Thursday, April 30, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (81): Character You Would Erase If You Could

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Character You Would Erase If You Could

The character I would erase from the series would be Dolores Umbridge. The rest of the planet and I agree that she is the most horrible villain to ever exist. The hatred she induces can rally those who agree on nothing else. Additionally, I think her role in the storyline could be replaced with someone, anyone, far less repulsive. Ugh! Every time I think about her, my blood boils and my skin crawls. I have never encountered a fictional character whom I have hated as much. Her presence would not be missed by anyone.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: High Sparrow

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “High Sparrow.”

I Didn't Come Here to Sweep Floors

That's right—Arya is at the House of Black and White to learn how to kick ass like a Faceless (Wo)Man. Instead, though, she's sweeping the floor like Cinderella. Jaqen reminds her that all men must serve.

Margaery Gets Married Again *yawn*

Cersei is being transported to the Great Sept of Baelor yet again, this time to see Tommen wed Margaery. In one of the major departures from the books in this episode, the marriage is consummated. Margaery gets right down to the business of coaxing her new (and third) husband into sending his mother packing to Casterly Rock and thus out of Margaery's hair. Cersei pays her daughter-in-law a visit, during which Margaery is pretty bold with her comments. But here's the important question: will Ser Pounce the cat appear in any episodes this season?

Stop Eating and Listen

It's our first look at Winterfell this season, which is in the process of being rebuilt . . . under Bolton rule. Roose warns Ramsay that they don't have enough men to hold the North. Roose's deal was with Tywin Lannister, and with Tywin dead, House Bolton is in a precarious position. So Ramsay is going to marry Sansa to strengthen their hold on Winterfell. Yes, that's right. Ramsay is not marrying Sansa's friend Jeyne Poole forced to pose as Arya, per the books, but Sansa Stark herself. And in another twist, Brienne and Pod have followed Littlefinger and Sansa all the way to Winterfell.

Brienne and Pod Make Up

Brienne admits that she's been mean to Pod and feels rather bad about it. She asks him how he came to be Tyrion's squire. Pod was about to be hanged for eating half of a stolen ham when Tywin Lannister pardoned him and assigned him to Tyrion's service. Pod says he's proud to be Brienne's squire. AWWWWWW!!!! Brienne is going to give him some sword training. He then asks her how she ended up in Renly's service and she recounts his chivalry at a ball in Tarth when the other men in attendance mocked her.

Jon Is Staying a Snow

OK, so I feel sorry for young Olly, whose mama and papa, you may recall, were eaten by Styr the Magnar of Thenn in Season 4. But, Dolorous Edd is supposed to be Jon's steward! I love Edd and all of his gloomy, doomy words of wisdom. Anyway. Stannis wants to know if Jon has considered his offer of making him a Stark if he'll help Stannis win the North. Jon replies that he's devoted to the Night's Watch. Stannis reminds him that it was honor that got Ned killed. Too true! Jon inquires as to the length of Stannis's stay at the Wall because they can't continue feeding Stannis's men and the Wildlings. After Stannis exits, Davos has a little heart-to-heart with Jon and rightly observes that as long as the Boltons rule the North, the North will suffer.

Arya Already Has an Enemy

Jaqen walks in on another girl in the House of Black and White roughing up Arya. To truly embrace her new life there, Arya has to give up all the things that make her Arya. She hurls most of her possessions into the water but hesitates over Needle. She cries while holding her beloved sword (I totally almost did, too, because it was a gift from Jon!) and buries it under some rocks rather than throwing it into the sea. Arya then helps the girl she was fighting with earlier wash a dead body.

The North F****ing Remembers!

Sansa is back at Winterfell, and as one of the servants leads her to her room, the servant tells her that the North remembers!

Jon Passes a Sentence and Swings the Sword

Jon Snow actually jokes as he addresses the Night's Watch. Things turn serious quickly, though, as he appoints his arch nemesis Ser Alliser Thorne First Ranger. Jon tries to give Janos Slynt an assignment, but Slynt vehemently refuses the command. And so Slynt is dragged outside, whimpering for mercy as Jon takes off his head.

High Septon, High Sparrow

Lancel busts the High Septon having a jolly good time at Littlefinger's establishment. He has to walk the streets in shame and complains to the Small Council about his treatment. Pycelle is rather defensive of the High Septon, which is pretty hilarious because he himself once got busted by Tyrion, Bronn, and Shagga while entertaining a young lady, lol. The High Septon wants the leader of this upstart religious movement, the High Sparrow, punished. Cersei goes to see the High Sparrow and finds him handing out food to the poor. She tells him that the High Septon is now in the dungeons.

Dr. Qyburn's Lab

Qyburn is in his lab when Cersei arrives because she wants him to send a message to Littlefinger. OK, I nearly crapped myself when the thing that's under the sheet (Frankengregor!) suddenly moved, lol!

Roose Bolton, Mail Tamperer

Theon hides his face from a passing Sansa. Ramsay tells Littlefinger that he'll never hurt Sansa, which, I'm not quite sure I believe. It looks like Sansa is also going to see some trouble from Ramsay's bevy of lady friends, who shot Sansa rusty dagger looks when she arrived at Winterfell. Bolton tells Littlefinger that Cersei will be enraged by Littlefinger marrying Sansa to Ramsay. He further casually says that he read Cersei's message to Littlefinger before handing it over and will also be reading any reply.

I Have to Get Out of This Wheelhouse

Tyrion is going nuts being confined. He and Varys arrive in Volantis, where a Red Priestess is giving a sermon about the Dragon Queen. Later in a brothel, they run into a sad-looking Jorah, who grabs Tyrion, ties him up, throws him over his shoulder, and says that he's taking Tyrion to the queen.

In the Next Episode

The Sons of the Harpy continue to cause trouble for Daenerys. It's time to meet the Sand Snakes of Dorne!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Review: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger

Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Curtsies and Conspiracies (Finishing School #2)
By Gail Carriger
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: Sophronia is excelling at her studies in all things espionage at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality, so much so that her friends start giving her the cold shoulder. As if that weren’t enough to cope with, Sophronia finds herself the center of particular attention from Lord Felix Mersey, one of the visiting students from Bunson and Lacroix’s Boys’ Polytechnique. Someone also seems intent on harming the Plumleigh-Teignmott siblings, and Sophronia is determined to uncover the culprit.

Review: This is my seventh excursion into Gail Carriger’s wonderful Victorian world of steampunk, vampires, and werewolves, and I never want to leave. Ever. I have entirely too much fun when I’m ensconced in the pages of her books, and Curtsies and Conspiracies was a riot to read from beginning to end. I don’t often find myself laughing out loud while reading, but let me tell you, I LOL-ed my way through this one.

The plot here is beefed up a bit from Etiquette and Espionage. Sophronia, always on alert for something amiss (which is why she’s an ace intelligencer in the making), fears for the safety of her dear friend Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott and pieces together a nefarious scheme that only Sophronia, of course, can thwart. Her escapades on board the airship that houses Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality and later in London feel more cohesive than they did in the previous book. That’s not to say that there aren’t a few plot details that could have benefitted from some further fleshing out, but on the whole, the plot stays on course.

The character development in Curtsies and Conspiracies is spot-on. I love Sophronia as a heroine, even more in this novel for showing flaws that bring more of a balance to her character. According to her first school evaluation, she’s prime intelligencer material, but she needs to work on her social skills. Sophronia quickly feels the harsh truth of this when the other girls start ignoring her because she’s too good for them. The sting of ostracism especially hurts coming from her friends Dimity, Sidheag, and Agatha. Sophronia also gets a little overzealous with a mission that results in some serious consequences. The latter incident, which turns out not to be entirely Sophronia’s fault, still leaves her feeling guilty and with a new appreciation for not throwing all caution to the wind all the time.

Romance takes a step to the forefront in this book and even displays signs of heading into love triangle territory. So far I’m not put off by it because I have so much trust in Carriger’s skills. Just for the record: Team Soap!

I can’t emphasize enough how delightful the humor in Carriger’s books is, and I especially enjoyed Curtsies and Conspiracies. The characters’ various idiosyncrasies combine with Carriger’s vibrant prose to make these novels very addictive. You can’t wait to see what sorts of capers these characters will get into next, and that’s exactly my sentiment toward the next installment in the series.

All in All: I’m totally in love with the Finishing School series. I also love the references to Gail Carriger’s adult Parasol Protectorate series, but even without those, Curtsies and Conspiracies is an amazing read in its own right.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: The House of Black and White

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The House of Black and White.”

Knock. Knock?

It's Arya! She finally arrives in Braavos at the House of Black and White, home of the Faceless Men. Unfortunately, she doesn't get past the front door(s), despite flashing the coin Jaqen H'ghar gave her. After hanging out on the steps for . . . a while, Arya hurls the coin into the sea.

Strike Two for Brienne

Brienne and Pod walk into an inn . . . and guess who else is there? Littlefinger and Sansa! Pod points this out to Brienne, who springs into action. Pod has also pointed out that they only have one horse and are quite outnumbered by the knights of the Vale. Of course Sansa won't go with Brienne, who makes a hasty exit with Pod. The knights give chase—I was seriously worried about young Pod for a few moments there! Brienne dispenses with their pursuers and says they're going to tail Sansa and Littlefinger.

You've Got Viper Mail

Cersei summons Jaime to see the fake red viper that's arrived—with Myrcella's necklace. It's a threat, so Jaime is off to Dorne (and off the course of his arc in the books) to bring her home. And guess who's going with? Bronn!

