Game of Thrones Review “The Watchers on the Wall” S4E9

This episode of Game of Thrones takes us to the Wall and beyond. Similar to Season 2’s Battle of Blackwater episode, the entire episode shows the siege of Castle Black. Whether or not you love this episode boils down to whether or not you like the Crows-Wilding story. In “The Watchers on the Wall,” we get some closure on a few subjects, but have some even bigger questions to ask. Oh, and there are SPOILERS abound here, so read at your own risk.

One of the biggest parallels is between the Night’s Watch and the Wildling army. The Night’s Watch has been led to believe that the Wildlings are savages, and the Wildlings believe the Crows are oppressors, but are they really all that different? Well, if you’re going off their wild sex adventures, then yes. Sitting atop the Wall, Jon Snow tries to articulate the experience of making love to Samwell Tarly. He uses such phrases as, “She had red hair.” Meanwhile, Tormund is boasting that he fucked a bear. A real life fucking bear, not the UrbanDictionary definition. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of difference between the two factions. As Sam reads through books to learn about all the terrible deeds that the Wildlings have done in the past. Maester Aemon encourages Sam to think about the stories the Wildlings must tell about the Men of the Night’s Watch. That’s when Aemon drops some jewels on Sam.

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“Love is the death of duty,” he says. This old man sees right through Sam’s fear. Hopefully Sam heeds the Maester’s words. Once Aemon Targaryen, brother to King Aegon IV, this guy is one of my favorite characters in the show. There’s a quote in there that made me forget that everybody was about to die; “You can imagine all manners of horrors befalling that poor girl and her child. Is it so difficult to imagine that an old person was once – more or less – like you?” Luckily for Sam, Gilly was able to slip by the Wildling elites and find her way to the castle gates. Sam takes Gilly down to a cellar room and then gives her a big ol smooch before promising he’ll come back. Note: Might be too soon, but Game of Thrones characters really need to stop promising loved ones that they won’t die.

Enough of that mushy stuff. It’s time to find out Where the Wild Lings Are. The battle horns have sounded and it’s time for battle. Sam gives Pyp some 411 on how to be a badass, since he is the guy that, you know, killed a White Walker. The speech that Sam makes about losing his identity and becoming “nothing” to make him lose all fear is pretty insightful, especially for Sam, who has come quite a ways from the frightened boy he joined the Night’s Watch as. This isn’t the only great speech. The episode is full of them. They aren’t quite on Tyrion’s level of “Let’s go fuck them in their asses!,” but these guys know what they’re talking about.

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It’s also nice to know that, even in the face of death, Alliser Thorne is still a gigantic douche. I’m just thankful he’s with the good guys; I’m already one “cunt” away from wanting him pushed down the Wall, but he’s just so funny. Even the scene where they accidentally drop the barrel down the Wall prematurely had me dying. He may come of a bit strong, but Alliser is a good leader, and a great fighter. On the other hand, Janos Slynt, who used to be commander of the City Watch at King’s Watch before Tyrion shit-canned him, is a coward to the tenth degree. He has no idea what to do while in command, and flees from the top the first chance he gets, hiding in the meat locker Gilly is in. Awkwardly, Jon is left in command.

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“Those are giants riding mammoths down there!” Why yes, Jon Snow, that is correct. Somehow, there are giants. And they are riding wooly mammoths into battle. The strategy of the Wildlings seem a bit off to me. This could be due to the fact that Mance Rayder, the guy who organized this whole party, is missing. Climbing the wall is just a distraction, but sending giants to blow through the outer gates is genius. Why does nobody go through the outer gate is beyond me. One of my favorite scenes has to be the video-game like scrolling of Castle Black, showing murder and mayhem from every direction. It really helps to show the chaotic and brutal nature of the battle.

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Let’s give it up for Ghost! It’s about time somebody let him out of his cage. Things always seem to be going well for Jon Snow when Ghost comes out to play. Snow goes full MC Hammer on Styr, the cannibalistic Thenn warrior who ate that kid’s dead parents. What a jerk. The war isn’t without its casualties, as two of Jon Snow’s best friends and allies have died. That’s not even the worst, as Ygritte’s hesitation leads to an Omar-esque death – getting shot by a little kid. Ygritte’s death was supposed to sad, and to an extent, it was. However, it was just too predictable. You knew there was no other way for her story to unfold than to die in Jon Snow’s arms, whispering with her last words “…you know nothing, Jon Snow…” It was SO cliché, but I suppose it had to happen that way.

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Perhaps Jon Snow really does no nothing. With the castle eventually reclaimed and the promise of impending attacks by the Wildling army on Castle Black, not to mention that the Castle is in terrible defense condition, Snow decides to embark on his own journey to kill Mance Rayder… by himself… with no weapons… without Ghost to protect him. It’s a terrible plan, but the idea of Snow going out on his own is one that I look forward to. Look, it’s not that I’m not sad that all these good characters are dying, but we grew up on Joss Whedon and The Wire; do your worst, George R.R. Martin.

