Tag Archives: George RR Martin

Game of Thrones: Still no winner in sight

daenerys game of thrones(Ep.21)  When I read the first Game of Thrones book, it was a real page-turner. I wanted to know who was victorious in the war, who succeeded Robert Baratheon on the Iron Throne – basically, who won? I reckoned without the writing stamina of George RR Martin, who seems determined to go on forever before reaching any kind of resolution. As the books went on, my interest in them went off. There was too much walking from one place to another, too many lovingly-described meals. Also I felt a bit cheated of anything resembling a satisfying conclusion, funny old-fashioned (short attention-spanned) thing that I am.

Luckily, the TV adaptation doesn’t suffer from these problems, because they’ve managed to distil the action and organise things so there’s more going on in a 75 minute (including ad breaks) episode than you can shake a stick at. We’re onto Series 3 now, and it’s staying true to form in the sense that when the EPG mentions “nudity and upsetting scenes,” you can bet that’s what you’re going to get. The nudity was fairly low-key in this season opener (a token topless whore) and the most upsetting thing was a eunuch soldier having his nipple sliced off to prove how hard he was. He was so hard he didn’t scream or cry, but thanked the nasty man doing the slicing for the opportunity to be of service. A bit like The Apprentice when someone gets fired.

Daenerys was after buying 8,000 of these Unsullied. With an army of such ruthless single-mindedness and brutality, she reckoned it would be easy-peasy to get the Iron Throne back. She hasn’t met Cersei Lannister yet, however. Will 8,000 eunuchs really be a match for the Cersei Lannister Stare?

North of the Wall, Jon Snow met up with the infamous Mance Rayder. Is his first name short for Romance? Having seen him, I doubt it, though he does seem about 100% more cuddly and human than Joffrey.

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Game of Thrones: Season 2 trailer!

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Game of Thrones: You should get some sleep. It’s going to be a long war

(Series 1, Ep.10) So that’s Game of Thrones over for a while. Like the book, it ended (literally) in a blaze of glory. Also, like the book, it left you wanting more. Rather than tying up loose ends and resolving plot issues, the ending of this particular story leaves everything in a state of flux, so you’re still desperate to know what happens next.

The episode began with the aftershocks of Ned’s death – yes, he really is dead, and his head is on a stick on the castle wall just in case we were in any doubt. A travelling troubadour who made up an amusing song about it, incorporating some witty lyrics about King Joffrey’s parentage, soon discovered that Joffrey is a far harsher judge than Simon Cowell when he was given a choice of losing his fingers or his tongue. Of course, Joffrey didn’t carry out the punishment himself. Joffrey likes to keep his hands clean, and this also applies to getting other people to give his girlfriend a slap when she gets out of hand.

Luckily a bit of sanity is on its way to Kings Landing in the form of Tyrion, whom Tywin has appointed King’s Hand. Tyrion is rebelling and taking his girlfriend, Shae, which is strictly against his father’s orders, what with Shae being a whore and so on. “Everyone, everywhere, always has to do exactly what my father says,” moaned Tyrion. “He’s always been a c**t.”

In the north, meanwhile, Robb Stark has been annointed “King of the North,” and is going into battle against the combined Lannister armies of Joffrey and his uncles Stannis and Renly, who all have a claim to be King on the Iron Throne.

Jon Snow and his comrades in the Night’s Watch are ignoring all this civil war business and are heading north, to look for Benjen Stark and find out exactly why spooks and undead types are getting restless.

Oblivious to all of this, Daenerys has had traumas of her own, with the death of her unborn child and her sun-and-stars Khal Drogo left in a persistent vegetative state. We’ve seen over the weeks that Daenerys is made of strong stuff, and she wasn’t about to let her proud warrior husband eke out his days in that manner, so she smothered him with a cushion and had a funeral pyre built, to which she added the double-crossing mystic Mirri Maz Duur and the dragon eggs. Then she walked into the flames herself.

