Game of Thrones: The Wars to Come: Review

Warning: There will be spoilers abound, for both this episode and any episode preceding it. In fact, there will be spoiler immediately after this warning.

However, nothing that hasn’t yet happen in the books will be spoiled, so that’s nice.

The end of season four left with a lot of questions. Where is Tyrion going to go? How will Jaime and Cercei react to their father’s death? Where oh where is Ser Pounce?

You know, Ser Pounce, Tommen’s cat, AKA the breakout star of season four?

The Wars to Come answers roughly two thirds of these questions. The episode starts off with a flashback of Cersei Lannister, played by a girl who looks more like Lena Headey than Lena Headey did at that age. She and an unnamed friend visit a surprisingly attractive witch in a hut, who as it turns out can tell the future, and it is not pretty. A younger, more beautiful woman will take her place as queen, and all three of her children will die terribly. I think. I couldn’t make that last part out. 

I like to think that Cersei went her whole life afterwards trying to convince herself that the prophecy was false. But after the events of last season, with Joffrey dead and Margaery continuing to gain power and influence, she’s now stubbornly trying to stop it from coming true. Is it a spoiler to say that there’ll be a bigger focus on Cersei’s storyline this season? Because it totally shouldn’t it be.

Is it just me, or is Tyrion completely adorable in this picture?

Meanwhile, Tyrion is stuck in what is probably the worst period of his entire life, and yet he manages to keep a somewhat good humor about it. Sort of. That whole scene with Tyrion drinking the wine, vomiting, and then pouring himself another glass is exactly the sort of black comedy you’d find on Breaking Bad. Suspiciously so, in fact. 

*puts on detective hat*

Aha! The director of this episode also directed thirty episodes of Breaking Bad. Mystery solved.

*takes off detective hat*

Tyrion and Varys talk for a while, and I just need to say, every scene where these two are together is pure gold. I’m looking forward to what will hopefully be an entire season of them talking to each other on a tiny sailboat as they journey to Meereen, just the two of them.

Meanwhile, Jon is given the task to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee to Stannis, in a scene I loved because it might just be the most meaningful scene Mance Rayder’s had in the entire show. Which isn’t saying much, because I feel like he’s barely been shown since his introduction. 

Also, Melisandre not-so-subtly hints that she’d like to have wild, crazy fire sex with Jon on the elevator ride up to the wall. When this happened in the books I found myself thinking, “No Jon, don’t do it! She’s evil!” But here I just shrugged and thought, “Eh, go ahead. I wouldn’t blame you.” Melisandre is one hottie with a body, if I dare say so.

Then there’s the Daenerys storyline, which might actually be my favorite one of the episode. Which is weird because as I recall from the books, her storyline in ADWD feature about seven chapters of mostly dullness followed by three chapters of epic shit happening. It appears that the show is heading towards those last three chapters (and beyond! *ominous music*) as soon as possible. 

It helps we got to see Daenerys’ actual emotions, instead of her simply acting queenly, which is all she did in season four. I think Emilia Clarke is a great actress when it comes to personal, vulnerable scenes (like when she’s talking to Daario or visiting her chained up dragons), but when she’s making grand, “badass” proclamations (I’m going to break the wheel, anyone?) I think she falls flat. 

Also, her eyebrows do not match her hair, and that’s been bugging me since season one. 

Other things of note:

—Margaery gives the most terrifying “perhaps” I’ve ever seen. I bet the moment she said that, Cersei suddenly felt a chill run through her body, though she did not know why.

—Speaking of Tyrells, I’d like to speak to whoever came up with the idea to have an exposition scene on the geography of Dorne via birthmark on Lora’s leg. Not sure I’d call it genius, but it was definitely inspired.

—Also, I find it hilarious how close Brienne and Sansa were to meeting. Poor Brienne. Oh,and poor Podrick. 

—I have no idea what Sansa and Littlefinger are up to, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.

So all in all, I think this was a good premiere. It was slow, and nothing amazing happened, (Arya unfortunately never got to murder anyone this time.) but it carried a lot of promise for the season ahead. 

Rating: 7/10. Points taken off for Daenerys’ eyebrows.

So, what did you think? Did you enjoy the episode? What’s your opinion on Stannis? What wacky hijinks do you think Sam will get up to next? Is the Hound really dead? Is Tywin really dead? Is Jon really alive? Have you ever tried the sweet teas at McDonald’s? Because they’re only a dollar and eight cents and they taste surprisingly good.