 

Who won the Game of Thrones this episode?

Hands down, it’s got to be Sam. Love will make a person do strange things. In Game of Thrones, he has arguably grown the most out of any character since making his first appearance as an absolute coward in Season 1. It really all culminates after the talk he has with Maester Aemon about love. Realizing that he has something to really fight for, he grows some balls and tells Pyp to “open the fucking gate.” He is strong enough to continue fighting even when one of his best friends dies in his arms, even managing to put a bolt into a Thenn’s face. With Alliser out of commission and Slynt revealing himself a coward, who better to take command of the Night’s Watch than Sam, himself.

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Sadly, we’ll likely have to wait until next season to find out, as we have just one episode left in Season 4. Join us next week for the season finale,

 

All media credited to HBO

Game of a Thrones Review “First of His Name” S4E5

I took the Game of Thrones personality quiz and I ended up in the house of Stark. The unlucky Starks have been pushed out of buildings and publicly beheaded, so at first glance they don’t seem like a clan you’d want to roll with. Unless you happen to be Arya Stark. Then it’s ok.

SPOILER ALERT! READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK. (Too bad Catelyn Stark didn’t get the same warning.)

For some reason one quote from last week’s episode, Oath Keeper, kept running through my mind in anticipation of this week’s First of His Name. Littlefinger hissed, “Keep your foes confused.” This one liner was a subtle hint to prepare us for this week’s bombshell.

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We open with the crowning of King Tommen. He is clearly not torturing neighborhood cats or taping “kick me” signs on the backs of the socially inept like his deceased brother. Long live Joffery! Tommen is now Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, (for whatever that is worth.) With dragon-led slave rebellions and White Walkers adopting kids like Brad and Angelina, we’ll see how long his rule lasts. He seems unsure about his station, but excited about his new crush. Margaery still has her heart set on being queen. They share a tender moment from afar until Cersei interrupts. That moment offered Cersei a perfect opportunity to confront Margaery. Both women are now widowed queens. Both of their husbands had been murdered and they seem to understand that. Cersei, for the first time, shows vulnerability when speaking on how much of a monster her son was. She finally admits her discontent with Joffery and we see a side to her we thought never existed. But both women are still playing the game. The throne can be manipulated by whomever the king takes as council. Yet another hint from last week, this time from Tywin.

Danearys is reveling over her victory in Meereen. We find her in war council. News of Joffery’s death has reached her and she seeks to take King’s Landing. But every action has an opposite reaction. The slaves she had previously liberated have fallen victim to even worse circumstances. She proclaims, “I will do what queens do, I will rule.”

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Somehow this choice seems far more dangerous for the Lannisters. If Dany decides to create a new kingdom in the Westeros, everything around it may come crumbling down.

Littlefinger takes Sansa to the Bloody Gate and he is welcomed as Lord Bealish. Sansa is greeted by her bat-shit crazy aunt, Lysa Arryn, and somehow she feels safe. It is quickly revealed that Lysa poisoned Jon Arryn, former Hand of The King to Robert Baratheon, by the command of her lover Petyr Bealish! He also instructed her to write the letter to her sister Catelyn accusing the Lannisters of the deed. So Littlefinger is behind all of the fucked up things that have happened in the Westeros! And if that’s not crazy enough, he and Lysa have what must be the least sexy sex scene in the whole series without even being on screen. “Uuuuuughhgh!”

Lysa’s love for Bealish is real. Creepy, but real. In a fit of jealousy she confronts Sansa. The deranged lover reveals the plan to force Sansa to wed her child son Robin and become Lady of the Vale. Ew. Sansa is mortified and may finally realize that no one in the Westeros is to be trusted.

Tywin and Cersei have a heart-to-wallet talk. The Tyrells have the resources they need to run the Seven Kingdoms, with out them the Iron Bank of Braavos will foreclose on their property, regardless if they pass GO.

Arya is the baddest character on the show…say something! She recites the names on her kill list by camp fire. She can’t sleep until she says the names of those she means to slaughter.

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The Hound tells her to be quiet, until she insists on completing the names. He is shocked to find out that his own name is the last on that list.

Cersei greets Oberyn. She wants revenge for her son and she hopes that she can manipulate him into a guilty verdict for Tyrion. She asks him, “What good is power if you cannot protect the ones you love?”

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In another heartfelt moment she asks that he look after her daughter Myrcella. He says that she is safe in Dorne, Cersei replies coldly, “Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls.” Can we say foreshadowing?

Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen are still Karl’s captives at Craster’s Keep. Locke found them as The Knight’s Watch prepared their attack on the deserters, but he has plans to kidnap Bran before Jon realizes his brother was ever there. Karl plans on raping Bran’s companion Meera when the siege begins. As Locke tries to escape with Bran, he uses his Warg ability and possess Hodor’s mind! In epic fashion he snaps Locke’s neck and the band is back on their way north to find the Three-eyed raven. But the GoT kill of the week goes to Jon Snow. In Mortal Kombat fatality mode he impales Karl through the mouth with his blade. It is one of the most gruesome scenes in the entire series.

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Finally, Ghost (Jon’s Dire Wolf) has his revenge on the final mutineer and is reunited with his bonded companion.

Next Week! The Laws of Gods and Men. We will see the liberation of Theon Greyjoy and the trial of Tyrion Lannister!

Pictures courtesy of nerdist.com and mtv.com

Sent from my iPad

Pompeii Review

Pompeii Review

Genre – Historically-based Fiction, Romance
Director – Paul W.S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat: The MovieDeath Race series, Resident Evil series
Cast – Kit Harington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (LostOz), Emily Browning (Sucker Punch), Kiefer Sutherland (24), Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), Jessica Lucas (Evil Dead), Jared Harris (Mad Men)
Alluring element – Jon Snow goes back in time a thousand years or so to rise against Jack Bauer and get the girl! 
Check it out if you liked 300Troy
SCORECARD (each category out of 10):
Plot – 7
Acting – 7
Representation of Genre – 9
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 9
Captivity – 9
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity – 7
Soundtrack/Music – 9
Overall awesomeness – 8

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Pompeii is about Milo (Kit Harington), a Celt whose family and entire people were slaughtered by the Roman senator Corvus, played by Kiefer Sutherland. Milo is enslaved and turned into a gladiator. Eventually, he is taken to Pompeii where he meets the captivating Cassia (Emily Browning) and fellow gladiator-slave Atticus (Akinnuoye-Agbaje). Once Mount Vesuvius erupts, it becomes a race against the clock not only to save Cassia but to seek revenge against the corrupt Crovus. Pompeii is part love story, part political rebellion, and all parts natural disaster.

I am a big fan of ancient historical fiction, and to be honest, I was a bit worried about this film. Many times, films like Pompeii are a bit over-the-top; they are over-acted and rarely historically accurate. To say the least, I was pleasantly surprised with Pompeii. The visual world was captivating and, at first glance, I thought I was working my way through the Pompeii exhibit at the museum. In reality, the volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius kept the town so well preserved that archeologists have been able to replicate the city of Pompeii with detailed accuracy. The movie paid close attention to these details of the city and this was heightened by the use of 3D which really made the world pop down to the street venders. The eruption of the volcano was on point and accurate in sequence. The only inaccuracy were the pyroclastic bombs and the dramatic tsunami which dragged a ship into the city. During the time of the actual eruption, there were warning signs days before the eruption and many people actually left before the volcano erupted.   The film didn’t touch on these facts, but it is forgivable because of the visual effects.

The dynamics of the characters were what I enjoyed most. While the plot was cliché and predictable, the character nuances and subtleties made up for it.  I really liked Cassia. Granted, she was a wealthy elite stereotype, but she also wasn’t totally naive nor a typical damsel in distress. Her parents also were likeable. They were present parents and good people. Her mother Aurelia (Carrie-Anne Moss) was a strong, charismatic woman who worked closely with her husband’s politics as Corvus has come to Pompeii to invest in the construction of a new arena which Severus hopes will continue to brings money into the city. Both Severus and Aurelia genuinely dislike Corvus who later find out he’s also come to Pompeii to scheme for Cassia’s hand in marriage.  The other thing I really have to give the movie props for was a lack violence against women used to garner entertainment. Corvus was creepy and gross without being over-the-top violent.

While there was a love story, Pompeii was more a story between Milo (The Celt) and Atticus, who was one fight away to winning his freedom under Roman law. Both lost their families to the Romans and are trying to maintain their identity while enslaved. The arena becomes their political battlefield as Milo seeks revenge on Corvus and by extension the Roman Empire. Atticus joins Milo as his faith in Roman law is betrayed. I don’t want to give away the rest of the story, but in many ways, this overpowered the love story. It may be unfortunate for the popularity of the film that Pompeii was seemingly marketed as a love story, because the film was prominently a historical and political plot. Though, I’ve been known to read too much into stories and may be reading more into the plot then I need to.

One last note of importance: the soundtrack was fantastic. It was emotional, engaging, and epic. The music enhanced the overall experience of the film and is something I’ll invest in to listen to later. Rotten Tomatoes only gave the film 29% rating, and critics were harsh. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the film. The storyline was simple, engaging, and oddly deep in its subtlety. The 3D didn’t sully the movie but rather enhanced it; I would highly recommend watching this film in 3D.  However, the story is strong enough that it will be worth watching at home if you can’t get to the theater.

Written by Jené Conrad