Northern Ireland based geekery & nerdisms

Tag Archives: winterfell

You may have noticed, if you notice such things, that I am not quite as prolific in my blogging as I have been in the past. I apologize, but the thing is, on any given day, I HAVE FOUR HUNDRED THINGS TO DO.

In fact, I am only doing this blog now because I’ve just done an hour and a half of uni work and I need a break before my brain explodes and redecorates my bedroom. With brain gunk.

On the plus side, for those of you that dabble in the reading of blogs, I shall be much, much easier to keep up with. Instead of, like, eight blogs a day about what I’ve just eaten or the episode of the Clone Wars I’ve just watched.

SO. I did, in a past blog, promise you that I would go to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition over the weekend and then tell you about how great it was. I assured you it would be face-melting (or something to that effect), so HOLD ONTO YOUR FACES.

First of all, I would  like to say that getting tickets for this free (that’s my favourite word) event was much, much more difficult that it should have been. I mean, the internet is all powerful, surely ‘click and possess’ is a fairly straightforward concept? Alas, the website was crashing all over the show and the phone lines were busy and I was starting to hyperventilate and stress. I did a mean, awful thing – don’t judge me. I was scared I would end up with no tickets at all, so I sent a nasty email to Titanic telling them to wind their neck in and make things work better.
I am a mean, bad person. I am ashamed.

To make the shame even worse, some lovely bloke from Titanic Customer Services emailed back immediately, with an apology, and then offered to book the tickets for me. Eek. I still feel bad about being a grump.

Good on you though, Titanic, your people are marvellous.

Ticket drama aside, I was so excited about this. The little clip advertising it was immense…and WordPress still won’t let me embed videos. I had forgotten that. Oh well,here’s the link.

I had never actually been inside the Titanic building before (I know, I know, I am a museum geek and a touch patriotic, so I really should go for a proper visit), but it’s pretty flippin’ cool. And busy, which is always nice to see. The guys at the coffee shop thing were dressed like ye olde times paper boys, and the toilets were ultra clean and shiny. What more can you ask from anywhere, really?

Wisely, when booking tickets for the exhibition, you had to choose a time slot – this sounds kind of like hassle and a bit odd, but it meant the displays weren’t too crowded and you didn’t have to queue for too long to get a good look at anything. AND OH, the things there were to look at.

The exhibition was divided up according to family – the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Greyjoys and  Targareans all had their own little areas, as did the Nights Watch (although characters from North of the Wall were stuffed in that display too, which makes sense, I guess). There were videos playing all around the place too, and although they were really just behind the scenes videos from the DVDs, always worth a watch. Some of the main characters did little ‘Welcome to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition’ clips too, which was a nice feature.

I don’t want to trawl through every single item I saw, but highlights included some of the Starks’ costumes (all lined up beside each other, like in the first episode before they all shoot off in opposite directions all over Westeros), Ned Stark’s head on a spike (which I only noticed because I tipped my head back to yawn – it was pretty high up), Ice and Needle (among LOADS of other weapons) and the dragon eggs and scale models of Drogon. All in all, it took around 40 minutes to see everything.

So neat. Some of Emilia Clarke’s costumes were out on display along with said dragons, and man, that chick is TINY. The detail that does into all the costumes in mind blowing – small stitches and teeny details that a camera would never pick up, just proof that this show takes itself seriously! As well it should.

I think that’s more than enough of my talking, here are some blurry, dark, badly taken Iphone photos. You’re so welcome.

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You may notice that there are only two dragon eggs here; one of them hatched! Teehee, I kid, obviously – the third egg was given to George R.R. Martin as a wedding gift! I thought that was a nice gesture.

The exhibit is in Belfast until June 17th, but there are no tickets left now. If you are elsewhere in the world, see where it goes next on their site!

If you’re heading down to the exhibit, or if you have already been, nip over to Facebook and tell me if you liked it!

S.


Oh. My. God.

This is one of, if not the, greatest episodes of Game Of Thrones so far. It had everything that a fan wants out of the show – intrigue, new characters and dragons. All three of them, at once! That, like, never happens.

