems true to the character’s rough-edged lunacy. In fact, Leto’s Joker seems flat-out insane, rocking tattoos, chrome teeth, and chemical-green hair that make him look like the unholy offspring of the Insane Clown Posse and a zombie. Suicide Squad is out next year.

April 24 2015 6:19 PM

Grey’s Anatomy’s McDreamy Deserved More Than This

This article originally appeared in Vulture.

RIP, George O’Malley, who died after heroically jumping in front of a bus; Denny Duquette, who died after a heart transplant; Lexie Grey and Mark “McSteamy” Sloan, who both died in a plane crash. This is just the short list of characters showrunner Shonda Rhimes and her staff of writers have killed off over 11 seasons of the medical drama, understandably, for the most part. This show mostly takes place in a hospital — people are going to die. But even on Grey's, major players typically don't die without a fight or (at least!) a full-season arc before their deaths. Last night, without reason, we lost Dr. Derek Shepherd.

April 24 2015 5:31 PM

Frank Miller Is Working on Another Sequel to The Dark Knight Returns    

DC Comics confirmed today that Frank Miller is returning to write a second and final sequel to his extraordinarily influential Batman series The Dark Knight Returns. The 1986 series, along with other graphic novels like Alan Moore’s Watchmen (from that same year), changed the way people think about comics.

The new series will be titled The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (a provocative title, to say the least, given Miller’s controversial political views), and will come out twice per month starting in late Fall 2015, according to a press release from DC. Miller’s first sequel series, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, was published in 2001. According to the press release, writer Brian Azzarello will also be working on the eight-issue series. Artists have not yet been announced.

April 24 2015 4:04 PM

What Man of Steel Would Have Looked Like if It Were in Color

Man of Steel was a bit of a drag in a lot of ways, but one of the dreariest aspects of the movie was simply its color palette: The movie’s drab look seemed calculated to remind viewers of the The Dark Knight, but this made an odd stylistic match with the Big Blue Boy Scout. In a new video that attempts to color correct Man of Steel footage (and a bit from the Batman v. Superman trailer) to put the flush back in its cheeks, Video Lab makes the case for letting Superman “fly in blue skies.”

Interestingly, the video also notes that the decision to darken the Superman film might have happened pretty late in the game, showing early set photos of that bright blue suit.

April 24 2015 1:20 PM

The Eternal Appeal of “Bye, Felicia,” 20 Years Later

Friday, one of the great stoner comedies of our time, celebrates its 20th anniversary this week, so it’s only fitting that we take a moment to look back on perhaps its greatest contribution to the culture at large: “Bye, Felicia.” If you’re not familiar with the phrase, or are wondering who “Felicia” is, perhaps you’ve only just awakened after many years from a smoke-induced haze; the diss has become so embedded in pop culture that it’s usage now knows no demographic limits.

So let us marvel at the wonders of “Bye, Felicia,” and all of the wonderful memes and moments it inspired.