Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A dark and disturbing chapter

(Very vague (I hope) spoilers for a chapter in The Winds of Winter)

Of course our good friend George R.R. is well known by now for not being shy to display the darker side of humanity (in many ways, A Song of Ice and Fire shows us that of all the enemies, it is mankind that is the most dangerous).

It was this willingness to take fantasy to a darker place that helped elevate A Game of Thrones from other contemporary fantasy books, in addition to many other factors. In the following books, I've argued before, Martin dared to go even darker, even as the series' success became brighter. His realistic characters, sense of humor, great prose and all that made it a success too, of course (most of all, A Song of Ice and Fire became a success due to word of mouth, but I'm not really posting this to study the increasing popularity of one of the world's slowest-moving fantasy stories).

Anyway, George was at some convention the other day (Balticon or something, probably across the not-so Narrow Sea), and he read a "new" chapter from the viewpoint of Aeron Damphair, and as it turns out, Martin manages - sixteen years after the first novel was published - to go even deeper into disturbing territory in terms of ... well, looks like Ramsay has a competitor.

Still, it's a great chapter. Someone at the con recorded Martin's reading, and someone else (I presume) has turned it into words, and someone else else has collected it with all the other released Winds chapters for our enjoyment.

Take a look here if you're eager for some The Winds of Winter, but beware - if you read it all, you'll be re-reading at least 100 pages once the actual book maybe arrives possibly.

Anyway, just a heads-up. There's a lot of interesting stuff in the chapter, some theories are confirmed, and some juicy speculation is bound to follow regarding.... well, you'll see for yourself.

[Game of Thrones] "Blood of My Blood"

When I finally got to watch the episode late last night, I ended up being somewhat underwhelmed by the sixth episode of the season. Spoilers abound!


Monday, May 30, 2016

[Re-read] Jon I (ADwD) Same Scenes, Different Lighting [Part 1/2]

Well, that's just great. I have to spend all Monday being alive without watching Blood of My Blood, the sixth Game of Thrones episode of the year. And now that it's getting exciting and surprising and all that. My schedule just filled up like a bottle in a rainstorm, and now I realize I won't get to see it for another twelve hours. Yup, another first-world problem. And I'm like itching to go to Watchers on the Wall and Winter is Coming and Tower of the Hand to enjoy all the discussion about the new episode, speculation, possible new information pertaining to what we already know, to read what people thought was done well and not so well...
...but going into an episode and not having a clue what's coming is so awesome I must stay away from those sites. Of course, I have some basic ideas about what is going to go down in this episode, based on last week's teaser and by the way the story seems to be going...but there are still so many opportunities to shock and surprise.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Another Manic Monday

Another Monday and another unspoiled Game of Thrones episode. Last week's "The Door" certainly was a mindbender, what with the origins of the Others, the origin of the word 'hodor', and more. I've been mulling it over every day this week, but also getting more and more giddy about the next episode; somehow, I went from "not gonna watch no sirree" to a gibbering fanboy who craves MOAR.
I have a suspicion today's episode will be less impactful (but I don't know that! teehee) but I'm curious all the same - mostly to see if they are planning on restoring the character of Ser Jaime Lannister anytime soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Taking it Back

After a rewatch of key scenes and some consideration I'm moderating my erstwhile enthusiasm for this week's Game of Thrones episode, and particularly the Kingsmoot. It wasn't really that good, was it, especially compared to the book material; I get that they don't want to make characters look too weird but Euron Greyjoy should at least have had an eyepatch and some of the dialogue from the book. And thinking about it, it turned out pretty lame with Asha and Theon managing to steal away a pretty large fleet in broad daylight, and Euron begging everyone to start chopping down, erm, trees to build a pursuit fleet? That was just bad.
And once I got into this mindset I began to ponder other scenes and in the end I end up with the question (again), "Why oh why can't they use more book dialogue? It is already mostly great."

Monday, May 23, 2016

Game of Thrones, Season Six: Episode 5

That moment you realize you're at a Norwegian black metal festival...
....and you like it \m/
Well well well. I still don't know the title of the actual most recent episode of Game of Thrones, but I have a suggestion:

W. T. flabbergasting F.

More than a few things I didn't see coming with this episode and now I wonder whether I should quit the rest of the season after all. I thought it was a pretty rough episode in many ways, but there were a few things here I wished I read in a book first. More after the break.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

[Re-read] Samwell I (AFFC): It's not about the Others, it's about the WAYNS

Whoops, it looks like I accidentally published this post before I was done writing it. The rest should appear after the break now.

I'm sorry I'm so slow on this re-read of A Feast with Dragons, almost as slow as these chapters were written, but here at last is a new chapter disassembled and scrutinized.

Right in the middle of Game of Thrones season six, the season I wasn't going to watch and which so far is...well, it's pretty amazing what they are able to produce, even if we're far off course from the source material. I was watching a recap of seasons 1-3 because my better half wants to catch up (basically because she heard me cry when Jon and Sansa reunited). So it looks like I'm going to watch seasons four and five again.

A man can get confused watching seasons four and five while simultaneously following season six and re-reading books four and five so excuse me for any blurring of the lines between show lore and "trve" lore in this re-read post and all re-read posts to come.

