A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms on the Edge of a Dark and Scary Night

 

Wow- this episode was magic. From the second it appeared on catch up right up until the haunting notes of Jenny’s Song as it played out, I knew I was watching something special unfold. Despite there being very little in terms of special effects, a focus on dark candlelit scenes and the sense of being on the periphery of the story, there was more tension and atmosphere here than I’d seen in a long time. Focusing on character over action, this was an episode worthy of the earlier seasons and reminded me why I’d fallen for it in the first place.

It’s the kind of episode where you feel like you want to pick up all the pretty pieces and admire them in turn, but never feel like you can put it together in a way that does it justice. Poignant and moving, I laughed, cried and laughed through tears as the impending doom settled over the entire cast. Because while we hold our breaths along with the characters, on the edge of a battle no one can escape, I had this YOU’RE ALL GONNA DIE thought echoing in my mind. Which brings me onto spoilery notes…

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AHHH DON’T LEAVE YOUR WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN THE CRYPTS- the enemy is a necromancer who brings people back from the dead!!! (I can’t take credit for this- though I had a niggling feeling about it the whole time cos as a fantasy rule the place where everyone is safe is not at all safe- but my friend pointed this out to me and when they did I was kicking myself cos of how obvious this is).

It’s not all terror and foreboding though- there were a whole range of the *feels*. Not least from that swoopingly romantic moment when Greyworm and Missandei kiss (she’s not gonna make it guys). But also the point that seems to have fascinated a lot of internet folk: Arya and Gendry getting it on. I could debate whether she was into it or not, but the thing that really strikes me about their scenes together is how far the show has come. Way back in season 2 I’d have shipped that, but now, with the impending doom, it feels less important… which only makes the doom seem more impending. For me, Arya’s best part in this episode wasn’t even that- it was having her deliver the line from the season trailer:
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I also LOVED the callbacks to earlier seasons. So often we get to see how far everyone has come and the massive contrast with the first series- especially when we see the Lannister brothers interacting. It’s not a perfect episode, by any stretch of the imagination. There are lines I can’t imagine making their way into the book (Jaime confessing to his past sins in the crudest terms, even to his brother). And there are moments in the dialogue that aren’t great (sorry, pointing out that “really bad” is a bad line doesn’t stop it being a bad line). HOWEVER there also some very beautiful moments- with Roman ideas like:

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I also adored this Tyrion moment:

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Especially since I think Tyrion knowing this story could prove important- Tyrion has always been one to prove the adage “knowledge is power”.

On the topic of the Lannister brothers, Jaime’s trial was a bit of a lowpoint, since I felt there could have been more to it. That could just be me though- I made the mistake of watching the teaser and building it up in my head. Not that it mattered too much- there were payoffs in other ways. The entire episode does more than enough to reward fans- not in a fanficy way- but in a way that feels earned. In a way that says: “yes, we know you have been with us on this crazy journey for years, HERE IS YOUR REWARD!” One of the absolute best things was how Brienne and Jaime’s relationship was at the forefront of the episode. And the moment he knighted her was… *electric*. There’s no other way to describe it. I also really liked the build up- where it showed the hardest thing to do sometimes is to admit you want something- but at the same time that’s what really living is. Having a dream and given that dream a voice.

In a different way, I feel like a lot of characters have found their voice now- not least Sansa (hehe please turn a blind eye to the awkward segue). She was the *STAR* of the episode for me- which can’t be too surprising since, in the biggest TV turnaround I’ve ever had, she’s somehow become my favourite character (from being my least favourite in season 1- what does this show even do to us?!) It was one hundred percent confirmed that Sansa gets THE BEST reunions. Plus she she incredibly sharp, forgiving people when it’s politically expedient, she also knows when to stick up for the North’s interests. This isn’t simply looking out for her own self-interest- this is looking out for own people and their best interest.

This is in STARK CONTRAST to Dany (hehe pun intended 😉) All she cares about is the damn iron throne- not the people of Westeros. I will say, for the sake of the part of me that still likes her, that Dany’s hard edge very nearly softened… Until the very end of the episode and her confrontation with Jon- seeing only the worst in him when he has only ever been honourable and calling him a liar (poor Jon looked so bemused- cos, duh, he’s not trying to steal the throne from her). Not that all these squabbles matter cos the Night King is getting the throne…

Okay I jest, I jest. I think no one is getting the throne (and the #forthethrone marketing campaign is similar to last year’s “the lone wolf dies… but the pack survives”).

There were so many other things going on in the episode that I could be here a while longer talking about them all: Tormund being awesome, the little bear, Ghost’s cameo, Jaime and Bran in the God’s Wood. But I think as much as I never wanted to leave this episode, all good things must come to an end…

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So what did you think of this episode? Did you enjoy it? Are you terrified for what’s coming?  Let’s panic together in the comments!

Hot Stuff: Returning to Winterfell!

Well, we’re back! It feels like forever since we were in the great game- I almost feel out of practice. And though I’ve tried to be a little bit vague, I’m still gonna have to put a *MASSIVE Spoiler Warning* cos I don’t want to ruin a second of this for anyone looking forward to this as much as I was! Personally, I will admit I’m often so conflicted about the newer seasons, because they’re never as good as when it followed the books- AND YET it’s always so entertaining!! There were some low points- particularly in the dialogue- yet there were some definite upsides and the last 3-4 scenes ultimately restored my faith. But we’ll not get ahead of ourselves…

Let’s take a quick detour down south, before we discuss the main meat of the episode. Even if I’m never that excited to go to King’s Landing anymore, I have to say Lena Headey puts in one hell of a performance. On the other hand, even if Cersei says Euron is not boring, I’m afraid that’s exactly what he is. He’s diverged so far from his book counterpart that there’s really nothing left that’s interesting about him. Actually, thank goodness for Theon (never thought I’d say that), cos his rescue saved those scenes from feeling interminably dull.

I will say that there are many, many moments that feel fanfic-y. I don’t believe for a second that the dragon scene will go down like that in the books. Buuut at the same time, it also made my heart swoop out of my chest. I mean, who doesn’t love watching dragons fly? (fools, I tell you, fools!) And that knowing look from the dragon was a nice touch 😉

The emotional heart of the episode revolved around Samwell’s scenes. Not only did he find out what happened to his family, but he also had to tell Jon the truth. And wow, I don’t think they could have done that scene any better. What I especially liked was how it followed the Tarly reveal and Sam pointing out that Dany would never give up her throne for her people. It was a nice touch and pretty much explains why I’ve gone off the character.

Which I guess is why if it comes to a proper Sansa vs Dany fight, I’d be on #TeamSansa all the way. What can I say? The girl speaks sense. And yes, I see it as a logical progression of her character. At the same time, I’m not entirely sold on the Stark camaraderie OR the incessant squabbling. It feels less like political manoeuvring at this stage and more pointless drama- especially when you consider what they’re up against- which is brought into focus by the end of the episode. And yeah, that ending was *s-p-o-o-k-y* and that JUMPSCARE freaked me out! What a horrific reminder of what they’re all fighting.

There were so many reunions in the episode, I don’t know if I can go through them all. The Jon/Arya scene was pretty close to what I’ve wanted since season 1- though weirdly I think I preferred Sansa/Jon, Sansa/Arya and Sansa/Tyrion (basically Sansa is the queen of reunions for a range of reasons). Even more strangely, my favourite reunion of the episode had to be Jaime’s little *surprise* when he finally arrived at Winterfell. Can’t wait to see where that goes!

And that’s all I have for this first episode. It’s not the best season opener I’ve ever seen- I guess cos there weren’t so many shocking death scenes… hey, I don’t watch this show for the romance 😉. Because of that though, I still have time to do some death predictions. Here’s all the people I think will die:

Yeah, I think we’re getting cleganebowl and I’ve put both Dany and Jon on there to be safe- although I think Dany is more likely to kick the bucket.

Let me know if you think I’ve missed anyone! And what did you think of the first episode? Disappointed or excited? Hit me up in the comments!

Reviewing and Ranking ALL of Buffy

 

 

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Spoilers, duh (I mean, it’s stopped airing 15 years ago… which makes me feel so old right now)

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So here’s the lowdown: Buffy was one of the first TV shows I ever really loved. I watched most of it when I was younger- though stopped after season 5 because it annoyed me that she came back from the dead and spoiled that perfect ending. Years later a friend of mine was aghast and told me to finish the damn thing- I mean missed a lot of classic episodes like Once More with Feeling! (I know, the horror 😉 ) Anyway, those are my pre-blog Buffy credentials, and should explain my intense love for this show and why over the last few months I couldn’t resist rewatching the whole thing on Prime 😉 Also it should tell you why I decided to dress up for this post as vampire orangutan:

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And why I got my sister- the slaying monkey baby (who sadly won’t be joining us today)- to dress up too:

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Yes, I know Halloween was in October 😉 Anyhoo, onto the reviews!

Season 1– this first season did a great job of establishing the world and has some classic episodes. I loved the quirky characters and everyone seems really zesty at this stage- including Giles. And while not the most interesting, the Master was still a scary villain. So I guess what I’m trying to say is the original is always a good place to start 😉 The one minor thing that bugged me with season 1 was how little I cared for the romance- sorry to all the Angel fans!

Season 2– this definitely felt like the show reaching its stride. What I particularly love about season 2 is that it’s the start of Willow’s journey into witchcraft. I also thought Angel made a much more compelling baddie than a love interest. That twist made it far more emotional and enjoyable. Plus, Spike’s introduction added to the entertainment value tenfold!

