Battle of the Bastards Fought off All My Doubts For This Season

*Disclaimer: I reserve the right to the excessive use CAPITALS and exclamation points!!!*

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I swear 90% of this made me shriek “OH MY GOD!!!! WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?” Because this episode put the EPIC back in epic fantasy (yes I went there).

My one complaint is that this felt like two episodes. I don’t see why they couldn’t separate the two battles into two episodes, considering how so much of this series has felt sorely lacking in action. If all of the battle at Meereen had happened last episode, then there would have been a lot more satisfaction from viewers about the last episode. But other than that this episode was PERFECT- so I’m gonna quit complaining pronto and get to talking about the SHEER AWESOMENESS that is Game of Thrones! So Let’s start with:

Part 1– The Battle of the “Bastards” – Dany in all her Glory

*This will get spoilery- starting now!*

The first part of this episode restored my faith in dragonkind. I may have mentioned this once, or a thousand times on this blog, but dragons are by far my favourite mythical creature. So I was disappointed this year that I wasn’t as roused by the dragon scenes this year- until now. Because three dragons wreaking havoc puts me in a good mood for some reason. At last, Dany was back to her glorious self- meting out justice, listening well to Tyrion’s excellent advice and  kicking some seriously pathetic tyrant butt! Just what I like to see!

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But, let me be honest- that subheading is a bit misleading as none of the people involved in this battle were actually bastards- even if a few characters did semi-disown their fathers in their admission that they were monsters. I guess I will just have to invoke Tyrion’s adage that “all dwarfs are bastards in their father’s eyes”- because this was a battle for all the “bastards” of the world. It really felt like the downtrodden are finally having their day. And while not completely oppressed, it did feel like the episode was living upto that theme when the Greyjoy siblings stepped onto the scene fulfilling my dreams of a Targaryen-Ironborn alliance. And with it came Dany’s promise of a new world- restoring my faith in her ability to be more than just a conqueror queen and reminding me why she has always been in my top 2 picks to sit on the Iron Throne.

And while we are on the subject, let’s turn our attention to my other pick to rule Westeros…

Part 2 – The (Real) Battle of the Bastards – Jon Snow Lives On

…. But I think I’m going to die after this episode. There were parts while I was watching this where I *literally* couldn’t breathe. And not just because of the tension- but also because of the way they it was shot- which frankly was some of the best cinematography I have ever seen. Because of the camera angles, it 100% felt like I was experiencing the battle from Jon’s perspective. When the Boltons started to close in, I started to feel claustrophobic. When the army charged, I felt the panic. When the army was being trodden underfoot, I felt like I was being crushed. I could completely feel the chaos of warfare. Nothing- no battle I’ve ever seen on tv or film before- has ever felt more real. The whole thing really got my blood pumping and my heart freaking out! After it was all done, I was left shaking and with definite palpitations in my chest!

And then there was also the crazy emotional turmoil of the episode- like the visuals and the music seconds before the armies collide practically made me tear up. (Honestly I could go on about that stuff all day!) But let’s face it- we’re all thinking of the same gut wrenching scene: the moment when Jon rode out to save his brother. I’m sure every other viewer was like me in that moment- urging him on and practically screaming “C’mon Rickon! C’mon!” All the while knowing he wasn’t going to make it- and when he didn’t- it felt like my heart was pierced through with that arrow just as surely as his was. It was straight up one of the most awful scenes I’ve seen on Game of Thrones– and that’s saying something.

I confess I was rather wooed by the rather romantic notion that the Umbers were still loyal to house Stark that I’ve seen online over the course of this season. Obviously that would have been far too easy for Game of Thrones. The most now that survives from that theory is that Lord Umber hesitated for just a moment when he saw Jon Snow- other than that, the dream of those Northerners being loyal is as dead a Rickon Stark. (RIP) So yes, this was absolutely gut wrenching in more ways than one.

What also stood out about this episode was that it had some of the finest character development all season- which is funny considering how much of this season was dedicated to character development. But let’s face it, seeing people under pressure always shows off their character so much more than just idle chatter. Seeing Davos in his moment of realisation about what happened to Shireen was powerful beyond words- and a definite easter egg for the next episode. Jon Snow under pressure was also a sight to behold- and as I’ve already said, it felt like we lived this episode through his eyes- experiencing all his pain and anger and fighting alongside him. And yes, in terms of character development, he fell right into Ramsay’s trap- but let’s face it- that’s because he’s a human being with feelings and not an absolute psycho- cos only a psycho or someone that lived with said psycho would’ve been able to second guess those games… Which brings me onto the real star of this episode… Who might that be? I hear you ask. Well it was little Sansa Stark- all grown up.

