Much to my horror, I didn’t get to watch Game Of Thrones on Monday night, I had to wait until Tuesday night. The reason being I was in Paris, and I suppose if there’s any reason to miss Game Of Thrones, that’s a pretty good one.
I had very mixed feelings about this episode – while some of the scenes were beautiful and moving and clever, some of them seemed (to me, at least)…rushed. This is not to say that I enjoyed it any less, but season two did this as well; some aspects of the story line are dragging, while others are tumbling all over the place at breakneck speed.
For example, the scene with Jon and Ygritte was brief and abrupt; I think they were aiming for cute and tender, but instead it was cheesy and strange. I can’t quite place my finger on what exactly it was about this that I didn’t like…perhaps they had been building it up so much, only to throw it all away with a game of tag and a quick cave tumble?
Argh. I’m annoyed I can’t find the words. Still. Rose Leslie is hot, so that’s okay.
I sound like a grumpy old critic, so I’ll go on to a scene I did like. Jamie and Brienne in the baths was extremely touching. Finally, finally Jamie Lannister seems like a half-decent human being – perhaps, away from the twisted brain of his manipulative sister, he is developing a conscience? We get the Kingslayer’s side of the story and for the first time, Ned Stark does not seem to be as straightforward as he seemed all along. George R. R. Martin writes real characters, each with their faults, failings and shades of grey.
Back to a scene I didn’t like. We’ll alternate, shall we? Jorah and Barristan’s little conversation may have been enlightening into each of their motives (Jorah all the while trying to ascertain whether or not Selmy knows his reasons for following Dany in the first place), but it was drawn out and I found myself more interested in what the queen was getting up to in the background as opposed to what her loyal men at arms were doing in the foreground. It was annoying, because she was blurry, so I couldn’t really tell.
Grey Worm is not an awful lot like what I expected him to be like, either. I thought…bigger? I don’t know, but I was all thrown off by the skinny young man that I only really got the gist of what he was saying.
I did like the Hound’s trial by combat, but given my strange crush on Berric Dondarrion, I am sure this is not unexpected. He coped awfully well when faced with a flaming sword, given how he has run screaming from tea-lights in the past, but alright, I’ll let it go. I continue to be a fan of Thoros, too. I approve of a man that drinks and brings people back from the dead. Like, Jesus. The Jesus of Westeros.
We got two new characters thrown at us this week, too. I do so love a new character. Selyse Baratheon is obviously a fully fledged nutter (she keeps her dead babies in jars and is thrilled that her husband is having a shadow-baby-making affair), and their daughter, Shireen, seems to spend all her time alone in a miserable little room, singing away to herself. I’m sure she has some wider role to play before the season is over, but in the meantime, she seems as mad as her mother.
“Oh, what’s that? You are in prison? I shall teach you to read, that will solve all your problems!”
I’m really just skimming the episode here, but I’ll finish with another scene I was not a fan of. Tywin telling Tyrion that he has to marry Sansa Stark in order to put an end to the Tyrell plot was not as moving as I thought it would be. Tyrion was outraged, yes, but they are bundling towards one particular aspect of the story line (if you have read the books, you are doubtlessly aware) with very little building of tension or atmosphere. The unraveling of this plot was far too fast and simple – serving only as a reminder that Littlefinger has many spies (and some mysterious personal motives that do not include Sansa’s well-being) and that Loras is still gay.
Good to know.
I am giving the real impression that I didn’t enjoy this episode at all – that is really not the case, I just enjoy dissecting things like this. I was entertained, appalled and amused at all the appropriate points, but, much like in the middle of the last season, I am beginning to think that ten episodes just isn’t enough time to give the story the complexities that make it so fantastic.
p.s. ROBB, NO!
A little while ago I mentioned that I got Sky TV. I won’t go back into my adoring prose, because I’m pretty sure everyone knows how much I love it by now. I also mentioned that there are a butt load of new shows starting at the moment, and that I would no doubt have a blog on what I do and do not like. So, well, yes, this is it.
I watch an awful lot of TV recently. Recently, if someone so much as sneezes within a two mile radius of my delicate self, I seem to get sick and have to spend a week on the sofa, so it gives me something to do at the very least.
