“The Wolf and the Lion” 1×5

I really enjoyed the middle of this episode.  The times when Robert was on screen were really my favorite, as I recall.

 

Spoilers ahoy:

1. I wish my lessons were more like Bran’s.  Also, I wish there had been some kind of lesson like this for viewers somewhere on here-perhaps as an intro before each episode or something, like BBC did with Downton Abbey.

2. I still want to say that Bran remembers what happened and is annoyed by his mother’s absence because he doesn’t trust telling anyone else, and he really wants to tell someone.

3. Still don’t care about Theon Greyjoy.

4. I love the Knight of the Flowers!  His armor is INTRICATE.  SHINY.  I will take that action!

5. Also, I totally called Renly/Flower boy the minute there was eye contact!  Offering to make this dude a king might be interesting.  I think I could get behind a kingship where this pretty knight calls the shots.  He knows what’s up and knows how to do things in style, plus he already has the love of the people.  It could work.

6. Sansa’s innocence and girlishness in loving the knight and defending his honor at the drop of a hat makes me like her better.

7. Whose bed do we think the horsehead winds up in?  I’m voting for the Hound getting it to the Mountain’s bed himself.  Brotherly rivalry!  Excellent!  Knight of the Flowers sharing the win with the common Hound!  THIS is more what this show should be about.  Love that part.

8. On Catelyn: When you’ve got a hot royal fugitive on your hands, running to Crazy McBreastymom is the last thing you want to do.  Particularly if she’s got cocky captains, which it seems she does.  On the bright side, there’s now interesting bonds between Tyrion and Catelyn that she seems to be aware of by proclaiming that he is not to be harmed.  I am now interested to see how this plays out.

9. Tyrion: Well played, sir!  That shield looked vaguely blunt and cardboardy for me even as a shield, but as a blundeon!-that was some work, man.

10. Okay, Ned-let’s get this straight.  Robert is a Warrior King and finally, there is some news that calls for a king always thinking about war.  Robert made the right. call.  This is what he knows how to do.  And this is where you completely stand up to him?  Not, you know, something understandable like your family, or anything?  Bah humbug.  If I were going along knowing I’m a fat fool and just wishing I didn’t have so many worries on the side, and then finally a situation arose where I knew the answer and could enforce it, and THAT’s what my friend opposes…I’d be riled and calling for their head, too.  Talk about frustrating!  In any case, who’s this innocent child you speak of?  Daenerys?  Cause the whole point of this lord system is that everyone is born with a purpose and her purpose right now is to be a threat to your people.  Therefore she is not innocent.  So, stop it.  Either point out the difficulties inherent in assassinating her (which would be legion), or man up and orchestrate an attempt.  In my opinion Robert showed great restraint at this fucking soldier refusing to follow orders about SOLDIERLY DUTIES when he swallowed them about politics right enough, by first allowing his other counselors to offer their arguments to him.  Foolish Stark.  On the other hand, if it’s Daenerys’ child, what the hell?  That kid is the single most dangerous threat to the kingdom.  Again-not innocent.  The end.  As I recall, I actually said, “This part is fun!” during the beginning of that scene, when Robert was front and center.  As soon as Ned and his agonized don’t-wanna face took over it was no longer fun.

11.  Also, the BEST argument for the Dothraki not being an immediate threat is that-“Winter is coming”.  Ned of all people should’ve thought to say that!  The horsemen with their lack of clothing, their need for horses, etc.-they’d be DOOMED trying to attack in winter.  And Ned didn’t even have the sense to bring that up.  (The answer is, of course, that then the next summer they’d be fully ready to attack wiht a prince who actually has the army and a claim on the throne, so it’s only an argument against immediate action and in that sense flaws for this argument, but still-if that’s what Ned’s goin’ for he should’ve busted this out.)

12. Robert continued to be my favorite character this time with his scene with Cersei-my favorite scene as of now.  It fully explained how Robert is forward thinking, it explains the dark-haired child, it fully fleshes out the dynamic between these two.  These are the interesting characters.  Robert’s made a rotten run of it, but at least he knows how to keep the machine moving.  Cersei may have massive personality flaws, but she has a good comprehension and the willingness to discuss matters when she needs to.

13. I’ve seen some people wonder that Cersei seemed to support Ned Stark-I am not surprised.  Ned Stark is a simple man, a follower, not someone who’d ever be able to out-scheme anyone or do something underhanded to get rid of their enemies.  Whoever the Hand of the king is, it will be Cersei’s enemy since Jaime won’t take the job.  Therefore she wants the best enemy-the one she knows, the one she can count on not to undermine her, or to do anything she can’t predict.  This sensible move endears the Queen of Pigs to me.