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And my goodness hasn’t this character grown so much more than any other on Game of Thrones (including her slightly feral sister)!?! Gone is the fragile, weak girl whose wolf got killed and saw her father die. She is now a force to be reckoned with! That moment when she rode in at the head of the Tully/Arryn army made my heart sing! She was absolutely legendary! Seeing her get her comeuppance on Ramsay Bolton was pure bliss (if a little grotesque- everyone that hoped he would have a bloody and poetically awful death was rewarded here) Finally all of Ramsay’s games have caught up with him.

Now I think that about sums it up- I think I’ve covered all the thoughts I had on this (minus all the swearing I had in my original notes 😉 ) Let me know what you thought in the comments below. Until next week…

No One Wins in Game of Thrones

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So last week I totally failed to put out my Game of Thrones review- in fairness I was pretty shattered when I finally watched it and this was the extent of my notes:

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Honestly, I can’t see the point of watching the Hound chop wood for half an hour and didn’t have much else to say about it cos nothing was new in it. But normal service was resumed this week- so I’m back!

*Spoilers galore*

Okay, so as I said in my title, no one wins in Game of Thrones- and that nobody is Arya Stark. Because this week Jaqen H’ghar finally gave her the title of “no one”. And even while she claimed to still be someone, it’s clear she’s taken something away from her time with the Faceless Men.

Being someone and having family ties is very costly in the world of Game of Thrones. Like in the case of Edmure Tully and the Blackfish. Both have lost- but not simply because of their weakness (in Edmure Tully’s case) or because of their stubbornness (as with the Blackfish), but because they held onto who they were. The same could be true for those in the Capital- it is by holding onto who they are and the power that they believe their identity affords them that is costing them so much now.

Being a nobody, however, pays dividends. Tyrion’s success is in being a no one- no one ever expects anything from him and yet in spite of that he succeeds against all odds. (Granted this episode he was having an off day- but still). Likewise, the Hound is a second son and at his lowest point- now that he has reached rock bottom he can actually come back and be someone. This season is all about rebirth- none more so for Dany- who’s brief appearance reminded us that she has gone back to being nothing so that she can be something more again. And then there is Arya Stark- who spent the last season learning to be no one, discarding her identity so that she can be someone.

All the best characters have lost their way- but it is by losing themselves that they are able to find a way back. Just as I suspect the biggest nobody of them all, Jon Snow, will inevitably come back next episode and win in the Battle of the Bastards- boy am I excited for that!

Until then, here were some other notable points from this episode:

  • Vary’s has gone off on a secret mission- probably to pave the way for Dany back in Westeros- but I don’t really know. Anyone have any other ideas?
  • Jaime and Brienne had their reunion and it was as emotional as you would expect.
  • Speaking of Jaime- there was a great discussion on Verge about how he is whoever you believe him to be- which I’m inclined to agree with
  • And- in true Game of Thrones fashion- there were some fantastic one liners- like “You’re shit at dying” (the Hound) and this one from Cersei:

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So do you agree with my prediction that all the nobodies will win Game of Thrones? What did you think of this episode? Let me know in the comments!

Blood of my Blood was a B+

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O-kay, so some of this episode was in the right vein. And some of it was not. Let’s get to it- and as always I’m gonna get spoilery.

The opening scene picked up where the last episode left off and definitely had my heart racing. Switching between Meera running and Bran’s visions was a very exciting way to start. And what’s more WE ACTUALLY GOT TO SEE THE MAD KING! And that was- oddly enough- an absolute delight.

The Starks seem to be making a *tiny* bit of a comeback as well- what with Benjen Stark turning up. And the Arya scene later in the episode finally gave us an indication that she was leaving the faceless men and that underneath it all she is still a Stark (thank goodness!) But unfortunately that was where the Stark fun ended- because there was sadly no Jon or Sansa or even Rickon in this episode.