In the morning, when the faithful Ser Jorah and Rakharo went to the site of the fire, they were met by an enduring image. Daenerys, naked, slightly singed-looking – and nursing three baby dragons.

Look out, Westeros – the Targaryens have got their dragons back.

Posted by PLA          (more Game of Thrones here, and if you want to know what happens next you’ll have to wait till next year or read the book)


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Game of Thrones: The dead and the undead

(Episodes 7,8,9) Good grief. I’ve just finished a self-imposed “omnibus edition” of the last three episodes, having been away for a while. Watching one episode of GoT is enough food for thought, but three in a row is an all-you-can-eat, gutbuster banquet.

I’m not going to summarise everything that happened or we’d be here all week. Suffice it to say that half the main characters appear to be dead. I say “appear to be,” because you can’t be sure any more, not with poor old Jon Snow having to battle with zombie-like creatures as well as coping with icy conditions, no female company and the disappointment of being picked to be a glorified chambermaid rather than a glorious ranger, like his (missing) Uncle Benjen. Even when run through with the pointy end of a bit of Valyrian steel, these zombie things still get up and come atcha, and the only thing that stops them is fire. So Jon Snow now has a burned hand to add to his troubles.

His troubles are nothing compared to his father, who is now dead. That’s right – Eddard Stark is dead. It’s a shock, isn’t it? The person whose name comes first in the cast list isn’t supposed to die part-way through the series. It’s just not the done thing, they’re supposed to be rescued at the last minute. But no-one told George RR Martin this, and he had no qualms in offing one of the few people in the story who has any moral fibre.

One of the most moving love stories looks like it’s come to a close, too, as Khal Drogo has apparently gone off to the Great Rodeo in the Sky. After what was admittedly not the most promising start to a marriage, he and Daenerys were really in love, thanks to her mastery of erotic techniques, the Dothraki language and her willingness to eat raw horse heart. What a gal! In return, her “Sun and Stars” got very protective of her, even ripping out the tongue of someone who was cheeky to her and offering to sail in an actual ship (Dothraki do not go on water, as a rule) to reclaim the lands that she feels are rightfully hers. Sadly he’s been done for by a combination of an infected wound and a bit of dubious alternative medicine courtesy of the mysterious Mirri Maz Duur.

With Ned executed for treason, the whole kingdom is now at war, with Robb Stark in charge of the army in the north, Tyrion commanding a raggle-taggle bunch of bandits alongside the Lannister army, and assorted Baratheons hissing and snarling at each other down south.

Robb has already proved to be quite the strategist, and has won a bit of a prize scalp – none other than Jaime Lannister himself. With the gorgeous, pouting Jaime in Stark hands, will Cersei let Arya and Sansa go back home? She’ll have to find Arya first – rescued from Lannister guards by the totally marvellous (and now, sadly, totally dead) Syrio Forel, Arya was in the crowd and witnessed her father’s execution, so my guess is she’ll take her awesome sword skills and leg it.

Cersei is a frightening prospect indeed, but now we’ve met her father Tywin (Charles Dance) you can see where she gets it from. That man is terrifying! The way he can chat and skin a dead beast at the same time. I suppose Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall can do that, too, but somehow Hugh is far less frightening. He wouldn’t last a minute in Westeros.

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Game of Thrones: There’s only one thing we say to death – “Not today”

(Ep. 6/10) What a cracking episode this was – one of those rare times when you’re so immersed in the story and the characters that the real world just stops existing for the hour.

It also featured one of the most memorable GoT deaths, that of Viserys Targaryen. Now, I know Viserys was supposed to be a little shit, but Harry Lloyd played him with such  magnificent deluded arrogance that I couldn’t help but find him quite attractive. Sadly his arrogance, and his jealousy, were his downfall. His sister Daenerys has become a total hit since becoming khaleesi. Not only is she pregnant with Khal Drogo’s son (we know it’s a boy, and she’s already named him Rhaego, and apparently he’s destined to become “The Stallion Who Mounts The World” – in other words, a very big deal indeed), she also passed the Dothraki initiation test of eating a raw horse’s heart without puking, and she can lift red hot dragons’ eggs out of the fire without getting burned.