Season 3– so I had more mixed feelings about this series. I liked that it started out with a more beleaguered Buffy and dealt with the consequences of being a slayer really well… That said, Faith sucked. I never liked her as a character or an antagonist or any other role she jumped into as the show progressed. The Mayor didn’t excite me as a villain either. Even so, the individual character episodes in season 3 were GREAT. I especially loved the way it explored the sidekicks- Xander and Willow are developed so well and inject the show with consistent humour. What I did find was that my opinions on certain aspects had changed a lot as an adult. I didn’t realise quite how much of a “nice guy” Xander was. And I also didn’t understand why on earth Willow would ever want to be with him- she’s so accomplished and Oz is amazing (discounting later developments as well). I think one of the best episodes for me in this series though is when Anya enters the fray.

Season 4– what I really appreciated about this season was how effectively it focused on the leap from school to college. The way it dealt with that transition was particularly clever, since it showed how dealing with adulthood can be more of a struggle for some (*coughs* Xander and Buffy *cough cough*). I also felt the romance with Riley was far better developed than the one with Angel. And on a similar note, I squealed when Tara was introduced- best love interest in the show by far. I also especially liked the direction the show took with Spike’s character at this stage. There were a couple of standout episodes for me as well: the Gentlemen was terrifying and Something Blue was hilarious. The overarching storyline worked better for me than season 3 overall- though ultimately it wasn’t as exciting. Where season 3 took a while to build, season 4 kinda peters out when the whole government conspiracy thing just morphs into *generic Frankenstein monster battle*.

Season 5– I found this to be the most beautiful, emotional and addictive series by far. In the opening episodes, we already get Dracula, Dawn’s introduction and Xander’s double. Speaking of Dawn, I reallllly liked how that was handled- it was such a crazy, clever twist. Now, at this stage, I didn’t hate her character, though as an older viewer I definitely admit she is irritating. I do think on balance she has a great deal to cope with and really liked how it adds a new relationship dynamic. Buffy adjusting into the sister role was a lot of fun to watch. It also worked brilliantly when it came to the more heart-wrenching stories this season dealt with. Because, while Glory made a terrifying villain, it’s amazing how this show explored that the hardest thing Buffy would ever have to face was the loss of her mother. Episodes like The Body were so well observed and took the show to another level. The one downside to this series was watching Riley turn into a plank of wood and wishing him gone for most of the season- I always forget that he stayed on the show wayyy longer than I remembered. On the flip side, Spike’s growth is great. As flawed and unstable as he is, I really did love his character. Yes, he’s needy and selfish, but also funny and endearing. His story breaks my heart a little and it’s amazing to see a literally soulless character choose to be better- but I’m getting a little ahead of myself… Either way, Season 5 was where it was at for me. I loved the finale so much and thought it was a fatal mistake when they just couldn’t let dead things lie- which brings me onto…

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Season 6– So much of season 6 for me is taken up with the Spike/Buffy angle- which ended up being a pity for many reasons. Firstly, because the Dark Willow story, foreshadowed from the first episode, is ultimately overshadowed by this development. Secondly, cos it allows Buffy to deflect a lot of her hurt at being back in the world to her dysfunctional relationship. And boy is it dysfunctional. Now, I love Spike- I know he’s the bad guy, I know he’s largely unapologetic for six seasons, but I also I love a well done redemption arc. And the crucial thing about Spike is he isn’t magically redeemed by love- he has to work at it. At first because he desires Buffy and then because it’s the right thing. So there was definitely a part of me rooting for him to win Buffy’s heart… and yet, not to be an ungrateful fangirl or anything, I genuinely wish it hadn’t gone there. As much as THAT kiss at the end of Once More With Feeling (possibly the best Buffy episode ever) gets me every time and as much as it’s WOW when they are together, it’s never very fulfilling as a viewer cos Buffy is just. not. into. it. That means it’s not just the bathroom scene that sucks- it’s all of it. I’ll admit when I first watched this season I was excited to be handed scraps by the writers- however rewatching it ruins it for me. It’s horrible to see two awesome characters- on their own heroic journeys- destroying each other with their relationship. No, this doesn’t do the whole “love will save you” thing and yes, it makes a certain amount of sense that it went down like this- but the alternative didn’t have to be so depressing. I get the concept- nonetheless the execution for me was off and perhaps there were lines the showrunners shouldn’t have crossed. I did like some of the transgressive elements the series explored though- especially how the big bad was one of their own. It was a bit unfortunate that Willow had to be a little annoying in this season though. But I liked how the show upped the ante and defied expectations by both making the villains useless jokes… and then turning the tables on us. I did like how it was resolved as well. And it’s one of the few times in TV history that a resurrection storyline has worked for me- so I was glad I did cave on my principles and watched this all those years ago 😉

Season 7: now, where season 6 managed to defy my expectations and delivered some cool TV (especially for a show I thought was dead and buried), season 7 ended up making me think it was a shame they’d resurrected it. Let’s talk about some of the things I did like first. I liked how much characters had grown. I thought Willow’s ups and downs this season were more in character. I did also like how the “big bad” and Spike’s redemptive arc were woven together. HOWEVER I was never that fussed about the First Evil. The whole “we’ve got to fight a concept” thing is a bit naff. I’ve since seen this done a few times in shows and I don’t think it works for me. Nor did I take to how it was done here. Especially when it came to later in-fighting, which felt contrived and didn’t utilise this theme as well as it could have. Pointing out that there are flaws- Andrew saying “what kind of name is the First”- is a lazy way of addressing issues and does nothing to diminish them. I also HATED the potential slayer aspect. Most of the new characters are annoying, there were too many of them and they overshadowed some of the actually interesting people in the show. Plus, the British potentials have *the worst* fake British accents ever!!! It’s also a shame that so many characters were sidelined for them and many old favourites were gone- and no, bringing back Faith was not a solution. Nor was including Andrew- I spent most of the series wondering why he was there. While Willow’s relationship with Kennedy started out strong- it ended up feeling like the disappointing whoosh of all the air being let out of a balloon. The whole mutiny thing didn’t work- especially spearheaded by Dawn- because so many characters have done a lot worse and their alternative plan was much the same as the original. Of course, she turns out to be right- even though she was acting *super* out of character by putting a bunch of teenage girls in danger. It all felt contrived for needless drama. James Marsters did a fantastic job as Spike this series- however his relationship with Buffy is so weird and highlights some of the flaws from the previous season. His sacrifice in the end was a perfect end for his character though. Ultimately, I found this season lacklustre, lacking the excitement of earlier series and failed to grab me. I hate to end on a sour note- I guess that’s just the way the vampire crumbles into dust.

So with all that said, here are my rankings for Buffy:

#1 Season 5

#2 Season 2

#3 Season 1

#4 Season 6

#5 Season 4

#6 Season 3

#7 Season 7

So have you seen this classic show? What do you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with any of my thoughts? And how would you rank the seasons? Let me know in the comments!

Nitpicky Review of Big Little Lies TV Show

*All the spoiler warnings, cos I’m really gonna sink my teeth into this one… enjoy!*

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I made no secret of the fact I was MASSIVELY fond of the book Big Little Lies. So I knew it would be hard for any adaptation to live upto that. The problem I often find with loving something that much is that desire to nitpick an adaptation’s every flaw, even if it’s totally fine. That said, I don’t think I could deny how frustrated I was with this version. While it was a nice take, it simply didn’t bring the book to life for me. By transposing the story from a small town in Australia to glitzy American coastlines, it failed to capture the claustrophobic and intense feel of the original. More than that, it felt like the narrative had a distinctly Hollywood makeover. It no longer felt like a unique and different tale; rather it was boiled down to a generic TV drama. Though I think the cast did a magnificent job- so much so I almost didn’t regret the change of scene for the price of such excellent acting chops- ultimately the characters morphed into nothing more than Hollywood actresses. The spunky individuality of the heroines was lost and the personalities were gutted to make way for extra glamour.

madeline big little liesThe closest the adaptation came to reaching the original’s panache was with its interpretation of Madeline. However, there were still some decisions made for her story arc that I could only respond to with a big fat WHYYYY?! And the answer always seemed to be ***forced drama***. Of course, there were slight changes, like writing out Madeline’s son, which I didn’t totally object to, yet there were some aspects that basically butchered her role as a mother and a wife. For starters I HATED what they did to her mostly-functioning relationship with Ed. One of the best things about the book was that it showed a realistic, lovely (second) marriage. It didn’t present it as perfect- but I totally loved the way their personalities meshed and how they acted as a team. Book Ed himself was intuitive, worthwhile and one of the good guys- a fact that was so important for the ending when it reaffirms Madeline’s love for him. Here he’s a doormat to be cheated on. Yup- one of the big secrets is *they had an affair*- oohh big whoop, like we’ve never seen that one before. All the interesting parts of their marriage were gutted for this cheap, generic drama.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only relationship lost its complexity. Because of the affair takes centre stage, the mother-daughter relationship is forced out of the limelight. Abigail’s resolution is inserted earlier in the plot, so as not to detract from the *ahem* important stuff. To add insult to injury, Madeline’s focus on her child is sidestepped, since this whole subplot ends up centring on the fact she’s still in love with Nathan (umm why). Where in the book she still feels the sting of betrayal, it’s not like she puts their failed marriage on a pedestal and the fear she’s losing her daughter is the most important thing to her.

renata big little liesOne of the best parts of the book was its focus on mummy drama- and this never quite translated into the show. There were some attempts to broaden the conversation, such as fleshing out Renata’s character, which I appreciated, but ultimately this ended up sending out the oh-so-empowering message that all women ought to fit into a certain mould. Gone was the tension of being a career mum vs a stay at home mum, because in this TV show, like everything Hollywood pumps out, the *correct* choice is career mum. Everyone just admires Renata and wants to emulate her life… which is a slap in the face to people who don’t make that decision. What I liked about the book was that it essentially showed that it didn’t denigrate either choice, while showing the friction between the two. Here, it felt like the sting was taken out of that clash far too early because heaven forbid there would be some tension between the female characters.