Anyway, first up on awesome-Sky-TV night, I started to get caught up with Spartacus. Having only seen the first season and the prequel season, I’ve got a quite a bit to catch up with, given that the series just ended. I don’t know what put me off ever watching it after the prequel…I think the change in actors (unavoidable as it was) and my awful habit of moving house lots in the last few years (away from the safety of the parental nest and Sky box) had something to do with it, but I really am I very big fan. Sexy, violent, gory and clever, this is a must-watch show. Preferably not with your parents in the room, which is usually the sign of a great program, no?
Spartacus: Vengance is currently showing on Pick TV.
Next up, I took a gamble, and watched a show that I really did not like the look of. Da Vinci’s Demons is (yet another) fantastical historical drama, based around the history and life of Leonardo Da Vinci. You know, that guy from that Dan Brown book. Anyway, when I say fantastical, I mean of the fantasy genre, I am most definitely not making a reference to the quality of this show.
Made by the same studio as the aforementioned Spartacus series, Da Vinci’s Demons is trying so very hard to replicate the popularity of it’s ancient peer, all the while attempting to cling to the back of the rollercoaster that is Game Of Thrones. It fails it both aspects. The story line is overly complex, the characters are the least engaging they possibly can be (especially ‘Leo’ himself. Playing him as flamboyantly camp yet troubled was a strange way to go, and the actor can’t quit pull it off) and I’m pretty sure there is some harsh racial stereotyping going on in there. There are at least three characters who are summed up completely by their nationality; and please don’t get me started on Da Vinci’s gormless manservant/boy toy. It’s not made entirely clear what that relationship is, but it is not healthy.
There are some saving graces – this is not a low budget production, so it is well shot and there is some interesting use of CGI in making Da Vinci’s ideas and doodles come to life. I’ve decided that I will watch at least two more episodes, in the hope that, maybe, the first episode was just aiming too high. Even then, I am anticipating that those will be two more hours of my life that I will never get back.
Finally (and this one will be brief, because my need to shower and eat meant that I only caught a little bit of the episode), there is Defiance. I know very little about this program, apparently there’s a game based on it? Or it’s based on a game? Or it is a game? I don’t know. Basically, there’s been some sort of event and now humans and a race of (very humanoid, but very pale) aliens have to live together. Either way, some very recognizable faces, an interesting concept and reasonable production value (if you ignore the crappy CGI, which I cannot), this is actually shaping up to have some potential. I might even be tempted to go back and watch the whole episode.
This is high praise indeed, coming from me.
Anyway, more shows are on their way, so I suppose more blogs are too. Both Banshee and Hannibal (as in, yes, Hannibal) look incredible and are starting in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out, yesyes?
Look! A blog that isn’t about Game Of Thrones. Well, I’m going to mention it just the once, but you can ignore that if you want, because it’s not entirely relevant to the story.
So, there are some incredible movies set for this year, and while I am not quite as excited as I was in the run up to The Dark Knight Rises (but then again I have never been that excited ever, so that’s to be expected), I shall be counting down the days.
Man Of Steel
First up, Man Of Steel! I saw the new trailer for the first time during Game Of Thrones on Monday night (told you, but that’s the one mention, promise) and jumped right out of my seat.
Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me embed videos in my blog, which is a shame, because I would totally do that all the time. Click the picture of General Zod to see the new viral trailer for Man Of Steel. Speaking of which, Michael Shannon is shaping up to be an amazing disgruntled Kryptonian! Look at that build! That snarl! The latest trailer (I gave you the link, go watch it) makes him sound awfully familiar…he definitely has a hint of Bane-ish-ness about him; he seems like a more modern, intimidating and intelligent villain, which is fantastic, because this is what Zod NEEDS to be! We need to be terrified of him, we need to believe he could exist.
Everyone is comparing Man Of Steel to Nolan’s Batman trilogy and of course they are. I am trying not to read TOO much about it, or study the trailers TOO closely. I have high hopes and expectations, and for once I think I would rather be surprised.
While there is no doubt in my mind that Man Of Steel will be awesome, I am not as sold on The Wolverine. Set after the events of The Last Stand (which is news to me, I thought it was a sequel to Origins, but there you go), Logan travels to Japan and confronts a mysterious figure from his past.
A mysterious figure from his past?! Gosh, no X-Men medium has attempted this EXACT thing before…
Okay, so I’m being sort of harsh, the truth is this is shaping up to be huge. Based on one of the most popular story lines from the comic books, there are samurai, Yakuza crime gangs and Svetlana Khodchenkova. Gentlemen, you are going to want to Google her.
