Author: scott7791

Game of Thrones Review- And Now, My Watch(ing of Old Episodes) Has Ended

Game of Thrones Review- And Now, My Watch(ing of Old Episodes) Has Ended

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“So Dani, is Westeros everything that Jorah said it would be?”

Well, now that I’ve completed the entire eight years worth of Game of Thrones episodes barely five weeks after I began them, I can poke around the Internet, to see the thoughts of other viewers- and there are quite a few to choose from.

As of this posting, there are two episodes left in the show, and I regret that I wasn’t following along the whole time. I’m sure my overall perspective would have been better, and given an already somewhat fragile emotional makeup- due to internal and external outside of this blog’s scope- the whole experience has left me kind of overwhelmed. I didn’t even realize Daenerys’s post-Drogo pre-Jon boyfriend changed actors in the middle of the story! But all things considered, I thought I understood sufficiently to be able to recap the whole experience, so here I am now.

First off, it was a relief to be able to start browsing the internet, to see various other thoughts and perspectives. I had closed myself off, due to fear of spoilers or outside influence on my opinion. Now that I no longer have that worry, I feel like a reality TV star coming out of hiding, being revealed to the public at the end of the season! Anyway, the most critical piece of information that I found was there was very little original content after season 5 from George RR Martin, the creator of the novels, who is still working on them. Unlike Harry Potter, which released movies well after the completion of each book, the game of Game of Thrones novels are still, as of this blog post, a work in progress. Basically, everything after Cersei’s “walk of shame” has largely been made up by the show’s creators on the fly, with only an outline from Martin to work with. This explains some baffling directions within the show, like the underrated Marjorie Tyrell, seemingly scheming against the High Sparrow with some unknown plan, only get blown up by Cersei, with the rest of the lot. I can almost imagine the one of the writers saying, “How do we get Marjorie out of this?” And another writer responding with, “I have no idea. It’d just be easier to kill her off. Who wants Chinese food?” Ned’s death was horrifying but necessary, and opened some real possibilities on what to do with the main story. Margerie’s death simply closed a few off. And sure, Cersei taking the thrown felt inevitable, as well as riveting, but there had to be a better journey to get her there.

On the other end of the spectrum, the annoying Iron Island plot plods along. “That which is dead may never die,” indeed! Yes, I get it- Yara is a badass female captain in a Medieval world of brute misogynists. But don’t we already have that in MULTIPLE places at this point? She’s a one dimensional character, as well as inconsistent. When we first meet her, she has loyalty to her father, along with contempt for her entitled brother Theon, then inexplicably risks her life and those of her men for this weak, insecure excuse of a man? But, Daenerys needs a Navy, so I guess the writers felt it more useful to have her along for the ride. Perhaps Marjorie and her sharp-tongued grandma get seasick.

I now know that Dorne is the only universally hated plotline in Game of Thrones. I’m not sure why. I found it to be kind of a distraction from the main story, with crude stereotypes. But it was still more interesting than Daenerys wandering around the desert for three quarters of the series, and certainly no more crude than those stereotypes*!  I also felt the ending of the Dorne storyline made the whole experience more worthy, which is more than I can say for the…
ARMY OF THE UNDEAD

The whole “life after death” was the first thing we were introduced to in the Game of Thrones universe. As someone who watched the first episode a full eight years after it aired, I was completely caught off guard. Knowing nothing but “winter is coming”, a pretty blonde princess, dragons, and whatever was alluded to in the South Park parody, I couldn’t believe I was watching something that looked like it was from a zombie horror movie! “How the hell are they going to fit this in,” I thought? It was a question I kept asking throughout the series. And to be fair, it led to some fascinating plots- Jon’s battle with Head Watchman Ted Williams over the integration of the wildlings, Jon needing to convince Daenerys to fight with him, Bran going on a magical mystery tour, leading to the explanation of “Hodor’s” name (the most surprisingly satisfying revelation in the series so far) as well the revelation of Jon’s mother (the second most satisfying revelation in the series so far, and far more important than the origins of Hodor’s name). But the undead story ITSELf turned out to be a huge flop- as someone pointed out online, the Night King turned out to be nothing more than a villian of the week from the old TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayter- and a SHALLOW villain, at that. In addition, his final scene, the slow motion face-off with Bran, felt like a Calvin Klein production. Maybe there’s still some hope we’ll learn SOMETHING else about The Red Lady, or at least how she got the Stannis prophecy so wrong, how she was able to bring Jon Snow back to life, etc.. And, maybe the Lord of Light is still out there. But with two episodes left and so much unresolved, I’m not optimistic.  (*And how about those poor Dothraki, sent to die in the first 2 minutes of battle, while Sam merrily hums along with his Apatow-Rogan inspired wife.)

Incidentally, the books apparently use the “life after death” thing to bring back Kat “Peggy Hill” Stark, in the form of “Lady Stoneheart”, to avenge her family.  Now THAT sounds interesting, as well as frightening. But since the writers went in a completely different direction, we ended up with an awkwardly forced subplot that was not nearly as rewarding as we assumed (or at least hoped) it would be.

The good news is that now that it’s out of the way, we can focus on the REAL battle- first, between Cersei and Daenerys, which I found to be quite promising. Everyone on Twitter thinks they’re Ulyssess S Grant, complaining about the tactical strategy of Team Dani. Yes, it was oversimplified, but so what? Do we need ANOTHER 90 minute dialog-free episode, complete with loud music, loud explosions, and so much movement no one can figure out who is where and what is going on or how it’s getting accomplished? The point is that Cersei holds a far better strategic position than originally thought, and she’s not going to give up her grip on the Iron Throne. It was a little bit annoying seeing Tyrion being such a rube about his sister’s intentions, but the acting is so good that it can be forgiven as wishful thinking for a clever man running low on clever ideas.

Even better than Cersei vs Daenerys is Daenerys vs the Stark sisters. If there’s one thing and ONLY one thing that has gotten better as the series moves along, is the realization from the writers that Daenerys The Savior is a dead end. Finally- FINALLY we have her lust for power, getting in the way of her “breaker of chains” persona, completely disrespecting Jon’s rightful claim to the throne. Jon has been selfless the whole series- easily his strongest attribute- and was more than willing to step aside for Dani’s lifelong ambition. How does Dani repay him? By telling him not to ever tell his sisters the truth…something he uncharacteristically defies, creating an inevitable rift that will surely cause incredible tension amongst the anti-Cersei forces. We even see the Varys and Tyrion at odds with each other- something we haven’t seen since the beginning of the series- which can weaken the “good guy” position. So for all the screaming about how Game of Thrones has lost its way- some of which seems valid- there is more than enough reason to be invested in the final two episodes, other than, “Well, I got this far.”…

 

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Season 7 Review- The North Remembers, And So Do The Writers

