The Night Is Dark and Full of Podcasts

The Night Is Dark and Full of Podcasts

Ranking "Game of Thrones" podcasts by how quickly they publish their episodes

By Andy Bowers and David Martin

Part of the fun of Game of Thrones is talking about it the moment an episode ends and the credits roll. The show, with its endlessly complicated plots and ever-shifting relationships, practically begs to be dissected and deconstructed immediately. And the loose, conversational style of podcasts is ideal for the task — so ideal in fact that there are more than 50 shows dedicated solely to discussing GoT, and countless others that mention it as part of their larger cultural coverage.

Over at Vulture, Nick Quah and Rebecca Alter published their candidates for the top ten GoT recap shows. Quality is of course important in choosing a TV podcast, but don’t underestimate the virtue of timeliness. A pretty good podcast that publishes Sunday night or Monday, while your head is still full of questions, theories and opinions spawned by the most recent Games of Thrones episode, might be as valuable to you as an excellent podcast that posts the following Thursday (as is the case with Vulture favorite Binge Mode).

To help you navigate the final season, we pulled the exact date and time that some of the most popular GoT podcasts published their initial recaps this week after S8E1 wrapped up around 10 pm EDT on Sunday. Here’s our handy chart, which includes all of Vulture’s list and many more. (Caveats and our personal favorites listed below.)

  • To be included, a show had to rank in the Top 200 on Apple Podcasts’ TV & Film chart on Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019, and/or be included on Vulture’s 10 Best list.
  • Some podcasts publish multiple episodes each week. We only charted the first S8E1 episode in each feed, which in some cases was a short instant reaction rather than a full-length version.
  • Some podcasters saw the first Season 8 episode early, at HBO premieres, and were apparently able to record their recaps in advance. We think at least the first three on the list fall into that category.
  • We believe a few of the publish times listed in RSS feeds are off by several hours, probably the result of an incorrect time zone setting in the podcaster’s hosting platform. We did our best to check the times against other data, including when social media posts and YouTube versions of the episode were published, and we corrected the times. However, if you feel we got your time wrong, let us know at

Our favorites

ANDY: I’m completely biased because I actually created this show (although have had nothing to do with it for years), but I love Slate’s Spoiler Specials about GoT. Hosts Sam Adams, Dan Kois and June Thomas have just the right balance of wonkery and snarkiness, because, let’s be honest, it is a ridiculous show. As much as I enjoy watching it every week, the Slate crew helps me untangle all the complicated threads without going too far down a Renaissance Faire rabbit hole.

DAVID: Nerdette’s GoT recap never disappoints, with co-hosts Tricia Bobeda, Greta Johnsen (of WBEZ’s Nerdette Podcast) and Peter Sagal (host of NPR’s Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me). Bobeda stands in for the hard-core fans, Johnsen for the skeptics, and Sagal provides an experienced screenwriter’s knowledge of plot mechanics — and accepts frequent ribbing as a stand-in for the patriarchy at large. They take the story seriously, injecting great insights, but are also deeply committed to absurd sound design, running gags for long-time listeners and jingles that put Sagal in his place when he gets long-winded.