Feel free to answer any of these questions in the comments below. Or you could just comment on your thoughts of the episode. Or you could do neither of those things. No one’s forcing you to.

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The Way of Kings, A Dance With Dragons Review (No Spoilers!)

Yes, this was stolen from Liam, Head Phil. You didn’t actually think I’d come up with an original idea, did you? Anyway, enjoy. There are no spoilers, so you can read each one.

The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson

So now that I’ve finished all the available ASoIaF books, it appears I’ve found a new epic fantasy to become obsessed with, one that’s almost just as great.

This book has just about everything I could want in an epic fantasy novel: Multiple interesting, realistic characters? Check. A rich, well thought out world that’s not described in page long info dumps? Check. An apocalyptic disaster bound to happen later on in the story? Check again. That’s three for three, if you were keeping track.

There were a lot of battle scenes in this book, and not a single one of them lacked tension. The first three chapters, including the prelude and the prologue*, all feature epic battles that could’ve been the climax of some other, lesser fantasy series. Despite feeling like a video game at times, I flew right through them.

The only thing that really annoyed me were the cheesy “Storm you!” curses. Yes, I understand that this is a completely different culture with different swear words and all, but I can’t stand it when authors try to replace real curse words. It never sounds authentic. I even put “never” in bold to further empathize this point. I would be reading a huge, heartbreaking scene, and then a character would shout out “Storm off!” and it would immediately take me out of the story. I managed to suck it up and enjoy the rest of the book, but still. Knock it off, Sanderson.

Also, Shallan (my favorite character) really needs to work on her sense of humor. People in the story kept calling her clever, and maybe she was, but I would just roll my eyes at her supposed wittiness most of the time it popped up. Maybe this was intentional, but another character, nicknamed Wit, had a lame sense of humor too. The jokes mostly felt like the author thinking he was clever. (And he is clever, just not in a funny way.)

(Maybe I’m the one who doesn’t understand comedy? It’s possible.)

If you’re a fan of morally ambiguous characters, you’ll be disappointed. Of the three major characters, Shallan is the only one with real shades of grey. But just because they’re not dark, gritty anti-heroes, doesn’t mean they’re not interesting in their own right, which in a world of Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, seems to be a common belief. Kaladin and Dalinar are both basically saints, considering the situations they’ve been put in, but they’re very complex saints, who are good at killing other people.

Rating: 4/5.

*That’s right. There’s a prelude and a prologue. Deal with it.

A Dance with Dragons, by George R. R. Martin

So here’s a list of some of the complaints I’ve seen about this book:

  • “Nothing happens.” (False.)
  • “Half the book is just describing the types of food.” (Also false.)
  • “The quality of the series is deteriorating.” (Eh, not really.)
  • “The author better not die before finishing the series.” (Well you’re just a terrible person.)
  • “Martin has lost control of the plot.” (Oh shut your damn mouth.)
  • “Too many descriptions of bodily functions.” (Okay, I’ll give you that.)

For the first half of the novel, some of these complaints appeared to be true. At first I was just glad to be back with Jon, Tyrion, and Dany (whose chapters I’ve been looking forward to during the entirety of A Feast for Crows), but suddenly I found myself annoyed with the sheer amount of time they were given. They got about thirteen/twelve chapters each while Davos only got four chapters, Bran three and Arya two, which sucks because Bran and Arya easily had some of the best chapters in the whole series.

I wouldn’t have minded if not for the fact that both Tyrion and Daenerys’ chapters weren’t nearly as interesting as they used to be. For the first five hundred pages or so, Tyrion was a shell of his former self, wallowing in self-loathing, making the occasional misogynist remark and generally just being no fun to read about. Even the interesting stuff surrounding him wasn’t enough to keep me engaged. It wasn’t until the second half that Tyrion actually became likeable once again.

Daenerys, meanwhile, had the most frustrating storyline, for reasons that should become obvious while reading it. Luckily, her storlyine picked up speed in the second half, including one incredible badass moment (that I can’t wait to see the HBO series adapt) that almost makes everything worth it.

The reason for the lull in the first half, I think, is because of the aborted five year jump. Martin had originally planned to skip five years after all the crazy shit that went down in A Storm of Swords, but decided against it because he would’ve needed too many flashbacks. As a result, The entirety of A Feast for Crows and the first half of A Dance of Dragons were just the author filling in that gap. And once that gap was finished (When you start seeing A Feast for Crows POV characters pop us) is when things start moving at the speed you’d find in the first three books.