Instead we got a little insight into Sam’s life- which was good in a way. I did enjoy his perfectly ghastly father and his blossoming relationship with Gilly. I also liked the fact that Sam rather conveniently got hold of a Valyrian steel sword (whether he’ll make it out of their easily with it is another matter). Either way, it definitely segued nicely into the theme of family.

Which brings me onto the business of a couple of messed up families that had quite a lot of attention in this episode: the Tyrells and the Lannisters. Honestly, I’m not wholly invested in the outcome of what happens in King’s Landing right now, because half the time I’m watching it I keep thinking “someone kill that stupid sparrow and that idiot king” (*hint, hint* Arya– come back and murder them all please).

And speaking of blood thirsty murderers- am I the only one that feels like Dany coming over to Westeros with her Dothraki hoards and murdering a bunch of people won’t be such a good thing at this stage? I mean, there was a time when I wanted her to come in and conquer everyone that deserved it- but at this stage I just feel like Westeros has bled enough. And- dare I say it- I’m past the whole here’s-a-dragon-be-excited phase. Don’t get me wrong- I’ll always love dragons more than anything, but enough with the recycled material already!

To be honest, my main feelings about this episode are that we are now over halfway into the series and all that’s happened so far has felt like build up. Which is good in a way- I do like good build up and I do enjoy good character development. BUT I do want to see things mixed up a bit and some action really wouldn’t go amiss at this stage! I do think this series still has the potential to be a good one and I certainly prefer a lot of the individual episodes to last year, I’m just hoping that all this slow-burning build up is going somewhere. Otherwise I will be far from sanguine.

What did you think of this episode? Now that we’re over halfway, how do you feel about season 6 so far? And do you think I overdid it with the puns? 😉 Let me know!  

*OPEN SESAME* When One Door Closes…

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Game of Thrones smacks you in the face with this! What a riot this episode was. I felt unhinged when I first watched it, I think I’ve got a handle on it. Sort of. Mostly.

Gosh- where do I even start with this one? There were so many awesome elements to this episode. This turned out to be an episode of major reveals and fantastic drama. Hold tight, cos this is about to get *spoilery*

All the Starks are in fine fighting form. Sansa shows her teeth and goes for Littlefinger at last- something I’ve been waiting for with baited breath since the season began. Arya’s training picks up pace. And (the honorary ex-Stark) Theon allies with his sister- against the fairly psychotic Euron (seriously- what kind of nutcase admits to killing his brother? And what kind of nutcases then elects said-nutcase as king?? Gah- the Iron Islanders are bonkers!)

And what of the actual door in question? Well aside from tepid metaphors I could make about doors equalling new opportunities, there was only one real mention of a door. But what a massive deal that door turned out to be. Because we finally got to see what caused Hold-the-door to be Hodor- which I *never* would’ve seen coming in a million years! I mean, Bran freakin’ broke Hodor’s mind with his power!

Time becomes very Doctor-Who-esque here as Hodor’s beginning and end become one and the same moment.

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Bran witnesses the horror of his own actions, seeing his ability to Warg going terribly wrong. Everything slots into place and we finally understand why Hodor took it so badly when Bran took him over before- it was foreshadowing this tragic end- and it is likely that a part of Hodor’s brain knew what it foretold. He always knew what Bran’s journey would mean for him- but he couldn’t stop it because it was inevitable.

So another powerful episode from Game of Thrones! What did you think of it? Let me know!

(And I apologise profusely for the terrible puns)

I wish the Book of the Stranger had set me on fire….

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But Episode 4 didn’t quite ignite the usual spark. Don’t get me wrong- there were still moments of TV gold- still the majority of the episode felt very repetitive. And I’m more annoyed about that than anything else- because I’ve said that in one of my reviews before and now I’m being repetitive.

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this episode- I just had quite a few niggling problems with it that when I came to write down my thoughts, it comes across as mostly negative (which I’m actually sorry about for a change)

*Spoilers abound*

The ending with Dany was entertaining enough- but in all honesty *we’ve been here before*. And I know that’s the point of her story arc this season “to go back to the beginning” (which is what it says in the book), yet it doesn’t make it any bit more interesting. Honestly, when she said she had a plan, I was hoping she’d come up with something a bit more spectacular. Which I recognise is a ridiculous thing to say, given that she just set herself on fire, however given that she’s done that before *with dragons*, you’ll have to forgive me for being unimpressed. It just failed to stir the same emotions in me this time as it has in the past. In all honesty, I would’ve preferred Dany finding a way out using subtler and more political tactics.