300: Rise Of An Empire
Now. If you know me at all (in real life, where there is grass and fresh air and real people), you might know that I have a degree in Ancient History and that I am slowly groping my way towards my Masters’. Given this brand new information, it should not surprise you that I CANNOT WAIT for this. The prequel to 300, this flick will focus on battles that happened at the same time as the ill-fated Battle Of Thermopylae, centering on the characters of Themistocles (Athenian politician who was popular with the rabble) and Artemisia (one of Xerxes lovers and queen of Caria). Best bit? Guess who’s playing Artemisia.
All in all, I am planning very little over the summer, except for sitting in a dark room with a sticky floor with strangers. And maybe going to the cinema, too.
Season three, episode three already. Blimey, it feels like HBO only announced they were making Game Of Thrones yesterday, doesn’t it? Time flies when you’re having fun and getting old.
Anyway, obviously I thought the episode was fantastic, but this one stood out for me a little from the rest of the season so far, particularly the first half of the episode. It stood out for me because it was, well, funny. The scene with the small council meeting with Tywin for the first time was brilliant, as they all battle for position (albeit only around the table). It was a real insight into the politics of Kings Landing – petty, spiteful and self-serving. I have to admit though, I was disappointed by the lack of Tyrell in this episode (I’m not even picky now, Olenna and Margaery are equally fantastic).
As wonderful as the musical chairs were, this was not the only giggle I got from Walk Of Punishment – Podrick, urm, becoming a man, was hilarious. Especially the aftermath.
While a lot of the episode did have that wonderful humorous aspect, a lot of it most definitely did not. The episode started with a funeral (and the introduction of Brynden Blackfish, Catelyn’s awesome uncle), and while there were a few giggle moments, watching a woman who has lost nearly all of her children cry at the loss of her father was not pleasant. Most women would have gone mad by now, but Cat perseveres, albeit in a world of pain and misery.
Speaking of pain and misery, oh Jamie, just when we were beginning to think you aren’t a complete tool. There is a whole lot of comeuppance going around at the minute, which is bizarre mixture of satisfying and horrifying. I mean really, how are you meant to hate characters that you also love?
Finally, in this waffle of a blog about a show that everyone has already watched, Daenerys is finally becoming majestic! If only she would learn some foreign languages, so that people couldn’t call her a tart right to her face. She’s building up her entourage nicely; she’s got Jorah, Barristan and a little interpreter with a ridiculous amount of side boob! Having read all the books, I am meant to be totally enlightened as to what her game plan is, but I read Storm Of Swords so long ago that I can’t really remember, which is great because I can still be hanging on the edge of my seat.
You get the best of both worlds, you do.
Season Three is shaping up nicely, although is it just me, or is it going just a little bit slowly? I found this with the last season, they take eight or nine episodes to build up sufficient levels of tension and frustration, before they explode all over the place in the last episode.
Goodness, I did not mean that to sound quite as sexual. Oh well, this is Game Of Thrones we are talking about.
I am showering you with blogs today! April showers. See what I did there? It’s April now.
Lisburn has been really disappointing recently as far as magical geeky shopping is concerned – I suppose it doesn’t help that all the shops are closing. I’ve seen a few wee bits and bobs I would rather like, though. I thought you might like them too, although I’m not convinced all of them are geeky enough to warrant blog coverage. Still, they’re nice, you might like them. Bear with me.
The pictures are giant, to make my blog look nice and colourful. And to make you think this is longer than it looks, because I am crafty that way. First up, this framed poster. It’s both adorable and geeky, because it references Twitter. Geeks like Twitter, almost as most as C-list celebrities and comedians do. I only meant to take a picture of the one poster, but I seem to have caught a second, equally adorable one in the bottom right. It’s mean and sarcastic.
I like it.
These works of art were in TK Maxx (Lisburn). They’re probably not there anymore, but there’s usually a great variety of every-changing oddities in that place, so it’s always worth a look.
And we come, inevitably, to Primark. This time last year you couldn’t move in Primark without walking into something with a Bat-symbol on it. However, the times have changed, and Batman isn’t ‘trendy’ anymore. It’s okay, Bruce. I still love you. While ‘geek-chic’ is finally over (don’t get me wrong, it was handy, but there’s nothing I hate more than a chav or a skank with a Superman t-shirt), there are still a few precious gems to be found. The picture above (another Twitter reference, obviously) is from a pair of girly pants. Adorable.
