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Game of Thrones’ Last Noble Hunk

Hunky British actor Kit Harington on playing the courageous emo-swordsman on the HBO fantasy epic and the real coldness we'll see this season in the most famous bastard in Westeros.

When we last left Jon Snow (Kit Harington), the bastard son of the late Lord Eddard Stark, he was serving as a spy, marching South towards Castle Black with the Free Folk army and Mance Rayder. After losing his virginity to Ygritte (Rose Leslie), a redheaded wildling woman, and barely scaling the Wall, Snow is ordered by (a very jealous) Orell to kill an old man. He refuses, kills Orell, and escapes the wildling bunch.

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GAME OF THRONES season 4: Kit Harington. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

Later, his wildling love shoots his back full of arrows—intentionally leaving him alive—and Snow barely makes it back to Castle Black.

FAREWELL

Barbara, Don’t Leave Us This Way

Barbara Walters is a broadcasting doyenne, interviewer of greats, shatterer of glass ceilings. But the daily screechfest of ‘The View’ is not the best vehicle for her with which to say goodbye.

The audience was still cheering reverently for Barbara Walters on Tuesday’s edition of The View, the day after her announcement that May 16 would mark her final day presenting the ABC morning show. Her hair its usual whipped and spun golden halo, Walters came out of the wings, gingerly high-fived some folk in the audience, before her fellow host Whoopi Goldberg reminded us of her momentous imminent farewell again and—because this is all about product, ultimately—that Walters was the cover star of this week’s Variety magazine.

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Fred Lee/ABC, via Getty

The magazine’s cover dutifully flashed up: Walters is shot starkly in profile, with the headline: “Her View.” The emphasis in the piece is that Walters is leaving our screens on her terms. She liked the profile shot, Walters mused; before she had always thought she should get a nose job.

Power Crazy

How ‘Thrones’ Explains DC Politics

It’s not so far from Westeros to Capitol Hill. We can learn a lot about how Washington works from the treachery and vicious power-play of ‘Game of Thrones.’

Proof of Game of Thrones’s excellence is that the quiet phrases are sometimes more arresting than the bloodiest betrayal and revenge. When Varys the Spider, the ultimate scheming courtier, hisses, “I serve the realm,” I don’t doubt that he means it, by his own flickering lights. Varys takes an almost sensual pleasure—his only one, as far as we know—in his secret knowledge and the power it gives him. He is vividly, fearfully aware of how much worse things might get than the rotten, tottering system he upholds. And, of course, if that system fell, he would be nowhere. So he weaves the shadows that power is made of and sighs to himself when the royal executioner beheads brave, naïve Ned Stark.

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HBO; Getty

When I hear Varys’s slogan, I think of John Roberts, defending the Constitution by decapitating campaign-finance reform and the Voting Rights Act, perhaps with a moment’s regret at the human cost of his principle. You will have your own D.C. Spider, in whom ambition and principle are so fused that it’s hard to imagine they were ever separate. Mitch McConnell? Harry Reid? John Boehner would have checked for a camera before he wasted a sigh on Ned Stark’s pike-mounted head. 

Kaboom!

The $100 Million Superhero Dud

The biggest threat to ‘Captain America’ and the superhero film is not HYDRA or S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s the clunky, overblown CGI climax that’s become a signature of the genre.

Hollywood seems to be appealing to 12-year-olds who want to see something—anything—go KABOOM! Captain America destroys a military hovercraft, Spider-Man stops a reptilian chemical cloud, Superman hurls General Zod through dozens of skyscrapers, Batman detonates a nuke over the river, and the Avengers fend off an alien invasion.

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Marvel

Marvel told the writers of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to give the movie the biggest ending possible, and it appears to have worked: the movie hauled in a monster $96.2 million in its opening weekend. The movie isn’t bad; it soars when operating like the Jason Bourne franchise, with Captain America on the run as a fugitive. In these scenes, the action is raw. When our hero is ambushed by dozens of agents in an elevator, we see him beat up every single one in close combat. But not even Cap can escape the dreaded generic climax of the modern day superhero flick. By  the end, Winter Soldier has morphed into an orgy of explosions, flying ships, satellites, missiles, Nazis, and Robert Redford—not lost at sea, but lost in his first superhero blockbuster.