Ellaria WILL Have Vengeance

In the picturesque Water Gardens of Dorne, Ellaria Sand demands to know what Prince Doran will do about his brother Oberyn's death. Doran points out that Oberyn died during trial by combat and technically wasn't murdered by the Mountain. Ellaria says she has the support of Oberyn's daughters, the Sand Snakes, in her crusade for revenge and wants to send Myrcella back to Cersei in pieces. Doran refuses to do anything of the sort.

There's Something Sketchy about That Wall

Daario and Grey Worm (well, mostly Daario) capture a Son of the Harpy. Barristan advises Daenerys to put the man on trial rather than jump straight to executing him. After the rest of her council is dismissed, Barristan tells her that her father, the Mad King, thought he was doing justice by burning people alive but instead gave his enemies a reason to rise up against him. Daenerys agrees to let the prisoner stand trial.

Tyrion and Varys (Still) on the Road

Varys and Tyrion are on their way to Volantis so they can then head to Meereen. Varys compliments Tyrion, who's still putting some serious hurtin' on the wine supply, on his brief stint as Hand of the King. Tyrion wants some fresh air, but Varys tells him he can't because . . . .

Cersei Stacks the Small Council

Cersei has a bounty on Tyrion's head, and the story cuts to her and Qyburn looking at a head that's been erroneously brought before her. Qyburn, however, apparently can recycle it for his experiments. *shudder* Cersei then proceeds to a Small Council meeting. Mace Tyrell is appointed Master of Coin as well as Ships. Qyburn, to Pycelle's outrage, is named Master of Whisperers. Cersei offers Master of War to her uncle Ser Kevan, who wants to be asked by the King himself rather than his plotting mother. Ser Kevan further declares that he won't be Cersei's puppet and is returning to Casterly Rock.

Do Shut Up, Selyse

Shireen is teaching Gilly to read while Sam is ostensibly reading a book but totally listening to their conversation. Gilly asks Shireen how her greyscale was cured—two of Gilly's sisters died from it. Selyse walks in and boots Sam and Gilly from the library and warns Shireen to stay away from Gilly.

Jon . . . Stark?

Stannis chews Jon out over showing Mance mercy. Jon says the Wildlings will never follow Stannis, only one of their own. Lyanna Mormont's letter is freaking hilarious and awesome! Stannis offers to make Jon a Stark if he can rally the North to Stannis's cause. Later, as the Night's Watch assembles to elect a new Lord Commander, Jon tells Sam that he's going to refuse Stannis's very, very tempting proposal. Janos Slynt puts in a good word for Alliser Thorne, and Denys Mallister is also put forth as a candidate. Maester Aemon is about to start the vote when Sam elects Jon. And Sam makes a damn good case for Jon, too. The vote ends up being tied between Thorne and Jon until Maester Aemon casts his vote for Jon!

A Man Reprises His Role

Arya is surrounded by some menacing dudes in a Braavosi street when that guy who wouldn't let her in the House of Black and White turns up and then turns into Jaqen H'ghar! And Arya gains admittance to the House of Black and White!

Being Queen Isn't Easy

Mossador, a former slave who sits on Daenerys's council, kills the imprisoned Son of the Harpy, putting Daenerys in a tough spot politically. The other freed slaves demand mercy for him, but he's still taken a life. So justice is done, and a riot breaks out. The Unsullied rush Daenerys back into the pyramid.

Drogon Checks In

The prodigal dragon returns! He pops by for a quick visit with his mom then takes off again for who-knows-where.

In the Next Episode

Time to check in on those crazy Boltons!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (80): Character You Wished You'd Invented

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Character You Wished You'd Invented

Ummm . . . pretty much ALL the characters? This is a seriously hard question! I'll go with Dumbledore, because just about every single line of dialogue he speaks in the books is instantly quotable. Plus Dumbledore is mind-bogglingly wise and kind with a keen sense of humor, not to mention a phenomenal wizard. The sheer amount of genius that went into creating such a character still awes me to this day.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Wars to Come

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Wars to Come.”

So Season 5 of GoT premiered last Sunday. And I'm just getting this recap posted today, lol. Last week was super busy and the upcoming week is going to be about the same, but after that I'm hoping to return to posting recaps on Tuesdays. So let's get to recapping the first episode of the new season!


It's young Cersei! And she was every bit as arrogant back then. She and her timid friend meet this creepy woman who's allegedly a witch and a fortune teller. Cersei demands her fortune from the woman and has to offer some blood in exchange. The witch tells her that she'll be queen one day but will be cast down by someone younger and more beautiful (hmmm . . . Margaery Tyrell?). Additionally, the king will have 20 children but Cersei will have 3 with gold crowns and gold shrouds.

Back to the Present

Cersei makes her way to the Great Sept of Baelor where Tywin's body lies in repose. Those stones that are placed on the eyes of the deceased seriously freak me out. Anyway, Jaime is already there and warns his sister that they're surrounded by enemies, all ready to tear down the empire that Tywin spent his life building. Cersei replies that Tyrion is the enemy and asks Jaime if he set Tyrion free, and it's really a rhetorical question because she already knows he did.

The View from a Crate

Tyrion and Varys arrive in Pentos. Well, it's more like Tyrion is unceremoniously dumped from his shipping crate onto Pentoshi soil. Varys admits that Illyrio Mopatis is his colleague and they've been working toward a Targaryen restoration.

Daenerys Has a Harpy Problem

In a very impressive scene with some awesome visual effects, the Unsullied bring the giant harpy statue that sat atop Meereen's pyramid crashing to the ground. One of the Unsullied is killed in a brothel by a group known as the Sons of the Harpy, and news of his murder reaches Daenerys. She orders that the killers be found. Missandei seeks out Grey Worm and asks him why the Unsullied visit brothels; he tells her that he doesn't know.

Jon's Got Some Work to Do Before Nightfall

Jon is sparring with young Olly, the lad who put an arrow through Ygritte last season. Ser Alliser Thorne apparently survived that epic battle, because here he is palling around with Janos Slynt. Thorne is a candidate to become the next Lord Commander, and Gilly begs Sam not to let Thorne send her and her baby away if Thorne is chosen as the new leader of the Night's Watch. Meanwhile, Jon is summoned before Stannis and has to ride the lift to the top of the Wall with Melisandre. And it's just awkward. Davos observes that some of the Night's Watch love Jon, but others . . . not so much. Stannis dangles the prospect of getting some revenge against Roose Bolton in front of Jon, but Stannis can't retake Winterfell without more men. Stannis wants the Wildlings to fight for him, and in return, he's willing to pardon them. To this end, Stannis needs Jon to convince Mance Rayder to bend the knee. By nightfall, or else Melisandre is going to have a field day burning yet another person alive.

Robin Arryn Gets Some Training

And he's really bad at sword fighting. I mean, the kid is getting his ass kicked. Is it bad if I admit that I found that kind of amusing? Well, I did. Lord Royce, who's going to be looking after the young Lord of the Vale, Sansa, and Littlefinger are all watching. Lord Royce expresses his lack of optimism regarding Robin's potential for improvement.

Broody Brienne

Brienne is sharpening Oathkeeper and is in a seriously bad mood. She's mean to Pod and tries to send him away. Poor Pod; he really does try to be a good squire. As they're having this very awkward moment, Littlefinger and Sansa's carriage passes right by them!

Oh, Hi Lancel

Loras tries to say some nice things about Tywin to Cersei. Cousin Lancel makes a surprise return, and he looks quite different these days—short hair, plain robe. His father, Ser Kevan, is clearly embarrassed by Lancel's newfound piety with a group called the Sparrows. Lancel catches Cersei alone and asks for her forgiveness in leading her to darkness. She acts like she doesn't know what he's talking about and then he refers to their *ahem* inappropriate relationship and the wine that he kept supplying Robert with during the boar hunt, at Cersei's behest.

Margaery's Most Inconvenient Arrival

Loras is messing around with that guy in Littlefinger's employ when Margaery walks in to announce that they're late for dinner with the King. She advises her brother to exercise more discretion, but he protests that everyone knows about him anyway. Loras says that with Tywin dead, there's no one to force Cersei to marry him.

Varys Lays His Cards on the Table

The Spider is very chatty in this episode with regard to his motives and goals. Tyrion wants to know why Varys helped him escape, and Varys replies that he did it for the Seven Kingdoms. Furthermore, Tyrion has a role to play in the war to come. Varys just wants peace for the realm and says that Tyrion may not sit on the Iron Throne himself, but he could help someone else, i.e. Daenerys, ascend it.

A Mother of Dragons Needs . . . Dragons

Hizdahr and Daario return from their successful mission to Yunkai, where the masters have requested that the fighting pits be reopened. Daenerys balks at the idea, but Daario later tells her in private that she should grant the request. He adds that she needs to show her strength: she's the mother of dragons, not the mother of the Unsullied. She fears what the dragons will do if she releases them because she can't control them. Daenerys visits Rhaegal and Viserion in their prison, and they're not exactly happy to see her.

Jon and Mance's Last Chat

Jon goes to see Mance, who acknowledges that this is their final meeting. The King Beyond the Wall confesses that he doesn't want to die, especially by being burned alive, but it's better than betraying his beliefs. Jon tells Mance that he's making a terrible mistake by not bending the knee to Stannis. Later, Mance is brought out in chains. Tormund and the other Wildlings, including Gilly, are present to watch, along with Selyse and Shireen Baratheon. Of course it's Melisandre who lights the fire, and as the flames rise higher around Mance, Jon shoots him with an arrow.

In the Next Episode

It's our first, highly anticipated trip to Dorne, where they're mourning the Red Viper, Oberyn Martell, and, it appears, plotting vengeance. Arya knocks on the door of the House of Black and White, the home of the Faceless Men (remember Jaqen H'ghar?).