14. Arya out-facing the guards is a thing of beauty!  I really wish I could see the dragon skull better, though.  I couldn’t tell what it was til my friend informed me.

15. See?  Jaime totally improves when he has something to do!  The fact that what he had to do at the end of this episode was out of concern for his brother also helped his cause, to my mind.  I look on him much more favorably now.  (Also, man does the guy need a way to vent.  He lives between those who despise him for betraying his king, those who loathe him for following the orders of that king, those who hate him for both reasons, and the king who likes to make him hear whore-fucking and otherwise being unworthy of his sister.  I feel for him.)  The fact that this attack is against Ned in no way lessons the touching quality of going out hell-for-leather in reaction to his brother’s wrong.  He didn’t even take Ned captive or take advantage of a wounded man!  He does have a sense of honor.  I like him better!

16. Varys and Baelish clearly know too much to be such minor characters thus far.  I expect more action on this front!  Especially from Baelish.  So far he’s given Ned “help” in breadcrumbs and pebbles.  It’s time to get to the candy house or the wicked witch already!  Or both!  Both is traditional.

17. Was that Illyrio Arya overheard?  I liked Illyrio!  If he’s up to something I want in!

18. In short, there seem to be a lot of people whose sides I am currently willing to consider, but if I’m going to actually join sides and get a real interest in this “game of thrones” then someone is going to have to step it up and do more!  (But Ned is right out!)

19. Also, I love the vines on those columns in the throne room!

20. Why is it always so dark?  Are there vampires showing up?  (Were these mysterious dragons…VAMPIRE DRAGONS?)

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court

DOMA Ruled Unconstitutional By Federal Appeals Court.

 

Well, it’s a start.  A case headed for the Supreme Court is what we need-it’s what striking down laws against interracial couples took.  It seems like a good track.

Hear, hear!

“Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things” 1×4

Spoilery thoughts:

1. I am already a fan of Hodor.

2. This saddle to enable Bran to ride is Tyrion’s first heroic move, to me.  The fact that he calls Robb on his retarded hospitality is the next.  The whole thing with the Greyjoys was not laid out enough for someone who hadn’t read the books to enjoy the banter-we’re just trying to figure out what exactly went on here.  I feel they could’ve moved Tyrion’s barbs to include a bit more a bit faster.

3. I shall count Robb’s suspicion and dislike of Tyrion to count as senseful mistrust of Lannisters.  That being said, his lack of subtlety does not bode well for those hopes of him having sense I had before.

4. My thought on Sam is that Jon Snow needs a Sam, just as Frodo needed a Samwise.  At least, I hope that’s where they’re going with it.  Thus far it’s just been one more son with a difficult relationship with his father that Snow feels he can open up to.  This did help is character a bit, I admit.  It shows him coming into his own somewhere, that he does have a faint grasp of tactics, and that when he puts his mind to it he can make good friends.  Though, of course, some of those things really have more to do with his wolf (which I would have expected to make more of a commotion when it came to live at the wall, especially seeing as they aren’t supposed to exist south of the wall.  Something of a slight to the wall-keepers, I’d think?)  On the other hand…are they really doing Sam any favors? He’s going to die and die hard, and possibly get everyone else killed too, if they don’t let him undergo training.  The training’s not kind, I get it-what the hell kind of battle/life-or-death training is, or can afford to be?  Particularly if, “as the Starks say: Winter is coming.”

5. Really, it’s just a Stark saying that “winter is coming” and “eventually they’re always right”?  This is disappointing.  I wanted them to be so much a part of their northern lands that they could tell when it was coming soon and say it.

6. This time Daenerys totally wins.  Her conciliatory tone with her brother before the strike and her shock afterward made the scene fit in perfectly with what we’ve seen before-the series listened to me when I said it took her movement too fast!  The confrontation between Dany and her brother caught my attention.  It revealed a lot about what is going on with Viserys, as well as showing Dany developing into someone proud enough to call judgment and threats down on the prince “the dragon.”  (Also, seriously, ‘the dragon”?  It’s like they’re just begging everyone to think of him as Draco Malfoy transported.)  Why she tried to give him new clothes when his attitude to the Dothraki is exceedingly clear is odd, though.  I’m going to say that her people/husband were making fun of him for not fitting in and riding oddly and she tried to give him more suitable garments to escape embarassment through him/more insults.

