This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated with new additions.
There are few things more pleasurable than savoring every detail from a given episode of Game of Thrones. Each installment is rich and dense and full of portent, with much of it deeply informed by what has come before. The details are so important, in fact, that it’s all also incredibly overwhelming. If you don’t possess a firm grasp of Westerosi history or a particularly good memory, the earlier seasons — which are crucial to understanding and contextualizing what’s happening — can exist as little more than hazy references, with callbacks, Easter eggs, and tied-up loose ends soaring by unrecognized.
Thank goodness, then, for the cottage industry of Game of Thrones recap podcasts, whose guidance has proven invaluable throughout the years. The TV-recap genre is an old staple within podcasting, and these days, there is no lack of choices when it comes to Thrones.
When we last published a recap roundup, we selected the five most consistently interesting or accessible podcasts out there. In the nearly two-year hiatus, some of these pods went silent, while others mounted full series rewatches (or turned their attentions to other prestige TV and fantasy fare). In anticipation of this Sunday’s premiere of the final season, we’ve updated the entries accordingly, and added some new challengers to the podcast throne.
Binge Mode: Game of Thrones
Hosts: Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion
Number of episodes: 168 (Average length: around an hour)
New episodes: Fridays
The best, or at least most impressive, of these podcasts may be this relatively new entry by the industrious team over at the Ringer. Binge Mode has a design gambit that’s ambitious nearly to the point of absurdity: The show debuted in the summer of 2017 with a weekly publishing schedule that saw it dropping ten episodes at a time — each bundle a full season’s worth of analysis — to serve as a deep-dive compendium that unpacks every episode with an analytical rigor and a framework so comprehensive that it comes damn close to being actual scholarship. The show has shifted gears with the premiere of this season, taking on a more straightforward weekly recap format, but even these newer episodes are directly informed by the body of knowledge that hosts Rubin and Concepcion have laid down in the bundles that came before. The level of effort and unique editorial structure feel unprecedented, and in many ways you could argue that it represents a fascinating step forward in the evolution of this well-worn podcast genre.
A Cast of Kings
Hosts: Dave Chen and Joanna Robinson
Number of episodes: 85 (Average length: over an hour)
New episodes: Tuesdays
Dave Chen is a prolific publisher of podcasts about film and TV going back years, perhaps most prominently as the co-host of the Slashfilmcast. Here, he partners with frequent collaborator Joanna Robinson, with whom he’s also done recap pods for Westworld and Twin Peaks. Chen is an interesting recapper, more technically driven in his approach than others, which pairs nicely with Joanna Robinson, who is one of the more prominent, engaging, and prolific Thrones recappers on the internet. So prolific, in fact, that you can also find her on another Thrones podcast …
A Storm of Spoilers
Hosts: Joanna Robinson, Dave Gonzales, and Neil Miller
Number of episodes: 190 (Average length: over an hour)
New episodes: Wednesdays
A Storm of Spoilers is perfect for those who have a solid working knowledge of the books and a taste for speculation on which elements may or may not carry over into the adaptation. (Also, anyone who enjoys hearing fairly wonky discussions and osmotically learning about the books by floating in the deep end.) The “skirting into book territory” thing is a common point of contention and concern among Thrones recap podcasts, most of which try to keep things focused on the HBO production, since not everybody who watches the TV show has read the books, and not everything from the books is germane to the TV show. There’s probably a longer piece to be written about the creative politics and proper consumption etiquette for stuff like this, but that’s for another day. Anyway, if you’re super into the books and conspiracy theories, A Storm of Spoilers is definitely for you.
Still Watching: Game of Thrones
Hosts: Joanna Robinson and Richard Lawson
Number of episodes: 13 (Average length: around an hour)
New episodes: Every three days
Her watch never ends! On Vanity Fair’s Still Watching: Game of Thrones, Joanna Robinson is joined by her Little Gold Men co-host Richard Lawson for a smart, insightful look at Game of Thrones featuring speculation, superlatives, and interviews with members of the cast such as Isaac Hempstead Wright and Joe Dempsie. Leading up to the premiere, Richard and Joanna are structuring 15 episodes each around an essential episode from the series, leading up to what they will reveal to be their personal pinnacle. Then, as they have done in the past with series like Sharp Objects and the most recent season of True Detective, they will release episodes weekly as season eight airs.
