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.

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