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger
Etiquette and Espionage (Finishing School #1)
By Gail Carriger
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Ebook
Source: Purchased

To Sum It Up: When Sophronia Temminnick’s mother decides that her daughter could benefit from more than a few lessons in refinement, Sophronia is sent off to Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. Almost instantly, Sophronia learns that her new school interprets the meaning of “finishing” in an entirely different manner. Her studies include covert information gathering, poisoning, and weapons concealment, all of which she is expected to master along with perfecting her curtsy.

Review: I make zero effort to hide my enthusiasm for Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate novels, so it was a no-brainer for me to check out her YA Finishing School series. Etiquette and Espionage takes place before the Parasol Protectorate, but you absolutely do not need to have read the latter to enjoy the former. Fans of Carriger’s adult books, however, are sure to be thrilled by the connections that are made between the two series.

I love, love, love the Victorian steampunk-meets-paranormal world that I was introduced to in the Parasol Protectorate novels, and being able to return to it in Etiquette and Espionage was a pure joy. Plucky heroine Sophronia gets to attend a school that is on board an airship and has an adorable—and mechanical—pet dog named Bumbersnoot. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality also boasts a vampire and a werewolf among its faculty. Add this obviously venerable educational institute to the list of fictional schools I wish I could attend (still waiting for owl post to deliver my Hogwarts letter, dammit!). I’d also have to find a way to sneak into Bunson and Lacroix’s Boys’ Polytechnique because it’s a school that trains evil geniuses. Seriously, this is the school’s specialty. It’s that kind of quirkiness, which is passed off so casually in Carriger’s novels, that makes me laugh my arse off and marvel at her creativity.

Off-the-wall character names are another staple of this universe, and I could barely suppress giggles over appellations such as Mrs. Barnaclegoose and Lord Dingleproops. I also had a hearty chuckle at Dimity and Pillover Plumleigh-Teignmott, although the Plumleigh-Teignmott siblings turn out to be quite steady allies of Sophronia’s, especially Dimity, a fellow student at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s. “Sophronia” isn’t exactly a run-of-the-mill name, either, but its uniqueness certainly suits its bearer. Even before her recruitment for Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, Sophronia isn’t the average fourteen-year-old Victorian young lady. Her super curious mind often leads to trouble, but that’s why she fits in perfectly at a school that teaches the fine art of espionage.

I’d seen a couple of reviews mention that this book felt a bit middle grade-ish, but I didn’t think so. I will say that it is a tad light on plot. Sophronia’s adventures sometimes seem episodic rather than part of a larger arc. In a different novel, this most likely would have bothered me, but I was too amused by the humor in Etiquette and Espionage to dwell on the thin plot details. This was a delight to read, and I can’t wait to carry on with the rest of the books in the series.

All in All: Gail Carriger works her magic yet again, this time kicking off a YA series with a very solid start!

Monday, April 13, 2015

ARC Review: Entwined by Cherie Colyer

Entwined by Cherie Colyer
Entwined (Embrace #3)
By Cherie Colyer
Omnific Publishing
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher

To Sum It Up: Having made a contract with a demon to save her brother’s life, Madison now finds herself at Caden’s beck and call whenever he requires a witch’s assistance. This arrangement puts a strain on Madison’s relationship with her boyfriend, Isaac, and Caden only seems to enjoy fueling the tension. But the more time Madison spends with the demon, the more she questions whether Caden is completely evil, even as she helps him search for a dangerous magical object.

Review: Cherie Colyer’s Embrace series continues to be an excellent paranormal read. Its strength is in finely balancing the supernatural elements with the non-paranormal; protagonist Madison is a witch, but she’s also a high school student trying to juggle family, friends, and school. Despite Madison possessing magical powers and being in a coven with her boyfriend and two closest friends, she remains well grounded.

The previous book in the series, Hold Tight, brought fae into the mix, and Entwined puts the focus on demons. A demon named Caden, specifically, who was first introduced in Hold Tight. While the consequences of Madison’s bargain with Caden in Hold Tight form the heart of Entwined, her troubles with the fae in the second book are referenced here, which adds a nice touch of continuity. Another kind of paranormal creature also makes an appearance in Entwined, the unintended result of a spell cast by Madison’s best friend, Kaylee. The actual reveal is best left to the book because the mystery surrounding what Madison and Kaylee are dealing with is quite absorbing. It’s also humorous at times, as well as a bit poignant.

Caden the demon really steals the show in Entwined. I love characters who walk the line between good and evil, and Caden is one morally gray demon. His help always comes at a price, but he just doesn’t come across as soulless and heartless. Sure, he reads Madison’s mind, calls on her whenever it suits his schedule, and is always ready with a biting comeback, but I’m unable to dislike him just for that. Rather the opposite, actually—I loved his snark and was dying to know the details of his backstory because I found him very intriguing. There’s also no denying the chemistry between him and Madison, which causes some waves between her and Isaac. The potential love triangle was the one aspect of the novel that I wasn’t too keen on, just because I’m not a fan of love geometry in general.

Overall, I thought that Entwined was another solid entry in the series. Caden is largely responsible for that, and I vote that he gets his own novel in the future because it definitely sounds like he has many more stories to tell.

All in All: I’ve really enjoyed Cherie Colyer’s take on the paranormal throughout this series, and Entwined (and Caden) did not disappoint here.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Three Years of Blogging

Today marks three years since Rally the Readers began, and that's kind of hard for me to believe. When Ally and I first got it into our heads that we were going to start a book blog, we didn't have a long-term plan in mind; it was more of a let's-see-how-this-thing-goes endeavor. To still be here three years later feels pretty awesome because I'm really bad about following through with ideas most of the time, lol.

And this blog wouldn't still be here without all of YOU. I've been chatting with some of you for three years or so now, and that has absolutely been the best thing that could have happened because of blogging. Every comment and every tweet mean the world to me. That I can shamelessly gush on here about a book that I loved and you guys totally understand where I'm coming from means the world to me. THANK YOU with all of my heart for all of the love you've shown this blog for the past three years! ♥♥♥

Friday, April 10, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis & Final Thoughts on Season 2

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Valar Morghulis."

Tyrion's Terrible Awakening

Post-Blackwater, Tyrion wakes up to Pycelle's wrinkly form. The Grand Maester fills him in on Tywin's victory and gleefully informs him that he's no longer Hand of the King.

Only Lord Tywin Can Get Away with That

After his horse drops a steaming load, Tywin rides his horse right up to the Iron Throne and accepts his appointment as Hand of the King from Joffrey. Littlefinger is rewarded with Harrenahl for bringing the Tyrells into the fold. Loras asks Joffrey to marry his sister because, you know, Margaery loves him. Not because she wants to be Queen or anything. Joffrey's engagement to Sansa gets the kibosh, and she couldn't be happier until Littlefinger warns her that she's not out of danger. He says that for her mother's sake, he'll help her get home to Winterfell.

Another Little Bird

Varys goes to see Ros with a purpose: he wants her to spy on her boss, Littlefinger, for him.

The Cruise Ends Here

Brienne and Jaime's river trip reaches an end, and probably not a moment too soon for Brienne because the Kingslayer has yet to exhaust his supply of insults. What's not funny is when they run into a trio of Northmen, and Jaime tries to hide his face. One of the Northmen recognizes him, though, and Brienne kills all three.

Mark Your Mother's Words

Ah, the wisdom of a mother. Catelyn warns Robb that Walder Frey is a dangerous man to cross, but Robb is still mad at her about releasing Jaime and not inclined to listen to her. Which is the biggest mistake EVER.

Stannis Is a Sore Loser

Stannis, not a very happy man even before the Battle of the Blackwater, is especially dour over his defeat by the Lannisters and the Tyrells. He doubts the Lord of Light and grabs Melisandre by the throat. He releases her, and she spouts her usual mumbo jumbo about how Stannis is destined to be king.

Theon's Last Stand

Winterfell is under siege by Northmen, and the Ironborn are severely outnumbered. Luwin, who's watched Theon grow up at Winterfell, is quite kind to him, and advises Theon to run to the Wall and make amends for what he's done. Outside, Theon tries to rally his troops, but at the end of his speech, Dagmer Cleftjaw knocks him out. When Luwin demands to know what's going on, Dagmer sticks a spear through him.

All of Tyrion's Hard Work Is for Naught

Varys tells Tyrion that Ser Mandon Moore tried to kill him on Cersei's orders. Bronn is no longer Commander of the City Watch, and the hill tribesmen have gone home after having been paid by Tywin for their service. Shae arrives and wants to see the damage Ser Mandon Moore did to Tyrion's face.

Robb Follows His Heart

Robb and Talisa are married, and so his promise to Walder Frey is irrevocably broken. This being Game of Thrones, you'd better believe there are going to be consequences.

The House of the Undying: Such an Appealing Name

Daenerys arrives at the House of the Undying. Jorah is walking behind her and she suddenly disappears around a corner. Inside the super creepy place, she hears her dragons.

Jaqen H'ghar's Makeover

On the road with Hot Pie and Gendry, Arya runs into Jaqen H'ghar. He's one of the coolest characters in the ASoIaF universe, and Arya tells him she wants to learn to be like him. But she has to find her mother, brother, and sister. Jaqen gives her a coin that she can use to find him again. He then says that Jaqen is dead, and when he turns around, he has a new face!!!

A Sad Goodbye to Winterfell

Osha, Hodor, and the boys leave the crypt to discover that Winterfell is a burning ruin. They find a dying Maester Luwin in the godswood, and this scene is utterly heartbreaking to watch as he talks to a tearful Bran and Rickon. He tells them to go to Jon at the Wall because there are too many enemies in the South. Luwin charges Osha with protecting them and then, once the boys are out of sight, asks her to end his suffering.