celeste whatDon’t get me wrong- the female friendships were one of the best things in the book- and that was executed really well here. Even so, the showrunners couldn’t resist changing things. Instead of exploring Celeste’s misplaced shame and how she deliberately hides the abuse, this has to make her more open. This was important in the book, since it emphasised the idea that it could happen to anyone and no one really knows what a marriage is like behind closed doors. The secrecy was also a way for the narrative to show Celeste’s slow her slow realisation just how dangerous her marriage is. Some parts of this were still done really well- Perry was more controlling for one thing and Kidman did a fantastic job of portraying Celeste’s stress. Nonetheless, it wasn’t perfect and I felt it managed to make a mockery of the therapist (since Perry literally admits to her that he hits her… and she does nothing).

jane big little liesThis was far from the most impactful change. Personally, I felt it was really powerful in the book that the reader had to wade through murky waters to find out what had happened to Jane. The book dealt with her shame, her gratitude for Ziggy and her trauma in a far more multifaceted way- especially since it was never clear if it could be classified as rape. That technicality was significant, since it addressed the fact that sometimes the lines between a crime and human suffering don’t always match up. It was a bold move for the book to deal with these grey areas and it showed how hard it was for Jane to recognise her pain in the midst of all that ambiguity. Her uncertainty added to her distress. Here, there was no such subtlety. With the usual desire to show women as strong all the damn time in TV, Jane is a far more certain, angry and put together character. She lacked the vulnerability and agreeableness of her bookish counterpart- so much so I didn’t see them as the same character at all. This sucked out the possibility for her growth and recovery- because, like Celeste, she doesn’t get to make these conclusions in the course of the show, she’s already there. Every part of the story is laid out, since Jane is far more open and so the intriguing Saxon Banks element is stripped in favour of a far more simplistic *I just want to confront this dodgy fellow* plot point.

bonnieNaturally, this ended up having a massive impact on the conclusion. The motivations were stretched thin and subplots (like the French nanny) were discarded altogether. To me, one of the most disappointing changes wasn’t that it was a collective effort to overcome Perry, it was that half the characters who should’ve been there weren’t on the balcony. However, the main problem was still with the characterisation. Like some of the other representations, Bonnie simply wasn’t Bonnie. This meant that the last scene didn’t have the right impact at all. The shift from the sickly sweet hippy to lioness defending her own never happens- so we don’t get to see how kickass this character actually is. It goes back to what I loved so much about the book: the characters were all so much larger than life, and yet so real. In this show, they were all squeezed into conventional types. Worst of all, they all became distinctly unlikeable. In the book it was such a balancing act to find the good in them and I eventually found every one of them sympathetic. Their hidden depths took me by surprise- whereas this adaptation did everything by the book.

Phew- I hope people will forgive this rant. It’s not that this is a terrible show by any stretch of the imagination. The production value was great, it was beautifully shot and the soundtrack was amazing. I was just aggrieved with the direction it took and it didn’t live do the book justice in the way I’d hoped- but as the final song in the note the show ended on says: you can’t always get what you want…

And yes, I went with the Rolling Stones version, cos the original is always the best 😉 Anyway, no banana rating since it’s hard to determine where this lies between its quality and my *feels*. But dare I ask- have you seen this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

Movies (and TV shows) That Were Better Than The Book

So I mentioned a few days ago that there are a fair number of movies I like better than their book counterpart and I thought I’d share them with you! I should probably say, first of all, that these are adaptations I personally prefer- not that they’re actually better- to each their own and all that jazz. Anyhoo, let’s get to this:

Princess Diaries– to be fair, I really really dislike these books. The main character is whiny, most of the other characters are pretty loathsome and basically this book got on my last nerves. The movie, on the other hand, is a lot of fun (I think the books did get more bearable, imo, although the second film was… ehh).

Stardust– I feel like this comes up in every “better than the book” list ever. And there’s a reason for that- and it’s not that the book is bad- it’s just that the movie is seriously A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! I get all light and happy when I think about it!!

Oliver!- well for one thing, Fagin comes across as slightly less of an anti-Semitic trope in the musical (I’m not even sorry for pointing that out, cos if you think a money grubbing, dirty Jew character that preys on children isn’t anti-Semitic, then maybe have a long hard look in a history book). I do like Dickens, but that last statement should probably explain why I’m not the biggest fan of this book. On the positive side for this musical, it’s practically perfect in every way, so there’s also that. And yes, the musical is more chocolate-boxy than the book, but I prefer it that way.

Game of Thrones– this is a curious one for me to include, because I’m increasingly realising how well these work in tandem. What worked best (imo) was the TV showrunners cutting the fat from the original books. And boy, is there a lot of fat. In fact, some of this is literal- why on earth there needs to be long, tedious descriptions of feasts and food, I have no idea. Add to that a bunch of characters in later books I had limited interest in and, yeah, I’ll happily admit to liking the TV show more (most of the time, when characters aren’t going north of the wall wearing impenetrable plot armour and fighting zombie bears… man that was dumb)

Lord of the Rings– ermm I think I’m about to have my Tolkien-fangirl card revoked for saying this… I just prefer the movies! I’m sorry! Don’t get me wrong, I really love the books- only the LOTR movies are probably my favourite movies ever. The way I see it, the LOTR movies streamline the story and deliver the emotional punch of a lot of the backstories and are simply full of epic awesomeness- okay? (I do however much prefer the Hobbit book, not just because it’s up there as one of my fave books, but also cos the Hobbit movies suck- and yes, I will fight you on that *catch me outside*)

The Last Kingdom– this is another one that might piss of fans of the books. Hear me out, I did actually really enjoy reading the first four books (and am waiting on number 5 at the library) I just think the TV show got my blood pumping with *even more* fervour than the books did. And I also frankly adored the portrayal and slight changes to Uhtred’s character, which made him even more likeable.

Bleak House– poor Dickens isn’t getting very nice treatment from me today, because the main reason why I prefer the tv version is that I saw it first, and that ruined a lot of the book’s impact for me. I do think this translated so well to the small screen and it’s one of my favourite adaptations, while, like many of the others on this list, it’s not one of my favourite books.

Okay, that’s my list! It’s not very long, because I usually like the book better. Anyway, what movies do you think are better than the book? Let me know in the comments!

And thank you so much for your brilliant responses to my last post- I’m still going through them and I’m thoroughly enjoying every single one! 😀

Game of Thrones Season 5 “Kill the Boy”

*Spoilers for season 5*

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Hi all! I know I originally planned to have these posts go out on Thursday… buuut that’s not been happening for a couple of weeks and I’m having to reshuffle some posts anyway- so *surprise*! This is my last wrap up for a while (until Season 8 comes *sob*), since I already reviewed seasons 6 and 7 (you can catch that here and here). Anyhoo, let’s launch into what some people have called the worst series of Game of Thrones and see if it’s that bad… 

Cersei Lannister

cersei lannister

The season opens with Cersei’s flashback though, unfortunately, it’s not as well incorporated as flashbacks that come into play in later seasons. It does, however, give an insight into her character and casts dire predictions over her reign. Plus, it gives viewers an idea why she acts like such an idiot this season.

Her chance at ruling has come at last… and she completely botches the opportunity. From her small blunders of getting rid of the small council to picking an unnecessary fight with the Tyrells to giving power to the faith militant, it’s a wonder that worse things don’t happen by the end of the season. Most of my Cersei notes are “whyyy?” Not because I especially like Marjery (I made it pretty clear I didn’t- she’s playing a dangerous game she can’t win either) yet with the whole High Sparrow business she’s creating a rod for her own back- LITERALLY. Sure, she’s got few allies this season and King Tommen’s useless- BUT she didn’t have to go and make everything worse with her manipulative idiocies.

So when the High Sparrow (“like lord duckling”) does get control, it’s a sure sign of a character creating their own downfall. Apparently, she can’t see how religious zealots whose leader frequently says things like “You are the few, we are the many”, might quickly turn on the aristocratic elites- funny that. Cersei’s simply too vengeful to see how this might play out. And again, thanks to how brilliant the actress is, I felt immense sympathy for Cersei at the psychotic treatment she receives at the hands of the Septa Unella, culminating in that now infamous “SHAME” scene (aka the walk of atonement). All credit to Cersei, she’s a determined woman and doesn’t let it break her. Furthermore, there’s hints of what’s to come with creepy Qybern experiments playing out in the background all season…

Jaime Lannister

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So why isn’t Jaime there to stop all these insane things happening to Cersei? Well, that’s because Cersei treats him like shit at the beginning of the season, taunting him that it’s his fault that Tyrion killed their father. Jaime is understandably distressed and vengeful (don’t worry, that doesn’t go anywhere, in the spirit of the later GOT series, he’s miraculously over it by the time he reunites with his brother). And with a quick sleight of hand and a vague threat to Myrcella, Jaime gets shunted off into the worst storyline Game of Thrones has ever seen.

And oh gosh I don’t even want to cover the Dorne story- it’s so shit. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve read the books, so I’m not going on the most reliable memories- but frankly I remember enjoying the Dorne story in the books. Unless my memory’s deceiving me, it wasn’t this campy and silly. Bronn’s presence doesn’t make it better either- I do like his character, but I saw a critic a while back saying he should be killed off for the sake of the show, and I’m afraid I have to agree. I mean, when a character has to get poisoned just so that they can be cured, elaborately showing the audience how poisons and antidotes work, then you know a character’s outstayed their welcome. And that’s without even mentioning the “You need a bad pussy” line- ugh. With storylines like this, it feels like the writers reached a dead end. The gist of the storyline is “Myrcella has to die” and since GRRM hasn’t written that bit yet, the showrunners went with this abomination.