Though I still love the series and can’t wait for The Winds of Winter, there were still a lot of problems with this novel. Mainly, the POV chapters. A lot of them could’ve been cut out, or just condensed to a single paragraph. Quentyn’s first two to three chapters were pointless. So, (arguable) were Victarion’s. Jon Snow’s first chapter added nothing,, and a lot of Dany and Tyrion’s early chapters should’ve been edited down. I miss the first three books, where important events were occasionally allowed to happen off-screen.

Despite it’s flaws, I loved it like Daenerys loves her dragons, though it wasn’t much of a novel. While the first three book all made terrific novels when taken by themselves, A Dance with Dragons and it’s predecessor were really just one big chunk of the story, with no real climax or resolution.

And I don’t get why some people think it’ll be impossible for Martin to wrap the series up in two books. A Dance with Dragons ends with multiple story lines about to converge and a whole bunch of major, groundbreaking events, so it’s going to be very, very hard for The Winds of Winter to not be amazing. Assuming the next two books have about the same pace as the first three, the series can easily be wrapped up in the planned seven volumes.

Rating: 3.5/5

Game of Thrones: Laws of Gods and Men Review

Caution: Spoilers for every GoT episode up until now, but nothing that hasn’t happened yet in the books will be spoiled.

Really, the only disappointing moment in this whole episode was when the screen cut to black at 9:52, eight minutes before I expected. Nothing goes by faster than an episode of Game of Thrones, and this particular episode felt like a sitcom (in length, not in tone).

The episode starts off with a quiet scene featuring Davos and Stannis meeting with Mycroft Holmes Tycho Nestoris, where Davos got to show off his best bro skills as he gave a monologue about how great of a King he [Stannis] would make, which convinced them to loan him money. I would’ve done a fist bump if not for the fact that I’ve always believed Renly would’ve made a much better King. #TeamRenly4Life

Meanwhile, Yara goes on a mission to rescue Theon—sorry, I mean Reek—only to fail in a scene remarkably similar the episodes in the Simpsons where Mr. Burns releases the hounds. At first glance this scene seems like pointless filler, since there were no real consequences for either party. I mean sure, Ramsay lost a lot of men, but I doubt he ever placed much value on human life to begin with, and Yara’s back in the exact same place she started. But the real point of the scene was to show just how much of an effect the months of endless torture had on Theon. When there’s finally a chance for him to escape, he doesn’t take it because he thinks it’s some sort of trap, which is frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time.

(Side note to all the aspiring authors out there: If you ever want to make an unlikeable character sympathetic, just have some crazy psychopath torture him for a year or so.)

The bath scene afterwards was all types of creepy and depressing, and it made me realize just how great of an actor Alfie Allen is. Too bad The Dinklage had to steal the spotlight near the end. On the bright side, I’ll be shipping Theon and Ramsay for now on.

I loved the scene with Daenerys, because now it seems that the rules of aSoIaF, that cause the suffering of every other character in the show, are finally applying to her. She faces two difficult moral problems in a row, only to find that she has to listen to over 200 more whiners? Even worse: she has to listen to Missandei repeat all her titles over and over again all day? I’d rather be Theon.

Then we get to the juicy part of the episode: the trial. All of Tyrion’s past moments of awesomeness come back to haunt him, as he is betrayed by both Varys and Shae, and has to put up with Grand Maester Pycelle’s, Cersei’s, and Meryn Trant’s obvious exaggerations and lies. (Really, Pycelle? Joffrey was the most noble child the gods ever put on this good earth?)

Peter Dinklage deserves not one, not two, but TWELVE Emmys for his acting in this episode, most notably from the moment Shae showed up in court until his big speech at the end. “Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than 1,000 lying whores.” “I wish I had enough poison for the whole pack of you.” Oh, snap. Shit just got real.

I like how Tyrion called for the trial by combat with no real hope that he’d win. After all, his two most likely champions are Jaime and Bronn. The former has lost a hand and the latter has been mysteriously absent lately. Plus, they’ll have to face Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane, (is this a spoiler? I hope it’s not.) who is described in the books as being seven feet tall and more muscular than the Hulk and I (that’s right, me) combined. Tyrion did this because it’s the only option in which Tywin had no control over, and it completely ruined the whole “ship Tyrion off to the Night’s Watch” plan, which we all knew wasn’t going to happen anyway. I’d be happy for Tyrion if it weren’t for the fact that he’s probably going to die soon. No spoilers there; that’s just fake speculation.