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Nothing says “male bonding” like hunting for bears.  Zombie bears.
THE GOOD
There were so many stories to follow throughout the series, and it was nice to see them merge together fairly smoothly.  It was satisfying to see everything come together after spending all this amount of time binge watching the show for over a month, trying to keep up with all the characters and storylines.  I could only imagine how much MORE satisfying it would have been for the people who’d been watching this show as the episodes came out new, spending YEARS wondering about how all this would play out.
Daenerys’s integration into the mainland and main story made her character much more compelling and interesting.  I stand by my feelings about her first six seasons- more than 75% of the show’s total existence- and how stretched out the whole thing felt.  Emilia Clarke’s charisma shined through all of Daenerys’s smug, self-righteous, one dimensional nature.  Now that Daenerys is part of the full GOT world, finally facing the adversity and even some horror that the other major characters have been exposed to throughout the series, it’s nice to Clarke’s additional acting skills, as well.  She also looks pretty badass riding a dragon.
Speaking of dragons…the fact that the White Walkers got one of them was an unexpected twist.  The whole series we were led to believe that ONLY Daenerys could control them, leaving us to wonder what could possibly stop her.  Now we finally know.
I also liked Uncle Greyjoy, who reminded me of cross between Liev Schreiber, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, and Eric Savin from Iron Man 3.  I initially rolled my eyes at his contrived, shoehorned introduction into the Iron Born storyline, one of the more pointless storylines (IMO), right up there with Dorne.  It was just nice to finally see a villain- or ANY character, for that matter- actually look like they were having FUN in this sick, demented world.  (Bronn sort of does, but he’s usually pretty low key about it.)  Kidnapping his niece, Blossom, wasn’t very nice, but so what?  Other than Sam Tarly and his girlfriend, who gets rewarded for being nice aroun here?  And the one nice thing I can say about the Dorne characters is that the innovative way Cersei was torturing them really was terrifying, even if they pretty much deserved it.  Hats off to the actresses.
What else, what else…oh, the scene where the boys were all went camping north of the wall.  Seeing those guys, most of whom didn’t really know each other, bonding together and facing serious odds felt like a refreshing, conventional, good ol’ fashioned action movie.  I liked that, as well as the Lannister vs Tyrell fight, even though they want back to the somewhat lazy “…and then the dragons killed everybody” Super Mario Brothers star to finish it all.
The season finale meeting between the parties was entertaining, with all the friends, enemies, and show history on display for everyone to see.  The tension felt palpable and real.  Also impressive was how the writers integrating the smallest details from the beginning of the series, like Arya meeting up with her old pet wolf.  Some of the references were so obscure I needed the writers to explain it after the episode.
(I wish I could say how mindblowing Jon Snow’s true identity was, but I accidentally found out on Google, several episodes earlier.  The fact that he’s now romantically involved with his aunt would be pretty jaw dropping, but given everything else we’ve seen in this show, I’m numb to it.)
THE BAD
Setting up Littlefinger was a surprise, but in the wrong direction.  It seemed like a battle of Arya versus Sansa was brewing, and that was really going to be something fun.  Instead, it turned out to be a conspiracy against a known bad guy.  *shrug*  If this was the end of a movie, then great.  But we’re heading towards the final season, and I want to see some twists and turns.  Yeah, yeah, yeah- so the white walkers tore down The Wall and headed straight for the heart of the GOT world.  So what??  We pretty much knew that was coming, literally since the beginning of the series, before we were even introduced to the main characters.
For a show that doesn’t let a storyline go to waste, why is everyone pretending that Jamie Lannister didn’t try to kill Bran in the first episode?  That never gets mentioned in any context anymore.  We’re just kind of supposed to go along with the idea that Jamie’s basically a good guy trapped in a bad situation.  That’s not the guy we met at the beginning of the series!  His acting is good, and he’s definitely one of the more colorful characters.  But it just stretches credibility, even in THIS universe, when he was so instrumental to so much of the deceit and violence early on.

And speaking of Bran, what’s with the emo act?  “I’m not Bran.  I’m the Three Eyed Raven.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to listen to some Morrissey.”  (I don’t know if Morrissey is emo, he just always struck me a svery intentionally miserable.)

Grandma Tyrell revealing that she was Joffrey’s murderer happened waaaaaaaaaaay too early in the series.  The audience should have found out when Jamie found out.  Revealing it shortly after it happened was, in hindsight, pointless.  In fact, the whole Tyrell storyline, which actually once seemed so promising, didn’t deliver as much to the arc of the show as I would have hoped.  It was almost the opposite of the Daenerys storyline- whereas hers was simple and drawn out but very critical to the overall plot, the Tyrells were complex, intriguing, but barely worth thinking about once they were out of the picture.
And now, finally, WINTER IS HERE…

Game Of Thrones Season 6 – Too Tired and Burned Out To Put Together A Full Review

The Good

Everything at the center of the Lannister universe continued to be fascinating. Outside of, “Well, I’ve gotten THIS far,” the Lannisters are the most compelling reasons why I continue to stay engaged in this show. It’s the closest to a conventional soap opera, but a very GOOD soap opera. Of course, now that Cersei has literally blown up that entire universe, what happens beyond that? Once again, we had all kinds of complex storylines end with, “And then, they died.” Marjorie was, IMO, the most underappreciated female characters in the GOT universe, in a universe increasingly focused on GIRL POWER (a 10 year old lordess*? Really??), and now we’ll never know what kind of schemes she had in mind.  *I don’t care if that’s not a real word.  I’m sticking with it.

In spite of the Starks not getting much time together on screen throughout the series, the bonds between them seem very real. Unfortunately, the Starks only seem compelling when things are going wrong, with the possible exception of Arya. Now that she has magical powers and a thirst for blood, it’ll be interesting how that weaves into the rest of the show.

I’m glad The Hound isn’t dead. His redemption story is hopefully one that will be rewarded.

The completion of the Hodor storyline was, surprisingly and somewhat unfortunately (given what a minor plot that was), the most satisfying ending to any storyline so far. It was heartbreaking, heartwarming, as well as a true surprise.

The Bad

Even if we get a sufficient explanation as to why Jon Snow was brought back from the dead- and so far, we haven’t- his ability to escape the battle which, by all rights, he and his ragtag forces should have been destroyed by the sadistically brilliant (or brilliantly sadistic) Ramsey Bolton, is close to Daenerys-like “Super Mario Brothers star” levels. (ie. “Oh my! How’s she going to get out of this one? Oh…right. The dragons, and the ability to walk out of fires unharmed. Naked, but unharmed.”)  I also wasn’t crazy about Sansa being held captive by another sadist.
Unsure

There’s so much more, but I’m tired. Watching and recapping nearly a decade of episodes in a month has turned into a job. So now, I get to find out what happens when Daenerys finally approaches Westeros. Within a few days, I’ll know why everyone was so mad about this past Sunday’s (3rd to the last overall) episode.