Tyrion Lannister

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And I’m going to have to say I didn’t like Tyrion’s story arc this season either. Part of this is thanks to the fact that he’s gone from a markedly clever man to someone who uses Lannister chat up lines when he’s trying to hide from everyone, doesn’t realise Cersei would happily murder every dwarf in the world to get to him and whose dialogue has taken a tailspin from witty to childish. No, my problem is that he was pulled into the centre of the story too soon. Again, referring back to my fading memories of the books, GRRM isn’t afraid to have Tyrion do very little in book 5 and that would have been okay with me.

Obviously the showrunners didn’t want to neglect a fan favourite like Tyrion (which would have been fine with me, since it would have been more believable) so they had to thrust him into Dany’s court asap. And how do they do that? Well by having him team up with Jorah, so that they can discuss all the things that have already passed. Granted it is sad to see Jorah find out about his father’s death and I did like seeing Tyrion’s reaction to the dragon flying over Valyria, yet the fact that Jorah is the one to deliver Tyrion and not Varys doesn’t make much difference in the grand scheme of things (unless you count Jorah catching greyscale- which, for spoilery reasons, I don’t).

Frankly, I wasn’t keen on the initial Dany/Tyrion scenes. They felt fanficy and not remotely like GOT (foreshadowing some of the series later issues, just sayin’). Realism was left behind as Dany quickly accepts his presence and his counsel– mostly because she’s down an advisor (oh we’ll get to that). Plus there’s some irritatingly TV writing like:

“Meereen is an ancient and glorious city- try not to ruin her”- yeah, yeah, we know he’ll screw it up now, thanks.

Daenerys Targaryen

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I didn’t enjoy the Meereen story either to be honest. The whole Sons of the Harpy vs the Unsullied bored me. It all felt remote and uninteresting. And I wasn’t crazy about some of Dany’s poor politicking- no matter how much she says “I am not a politician, I am a queen”, it’s not wise to execute one of your begging supporters in front of crowds of thousands. Obviously I was also shirty about the dragons being locked up all season as well.

On the other hand, there were elements of Dany learning from Selmy, which I really liked, HOWEVER the showrunners completely butchered this storyline. Despite Selmy being very much alive in the books, for some reason, the writers had him murdered in a street brawl (?!?) I’ve mentioned in later series how I feel Tyrion was given Selmy’s role as advisor (hence acts un-Tyrion-like) and personally I think this is one of the biggest flaws of the season. It’s here that they get the excuse to insert Tyrion where he does not belong- even if this did lead to one hellava line:

“I’m going to break the wheel”

Fortunately for us all, when the Harpy’s launch their final attack, Drogon flies in and lifts Dany out of the mess that her storyline had turned into.

Arya Stark

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“A girl is not ready to become no one, but she’s ready to become someone else.”

I know, I know, I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, yet I wasn’t crazy about the Arya scenes in season 5. I’m sorry, but watching someone sweep floors is kinda boring. Couldn’t they have spared us with a montage or something? Personally, I liked the House of Back and White in the book more and felt the scenes were given too much space here.

Still, I did like how we saw that Arya couldn’t quite let go and I appreciated seeing her become an expert liar. Seeing her caught between Jacquen Hagar, the Waif and her desire for vengeance was good TV as well. And even if she is blinded for her oversight, I did enjoy her catching Trant out. Even if it was a bad move, it was a strong revenge plot. 

Brienne of Tarth

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Ah Brienne and Pod plodding through the Riverlands… and then miraculously turning up in the north (teleporting is a thing in later series apparently). I did like the character development for Brienne when she talks about how Renly saved her and it builds on the reasons she already has for vengeance. This is not only good for a bit of bonding- it’s also kinda relevant considering Stannis’ and Brienne’s meeting at the end of the series. However, Brienne turning up in weird places this series was ultimately too much for me– I mean did she have to chance on Sansa and Littlefinger in a tavern? My guess is there’s a chance of them teaming up in the books- nevertheless, this is much too early for them to be meeting and has no real bearing on the plot. The worst thing that was done with Brienne’s plotline though was to leave out Lady Stoneheart from the books- which I was really looking forward to as well!!

Littlefinger

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Littlefinger acts *so* out of character this season. I mean, sure he has some nice sparring matches with Lancel and Olenna, and he gets to drip more of his creepy advice in Sansa’s ear (“There’s no justice in the world, not unless we make it”), yet WHY did the great mastermind give Sansa to the Boltons?!? What is his game plan?! I don’t have much to say about it only that the showrunners don’t give a decent enough explanation and just WHY?!?!

Sansa Stark

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Speaking of Sansa’s storyline, I have so many mixed feelings about it and anything I say about it will probably be deemed controversial. In spite of this whole review, I don’t actually mind changes from the books as long as they’re done well- the trouble here is that a lot of the changes made plotholes you could fit several direwolves riding a dragon through. Not least, because it temporarily throws the Dark Sansa arc off balance, it destroys Littlefinger’s credibility and makes Theon becomes superfluous to proving it’s the “real” Sansa, because, well, it’s the real Sansa and loads of people recognise her.

I get why the writers had her marry Ramsay Bolton. I presume the Vale will have some involvement in bringing down the Boltons and Sansa could end up being the Lady of Winterfell, so the showrunners wanted to make that mean something more by making it personal. Trouble is, it was already pretty personal (most of us haven’t forgotten that the Boltons murdered her brother- the North remembers). A lot of the scenes with Ramsay goading her definitely got under my skin and I will give the showrunner credit that season 6 is more satisfying for it. Plus seeing Sansa interact with Theon and put Miranda in her place wasn’t bad either.

I know the rape is a difficult area to touch on without people getting heated, so first I’ll say that I understand why people hated it. I get that it was different from the book, since it was originally a side character, though for me they were equally disturbing. However, it does mean that Sansa’s plot changed and it went in for more melodrama by making Ramsay her enemy- which doesn’t fit as well with the realism of GOT– a place where heroes and villains usually die without too much poetic justice. I can also understand that people might have reached their personal limit with the scene and that’s fair enough (I’ve talked a little about having my own personal limits in the past). I will admit it made me uncomfortable- but I was reconciled to it being the reaction I was supposed to have. In terms of how it was done, I personally found it powerful and more harrowing not to see (again, I know this was a point of contention). I did like that Sansa had agency in getting Theon to help her and in her line: “If I’m going to die, let it happen while there’s still some of me left.”

Stannis Baratheon

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Stannis is an odd character- I mean, his idea for getting the Wildlings on side is to set fire to their leader…

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Sorry, you can’t win hearts and minds by burning people alive. At the same time, it’s clear from a lot of his scenes with Jon that he thinks he’s the good guy. And in fairness to him, when I originally watched it there were a few scenes in this series when I thought I could end up changing my mind about Stannis. Partly because he’d just saved the Night’s Watch, partly since he stands at the back of a hall correcting people’s grammar (LOL), though mostly because the scenes with his daughter were very touching… annnd then he let the Red Woman kill her. There’s really not much I can say about it other than it was horrible. In the end, it’s the mother who tries to stop it. Unsurprisingly to everyone *but* Stannis child sacrifice doesn’t endear him to anyone– his army mutinies, his wife kills herself, Melisandre leaves and I’m still left wondering to this day whether Brienne hacked him to bits or not…

Jon Snow

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But not to worry! Jon Snow is the real hero! Because he’s the one putting people out their misery when Stannis gets all *fire happy*. And thanks to that he actually wins the hearts of the free folk by the end of the season. (Incidentally I wonder if the reason he bent the knee to Dany was because he saw what happens to obstinate people).

And unlike Stannis, he resists the Red Woman’s creepy advances. Plus, because tis the season for weird lines, the way she comes onto him is a combination of “are you a virgin?” and “in our joining there is power” and using his dead lover’s words “you know nothing Jon Snow”. I don’t know which one was more dodgy to be honest.

I did really like Jon and Stannis’ scenes though, even if he makes him an offer he can’t refuse (Winterfell and the Stark name)… which he inevitably refuses because he pledged his life to the Night’s Watch (he says that a lot this season). Aside from them bonding over Ned’s memory, I loved the dialogue in their scenes:

“I heard it was best to keep your enemies close.”

“Whoever said that didn’t have many enemies.”

Anyway, instead of going with Stannis, Jon becomes commander of the Night’s Watch… which is not what he wants. In the book he does make the sensible choice to send Sam away for his own good (here it’s put down more to Sam looking out for Gilly and I can’t really credit Jon). I do personally believe that, morally speaking, he made a lot of the right decisions– I mean who can argue with:  “We can learn to live with the wildlings or we can add them to the army of the dead.” It’s entirely logical- especially after all the Hardhome craziness! In the chaos of a really well shot battle- which basically saved the entire season for me- we see how utterly chilling the situation is getting.

Still old rivalries have been boiling away since Season 1 and it’s only a matter of time before Allister gets a lot of people to betray him. Most memorable among them is Olly- Olly who we see him training in his first scene of the season. Rather purposefully, the only hint we have of his impending betrayal is him talking at odds with Sam- Olly is questioning Jon’s decision, while Sam thinks he is looking out for Jon. It is Olly who lures him into the trap and this is what makes it so horrible when they stab Jon to death. Ultimately it’s the execution of this that makes the Night’s Watch storyline the best of season 5.

 

Ooh err, I’d have to I’d have to say barring a couple of storylines, this was pretty poor showing for me. But I’d like to hear from you! What were your thoughts on it? Did you like it more than I did? Let me know in the comments! 