The show hasn’t really gotten the point across that the Mountain is a horrible person, in my opinion. In the books, I hated him more than I hated Joffrey, and that’s saying something.

Rating: 9/10.

Other things of note:

  • How do you TV only viewers feel of Shae? While betraying Tyrion wasn’t the nicest move, it’s not like she had much of a choice in the matter. I doubt she knocked on Tywin’s door and offered to be a witness for the trial. But from the look she gave Tyrion you could tell she’s at least partially doing this for revenge.
  • I have theory that Daenerys is actually Yara Greyjoy in disguise (or vice versa). Think about it: you never see them in the same scene, and they’re both around the same height, so… yeah. I’m calling it.
  • I love how casually Yara slit that man’s neck. She’s the best.

Game of Thrones: Oathkeeper Review

Caution: Spoilers for every GoT episode up till this point. But no spoilers for anything that will happen later in the books.

Game of Thrones has always been dark and depressing, but never too much for me to handle. When Ned’s head got chopped off, I thought, “No biggie.” When Talisa Stark got stabbed in the uterus a bunch of times, I gritted my teeth but carried on, and when those guys at Craster’s keep were drinking from Mormont’s skull (which had weirdly perfect teeth, I might add), I wasn’t bothered at all.

BUT THEY CROSSED THE LINE WITH WHAT THEY DID TO HODOR!

Hodor is easily the kindest and noblest man in this entire series. When it comes to honor, Ned Stark and Davos Seaworth don’t hold a candle compared to him. Taunting and stabbing Hodor with a spear is just as terrible as sacrificing an innocent baby to the White Walkers. Which the show also did.

*headdesks*

Anywho, I don’t think Game of Thrones is nearly as depressing as people make it out to be. The only moment when I felt it was too dark to keep watching/reading, was during the Red Wedding, when it felt like all the good guys have either died or were stuck in hopeless situations. But what I like about this show is that whenever there’s a good moment, it is truly satisfying, because the characters (and the viewers) had to go through hell to get that one moment of happiness. So when Joffrey died an extremely painful death at his own wedding, or when Arya got to stab Polliver while repeating his past words to him, it made me happier than any Doctor Who episode could, which is a little disturbing if you think about it.

Also, I’d like to apologize for when I accidentally spoiled something in my last review. I read way too much into that Littlefinger/Sansa scene, and accidentally spoiled the necklace twist. And by the way Petyr pointed the necklace out, it’s clear that that was meant to be a big surprise. Not only am I sorry about that, but I’m a disappointed in myself for becoming the very thing I hate: that obnoxious book reader who spoils things for the show watchers. I promise I’ll never spoil anything again—

BRIENNE AND DAENERYS FALL IN LOVE!*

Sorry, I did it again. I am just out of control, aren’t I?

But hey, at least I didn’t spoil the whole “The Queen of Thorns was the killer” reveal. (God, I hope I didn’t read too much into that scene as well.) I thought it was impossible to like the Tyrells even more, but gosh darn-it, it looks like I have. This also lead to Margaery sneaking into Tommen’s bedroom in a scene that would be a hundred times more creepy if the genders were reversed. (#doublestandard) Still, well done, Margaery, and good luck getting back to sleep, Tommen.

In other news, Dany conquers Meereen within five minutes into the episode. Personally, I’m surprised the scene didn’t come with a staples’ easy button. But I did enjoy her decision to crucify one hundred and sixty-three masters, not because I agree with it, but moral ambiguity is the best.

Meanwhile, Bran and Co. get captured by those jerks at Craster’s Keep, which gives me mixed feelings. On one hand, poor Hodor, but on the other hand, the potential for a Stark reunion is suddenly very high. But on the third hand, I can’t imagine a situation where Meera isn’t raped, and I really don’t want that to happen, and on the fourth hand, Bran’s storyline is finally getting interesting.

(Notice how I keep saying that Bran’s storyline is finally getting interesting, despite the fact that I’ve been saying that since the second half of season 3.)

I think my favorite part of the episode was Pod’s face (see below), along with the fact that he and Brienne will be having a bunch of wacky adventures. I hope they meet up with Arya and the Hound, and start their own mystery-solving gang.