Game Of Thrones Season 5 Review- Who Died And Made You K…EVERYBODY, You Say? Ok, then.

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(see subject title)

The Good– What has made Game of Thrones so appealing is the thing that is least marketed publicly.  As someone who went through more than 90% of the show’s existence without watching a single minute of the show, not counting South Park’s GOT parody, all I knew was dragons, a pretty blonde princess, winter is coming, and something about a red wedding.  I also knew there was a lot of NSFW, but so what?  A lot of shows have that, particularly on HBO.

What I DIDN’T know was the story of rival families, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, with very relatable characters- even if some of them are often (or even always) unsavory and despicable.  The brutality yet frailty of power, the prejudices, even the good intentions that can lead to the most horrific consequences are, in my opinion, the backbone of the show.  The backfiring of Cersei’s plan to turn the religious fanatics against her son’s wife was quite unexpected, and the scenes that unfolded were captivating.  Jon Snow understanding the need to make alliances with old enemies, which were misunderstood by his fellow Night’s Watchmen, led to his apparent undoing.  As one of the most stoic and stone-faced personalities of the show, Stannis Baratheon has given little to cheer for.  But being a man of his word led to one of the most horrific sequences in the series, which is REALLY saying something.

As for the most famous Game of Thrones icon, I have not been a fan of that, nor have I changed my mind.  (More on that in the next section.)  But by having Tyrion Lanister defect to Danaerys camp, the series finally- FINALLY!- gave me a reason to care about that storyline.  It also gave National Geographic Guy something useful to do.  It was also interesting to see Jamie Lannister turn on Tyrion, without Tyrion realizing this happened.  Tyrion typically realizes EVERYTHING, so hopefully the writers have something planned down the road.

Ramsey Bolton might be the most depraved character in the GOT universe, and it’d be interesting to see a case be made for Joffrey versus Ramsey.  As pathetic as Theon Greyjoy has been, both pre and post torture, the terror that he feels is palpable for the viewers.  Moreover, it helps us feel for Sansa Stark, as she manages to be a prisoner AGAIN for a psychopath!

And then, we have the increasingly curious good/evil power duo of Varesh and Littlefinger, two characters that hover close to the center, but have far more pull than most of the characters realize.  It’s always interesting to see Littlefinger maneuver, thinking maybe- just MAYBE- he has a hint of conscience, only to realize he doesn’t.  Varesh, who started out seeming far more creepy, seems to genuinely care about making the world a better place.

The Bad- Watching 50 hours of a TV show in less than 4 weeks can cause annoying things to be that much more obnoxious.  Certain characters just make me groan as soon as they come onto the screen.  Daenerys’ assistant does nothing except walk nervously with a deer in the headlights expression.  Her boyfriend, always looking to “avenge the queen” or something like that, always has this expression that’s supposed to look tough or angry, but kind of looks like he’s constipated.  He does this apology/confession thing that is really a thinly-veiled brag.  (“I was scared to die.  Not because I’m afraid of death.  I am not afraid of death.  I was afraid I wouldn’t see your face again.“)

Then there’s Sam Tarly.  I’m sure in real life, a guy like that would be great to have around.  In the Game of Thrones universe, he’s like drinking a cup of maple syrup.  He’s always so, “Gosh, golly, gee, wow, I’ve got these wonderful books to read!”  And yet, in spite of having none of the survival skills that this particular universe requires to make it, he not only skates by, but THRIVES in doing so!

Last but not least, of course, is the face of the franchise, Daenerys Stormborn.  Or is it Daenerys Targarean?  Or is it Khaleesi?  I dunno, but I’ve given her a few other titles, as well- White Savior, Mary Sue, Social Justice Warrior.  I’d like to add one more- Beauty Pageant contestant.  You see, she wants to rule over everyone, but only because she wants to end hunger.  And slavery.  And all the mean things that happen in the world.  I don’t know who loves Daenerys more- Daenerys herself, or the writers.  We keep hearing what a special “person” she is, but what makes her special is things she’s magically inherited- namely, dragons and the ability to not be burned by fire.  In terms of her personality, she is the LEAST captivating major character in the show, as well as the most cartoonishly idealistic.

I wasn’t crazy about the Dorne plot, either.  The tragic end was promising, but it didn’t need to take so much of the season to get there.  To me, Dorne felt like another checkbox for the writers, almost as if they’re trying to say, “Ya know, we’re not JUST about Medieval England!”  We already have “the primitives” that have helped carry (for lack of a better word) the Daenerys storyline.  Now, we have “the Latin lovers” in the GOT universe as well.  Sorry, but this particular show’s heart and soul lies in cold, medieval England.  The more they get away from that, the more scattered it feels- and it’s hard enough to keep track of everything as is!

Also worth mentioning is the show’s consistent plot devices.  Whenever a character has a tender moment with a far more minor character, the minor character is a goner.  This season, it was Stannis’s daughter, followed by Marcella Lannister.  (I admit the suddenness of Marcella’s demise was quite shocking, though.)  The other thing is whenever a character begs for mercy and is then granted it, the punishment is always far worse.  Did anyone really believe Cersei would just be able to go on her merry way back to the castle?  If so, then HA!  These aren’t necessarily bad things, but it does dampen the show’s intended impact.  It’s probably easier to spot, when watching over the course of weeks instead of years, but it’s unmistakable.  In a way, though, it’s actually more entertaining, as it makes the viewer (ie. me) feel clever for staying ahead of the writers.  heh heh

Unsure- From the very first scene in the series, the implication was that the whole GOT universe of noblemen and royalty would eventually get swallowed up by ghouls and goblins.  But the universe of noblemen and royalty is highly entertaining!  Now that it’s starting to happen, how will this transition effect the intrigue of the show?  Not adversely, judging by the ratings and Twitter traffic, seeing how I’m writing this in 2019 instead of 2016.  But I’m still skeptical.

I also may have mentioned, once or twice, I am underwhelmed by the Khaleesi dragon world.  Now that we’re seeing THAT integrate with the main story, as well, which universe will swallow which, from an entertainment perspective?  Will her story be lifted up, or will Westeros have to deal with dragons AND shark jumping?

And as for Arya…what a girl wants, what a girl needs.  Where are the men and women (but mostly men) writing for a show taking a story?  Will the men and women (but mostly men) carrying the viewers to a place shrouded in mystery reward the viewers of a show?  Or are the men and women (but mostly men) wasting the viewers’ precious time?  And why do the men and women (but mostly men) feel it necessary to speak in third person, without using any pronouns in a story?

And what’s Bran been up to?  Seriously, in real life, is it weird for the young man playing him to know he’s going to be on the bench for a while, to be brought back at some unknown time at a later date?  That has to be kind of strange, especially at a young age.