Today's chapter is Samwell Tarly's first chapter in A Feast for Crows. 

dun-dun-DUN-dun, dun-dun-DUN-dun

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Winds of Winter still not cancelled

Busy week for fans of all things George RR Martin. Not just an episode that brought together two characters that have been apart since 1996 (I learned consequently that I definitely wasn't the only one getting the feels from that reunion), but George himself actually mentioned the title of his next book over on his blog, AND proceeded to grace us with another sample from said book! It's not an entirely new, out of left field thing, though; it has been read at cons. But still. Martin. The gift that keeps on giving.

You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.

Wait. What? I have to wait?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Game of Thrones 6 / 4, "Book of the Stranger"

I hate that I haven't been able to watch the latest episode in one sitting. Instead, I've watched it, over the last couple of days, a few scenes at a time. Actually, it isn't that bad, as the scenes themselves often feel quite disconnected from the other scenes. Still, looking forward to seeing the whole episode in one nice chunk of ice and fire. And blood.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Game of Thrones, Episode 3 - Oathbreaker

Yay, I managed to get through the week without spoiling myself (except for the teaser) and, I know I'm on repeat here, it's such an exhilarating experience to go into a new episode knowing there will be surprises.

I did expect that, after two fairly intense episodes, the third episode would settle into a more relaxed groove, with more talking scenes and less action/shock/drama. I feel I was right about this, especially with council meetings both in King's Landing and Meereen, but I still got the feels many times throughout the episode.

It's also a relief to get some confirmation on things I've wondered about for sixteen fricking years.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

GoT Sunday

Finally planting my ass in the beloved couch after a four-day trip.

What I learned from the trip:

Be careful when you read books on your smartphone. You might just pick it up from your pocket and discover your phone's been purchasing ebooks from your trousers.
How this happened I'll never know. I didn't even leave the Kindle app open. Fortunately, and bizarrely, I bought two cheap books.
Even stranger - both were George RR Martin books. You may think that isn't strange because I'm a Martin nut, but I don't think I've even browsed the man, why should I? I already have it all.
The two books that turned up in my Kindle library were the comic trade paperbacks of The Hedge Knight and The Sworn Sword...of course. So now I have the print trade paperbacks, the print issues, the original releases in the anthologies, dammit I might as well buy A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

Fellowship of the Ring, the first Peter Jackson-directed movie based on Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is not nearly as good as I once claimed it to be. Where I once was overwhelmed and touched in the theater, I now found myself annoyed at the overuse of slow motion, but what irritated me the most was Elijah Wood. So the movie turned into a drinking game - take a beer everytime it looks as if Frodo has constipation. By the end of the film, I knew I had had too much to drink.

Incidentally, I was again stunned, nay floored, by the vitality and thoroughness of J.R.R.'s setting, and how much I love the slightly archaic but oh so beautiful prose (yeah I'm talking about the book now), and how much I relish that deep sense of wonder the good professor managed to evoke...it is almost ridiculous how many owe him for the brilliance of The Lord of the Rings, including our very own George. The pervasive sense of mythology, the dripping atmosphere...there is something so achingly compelling about The Lord of the Rings...

...but it doesn't have Tyrion Lannister.

Well, well, it's GoT Sunday again, and I am actually excited to see if they can continue the streak, though the trailer doesn't impress me much. Will we be waddling through talking heads-scenes again, or will it offer slices of drama?

I'm still not happy with the way they treated Roose Bolton. That was literally character assassination. I hope Book Roose remains the cunning and disturbing and ruthless man who would see Ramsay's dagger coming from across the Narrow Sea.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

GoT 6 - Episodes I & II - A few quick thoughts

"Bran, this will begin to make things right."
All right, wow and stuff.
My initial misgivings about watching Game of Thrones Season 6 have totally vaporized in the heat of Melisandre’s fires.
Not knowing the details of what’s to come made watching these two new episodes so much more exciting than I thought would be possible. During episode 2, Home, last night I was literally jumping a few times. And I’m telling myself, don’t worry, you read the first three books ten times each and loved it every time, it isn’t that crucial to be unspoiled before The Winds of Winter is published in 2019.
So now I feel free to enjoy the TV series, and yeah, it became a very different experience for me, stepping into the post-Dance world. Although there are bits going all the way back to A Storm of Swords…and even further back. Lots of surprises, then, excitement, shock, and also a few moments where I’m like, /facepalm.
Let’s delve into The Red Woman (okay that sounds weird) first, and then Home.

Monday, May 2, 2016

...And Here We Go

Yeah, even though I did my best avoiding any Ice and Fire-related websites I soon enough found myself knowing basically every scene in Episode 1: The Red Woman, and so I succumbed to the Dark Side (and Full of Terrors) and watched it. 

For Episode 2, whose title I don't know, I'm completely unspoiled, though. But I know there's no point in resisting the call, and so I am going to watch it. 

I'll do a post on both episodes soon, and will most likely be following season six all the way through, dammit. Mostly because it's fun reading people's tweets. 

Obviously I'm also going to continue A Feast with Dragons. I've cleared my plate, and I don't have as many deadlines as I used to, which feels good. Listen to me sounding like GRRM himself ^^ (My deadlines, except for some reviews, the odd article, and some flash fiction, are mostly of the "correcting term papers" type, and they just have to go first in the queue).

A question which has occupied my mind this week is whether GRRM will be able to finish The Winds of Winter before the next season of Game of Thrones. I'm beginning to doubt it, but there's still time for a surprise (which would be a good title for the book by now. A Time for Surprise. If there's anything left to surprise us with after what GoT did to us).