Boys, zone out for a moment. Thank you. Ladies, have you noticed that Primark have changed their pant sizings? You can now either get them in ‘too small’ or ‘too big’. I do not like this, not one little bit.
Sorry. Back on track now.
I am aware this is not remotely ‘geeky’ (unless you are passionate and enthusiastic about ice-cream…which come to think of it, everyone should be), but so cute! And it smells like summer and sugar and everything nice. I’m just so glad that winter finally appears to be ending, that I am suddenly attracted to everything yellow and shiny.
Like a magpie, but with candles.
Okay okay, so again, maybe not super-geeky, but who doesn’t love a nice pug? Look at that face. I am mad about cushions, but my boyfriend doesn’t see the point of them.
Maybe he’ll read this and realise that I’m rather upset we don’t have more snuggley lovely cushions on our sad, cold sofas? Maybe? Hello?
And finally (still in Primark, by the way), there is this thing. It’s a shower glove? Face cloth pocket? I don’t really see the point of these things at all, but mostly they’re for children, so I don’t really think about it. I think this one goes under the name ‘wash mitt’. Good to know. Anyway, it’s only £1 and has Spiderman on it, so it must be worth owning.
So, that’s your lot. Mini-findings. I intend to have a good hunt around Belfast at some point this week, as places get their Spring/Summer stock in around now, so there could be a Batman themed stationary set that I’ve never seen before. How exciting!
That was only a little bit of sarcasm. I really like stationary.
SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS.
GAME OF THRONES SEASON THREE IS FINALLY UPON US. The long, arduous months of waiting are behind us and ahead of us, nine more glorious episodes.
Sex, dragons and intrigue; the first episode most certainly did not disappoint. While there was a sort of ‘this-is-what-everyone’s-been-up-to’ vibe throughout the show, it didn’t feel like anyone was being skimmed over or marginalized (in fact, it was kind of useful, if you haven’t got around to re-watching season two yet), and we even got a glimpse at a few new characters.
For people who have read the book (we’ve got as far as A Storm Of Swords, obviously), you’ll know that this…
…is Missandei, a reasonably likeable character, even though she’s being played by a former Hollyoaks actress.
…is King Beyond The Wall, Mance Rayder. Who I was extremely excited to see brought to my telly, but he hasn’t blown me away, not just yet. I was sort of disappointed that his introduction wasn’t quite the same as in the books; when Jon Snow enters the tenty-teepee thing, he bows to Tormund Giantsbane, because he assumes Mance is only a minstrel. Which you would, given that at the time he’s (as my brother so aptly put it) shredding out a belter on the lute.
Alas, in the show – no lute. No singing. I recognise that not every little detail can be carried over from the books (and I think it’s ridiculous that people get really angry when things are changed just a little), but this was a scene in the book that really stuck with me. I thought it added a quirky, endearing aspect to this character who had been talked up so very much. I liked the scene, is all. Is all.
Another scene they changed that made me just a tad mopey was at the very beginning, with Sam and the white-walker. No Sam the Slayer?! Maybe later? I don’t know, I just thought it was a really important part of the story-line, but perhaps they’re just switching up the order a little bit. Maybe a bigger show down later on? I am excited to see.
And, urm, why was Ghost there? When Jon is far away over the wall?
WHY WON’T YOU ANSWER MY QUESTIONS?
Right. Back on target, because I’m making it sound like I didn’t love the season premier and I REALLY, REALLY DID. Particularly any scene with Margaery, who remains my most beloved and favourite of characters. Such a sly little fox. Crafty. Oh, I just love her. I did a blog about this love once, so I won’t repeat myself.
Another favourite character has made his return as well, again, just a little bit altered from the book, but understandably so. Lovely Barristan Selmy is back, fighting for a different (better) royal family. I met Ian McElhinney once. He cuddled me, and I made a strange squeaking noise, which he very politely ignored. Lovely Barristan.
Over all, the show has managed to keep the charm that has attracted fans for the past two seasons. Just the right balance of fantasy, gore and sex, with characters who are actually believable – they have fears, ambitions and DRAGONS.
Okay. That last one isn’t the most believable aspect of the show, but I’m so relieved that they haven’t been ruined by over done CGI (they’re perfect, even sort of cute), that they are real to me. It’s all real to me.
That’s all that matters.