Finally, this isn’t specific to season 5, but it’s worth mentioning at this point- I don’t know how to feel about captivating villains being killed off suddenly at the height of their reign of terror.  We’ve seen it now with Joffrey, Tywin, and the renegade Knights of the Watch, among others.  It’s true that GOT is very good at giving us new stories from the ashes of these deaths, but sooner or later, there has to be something that resolves in a satisfying way, other than, “And then they died.”  (I have a feeling that The Hound is still out there. It could be wishful thinking, as I’d like to see him get some redemption.)

No matter how hard I try, I can’t keep these recaps short.  There’s just too damn much going on with this show…….

 

Game Of Thrones Season 4 – I Knew Inigo Montaya. Inigo Montaya Was A Friend Of Mine. Oberyn Martell, You’re No Inigo Montaya

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Most of season 4 was an improvement over season 3.  The gratuitous (IMO) NSFW content was toned down, at least by Game Of Thrones standards- the operative word being “gratuitous’.  There was more than enough horror and debauchery, but most of it felt worthwhile, even redeeming some of the earlier, seemingly throwaway content.  (One lesson I’m learning about Game Of Thrones- there is very little throwaway content.)  While my general feeling about on-screen romance ranges from apathy to antipathy, sitting through some of the “sweeter” scenes between Tyrion and Yoko Silverman (aka “Shae”) was worthwhile, given the horrifying, painful ending.  Part of the genius of Game Of Thrones, much like 20th century Simpsons and 21st century Archer, is that the landing punch (or, in the case of the cartoons, punchline) is often not the final one delivered.  First, we have Tyrion sending Shae overseas, convincing her that he never loved her.  This was hard to watch.  Then, Shae lies about Tyrion, to make sure he’s found guilty- also mixing in some painful truth, just to throw it in Tyrion’s face.  Surely THAT’S the knockout punch, right?  Nnnnope- Shae becomes Tywin Lannister’s whore, humiliating and breaking Tyrion’s heart into a thousand pieces!  OUCH!!!  That’s it, right?  Nnnnnnnnnope- Tyrion ends up KILLING Shae!!!  =O  Merlin’s Beard!  (Sorry…wrong British adventure series.)

Killing the woman he loves surely had to be difficult, hence, killing the father he hated was probably a piece of cake.  Too bad Tywin couldn’t live an extra 10 minutes- he’d have seen the son he despised shipped off- literally shipped off- like cargo.  Literally cargo!

But I’m getting way ahead of myself.  I just finished watching the episode, so that particular scene is fresh in my mind.  Honestly, though, it was one of the only really worthwhile sequences in the final two episodes of an otherwise stellar season.  As for the escape itself…well, that was pretty lame.  I mean, there’s this whole season where Joffrey is poisoned to death (!), Tyrion is accused (!), Tyrion demands trial by combat (!), Tyrion is found guilty (!), and he gets out of it by…being set free by his brother?  The writers must’ve decided that one at 2:30 AM, when they were tired- much like I am as I’m typing this.  But, as always with Game Of Thrones, the open ended questions and cliff hangers override any weakness in previous story threads- there’s just too much going on to look back…except when blogging a review, of course!

And speaking of disappointments, it was a slight letdown that Jamie didn’t get to fight for Tyrion, which would’ve been the ultimate catch 22- Jamie wins, Tyrion is set free.  Jamie loses (as in dies), Tyrion is killed, and the Lannister name- at least Tywin’s branch of it- dies.  But Oberyn, the stereotypical Spaniard guy- I’ll call him Antonio “Ben Garant” Bandares, for my own amusement- was a pretty good replacement.  It was a nice twist that he wanted to see The Mountain confess his crimes at death, which is exactly what happened…unfortunately, tbough, the death turned out to be Oberyn’s.  (Who didn’t see THAT coming a mile away, after he got cocky?)

Then, there are the Stark girls…excuse me, women…who are gravitating towards the center of the story, especially with the Starks and Lannisters in ruins.  As someone with a…let’s say “old fashioned” sensibility about gender roles, even if I’m fairly progressive in practice (but this isn’t about me, of course)…it’s nice to a story where women rise to power in an appreciative way that transcends the Brie Larson fan club.  A large part of this is because we have actually seen the girls grow up in real time- the casting directors did a great job choosing Arya and Sansa.  The image of Aria taking control in the season premiere, as she got her revenge on her former captor, was one of the highlights of the series, and FAR better than anything we’ve seen with Danaryus, who, as I’ve said before, rose to power when she learned to…well, enjoy it.  And, even independent of that troubling aspect of Danaryus’s rise to power, everything with her just feels so unearned.  Watching Arya and Sansa go from one dangerous situation to another, and become better (or at least stronger) for it, just makes them that much more empathetic.

Speaking of Sansa, I have to admit her character has unexpectedly grown on me, as she’s grown up.  Her “proper” act, behaving and sounding more like royalty than the rest of her family, made her seem entitled and whiny at first, but all that made her that much more interesting when she became clever and manipulative.  Similarly, Arya’s restlessness and defiance evolving into vengeance seeking has been fun and rewarding to watch.  However, leaving “The Hound” to suffer in the middle of the mountains seemed unnecessarily cruel, after the two of them seemed to form a real friendship.  But cruel irony always lies at the heart of Game Of Thrones- The Hound reminded Arya of the cruel things he did and thought, in the hopes that she would end his life.  Arya, evolving into the cold cun…umm, cunning woman that was, ironically, shaped partially by the hound, ironically showed her wrath by not killing The Hound, which is exactly what he didn’t want.  Similarly, Littlefinger may have taught Sansa TOO much about deceptive behavior, as she seems to be using it on him.  I guess we’ll find out.  (As a sidenote, wasn’t Arya’s aunt getting ejected to her death the most predictable thing ever?  Also, I believe they should do a DNA test on her, as she seems more likely to be the sister of Stannis’s wife, than Mrs. Stark.)

Then there’s The Wall.  I’m getting tired, so I’ll just say that a whole episode dedicated to the battle felt unnecessary, though I’m sure many people enjoyed it.  That’s fine.  For me, it slowed down all the different parts of the Game of Thrones universe.  But okay, it’s an adventure show, and people like action, and so on and so forth, so it’s fine.  There were two irritating things, though, both involving (you guessed it) romance.  For the Tarly story (I thought he was Tully for a while- he looks like a Tully.  Then, I thought he was Gilly.  He looks like a Gilly…) it is very apparent that Game of Thrones is primarily written by men.  For all the naked women and violence and war and everything else, nothing says “male writers” like having a fat, buffoonish coward, suddenly finding bravery and protecting a woman to sweep her off her feet- never mind that he initially shipped her and her baby off to some shady tavern, to be abused and almost killed by Wildings!  (With all the gender role reversals, good luck finding one for THAT stereotype!)  Tarly seems like he comes from a different universe altogether, anyway.  How has this guy survived ’til this point?  The second thing is Jon Snow’s girlfriend.  They had this whole buildup, then she just stares at him, points her arrow, only to get shot himself and die in his arms?  The writers must have come up with THAT at 2:30 AM, as well.