7. A book!  Now we’re getting somewhere!…no-it’s a family lineage book.  This could have been much more exciting.

8. Baelish, I love your walk of the spies!  I might have to support him if he ever does anything but smarm about and diddle about with whores.  He arouses my curiosity.  He knows so much, he seems so helpful, he has so many reasons to gain leverage over people…He also has good reason to hate a lot of people.  I look forward to him now the most, really.

9. Why is this a big deal, with the king having bastards?  Everyone knows he whores around-it’s a natural conclusion.  *side-eyes*

10. Is Jon snow really supposed to seem better because he’s a virgin?  This is just playing into the old feudal values, which I thought the story was trying to put into place by giving him a more “democratic” merit-based spot on The Wall.  Perhaps if he’d phrased it as him not being in a position to be a good father…

11. Lady Stark is very good at calling connections.  My respect for her grows.  On the other hand, she’d just agreed with people in the capitol that accusing Tyrion outright was a terrible idea.  I doubt she’s thought this through.  So, what is she doing?  She acts in self-defense before he can report to the Lannisters that she wasn’t at home?  She acts out of pure venom on the belief that he tried to kill her son?  She acts with confidence having thought things out and considered that they were on her turf?  She considers this an opportunity sent by the gods, so she should take it?  It is confusing, with her.

12. Again, it’s the lore stories I really like best-the tales of what happens when it’s true winter.

13. Arya and Syrio’s command of my approval continues apace.

14. Oh-also, what the hell Bran and the odd raven?  I feel like I need to know more of these GoT stories before I can speculate properly.

15. Also-now that I’ve read some other reviews, why is Sansa assumed to be longing to be queen?  The scene with her envisioning her future seemed to be more her coming to terms with how serious and unglamorous a role she will have to play-how perilous her part will be, all hinging on whether or not she manages to birth boys as well as girls.  Perhaps it’s clear in the books, but in this show all I see is a girl with her foolish illusions stripped away.  She seems angry at her dad for bringing them all here and sticking her in this position more than at him for Lady or anything else.

 

“Lord Snow” 1×3

Well, this episode slowed down a bit.  Necessarily so, since so many new characters showed up and they apparently didn’t come up with clever ways to introduce them to us like the writers did in the pilot.  As, again, a non-book reader, my thoughts ran thusly (with spoilers):

On Daenerys: Wow, she became a Khaleesi mighty fast.  I have no issue with her clear closeness with her husband in contrast to the past episodes, simply because pregnancy is known to bring couples peace.  What I found a bit fast for me was Dany’s sudden Dothrakian outlook on life.  Her clothes changed right from the start of this episode, her command changed, etc.  If it was simply the stopping of the horde, that’d be one thing.  But that she did so with no apparent reason and then had a servant who made her brother walk, seemed a bit much.  The violence is nothing-the Dothraki are violent, it’s been pounded into our heads.  But having everyone follow her into the woods like that, and again, particularly the clothes-costumes are such important clues on TV…trifle fast, people.

On Jon Snow: So he wanted to go to the Wall so he could lord it over people for once.  This fits in with all the reasons I disliked him last episode.  Granted, he does get better.  Choosing to learn is excellent, but I am still aggrieved that the motivation from it came entirely from Tyrion.  Tyrion has the sense to see and point out what’s really happening, while it never even occurs to Snow.  He’d better change that fast if I’m not to cheer on the white walkers when they show up.  Conversely, my respect for Tyrion has grown.

On Jaime: Why is he always just hanging out waiting to be snarky about past events?  He seems like the most contrived thing in this series.  Somebody give that guy something to do other than eavesdrop on Robert being an ass and lust after his sister.  The man needs employment.

On the Council: New characters are much more confusing this episode.  Baelish, God bless him, is sticking out.  He’s certainly adverse to being pleasant when he could be easy-going-with-a-hint-of-brimstone though, isn’t he?  I am glad I watched with someone who’d read the books so they could tell me why the hell a duel for Ned’s wife was fought between Ned’s brother and this Littlefinger.  Show totally dropped the ball on that.  Meanwhile, I fail to see why debt is surprising.  Ned remains more of a fool than I took him for since he apparently somehow failed to observe over hte last MONTH of riding with Robert that the king doesn’t listen to advice.  I’ll talk to the king alone and talk sense into him-uh-huh.  And Lady’s still alive and Cersei has no say.  Riiiight.