Game of Thrones The Podcast
Hosts: Jim Jones and A. Ron Hubbard
Number of episodes: 155 (Average length: over an hour)
New episodes: Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays
The Cincinnati-based duo of Jones and Hubbard have been making recap podcasts since 2010, and you could describe this production as one that embodies much of how you’d conventionally characterize the early culture of podcasting: a bunch of people around microphones talking about something they love. That scruffy, DIY quality is the source of this podcast’s charm: Jones and Hubbard have a quiet, relaxed chemistry, creating a comfortable vibe. If you’re looking for space to chill and dust off the ashes of immolated Lannister soldiers, this is for you.
Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones With Peter Sagal
Hosts: Greta Johnsen, Tricia Bobeda, and the titular Peter Sagal
Number of episodes: 33 (Average length: under an hour)
New episodes: Mondays
It’s not the most intuitive thing to mix the NPR game show Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! with a Game of Thrones recap podcast, but hey, it’s also not intuitive to mix Coke and red wine, and yet that weirdly tastes really good. (Honestly.) Nerdette Recaps Game of Thrones With Peter Sagal is similarly weirdly good, with the fabulous duo of Greta Johnsen and Tricia Bobeda — whose Nerdette podcast is an excellent and quirky interview show with an eclectic guest list — serving as an entertaining foil to Wait Wait host Sagal, who’s quick with self-deprecation and a comedy-club-emcee-esque shtick.
EW’s Game of Thrones Weekly
Host: James Hibberd and Darren Franich
Number of episodes: 27 (Average length: under an hour)
New episodes: Tuesdays
Entertainment Weekly’s official Game of Thrones cast features levels of insider access and expertise that some of the smaller mom-and-pod (yeesh) casts lack. This means thoughtful commentary bolstered by exclusive discussions of set visits and most recently, the season-eight premiere screening event. However, as Tyrion put it, “there is a price for everything,” and the price in this case is a front-and-center corporate sponsor, so if you are anything like me — someone who zones out at the word “torque” — you might want to ride the 30sec button.
Game of Owns
Hosts: Hannah Hosking and Zack Luye
Number of episodes: 400+ (vary from 5 min to 2 hours)
New episodes: varies
GoO is a podcast for Game of Thrones maximalists. With over 400 episodes and many rotating hosts and guests, Game of Owns covers absolutely everything: so expect not only book chat, but side-trips to Comic Con and debates about Zelda. The hosts are a good hang, thorough and fun, and if the world of GoO seems daunting, their website sorts episodes by books, seasons, and special guests (which include cast members and behind the scenes creatives from Game of Thrones, as well as journalist and critic friends).
Game of Drones - Sleep With Me
Host: Drew Ackerman as “Dearest Scooter”
Number of episodes: 100+ (vary from 30 min to over 2 hours)
New episodes: varies
Game of Drones is for those superfans who aren’t satisfied with Game of Thrones podcast content filling their ears in their waking hours, alone; they want to fall asleep to it, as well. From the mysterious, somniferous persona behind the Sleep with Me sleep-aid podcast, Game of Drones recaps each episode — and entire seasons — in a way that manages to make all of that sex, gore, and violence kind of soothing. Still, examining them purely for their recap value, the episodes feature good depth and detail, interesting tangents, and it all hinges on a superaffable host. It also delves into something everyone’s been begging for: Tommen and Ser Pounce sci-fi fan fiction. Just don’t put it on if it’s your turn to watch the wall.
Note: New episodes of Game of Drones will appear in the main Sleep with Me podcast feed while the season airs.
Arya Talking To Me? A Game of Thrones Podcast
Host: Adam Knox and Ben Vernel
Number of episodes: 56 (Average length: around an hour)
New episodes: Mondays
Arya Talking To Me? isn’t necessarily the podcast for deep, encyclopedic knowledge of Game of Thrones, but you can find that kind of maestery in a million other podcasts. There aren’t many other podcasts that approach the series with this type of wit and humor. Melbourne comedians Adam Knox and Ben Vernel started the podcast in the off-season, and have since recapped their way through the entire series scene by scene, episode by episode. These two have great chemistry, funny in-character riffs, and, most importantly (and the main reason why it made this list), the best podcast name since U Talkin’ U2 2 Me?