When in Doubt, Use Dragon Fire

In the House of the Undying, Daenerys stands before the Iron Throne. She walks on and sees a tent, where inside, there's Drogo and their son! As much as she wants this to be real, it isn't, and when she returns to her starting point, the three dragons are there, chained in place. Pyat Pree appears out of nowhere and does that freaky thing where he splits himself into multiple Pyat Prees. Daenerys is suddenly in chains, too, and she and the dragons are to remain there for . . . a really, really, really long time. As small as they are, though, Daenerys is able to get the dragons to spit quite a bit of fire, and Pyat Pree is set ablaze. All of the chains disappear, and Daenerys and her dragons are reunited and free.

Jon Plays Traitor

Jon and Qorin Halfhand are being dragged by the Wildlings to Mance Rayder. Qorin manages to get hold of a sword and goes after Jon, who suddenly has Longclaw returned to him. The two fight hard, but it's Jon who puts his sword through the Halfhand in the end. As they near the Wildlings' camp, it's revealed to be massive.


Back in Qarth, Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah have been messing around together, and now they've been caught. Xaro's vault is opened, and . . . it's completely empty. But not for long, because Xaro and the traitorous Doreah are locked in there. The Dothraki clean out all of the gold and jewels in Xaro's house, which will help Daenerys purchase a small ship.

It's a Freaking White Walker Army

Sam is talking about Gilly to Grenn and Dolorous Edd when they hear the horn blast three times, the warning for White Walkers. Sam falls down and hides behind a giant rock as the White Walkers, of which there are many, including a creepy White Walker-ified horse, march past.

Final Thoughts on Season 2

A host of new characters were introduced this season, including one of my all-time favorites from the ASoIaF books, Brienne of Tarth. I seriously couldn't wait for the second season to start because she was going to be in it.

Joffrey's insufferable tyranny operated at full capacity this season, but at least we got to see Tyrion smack him. Speaking of Tyrion, how incredible was he as Hand of the King? But this being GoT, naturally, it's not the sort-of-good guy who gets the glory.

Theon turned out to be pretty despicable, eh? Why does all of the bad shit happen to the Starks?

"Blackwater" was a totally awesome episode. The visual effects used for the wildfire were amazing, and it was just a brilliantly assembled hour of television.

Peeps We Said Goodbye to This Season

RIP: Renly Baratheon, Maester Luwin, Ser Rodrik Cassel, Qorin Halfhand, Yoren, Lommy Greenhands, Matthos Seaworth, Maester Cressen, Irri, Rakharo, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Doreah, Pyat Pree, Amory Lorch, the Tickler, Alton Lannister. (And anyone else I forgot)

Discussing Game of Thrones: Blackwater

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Blackwater.”

Remember back in Season 1, Episode 9 ("Baelor"), when the Stark and Lannister armies were about to clash and Tyrion conveniently got knocked out and woke up just in time for the fight to be over because there wasn't really a budget to pull off a huge battle scene? Well, "Blackwater" makes up for that. Big time!

Here Comes Stannis!

Stannis's fleet is seen sailing for Blackwater Bay. Davos is having a profound, father/son moment with his son, Matthos, who is a fervent believer in Melisandre's Lord of Light, unlike his very skeptical dad.

The Eve of Another Battle

Shae asks Tyrion if he's afraid of what's to come. He says of course; Stannis is going to kill every Lannister.

Cersei's Insurance Policy

Pycelle is trying to offer the Queen advice, as if she listens to anybody but the voice in her head. She's rarely seen without a wineglass in her hand these days, and later, once Stannis's battering ram starts knocking on the door of King's Landing, it becomes her best friend. Pycelle gives her essence of nightshade; one drop helps calm the nerves, but by the time one gets to ten, well, it's all over.

You're Just Like Me

Bronn is hanging out with some of the troops and adds his lovely voice to a rousing rendition of "The Rains of Castamere." The arrival of the Hound is a total mood killer. He says Bronn loves killing, just like the Hound.

The Bells

As the bells of the sept ring out, Varys is talking to Tyrion, who is suiting up for battle. At least he has a squire this time—Podrick! Varys says Stannis has relied on the dark arts to get him to King's Landing, and a man like that cannot sit on the Iron Throne. It's up to Tyrion to save them all!

Stay Alive, Bro

Bronn tells Tyrion not to get killed, lol. Sansa (and Shae) will be with the other highborn ladies in Maegor's Holdfast after she sees Joffrey off. She asks him if he'll be in the vanguard, and he gets testy.

I'm Not Worried; I've Got Wine!

Cersei joins the ladies, and her solution to Stannis's attack is drinking wine. LOTS of wine. Ser Ilyn Payne, AKA the guy who chopped off Ned's head, is also in Maegor's Holdfast, and if you think he's there to protect the women if Stannis's forces break through the city gates, think again. In Cersei's mind, it's far kinder to be killed by Ser Ilyn than face what Stannis's men have planned when they pillage King's Landing.

Bronn Lights Up Blackwater Bay

Everyone except Tyrion is puzzled by why the royal fleet consists of one ship. Davos's archers take aim at it, and it becomes clear that there's no one on board. But it is spilling wildfire all over Blackwater Bay, which Davos realizes just before Bronn releases a flaming arrow into the Blackwater. The ensuing explosion rocks Stannis's fleet, but he still has a substantial number of troops about to make landfall.

Shae's Narrow Escape

Cersei catches sight of Shae and is in the process of interrogating her when Lancel, who took an arrow earlier in the battle, bursts in with an update from outside. Cersei asks where Joffrey is and orders Lancel to pull the King from the battlements and bring him to his chamber.

Things Get Too Hot for the Hound

The fire gets too close to the Hound, and he goes back inside the city's walls. For just this once, Tyrion and Joffrey agree on something: they tell the Hound to rejoin the fighting, and he's like, f**k you all! I'm outta here!

Joffrey Ditches, Too

As Stannis and his men doggedly attempt to break through the gates and the chaos of battle roars everywhere, Lancel arrives to retrieve Joffrey, per Cersei's command. Tyrion tells his nephew that the King needs to fight, but Joffrey leaves anyway. So it's up to Tyrion to lead the attack and defend King's Landing.

The Hound Says Goodbye

Lancel's latest report is dire: Stannis's troops are at the gates, and they're going to burst through at any moment. When the Gold Cloaks saw Joffrey leave, they lost their will to fight. Lancel wants to bring the King back, and Cersei hits Lancel in his wound. While the other ladies look on, Shae urges Sansa to run. She goes to her chamber only to find the Hound. He says he could take her to Winterfell, but Sansa's like, ummm, I'll be OK where I am.

Pod to the Rescue

Ser Mandon Moore, one of the Kingsguard, attacks Tyrion, and not by accident, either. Pod kills Ser Mandon and saves Tyrion's life.

An 11th Hour Save

Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne with Tommen and is about to administer the essence of nightshade that Pycelle gave her at the beginning of the episode when Lord Tywin rides in to save them all. Not only has he brought the Lannister host, but the Tyrells have joined forces as well, and it's Loras Tyrell who bursts into the throne room just before Tywin announces that they've won.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (79): What Would Your Animagus Form Be?

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
What Would Your Animagus Form Be?

I know exactly what my animagus would be—it would be a black wolf. Part of me believes that my animagus would be a black wolf because of its similarity to Sirius Black’s animagus and the fact that those who show affection for each other tend to have similar animagi, lol. Despite that bias, I also believe that some of my traits coincide with that of a wolf’s. I enjoy being alone more so than being surrounded by other people and I am a very proud person.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Prince of Winterfell

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Prince of Winterfell.”

Big Sister Is Not Impressed

Yara, fresh from her victory at Deepwood Motte, rides into Winterfell and tells Theon that he was stupid for killing the Stark boys. The Northerners will seek revenge for what he's done. She's there to bring him home to the Iron Islands.

Another Lord

Ygritte takes Jon to the Lord of Bones, Rattleshirt, who already holds the Halfhand as a prisoner. Rattleshirt doesn't want Jon, but Ygritte says Mance should be the one deciding whether or not he wants Ned Stark's bastard. The Halfhand tells Jon not to make the other rangers' deaths in vain.

When You Have to Arrest Your Mom

Robb learns of Jaime's escape. The King in the North has the unenviable task of confronting his mother and says that she's betrayed him. Rickard Karstark is livid over being denied vengeance for his sons. Robb orders his mother to be put under guard.

Jaime and Brienne's Travels Begin!

Brienne is in charge of delivering Jaime to King's Landing in exchange for the Stark girls, and the Kingslayer is not making the mission an easy one for her. He throws every taunt he can think of at her and challenges her to a sword fight.

Arya's Missed Opportunity

At Harrenhal, the Lannisters are discussing Stannis's forthcoming attack. Ser Kevan thinks that Cersei and Joffrey should flee, but Tywin says that the King will fight. He doesn't like how close Robb is to Casterly Rock and decides to march that night. The Mountain is to remain at Harrenhal and stamp out the Brotherhood. Arya is to stay, too. She desperately searches for Jaqen H'ghar to collect the last debt (i.e. kill) he owes her, but Tywin is already leaving.

We're Not Really Not Ready

Bronn, ever the classy guy, is cleaning his nails with his dagger, much to Tyrion's annoyance. Even though he's Commander of the City Watch, Bronn doesn't want to don a Gold Cloak, either. Varys joins their little chat, and all three conclude that basically they're not prepared for Stannis to come knocking on the Mud Gate. Tyrion predicts Stannis will attack the Mud Gate. They're really not prepared.

A Valuable Discovery

Sam, Grenn, and Dolorous Edd are digging a snow toilet as Sam wonders where Jon is. Edd, ever the optimist and putting the "dolorous" in Dolorous Edd, says that he's probably dead. While at their task, the trio finds a Night's Watch cloak with dragonglass in it.

A Man Cannot Assassinate Himself

Arya finally finds Jaqen and asks him to kill Tywin. Jaqen says he can't, so Arya names Jaqen. The Faceless Man is not amused and asks her to unname him. She agrees as long as he helps her, Gendry, and Hot Pie escape Harrenhal.

Cersei Thinks She's One-Upped Tyrion

Cersei and Tyrion argue about Joffrey fighting in the battle. She reveals that she's gotten hold of the woman whom Tyrion has brought to King's Landing and threatens to hurt her if Joffrey gets hurt. Tyrion automatically assumes Cersei is referring to Shae and asks to see her, but it's not Shae who's brought in—it's Ros. Still, Tyrion swears to hurt Cersei for what she's done. He runs up to his chamber, and Shae is there, safe.

Robb Breaks His Word

Robb wants Roose Bolton to send word to his bastard that any Ironborn who surrender can be sent home. Except Theon. Later that night, sad Robb gets some TLC from Talisa, effectively quashing his Frey betrothal.

Jaqen Was Here!

Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie are headed for the Harrenhal exit, but there are still guards at the gate. Arya tells the other two that Jaqen said to just walk through, and as she approaches the guards, she realizes that they are, indeed, dead.

There's Going to be a New Hand in Town

Stannis and Davos are at sea and well on their way to King's Landing. Stannis is still bitter that he defended Storm's End during Robert's Rebellion and Robert later gave it to Renly. Davos will be rewarded for his service to Stannis by being his Hand of the King.

Joffrey Doesn't Take Stannis Seriously Either

Joffrey is certain he can kill Stannis in battle and doesn't give a crap that his uncle (well, a man he believes is his uncle) is days away from landing on the shores of the capital. Once the King stomps off, Varys tells Tyrion that Daenerys is alive and has dragons.

Gotta Rescue the Children

Daenerys wants Jorah to take her to the House of the Undying. Her dragons are her children, and the only children she thinks she'll ever have, and she has to get them back.

A Happy Surprise, For Once

Luwin finds out that everyone is alive and hidden in the Winterfell crypt. Osha asks who the two boys were whom Theon killed, and Luwin tells her they must have been the farmer's boys. He says that Bran and Rickon, who appear to be sleeping, must never know or Bran will blame himself. Bran, however, is awake and overhears them.

Discussing Game of Thrones: A Man Without Honor

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “A Man Without Honor.”

On the Run

Theon wakes up to discover not only Osha gone but the Stark boys and Hodor as well and leads a hunting party to go after them. Osha, Hodor, and the boys pass the farm where the two orphan boys were sent to help. They could probably get food there to add to their meager supply, but Osha is concerned about how much of a lead they've gotten on the hounds that Theon is using to track them.

Lord Tywin Doesn't Like Mutton

Or the Brotherhood Without Banners. Amory Lorch was killed with a wolfsbane dart. Nice touch, Jaqen H'ghar! Tywin orders the Mountain to burn the villages and farms to flush out the rebellious Brotherhood. When Tywin has his head turned, Arya considers putting the knife she's using to cut her meat into his neck, but the moment is lost.

No Thanks Necessary

Sansa thanks the Hound for saving her. He dismisses her gratitude.

A Famous Phrase Is Uttered

Jon is still towing Ygritte along. She reminds him that the Wildling leader, Mance Rayder, was once a crow, just like Jon. And then readers of the books get to hear one of the most famous lines in the series: You know nothing, Jon Snow!


Alton Lannister has returned with Cersei's rejection of Robb's peace terms. Alton is to be put in the same pen with Jaime until a new one can be built; the camp is teeming with prisoners.

The Tell-Tale Walnut Shells

Theon's hunting party reaches the farmhouse that the Winterfell escapees passed through. They're gone, but Dagmer Cleftjaw finds a clue: some of Rickon's walnut shells are scattered about.

Jorah to the Rescue

Jorah has returned from trying to find a ship and feels guilty that he wasn't there when the Dothraki were killed and the dragons were dragon-napped. To make up for it, he's off to search for the dragons.

Maybe Jon Should Have Listened to the Halfhand

Because Ygritte makes a run for it and reappears with Wildling reinforcements. And so Jon's moment of mercy has come back to bite him.

Sansa Has a Most Unpleasant Surprise

She wakes up to find that she is now officially a woman, so she'll be wed to Joffrey any day now. Shae finds her cutting the bloodied sheet and is about to help her flip the mattress when one of Cersei's spies catches them and runs off to tell the Queen. Shae threatens her with a knife and orders her to keep her mouth shut, but when Shae goes back to Sansa's chamber, the Hound is there. AWKWARD.

Jaime's Escape Plan

Now sharing a makeshift prison cell, Jaime tries to place his cousin Alton. Alton volunteers that he once squired for Jaime, and that jogs Jaime's memory. Alton is clearly honored to be in the presence of one of THE Lannisters, and Jaime uses that to sweet talk Alton into helping him escape. Jaime kills him, and when Rickard Karstark's son runs to investigate, Jaime strangles him with his chains.

The Thirteen Are Reduced to Two

Daenerys goes before the Thirteen looking for the dragons. Pyat Pree admits he's placed them in the House of the Undying and he's been working with Xaro Xhoan Daxos. The warlock uses his creepy magic to kill the rest of the Thirteen. Daenerys now has no choice but to go to the House of the Undying if she wants her kiddos back.

Lord Karstark Will Remember This

The Northmen are ready to kill Jaime on the spot for his escape attempt. Catelyn intervenes to stop Lord Karstark from getting revenge for his sons' deaths. Brienne steps in when Karstark gets too aggressive with Catelyn. He says that when Robb returns, he won't be denied a father's justice.

Stannis Is On His Way? Eh.

Stannis will be at King's Landing in 5 days, and Cersei is still unconcerned. Tyrion wants to talk to her about reigning in Joffrey. His sister she says that she can't and maybe this is her punishment for what she's done with Jaime.

Catelyn Is About to Make a Lot of People Unhappy

The tension in Robb's camp over the Kingslayer's fate is about to explode. Brienne observes that Jaime won't survive until Robb returns in the morning, so Catelyn takes drastic action for her daughters' sake.

What Have You Done, Theon?

Theon has assembled the remaining people of Winterfell in the courtyard and shows them the burned corpses of two boys. Maester Luwin has been dragged out to see as well and is devastated.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Old Gods and the New

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Old Gods and the New.”


Maester Luwin frantically tries to send a raven for help as the Ironborn seize Winterfell. Bran is surprised to find that Theon is leading the charge. Theon tells him that they're going to the courtyard in front of everyone and Bran is going to yield Winterfell. Bran does so to keep any harm from coming to anyone. Ser Rodrik is captured and brought before Theon and spits in his face. Theon is going to lock him up for the insolence, but Dagmer Cleftjaw tells him that Ser Rodrik must be killed or the Ironborn will never respect him. Luwin says Ser Rodrik will be worth more alive as a hostage, but Theon beheads him, and not cleanly, either.

Arya's Close Call

At Harrenhal, Tywin is chewing out Amory Lorch for his lack of reading skills in sending a message to the wrong recipient that could have divulged important information to the wrong party. Littlefinger arrives, and Arya has to do her best to hide her face. He updates Tywin on everything that transpired in Renly's camp, including Margaery's desire to be queen. Littlefinger suggests they make an alliance with House Tyrell at least until they defeat Stannis. Arya spills some wine and nearly gets recognized by Baelish.

Surprise, Jon!

The Night's Watch finds a group of Wildlings and a fight breaks out. The one Jon grabs turns out to be a woman—Ygritte. The Halfhand questions her, but she's not too forthcoming with information. He's about to kill her, but Jon says he'll do it. But he doesn't, now does he?

And Now I've Struck a King

Princess Myrcella is sailing for Dorne as her family looks on. Cersei vows to make Tyrion pay for sending her daughter away. Joffrey is walking through the streets on the way back to the castle, and at first he's taunted, then hit in the head with some crap (kudos to the hurler!) Things turn ugly fast and soon a full scale riot erupts. Sansa gets lost in the mayhem, and Tyrion is the only one worried about her. His fear is completely justified, and the Hound shows up just in time to rescue her from her assailants.


In Qarth, Daenerys asks the Spice King for ships to sail to Westeros. He shuts her down, which is probably not wise to do to the Mother of Dragons.

Arya Names Another Name

Arya swipes a message that's on Lord Tywin's table. She reads it outside where nobody sees her, but as she's walking, she runs smack into Amory Lorch. He spots the message in her hand and grabs it. Arya is busted big time and rushes to find Jaqen H'ghar, who takes care of Lorch just before he can blab to Tywin.

What Vow, Now?

Robb can't stay away from Talisa, and of course his mother arrives at the camp just in time to catch the two of them together. She gently reminds him that he's been promised to a Frey. Robb's complicated love life is about to be forgotten for the moment because Roose Bolton has the news from Winterfell.

Jon & Ygritte Get Cozy

There's still no sight of the Halfhand and the others, so Jon and Ygritte have to camp out together. Jon refuses to light a fire because it'll attract the attention of the Wildlings.

Roose Bolton Is One to Talk About Treason

Catelyn tells Robb she told him not to trust Theon. Robb wants to go to Winterfell himself, but Bolton says that's impossible because Robb is in the middle of a war. Bolton volunteers to send his bastard to retake Winterfell instead.

A Narrow Escape

After "distracting" Theon, Osha, Bran, Rickon, Hodor, and the direwolves sneak out.


Daenerys is horrified to find most of her Dothraki, including her handmaiden Irri, dead, but even more horrified to find her dragons missing! The final scene of the episode shows a hooded figure carrying them off.

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Ghost of Harrenhal

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Ghost of Harrenhal.”

The Shadow Baby Strikes!

At Renly's camp, Catelyn swears to him that Robb doesn't want the Iron Throne. In return for Robb's loyalty, Renly will destroy Stannis's army then join with Robb's to crush the Lannisters. Catelyn urges Renly to make peace with Stannis instead. At this point the shadow baby (well, shadow man, really) enters the tent and kills Renly. Brienne is overcome with grief, and the guards who rush into the tent think she killed their king. She cuts them down and flees with Catelyn. As Stannis's ships head for the camp, Margaery tells Loras they need to return home to Highgarden. Loras wants to kill Stannis, but Littlefinger, who's still there like a rash that just won't go away, tells him to be smart, get out, and avenge Renly another day. Loras agrees and exits to ready the horses; alone with Littlefinger, Margaery admits her ambition to be THE Queen.


News of Renly's death has arrived in King's Landing. Cersei isn't alarmed by Stannis's impending assault. Joffrey is personally overseeing the siege preparations but Cersei won't share the specifics with Tyrion, so he gets the truth out of Lancel: Cersei has commissioned the Alchemists' Guild to make wildfire.

Let's Talk About That Shadow Baby

Or not. Stannis prefers not. He got most of Renly's troops to flock to his side except for the Tyrells, of course. Davos asks Stannis not to take Melisandre to King's Landing, and in a rare concession from the latter, he agrees. Davos is going to lead Stannis's fleet of ships to Blackwater Bay.

The Sailing Theme Continues

Theon is ready to set sail on his raiding mission, but his crew doesn't respect him at all. Dagmer Cleftjaw gets the wheels in his brain spinning, though, and Theon comes up with an even better plan than pillaging fishing villages. If he takes Winterfell, no one will ever question his authority or his loyalty to the Ironborn again.

Anyone Can Be Killed

Tywin admits that the Lannisters have underestimated Robb as Arya overhears everything. Tywin gets her to admit she's a Northerner. When she goes outside to fetch water, she meets Jaqen H'ghar, now posing as a Lannister soldier. He says he owes her three kills for saving him, Rorge, and Biter from their fiery prison. Arya's first name is the Tickler, who's been torturing the Harrenhal prisoners.

The Halfhand

The Night's Watch has reached the Fist of the First Men. Sam is impressed by the history; Dolorous Edd is not. The horn blasts once, signaling the approaching return of Qorin Halfhand, one of the Watch's best rangers.

That's a Lot of Wildfire

Tyrion meets with Hallyne the Pyromancer and sees the wildfire inventory for himself; there are almost 8,000 pots ready. Tyrion orders him to stop making wildfire for his sister and to start making it for him.

Qarth: Better Than Roaming Around in the Desert Any Day

Daenerys, Irri, and Doreah all look more refreshed and hydrated than when we last saw them. Daenerys mingles among the citizens of Qarth and runs into the creepy warlock Pyat Pree. This dude is seriously creepy looking.

Brienne's Vow

During a stop in their travels, Brienne swears to Catelyn that the shadow that killed Renly looked like Stannis, and she additionally swears vengeance against Stannis. Catelyn plans to inform Robb of what she's seen and then return to Winterfell. Brienne pledges her service to Catelyn.

War Reaches the North

Bran is listening to petitioners again as Rickon cracks walnuts on the table. Ser Rodrik runs in with news that Torrhen's Square is under attack. Everyone assumes that the Lannisters have somehow sent troops into the North, not suspecting Theon. Bran tells Ser Rodrik to take 200 men to fight, even though they can't really spare them. Bran asks Osha about the three eyed raven and what it means; in his latest dream, the sea came to Winterfell. Osha knows what the raven signifies but won't tell him.

Jon Gets Promoted

The Night's Watch spots a fire, which means Wildlings in the area. The Halfhand warns that they're more organized than before under Mance Rayder. Jon wants to join the Halfhand's ranging party, and Mormont grants him permission to go.

What Do You Want

Xaro Xhoan Daxos asks Daenerys how long Jorah has been in love with her; she laughs at the idea. She tells Xaro she wants to take back her throne and asks him what he wants in return for opening the city gates to her. He shows her the door to Qarth's vault, to which he possesses the key. The treasure and the ships to Westeros she can buy with it can all be hers if she marries him. Jorah obviously objects to this plan; he advises a slower approach and gushes about what a wonderful queen she'll make. He tells her to make her own way and find her own ship to Westeros.

One Less Name on the List

Arya is talking to Gendry when the Tickler falls to his death. When she looks up, she spots Jaqen H'ghar, who has clearly just repaid one of the debts he owed her.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: Garden of Bones

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Garden of Bones.”

The Wolf Has Arrived

Two Lannister men are joking around until Grey Wind, followed by Robb and the Northmen, are in their faces. Ugh, it's Roose Bolton. Bolton suggests that flaying the prisoners might yield some useful information. Robb is repulsed and says the Lannisters will retaliate by punishing his sisters. Robb meets Talisa, a field medic with no interest in anything but helping the injured. In King's Landing, word of Robb's victory has reached Joffrey, who has his crossbow pointed at Sansa. Since he's still to marry her, he doesn't kill her, but he has Meryn Trant beat her until Tyrion walks in and puts an end to it. Bronn suggests that Tyrion find some other form of "entertainment" to occupy his nephew. So later Joffrey finds Ros and another girl in his chamber, and things just get disturbing from there.

Littlefinger Plots

Littlefinger turns up at Renly's camp and hints he might be able to open the gates to Renly's army when it arrives in King's Landing. Later he tries to mess around with Margaery's head, but she's too clever for that.

Qarth Doesn't Sound All Too Appealing

One of Daenerys's bloodriders returns with news that there's a city called Qarth a few days away, and they will let her in. She asks Jorah what he knows of Qarth, and he replies that the desert around its walls is called the Garden of Bones, full of travelers who've had the gates shut on them.

Harrenhal: Scary on the Outside, Scary on the Inside

Arya, Gendry, and Hot Pie have arrived at Harrenhal, of which a shell remains because of dragon fire. The prisoners live in nonstop fear of being the next torture victim. At night, Arya recites the names on her hit list.

Littlefinger's Havoc Tour Continues

Still at Renly's camp, Littlefinger finds Catelyn, who pulls a knife on him (and justifiably so). She doesn't want to listen to anything he has to say, but then he pulls out the trump card: does she want to see her girls again? He lies that he has Arya, too. Of course Jaime would have to be released in exchange for Catelyn's daughters, and Littlefinger has also brought Ned's remains as a show of good faith from Tyrion.


The prisoners at Harrenhal are woken up because the Mountain is ready to select someone new to torture. The poor victim has a bucket of rats that's then lit on fire strapped to his chest while he's interrogated for information. Later that night, Arya has a few more names added to her list.

Baratheon vs. Baratheon

Stannis shows up at Renly's camp (lots of visitors in this episode!) and is surprised to find Catelyn there. She scolds both men about their boyish squabbling. Stannis delivers an ultimatum to his younger brother: Renly has one night to ditch his plans to be king and join up with his big brother or he will be destroyed.

The Creepy Welcoming Committee

Daenerys's welcome at Qarth isn't exactly warm. The Thirteen who govern the city are keenly interested in the dragons (a little too keen) and won't open the gates until they see them. Daenerys is desperate to feed her people but wisely wary of this group. She threatens to come back when the dragons are grown and burn the city for spurning her. The confrontation is resolved when Xaro Xhoan Daxos, one of the Thirteen, steps forward and vouches for her.

Lord Tywin Inadvertently Saves the Day

The next torture victim at Harrenhal is Gendry, but he's saved by the arrival of Lord Tywin. He's not too happy with what he sees and wants the prisoners put to work. He sees right through Arya's charade as a boy and appoints her his cup bearer.

Cousinly Conversation

Lancel goes to Tyrion with an order from Cersei to release Pycelle. Robert's former squire acts all pompous now that he's been jumped up to a knight. Tyrion knows what Lancel and Cersei have been up to and threatens to tell Joffrey. Lancel is scared witless, which Tyrion uses as an advantage to turn his cousin into his spy.

One of the Most Disturbing GoT Scenes. Ever.

On a show where disturbing things happen often, describing the next scene as beyond creepy is really saying something. Stannis needs Davos to smuggle Melisandre to shore, and boy, does Davos end up regretting accepting this mission. He has to witness Melisandre giving birth to her and Stannis's demon spawn shadow baby. That thing scared the crap out of me in the second book, and seeing it on TV was a million times worse. *shudder*

Discussing Game of Thrones: What Is Dead May Never Die

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “What Is Dead May Never Die.”

The Night's Watch Gets the Heave-Ho

Thanks to Jon's snooping in the previous episode, Craster kicks the Night's Watch out of his house. Jon's report about what he saw Craster do with his baby son comes as no surprise to Mormont, who says that Craster has been too important to the Watch, including Jon's uncle, to stop him. As the Watch packs up to leave the next morning, Sam gives Gilly his mother's thimble.

But There Are Still Dragons!

Bran tells Maester Luwin about his strange dreams, where it's as though he becomes his direwolf, Summer. Luwin dismisses them as just dreams and kindly tells Bran there may have once been magic in the world, but it's long gone, as are dragons.

I'm No Lady

It's our first look at Renly's camp. Everyone, including Renly's queen, Margaery Tyrell, is assembled to watch her brother Loras fight somebody . . . who turns out to be Brienne of Tarth! Renly offers her a reward for her victory, and she asks to join the Kingsguard. Catelyn arrives at the camp to play diplomat, and snotty Loras ever so snottily tells her that Robb should have come himself instead of hiding behind his mother's skirts. Catelyn sharply retorts that Robb is out fighting a war not playing at one, as evidenced by the scene she just witnessed.

One Ship

Theon is still steamed at his sister for not revealing who she was when they first met. Their father is ready to send the Ironborn to conquer the North while Robb and his troops are away. Yara is to command 30 ships while Theon gets . . . 1 and a whole lot of grief from Balon about how soft his years spent in the North have made him.

Shae's New Career

Shae doesn't like being cooped up in Tyrion's chamber, but it's for her own safety. He's trying to figure out a way to give her more freedom around the castle but without Cersei figuring out her connection to Tyrion. Shae bristles at the idea of a position in the kitchens, so she ends up with a gig as . . . Sansa's handmaiden. Their first meeting is rocky thanks to Sansa having just endured a very tense meal with Cersei and her two younger children. Sansa is not very nice to Shae, who might have been better off in the kitchens after all.

Tyrion Gets to Plotting

He tells Pycelle, Littlefinger, and Varys three different plans to marry off Princess Myrcella and thus form an alliance with one of the other Houses. All three men are instructed NOT to tell the Queen. Littlefinger is especially sweet on Tyrion's offer to make him Lord of the Riverlands if he can convince Lysa Arryn to agree to a marriage between her son Robin and Myrcella.

A Bit of a Crowd

Loras is still sulking about getting his arse kicked by Brienne and then Renly making her part of the Kingsguard. Loras is not in a romantic mood anymore and is like, oh, yeah, you married my sister, so maybe she should be here instead of me. Margaery is very matter of fact about her sham of a marriage. As long as she gets to be Queen and produces Renly's heir, she's cool with whatever.

Tyrion Uncovers a Tattletale

Cersei gets wind of Tyrion's scheme to marry Myrcella to Tristayne Martell of Dorne, and she freaks. Out. House Martell hates the Lannisters, but Tyrion argues that Myrcella will actually be safer there and it would be smart to win Dorne's loyalty before someone else does. So Pycelle is revealed as a tattletale, because he was the one whom Tyrion told of the plan involving the Martells.

Theon's Fateful Decision

Theon is staring at a letter he's written to Robb, warning him of the Ironborn's impending attack on the North. Theon ends up burning it and suiting up to participate in the invasion.

Pycelle's Close Shave

Littlefinger is mad about Tyrion lying to him about marrying Myrcella to Robin Arryn. Tyrion calms him down a bit by sending him on a different mission: go to Catelyn Stark and get Jaime released. Tyrion, along with Bronn and Shagga, then bust Pycelle for blabbing to Cersei. The Grand Maester tries to throw Varys under the bus. First Tyrion instructs Shagga to cut off Pycelle's manhood and feed it to some goats, but he settles for Bronn cutting off most of Pycelle's beard. Pycelle cries that everything he's done has been out of loyalty to the Lannisters. He says Jon Arryn knew the truth about Cersei and her children, but he wasn't the one who poisoned the former Hand. Tyrion notes that Pycelle also didn't do anything to help Jon Arryn when he became ill and orders Pycelle thrown into a Black Cell.

Putting the "Small" in Small Council

Varys tells Tyrion that Shae is doing well in her new job. He asks Tyrion if he's next on the new Hand's takedown list because the Small Council is getting smaller.

Forced Detour to Harrenhal

Arya is sharpening Needle, while everyone except Yoren sleeps. Arya opens up to him about still being haunted by her father's death. Yoren tells her about seeing his brother stabbed in front of him when he was a boy. Yoren later got revenge, and then he went to the Wall. The sound of the alarm ends their conversation, and Yoren warns both Arya and Gendry to stay out of sight and run if they need to. Amory Lorch, one of Tywin Lannister's bannermen, orders Yoren to drop his weapon. Yoren is killed, but not before he puts up one hell of a fight. Chaos spreads throughout the camp, and the cart holding Jaqen H'ghar, Rorge, and Biter is on fire. Jaqen yells for Arya to help, and she gives him an axe so they can escape. As she's running, Polliver knocks her to the ground and takes Needle. The survivors are being taken to Harrenhal. Lommy Greenhands has been shot in the leg and doesn't grasp the gravity of the situation around him. He asks Polliver to carry him, and Polliver just kills him. Amory Lorch calls for Gendry; Arya points to Lommy, who's lying next to Gendry's helmet, and identifies him as Gendry, thus saving the real Gendry.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Night Lands

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Night Lands.”

Some Unwanted Company

Arya, meet Jaqen H'ghar. Jaqen H'ghar, meet Arya Stark. Jaqen is such a cool character, for reasons that will be revealed in forthcoming episodes. For now, though, the traveling party headed for the Wall receives a most unwelcome visit from some Gold Cloaks. They're pretty far away from King's Landing, and Arya fears that they're there for her. Surprise—they have a warrant for Gendry. Yoren is most displeased by this intrusion and threatens to cut the artery of one of the guards if they don't go skedaddle immediately.

More Surprise Company

Tyrion returns to his private quarters to find Shae with Varys. The Spider is far from stupid and knows she shouldn't be in King's Landing and that Lord Tywin would be terribly upset if he found out. So, as usual, Varys possesses dangerous information, and Tyrion lets him know that he's on to him.

The Art of Tearing Up Papers

Alton Lannister arrives with Robb's peace terms, and Cersei promptly rips up the parchment. So much for peace!

Dolorous Edd Was Having a Serious Discussion

About how you fart when you die (Lord Tywin should file that bit of info away). Sam shoos Ghost away after the direwolf scares Gilly, one of Craster's wives/daughters. Sam later finds Jon and tells him that they have to take Gilly with them. She's pregnant with Craster's baby and is afraid of what will happen if she has a boy. Jon dismisses the idea because even if they didn't have to worry about Craster killing them, it's just not possible for Gilly and her child to travel with the Night's Watch as they go even further beyond the Wall.

Goodbye, Rakharo

A horse returns—with Rakharo's head in the saddlebag. Jorah says that a rival khal is most likely to blame. Judging by her freakout, it looks like Irri, one of Daenerys's handmaidens, had an extra special place in her heart for dearly departed Rakharo.

Guess Again, Theon

Theon is sailing to the home he hasn't seen in years and is expecting a HUGE homecoming. Ha.

Get Happy or Get Out

Ros is still upset about what the City Watch did to King Robert's baby. Littlefinger, ever sensitive to these types of matters, advises Ros to take a day off to find her happy face again and then put it on and get back to earning him money.

Janos Slynt Gets the Boot

Tyrion is having dinner with Slynt, and who is that squiring around? Why, it's Podrick Payne! Anyway, the conversation is pretty civil until Tyrion brings up the baby who was killed under Slynt's watch. Tyrion further goes on to accuse him of being bought even before Ned tried to buy his loyalty. Slynt is sent to the Wall and none other than Bronn now commands the City Watch.


Arya learns that Gendry spoke to both Jon Arryn and her father before they died; both inquired about his mother. Gendry tells her that he knows she's a girl; with her cover already shredded to pieces, Arya goes all truthful and reveals she's a Stark. Gendry gets jokingly self-conscious about being in the presence of a highborn lady.

Hello? Ummm, I'm Home?

Theon lands in the Iron Islands, dressed all snazzy like, and there's NO ONE there to meet him. A woman offers to take him to the castle by horse, and Theon spends the trip working the Greyjoy charm and then some. His father's greeting, however, is super frosty. Balon Greyjoy makes fun of Theon's fancy clothes and accessories and scoffs at Robb's proposal to send ships to help fight his war. Oh, and the woman Theon hitched a ride with turns out to be his sister, Yara. AWKWARD.

The Most Honest Smuggler

Davos is trying to convince pirate Salladhor Saan to fight for Stannis with promises of oodles of gold for the taking in King's Landing.

Brother, How I Do Hate Thee

Cersei is fuming over Slynt's dismissal. Tyrion asks her if murdering Robert's bastards was her idea, and she replies that it was Joffrey's. Tyrion makes a joke about the word that's literally flying around the realm about his siblings' relationship, and Cersei strikes back by telling him that he killed her mother. Not "their" mother, but her mother. The scene really illustrates how deep Cersei's hatred for her youngest brother runs.

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Table

Stannis is frustrated that he can't match the numbers of Renly's army. Stannis and Melisandre then mistake the war room table at Dragonstone for a bed. And that story arc is just going to get even more disturbing!

Jon Snow Now Knows Too Much

Jon sees Craster skulking off into the night and follows him, only to find out what happens to the sons that are born to the old man. Said old man catches Jon spying and socks him in the face.

Discussing Game of Thrones: The North Remembers

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The North Remembers.”

It's My Name Day, So I'll Be Particularly Cruel to Everyone

It's Joffrey's name day, the Westeros equivalent of a birthday, so everyone has to entertain the tyrant. Ser Dontos Hollard is about to get the King's wrath in the form of an execution until Sansa intervenes and suggests he'd make a better fool. Fortunately for Ser Dontos, Joffrey likes this idea, and the knight escapes with his life thanks to Sansa, something that he won't forget. Tyrion, finally arrived back in King's Landing, arrives just in time for the "festivities." Joffrey flips out when his uncle offers his condolences to Sansa over her father's death.

The Small Council Gets Shaken Up

Cersei seems to be enjoying being in charge as Queen Regent when Tyrion rains all over her Small Council meeting. It seems she didn't know about Tyrion's temporary appointment as Hand of the King. Until this very instant. Tyrion calls Cersei on her bungling of the Stark hostages; instead of having three to exchange for Jaime, they only have Sansa.

Lord Bran

At Winterfell, Bran, as lord, is listening to a petitioner complain about not having anyone to repair his walls because all the men are gone, fighting for Robb. Poor Bran has the weight of being the Stark in Winterfell on his shoulders. Later he dreams of seeing through Summer's eyes—or was it a dream? The next day in the godswood, he talks to Osha about the red comet he also saw, and she says it's a sign of dragons.

Speaking of Dragons . . . .

Daenerys and what's left of her khalasar are roaming a desert wasteland. Her poor horse, the one Drogo gave her as a wedding gift, collapses and dies. Jorah reminds her that their destinations are limited because they can't defend themselves. Daenerys sends her bloodriders out in different directions to try and find a city and then report back.

Creeper Craster's Keep

It's the first appearance of Dolorous Edd of the Night's Watch! I love that guy and his droll wit. The Night's Watch is crashing at Craster's Keep on their way further north, but the place isn't exactly a five star hotel. First of all, Craster's wives are also his daughters. EEEWWWWWWWWW. That aside, the man is just gross. Mormont asks Craster if Benjen stopped by recently, but he has not. Mormont does learn that the Wildlings are joining up with Mance Rayder, once a man of the Night's Watch and now the self-crowned King Beyond the Wall. Craster takes an instant dislike to Jon, who gets a little too sassy with his host and then gets a reprimand from Mormont once they're outside.

For the Night Is Dark and Full of Terrors (Like Melisandre)

We're introduced to some new characters and a new setting: Dragonstone, where Melisandre, a priestess of the Lord of Light, is overseeing the burning of the statues of the seven gods, much to the horror of the maester at Dragonstone. Maester Cressen urges Ser Davos Seaworth, advisor to Stannis Baratheon, to talk to Stannis about what a crazy biatch Melisandre is. In the war room, we immediately learn how stony, blunt, and totally devoid of charm Stannis is. Poor Maester Cressen attempts to poison Melisandre, but he ends up dying instead.

Prison Has Not Dampened My Sarcasm

Despite still being Robb's prisoner, Jaime hasn't lost his arrogance or smartass-ness. He does look a little antsy when Grey Wind meanders into his makeshift cell, however. Robb confronts him with the truth about Joffrey's parentage, which Stannis has just mass raven-ed across Westeros, and informs Jaime of his plan to send a Lannister cousin/messenger to King's Landing with his peace terms.

Littlefinger Loses a Round

Cersei brings some guards with her to have a quick chat with Littlefinger about Arya's whereabouts. Cersei being Cersei, she needles him about an unrequited love of his, clearly meaning Catelyn Stark. In retaliation, Littlefinger alludes to the twincest, which crosses a line that almost gets him killed. Cersei wants him to make it his business to find Arya.

Catelyn Plays Diplomat Again

Robb dictates his peace terms to Alton Lannister: the return of his sisters and his father's body, and independence for the North. Theon tells Robb he can't win the war without taking King's Landing and offers to return home to the Iron Islands where he'll ask his father for ships. Catelyn is not a fan of the idea because Balon Greyjoy previously rebelled against the Iron Throne and Ned put an end to it, taking young Theon back to Winterfell as insurance against future trouble. Catelyn wants to go home, but Robb is sending her to negotiate with Renly Baratheon.

Home Improvement with Joffrey

Joffrey is checking out the renovations to the throne room when his mother walks in. She wants Joffrey to send men to find Arya so they can get Jaime back. That prompts Joffrey to mention the rumor going around about his mother and uncle, and the conversation turns ugly. He demands to know how many bastards Robert fathered and insults Cersei, which earns him a slap in the face. Joffrey reminds Cersei that what she just did is punishable by death.

The Fallout from Joffrey and Cersei's Fight

Ros is moving up in the world and now trains the new recruits in Littlefinger's establishment. Janos Slynt and the City Watch show up at the place and kill Robert Baratheon's illegitimate baby. There's a hunt all through King's Landing for other bastards, and those that are found are also killed. Gendry is on their radar, but he's no longer in the capital; he's on his way north to the Wall as part of Yoren's group, which also includes Arya.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Discussing Game of Thrones: Fire and Blood & Final Thoughts on Season 1

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Fire and Blood.”

Did That Really Happen in the Previous Episode?

Yes, yes it did. *still sobbing 4 seasons later over Ned's death* Yoren carries Arya away from the crowd and tells her to keep quiet and pretend she's a boy. To help her pass for one, he cuts her hair off.

A Sad Case of Dreams Coming True

At Winterfell, Bran tells Osha that he dreamed that his father was in the Winterfell crypt. They go down there and find Rickon with Shaggydog. The youngest Stark reveals that he had the same dream. Once back outside, Luwin is carrying the message with the news from King's Landing and has the very sad task of breaking it to Bran.

We'll Kill Them All

News has also reached Robb's camp, where the mood is terribly somber. The expression on Catelyn's face . . . just thinking about it makes me sad all over again. She finds Robb hacking at a tree with his sword. He swears that he'll kill all the Lannisters. His mother reminds him they still have his sisters, but once they get them back, then they will kill them all.

Joffrey's Reign of Terror Continues

He has a court singer's tongue cut out and then forces Sansa to look at her father's severed head. When Sansa gets smart with her mouth, Joffrey, not one to dirty his own hands, has Meryn Trant strike her in the face. After Joffrey and Trant walk away, the Hound, who gave her a cloth to wipe the blood from her mouth, advises Sansa to do what Joffrey says.

The King in the North

The Northmen are debating whether or not to support Renly, who's declared himself king, or Stannis. The Greatjon proposes the North rule itself with Robb as king, and soon everyone is kneeling before King Robb. Catelyn goes to see Jaime, who acts like a class A a-hole toward her. After smashing him in the face with a rock, she demands to know how Bran fell out the tower. He confesses to pushing the boy but stops short of revealing why.

Keeping It in the Family

So . . . Cersei is messing around with Lancel. Her cousin.

A New Hand of the King

Tywin is livid that Jaime is Robb's prisoner. In private, he admits to Tyrion that the latter was right—Ned was their bargaining chip to get Jaime back, and now, thanks to Joffrey, they've got nothing. Tywin is marching for Harrenhal, while a shocked Tyrion is ordered to King's Landing to be Hand of the King while his father wins the war on the battlefield. Tyrion is not, however, to bring Shae to Court.

Daenerys Faces Her Losses

Daenerys wakes up to the sad news that her son did not survive. Mirri Maz Duur reminds her of the bargain she made to save Drogo. Daenerys demands to see him, and once outside of her tent, discovers that most of the khalasar is gone. Drogo is only a shell of a man. Daenerys confronts Mirri Maz Duur about knowing exactly what would happen when they made their deal.

Jon's Late Night Trip

Jon is deserting the Night's Watch to find Robb and fight with him. Sam tries to stop his friend, but Jon is determined. It's not long, though, before Pyp, Grenn, and Sam, led by Ghost, catch up to him. The three remind him of the vows that he took.

A Heartbreaking Decision

Daenerys tries talking to Drogo, hoping for a response, but there is none. She finally accepts that he'll never be himself again and smothers him with a pillow.

A Day in the Life of Grand Maester Pycelle

We learn a few interesting things about the old geezer: he likes the company of prostitutes and he's spry enough to do squats!

Déjà Vu

It's time for another Littlefinger/Varys conversation/insult-fest!

Arry, the Orphan Boy

Arya is preparing to leave King's Landing for the Wall with the other boys and men destined for the Night's Watch. Two of the boys, Hot Pie and Lommy Greenhands, notice Needle and try to wrest the sword from her. She threatens Hot Pie with the weapon until Gendry, who's also part of the group headed for the Wall, shows up and chases the boys off.


Mormont knows about Jon's midnight near-flight. The White Walker situation is getting very serious, and Mormont wants Jon and Ghost, if Jon's loyalty is truly to the Night's Watch, to ride out with the party that the Lord Commander himself is leading beyond the Wall to assess the threat. I just love that shot of the Night's Watch riding off!

Badass Dragons!

Daenerys stands before a funeral pyre for Drogo. The dragon eggs are going into the fire, and so is she. Jorah begs her not to do it, but she insists that she knows what she's doing. And wow, is she ever right! The next morning, she emerges from the ashes miraculously unburnt and with three baby dragons!

Final Thoughts on Season 1

Rewatching the first season four years after the show premiered has only made me appreciate it and love it even more than when I first saw it. In only ten episodes, a whole lot of story gets covered; not exactly easy to pull off, but it's done extremely well here.

The characters are superbly cast, and I really, really, really miss Sean Bean as Ned Stark. I can only imagine what it was like for viewers who didn't know Ned's fate beforehand and found out when they watched the "Baelor" episode.

It's hard for me to choose a favorite episode, because really, each one was just amazing. But I'll tell you what one of my favorite scenes was—in Episode 10, "Fire and Blood," when Jaime says, "There are no men like me. Only me." I realize that he's pretty despicable at this point, but I still love that line.

Time to start binge rewatching Season 2!

Peeps We Said Goodbye to This Season

RIP: Ned Stark, Robert Baratheon, Lady, Jory Cassel, Khal Drogo, Viserys Targaryen, Ser Waymar Royce, Will, Ser Vardis Egen, Ser Hugh of the Vale, Septa Mordane, Mycah the butcher's boy, the Mountain's horse. (And anyone else I forgot)

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