Being a pretty boy in Hollywood is a bad thing, according to Rob Lowe. But some heartthrobs were able to succeed critically—by playing against type.

In the picture-perfect world of Hollywood, you’d think a set of gleaming teeth, perfect cheekbones, and a chiseled jaw would mean you were set for life. But according to Rob Lowe, a man who possesses all of these qualities, being too pretty as an actor is actually a detriment.

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Camera Press/Redux

He told The New York Times: “There’s this unbelievable bias and prejudice against quote-unquote good-looking people, that they can’t be in pain or they can’t have rough lives or be deep or interesting. They can’t be any of the things that you long to play as an actor. I’m getting to play those parts now and loving it. When I was a teen idol, I was so goddamn pretty I wouldn’t have taken myself seriously.”

GONE TOO SOON

Peaches Geldof Dies at 25

Peaches Geldof

Instagram

Police found the daughter of rock star Bob Geldof at her home in Kent, England Monday afternoon, but the cause of her sudden death is still unknown.

Peaches Geldof, journalist, TV personality and one-time model, who had two young children, has been found dead at her home at the age of 25. Police officers said they were treating her passing as “sudden” and “unexplained” almost 15 years after the abrupt and public death of her own mother.

The rock star scion became one of the loudest voices of her generation; prolific on social media and in the British press. The final message she posted on Twitter and Instagram was a photograph with her mother, who died suddenly when she was just 11, alongside the message: “Me and my mum.”

Peaches, who herself had two children under the age of two, grew up in the public eye, with a column in Elle magazine by the time she was 16. Her father, Bob Geldof, the musician who masterminded the Live Aid concerts in the 1980s, was left to raise her when his estranged wife Paula Yates, a television presenter and writer, died of a heroin overdose. A coroner ruled that her death was an accident, not suicide, despite her obvious despair at the sudden death of her lover Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS.

Naked photos of the ex-child star have (possibly) leaked online.

Demi Lovato is relevant again. Naked photos of the ex-child star have (possibly) leaked online.

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Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

The “Heart Attack” singer’s pictures were received and posted by Egotastic!  The cell phone quality shots allegedly show Lovato and her boyfriend Wilmer Valderrama in bed.  Anothershow Lovato topless and in leggings, with what looks to be her tattoos.

She Can't Stop

Miley's Bizarre Tribute

In memory of her late pup, the shock-singer croons a song to giant inflatable replica of him.

Miley Cyrus is mourning the loss of her dog, Floyd, who died last week, and grieved Saturday night in a way that only Miley Cyrus kid: by a singing a song in her pup’s memory to a massive inflatable replica of him at a Brooklyn concert.

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Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images

Floyd, Cyrus’s Alaskan Klee Kai puppy was (allegedly) attacked and killed by a coyote, and her tweets have shown the star’s painful experience.

Hello, Hello

Inside Kurt Cobain's $450M empire

The Nirvana frontman died 20 years ago this week. But his musical catalog has never been more valuable.

—By CNBC’s Adam Molon

Twenty years ago Saturday, as best the coroner could tell, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain ended his life with a shotgun at his Seattle home. An electrician found the 27-year-old’s body three days later.

Kurt Cobain

Lee Celano/Reuters

Classic

Hollywood's Golden Age Showman

At 17 months, Mickey Rooney interrupted a vaudeville show when he sneezed behind a shoeshine stand. He then played his mouth organ for the audience. A star was born.

Mickey Rooney, the elfin actor who could pull out all the stops on stage and on film, died Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 93. Known as a triple threat, the kind rarely seen in movies today who can sing, dance, act in drama and comedies, Rooney was born a showman.

Mickey Rooney

Hulton Archive/Getty

At 17 months, Rooney was watching a vaudeville performance behind a shoeshine stand when he sneezed and interrupted the show. As he was coaxed out from behind the stand and scared to death that his vaudevillian parents would punish him, he pulled out his mouth organ and began to play for the audience. A star was born.

Jimmy in the Middle

Fallon's Surprising Centrist Style

From slow jamming the news with Obama to playing musical instruments with Palin, Jimmy Fallon’s ‘Tonight Show’ has become the late night destination for red and blue alike.