No wonder Viserys got jealous of all the attention she was getting. He decided it was time to demand the armies and the crown that Khal Drogo had promised him in return for marrying Daenerys. You don’t get stroppy with Khal Drogo, though. He decided he’d had enough of the blond upstart, and gave him the gold crown that he wanted – by melting down a gold belt and pouring the molten metal over Viserys’s head. That’s got to hurt.  Continue reading


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Game of Thrones: Extremes

(Episode 5/10) This was an extreme episode even by the high standards set already. Where else can you enjoy/endure extreme horse decapitation, extreme shieldwork, extreme breastfeeding and extreme chest-shaving, topped off with some extreme eye-gouging and a full-frontal Alfie Allen?

Where to start? Ned Stark and Robert Baratheon have an easy-going, joshing sort of relationship. The kind where it’s okay to say to your best mate, “You’re too fat for your armour,” even if your best mate happens to be the King. There’s some things up with which Ned won’t put, though, and sanctioning infanticide is one of them. When Robert got wind that Daenerys Targaryen is pregnant with a Khal Drogo mini-me, he was worried. This was just the kind of thing to unite the Targaryens and the Dothraki once and for all and get them sending a big army to cause all sorts of mayhem. Ned didn’t think it was all that risky, given that the Dothraki aren’t the world’s best sailors and generally refuse to go in a ship, and helicopters haven’t been invented yet. So when Robert came up with the plan to have Daenerys and the unborn child killed, and everyone else nodded in agreement, Ned didn’t want anything to do with it. He’s an honourable man, you see.

So he resigned his Hand of the King badge, and was promptly set upon by Jaime Lannister, who was irked that wee Tyrion has been arrested by Catelyn and is currently in a cell at her sister’s place, The Eyrie. A cell with a very long drop.

In the book, the journey to The Eyrie is brilliantly described. It’s unfathomably high, the paths are unfathomably narrow and steep, and generally it’s a place even Julia Bradbury would balk at hiking to. Sadly, because there was so much other stuff to fit into the episode, the journey to the castle itself was a little curtailed. There was, however, room for Tyrion to bash someone’s head in with the pointy end of a shield when the party was attacked by bandits.

Catelyn’s sister, Lysa Arryn, is mad as a box of frogs. She has a son who looked old enough to be in the Arsenal youth team, but is still breastfeeding, which is more than a tad disturbing. He fancied seeing Tyrion “fly,” which in Eyrie-speak basically means getting chucked out of the nearest window, but Catelyn insisted on him being kept alive, so he’s currently housed in a cell which has the outside wall missing, and a gentle slope outwards. This means that prisoners are scared to go to sleep in case they roll off in the night. A particularly clever and unpleasant method of incarceration.

The best bit of dialogue came from Petyr Baelish and “Spider” Varys, two men who pride themselves on their secret network of spies.

Varys: How have you been since we last saw each other?

Baelish: Since I saw you, or since you saw me?

Sums up Game of Thrones nicely.

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Game of Thrones: Imp in a tight spot

(Ep.4/10) The title of this episode was “Cripples, Bastards and Broken Things,” but the Sky EPG was a bit squeamish about all that political incorrectness and half the title was turned into asterisks.

No such squeamishness in the episode itself, which featured a very nasty jousting incident, some hot bathtub action and more uses of the C and B words than you could shake a broken lance at.

To the north first, and Jon Snow made a new friend. Samwell Tarly might be a fat coward, as Jon Snow didn’t exactly say, but he’s our fat coward. Jon Snow understands life as a perennial outsider, because he’s “a northern bastard.” Not an insult – more a statement of fact. Protecting Samwell Tarly has made Jon even less popular with his master-at-arms, Ser Alliser Thorne, who’s a hard bastard (that’s an insult) who isn’t used to pretty, curly-haired boys standing up to him.      Continue reading


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