Getting back to the main point, Snow going off to meet with the Wildings, while Stannis Baratheon and Sean Connery-ish guy “conquer” the area…well, let’s see where they go with that next season.  Stannis doesn’t strike me as a sustainable kind, any more than Joffrey.  He’s also a lot less interesting, outside of the powers given to him by “The Lord Of Light”.

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The way they all got off their horses in sync made me imagine a medieval boy bond.  (No pun intended on the in sync.)

The disintegration of the Starks and Lannisters as a central theme to the Game of Thrones universe is a clear indication that the show will be moving in a new direction- a direction hinted at in the very first scene of the very first episode.  Ghouls and living dead and all of that…I don’t know how that gets inserted, but we’ll find out.

I’m really sleepy, so I’ll  wrap this up…the Khaleesi storyline was a vast improvement over previous seasons, with National Geographic guy’s double agent identity giving him a better back story than “guy who explains stuff”.  And you KNOW that those dragons won’t be locked up for long.

The Theon Grayjoy story didn’t seem interesting, which is probably why the writers took half a season to address it.  We’ll see what Sadist Sean Astin has for the future.

I personally find The Queen Who Keeps Getting Married and The Lady In Red to be more desirable than Danaryus.  But that’s just my personal preference.

Young Keanu and The Three Eyed Raven- what the hell is all THAT about??

Onto season 5……………………………..

 

Game Of Thrones Season 3 – A Meme Is Born

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…seriously?

Well, I’m finally caught up to the South Park parody of Game of Thrones.  I think- it’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, but it seems to have been created at the end of season 3- definitely by the end of season 4.  I’ll look it up later.

Anyway, after binge watching 30 of the (at the present time) 69 episodes, I’ve come up with a couple of games of my own- a drinking game (original, I know), and all the different ways I’m reminded of other characters in entertainment.  So forgive me as I interchangeably reference the characters properly, and with my personal association.  Try to keep up- surely the show would want it that way!

So I wasn’t crazy about all the romance, often turning captioning on and the sound off, but I realize that it was necessary to push the story along.  Well, most of it.  Greg Brady’s marriage to Heidi Fleiss was one of the few pure, straightforward, even wholesome romances this show has to offer- obligatory nudity notwithstanding, of course- and oh, weren’t we all happy to find out she was pregnant!  That was certainly how we were supposed to have felt, isn’t it?  However, anyone who’s been watching this show long enough knows that happiness is only to be felt by the viewer for one reason and one reason alone- that it will be ripped apart.  I saw the death of the poor woman coming a mile away, although I confess to being completely caught off guard as to when it happened.

I certainly wasn’t expecting Rob Stark to die then and there.  He seemed to be doomed at some point, but I assumed it would be later in the series.  And his mother, a cross between Mrs. Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie and Peggy Hill from King of the Hill, had to watch, right before her own death.  She wasn’t my favorite character, as her constant stumbling and bumbling and pseudo-pride caused all kinds of problems for everyone, but her last seconds among the living was heart-wrenching to watch.

As for the man who caused it, the guy who played the Squib in The Harry Potter movies, that’s no surprise.  He was a wretched degenerate, a very close second only to Craster.  (An honorable mention goes to Joffrey, but he’s really more of a psychopath than a degenerate.)  When he not only showed mercy, but was downright magnanimous about it, something just didn’t feel right.  One of the many drinks to have in the GOT drinking game is that the more mercy a sadistic character shows, the more vicious the torture will be carried out.

And on that note, how about Handsome Dennis Leary, finally getting a taste of his own sadistic medicine?  I like the character Jaime Lannister, as well as the actor who plays him.  He’s believable whether brutal, charming, (seemingly) merciful, or hurting inside.  But there are major inconsistencies in his behavior, almost worthy of a daytime soap opera.  So now, he’s a misunderstood kingslayer?  He was doing it to save all those people?  Okay fine.  He’s still a guy who, almost gleefully, pushed a ten year old off a ledge to die, after being caught having an affair with his sister.  Even in a show where belief is suspended over and over again, it’s a real stretch to ask the audience to go along with that premise, and still believe he has a heart.  Nevertheless, I bought into the storyline, because it was well acted, and the chemistry between him and Breanne felt very real…even if saving her from fighting a bear felt like something out of Xena Princess Warrior, or Hercules, or some other campy pseudo-historical fantasy show from the WB network in the early 2000’s.

I also enjoyed watching Aria and The Hound form a truce, and what may develop into an unlikely friendship later on.  (One can hope.)  I don’t believe The Hound is a bad guy- I think HE wants people to believe that.  There’s no question he’s done many bad things, but who hasn’t in this show?  (Wait, don’t answer that.  We’ll get there.)  Aria is one of my favorite characters, and as of now, is the RIGHTFUL Strong Female Protagonist, even though I didn’t care for an unnecessary attempt at comic relief, as she cold-heartedly knocked an innocent old man unconscious to show The Hound that she means business.  (Come on, writers- this is Game of Thrones, not The Three Stooges!)

I’m still trying to identify all the other protagonists in the story fair and square, even though I have hindsight in knowing a few of the survivors.  It seems like the Sean Connery-ish guy assisting Stannis will be around for a little while, thanks to the fact that he learned how to read (reading saves lives, kids!), and it was nice to see Aria’s crush make it to safety.  Or, so it seems.  But what’s the deal with Lady Evil?  She’s a magical, mystical, woman!  At times, she seems to be caught completely off guard, other times, all knowing.  Obviously, young Keanu Reeves will be sparred until AT LEAST when he gets to the Three Eyed Vulture.  Beyond that?  Well, I guess it’s up to The Lord Of The Light from there, who seems like a real jerk.  (Thank you, Norm MacDonald.)  By the way, I salute the writers for coming up with yet another jaw dropping, stomach churning twist- when the aforementioned Lady In Red pointed out to Stannis that his wife was “sick” and she “disgusts” him, I assumed she meant disfigured by an illness.  Nope.  Perfectly normal looking lady.  But keeping her stillborn children in a jar and talking to them as if they were people?  Well, that was…unexpected.  So unexpected I couldn’t understand what was going on.

Lessee, what else, what else…oh, the Lannisters!  They are still hovering around the center of the GOT universe, for now.  Sansa marries Tyrian, while Cersei The Queen is about to marry Loras the queen.  And Tywin, at the head of it all.  He’s got it all worked out, doesn’t he?  I wonder if Sara Yoko Silverman will do anything about it, at some point.  The only thing she seems good for right now is turning Tyrian, normally THE BEST character in Game of Thrones, into a lovesick fool.  Most interesting of all, though, is the unknown aspirations of the aspiring Queen…um, I forget her name.  But she seems to have Joffrey’s number.

HOW MANY MORE STORYLINES ARE THERE????  *sigh*  Ok, I’ll go through them.  Theon Greyjoy being tortured by Sean Astin…the visuals are disturbing- add “torture porn” to the list of genres in GOT- but if there was one guy who deserved to be punished like that, it’s this guy.  In some ways, he’s the MOST despicable character on the show.  All the other degenerates and sadists have little or no conscience.  Theon was treated like family by the Starks- AT LEAST as much as Jon Snow was- only to turn around and lay waste to all those who he grew up with.  Despicable.  And I let out a small groan and chuckle as his sister assembled a boat of the greatest killers to rescue her brother!  Yeah, she’s a regular Joan of Story Arc.

The Jon Snow thing slowed down for a bit, especially with his budding romance.  But that ended up with a huge payoff, especially with The Knights of The Watch in shambles, their beloved leader betrayed and killed.  (I can’t entirely blame them, though- sucking up to the degenerate Craster almost has me rooting for the White Walkers.)  Jon had a groan-worthy moment himself, though, as he chuckled when his girlfriend pointed an arrow in his direction.  I’m glad she shot at him.  He deserved to pay for his arrogance.  But do you know who REALLY needs to pay for arrogance?  Yeah, that’s right- I saved “the best” for last!

Six episode past when I wrote this, my opinion has only hardened.  The only ones more in love with Danaryus “Khaleesi” Stormborn, House of Targaryan, mother of dragons, freer of slaves, warrior of social justice, are the writers who created her.  They’re so in love with her, they forgot to write an interesting story!  If this was a video game from the early 90’s, the Khaleesi storyline would be the bonus round, where you try to collect as many coins as possible in 30 seconds.  No enemies, no obstacle- just get those coins!  The only brief moment where it looked like this might be going somewhere was when Heir (Hair?) of Fabio barged in while Khaleesi was taking a bath (naturally), and put a knife to Khaleesi’s personal secretary, only to declare that he wanted to fight for her.  (Couldn’t he have just…knocked?)  Then, we get the now-famous image of her greeted as a liberator.  Was there any doubt??  Of ALL the ways they could have ended the season, THIS is what they chose.

All in all, the season was mixed, but with lots of promise ahead.  The Lannister push forward continues to be a driving force, presumably until winter comes, and the series becomes Night Of The Living Dead.  Arya continues to be given more and more reasons to be angry, becoming more and more dangerous.  Whatever weirdness is going on with Stannis Baratheon, it’s clearly going in some very curious directions.  And then, all the wall, winter is coming, etc. etc..

So much to watch, and I can’t resist writing these recaps.  I try to keep it short, but really- how can I?

(Two other minor notes-

The punk rock song at the end of episode 3 was ill-advised.  I like punk rock as much as the next suburban white boy, but part of the appeal of GOT is being sucked into the idea that the viewer is watching something straight from Medieval Times.  Deviating from that, even in the credits, pricks the bubble.

Are they really going to give Doofus from Duck Tales a love interest?  When did Judd Apatow become a writer for this show?  That’s not entirely fair- Sam is a nice kid, not an immature slacker.  But it’s the same principle.  Men needn’t be conventionally good looking to end up with someone, or good looking at all.  The same can’t be said about women.  That’s just the way it is in fiction, and at times, even in real life.)

 

Game Of Thrones – 1/3 Of The Way Through, The Strongest Image Is The Weakest Link

denaryus
Khaleesi truly does have incredible powers, as the rules of the show don’t seem to apply to her.

I wasn’t planning on blogging about Game of Thrones again until I finished the third season, but at the exact one-third point, I had an epiphany.  All these years, I couldn’t figure out the massive appeal of the show.  A large part of that was simply due to not WATCHING the show, but the mass marketing just didn’t do it for me.  And what exactly was that mass marketing?  Outside of some grizzled guy with a sword and the slogan “Winter is Coming”, virtually all of it revolved around an incredibly attractive (dyed) platinum-blonde princess with a bunch of dragons.  Now that I’m twenty four episodes deep, it’s become painfully apparent that this part of the story- if you can even call it a part of the story- is, by far, the weakest link in an otherwise captivating television series.

Don’t get me wrong- Danarerys “Khaleesi” Targaryen is the most visually appealing character, in a show filled with visually appealing characters.  And Emilia Clarke’s charisma is unmistakably the reason why she was the face of the franchise for such a long period of time.  But in a world of complex characters, doing complex maneuvering, with complex outcomes, Khaleesi’s story arc is more like a straight line, with every “Mary Sue” / “White Savior” checkbox filled out.  So far, her whole story can pretty much be summed up in a few sentences…

Girl that has been oppressed throughout her life by a cruel, ignorant brother, is sold as a wife-slave (or slave-wife) to a handsome savage.  Girl becomes a woman, learns to adapt to savage culture, discovering magical powers along the way.  Her captor husband vanquishes brother, then dies protecting her from those who don’t believe in her power.  Woman marches forth to build an army of primitives that she has liberated from the clutches of evildoers, who she destroys wherever she encounters them, on her way to becoming queen of all the land.  Oh, and she has magical dragons that she refers to as “her children”, to help with all of this.

If anyone had isolated this part of the story from the rest of the show, I’d probably have turned it off somewhere in the first season.  Compared to the rest of the series, it’s almost like watching a different television show.  Where are Khaleesi’s tough choices?  She points out how awful it is that so many people are enslaved (duh), but what about the trade-offs that the other characters have to face, when being gripped by their conscience?  Look at the way Jamie Lannister’s protector ruined everything, when she didn’t have the heart to kill the man in the woods, who turned out to be an informant.  Khaleesi has no such concerns, because she has MAGICAL POWERS!  Think about the hard choices Jon Snow has had to make repeatedly throughout the series, not knowing which “family” he needs to fight for.  Not Khaleesi, though.  She fights decisively for HER family, the Targaryens- a family she’s never even known, outside of her wretched brother.  Basically her family is a family of one, consisting of herself.  Ergo, she fights for herself.  And, like many power-hungry characters in the show, she is hellbent for the Iron Throne.  Unlike any other character, however, the writers seem to indicate she is justified in this quest, because, you see, she will be a benevolent ruler, as National Geographic Guy assures her and the viewing audience.  And speaking of National Geographic guy, the only hint at merging this story from “the edge of the world” with the rest of the GOT universe is a minor character from season one, washed along the shore to compete for prestigious role of Main Guy Who Explains Stuff To Khaleesi.  Weak.

I will gladly recant all of this, if there are twists and turns ahead, which make all of this worthwhile.  But for now, whenever this part of the story comes on, I will be hitting mute, and use closed captioning to follow along.  My sensitive ears can handle dragon screams, but the self-righteous preening has gotten to be too much.

Game of Thrones Season 2- Where Is All This Going??

aria
I know from the posters that the Beatle haircut doesn’t last for Aria.

With less than four weeks to watch an additional 51 episodes, I’m just going to bullet point this stuff. There’s only so much Game of Thrones I can cram into my life, and still literally keep my sanity. Here goes…

  • So far, the show is still centered with a theme of rival Medieval English kingdoms, although that’s very clearly about to change, as the supernatural elements are beginning to tear away at the seems.  Not much is clear about this show’s direction, but that much is.  The White Walkers, who opened the series as little more than a teaser for things to come, are literally on the march at the end of Season Two.  Khaleesi is officially the heir to Ronnie James Dio…umm, I mean the House of Targaryon…as the master of dragons.  And Stannis Baratheon, probably the last guy anyone would expect of possessing supernatural powers driven by dark magic, does, in fact, possess supernatural powers driven by dark magic.
  • For now, though, the primary stories still involve all the different houses at war with each other, and to whatever limited extent this show can be explained in a “conventional” way, the Starks are the good guys and the Lannisters are the bad guys.  Of course, this isn’t a conventional show, and Tyrian Lannister is arguably the easiest guy to root for in the series so far.  Ned Stark was, in hindsight, little more than a McGuffin to drive the story along, as well as get the viewers emotionally invested into what’s going on.
  • Speaking of hindsight, knowing what I think I know about the series, the real protagonists are starting to emerge now.  (Sorry, Ned.)  Three of four of them make sense- Tyrian (a dwarf), Jon Snow (a bastard), and Aria Stark (a girl), all of whom have incredible courage and potential, yet were screwed over by life- Tyrian by being a dwarf, Snow by being a bastard, and Aria by being a girl- are beginning to come into their own.  Sansa, apparently released from King Joffrey’s grasp- for now- apparently plays a big role in the series, although I’m not sure how yet.
  • Oh yeah, and Khaleesi- how can I forget??  Sold into slavery to begin her life, there seem to be great things ahead for her.  What, exactly, isn’t clear yet.  She’s the most famous face of the show, and yet two seasons in, still seems like she’s on a completely different show!  (Tyrian even alludes to this, saying, “One game at a time,” when she is brought up in discussion.)  I’m guessing that changes sometime in Season 3.  It has to, right?  How much longer can she wander around the desert, where her main company is some guy who looks like he was poached from National Geographic!
  • I kind of wonder how much I like or dislike a character based on my own personal taste, versus how much the show wants a character to be liked or disliked.  For example, I like the “evil” Cersei FAR more than the “good” Mrs. Stark.  Cersei can be heartless, occasionally downright cruel, but seems to be very self-aware of it, as well as the merciless world that shaped her into that person.  It almost seems like there’s a good woman deep down inside, which was buried by circumstances.  By contrast, Mrs. Stark pretends to be a “proud” woman, but in reality, is anything but.  She treated Jon Snow like dirt, for something that was her husband’s fault.  She blamed Tyrian for a crime that he didn’t commit.  Then, she released the infamous Jamie Lannister behind her son’s back, because she was dumb enough to be outwitted (again!) by Little Finger- who really should have the nickname Middle Finger, because he really sticks to everyone- and I mean everyone– he encounters.  Am I supposed to feel sorry for her for always being at such a loss?  Because really, I just snicker every time her ignorance blows up in her face.
  • What was the deal with “The Thirteen”?  Was that something from the book, that just got crammed in, due to time constraints?  I didn’t understand that plot at all.  The graphic of them standing together was good for a laugh, though.

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    How they all kept a straight face is beyond me- best acting in the series so far!
  • The Stark kid who can’t walk is like Kenny from South Park.  How many times can we be tricked into thinking he’s dead?  I’m guessing one of these days, it won’t be a trick.
  • I enjoyed some characters finally abandoning pretense of noble but violent honor, showing ACTUAL fear, as The Dog backed away from the fire in the middle of the battle, and the new Knights of the Watch ran for their lives, once they realized they were being invaded by White Walkers.
  • Last but least, there seemed to be more of a romantic bend in season two.  Maybe they’re going somewhere with it- ie. the men falling in love weakens them- but I really hope not.  (They probably will, though- Game of Thrones doesn’t seem to let any plot line go to waste.)  To me, at least for now, it just feels like an eyeball rolling distraction.  And of course, we had to be reminded of Khaleesi’s love for her beloved captor…um, I mean late husband.  For such an unnervingly graphic show, Game of Thrones has a lot of heart to it, but the romance just doesn’t do it for me.

Anyway, lots more to write about, but even more to watch.  Onto season 3.  See you in a few days…

 

Game of Thrones, Season 1 Review- Better Late Than Never

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Spoiler alert- the guy in the picture didn’t win

Okay, I get it now.  I didn’t necessarily resist joining the cultural phenomenon on purpose, although I admit to having a contrarian nature.  It just seemed like too much work to get into a series that sounded like it had an identity crisis.  What genre was this?  It looked like an adventure series, sort of like a modern-day Neverending Story (ironically set in the Middle Ages), yet it sounded like there was a lot of pornography and other disturbing stuff going on.  And yet nearly every single person I encountered that had watched the show over the years- and I mean literally nearly everyone- LOVED it!

I binge watched Breaking Bad, right as the series was ending, because it came on a basic cable marathon, and had a very easy to understand narrative- a down-on-his-luck high school teacher gets cancer, so he starts selling meth to provide for his family.  Shocking, original, and straightforward, even if the series inevitably took some twists and turns.  But THIS thing?  Dragons?  Debauchery?  Nudity?  Incest?  What the hell??  I punted, until about a week ago, when Twitter lit up with every single trending topic dealing with Game of Thrones.  Finally, I gave in.  And boy, did I ever!

Basically, this thing does combine seemingly disjointed genres into one insane but riveting package.  What if Tony Soprano gets killed before the end of Season 1?  What if Joaquin Phoenix’s character in The Gladiator had free reign, without a Russell Crowe-like protagonist to stop him? (Ned Stark basically had Tony Soprano’s power and respect, with The Gladiator’s moral compass.) What if the Malfoys got their hand on the deathly hallows?  What if the family from Blades of Glory, quite literally, succeeded in stealing the gold?  What if there was more than one kid that had The Shining?  And this is only the first season- apparently, there are seven more of these!

There’s also another story line lurking, literally beyond the horizon, involving some ghastly ghouls, surely teasing yet another genre that was touched on in the first scene of the first episode- horror.  It didn’t seem to go anywhere in season one, but I trust the writers have something really incredible- and probably not for the feint of heart- just waiting to be unleashed at the right moment.  My guess is that it’s an allegory for people squabbling about petty problems, without any awareness about REAL danger that threatens them all.  But we’ll see.  Or at least, I will.

Here are some other thoughts I had about season 1-

  • I’m a pretty squeamish guy myself, although there was only one moment that really unnerved me- Khaleesi’s ruthlessly ambitious but idiotic brother- basically, an older version of Joffrey without the network to back him up- thinks he’s going to be coronated, instead gets burned to death by liquid metal, in a sadistically ironic “ceremony”.  There were far more gory moments in the series, but it wasn’t the visual aspect that bothered me so much- it was the psychological, instead.  As deserving as he was of this fate, being murdered during a time where one is wrapped in their own vanity feels very cruel- which, of course is the point.  Jason Mamoa’s character smiling as he says in a gravelly voice, “A crown fit for a king,” makes the whole thing that much more chiling.  (This isn’t just a product of fiction, by the way- search for “execution of the Romanov family” sometime, if you must.)
  • Ned getting killed was brilliantly painful, but it was strangely heartfelt, as well.  The two Stark daughters, on complete opposite ends of the spectrum personality wise, both felt incredible pain as they watched their father die in undeserved disgrace.  One of the greater disappointments of the Harry Potter series was that Draco Malfoy never amounted to much more than a brat.  Harry had tons of worthy enemies, but none that were his peers.  With very few exceptions throughout the series, Malfoy’s presence seemed more designed to distract, and allow Harry’s friends to band together.  By transitioning Joffrey from entitled brat to evil ruler,  the story becomes that much more enthralling, particularly as the main protagonist is killed before the end of the first season!  Speaking of which…
  • As someone who couldn’t avoid hearing and seeing tidbits of Game of Thrones throughout the years, I was always under the impression that Khaleesi was the main protagonist, seeing how the actress who plays her was on a plurality, if not majority, of the all the pictures I’d seen of the show.  Clearly she’s the most famous face- and body, *ahem*- of the show, so I was surprised at how much smaller her story was, relative to a few of the other main characters, particularly Ned Stark.  I’m guessing that her role is much bigger in season two and beyond, and the final scene seems to imply that, especially with poor ol’ Neddy out of the way.  Again, speaking of which…
  • One reason why I probably wasn’t as horrified/sad/whatever as I should have been at such a powerful scene as Ned Stark getting beheaded was because I was actually kind of expecting something like that.  Given that I could only remember seeing him in one picture, and I knew the show was (in)famous for killing off primary characters (I’ve seen the South Park parody, and been warned several times), I figured he would be cut down (literally, apparently), at some point.  I admit I was surprised at HOW early he was cut down, but it’s not like there aren’t enough other characters to follow along!
  • The Lannister storyline of lust that dare-not-speak-its-name was also something I’d heard about.  Initially, it seemed like a gratuitous shot, implying that they were depraved, soulless people, because they engaged in this act- sort of how gay characters would have been portrayed in the not-too-distant past.  I was definitely wrong about this, as it was anything but gratuitous- it simply showed just how in love with themselves they were!  From their “logic”, it makes sense- since nobody was as awesome as they were, nobody else was worthy enough to “breed” with them.  Twisted, but consistent with what we know about these characters.
  • As original as this show is, they couldn’t help but to engage in a few tired tropes, particularly as the Dancing-With-Wolves/Avatar native celebration/savagery/etc..  The romantic language was cringe-worthy, as well- “my sun, my moon, my stars, my planet, my solar system…” My GOD!  Stop it!
  • I also found it problematic that Khaleesi falls for the guy that starts out raping her.  This season was filmed in 2011, and the book written way earlier than that.  I’m guessing (hoping?) such a storyline would have been modified, had it come out today.  There were other aspects of the show that were a bit…much, but it’s hard to define that line, as the line is different for everyone.  But the Khaleesi thing?  It reminds me of a sick joke in Monty Python’s Life Of Brian- “You were raped?” “Well…at first.”  And at least that was a joke, intended to offend and sound absurd!  Sorry, I don’t think there’s a place for something like that, even for a show like this.
  • What was the deal with Khaleesi’s right-hand man?  That guy had the easiest acting job on the show.  “The Dathraki are mating with their pray.  Basically, they’re sexual Klingons.”  He seemed more like the narrator of a nature show, than a character on this show.  When Khaleesi’s brother says to him, “I see the way you look at my sister,” I thought to myself, “Really?  You do?  How does he look at your sister?  I thought he was too busy doing anthropology research on the Dathraki to look at anyone else!”
  • Oh, I almost forgot this one, probably because I was TRYING to forget- the most disturbing thing in REAL life was the kid breast-feeding off of his TV mom.  How is that even legal?  The world of child acting is shady enough to begin with- what parent says to a kid, “Hey junior- we found the perfect role for you!  Make sure you get the audition right the first time, okay?”  It wouldn’t surprise me if he screwed up the scene on purpose a few times.  I probably would, if I were that kid!  Moving to the opposite end of the spectrum…
  • I was most sad when Aria sent her dog away, after he protected her from The Dork Prince.  (See what I did there?)  I felt so bad for the pooch- he must have been so confused.  It was probably a throwaway scene for 99% of the audience out there, but not me.
  • Even a show with multiple layers often reveals consistent patterns.  In Game of Thrones, it’s clear that the writers have a soft spot for people who have gotten screwed over by life but try hard anyway, and hate- I mean REALLY hate- anyone who brags about their inherited place in the world.  Whatever evil deed gets rewarded in this universe, flaunting your family’s status isn’t one of them.
  • I’ve seen a few complaints that the SJWs got a hold of the series later on.  I guess I’ll find out for myself, but for now, I personally appreciate a show that has strong but flawed female characters, and doesn’t seem to try preaching anything- just moves the stories along, with complex characters, that can’t seem to escape their fate.
  • Jon Snow seems like a nice guy.  I doubt his buffoonish friend (“Neville” in Harry Potter’s universe) makes it, though.

This review was supposed to be short.  So much for that.  I hope you enjoyed it.

David Collum Makes A Strong Case For His Point Of View, While CNBC Barely Even Tries

David Collum Makes A Strong Case For His Point Of View, While CNBC Barely Even Tries

In his extensive year in review blog, Dr. Collum puts in an enormous amount of thought, effort, articulation, and…best of all…charts-

On the other end of the spectrum, we have this gem from CNBC- “A reason for hope- back-to-back down years for the stock market are rare“.  The entire argument can be found inside the title.

This, by the way, is how I became a permabear (and goldbug) in the first place.  In the earliest part of my adult life, I bought stocks, just like everybody else.  But as I read more articles from ALL points of view, the bear side just made so much more sense.  More than an entire generation of papering over one financial crisis after another has, ironically, had the effect of giving people MORE confidence in our broken system- after all, if any problem can be “solved” by sweeping it under the rug, who’s to say we can’t continue down that path indefinitely?  (Interestingly enough, this reasoning does not fly with the public when it comes to environmentalism.  Well…at least, not when it comes to discussing environmentalism- implementation is another story altogether.)

The question is, can The Powers That Be paper over the next (and apparently, impending) financial crisis?  We’ll find out soon enough…