Game of Thrones Season 4 “If You Want Justice You’ve Come to the Wrong Place”

*Spoilers for season 4*

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Well this was a fun season, let’s get right to it…

Tywin Lannister

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Okay totally remiss of me, but I’ve not spoken about Tywin on his own- FOR SHAME! Because he is one of my favourite characters. Plus he has some of the best symbolic moments- like in this season, he has Ned Stark’s sword reforged and he burns the wolf fur. All the while in the background the Stark song blends into Rains of Castamere. So yeah, Tywin’s awesome. And this series has a lot to do with him, and his very, very dysfunctional children…

Jaime Lannister

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Jaime’s back in King’s Landing and it looks like there’s trouble in paradise, since Cersei’s not as psyched to see him as he hoped. I mean, even after he murdered to be there… like I said they’re very dysfunctional. Anyway, it’s not quite the homecoming he’d been hoping for, especially with Joffrey being a dick to him. But he doesn’t have nearly as bad a season as…

Cersei Lannister

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Ah Cersei, smugly smirking… all the way up until her beloved Joffrey is killed at his own wedding. Ding dong the bastard’s dead! (as you can probably tell it twists my insides to think of it… with glee 😉 ) And weirdly enough, seeing Joffrey cough his guts up isn’t the grossest thing in the series, it’s Jaime raping Cersei beside her son’s body… just why?! Understand, that’s not in the books and I genuinely have no idea why they put that in. It’s the one of those times in the show where I think they put a scene in for pure shock value, because to this day I don’t get it (if someone has some insight, please enlighten me). We do get some really good scenes after that point with her tussling with Tywin and telling him his legacy was a lie aka about the twincest (I’ve always wondered how Tywin’s mind computed that level of eww). Of course, because it’s Cersei she doesn’t decide to investigate who actually murdered her son, but figures it must have been Tyrion, because her mother died giving birth to him and #CerseiLogic, which brings me onto…

Tyrion Lannister

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Ahh Tyrion has a great and terrible season. Because obviously Tyrion gets set up and put on trial for murder BUT that trial is a bit like his greatest hits, so it’s hard to feel entirely bad about it. Obviously, it’s gut-wrenching seeing Shae betray him- even though he tried so desperately to protect her and GAHHH SO SAD! Still, who doesn’t love this speech:

“I saved you. I saved this city and all your worthless lives.”

“I’m guilty of being a dwarf.”

“I wish I was the monster you think I am.”

Now the downside of that AWESOME speech is that Tyrion has just about alienated everyone in King’s Landing and has no one to fight the Mountain in the trial by combat, sooo *cue the Viper*. Oberyn Martell arrives in King’s Landing to avenge his sister… sadly, as everyone that’s watched this series knows, it doesn’t exactly go to plan. I will admit, I couldn’t rewatch the moment *it* happens– it was a bit much the first time round- but I did notice Oberyn being told “You should have at least worn a helmet”- ouch, that hurts like the mountain crushing a skull like a watermelon…

Anyhoo, Tyrion gets aided and abetted by Jaime and Varys…. But he takes a little detour upto Tywin’s bedchamber, where he finds Shae. Naturally he does what any enraged son would do and murders his ex-lover… okay maybe just what anyone would do in *this* universe. He then rounds on his father on the bog with a crossbow. They have a nice heart to heart- and by that I mean Tyrion gets in a few more awesome lines…

“All my life you’ve wanted me dead.”

“I am your son, I have always been your son.”

…before killing him too. Honestly, I know there are some theories regarding the books that Tyrion’s not really Tywin’s son- personally I sincerely hope he is a Lannister because it’s so much more powerful and ghastly that way.

Sansa Stark

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Let’s talk about the other prime suspect in Joffrey’s murder case: Sansa Stark. Although as Tyrion says: “Sansa’s not a killer, not yet” *hint hint nudge nudge*. Sansa’s getting a much needed injection of attitude this season and sure, she gets used as a pawn *so much*, but in the end, I can hardly blame her. I mean she gets treated like absolute shit and has to deal with them making fun of Robb to her face. The only consolation she gets is from Olenna: “Killing a man at a wedding, horrid”- of course, that’s more of a coded moment for the audience’s benefit.

By the end of this season, we do know who orchestrated Joffrey’s murder aka dear old Littlefinger and Olenna and sort of Lysa Arryn… who’s so weird. I mean, aside from all her feeding her son “from her own teats when he was ten” *(creepy oedipal mother symbol, just sayin’), but because she’s in love with this moustache twirling villain:

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Really Lysa?! And as Littlefinger is more into Sansa, she gets pretty jealous… and then gets thrown through the moon door for her trouble. Now this is the point when I really started to like Sansa– because she uses her wits! Sure, she uses those wits to get Littlefinger off the hook, however, it’s still interesting because she gets to start playing an actual role and becoming Dark Sansa. Shame it takes a bit of a diversion in the next series (oh we’ll get to that).

Arya Stark

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Wow Arya  takes a *step into the dark side* this season– just take a look at that scene when she kills Polliver! Honestly, it’s not just that she does it, but how- it’s very chilling! Anyway, as always, Arya’s story had me gripped- and mostly all she does in season 4 is wander round the Riverlands with the Hound. They’re such good value together though, with Arya winding up the Hound by explicitly telling him he’s on her list, and the Hound hardening her up with a few home truths:

“You’re friend’s dead… because Trant had armour and a big fucking sword.”

Arya also comes *so close* to being reunited with her family again (oh my goodness she’s so close to seeing Sansa!) and I especially loved her laughing when she finds out Lysa Arryn is dead. Of course, the TV show does change things up so Brienne finds out Arya’s alive and we get the Hound vs Brienne WWF style. Spoilers for Season 6, it’s all fake anyway, cos apparently the Hound was wearing plot armour and his “I’m done” means nothing. Anyway, Arya leaves him to die and we get a stunning scene of her heading off to Braavos dun dun dunnnn…

Reek

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To say Reek (nee Theon) is a bit of a fish out of water this season would be a massive understatement. There’s a great moment when Ramsay describes the kraken as being strong as long as it’s in the sea, yet once it’s taken out of the water they collapse under their own weight… and that about sums it up (I mean, aside from the fact that Ramsay’s literally tortured him into submission). So even when the Ironborn go after Theon, he refuses to go with them. Plus he also helps Ramsay take a northern fort from the Ironborn (saying “He will be just and fair with you as he has been with me”- yikes!) and ergo helping Ramsay become a Bolton- FFS!

Jon Snow

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Loosely linking this to the Boltons, I completely missed the first time round that Locke infiltrated the Night’s Watch to get at Jon and I got really overexcited over that for some reason (even though I knew in the back of my mind it had no plot expedient relevancy) but he ended up dying at Craster’s Keep anyway- too bad he didn’t stick around for season 5 and get in on some of the action then 😉 Anyhoo, Jon does make the decision to go up to Craster’s Keep and kill the mutineers. The two best things about this plotline is that we get to see Jon fight dirty and  he gets reunited with Ghost! (briefly though, he’s always disappearing for TV budget reasons)

The story does builds steadily with Mole’s Town being attacked and finally the big battle at Castle Black. The focus zooms in as we get an entire episode for it, which works really well. We get to see how much Sam has grown as a character, launching himself into battle and leaving his shedding his cowardly skin. Unfortunately some of Jon’s mates aren’t so lucky- poor Pyp! Poor Grenn! And worst of all, Ygritte dies in Jon’s arms. I’ll admit I teared up there– it’s emotional even in the midst of such carnage. Since no one’s listened to Jon (because he knows nothing) they haven’t sealed the tunnels and very nearly lose. It’s only thanks to his command and quick thinking that they survive at all. Of course, being the good old fashioned hero that he is, he decides to try and treat with Mance and then-

YAY STANNIS! Believe me, I’m as surprised to type that as you probably are to read it! I can’t deny I simply love those moments when extra forces suddenly turn up and save the day. Sure, it’s not as good as the charge of the Rohirrim in LOTR, but I’ll take what I can get! Also, there’s a nice scene when Jon gets to tell him his father died for him. So it’s sort of an aww-bonding moment… even if the Red Woman’s watching him creepily through the flames as they burn the bodies.

Anyhow, I did think it was a beautiful scene when he builds Ygritte’s funeral pyre after Tormund says “She belongs in the North, the real North”. I did love the relationships he developed with the Wildlings and it’s super relevant for later series. I always thought it was telling when Mance said: “You spent too much time with us Jon, you can never be a kneeler again.” And spoilers for season 7 it’s things like this that make me kind of peeved that they disregarded this significant part of his character and a) put his unwillingness to bend the knee down to Stark obstinacy and b) decide to make him bend the knee anyway- I still don’t know why they couldn’t have just pledged to each other grr.

Bran Stark

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Speaking of Jon, Bran comes so close to seeing him again… and yet so far. Because Bran makes the decision not to be reunited with him after they nearly run into each other at Craster’s keep. Still it was a more interesting season for him, with his expanding powers (warging into Summer and poor Hodor!) And Jojan becomes fairly interesting as he predicts his death… which means he doesn’t get to be interesting for long. There is a fair amount of action at Craster’s Keep and we get to see the Night King turning a baby. Plus there’s that scene with the skeleton zombies, which is alright in a campy video game kind of way. And I did like that line from the Three Eyed Raven: “You’ll never walk again, but you will fly.”

I’m sorry, it’s probably pretty obvious that I have very little interest in Bran as a character, though a lot of his stuff is plot expedient, let’s cast our gaze elsewhere, shall we?

Daenerys Targaryen

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I liked Dany in this season *a lot*, but at the same time I found her story started to feel disconnected from the main plot. I guess because in earlier seasons, her existence had at least a tangential link with Westeros… in this season, not so much. One reason for that is as she says: “I will do what queens do- I will rule”- which is perfectly admirable, yet also distances her from the Iron Throne. That said, I absolutely LOVED all the smoking hot dragons and the symbolism of the broken chains being fired at the slavers. Dany really is an excellent propagandist (and also a hero, but c’mon, this show is often about being a politician, and that’s some powerful messaging).