I may have discovered the cure for writer’s block…and it may be snow. Seriously, I have been freakin’ prolific this week, because it’s too cold and difficult to get anywhere or do anything. Hence, a Sunday review that’s actually on time. It’s such a shame that my life is quiet and simple, and I am desperately running out of things to review. Without turning this into a movie blog, which would be dumb, because I like to watch the same flicks over and over and over and over.
Clerks and Tangled are currently in heavy rotation. I think the trick is to have insane variety. And catchy Disney tunes.
Anyway. Yes. It’s Sunday, I should decide what I’m going to review…shall I be a tad more intellectual, perhaps?
REFUGEEKNI’S 10 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE
I always hate those sort of titles, because it’s like…your death is imminent. And probably zombie related. It is sort of catchy though, so I suppose I shall leave it. Anyway, I’ve tried not to be too obvious in my choices (I could have just picked any book from A Song Of Ice And Fire or The Hobbit and gone back to bed, but I owe you more than that).
- The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
This recommendation comes with a warning; this is one twisted, horrible book. Not one for animal lovers. Or fans of basic human decency. Banks’ novel is centered around Frank, who kills wasps (and various other small creatures) in complex rituals, believing the outcome to indicate some aspect of the future.
Gory, soul-destroying and fascinating – this is not a novel for the faint of heart.
- The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom
While my first choice is dark and terrible, my second is deep, but uplifting. I am not a religious person and despite the title, I truly believe that this is not a religious book. It’s very human, revolving around the idea that when you die and go to heaven, you meet the five people to whom your life was most influential. The protagonist, Eddie, tells the story of his 83 year long life through these people he meets – although some of them he didn’t even really know at all.
It’s a thought provoking read, and while it isn’t necessarily ‘geeky’, everyone should read this book.
- Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
Androids and bounty hunters! Strongly influenced Bladerunner. Need I say more?
- The Dice Man by “Luke Rhinehart”
What if you left everything in your life entirely to chance? To the roll of some dice? Luke Rhinehart does this, and the results range from entertaining to life-destroying. A truly intriguing read – sex, murder and psychology.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Inspired one of the greatest movies of all time (Demolition Man. No, really, I truly believe that it is a masterpiece), Brave New World is set in 2540, in a world where psychological conditioning and ‘reproductive technology’ are the order of the day. I guarantee, you won’t be able to put this book down.
Sidenote: my cat is named Huxley. Surely, that is the greatest of all honours ever to be bestowed on an author?
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy
If you haven’t heard of the book, you’ve surely heard of the movie, starring Aragorn. Um. I mean Viggo Mortenson. McCarthy gives us the post-apocalyptic world that we most definitely do not want to think about. Zombies are all well and good, but starvation and complete and utter hopelessness? Very real fears. The novel follows a father and son through the murderous wilderness, and the massive lack of punctuation is just further testament to how THERE IS NO POINT TO ANYTHING.
Don’t expect a happy ending.
- Misery by Stephen King
I am not a huge horror fan, but this book really stuck with me. In an age where celebrities are considered public property, the scenario of a super-fan abducting an idol and keeping them locked away is not as fanciful as you might like to think.King at his very best – you’ll never want your fifteen minutes of fame, after all.
- The Great Gatbsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A strange choice for a geeky selection of books, I’ll grant you, but this is truly a masterpiece. I read it at least once a year, but I’m amazed every time. The characters are so real that you’ll want to scream at them (or hug them), and you’ll further lose your faith in humanity. Because everyone is a dick who is out to use and abuse you.
- The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Oscar! Beloved Oscar. Another book I consider to be extremely psychological (it would seem I do like a page turner that messes with your head…), Dorian Gray is a vain narcissist, granted immortality. While his physical self is left untouched by his years and his sins, his portrait bears the scars.
I am a massive Oscar Wilde fan, for the same reason I am a Shakespeare fan. People and their attitudes never really change; The Portrait Of Dorian Gray is as morally relevant today as it was when it was written.
- Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell TERRIFYING, because it practically came true. The government are in your homes, in your heads, watching your every move! Big Brother is watching, people. Always watching.
There! I think my book choices may say more about myself than anything else, but at least you’ve got a nice little peek inside my brain. Obviously, there are also hundreds of other books you NEED to read – I am a huge fan of the fantasy genre, and while I’ve avoided it successfully for this whole blog, I do so love a book with a nice wizard or a lost prince or an angry god.
That’s another blog for another time, though.
p.s. I have a Facebook page. It needs your love.