I shall start my praise like I usually start – with a confirmation of my love for the Tyrells. Yet again, Margaery shows herself to be a genius little minx, leading Joffery around by with his own ego while his mother watches haplessly. Olenna, too, is well clued into the games that go on in King’s Landing, enough to even catch Varys off guard.

Sidenote: Varys’ revenge on the sorcerer who ‘cut’ him as a child was not in the books (at least, not to my recollection?), but I liked it! It made about a dozen points about his character – he’s powerful, patient and his arm stretches a very long way indeed.

And he’s from Ballycastle!

"There's a spider in the garden."

“There’s a spider in the garden.”

The episode starts with a bit of a recurring theme – pity for the bad guys. Both Jamie Lannister and Theon Greyjoy were main protagonists in seasons one and two (killing children does not really make for a hero, does it?) and now…well, comeuppance has never been so completely soul wrenching to watch. We’re meant to hate these guys, right? So why does seeing Jamie pushed in the dirt with his severed hand tied around his neck make me so very sad? And why isn’t watching Theon cling to misguided hope feel more satisfying?

Curse you, George R. R. Martin, you are causing me inner turmoil.

This week we finally, FINALLY, got a look at one of the new characters that I have been looking forward to the most. Berric Dondarrion, head of the Brotherhood Without Banners has finally got some screen time – I’ve been expecting him since episode two! He looks a little bit the worse for wear, which is not surprising considering…well, if you’ve read the books, you’ll know he’s had a tough time. He made a rousing little speech about the role the Brotherhood had to play in the war (justice!), and sentenced the captive Hound to trial by combat. Awesome.

I like the eye patch. I think I would suit something similar.

I like the eye patch. I think I would suit something similar.

I’m going to say something really weird, but give me a minute. Look at both those pictures. The details that go into the costumes and make up and accessories and…everything! These characters are perfectly constructed – Olenna could not be more like how I imagined her if I’d cast her myself. I did picture Berric as being younger and hotter but, well, that’s just me, I suppose.

Anyway, there were, in my opinion, two main scenes in this episode, an icy one and a fiery one. DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

While we got some nice new characters, we lost one. Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, was struck down in cold blood during a mutiny. Sniff. Poor, poor James Cosmo. He was at Heroes and Legends in W5 this year, y’know. He wasn’t there when I was, or else I would’ve given him a preemptive hug. Craster had his last moment as well, which was well deserved, obviously. During the ensuing fighting and killing and dying, Sam grabs Gilly and her son and slips off into the darkness.

Slightly different from the scene has they had it in the book, but as I has said before, this doesn’t really bother me, as long as everyone is still pointed in the right direction. On the other hand…aren’t we getting anymore white walkers this season?

Meanwhile in Astapor, Daenerys is kicking ass. The moment she was all like, “Yeah, I speak Valyrian, I AM DAENERYS STORMBORN, IT IS MY MOTHER TONGUE”, I screamed. Yes yes yes, I’ve read the books, but I sort of forgot that little detail. And it was so well done!

She’s definitely becoming a queen in her own right, I like how it’s been a gradual change too, and not a haphazard montage or something.

game-of-thrones-season-3-episode-4-daenerys

game_of_thrones_54885

The closing scene of the episode was literally the greatest scene in anything ever, and it goes without saying but I really can’t wait for next week. *

S.

*Next week, I shall be watching a recorded Game Of Thrones on Tuesday night, because I’ll be in Paris for a long weekend. It is a hard, hard life.


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.

Observe - a legend.

Observe – a legend.

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.

New character alert! New old man crush, also.

New character alert! This scene was filmed in Tollymore, apparently. Could be anywhere, but once again, my father reassures me.

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?

HOW?

HOW?

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.

S.


There we have it; episode two of season three has just aired in the UK and I don’t know about you, but I was glued to the screen. I don’t think I blinked, in all seriousness, I think my contact lenses have fused to my eyeballs.

While episode one had that ‘and that’s what everyone is up to’ vibe that I’m not overly fond of, Dark Wings, Dark Words struck a much better balance – we could see more along the lines of what characters were THINKING. Sansa, for example, with her torturous, constant inner turmoil; Tyrion and his sincere fears for Shae’s safety; and Ayra’s determination to get back onto familiar soil and family territory.

Speaking of which, Ayra made her first appearance of the series, on the run from Harrenhal with Gendry (yum) and Hot Pie (bless). They don’t seem to be getting very far, mind you. I’m really trying not to give to much away to those of you who have not read the books, but if I remember correctly, there was a certain character I was really expecting to see at the end of this episode, but I suppose I’ll have to wait another week. Sigh.

The rest of the younger Starks made their first appearance too; Bran and Rickon (or as I like to call him, The Forgotten Stark), are still on their way to the wall. Actually, considering Ayra, Bran and Rickon…by the time you throw in Jamie and Brienne, this episode was really just watching a lot of people walking. Sort of like Lord Of The Rings, really. Not a bad thing, just an observation. Bran’s little entourage (HODOR!) are treated to the precious gift of new characters, in the form of the Reeds; Meera and Jojen.

I have to admit, like with many of the characters introduced in the later stages of A Song Of Ice And Fire, I was not a fan of this odd, frog-eating brother and sister duo, but having now seen them brought to life, I am reasonably pleased. They are exactly how I pictured them! I love when that happens.

Also! That is totally the kid from Love Actually.

Also! That is totally the kid from Love Actually.

Another thing this week that was exactly how I pictured it when reading the books, was the meeting of Margaery, Sansa and Olenna. Perfection. Let’s just take a moment to congratulate the Tyrell’s on being so completely awesome, witty and wonderful. As much as I love Margaery (who showed yet more of her abilities to be manipulative and foxy this week), Olenna is in a league of her own – a true matriarch, and one of the few characters in Martin’s works who really is just THAT straight forward. She’s such a pip.

That is a face of  knowing.

That is a face of knowing.

For me, one of the most triumphant aspects of this episode was how EXTREMELY obvious it was that these people were wandering arounD Northern Ireland! Indeed! Bran & co. were obviously walking in the Mourne mountains (which I know to be a definite fact, because my father pointed this out and was very pleased, because he’s been there) and Jamie and Brienne’s fight scene was filmed in Shane’s Castle. The latter statement I know to be a fact because I was actually on that bridge in September last year, about a week after they had filmed that exact scene.

And then I saw Brienne get out of a taxi in front of the Europa hotel, but that’s completely irrelevant.

Overall, another fantastic episode, more new and wonderful characters than I have even mentioned here (Thoros! Hello, you!) – and just enough of a cliffhanger to make me actually want Mondays to happen.

Speaking of ending on a cliffhanger…

HIM!

HIM!

S.

p.s., Theon, what you are experiencing is called ‘comeuppance’.


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…

Missandei

…is Missandei, a reasonably likeable character, even though she’s being played by a former Hollyoaks actress.

Which has happened before, so that's not to say it's a bad thing.

Which has happened before, so that’s not to say it’s a bad thing.

And this…

game-of-thrones-season-3-mance-rayder

…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.

S.


Finally! Game Of Thrones is coming back to our screens, which means I can start blogging about it non-stop again. Hurrah.

In honour of the return of, let’s face it, the greatest thing ever made ever, here are some Thrones-themed Etsy finds. These are only a few of my favourite bits and bobs, but at this point it’s fair to say that if you want any particular Game Of Thrones themed thing, someone, somewhere probably makes it.

Winterfell don't do beer, but if they did, it would somehow end in death and misery.

Winterfell don’t do beer, but if they did, it would somehow end in death and misery.

Coasters! Marvellous, although if you are at all like me, you buy many varieties of geeky coasters and then never, ever use them. I got some amazing Batman coasters at the Corium once. I came home, put them in a drawer, and they have yet to be brought back out again.

Anyway, these are metal, which is awesome, and will cost you around £14 for four. They do come all the way from the US though, so postage may sting a bit…you can find all the details by clicking on the picture, anyway.

One supplied.

One supplied.

Sticking to the bar theme for a moment, how amazing are these? A Game Of Thrones themed bar is totally achievable, right? Awesome! While postage might be a bit pricey, these are less than a tenner each. Though you’d sort of have to buy all six.

Memo to self: learn this off by heart.

Memo to self: learn this off by heart.

I am always on the look out for geeky things I can put in my house, especially if they are reasonably subtle and not likely to incur the ridicule of my mother. This A3 print ticks all my boxes, and was made in the UK! An invaluable aid for those who want, desperately, to learn the oath off by heart. And then wait for someone to bring it up in conversation so that you can casually launch into it.

Well. I need this.

Well. I need this.

I have a thing for notebooks and sketchpads – my house is already full of empty doodle books, but this one is too amazing to ignore. Again from the US, this little beauty is going to sting you around £30, but the postage costs look to be entirely reasonable.

You’d be under immense pressure to make every sketch a masterpiece though. Don’t want to ruin the lovely book, do we?

Such wonderful things on offer for any GoT fan with a bit of money to burn; if you stumble across anything you think I’d like on ye olde world wide web, link me! I want to see!

S.


While I was taking my little break away from my laptop and my irritating need to blog my every thought, something pretty cool happened in Belfast. No – not riots or sales, the Heroes & Legends convention returned to W5 for it’s second year. In case you didn’t know, Heroes & Legends covers pretty much all aspects of science fiction and fantasy, and features costumed characters, props, sets and ‘celebrity’ guests.

Like this guy!

Like this guy!

I know it may seem a tad pointless for me to be telling you about all this now, given that it’s already happened and I gave you absolutely no prior warning, but never fear, darling geeks – there is another one! A bigger, better convention is being held alongside the 2D Comics Festival in Londonderry (the ‘London’ is silent, depending on whereabouts in the country you are from), at the very start of June. So really I’m being very organised, and preparing you months in advance.

I suppose it wouldn’t really be like me if I didn’t start with some criticisms, so, here goes. For whatever reason, I just didn’t enjoy this year’s convention as much as I enjoyed last year. The layout of the exhibitions and photo opportunities just seemed bizarre to me – I felt like I was constantly queuing, even just to go up stairs or to get out of the place. W5 is pretty big, but it seemed like only the hallways and lobbies were really given over to the convention, giving the whole thing a bit of a cramped and crowded feel. Bummer.

Queues and children. Yay.

Queues and children.
Yay.

I also ended up going on the Sunday afternoon, so although there were tables for each of the guests, there were very few about. I can only assume they got bored and wandered off, as there were no signs or anything to explain their absence. To be fair, they charge for the autographs and…well, I wouldn’t pay £15 for that anyway. The option would’ve been nice, is all.

Goodness, I am getting terribly miserable and snippy in my old age. Let’s look at the bright side, shall we?

The guys who organize/work at the event are obviously really into it – I am a sucker for good customer service, and these guys had it in spades. Well done, nerds. Well done. The costumed folks were really nice too, even to giant, annoying children like me. To the guy who dressed as Silent Bob and put up with my loving stares all day – I salute you.

Also, Bane. He was so friendly. It ruined the whole illusion for me, but whatever.

The exhibits and sets are pretty damn worthwhile going to see, too. What stood out for me this year was the life sized (ish) Optimus Prime, the little Hogwarts set up they had going on (I got nowhere near it because of all the stupid kids, but still) and the work of William Simpson, that had a floor pretty much to itself.

William Simpson deserves to be googled much more than I’m sure he is already. The guy designed a load of weapons for Game Of Thrones (notably Ice!), and I met him at TitanCon and he signed my autograph book in the right colour of pen. I don’t have OCD or anything, I just like it when people do things right. A lot of his conceptual designs and art work had been blown up for the convention, and they were fascinating to look at.

Concept design for Ned Stark & Ice.

Concept design for Ned Stark & Ice.

Also, this was the only exhibit in the bloody place not surrounded by toddlers dressed as the Hulk, so it was lovely. Not that the fat toddlers weren’t.

All in all, worth a look. Would I go the whole way to (London)Derry for it? Probably not, but the 2D Comics Festival will be there too, so it’s like, half the effort, really.

Really.

S.

p.s. Here are some more random pictures. Just because I took them, and figure they should go to some use.

IMG_1625 IMG_1616 IMG_1615