I also really liked Selmy as an advisor in this season, especially this snippet of dialogue:

Selmy: “Sometimes it’s better to answer injustice with Mercy.”

Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt… (you get the idea)“I will answer injustice with justice.”

On the other end of the spectrum, she loses some really important support– and no I’m not talking about Jorah (though yeah, he’s found out and exiled)- I’m talking about the DRAGONS! I mean, Drogon did kill a child, which kinda shows that the dragons aren’t some fun pets and speaks a little of them as dangerous weapons of war… BUT C’MON you can’t lock them up! That’s bad for them! Dragons have rights too!

And I’ll leave it there- I’m going to be offline for the next couple of days, so please forgive me for taking a bit to get to any comments (again, so sorry about the backlog! 😳 )

What did you think of this season? Was Dany a little disconnected or were you cool with her story? Any thoughts on how ridiculously dysfunctional the Lannisters are? Let me know in the comments!

Game of Thrones Season 2 “A Very Small Man Can Cast A Very Large Shadow”

*This post is dark and full of spoilers for season 2 and plenty of HINTS for later on*

Hello all! I’m back with my second instalment of my Game of Thrones series review! If you missed last week’s, you can catch up here.

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I will admit, rewatching Game of Thrones, I forgot how dark the show was. I guess with the more fantastical, hopeful aspects of the later series, it had slipped my mind. These early stories are all “out of the frying pan and into the fire”. There’s harrowing scenes littered throughout, including the murder of all Robert’s bastard children and Bran’s visions of death. At the same time, there’s grim visual settings, like the Red Waste, Harrenhal and the Garden of Bones. And of course, we get our first look at the army of the dead. While I rarely think of season 2 as the most memorable, there’s certainly a lot to it.

Daenerys Targaryen

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One of the best pieces of imagery that ties the whole first episode together is the red comet and as we’re told it “means one thing- dragons”. I love how this again hints at the connection Dany has to all of Westeros, even in exile. This is of course the cue for Daenerys “Where’s my dragons?” Targaryen. Of course this is the season where she comes into her own as the mother of dragons. It is a season where she has to make difficult choices and sacrifices– so well exemplified by her vision of the throne room covered in ice (not so subtle foreshadowing) where she must leave behind the dream of her husband and child, as life calls her back. And that call is of her baby dragons who need their mother.

She doesn’t have a whole lot of power to begin with, exemplified by her ragged appearance at the gates of Qarth, yet she becomes even more queenly than the previous season. Perhaps it is because even borne so low, she never loses that regal quality. I think this is one of my high points for Dany, because even with so little, she has such a commanding presence in this series.

However, she does some shall-we-say morally ambiguous things in this season too– namely locking the scum who betrayed her in a vault to die. *Ahem*, yeah, I know it’s wrong, but I can’t say I blame her for that one. It does however act as a precursor for some of her more dubious actions later on.

Jon Snow

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I feel sorry for Jon in this (and every) series- I mean he was made to stand out- he’s sharp and has a strong moral compass regarding Craster’s sons- but he’s constantly pushed into the shadows and told to shut up. However: “You want to lead one day, then learn how to follow” is good advice for all the would-be leaders on the show. Highlight for season 7 spoilers: It kinda makes me more forgiving of him bending the knee to Dany, only I wish it hadn’t been one sides and wish they had pledged themselves to each other instead.

Speaking of humility- it turns out that what our hero needed was a wildling girl to tell him “You know nothing Jon Snow”. And as a major plus, he gets one of the best love stories in the show, because Ygritte is simply awesome- SO CHEER UP JON! (alright spoilers, but given how that one turns out, I can’t blame him for pouting there)

He does also have tough challenges like killing Qhorin Halfhand- but he steps up and actually does it- showing not for the last time that he is not a Stark (truthfully, I’ve no idea if the Starks are capable of that, but it’s an interesting question). Personally I think this shows he has both honour and wit.

Moving on to someone who has neither of those…

Theon Greyjoy

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WTF Theon?! Why are you so thick!! Sorry, had to get that out my system. He makes *the worst* decisions this series. It’s bad enough that he decides to switch sides in the war, making him a traitor (though I guess one could argue he was a traitor to his own house before) still, on top of that, he gets a very simple task and effs it up. I mean, I’m hardly condoning the notion of “paying the Iron price”- yet does he really think people need moral support in reeving and raping? Really?! He’s trying to play this honourable leader figure to people whose main purpose in life is to raid and pillage. Plus he gets good advice from people like Yara and Maister Lewin annnd he totally ignores it.

There’s also a ton of things he shouldn’t have said this season:

  • “Winterfell has stood for a thousand years”– that’s TV code for it’s about to burn to the ground.
  • “I’m looking at spending the rest of my life looking at spending the rest of my life looking like a fool and a eunuch”– *ahem*, awkward…
  • “It’s better to be cruel than weak”– are you sure? Tell me that after one of your sessions with Ramsay Bolton.

Okay, I know I’m being excessively harsh, but he did betray his friends, murder two innocent children and a shit ton of other things. My sympathy for Theon at this point in the story was at rock bottom.

Onto other mistakes…

Robb Stark

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Ahh poor Robb, a great military leader, but OH MY GOODNESS he makes *so many* mistakes. Let’s go through them shall we:

  • Trusting a Greyjoy. Actually, scratch that- just trusting Theon- that guy has snake written all over him.
  • He should’ve stayed in the North. I know, it’s closing the stable door after the horse has bolted, but at this point, they didn’t have all that much to gain from military action. Once Ned was dead, the cause feels more aimless and trying to get to King’s Landing seems like a waste of time. Even if you say “oh it’s to save Sansa”, that’s nonsense, because the Lannister’s would have killed her before he ever reached the capital. I dunno, maybe I’m crazy saying they could’ve sued for peace- I just know, tactically speaking, they could have held the North on their own and they couldn’t take the South, so…
  • Not attempting to trade Jaime earlier, before things got out of hand. And then, like I said, RETURN TO THE NORTH. With Sansa and compensation (crazy idea, I know).
  • Yeah marrying someone for a bridge is pretty dumb- but do you know what’s more dumb? Marrying someone else when you’re already engaged for political reasons. Look, I get it, I used to love his romance with Talisa- however knowing everything that comes to pass… it’s too hard to watch it with blinkers on. I did like his little jibe at Cat though when she criticises him: “the only parent I have left has no right to call anyone reckless.”

Honestly, I don’t know if my suggestions would have made things better, it’s just speculation on my part, but I think we can all be certain (knowing the events of season 3) IT COULDN’T HAVE BEEN MUCH WORSE. I feel like this entire season is laying groundwork for the catastrophes that are to come. Yet, if you think I’m letting Cat off the hook for her part, you have another thing coming…

Catelyn Stark

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Now I’ve already said that I think there was an option for a prisoner swap (actually, I didn’t mention this last time, but there’s a lot of times when she’s partially right- still she only ever gives enough advice to have leeway to say “I told you so”, never mind that the other half of her advice is always godawful). *However* swapping the Kingslayer for two girls had to come with more provisos- aka money and peace. Yet, Cat’s still got her eye on revenge, when she should be taking in the whole bloody picture.

Again, her negotiation style leaves a lot to be desired– how can you say to two grown men who call themselves kings “I’ll knock your heads together”? Really, Cat? Thanks for your oh-so-helpful input. But if you want to talk about non-negotiations- letting Jaime go in exchange for his word is INSANE! If you really believe the Lannisters are the villains you say they are- then what the hell are you thinking?!?

Stannis Baratheon

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From one awful character to another- and I’m not just talking about Stannis. I’m of course referring to the Red Woman. She’s one of the most evil characters in the show- and that’s saying something! She kills people for no reason and says charming things like “You will betray everything you once held dear”- good pep talk I guess? She also is a bit of a fraud- I mean, she had to know sticking a random sword in a fire wasn’t going to make it Lightbringer- or is she a fool? It’s a possibility, since her catchphrase is “the night is dark and full of terrors” and doesn’t realise she’s evil.

Not to say that Stannis isn’t awful too. Let’s discuss some of the things he does wrong:

  • He sleeps with some bloody weird priestess, not only breaking his vow to his wife, but creating a demon baby to kill his brother.
  • He decided not to align with the Northmen out of pride that they were taking half your kingdom- dude you lived under the Targaryen’s and never thought to be king- why are you so attached to it?
  • He has this righteous arrogance and thinks he’s the chosen one- which he uses to justify *anything*.
  • He has no heart– I mean not only does he not care when people are burned alive in his name, he also sacrifices all of his men at the battle of Blackwater and is pretty callous about it.

So yeah, not a fan of Stannis. There was a point later when I almost liked him, but that’s a story for another post.  The Onion Knight is awesome though.

Tyrion Lannister

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On the other side of the Battle of Blackwater, Tyrion gets the chance to shine and boy does he LIGHT IT UP WITH DRAGONFIRE BABY! Okay, I’m getting carried away, but this is one of Tyrion’s best moments. He shows he’s a master manipulator and the best Hand of the King. He manages to get Varys on side, use Littlefinger and expose treacherous Maester Pycelle. He also blackmails Lancel to spy on Cersei and puts Joffrey in his place. All whilst looking out for people like Sansa.

Sansa Stark

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Poor Sansa has a crap time of it this season. Cersei and her monstrous son take full advantage of her vulnerability. I did have one criticism for her this season in that I always thought she should have had courage to go with the Hound– she knew he’d protect her and frankly even if Stannis had won the battle, she’d have just flitted from one cage to another. BUT I did appreciate some of the smart things she did, like how her quick thinking saves Ser Dontos from being murdered and how she plays her part very well when she’s released from her engagement.