Now that I’ve got that bit out the way- what more can I say about this episode? Sadly the answer is: not much. Littlefinger was back, Tyrion’s still doing politics, and the Lannisters are plotting with the Tyrells, Reek made it home and Jorah still has dragonscale (in case we needed another reminder where he looks dramatically at his arm)- it all felt like this episode was setting the scene- much like the first one in the series. And while I had patience back then, I’m going to lose it quickly if it keeps on this way.

The one glimmer of absolute joy in this episode was the exquisite scene where Jon and Sansa were reunited. Tell me I’m not the only one who squealed with delight over that? Because that was glorious. After so many seasons of watching the Starks lose everything, it was pure magic to see at least some of them having a moment of happiness. It made me want to cry! (in a good way). That, added together with Ramsay’s sinister note and the murder of Osha, provided for some truly entertaining moments that saved this episode for me.

Overall (no spoilers), this episode would have been fine if I didn’t hold Game of Thrones to such a high standard. The fangirl in me wants to blot out my own criticism by jamming my fingers in my ears and shouting “I’m not listening, I’m not listening”

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But sadly I’m not Gollum and I have to listen to my own thoughts :p

So what did you think of this episode? Love it or hate it? Don’t keep me in suspense!

Shadowhunters: First (and Second) Impressions

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Happy Sunday!! So, like many of you I’m having a lazy Sunday and catching up on TV- and what better TV could I be watching than the new Mortal Instruments series? Actually lots of programmes as you’ll soon find out.

Because while this programme was thoroughly entertaining and a pretty decent adaptation, a lot of it was really cheesy and had some straight up ridiculous special affects (I mean did anyone see those Seraph blades? I mean, c’mon they looked like they’d been pinched from a cartoon).

Honestly, I think the main issue was the script. I knew from the trailer it wasn’t going to be great- but I had hoped it wouldn’t all sound like such a cliché ridden gag reel. Sadly, I was disappointed- the writers obviously thought that pinching every single line from every single fantasy script ever made was a good idea. I mean, they genuinely put in the line “even in the darkest of places, there is light” when referring to Witchlights. Which felt like it was lifted straight out of Lord of the Rings (of course, I recognise that Clare is famous for plagiarism, so I suppose it’s an appropriate complaint for an adaptation of her work). Either way, it was *not* a good line.

Okay, that being said, I managed to sit through all three episodes- so there were obviously some good parts about this show.

I think the thing holding this programme together at the moment is the characters. Some of them (Alec and Simon in particular) are excellent interpretations. Even Isabelle, who is quite different from the character in the book, has a certain charm to her and is far less flat than the film version. Likewise, Valentine is much truer to the book version than the camp-but-acceptably-villainous version from the film. I mean, just compare the images of the two:

I’d say there’s no comparison, but there clearly is: the one from the movie looks like a failed 80’s rocker and the TV show looks like a slick supremacist out to destroy the world (in short he looks like Valentine). I love how they’ve quickly established how he cares for Jocelyn- and I loved his reaction to finding out about Clary, whilst also throwing in some super evil moments. It’s a very promising characterisation and it’s giving the show the much needed dark edge it needs.

On the flipside, of course, I’m really not convinced by the leads at this stage- which is a problem, because even if the supporting cast is great, I don’t want to wince every time the main characters come on screen. In a way, it’s actually quite funny, because in contrast to Jace’s wooden acting, Clary is totally overdoing it. Every time Jace comes across like a creepy robot (which is every time he delivers a supposedly witty or sarcastic line) Clary just gets more earnest and ridiculous. And don’t get me started on Clary trying to run in heels (that actually had me giggling to myself).

That said, it’s an enjoyable enough waste of time, so I will probably continue watching it. Although, that’ll probably be because I can never seem to stop watching things once I start- even if they’re rubbish- so it’ll probably take 5 years to wean myself off this. I actually hope this show gets cancelled before that stage (which tells me I should probably just stick to watching Homeland instead)

So what did everyone else think of this show? Will you be watching it? Let me know in the comments section 🙂