On Joffrey: The boy has some SENSE.  Color me amazed!  The fact is that in order to consolidate statehood and really keep various kingdoms together, the nobles shouldn’t really have their own armies, as Richelieu taught France.  The king SHOULD, in fact, have his own army.  This is true.  The problems Cersei points out are extremely practicable ones against the people she was thinking of whereas for a moment it seemed Joffrey was speaking of political theory instead of a certain hatred.  As a theorist, he actually has some sense.  I jot it down officially and honor him for having this in the face of blatant opposition by his mother’s absurd ideas of power and his father’s absurd negligence of power.  Put him in different tutelage-Tyrion’s, let’s say-and based on this episode he could be a decent king.  Why, he even grew a sense of shame!  He no longer wishes to marry Sansa simply because he knows that she sees him as the coward he feels himself.  If that part of him was encouraged, he could easily improve-he’s young enough.  I pronounce Joffrey officially off my list for the time being.  I blame things on his parents.

On Sansa: I consider her also forgiven, for the time being.  She has realized her awful situation.  She’s facing reality now.  She’s going to have to LIVE with Joffrey for the rest of her life, who she’s had the sense (again, sense!  amazing!) to realize now dislikes her.  Her cup is full and she’s trying to deal with things gracefully as she can.

On Syrio: Arya has a worthy friend!  I am officially on his side.  Everything about him-his meaning to Arya, the way he talks, the way he moves, what it implies about Ned, the depth it gave Ned’s character to see Arya and Syrio work….all of it.

This episode had more stories about the winter, about how people in this world because of history and lore.  Those are so far my favorite part of the series.  They make something real that can’t be ruined by stupidity anymore.

Les Miserables Trailer

Les Miserables Trailer Breaks Your Heart With Musical-Drama Beauty – CinemaBlend.com.

 

I have strong feelings about this rendition, none of which are settling anywhere in particular by actually seeing something instead of just hearing names.  What I do know is that I approve of this director, so that generally makes up for a lot in these movies.  I’m not a fan of Anne Hathaway, but…the song seems better than I anticipated?  I actually am most excited about Russell Crowe as Javert.  In spite of having seen multiple versions of this-onstage musical by real companies and non-musical movies-I never really cared much for that character.  So, maybe Crowe won’t sing it as well-I’ve heard the songs sung awesomely and still been mostly indifferent.  If Russell Crowe can make me actually get on-or at least truly understand, finally-the sensation that others find Javert, than I will be very happy.  So, in short-I anticipate good things from him.  Hugh Jackman…was not really in here very much.  I reserve judgment.  I’m ecstatic about Helena Bonham-Carter as Mrs. Thernardier!  As for the rest, I am just so pleased that finally a movie will be the musical!  It is definitely on my Must See List.

“Kingsroad” 1×2

I am unhappy.

List of mostly complaints (and spoilers):

1. Arya and Dany seem to be the only characters with any intelligence this episode.  Arya knew what was going on with everything and did all that could be expected of her and more.  Dany’s life sucks and she’s still trying to grasp some sort of happiness, or at least more leverage.

2. My disappointment in Ned Stark is vast.  It’s like he’s still under the effects of the One Ring.  He doesn’t say anything to the point.  Walk in on your wife being a bitch to your son and don’t do anything to comfort either of them, ignore your comatose son, keep insisting that unpleasant things can’t happen even though they totally will, don’t say anything in defense of your daughter-bah!   Honor, my foot.  What he has is the pride and a will to see the world in familiar ways.  I think he was well served by having to kill Lady due to Robert’s unwillingness to stand up to his wife since, after all, Ned has the exact same issue when it comes to talking with his wife and arguing over what’s happening.  Both of them avoid it, and it will bite both of them in the ass, the frank king who at least knows there will be war, and the idiot pretending to be Honorable.  Nothing drove me so crazy tonight as reading all the people talking about how he acted honorably.  He’s a coward about facing unpleasant truths, about changing his ways, and about arguing with anyone he cares about.  Bring back Boromir, please.

3.  “There must always be a Stark in Winterfell.” = “There have always been Starkadders at Cold Comfort Farm.”  That is all.

4. Jon Snow seemed dumber by the line.  After last episode I was willing to let his slowness in failing to perceive the similarities between bastards and dwarves slip.   And what is my reward?  He wonders why people read, he boasts prematurely about his role, he still hasn’t learned that hearing ‘bastard’ must needs be all right in his world…

5. Cat needs to chill.  Jon Snow is leaving in a couple days, she couldn’t manage civility for a few minutes?  He’ll be gone FOREVER!

6. Ned’s goodbye to Snow=”Don’t make me have to behead you.”

7. What the hell was Jaime’s costume about?  Lapels and a longcoat seem hideously out of place with all the other costumes I’ve seen thus far.  Also, just generally they are the wrong era.  Is there a reason for this?  Perhaps the Doctor can be involved…

8. Joffrey is quite canon! Draco Malfoyish.  He makes the fanfic!Draco Viscerys seem wonderful.

9. I suppose I must allow that Cat immediately caught on to all the implications of the assassination attempt.  I suppose she can have some intelligence, too.  Hopefully her reunion with her husband will transfer some of that to him.  Geez, only the women have it in this episode.

10. On Cersei’s “black-haired prince.”  This is a lie?  This is about a child that Jaime killed out of jealousy and because he wanted his son to be king?  This is about a son that actually died naturally and her grief over him turned the king off of her and sent him back to the whores and things more zealously, thus pushing her back/into Jaime’s arms?  Whenever I hear her name I keep thinking of the Greek Circe who turned men into pigs and other animals.  So far she’s got a pig for a husband, a brother who’s selfishly pig-like over having sex with her, and a son who’s a cowardly swine.  I wonder if her cruelty would diminish and disappear if she could live in a matriarchal world?  It seems very directly, and justifiably, to stem from her hardships and turmoil over various men.

11. Tyrion puzzles me.  I like what I’ve seen, but so far what I’ve seen is so little.  I keep waiting to find him dazzling like all the other watchers seem to.  Slapping Joffrey does not a hero make, just a sensible prince.

12. Back to Ned-it’s not like he has no bargaining power!  If he’s going to run the kingdom for Robert, that means he’s got plenty of pull.  Why does he not start to exert it, if only in the name of the greater good and making sure his friend sticks to the principles of their mentor or whatnot?-that’d be actually honorable.

13. The Stark son still at home does have some sense.  I repose hopes in him.

14. Sansa is a little fool, but she’s been repaid this week.  I shall withhold judgment til I see how she deals with it.

15. And now, the single greatest question of the entire episode: WHY THE HELL IS ARYA GOING TO THE CAPITAL?  It’s not like the family’s going.  It’s not like the Starks would encourage her tomboyhood by bringing her to see the world, experience life, or learn about anything.  Even the sons are not going.  It’s not like there’s no one to take care of her back at home.  I’ve seen no evidence that there’s an incredibly strong bond between Arya and Ned.  There’s no marriage prospects for her yet that have been mentioned, and surely if there were they could be dealt with later, after her older sister’s wedding, and more importantly-Ned would not be advocating and abetting it by dragging her along so soon.  So, what the hell?

 

Also: I’ve seen a lot of discussion over the Khal/Dany scenes.  As someone new to the story, my reactions are: As I said in my review of the first episode, the sex between them is far gentler and overall better than I would have expected.  It’s certainly more respectful than Lucrezia’s marriage in The Borgias.  As for this one-it does seem clear that Dany’s desire to please her husband stems from self-preservation, both physical and mental.  She needs to do something, she needs to be someone, she needs to do what she can become a partner with her husband, if only so life won’t suck as much.  It made a very powerful statement to me and all of the actress’s expressions brought it life, courage, and spirit as far as I’m concerned.  Furthermore, Khal’s reactions to her and particularly the way they played the eye contact at the end of their scenes in this episode, led me to see sparks of tenderness, or at least a personal connection.  So, for those upset by the rapist aspect of this story-it’s going gently enough for a new inductee, remarkably so, in fact.  For those confused by the lack of romance between the characters-I totally saw it in there, or at the very least clear foreshadowing for such a story between them, so calm down.  For those of you saying that this situation is always rape, totally agreed.  It clearly does not make impossible other storylines here, at least if you’re not looking for them in specific ways laid down in the books.  That is all.

Christopher Lee 90th Birthday: 90 Reasons He is Awesome

Christopher Lee 90th Birthday: 90 Reasons The Horror Icon is Awesome.

 

Wow, yet another marvelous man of the film industry to celebrate!  I held Christopher Lee in deep respect already, now it shall have to be awe.  Awe can be difficult to carouse with, but I shall try my best.  Go forth and do the same.

 

 

 

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