Cersei Lannister

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With more freedom afforded her, we get to know Cersei better this season. Her saying “love no one but your children” to Sansa sums her up completely. There’s interesting elements in Cersei developing Joffrey’s sadistic stupidity (both this season and the last filling his head up with arrogance and idiocy). However, I appreciated seeing Blackwater from her personal angle. When I think of season 2, I often get images of her, entertaining the frightened hens of her court, getting drunk, wishing she could be a part of the man’s world and having the only courage afforded to her, waiting on the throne with Tommen as the battle rages. Sure, she does terrible things and she’s not that smart (calling Joffrey away from the battle kills morale) but I can’t deny there’s something very iconic and human about her on the brink of taking her own life, telling a story, with the notes of Rains of Castamere starting up in the background.

Arya Stark

arya stark

Now I would be remiss to not to talk of another strong female character. With her sharpened wits and her little blade, she begins her adventure with Jacquen. Well, I use the term “adventure” very loosely. She watches people get murdered, tortured and everything in between. There’s a very poignant scene when she asks “how do you sleep?” And with everything she’s seen, it’s no wonder she has trouble. Yet she does not let that deter her, constructing a scheme to help her and her friends escape the horrific Harrenhal.

One of the best things about this season is her interactions with Tywin. I know this is fictionalised for the show, yet it works so well. And of course, I haven’t had time to talk about Tywin in either of these reviews, but let’s just say, I think the character, introduced last season symbolically skinning a deer, is enigmatic.

So how did you feel about season 2? What did you all think of some of the character decisions? In particular, what do you think about my alternative Robb Stark strategies- yay or nay? I’m open to hearing all your suggestions! 

Game of Thrones Season 1 “You Win or You Die”

*Spoilers for season 1- I’ve tried not to spoil anything later on- but there will be massive HINTS*

 

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Well hello! I know I’m posting later than I normally would, but I hope this is a pleasant surprise- because I’m launching another series today… I’ll be doing weekly reviews of seasons 1-5 of Game of Thrones! In case you didn’t know, I’m a massive fangirl for the show and books, and naturally did reviews of Seasons 6 and 7 on here. Bereft at the end of the seventh season, I decided to go back and rewatch from the beginning and a few weeks ago I made it upto season 5 (yup- I’ve already rewatched it– though someone will inevitably ask how I watched all of this in a week 😉 )

Anyhoo, this was a really fun trip down memory lane and it was great (and in parts traumatic) reliving it all whilst knowing what happens to all the characters. I was moved from the opening shots of Winterfell, I chuckled to myself at the opening title “Winter is coming” (yeah in 6 years), enjoyed the artistry of the show, got to see those sharp Littlefinger vs Varys go scenes again, was reminded of all the storytelling aspects and got to pick up on a few more Easter Eggs this time round.

Now obviously, I can’t touch on everything in the review, especially since I won’t be doing it episode by episode (given that I did that for the last two seasons, there was a lot I had to leave out). Plus, this isn’t my raw reactions, so while I’ve tried to keep my spoilers to a minimum, my opinions are clouded by later impressions. Formatting this was also pretty hard, so rather than go through this episode by episode, I decided to divide it up into more-or-less POV characters (pictures won’t be taken from just Season 1)

Daenerys Targaryen 

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We can start with Dany, because she’s a little bit out of the way. I love how she’s brought into the fold of the story, just after Ned and Robert discuss the downfall of the Targaryen’s. It puts her on the edge of the narrative and yet still very relevant.

Of course, as the series progresses she becomes ever more important. No, becomes is the wrong word- she takes control of her own story. It is no inconsequential feat that she becomes the mother of dragons. From very unpromising beginnings in a forced marriage, she wrests control from her husband, develops relationships (especially with the very unsubtle Jorah) and begins to develop her own cult of personality. It is little wonder that she ultimately walks through fire and comes out the other side unburnt.

However, she’s not without faults. There are hints of her ruthless side– especially in how disturbingly cold she is when Viserys gets executed- though it does tell us something important: “He was no dragon, fire cannot kill a dragon.” And most importantly, we see her making mistakes early on, particularly trusting the witch woman (to paraphrase Jon in season7 why?!). But, we can never forget her rebirth at the end of the season and the subsequent return of the dragons! It’s no wonder everyone loves her!

Tyrion

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Speaking of characters everyone loves and “speaking for the grotesques”, there can be no one better than Tyrion! With some of the best quotes in the entire show, like “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone”, it’s no wonder he’s a fan favourite.

And early on, he is one of the few characters with the wit to save himself. Admittedly, he often uses old tricks like “I wish to confess my crimes”, but you can’t go wrong with the classics 😉

One great way to examine Tyrion is in relation to his family– especially in terms of how he’s pretty much the only one apart from Cersei who seems to get on with Jaime (who admittedly is a total prick in season 1, even to characters like Jon, for no apparent reason). Yet for me, one of the best ways to look at him is through the characters he clashes with- notably Cersei (incidentally I forgot how she was in early episodes too, with bizarre lessons to Joffrey saying things to the effect of you can have everything you want and you can’t… ugh, why does she even think she’s smart?). Still, I’d be remiss not to mention one of the best character bonding that I completely forgot about when we got to Season 7…

Jon Snow

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And that’s Jon and Tyrion! OMG I loved their relationship, because Tyrion is the only one who is candid with him. That doesn’t mean treating him with kid gloves, but actually telling him the truth about the wall (WHAT THE HELL BENJEN AND NED?! I thought you were looking out for him!)

And crikey- the Wall is not what it’s cracked up to be. I mean there’s crude meritocracy, with Benjen saying: “A man gets what he earns, when he earns it.” Let’s be honest though, mostly it’s just cold as-eff and a great place to brew some enemy relationships (*cough* Allister Thorne *cough cough*). Also, he gets called a bastard a lot, which never ceases to make me fist-clenchingly mad!

Still, it’s not all bad- he gets to act like a hero defending Sam. Full disclosure: it took me a good while to warm to Sam in season 1– but his truly horrible backstory and Neville-like loyalty eventually wore away at my defences.

Plus on the positive side, he spends some of the series being groomed for leadership, gets to kill a Walker, earns himself Longclaw, hangs out with Ghost more than he ever gets to in later seasons and has a great FORESHADOWING scene with Aemon. So really, it’s not so bad, you can cheer up now Jon!

Catelyn Stark

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Another positive for Jon is that he’s finally away from Cat. Heck- I’d go North of the Wall to get away from Catelyn Stark nee Tully.cannot stand this character. Even her whining first line- “do you have to?” instantly made me yell at the screen “shut up Cat!”

So why do I hate her? Well, let’s start with the fact that she couldn’t be even halfway decent to a motherless boy- in fact she doesn’t even let him have a proper, peaceful farewell with Bran. It’s her unsavoury anger that drives him away in the first place. And that’s not the only problem her anger causes.

I mean WTF was she thinking kidnapping Tyrion!?!? That has to be one of the stupidest power plays in the history of mankind! It makes literally no sense- not only does she have poor evidence that Tyrion did anything, but it instantly puts Ned and her daughters in unnecessary danger. I mean, I know she warned them not to go to King’s Landing, but like I said, she’s a whiner (no one listens to whiners- the way she says things is so off-putting, I’d do the opposite of everything she says too). The whole way through the series my notes are full of “Cat does dumb Cat-like things”– even, with a nice hint of what’s to come, going to visit the Kingslayer *slow clap Cat, slow clap*.

So yeah, she spends a vast amount of time hating Lannisters… and yet for some *ridiculous* reason trusts Littlefinger?! The practically MOUSTACHE TWIRLING VILLAIN! Are you daft? I mean, when you have friends like Littlefinger, who needs enemies? Her character judgement is so wayyy off base!

Robb Stark

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Phew- got that out of my system, mostly. Let’s talk about a character I actually like again: Robb Stark. Or “poor Robb” as I often think of him.

He’s definitely presented as a lord-in-training, quoting his father, gracious and with his fearsome direwolf Greywind. What I like even more is that through him you get to see some of the Northmen’s personality- such as Lord Umber getting two fingers ripped off and standing there laughing! And you get some nicer scenes like THE KING IN THE NORTH (which makes me all teary eyed).

BUT that’s not to say he doesn’t make mistakes. Straight off the bat, we have evidence for this when Theon calls him stupid- I mean, if Theon’s calling you stupid… welll I don’t know what you do with that- don’t ask Theon for advice kids!

His major mistake, however, is allowing his mother to negotiate with the Freys on his behalf– and it’s a mistake that has ripple effects across the seasons. Because, as I’ve made it clear, Cat is not the smartest person! And she enters into to one of the most disastrous negotiations. I’ve had many discussions over the years with friends about this, but I’m pretty sure this would have been a better way to go into the talks:

“Hey, we need to use your bridge.”

“Well, I quite fancy having your children marry mine…”

“Already betrothed, sozzles! (cos in this version Cat’s not a moron) About that bridge- you can let us through or we can take it with our shit ton of men… whaddya say?”

Could you have at least tried to have spoken from a position of strength Cat? I guess whining at someone is your default setting. Not to mention the fact that, as the show makes clear, Freys ≠ trustworthy. Even though Cat’s known them her whole life, she strikes the dumbest deal in the history of deals. Ugh.

Bran Stark

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Speaking of people with rotten luck, let’s briefly touch on Bran. He’s not one of my favourite characters- however I do feel sorry for him. We get a lovely bit at the beginning of episode 1 with him scaling the walls… and then he has his big fall at the end of the episode- or rather gets pushed. Yeah- that scene will never cease to shock me. GRRM is the king at taking away what a character really cares about. And I completely get why he’s mad at Cat- leaving him to go on her stupid secret mission that goes disastrously wrong… (this is turning into the I-hate-Cat show).