  • Ser Pounce made an appearance! I was so happy when that adorable cat showed up, since I thought for sure the show would cut him out of the story. You know how I said Hodor was the most noble character in the whole series? I lied. Ser Pounce is.
  • Speaking of Ser Pounce, “He [Joffrey] threatened to skin him alive and mix his innards up in my food so I wouldn’t know I was eating him.” That is such a Joffrey thing to do.
  • That guy who cut off Jaime’s hand is now traveling along with Snow. Combine that with the White Walkers, the freezing cold, the fact that Bran’s captured and Owen Harper’s evil, identical twin leading the mutineers, so many things could go wrong with this plan.
  • That final scene was certainly… interesting. Also, that was the most adorable white walker we’ve seen so far.

Final Rating: 0/10, for what they did to Hodor. (Don’t take my ratings seriously.)

*No, this hasn’t actually happened in the books. Yet. *crosses fingers*

Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose Review

(Click here for my review of “Two Swords.”)

Caution: Extreme Spoilers, but only for this episode and the episodes before it. Anything that happens afterwards in the books will not be mentioned.

What this episode should’ve been called: Finally!

I’m so glad Joffrey just kicked it, not only because he’s perhaps the most hateable villain I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, but because now I can talk openly about his death. And man, what a satisfying death that was.

I mean, did you see his face? Blood was pouring out of just about every orifice, and I like to think he was in extreme pain, yet somehow in all this, Joffrey still managed to find a way to mess with Tyrion. By blaming him for his death. Which is a bit ridiculous because if anything, Tyrion should be rewarded for killing Draco Malfoy’s cousin.

I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler to say whether or not Tyrion is innocent, because for all I know some TV-viewers think he is, but I’m just going to say it: he didn’t kill him.* Tyrion isn’t dumb enough to poison Joffrey when he knew he’d be the number one suspect. Of course, he’s still going to be blamed for it, and that sucks. But surely they won’t kill off such a major character, right?

Also, Tyrion ends his “friendship” with Shae, in a scene that could’ve been heartbreaking had Shae been a convincing actress. Don’t give me those dirty looks; I didn’t buy into her tears for a second. Also, Shae: stop being so oblivious to how dangerous those pesky Lannisters are. It’s like you want to die.Meanwhile, the few minutes we actually got with Bran were actually somewhat interesting, but perhaps that’s just because I haven’t reached that part in the books. Were one of those visions (with the empty throne room) the same Daenerys saw in The House of the Undying? And does this mean Bran will finally figure out that the extremely close Lannister twins pushed him off that castle? (Though it’s not like he could do anything about it at this point.) Anyway, I just hope the best for Bran, but more importantly, I hope the best for Hodor.

“Hodor.”

Meanwhile, Melisandre gets an interesting scene with Stannis’s daughter, where she says, “There’s only one hell. The one we live in now,” which is a bit disappointing, because Joffrey better not be going to heaven.

I feel bad for Theon. (Show Theon, at least.) Being tortured for long periods of time is hardly fun, and it’s even less fun for those who have to sit through it every few episodes. Do we really need to keep seeing Ramsay do horrible things? We get the point. He’s evil. Let’s move on now. In fact, I seriously think season 3 would have been better off if Theon’s only appearance was in Mhysa (last season’s finale). It could’ve been a major shock to the audience, who’d be thinking, “Oh, so that’s what Theon’s been up to this whole time,” and not, “What body part is he going to lose now?”

Drawn out torture being implied>Drawn out torture being shown. I believe that was one of Pixar’s twenty-two storytelling tips.

That being said, I can’t wait to see where Theon’s storyline goes from this point on, because I’ve been told his chapters in A Dance with Dragons were some of the best in the series.

Other notes:

  • I like how this episode had Joffrey pulling countless amounts of obnoxious stunts, varying from the dwarrs reenacting the War of the Five Kings to him slicing up Tyrion and Sansa’s wedding gift. I knew about fifty kids in middle school who are just like him.
  • I’m a little upset they didn’t bring up an important revelation made in the books about Joffrey that would make everyone hate him even more. Book readers will know what I’m talking about.
  • Foreshadowing, foreshadowing everywhere! Particularly in the music. First, The Rains of Castamere was played, and then afterwards we heard the same happy music that played right before everyone you loved died at the Red Wedding.
  • Fun fact: the kid who plays Tommen is also the same kid who played one of the Lannister brothers in season 3; he was murdered by Karstark’s men. Also, Tommen is noticeably much less annoying than his older brother, so I think it’s safe to say he’d make a much better king.

Rating: “Out of ten? Eleven.”—The Doctor.

*Which is a shame, because if I could’ve chosen how Joffrey would die, I would’ve had Arya and Sansa take turns stabbing him while Tyrion held him down. But oh well, you can’t always get what you want. I’m a very sadistic person.