When Jay Leno left The Tonight Show (again) in February, conservative media was not exactly pleased.

Jimmy Fallon

Theo Wargo/Getty

The thought process—masked in an argument for NBC not to remove its top-rated host in total audience and the key demo—was that late night had lost the only destination where Republicans could humanize themselves, show off their sense of humor and help shatter the portrayal of being stuffy, insensitive white guys who only exist to help the rich get richer. The common perspective was Leno was the anti-Letterman/Stewart/Colbert and the only host to make jokes at President Obama’s expense on a nightly basis. And given how openly supportive all of the aforementioned hosts are of a progressive platform (Kimmel seems apolitical at best), that viewpoint held some merit.

Stereotypes

Sorry Miyagi, Asians Need Villains

No one wants to be Mr. Miyagi or Data or the reliable steady source of clever ideas and technical know-how and good-natured earnestness and inner peace. That's freaking boring.

One of the things we Asians complain about when we get together at Asian Club with our white cardboard pails of Asian takeout to watch shows on our Asian-manufactured TV is that when it comes to Asian celebrities, there’s awfully slim pickings.

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Jonathan Ke Quan, 1984. (Paramount/Everett)

Most of the Asian actors—all four of them—that you’ve probably heard of have already weighed in on the #CancelColbert kerfuffle, and 25 percent of the Asian actors that you’ve probably heard of (B.D. Wong) has actually appeared on The Colbert Report to make fun of the whole thing.

Shakespeare of Sh!t

‘Veep’ Is F*@king Great

No show is as good at using curse words for comedic effect as ‘Veep,’ which it proved again with Sunday’s hysterical premiere. How the f*@k does it get swearing so right?

HBO’s best shows are masterpieces of excess. Game of Thrones has its ever-sprawling cast and its continent-hopping locations. The pilot of Boardwalk Empire famously cost a record $18 million. But all Veep needs to rise to its status as one of the best comedies on TV is some four-letter words.

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Paul Schiraldi/HBO

And it uses them brilliantly. Fucking brilliantly.

It’s Back!

Game of Thrones’ Triumphant Return

It wasn’t the sexiest—or the bloodiest—episode of the HBO fantasy epic, but the fourth season premiere was a master class in character development.

If you're the sort of person who is inclined, like me, to argue that Game of Thrones is the best fantasy show ever, then there are few episodes in particular that you probably tend to cite as proof. The one with Ned Stark's beheading. The one with the Battle of the Blackwater. The one with the Red Wedding.

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HBO

Sunday night's Season 4 premiere, on the other hand, was exactly the sort of episode that Game of Thrones evangelists typically leave out of their sermons. “Two Swords” wasn't about spectacle, or surprise, or even plot development. But even so, I think it made as strong a case as any explosion, decapitation, or matrimonial massacre for the awesomeness of GoT, in its own quiet way.

Valar Morghulis

Game of Thrones’ Arya Stark Speaks

We’re treated to a whole new Arya during the premiere episode of HBO’s fantasy epic—one “whose heart is now black,” says the star who plays her. [WARNING: SPOILERS]

Game of Thrones is back. And, while every episode of HBO’s sprawling fantasy epic has its breakout character, the unequivocal star of the Season 4 premiere, “Two Swords,” is none other than Arya Stark, played by Maisie Williams. 

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Helen Sloan/HBO

When we last left Arya, she was riding with Sandor Clegane, aka The Hound (Rory McCann), to places unknown, when the duo came across a gang of four Frey soldiers eating at a campfire. Arya overhears the grunts mocking the deaths of her mother, Lady Catelyn, and brother, Robb. So, she approaches the men posing as a hungry girl, and flashes the Braavosi coin given to her by the silent assassin, Jaqen H’ghar. She purposely drops it, and when one of the soldiers goes to fetch it, she stabs him in the back of the neck with a knife, killing him. The Hound takes care of the rest, and Arya, startled by her actions, picks the coin back up and whispers, “Valar Morghulis.” 

Why the GOP Is Angry About Colbert

When Stephen Colbert was announced as David Letterman's successor, Rush Limbaugh and company both criticized and politicized the move. Keli Goff discusses whether they're actually mad.

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