Moving on, one of the best things we get for Bran, is mostly just the foreshadowing, which, let’s be honest, this show has plenty of…

Ned Stark

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Starting with that dead stag and the dead direwolf (and the *hint hint* “no mountain lion”) they find in the woods. This scene, where the Starks get their direwolves, is one of my favourite and is so loaded with symbolism (Jon: I am not a Stark, Theon: it’s a freak!) that I could have put it under any character. But it is Ned who first recognises the Direwolf– the sigil of his house.

And this is an omen for the start of all his troubles. For it’s not long after that the Baratheon king comes to Winterfell (ah Robert, you crass lout!) and because Ned’s an honourable fool, he decides to accept the position as Hand of the King. Now, I don’t totally begrudge his decision (though my goodness, it was a BAD one) because a lot of this comes out of him trying to be a good friend to said terrible king.

However, as much as I don’t want to disrespect the dead (RIP Boromir… err I mean Ned), he was awful as a politician. If there was a mistake to be made or a trap to walk into, Ned did so like a lamb to the slaughter/fish out of water/wolf not in the north. Even while acknowledging that the crown is bankrupt and can’t afford to host a costly, dangerous tournament, he ends up just turning a blind eye to it- which is not good enough.

Then of course he does loads of other dumb things, like giving away his household guard, not leaving when he has the chance and confronting Cersei about her (incestuous!!!) extramarital affairs! The only reason I love his character is because he’s so noble while doing all these stupid things- plus he teaches us that vital lesson that in the Game of Thrones you win or you die.

And everything that happens to him is SO AWFUL– though in a very callous way, rewatching it after season 7, I can’t help but see how poetic it is for him to get stabbed from behind in his fight with Jaime (also, it’s funny that this time round, I don’t blame Jaime, since this is right after his idiot wife kidnapped Tyrion and Jaime’s lashing out for that)

Also, Ned serves as a brilliant and stoic patriarch– giving us that wonderful “lone wolf” speech that pays off all the way over in season 7. I absolutely adore that “War was easier than daughters” line too. Which brings me onto…

Sansa Stark

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I will be frank, in this season, I found little to like about Sansa. She was a vain, pretty fool. I also will say I think a lot of my initial dislike for this character came from me transferring some of my hatred of Cat onto her- I saw her as Cat 2.0 and thought she was primed to make the same hot-tempered mistakes her mother did.

However, my initial analysis of her character was fairly wrong. Not that she doesn’t start out as air-headed- she most certainly does. She’s utterly ridiculous and forgiving of Joffrey- even though he quite literally swung a sword at his sister and threatened to torture a random kid. On top of that, she *lies* about it after! Watching it back, I did find myself being more forgiving (as will be apparent in later posts, I ended up respecting and appreciating Sansa) especially since she pays the price immediately for her lies and ends up losing her wolf.  Plus, if I can forgive Jaime…

In all seriousness, the reason why I don’t mind Sansa’s vapid-bordering-on-insipid actions early on is because she is just playing the role fate gave her. She acts the lady, as she was always taught, and you can’t really blame her for it. She’s even told “no one can ever hate you” (all the while Littlefinger drip-drips poison in her ear, but I digress…). She trusted in Joffrey to spare her father (though see above why she really shouldn’t have) because the lady trusting in her gallant prince is a story she’s always been told. What’s interesting is that her playing this role so well is actually evidence that she’s not clueless- she knows enough that to get ahead she has to conform. In playing the part, she’s actually being smarter than I thought. Even if I didn’t love her in season 1, her character was being built to go in a very interesting direction.

Arya Stark

arya stark

Ah what stark differences between the sisters! I always loved Arya! Sharp as a needle, wild and a non-conformist, I think it’s impossible not to like her straight away. In the first season, I loved her courage and her relationship with Sirio Forel. I also liked how her “dancing” lessons were used to show a simultaneous flashback and foreshadowing. In one of the more interesting scenes, as Ned watches her learn to use a sword, we see a brief look of horror building in his eyes and his laughter turns to a scowl. It’s subtle, but it’s there- and I believe it is a sign of the horrors that Ned cannot stop befalling his children.

And Arya has one of the most heartwrenching stories– partly because she survives. She may initially be only playing with the sword, yet by the end of the season she’s made her first kill and lost her father. She’s heading down a very dark path….

But more on that next week! As with my episode reviews- I’d love to know who will be sticking around for this series? Are you a fan of GOT? Let me know in the comments!

Game of Thrones Season 7 Wrap Up

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Whew- can you believe we’re done with Game of Thrones for the year?? Crazy right!!

Well before I sign off on this subject, I’ve had a little time to mull over my thoughts for the season as a whole and to get in some predictions for season 8.

So first off: the White Walkers are gonna win. JK! I jest, I jest! That said, I know that things are going to get worse before they get better. I mean, we did just see a dead dragon blast through a wall of ice.

This year, I had mixed feelings about the show. While I enjoyed watching all the episodes (because who doesn’t like watching a dragon showing off its fiery wrath 😉 ), I did have problems with the continuity errors and time jumps. In terms of time jumps, I’m inclined to let them off the hook, simply because people complained so much about slow pacing in previous seasons- I feel like they’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. The storyline has, frankly, been all over the place. A friend of mine said they’ve obviously got George R R Martin’s end goal in mind and been working backwards- and this most obvious in the ridiculous suicide mission up north, which is clearly just a way to give the Night King a dragon. It’s not merely fanficy (although you can spot the fanfic vibes in a lot of the dialogue a mile off) it’s more that the books are unfinished and there’s a reason why it’s taking Martin so long to come up with coherent reasons for the same things happening in the books- the writers here are showing what happens when you go “well we’ve got to get from a to b, so wham bam thank you mam, let’s ignore logic”. This is less of an indictment of the show and more of a testament to Martin’s plotting skills– and, more than last season, this illustrates how different the book is gonna be.

Take Tyrion’s role this season, for instance. Either the showrunners have completely lost sight of his character or (and this is my personal opinion) or a lot of these decisions will actually be taken by Selmy, who is still alive in the books, and is more likely to make these kinds of blunders, since he already did during Robert’s rebellion. Personally, I this is more evidence (if ever we needed it) that they killed Selmy off prematurely and it’s creating continuity errors.

In terms of other book changes, I was dubious about the Jon/Dany pairing being present in the books. Yet with all the hints of pregnancy (they’re doing foreshadowing with a sledgehammer now) it seems likely that this will fit into the books somehow- with her my updated interpretation of her curse being she will die once she has a baby and be with Drogo again (I could be totally wrong about this, but I’ve thought Dany will die at the end for years now). I do wish that they could have built up this romance more convincingly, instead of relying so heavily on the fact that a lot of the audience already shipped it. It felt a little like they were softening towards each other and just fell into bed together. Talk about crazy attraction (emphasis on the *crazy*) That’s not to mention the fact that *dudes this is incest*- because here I am saying they should have built up an incestuous romance?! Honestly- watching the show this year has been very much a *be careful what you wish for* moment for me- cos you guys know I used to ship it (gah- I know- but I never expected it to happen- damn the writers for giving me what I wanted!). I’ve been so confused about it all season. But fortunately I’m not alone in this dilemma- this tweet was going round a lot:

tweet incest got

Moving on from the icky to the more tricky, I personally felt that we could have had more villainy. After all, this is what the show is known for! In previous seasons we’ve had a lot more character based scenes and grim interactions. I feel like they were hamming up Cersei as the mad queen and Euron as the next big bad, without making them do too many vicious things. I feel like, for villains in Game of Thrones, they were too willing to negotiate and didn’t do enough to warrant the title “dastardly” (and I so want to give that title to somebody with Ramsay and Joffrey out of the picture). A lot of this could be expanded upon.

For all that, I did appreciate the wonderful blockbuster moments and the spectacular cinematography. Unfortunately I agree with a lot of the critics that there used to be more to it than that (although a lot of this may come down to their lack of production capabilities when they started out). I will admit to missing the times when the characters made perfect sense *and* surprised us. But- to be as fair as possible- some of the things that were super predictable were such a long time coming, so can you really blame them? (I mean c’mon, Littlefinger had it coming since season 1)

I should probably say at this point that I still love it– but given how many posts I’ve done on this you guys must know that 😉 And speaking of which, here’s the full list for your perusal:

Episode 1: Eek Game of Thrones is Back!

Episode 2: Stormborn was a BLAST!

Episode 3: The Queen’s (In)justice

Episode 4: Spoils of War: This Series is Gaining Heat

Episode 5: Watch Out Eastwatch!

Episode 6: Ooh Err… Let’s Go Beyond the Wall

Episode 7: The Dragon and the Wolf- FINALLY!

A special thank you goes out to everyone that followed along for this- it wouldn’t have been nearly as fun without all your wonderful comments:

Kat@LifeandOtherDisasters, Nel@ReactionaryTales, Ali@IWuvBooks, Ami@Luvtoread, Vicky@BooksandStrips, Lashaan&Trang@Bookidote, Nicole@ThoughtsonFantasy, Sophie@BlameChocolate, Dragons and ZombiesLolsysLibrary, Kristina Steiner, Drew@TheTattooedBookGeek, Pooja, Sarah Angelton, Literary Weaponry, Reading in the Wings, Poulami, Litcritpop, ReadbyChris, SpunkyReads, Fictionspawn and Bedwetter’s Last Dream

Check each other out!!

(I do hope I’ve not missed anyone out)

And that really is A WRAP! Now I’m gonna go cry that it’s all over for two years… Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments!