Tuesday, October 3, 2017

September 2017 Recap

Happy October, everyone! It certainly doesn't feel like fall yet here with temps still in the high 80's and lingering humidity. I just want a little bit of sweater weather! XD

I'm still clawing my way out of an abysmal reading/blogging slump. :( I've been reading V.E. Schwab's A Conjuring of Light since June. The book itself is fantastic; the problem is my complete and total lack of motivation to pick it up. Most nights when I sit down to read for a bit, I end up passing out on the couch within a few minutes. Sometimes within a few seconds, LOL.

And so this monthly recap is pretty light on . . . recapping. I hope to at least finish ACoL this month and maybe try reading a fairly short book to help ease back into a reading routine. Here's to happy reading for everyone, especially during these troubled and trying times when I know for me, reading fiction is a very, very welcome escape.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (175)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. 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:
Would You Rather Get a Disapproving Glare from McGonagall or Dumbledore?

Soooo . . . it's been a looooong time since I last participated in HPMotW. I'm pretty sure my last post was way back in July, for Harry Potter Month. I'm trying to get back into the blogging swing of things and hope to be doing HPMotW posts regularly again. :D

While I wouldn't want to earn the disapproval of either McGonagall or Dumbledore, I think that a disapproving glare from Dumbledore would mean that I'd done something really, really, really, really, really wrong. XD So I'll take a glare from McGonagall instead, LOL, but I'd do my best to stay on her good side as well.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hello Again!

Hello, friends! I know I haven't been around the blogosphere much lately, due in large part to pure lack of motivation, but the blame for getting zero reading or blogging done last week belongs entirely to a certain lady named Irma.

If I had to sum up Hurricane Irma in a few words, I'd say, "scary AF!!!!!!!" This wasn't the first hurricane I'd experienced; around this time last year, Matthew dumped a ton of rain with strong winds. When I lived in New York, Hurricane Gloria hit back in the 80's, and we had plenty of nor'easters, a couple of blizzards, and one blackout. Irma, however, was set to wallop the whole state of Florida, and as the track kept shifting west, Central Florida braced itself for a direct hit.

With the utter devastation that Hurricane Harvey left behind in Texas fresh in everyone's mind, as soon as Irma started looking fairly serious, people here wasted no time beginning preparations. Melissa and I went out early in the week to try and stock up on bottled water, canned goods, batteries, etc., and stores were already chaotic. I hate going to home improvement stores in principle and only do so when absolutely necessary, and this was a case of absolutely necessary. And it was pure hell. We also filled up our cars with gas, and it was good we went when we did because long lines and empty pumps quickly became a common sight.

Forecasts saw us getting hit the hardest last Sunday night into Monday, and our county, like many others in Florida, put us under a curfew. I camped out at Melissa and Ally's house to hunker down with the rest of our family, and as I was packing up what was essentially a go bag, I realized a few things. One, I have entirely too much stuff. As I was looking around trying to quickly determine what I absolutely could not live without if, God forbid, I couldn't return to my own house, it dawned on me how many things were just lying around, taking up space. I told myself that some seriously de-cluttering was in order, if we survived. And let me tell you, with the way the wind roared through the night, I was truly afraid that we were all going to blow away.

I hope this doesn't sound laughably melodramtic, but it was a bit sobering to think that my entire life was briefly contained in a suitcase, or at least as much as I could fit into it. Extra clothes. Basic toiletries. Important documents. The governor emphatically stated in his news briefings that objects were replaceable, but people were not and to heed all safety warnings. I completely understand that an object is an object and nothing can ever take your memories from you, but I still couldn't help feeling torn over leaving things like family photos behind. I wrapped the albums in a plastic garbage bag and put the bag on a closet shelf, then hoped for the best. My anxiety went into overdrive, and I had visions of roofs tearing off and windows being blown out and water gushing in, submerging everything.

None of us really got any sleep as we listened to the wind howl all night. When daylight finally arrived, I was scared to peek out the window to see if my house was still standing. I was beyond relieved to see that it was, although it does need some repairs. A few houses down, a big tree had fallen; fortunately, it had landed in the street and not on the house. We were extremely lucky to have a generator; our neighborhood lost power for almost 24 hours while other areas were without power for days, and some are still without power.

Around where I live, things are slowly returning to normal. It might be a while before I can once again try to bust out of this horrible reading/blogging funk I'm in, but I'm very, very, very grateful that the damage here wasn't as bad as it could have been. I've missed blogging a lot and am going to try to at least blog hop occasionally. In the meantime, I hope all is well with all of you, and I'll get back to blogging—eventually! :D

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

August 2017 Recap

It's another short and sweet monthly recap with zero books read, LOL. August was incredibly busy, so much so that I posted my Game of Thrones recaps super late every week. XD I also had some internet woes, culminating in two calls to tech support that got progressively worse in helpfulness and customer service quality. I had low expectations going in, but apparently they weren't low enough. My internet has been a bit more reliable, and fingers crossed that I don't have to call tech support again any time soon.

Here in Florida, we're preparing for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma. I went out tonight after work to see if I could grab a few extra supplies like bottled water and batteries, and all of the big name stores were already cleaned out, not only of those items but of canned and boxed foods as well. Both Lowe's and Home Depot were also significantly more crowded than usual for a Tuesday night. I live in an area in Central Florida that's hilly, but we're still bracing for the worst. I hope that everyone in the hurricane's path stays safe!

Game of Thrones Recaps:

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Dragon and the Wolf & Final Thoughts on Season 7

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Dragon and the Wolf.”

Soooo . . . the GoT Season 7 finale was, like, over a week ago, LOL. I've been having internet issues on and off lately, and they struck again last week. Since I stream HBO through the PlayStation now, I didn't get to rewatch the finale until last night. Enough about technical difficulties, though; it's time to talk some GoT!

I'm Going to King's Landing, and I'm Bringing . . . .

The Unsullied. The Dothraki. A ship with Tyrion, Jon, Davos, Varys, Missandei, Theon, the Hound, and that damned wight that caused a ridiculous amount of trouble in the previous episode. Everyone is gearing up for the monumental meeting between major characters that's been 7 seasons in the making. For her part, Cersei gives Frankengregor his kill priority list: first Tyrion, then Daenerys, then Jon, After that, he can take people out in any order he pleases! That Cersei; she's always so generous!

The Walk to the Dragon Pit

Bronn has the rather thankless job of escorting Tyrion and his companions to the dragon pit, where the meeting will take place. Brienne and Pod are standing behind Bronn, and there's a nice little reunion between Tyrion and his former squire. Pod is such a likeable lad; he's one of the rare characters in Westeros who gets along with everyone. Why can't the rest of them be more like Pod? LOL.

Lots of Staredowns in This Pit

There's no shortage of death glares as everyone files into the dragon pit. There's a tense moment between the Hound and the Mountain, made even creepier by those freaky, soulless eyes of the Mountain's. It looks like the Hound might throw down right there with his bro, but not this season.

That's How You Make an Entrance

Daenerys is conspicuously still absent from the gathering, and Cersei bitchily demands to know where she is. Wait—what's that sound? Could it be . . . dragons? Daenerys has indeed arrived with both Drogon and Rhaegal. Drogon dramatically roars at everyone before Daenerys disembarks and casually takes her seat. Cersei is not amused.

Wight Here, Wight Now

With all of the major GoT players finally assembled, Tyrion starts to speak. Euron, ever the douchebag, interrupts to start taunting Theon about Yara's fate. Cersei actually reigns Euron in, ordering him to shut up or leave. As expected, she thinks the White Walkers and the wights are simply a ploy to get her to pull back her army so Daenerys can swoop in and take the crown. The Hound brings out the box holding the wight, and after opening it, there's this agonizing couple of seconds where nothing happens. I seriously thought the wight had escaped or had died, as much as the undead can die again. The wight is definitely still "alive," however, and runs straight at Cersei. The Hound cuts it in half and also divests it of a hand. Qyburn looks like Christmas has arrived early and picks up the hand. Jon, sounding a bit like he's doing a demo for an infomercial, LOL, illustrates how fire and dragonglass can kill the wights.

Even for Cersei, there's no refuting this proof that the undead exist. Jaime asks how many there are, and Daenerys replies that there are at least 100,000. Euron wants to know if they can swim, and upon finding out that they can't, it's Euron—OUT! Cersei says that she'll accept a truce until the dead are defeated. Cersei being Cersei, of course there's going to be an enormous condition: Jon is to remain in the North and not take sides when the war is over. Oops, he already bent the knee to Daenerys in the last episode, and here he publicly pronounces it. Cersei is like, nope, and walks out.

Just about everyone on Team Not Cersei is pissed at Jon for his brutal honesty in declaring his allegiance to Daenerys at exactly the wrong moment. Now they're just sitting ducks for Cersei, and Tyrion says that their single sliver of hope for escaping this situation alive is for him to go talk to his sister—alone.

Cersei and Tyrion Catch Up

Well, not really. It's more like Cersei nearly orders Frankengregor to go ahead and kill Tyrion after Tyrion tells her to do it. She acknowledges that Tyrion didn't kill Joffrey, but she blames him for Myrcella and Tommen's deaths because killing Tywin left the family vulnerable to their enemies. Tyrion tells her that he loved his niece and nephew and tries to apologize, but Cersei won't hear it. He also realizes that she's pregnant.

He's Alive!

Jon and Daenerys are acting pretty flirty with each other when Tyrion returns—alive! Cersei, Jaime, and their entourage are also back, and Cersei says that her army will march North.

Meanwhile, at Winterfell . . . .

Sansa is venting to Littlefinger about Jon making the executive decision to join Daenerys. Littlefinger hasn't had much to do this season other than fan Sansa's biggest fears, and here he suggests a possible marriage between Jon and Daenerys. Littlefinger also continues to fuel the idea that Arya is out to kill Sansa and become Lady of Winterfell.

Theon Fights Back

Everyone is getting ready to depart from Dragonstone when Theon asks Jon for a word in private. They have a heart-to-heart, with Jon telling Theon he doesn't have to choose between being a Greyjoy and a Stark. Theon is going after Yara, and he tries to rally the Ironborn who picked him up after the battle with Euron. Their leader, however, insists that if Yara isn't already dead she's as good as, and he proceeds to beat the shit out of Theon. The Ironborn thug gets a surprise, though, when he tries to knee Theon where some, um, stuff is missing, and Theon capitalizes on that split second of hesitation to fight back. Theon ends up besting the guy, earning the respect of the other Ironborn.

Justice at Winterfell

Sansa instructs a guard to bring Arya to the Great Hall. Arya looks like she's about to stand accused, but after Sansa rattles off the list of charges, she turns to Littlefinger to answer for his crimes! YASSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! He denies betraying Ned, and Bran taps into his Three-Eyed Raven database to recount the scene with perfect accuracy. Littlefinger throws himself at Sansa's mercy, and his whimpering was quite pathetic. I was really proud of Sansa in this scene for maintaining complete control over it and steamrolling Littlefinger. The scene could not have ended any better, with Arya playing executioner and slitting Petyr Baelish's throat.

You're Not Stupid, Jaime!

Jaime is hard at work planning the deployment of the Lannister army when Cersei shoos everyone else away. She asks him what he's doing. Um, preparing the troops to head North? Like you promised, Cersei? She calls him the stupidest Lannister for thinking they were *really* going to ally with Daenerys and co. Jaime, who's been soooo wishy-washy all season that I was about to give up any hope of him somewhat following a path closer to the one his book counterpart takes, is going to stand by his pledge. Cersei could care less about the threat in the North; with the Iron Bank's backing, she's hired the Golden Company in Essos to reinforce her army. Let the fighting up North weed out the playing field while she bides her time with a huge army behind her. Jaime can't believe her and is prepared to, AT LAST, walk away from her. For the second time in this episode, it looks like Cersei may order the Mountain to kill one of her brothers. Since Tyrion escaped that fate, I thought for sure that Jaime wouldn't and was screaming, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" in my head. Maybe a little out loud. Jaime does walk away, though, and we see him riding away, covering up his golden hand with a glove, as snow starts to fall. Winter is well and truly here.

Bran States the Obvious

Sam and Gilly arrive at Winterfell, and Sam goes to see Bran. Sam's reaction to Bran saying that he's become the Three-Eyed Raven made me laugh my ass off. Sam was kind of like, "Oh. Okay. Well, then." XD Sam wants to rejoin Jon, and Bran says, in his robo-Bran monotone, that Jon is on his way back to Winterfell with Daenerys and needs to know the truth about his parentage. What smartypants Robo-Bran didn't know, and which Sam fills him in on, was that Rhaegar's marriage to Elia Martell was secretly annulled, and he then secretly married Lyanna Stark. That makes Jon, not Daenerys, the heir to the Iron Throne. That also makes him Daenerys's nephew. While Bran does his voiceover, we see Jon knocking on Daenerys's cabin door. OK, so I'd heard the rumor before the season even started that he and Daenerys were going to get together, but I tried to push that out of my head. Until it actually happened onscreen. I cannot un-see that. What made it even more cringe-worthy for me was Bran saying that Jon needs to know about who he really is just as Jon was banging his aunt. Fantastic timing as usual, Bran. Is it just me, or was Bran the King of Awkward this season?! Too bad he's not the Three-Eyed Hawk instead of the Three-Eyed Raven, because then he'd be the King of Hawkward, hahaha.

The Stark Sisters Forever!

After all of the tension-filled scenes of the past few episodes, it was nice to see Arya and Sansa have a bonding moment.

Remember the Ice Dragon?

Bran is in the godswood when he goes into a vision. The scene cuts to Eastwatch, where Tormund and Beric are. Unfortunately for them, the massive undead army is at their door, led by the Night King riding zombie Viserion. The ice dragon unleashes blue flames and annihilates Eastwatch. With that part of the Wall down, the army can pass right through and continue south. I hope Tormund and Beric survived!

Final Thoughts on Season 7

It's so sad to say that this was the penultimate season! Only 1 more left, and then, THE END. I have so many feelings on that, especially since who knows when the books will be completed. For that matter, who knows when The Winds of Winter will be completed? It seems so strange to me to see the show come to an end before the novels. I could go on and on about that subject, so I'd better move on to the topic at hand.

This was also a shortened season, with 7 episodes instead of 10, and the pacing was noticeably different. Travel times across Westeros became a running joke and the inspiration for many a meme. As exciting as it was to see characters meet for the first time after years of being involved in their individual story lines only, I couldn't help thinking some meet-ups felt rushed, Jon and Daenerys's entire . . . whatever you want to call it being Exhibit A.

Speaking of Jon, I cannot call him Aegon Targaryen. I will ALWAYS call him Jon Snow! The info-dump about Rhaegar and Lyanna felt exactly like that—an info-dump. That's a HUGE plot point, and I definitely wanted more back story than a line or two from Gilly and Bran using his Three-Eyed Raven powers to attend the secret wedding. Speaking of Rhaegar, that flashback gave me flashbacks to Viserys's hairstyle in Season 1. XD

The dragons looked absolutely STUNNING this season! Kudos to the VFX team for making them look so realistic! One of my favorite scenes from this season was Drogon unleashing epic flames on the Lannister troops in Episode 4, "The Spoils of War."

It was only a matter of time before Littlefinger died. Other than whisper like a creep in Sansa's ear and try to turn her against her sister, he didn't have a whole lot to do at Winterfell.

Maybe it's the facial hair, but Euron makes me think of Liev Schreiber as Sabertooth in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. XD

It was nice to see Hot Pie and Gendry again! Finally, the closure we've been waiting for as to whether Gendry ever stopped rowing that boat, LOL. On a more bittersweet note, it was also nice to see Nymeria again and to know that she was OK.

And now, for the next to last time, here's the requisite list of:

Peeps We Said Goodbye to This Season

Obara Sand, Nymeria Sand, Lady Olenna Tyrell, Randyll Tarly, Dickon Tarly, Thoros of Myr, Benjen Stark (for real this time? LOL.), Petyr (Littlefinger) Baelish.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: Beyond the Wall

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen "Beyond the Wall.”

While late recaps have been the norm for me this season, LOL, this recap almost didn't happen at all thanks to no Internet for 3 days. I finally had time to swap out a crappy cable modem for a new one, and we're back in business!

This episode—WTF???!!!! There were so many WTF moments, I think I'm going to group them all together at the end, after we talk about the plot-y stuff first.

Into the Snow the Snow Bros Go

The Avengers-like super team of Jon, Tormund, Jorah, Gendry, the Hound, Beric, and Thoros are looking for the White Walkers, hoping to capture one and bring it back to King's Landing to show Cersei. Remember that stupid plan? It's just . . . stupid. Anyway, the group is well into this insane mission, and the show takes the opportunity to "reunite" Gendry with Beric and Thoros; Gendry is still quite upset about that time the Brotherhood Without Banners sold him to Melisandre, and she put leeches down his breeches. In a poignant scene, Jon offers to return Longclaw to Jorah, who declines. Later there's an amusing exchange between Tormund and the Hound; Tormund mentions the "beauty" he has waiting for him back at Winterfell, and a horrified Hound realizes it's Brienne. BAHAHAHAHAHA! That's about the last of the humor, though, before the shitshow starts.

That Damn Letter

Arya confronts Sansa about the letter Arya found (or, rather, Littlefinger wanted her to find). Sansa says that she was only a child then, and she was coerced into writing it. It gets pretty vicious between the sisters, with them accusing each other of doing nothing to stop Ned's execution. Arya further accuses Sansa of betraying their family, and Sansa counters back that they never would've taken Winterfell back if the Knights of the Vale hadn't arrived because of her. Sansa tries to defuse the situation a bit by pointing out that this infighting is exactly what Cersei would want to see, but Arya won't back down.

Heir, Heir

Tyrion and Daenerys discuss their upcoming meeting with Cersei, and it gets tense when Tyrion lets her know that he thinks she went too far with the Tarlys' punishment. She says that burning them was necessary and then again questions whose side Tyrion is really on. He also voices his concern over the lack of a successor if something should happen to her since she insists on going into battle herself. Daenerys is suspicious and won't hear any further talk on the matter until after she's actually wearing the crown.

Flame On!

Back beyond the wall, the snow is really picking up and visibility is very poor. Jon and co. spot a bear, but it's not just any bear. It's a freaking ZOMBIE BEAR!!! From this point on with the battle scenes in the North, it becomes really difficult to tell who's who, between the snow and everyone wearing their fuzzy coats. The bear attacks some random dude. Thoros and Beric light up their flaming swords; I never get tired of that—it's just so cool! Zombie bear is torched with flames but continues its savage attack. The Hound's fear of fire completely gets the better of him, and Thoros has to jump in and save him. The bear mauls poor Thoros, and Jorah says they have to get him back to Eastwatch. They all journey on, however, after Beric touches his flaming sword to Thoros's wounds.

Why Is Littlefinger Still Alive?

A panicky Sansa asks Littlefinger where Arya could have gotten the letter from, and he says he doesn't know. Lying bastard. Sansa worries that she'll lose the Northern lords if they find out about the letter. Littlefinger plants the idea in Sansa's head that Arya could pose a real threat to her safety by saying that Brienne is bound to protect both Stark sisters, even if one were plotting to hurt the other.

Ice Spy with My Little Eye

At last, the frozen undead are spotted. Jon wonders where the rest of the army is since there don't seem to be that many of them, and Tormund advises they don't hang around too long to find out. The Snow Bros attack, and when Jon takes out a White Walker, a bunch of wights go down, too. It seems that killing a Walker also kills any wights it's created. The Snow Bros capture their wight, but they quickly find themselves being surrounded by the rest of the army that they didn't see earlier. Jon sends Gendry back to Eastwatch to send a raven to Daenerys, who's their only hope of getting out of this disaster. The remaining members of the group get stranded on an island in the middle of a half frozen lake, with the dead on every side. Good times!

The standoff continues, and poor Thoros dies during the night. Beric uses his sword to burn the body. Oh shit—the Night King has turned up to the battle! Beric tells Jon that the Lord of Light brought both of them back for a reason—perhaps to kill the Night King and hopefully his entire army?

Sassy Sansa

Sansa receives an invitation to King's Landing, and she's like, hell no, I won't go. She tells Brienne to go in her place, and Brienne is totally uneasy with the idea of leaving Sansa alone with Littlefinger and at the very least, asks to leave Pod behind at Winterfell for protection. Sansa gets all sassy, though, and insists that she has all the protection she needs.

Flame On, Part 2!

Raven mail must be faster than UPS or FedEx overnight because the raven has already reached Dragonstone, AND Daenerys has had time to go shopping for a snazzy new coat for the trip North. Tyrion begs her not to go, but she sets off with ALL THREE DRAGONS. ALL. THREE. DRAGONS.

And the Gold Medal for the Ice Javelin Throw Goes to . . . the Night King!

Jon, Tormund, Jorah, the Hound, and Beric are still stranded on their little island, and the ice zombies are still standing around waiting. The Hound hurls a rock at a wight that hits it right in what used to be its face. No reaction. The Hound hurls another rock that lands at the wight's feet, and this time—the wight starts moving. So do the other wights. Soon the fighting is fast, furious, and futile. There's no way the Snow Bros are getting out of this alive, and there's even a slo-mo shot to illustrate how ridiculously outnumbered they are. But wait—what's that? HOLY SHIT—DRACARYS!!!!!!!!!

Daenerys looks magnificent here—truly the Queen of Ice AND Fire. The dragons are spewing flames on the ice zombies, and suddenly, all doesn't look lost for the Snow Bros. Everyone BUT Jon scrambles onto Drogon. But wait—what is the Night King doing????? HELLLLLL NOOOOOOO—HE IS NOT ABOUT TO HURL THAT ICE JAVELIN AT VISERION!!!!!!!!!!

The sight of Viserion falling from the sky and crashing beneath the ice was absolutely heartbreaking!!!!!! I also felt murderous rage at the fucking Night King. This mofo needs to DIE!!!!!!!! He's getting ready to throw ANOTHER ice javelin when Jon spots him and tells Daenerys to leave without him. She's torn, but she goes. Drogon takes flight, and the ice javelin just misses him, as Jorah is nearly lost midair.

Meanwhile, Jon survives a plunge into icy water only to haul himself out and get noticed by the wights. He can barely lift his sword anymore. Fortunately for Jon, Uncle Benjen rides in to save him! They have a nanosecond reunion, then Benjen is sending Jon off on his horse and holds off the wights so they can escape.

Back at Eastwatch, Daenerys and Jorah are in the watchtower, and he gently tells her they need to go. She says they'll wait a bit longer, and then the horn sounds. Once. It's Jon! On board the Targaryen ship, his frozen clothes are removed, and Daenerys sees his six-pack stab wounds. I wouldn't even call them scars.

Sansa Comes Face-to-Face with What Arya's Been Up To

Now it's Sansa's turn to snoop, and she's in Arya's room going through a satchel when she finds . . . faces. They look like cheap Halloween masks, LOL. Suddenly Arya is in the room and wants to play the Game of Faces with her sister. An alarmed Sansa demands to know what the faces are. Arya tells her that if she had Sansa's face, she could become her and casually picks up the Valyrian steel dagger. There's a pause as you wonder whether Arya is actually going to kill Sansa, but Arya just hands Sansa the dagger and walks away.

Another Alliance

Jon wakes up to find Daenerys standing there. He tells her he's sorry and wishes they'd never gone. She says she's not sorry; now she's seen the White Walkers and wights for herself, and they're going to destroy the Night King and his army—together. Jon calls her his queen and says he'll bend the knee.

ICE DRAGON???!!!!!

The wights are using 4 giant chains to pull Viserion out of the ice. The Night King touches the dragon, and when Viserion opens its eye—it's BLUE!!!!!!!

OK, Time for the WTF Moments

I'm a hardcore GoT fangirl, and I know this season is shorter and moving at a brisk pace, but seriously, this episode asked me to suspend A LOT of disbelief. WARNING: This list is going to get rant-y.

  • How the HELL did Gendry get back to Eastwatch so fast? How?????? In the freezing cold and snow! OK, I'm not buffed like he is from doing all the blacksmith work and shit AND I'm used to Florida weather, but I did live up North for a long time and doesn't running in that kind of cold burn your lungs? How fast can you run under those kinds of conditions?
  • The ice javelin. Does the Night King always keep those handy? Do his frosty powers also give him impeccable aim? And here I poked fun at Qyburn's Scorpion/crossbow contraption. HOW did that ice javelin travel so far and with such speed and force to take out a dragon????!!!!
  • I hope that Arya left her faces for Sansa to find on purpose because otherwise, that's some serious carelessness on Arya's part, and for a Faceless (Wo)Man, to boot.
  • Jon and Daenerys making goo-goo eyes at each other made me want to hurl, and I don't mean hurl an ice javelin. XD When are we going to get to the part where they are/aren't aunt and nephew?
  • Where in SEVEN HELLS did the Night King and crew find not one, not two, not three, but FOUR heavy duty chains, strong enough to support a dragon's weight? They looked industrial grade, FFS. And who organized them into such coordinated lines? Don't they usually shuffle about when they're on the move? This was probably the most ridiculous thing about the episode, and I ranted about it through the end credits, LOL.

In the Next Episode

THE MEETING. THE SHOWDOWN. THE SEASON FINALE!!!!!!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: Eastwatch

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

Hey—I might actually get this posted before Sunday's new episode! It's a miracle! XD

Jaime and Bronn Survive Their Deep Sea Adventure

So last week, we saw Jaime sinking into what looked like some pretty deep water, yet when he and Bronn haul themselves back onto dry land, the water doesn't look that deep at all. I really have to stop nitpicking these things. XD Jaime still appears to be stunned from the crushing, fiery defeat the Lannister army has just suffered at the hands of Daenerys, the Dothraki, and one badass dragon. He tells Bronn that Cersei needs to hear how unstoppable Daenerys is, and Bronn is like, that's great, but I'm outta here!

When You Play the Game of Thrones, You Kneel or You Die

The surviving Lannister troops are brought before Daenerys, who gives them a choice: kneel or burn. A good number choose life, but Randyll Tarly is not among them. He argues that at least Cersei has spent her entire life in Westeros, unlike Daenerys. Dickon Tarly stands by his father. Tyrion tries to intercede, suggesting to Daenerys that she send Lord Tarly to the Wall, but the latter stands his ground; Daenerys is not his queen, and she cannot give him orders.

Eh, We'll Just Hire Some Mercenaries

Back in King's Landing, Jaime tries to get Cersei to understand the decimation he just witnessed on the battlefield and how impossible a victory would be against Daenerys and the dragons. He also repeats Olenna's last words to Cersei.

Jon's New BFF - Drogon!

Daenerys arrives back at Dragonstone with Drogon, and guess who just happens to be standing near where they land? It's Jon, and he and Drogon seem to have some kind of connection, in that Drogon doesn't incinerate him on sight. Daenerys is VERY intrigued by their interaction, but the moment is broken up by the arrival of Jorah. He tells Daenerys he's cured but neglects to mention Sam's role in saving his life.

You Know Nothing, Maesters of the Citadel

Bran has a vision of the White Walkers at Eastwatch and tells Maester Wolkan that they need to send ravens. At the Citadel, Ebrose is discussing the message from Winterfell with other maesters as Sam listens in the background. Most of the maesters dismiss the notion of the White Walkers' existence and even ridicule the message. Sam can't help but speak up and says that he's seen the White Walkers, and the threat needs to be taken seriously.

I Am a King

Tyrion and Varys are discussing Daenerys's recent actions, and Tyrion insists to Varys that Daenerys isn't her father. Varys tells Tyrion that as Hand of the Queen, Tyrion has to make her listen. Varys has intercepted the message from Winterfell that was intended for Jon, and of course the crafty Spider has read it. Jon learns that both Bran and Arya are alive and back at Winterfell, and he also receives the news about Bran's vision. Jon wants to return home immediately. Daenerys doesn't want him to go and tries to pull rank, saying that she hasn't given Jon permission to leave Dragonstone, and that's when he also pulls rank and reminds her that he's also a king. Jon needs to go North, Daenerys can't pack up and leave herself vulnerable to Cersei, and that's when Tyrion proposes that they bring a White Walker to Cersei to convince her that they all need to fight together? WHAT? First of all, even if they did manage to bring a White Walker to her, I still don't think she'd care. Secondly, Daenerys literally has all of the fire power here, not Cersei, and could take King's Landing tomorrow and then head North. I just don't get what ending hostilities with Cersei really adds, but okay.

Sisterly Standoff

At Winterfell, Sansa listens to the Northern lords grumble about Jon heading Beyond the Wall. In private, Arya accuses her first of not defending Jon in front of them and then of catering to them so she'll have their support in case Jon doesn't return.

Brotherly Standoff

Bronn lures Jaime down into the dragon skull room under the pretense of training, but it's really to meet Tyrion in secret. Jaime is angry but sticks around to hear Tyrion out. Meanwhile, Davos, who was the obvious choice for smuggling Tyrion into King's Landing, seeks out . . . GENDRY!!!!! He made it back after all! Davos fires off one of the best GoT one-liners ever: "Thought you might still be rowing." BAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Gendry is ready to rock and roll and fight, with his own warhammer to boot. It's sweet how Davos has kind of taken Gendry under his wing.

SERIOUSLY????!!!!!

Jaime goes to Cersei about his meeting with Tyrion. She already knew about it, of course. Cersei is now not so opposed to coming to some kind of agreement with Daenerys so they can use it to outsmart her. Cersei is also pregnant! I. AM. HORRIFIED. Dammit, TV Jaime! Why can't you be more like Book Jaime?????

Hi, I'm Gendry. I'm a Bastard, Too

That's pretty much how Gendry introduces himself to Jon, LOL, after Davos urges Gendry to keep mum about his parentage. Gendry is ready to fight, fight, fight!

Gilly Says Something Important. Like, REALLY Important

Confession time: I usually tune out whenever Sam and Gilly scenes are on. So of course they give Gilly this bombshell line of dialogue in the middle of her reciting a bunch of boring facts about some maester's records or some shit. I don't even remember, except for the part about RHAEGAR TARGARYEN GETTING A SECRET ANNULMENT AND THEN BEING SECRETLY MARRIED TO SOMEONE ELSE IN DORNE. That's right.

Arya vs. Littlefinger

Arya tails Littlefinger around Winterfell, and she spies him being really sketchy, culminating in him hiding a letter he'd asked Maester Wolkan to retrieve on behalf of Sansa. Arya breaks into Littlefinger's room to find it and read it. Littlefinger secretly watches her lock his door after leaving, making it appear that he meant for her to find the letter all along.

Snow's Bros, Assemble!

Jon and his compatriots arrive at Eastwatch. Tormund inquires after "The big woman," i.e. Brienne, which makes even broody Jon crack a smile. This motley group, comprised of Jon, Jorah, Davos, Gendry, and Tormund, is about to get even more intriguing when Tormund leads everyone to a cell holding Beric, Thoros, and the Hound. So. These are the guys who are going to capture a White Walker and bring it to Cersei. I LOVE IT!!!!

In the Next Episode

Tensions appear to rise even more between Arya and Sansa. It also looks like we're finally going to see a showdown with the White Walkers. That shot of Beric and the flaming sword looks epic!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Spoils of War

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Spoils of War.”

This week's late recap of last week's episode comes courtesy of a router that crapped out yesterday morning. I wrote about half of this recap late Saturday night and was going to finish up on Sunday morning, but I had no Internet on Sunday morning. After tinkering around with the modem and router a bit and cursing a lot, the router seemed to be the culprit. I only bought that POS router a few months ago after another router had suddenly quit working, so I was about as happy as Daenerys upon finding out that the Lannisters took Highgarden. We're all good with the Interwebs now, though, so on with the recap!

This was the shortest GoT episode ever, clocking in around 50 minutes, but it was one of THE BEST episodes ever. Not hyperbole! Not a wasted minute! Not enough exclamation points!!!!

Where's My Castle?

Jaime is escorting the Highgarden gold back to King's Landing, and he has Bronn and Bronn's always entertaining wit to accompany him. Although Jaime gives Bronn a hefty bag of gold for his troubles so far, Bronn is still looking for that elusive castle to call his own. Meanwhile in King's Landing, that dude from the Iron Bank whose name eluded me until I Googled it (Tycho Nestoris), is happy to hear from Cersei that the Lannister debt repayment is in transit.

Bran Continues to Creep Everyone the Hell Out

Littlefinger, thoughtful as ever and still annoyingly alive, gives Bran the dagger that the assassin Catelyn fought off back in the first season was about to use on an unconscious Bran. How sweet! Bran asks Littlefinger whom the dagger belonged to, and Littlefinger says he doesn't know, which is not what he told Catelyn back in the first season. We even revisit this scene before the episode; Littlefinger claims that the dagger was his, but he lost it gambling to Tyrion. We all know what happened next: Catelyn had that fateful run-in with Tyrion on the road and took him prisoner, setting off the chain of events that we've been watching unfold for the last six seasons. So really, it's all Littlefinger's fault! XD We saw Melisandre unsettle Varys in the previous episode, and here Bran spooks Littlefinger a bit by quoting the latter's "Chaos is a ladder" speech to Varys a couple of seasons ago.

Meera stops in to say goodbye to Bran before departing for home. She's reluctant to leave him but if the White Walkers continue their march south, she needs to be with her family. I felt horrible embarrassment on Bran's behalf because poor Meera is visibly upset about going while Bran remains completely stone-faced. She finally loses it and reminds him that her brother, Hodor, and Summer all died to protect him, and she nearly died, too.

ARYA IS BAAAAAAAAACK!!!!!!!

I almost cried when she saw Winterfell in the distance! Welcome home, Arya!!!!! If only those asshole guards would believe that you're really Arya Stark and let you in. That's OK, though; Arya just sneaks in, and Sansa finds her down in the crypt. It was nice to see the Stark sisters reunited at last. Arya mentions her kill list, and Sansa kind of laughs, but Sansa will very soon realize that Arya wasn't kidding. The sisters find Bran in the godswood, and he's about as happy to see Arya as he was to see Sansa. That is to say, there's barely a reaction. What the HELL is up with Bran? Did becoming the Three-Eyed Raven = becoming a zombie?

The Writing is Literally on the Wall

At Dragonstone, Jon leads Daenerys into a cave to see the dragonglass before the mining starts. The massive amount is impressive, but wait—there's more! He shows her some drawings on the cave walls made by the Children of the Forest; at one time, they worked together with the First Men to fight the White Walkers. I half expected Daenerys to accuse Jon of making those drawings himself since she's been pretty bitchy with him so far. The paintings finally seem to have convinced her that the White Walkers do exist, and she agrees to help Jon . . . when he bends the knee. Daenerys has been saying "bend the knee" so much that it reminds me of how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog ends a sentence with, " . . . for me to poop on!" Daenerys sure as hell poops all over this scene, which also seemed to be hinting at some attraction between her and Jon. Who's supposed to be her nephew. If the Little Birds of the Interwebs are right, however, that familial relationship is going to be explained away. And if it isn't, what the hell. There's already twincest on the show anyway!

Outside the cave, Tyrion and Varys are waiting for Daenerys to deliver the news that they took Casterly Rock, but they've lost Highgarden. Dealt one crushing blow after another, a frustrated Daenerys accuses Tyrion of being loyal to his family instead of to her. She's ready to take the dragons to King's Landing and asks Jon for his opinion, and he sagely replies that if she burns everything, she'll be no different from the other tyrants who've ruled Westeros. Like her father.

Arya Shows Off Her Skills

Brienne and Pod are sparring in the Winterfell courtyard when Arya turns up. She wants to train with Brienne—hell yeah! Sansa and Littlefinger watch as Brienne and Arya spar, and holy shit is Arya amazing! The scene gets even better, though, when Brienne asks Arya, "Who taught you how to do that?" Arya's perfect reply: "No one." BRILLIANT!!!!

A Terrible Time to Wash Up on Shore

Theon and the Ironborn who survived Euron's attack arrive on the shores of Dragonstone just as Jon is RIGHT. THERE. Jon's face is murderous, and he grabs Theon, telling him that what Theon did for Sansa is the only reason Jon won't kill him. Theon hopes that Daenerys will help him rescue Yara, but Daenerys is gone.

Dracarys x 10 Million

The battle sequences on GoT have become fiercer with every season, and this one—let's just say that it pretty much made up for the episode running 10 minutes shorter than usual.

No one in Westeros ever expected the Dothraki to cross the Narrow Sea, but here they are, charging at Jaime, Bronn, and the Lannister army. Jaime just looks completely shell-shocked here. Bronn urges him to flee and get back to King's Landing, but Jaime insists they can hold them off. That is, until Daenerys and Drogon show up! The visual effects artists did a phenomenal job bringing Drogon to life, and if I saw that flying at me, of course I'd totally shit myself! DAMN!!!!!

Daenerys and Drogon proceed to Dracarys the flaming hell out of the Lannister army; there are screaming men on fire everywhere, while others have been completely burned to ash. For fantasy, this scene looks incredibly realistic. Jaime is still like, WTF???? but gathers enough sense to tell Bronn he has to man the Scorpion, AKA the giant dragon crossbow. Bronn nearly gets killed trying to make his way to the weapon and more than once thinks about hauling ass out of there. He gets to the Scorpion, though, and with an efficiency that makes you wonder exactly when the hell he learned how to operate this thing, fires a bolt that actually hits Drogon. Daenerys manages to land him, and while she struggles to remove the spear/bolt/whatever, Jaime sees that she's vulnerable and decides to attempt to become a Queenslayer as well as a Kingslayer. Meanwhile, Tyrion is also there, watching all of this unfold, and he wills Jaime to just get the hell out of there. The fucking idiot, as Tyrion calls him, is about to get roasted by dragon fire (Drogon fire, more like, LOL) when Bronn shoves him out of the way. Both men plunge into the water, which looks surprisingly deep considering that Jaime and Bronn didn't seem that far from the shoreline to begin with. XD The last shot of the episode is of Jaime, weighed down by his armor and golden hand, sinking and sinking . . . .

In the Next Episode

Tyrion may have to have a little chat with Daenerys about her Kneel or Burn policy. Bran sees the White Walkers at Eastwatch—watch out, Tormund!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

July 2017 Recap

Happy August, everyone! July flew by so fast that I'm still recapping it, LOL. Er, there's really not much to recap on the blog. XD Life outside of reading and blogging just continues to monopolize my time. I've been kinda MIA from the blogosphere lately and totally petered out at the end of this year's Harry Potter Month because there were too many adulting-related things going on. A big thank you to Melissa for picking up my slack and writing posts and replying to comments!

The one thing that I always find time for is watching Game of Thrones, LOL! I haven't been nearly as diligent in getting my episode recaps posted in a timely manner, but they do get written . . . eventually. XD This past Sunday's episode was INSANE!!! I can't wait to see what else this shortened season has in store!

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: The Queen's Justice

* Spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “The Queen's Justice.”

This recap is super late, obviously, LOL. Last week was crazy busy. Hmm...what I need is the team of peeps who built Euron’s ships because they’re clearly fast and efficient at getting things done, and they could handle some of my adulting stuff so I have more time to watch TV and write GoT episode recaps. XD

Dragonstone: The Place to Be Right Now in Westeros

Clearly traveling by TARDIS or teleportation or some other lightning fast mode of transportation, Jon and Davos arrive at Dragonstone, greeted by Tyrion and Missandei. Jon and Tyrion are genuinely pleased to see each other again, having shared their last scene together all the way back in the first season! After Jon and Davos comply with Missandei’s request to turn over their weapons, the group starts the ascent up to the castle. One of the dragons flies over, and a stunned Jon and Davos hit the ground.

Melisandre is also still at Dragonstone, secretly watching Jon and Davos. Varys questions her about why she’s hiding. She says she’s done her part; she’s brought ice and fire together. Her next stop is Volantis, and Varys tells her she shouldn’t return to Westeros. Melisandre replies that she’ll return one last time—to die there, just like Varys will. It’s almost impossible to catch the Spider off-guard, but Melisandre’s words seem to shake him a bit here.

In Which Two MAJOR Characters Meet

It’s time for the much-anticipated meeting! Daenerys looks very regal sitting on the Dragonstone throne. I love the bit of comic relief in this scene when Missandei effortlessly rattles of Daenerys’s 10,000 titles and Davos follows that up with Jon’s one title. Daenerys and Jon go back and forth about him bending the knee/not bending the knee as he also tries to convince her that the Night King and the White Walkers are real and are the biggest threat to Westeros. However, it’s really, really, really hard to persuade people who haven’t seen the frozen undead with their own eyes. They’re at a stalemate when Varys interrupts to tell Daenerys something quietly. Jon and Davos are dismissed, and we find out that Varys told Daenerys about Euron’s attack.

Euron Actually Makes Good on His Promise

Back in King’s Landing, Euron has once again traveled at record speeds to parade his prisoners Yara, Ellaria, and Tyene through the streets of the capital as the unruly mob jeers and spits at them. Euron rides his horse right into the throne room, where Cersei waits to welcome him with Jaime and Qyburn looking on. Once again, Euron takes some verbal jabs at Jaime.

Did Cersei Forget to Wipe the Kool-Aid from Her Mouth? Oh . . . Wait.

Ellaria and Tyene are chained and gagged in a cell, and Cersei walks in with her lips looking kind of weird. I should have caught on to Cersei’s plan straightaway! She goes on and on and on in a scene that goes on for too long. To Ellaria and Tyene’s horror, Cersei kisses Tyene with poison on her lips, just as Ellaria did to Myrcella. Ellaria is to be kept alive in order to watch her daughter die.

WTF, Jaime?

Suddenly Cersei doesn’t care about hiding the twincest. When is TV Jaime going to figure out that his sister is a psycho biatch and ditch her? Book Jaime is so different, and it’s painful to watch TV Jaime’s life choices sometimes, like in this episode.

You May Have Your Dragonglass, Jon Snow

Jon vents to Tyrion about no one believing him about the White Walkers. Tyrion says he does believe him, but don’t expect Daenerys to. Tyrion does offer to try and help Jon in some other way and goes back to Daenerys about the dragonglass, and she ends up granting Jon permission to mine it.

Is That You, Arya?! Ah, No. It’s Not.

Sansa appears to have things at Winterfell running smoothly. Littlefinger makes his weekly creepy comment, and then everyone’s attention is focused on which Stark has returned home to Winterfell this week. It’s either Bran or Arya, and not gonna lie, it would’ve been more exciting if it had been Arya. It’s Bran, though, and he’s like a freaking zombie/robot, speaking in a monotone and showing little emotion as a sobbing Sansa hugs him. In the godswood, Bran continues to seem like he’s completely checked out. Things get super awkward while Bran’s talking about the Three-Eyed Raven and brings up Sansa’s wedding to Ramsay.

It’s Amazing What Some Rest and a Change of Climate Can Cure!

Archmaester Ebrose pronounces Jorah greyscale-free! Jorah tries to lie, quite lamely, for Sam and cover up what he did to help, but Ebrose is not fooled in the least. Jorah is off to go find Daenerys. Ebrose lectures Sam about what he did, but he’s also impressed by Sam’s skills. Sam, however, has to go back to copying manuscripts with paper mites in them. His reward for saving Jorah's life is not being immediately expelled from Hogwarts the Citadel.

Euron’s Ships Set Yet Another Record!

There’s an emergency strategy meeting at Dragonstone. Daenerys wants to send the dragons after Euron’s ships, which means she’d have to endanger herself. Tyrion and Missandei argue that it’s out of the question. Cut to Grey Worm and the Unsullied approaching Casterly Rock. Tyrion believes they have an advantage, since he designed the sewer system, and that’s how the Unsullied will surprise the Lannister troops. We see the fighting, but something’s not quite right. There don’t seem to be as many Lannister men as they’d expected, and this worries Grey Worm. He peers over the castle wall and sees . . . Euron’s ships.

A Lady Until the End

Stealing a maneuver from Robb Stark, Jaime and the Lannister army have hightailed it to Highgarden, with former Tyrell bannerman Randyll Tarly’s support. Damn. Not only has Cersei paid back House Tyrell, but now she has significant funds with which to repay the Iron Bank. Jaime finds Lady Olenna in her chamber. She knows she’s about to die and asks how it will be done. Jaime says he talked Cersei out of torturing her and has poison, which he pours into Olenna’s wineglass. She downs it and then confesses to killing Joffrey, and she wants Jaime to let Cersei know that she did it. Game, set, match: Lady Olenna Tyrell. Oh, how we will miss you!

In the Next Episode

Daenerys stresses over losing, and it looks like the dragons are about to enter the war!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: Stormborn

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

Ah, yes. It’s already Sunday night again, and here I am posting another last minute GoT recap. For last week’s episode. XD

Do You Hear the Little Birds Sing?

After adventuring around Essos for six seasons, Daenerys is ready to get down to business and conquer Westeros, and it shows in her no-nonsense, I-am-the-queen demeanor. You can’t really blame her for grilling Varys with some very tough questions, though, because he did hire an assassin to kill her and her unborn son under Robert Baratheon’s orders. Tyrion, once Varys’s traveling buddy, tries to stick up for him a bit. Varys admits that he’s served under some craptacular kings, but at the end of the day, he represents the common people, and he believes that their best chance is with Daenerys.

A Familiar Face Returns to Dragonstone

It’s Melisandre! And she apparently has a new gig as Jon Snow’s publicist, because she urges Daenerys to bring him to Dragonstone. Tyrion is surprised to hear that Jon is now King in the North, and he concurs that Jon would make a good ally. Daenerys agrees to summon him—to bend the knee before his queen. The scene cuts to Winterfell, where Jon, Sansa, and Davos ponder over the message from Dragonstone, with Davos making the very, very good point that fire-breathing dragons would be incredibly helpful against the White Walkers.

That’s Dickon with a “D”

In King’s Landing, Cersei tries to rally some of the Tyrell bannermen, including Lord Randyll Tarly, father of Sam. Cersei argues that Daenerys has already left a path of death and destruction behind in Essos, and she’ll do the same in Westeros, just like her father, the Mad King. Randyll asks how Daenerys’s dragons will be stopped, and Qyburn pipes up that they’re working on a solution. Possibly involving zombie dragons? That would be cool! After calling Randyll’s oldest son Dickon “Rickon,” Jaime speaks to Randyll privately and proposes that if House Tarly fights for Cersei, Lord Randyll will be appointed Warden of the South. Randyll doesn’t seem too impressed and says that the Tarlys aren’t oathbreakers or schemers, and he’s known Olenna Tyrell since childhood.

That’s Not Looking So Good

Last week, we saw a glimpse of poor Jorah’s greyscale-afflicted arm. This week, we see the full extent of his condition, and it’s not pretty. Jorah asks how long it’ll be before he loses his mind, and Archmaester Ebrose replies that it’ll happen in six months or fewer. Sam asks Ebrose about Shireen Baratheon’s case, but unfortunately, Jorah’s is too advanced. Ebrose informs Jorah that since he’s an anointed knight, he gets to stay one more day at the Citadel before getting kicked out. Sam asks if they should sent word to Jorah’s family, and that’s when Sam finds out that Jorah is a Mormont.

It’s a Giant Crossbow. For Dragons.

Qyburn takes Cersei to where the dragon skulls are kept. It’s pretty creepy down there even though the dragons are long dead, and the skull of Balerion the Dread is absolutely HUGE. Qyburn says that one of Daenerys’s dragons was wounded in the fighting pits of Meereen, and that information has been used to build a weapon that kind of looks like a huge crossbow? Cersei appears to be pleased. I’m no weapons/engineering expert, and maybe they don’t realize how big the dragons actually are, but how is this weapon supposed to get enough altitude to reach a dragon if it’s airborne? The dragons are also moving targets, and it’s not like you can reprogram the trajectory on this thing.

Be a Dragon!

At a strategy meeting, Yara urges hitting King’s Landing with all they’ve got. Tyrion, however, has a different plan. He argues that Cersei will be expecting the Unsullied and the Dothraki to attack King’s Landing; instead, they’re going to take her by surprise with a Westerosi army supplied by Dorne and House Tyrell. Grey Worm and the Unsullied are going to attack Casterly Rock. This shuts everyone up for a moment, and all present agree to the plan. Yara and her fleet will escort Ellaria and the Sand Snakes back to Dorne. Daenerys asks to speak with Lady Olenna alone and promises that Cersei will pay. Olenna says that Tyrion is a clever man, but Daenerys is a dragon, and she should be a dragon.

Forget About Holding the Door. How About Closing the Door?

Look, I’m very happy that Grey Worm and Missandei love each other, and I hope nothing bad happens, especially with Grey Worm leading the attack on Casterly Rock. But I was perfectly fine with the scene ending with their kiss. I couldn’t stop thinking that the door was open the whole time, LOLOLOL.

Just When You Thought You’d Seen Some Really Gross Stuff at the Citadel

Sam tries to talk to Ebrose about a possible treatment for Jorah but gets shut down because the procedure is forbidden. We see Jorah writing a letter to Daenerys; um, should he really do that? Wouldn’t the letter carry greyscale germs or something? Sam turns up in Jorah’s room and tells him that he knew his father, Jeor, Jon’s predecessor as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch. Sam unwraps some nasty looking medical instruments and explains what he’s about to do—cut off all of the greyscale. I couldn’t even watch this part and will assume it was as stomach-churning as it sounded.

Hot Damn, It’s Hot Pie!

Arya is taking a break from her journey to King’s Landing and overhears two men talking about the dragons. Guess who works at this particular tavern? It’s none other than Hot Pie! He’s talking about baking and Arya mumbles about not doing something and he asks her if she’s been making pies. Frey Pie joke! On a more serious note, Hot Pie asks Arya where she’s headed, and she says King’s Landing. Arya thinks the Boltons still have Winterfell, and Hot Pie fills her in on the Battle of the Bastards and how Jon is King in the North now. Detour!

Sansa Objects. Again.

Jon receives Sam’s raven from the Citadel about the dragonglass and shares the news about with everyone in the Great Hall. Not as warmly received is the news about Tyrion’s message and Jon’s intention to accept the invitation to Dragonstone. When objections start erupting around the room, including from Sansa, Jon tries to stress how much danger they’re in from the marching White Walkers and how desperately they need the dragonglass and any other help they can get. Davos is going with Jon, and in the latter’s absence, Sansa will be the Stark in Winterfell.

Littlefinger Gets Choked Up

Down in the Winterfell crypt, Littlefinger slithers in as Jon is standing in front of Ned’s effigy. Littlefinger is being is typically oily self when he gets super creepy, and maybe a little bit stupid, and says that he loves Sansa like he loved her mother. That prompts Jon to throw Littlefinger up against the wall and put him in a chokehold, warning Lord Baelish that he’ll kill him if he touches Sansa.

IT’S NYMERIA!

And the reunions just keep on coming! Arya is camping and notices her horse getting jumpy. She looks around and senses something out there, too. Suddenly they’re surrounded by a pack of wolves, and NYMERIA IS WITH THEM. NYMERIA. Arya finds herself face-to-face with her direwolf, and at first Nymeria bares her teeth, but she calms down when Arya starts talking to her. Arya asks her to go home to Winterfell with her, but instead Nymeria turns away with her pack. It’s a completely heartbreaking moment when Arya realizes that Nymeria is not her direwolf anymore.

The Family Reunion from Hell

Yara, Theon, Ellaria, and the Sand Snakes are sailing back to Dorne when fire starts raining down on their ships. Of course it’s crazy Uncle Euron, breaker of world records for rebuilding his own depleted fleet in no time at all. He even had some time to tell the shipbuilders to make his gangplank all scary looking. Euron is absolutely savage when he boards Yara’s ship. The fighting is intense! Yara tells Tyene to go below deck to keep Ellaria safe, but there are too many of Euron’s men for Tyene to fight. Ellaria tells them to kill her and her daughter, but they’re taken captive instead. No doubt Cersei is just waiting to exact revenge for Myrcella’s death. Back above deck, all of Yara’s ships are burning, and an endless stream of Ironborn fighting for Euron just keep boarding. The remaining Sand Snakes, Obara and Nymeria, try to take on Euron, but he’s brutal AF and kills both. Then it’s Yara vs. Euron. He’s wielding a wicked looking blade while she’s fighting with what appears to be a run-of-the-mill sword. She fights valiantly, but she’s no match for her uncle. Euron, now holding his blade at Yara’s throat, screams for Theon, who sees the carnage going on around him and has an utter meltdown. Abandoning ship, sister, and everything else, Theon jumps overboard

In the Next Episode

Euron returns to King’s Landing victorious. The Unsullied are on the move. JON MEETS DAENERYS!!!!!!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Harry Potter Month: My HP Bucket List

Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This awesome event runs all through July, and you can find more information about it here.

While trying to come up with some Harry Potter Month post ideas because, as usual, I waited until HP Month actually started to begin thinking about HP Month, LOL, I realized that I actually have a few Harry Potter-related life goals. Some of these are pretty simple, while some need a bit more effort to achieve, but a Potterhead can dream, can't she?

  1. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: OK, so in theory this one is pretty easy because I live about 45 minutes away from Universal Studios in Orlando. The main obstacle has been the cost; even with a Florida resident discount, tickets are not in my budget at the moment. Hopefully one day I'll save up enough to go.
  2. Own a Harry Potter mug: I like collecting coffee/tea mugs, and somehow, I do not have an HP one in my small yet steadily growing collection.
  3. Take the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London: Visiting England is on my non-HP bucket list, and if I ever get to go, I'd love to bask in all of the Harry Potter awesomeness that this tour offers.
  4. Attend a Harry Potter convention: I went to a local-ish comic con a few years ago, and it was a lot of fun. I can only imagine how amazing an all-HP con would be!
  5. Marathon watch the films: I'm talking one after another after another, (almost) straight through to Deathly Hallows, Part 2, with bathroom/food breaks as needed. And maybe a nap or two. XD
  6. Binge reread the books: Every year I tell myself that this is going to be the year that I read all seven books in a row, but sadly, it still hasn't happened. I can't even remember when I last read the series. It's been far too long, and out of all of the goals I've listed here, this is the one that I'm absolutely determined to reach!

Do you have any HP-related goals?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (174)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. 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 Books Would You Recommend to Lupin?

Books I would recommend to Remus Lupin:

  1. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: I think this Muggle novel would be quite an interesting read for Lupin. With the somewhat negative view the wizarding world has towards werewolves, I think the themes of monstrosity in Frankenstein would be particularly meaningful to Lupin.
  2. The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater: I think the relationship between Blue, Gansey, Adam, Ronan, and Noah is similar to the relationship between the Marauders, and I think Lupin would really enjoy that.
  3. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey: I would recommend this series to pretty much everyone, but I think the idea of what makes a monster plays heavily into the series. I think that would be right up Lupin’s alley.
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I really have no reasoning behind this one; I would just really like to see Lupin’s reaction to it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

My Wand Experience at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This awesome event runs all through July, and you can find more information about it here.

Even though I’ve lived in Florida for nearly half my life, I am ashamed to say that I had not been to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (let alone Universal) until last year. Boy, was it worth the wait! I can hardly put my amazement into cohesive phrases about what it feels like to actually step into the books. It was breathtaking to see that the abstract world I had grown up loving had become a physical place that was actually accessible to me. For any book lover, it was a dream come true. In those regards, the whole day is pretty much a happy blur to me that I really wished I remembered in greater detail. That being said, I will attempt to retell my wand experience.

If you’re not familiar with the park or its attractions, they have pretty much everything important that is mentioned in the books. You can actually go to Ollivander’s and they have this really cool interactive show where someone from the audience gets picked and they go through their wand ceremony. And by golly, I actually got picked! Now, before you all go: that lucky bastard, I have to admit that I am pretty much the unluckiest person ever when it comes to raffles, winning by chance, or any sort of fate induced contest. I was fully expecting some nice kid in the audience to get picked, but no, the lady picked me. And yes, I had the cliché awkward moment where I checked to see if she was pointing at the person behind me. So, that’s how I got suckered into buying a ridiculously expensive piece of plastic that I display quite proudly in my room.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Melissa's Comeback Post!

I have returned (as some of you might have guessed from our Harry Potter month announcement)! And by this point, I would not be surprised if no one remembers me. While I have written a handful of reviews and posts in the past couple of years, I have been unable to contribute regularly. Now that I have graduated college (woohoo!), I look forward to devoting some of my newfound free time to posting on a regular basis. I figured it was probably a good idea to reintroduce myself before I start posting so that you guys don’t think I’ve kidnapped Lee and sent her to Alaska to fight bears with her . . . bare hands. Bottom line: you’ll be seeing a lot more from me. Oh, and if anyone has any suggestions on what I should read, I would greatly appreciate it. It seems like an eternity since I’ve last read any YA books!

Monday, July 24, 2017

ARC Review: The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol
The Apprentice Witch
By James Nicol
Publisher:
Chicken House
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: July 25, 2017

To Sum It Up: After failing her evaluation to become a full-fledged witch, Arianwyn Gribble remains an apprentice. She is assigned to the town of Lull to assist the residents there with any magical needs. Lull isn’t as quiet as its name implies, though, as something dark seems to be lurking in the surrounding Great Wood. Not only does it appear more and more likely that Arianwyn will ultimately have to face whatever is out there, even as an apprentice, but she’s also troubled by a mysterious glyph that makes her spells go awry.

Review: It’s quite difficult for me not to compare every middle grade magic book I read to a certain series that turned 20 this year about a certain boy wizard, especially when it comes to its appeal to readers of all ages. I try to keep my mind as open as possible, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be able to pick up books about witches, wizards, and the like again, and there’s just something irresistible about the possibility that magic exists.

Poor Arianwyn Gribble flunks her evaluation exam to be recognized as a fully qualified witch and is stuck at the apprentice level. Although she receives an assignment to help the town of Lull with tasks like dealing with unfriendly magical creatures, it’s not much of a consolation to Arianwyn, especially since her grandmother is a very prominent witch. Arianwyn is a very relatable heroine; she tries so hard to prove that she’s ready for the next step up in rank, but fate just keeps seeming to throw a wrench in her efforts. Readers will quickly find themselves cheering her on to succeed.

One of my favorite aspects of The Apprentice Witch was its magical creatures, even the pesky ones like snotlings. The vivid descriptions of the creatures were also one of the novel’s strong points; they were what truly made me feel like I’d been whisked away to another world.

Unfortunately, another area of the world-building was not quite on the same level. There’s mention of a war going on and Arianwyn’s father is off fighting in it, but the book doesn’t go into further detail about it. Lull is the novel’s focal point, and that’s fine, but I couldn’t help being curious about what was happening outside of the town.

Something else that became a bit distracting was the book’s quite liberal use of exclamation points in the dialogue. After a while, they lost some of their effectiveness because they kept popping up.

The book’s plot is fairly straightforward and doesn’t deviate much from its projected path. There is a certain charm, however, in watching Arianwyn gradually settle into her new life in Lull and into her new duties as its apprentice witch. Anyone who’s ever searched for a sense of belonging is sure to find a kindred spirit here in Arianwyn.

All in All: Younger readers will likely find Arianwyn’s adventures thrilling, but for me as an adult reader, they were missing a little something to make them as compelling as some other middle grade books have been.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Discussing Game of Thrones: Dragonstone

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

Sooooo, yeah—Game of Thrones returned last week, and this recap is . . . a week late. XD Unfortunately, I had to do some major adulting this past week, which prevented me from being able to sit down and rewatch the episode and write this recap until now. But hey—at least it's still posting before Episode 2, hahaha!

Walder Whaaaa???!!!

Season 7 opens with . . . Walder Frey???!!! The last time we saw him, he was bleeding out after Arya slit his throat. But here he is, addressing a bunch of male Freys? Ah, but watch all of those male Freys but Walder drink from their goblets. Hello—poison! Of course it was Arya, wearing Walder’s face!!! I absolutely LOVED her lines at the end of this scene, that the North remembers, and winter came for House Frey. Hell yeah, Arya!

Bran and Meera Arrive Late for the Reunion Party at the Wall

Cut to a creepy ass scene of the White Walkers on the move. Well, as fast as an army of the frosty undead can move. They have White Walker giants! I repeat: white. Walker. Giants!!!! It turns out that Bran was having a vision, and he and Meera have arrived at the Wall, at last, after how many seasons? Dolorous Edd is there to meet them, and he asks for some verification of Bran's identity. Bran replies that Edd was at the Fist of the First Men and Hardhome, and the Night King is coming for everyone. That's enough proof for Edd, and Meera and Bran are granted admittance.

Sibling Squabbling in Public is a No-No

In Winterfell's Great Hall, Jon is talking about dragonglass and how it needs to be mined to make weapons to fight the Night King and his army. Not only that, but everyone aged 10 to 16, male and female, will drill daily with weapons. Lord Glover balks at the idea, which prompts Lady Lyanna Mormont to once again stand up and get sassy. She informs Lord Glover that she isn't planning to knit by the fire while men fight for her. Jon goes on to say that the Wall has to be properly manned and looks to the Wildlings for help. Tormund says he’ll go to Eastwatch-by-the-Sea. The next item on the agenda is what to do with the Karstark and Umber castles, which would be next in the path of the White Walkers. Sansa argues that the castles should be given to loyal Stark supporters, while Jon declares that he won't strip both families of their ancestral homes. Jon and Sansa start getting into it in front of everyone assembled, much to Littlefinger's delight. Jon puts his foot down and brings both Ned Umber and Alys Karstark forward to swear their loyalty to House Stark. Outside and away from everyone, Jon and Sansa continue quarreling, and a raven arrives for Jon, demanding his presence in King’s Landing to bend the knee. Sansa expresses her concern over the threat from Cersei, while Jon insists that the White Walkers are the more dangerous enemy.

Cersei’s New Hobby: Cartography

Jaime finds Cersei watching an artist draw a giant ass map on the ground. Neither sibling needs a giant ass map to figure out that they're surrounded by enemies, but Jaime seems to be more alarmed than his sister. Not only do they need allies, but the Lannister troops need to eat in order to fight. With House Tyrell and their food stores allied with Daenerys, feeding an army could pose a huge problem. Cersei, meanwhile, is more focused on creating a dynasty and seems to be in her own little world.

How to Rebuild a Fleet in No Time at All

So Cersei’s solution to finding allies is inviting Euron Greyjoy to King’s Landing. Brilliant! Viewers will remember that at the end of last season, Yara and Theon stole a good chunk of the Iron Fleet while their uncle was being crowned King of the Iron Islands. Euron ordered that new ships be built ASAP, and looking at the size of the fleet he rolls into King's Landing with, the Ironborn worked quadruple time to make things happen. Euron is hilariously arrogant in front of Cersei and Jaime and gets in several verbal jabs at Jaime. Euron offers Cersei the Iron Fleet in exchange for her hand in marriage. She immediately rejects it, telling Euron that he's untrustworthy. Undeterred, Euron vows not to return to King's Landing until he has a priceless gift for the Queen to her earn her trust. Tyrion's head? Sansa's head? Both heads?

A Very Gross Day in the Life at the Citadel

All I can say about the scenes of Sam at the Citadel is EWWWWWWWWWW. Like, EWWW to the nth degree. I didn’t mind watching Sam shelve books or serve meals, but I so did NOT need to see him cleaning chamber pots. Or assisting Grand Maester Slughorn with an autopsy. It looks as though all Sam has learned so far is that training to be a maester is pretty, well, shitty when you're first starting out, and despite his best efforts to persuade ol' Sluggy that he needs access to the restricted section of the Citadel's library, Sam has to resort to "borrowing" someone else's keys.

Tell Us What You Want, What You Really, Really Want, Littlefinger

Back at the Winterfell courtyard, Brienne is sparring with Pod, and she knocks him down. Tormund, who has zero subtlety when it comes to getting flirty with Brienne, says that Pod is a lucky man. XD As Sansa watches the sparring going on below, Littlefinger creeps up on her and makes his usual creepy comments. Sansa shows little patience for his bullshit and is spared from further annoyance by Brienne's arrival. After Littlefinger slithers off, Brienne asks Sansa why he's still around, and she replies that they need his men.

Not on Arya’s Kill List: Ed Sheeran

Arya comes across a group of Lannister soldiers, one of whom looks a lot like Ed Sheeran, LOL. The soldiers invite her to share their meager meal with them, and she accepts, although she takes note of where their weapons are. As they talk, she’s surprised at how ordinary, and maybe even human, they are— they’re just men missing their families back home. One asks why she’s headed to King’s Landing, and she replies she’s going to kill the queen. The soldiers break out into laughter, and she joins in, but of course she's 100% serious.

Umm . . . I Don’t Like the Looks of This Place

The Brotherhood Without Banners plus the Hound reach a very familiar-looking farmhouse to the Hound— during his travels with Arya, he'd robbed the farmer, who had a young daughter, telling Arya that the pair were going to starve to death anyway. The Hound tries to deter the others from camping there but fails. It turns out that the farmer took the lives of both his daughter and himself, presumably to avoid the very fate that the Hound had predicted. There's some very witty banter between the Hound, Beric, and Thoros; I really dig this group. The conversation becomes serious when the Hound questions why Beric has been brought back to life so many times; what is his purpose? That's a really good question, since Beric's story line in the books is quite different from where it seems headed here. Thoros asks the Hound to look into the flames, which naturally the latter is loath to do at first, but when he does, he sees the White Walkers. Later, Thoros finds the Hound outside digging graves for the farmer and his daughter and helps him.

Dragonstone = Dragonglass!

After all the shit he's had to deal with thus far (sorry, I can't help making these terrible jokes), Sam finds some extremely useful information in one of the books he nicked from the restricted section of the library, courtesy of the keys he also nicked. According to one tome, there's a mother lode of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone. Sam dispatches a raven to Jon with the news. Hello, Reason-for-Jon-to-Meet-Up-with-Daenerys! Speaking of Daenerys, Sam is back at work doing thankless jobs at the Citadel when a scary-looking hand shoots out from behind a closed door through the slot where food bowls are put. I'd know the mellifluous voice that belongs to that hand anywhere: it's Ser Jorah Mormont behind that door! Oh man, just going by the hand, his greyscale must be horrible. He asks Sam for news of the Dragon Queen, Daenerys Stormborn, which is the perfect segue to the final scenes of this episode.

Well, It’s About Damn Time!

After practically living her entire life in exile, Daenerys Targaryen has returned to Westeros! These scenes of her and her crew making landfall at Dragonstone are incredibly powerful and emotional, even more so for the lack of dialogue until the very end. We see her making her way up to the castle, and it's a really long path; flying one of the dragons up there would've been a lot faster, LOL, but a lot less dramatic. Stannis’s war map is still set up, abandoned, and that's when Daenerys utters the sole line of dialogue in the Dragonstone sequence: “Shall we begin?”

In the Next Episode

Yara proposes striking King's Landing now. Wait—is that a wolf in the preview? IS THAT YOU, NYMERIA???!!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger

The Sumage Solution by G.L. Carriger
The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters #1)
By G.L. Carriger
Publisher:
Gail Carriger
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Publication Date: July 18, 2017

To Sum It Up: Max Barker is a sumage, only able to absorb then redirect the quintessence that other mages use to cast spells. He’s also stuck in a bureaucratic job that’s going nowhere until Bryan “Biff” Frederiksen arrives at the DURPS office. Biff is the Beta werewolf to his younger brother Alec’s Alpha, and he’s been tasked with getting the newly relocated pack officially registered. Max and Biff form an instant connection, but the past that Max tries so hard to bury beneath copious amounts of sarcasm may stand between them.

Review: Gail Carriger is a must-read author for me, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read The Sumage Solution. Writing as G.L. Carriger, the novel is a bit of a departure from the Victorian steampunk world of Carriger’s adult Parasol Protectorate and YA Finishing School series. The Sumage Solution is set in modern day San Francisco and is one smoking, scorching, smoldering paranormal romance. This might be the closest my Kindle Fire has ever come to, well, catching fire.

The Sumage Solution features a variety of paranormal beings, some of which, like kelpies, kitsune, and mermen, I haven’t read about as much as one of the book’s main supernatural species, werewolves. What I love about Carriger’s take on the paranormal is that you never feel like you’re reading yet another book about werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc.; her characters are always unique and often endearingly quirky, and they completely draw you into their story and their world.

Anyone who loves snarktastic characters, which I do, will love Max, the titular sumage and one of the novel’s two protagonists. Not only is Max a smartass, but he also doesn’t know when to shut up, and the resulting sass is hilarious. Beneath all of the razor-sharp sarcasm, though, Max tries to distance himself as much as possible from a horrible childhood growing up with a cruel father in whose eyes Max was nothing but a failure. Lacking a steady, supportive presence for most of his life, Max starts to panic when instant chemistry with werewolf Bryan (nickname: Biff) begins turning into something more serious.

Biff is the Beta of a pack new to the San Francisco Bay Area, and his Beta instincts to calm and protect are exactly what Max needs. Biff is also a man/werewolf of few words, which works out perfectly for the relationship because Max is always running his mouth. While the romance definitely has some absolutely torrid moments, it’s also sweet; you’ll root for these two to be together and to overcome anything that drives them apart.

I really liked getting to know the pack a bit and the sense of brotherhood between them. The bond is especially strong between Biff and his actual brother Alec, the pack’s Alpha. Biff has always looked out for his younger brother, and it’s touching to see Alec do the same for Biff here. (For a bit more about Alec, you can check out Carriger’s short story Marine Biology.)

Overall, this was a sizzling start to the San Andreas Shifters series. Gail Carriger has created another cast of highly entertaining characters, and I look forward to more of their stories.

All in All: Gail Carriger continues to make the supernatural feel fresh with her new paranormal romance. And yes, there is tea involved!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (173)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. 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:
Which Character Would Be Your Study Partner?

Hermione. Without a doubt. We are both extremely driven when it comes to academics and don't settle for anything less than an A, lol. And yes, like her, I'd be more worried about getting expelled for being caught wandering Hogwarts after hours than being a late night snack for a certain three-headed dog. XD

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