Tag Archives: Opinion

The Dark Knight Rises Doesn’t Disappoint – Review

Last night I excitedly headed to the BIG theater in my city to see a movie I just couldn’t wait for, The Dark Knight Rises. I want to preface this review by saying that I went into this movie with high expectations. After the impressive film, The Dark Knight, I felt like this film, the ending of a trilogy, had to be better than the previous, though I had in my mind it might be an impossible standard.

However, The Dark Knight Rises does NOT disappoint. I will say that I did not think it was better, but it was on par and as good as the previous installment.

The film pulls the audience in very early on with the almost immediate introduction of Bane. We are only a few minutes into the film when we are introduced to the main “villain” of this tale and with it the story quickly begins its jaunty three hour ride. Not to mention I was ecstatic to see Petyr Baelish make an appearance ( or  Aidan Gillen for you non Game of Thrones watchers.)

We also are very quickly introduced to Anne Hathaway’s character, Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. I was totally against her in the role from the minute her casting was announced. It wasn’t that I didn’t think she couldn’t handle the role, I just have never really liked her in her other projects. (I also have a spot in my heart that is taken by Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman.) BUT, Hathaway’s performance was almost flawless. She portrayed the sultry, confident cat burglar who is actually not evil, isn’t a villain. I also found her to be a great foil for Batman/Bruce Wayne. Her ideals and actions are opposite his but deep down they are very similar – they want to get out on their own terms. You can see the chemistry between the actors from the get go and it only grows through out the film.

JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT. (need I say more?)

YES. THIS.

Also his acting was fantastic and I sense Night Wing on the horizon.

This movie did make me feel like an idiot though. Not in the way you think. There is a HUGE twist at the end, that still surprised me. After it was revealed, I felt dumb for not seeing it sooner. It might have to do with some misdirection by some of the cast members in interviews, but I was definitely caught off guard by the big reveal. I won’t give it away here because you deserve to experience it on your own if you reading this before seeing the film.

One thing that I disliked what the time framing. After Bane comes to power and Batman (is somewhere else entirely) there is no frame of reference of how much time is passing. We can ASSUME it is at the least a few weeks, but there is no real knowledge of it has been week, months, or even a year. It’s not like I was some cliched montage or some equally annoying shit, I just want some frame of reference. We only find out how long it has been right before the action is about go down and someone outright says it. But it takes to long to establish that more than a few weeks as passed. I found it to be slightly lazy on either the Director’s part or the screenwriters part.  However, while cinematically, this bothered me, it in no way hindered the actual movie for me.

Most of all, this film was a great addition to the trilogy as awhole. It flowed seamlessly from the end of The Dark Knight to create something you can watch back to back without missing a beat. It looks similar to the first two and was just as action packed and character oriented as the rest.

Also: TEARS WERE SHED. The ending was PERFECT. Tears of sadness followed by tears of joy. (There is just something so heartbreaking about watching Alfred blubber that released the floodgates of tear waterfall.) The ending gives closure to  not just this film but the entire trilogy. It packs everything up in a neat little bow while closing the stories of some characters and opening the doors of others.

Seriously, who can watch him breakdown and not at least tear up?

Three Popular Shows Have Three Terrible Television Mothers

Anyone who reads any kind of entertainment news, or really ever turns on a television, knows that HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” “True Blood,” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” are incredibly popular. They have dominated award shows, viewership has been through the roof, they include impressive casts, and people generally can’t stop talking about them.

All three shows house some of the worst TV mother’s. It seems each of these characters have their own self interest in mind rather than their child and continually do harm to that child whether physically or emotionally. In short, they are the worst. But we can’t blame the writing, these moms are adaptations of characters from written work, they were written to be terrible for a reason.

(It is also weird that all three characters start with the letter “L”)

So here is a countdown of the three worst television mothers.

3. Lysa Arryn/Tully (Game of Thrones)

Looking at Lysa’s character from both the TV standpoint and ASOIAF, it is painfully obvious for the audience and other characters that Lysa does not have her son’s best interest in mind.

She creepily continues to breastfeed her son, Robert, in a way that could be a poster for attachment parenting, though the biggest issue is her continual overprotection and isolationism of the son. She also denies the boy almost nothing, giving in to his whims, basically teaching him nothing of the real world outside the Vale.

Her mental instability and paranoia have resulted in her secluding herself and her son in the Eyrie.  Even though she has a chance to send Robert to be fostered else where (where he would be kept safe), she denies, keeping the weakling son in her arms and at her breast. Robert is getting no training on how to defend himself in a world where everyone dies pretty damn quickly and often.

ASOIAF Spoiler Ahead

Because of Lysa’s extreme overprotection of Robert, when she dies, he becomes also mentally unstable attempting to latch on to whatever maternal figure he can find.

Lysa is not the worst mother out there, but in the world that they live in, he needs to learn to fight, to be brave, not to rely on others to keep him safe. Sansa learned that lesson the hard way, and Robert will too.

2. Lettie Mae (True Blood)

I had reservations about putting her on this list because while she is TERRIBLE, she appears infrequently. However, last weeks episode proved just how awful Lettie Mae can be.

Mother to Tara Thornton (who is in her own right annoying), Lettie Mae has done some serious mind fucking over the years. An abusive alcoholic, Lettie Mae spent Tara’s life neglecting her, beating her, and verbally abusing her. yet she uses her bond as her mother to excersize control over Tara, such as getting her to give her money for an exorcism. While this ended up working psychologically to help Lettie Maw recover from addiction, it doesn’t save their relationship in the long run.

When Tara is distraught over the death of Eggs, Lettie Maw is more preoccupied with getting with the Reverend than helping her daughter. Tara then almost commits suicide while Lettie is failing to keep an eye on her.

After she married the Reverend, Lettie Mae disowns Tara as she is an embarrassment to the preacher’s wife (though being fucking nuts isn’t for some reason?)

Lettie Mae can be cited as one of the reasons Tara is “so screwed up” as an adult. Tara has followed in her mothers footsteps with alcoholism in the past as well as having low self esteem and being generally cold hearted and mean to those who try to get close to her. I think it is reasonable to believe that if Tara had a mother like Gran she would have turned out a little better.

Instead we have a character that hardly anyone likes and who seems to be angry all the time. UGH. Thanks a lot Lettie Mae, lets hope the Reverend doesn’t find a new younger wife and divorce you like he did his previous wife. (I also want to point out that even though she has been :saved” she still walks around and talks like she is drunk ALL THE TIME.)

1. Lori (The Walking Dead)

We all know this list isn’t complete with out Lori. There is so many reasons why we love to hate her. (Not to mention the actress, Sarah Wayne Callies, portrays the character perfectly.)

Let start with the Shane situation. Even in the post-apocalyptic world, you shouldn’t sleep with your husband’s best friend. Plenty of others are not out getting it on zombie style during the apocalypse and yet she chose to do the horizontal dance with Shane (not even Daryl c’mon hasn’t she seen Boondock Saints?) Shane becomes surrogate father for her son Carl, yet when Rick shows up, she doesn’t even want Shane around. She never considered that Carl might want/need Shane around as he had been there, bonding with him. Instead she pushes Shane away, instigating more and more animosity among the group.

And the biggest reason of all. SHE NEVER KEEPS TRACK OF CARL. What kind of mother does this? One is selfish and manipulative. She is also against her son learning vital survival skills in a world where protecting oneself is KEY. She also never really connects with her son in their trying times or listens to what he has to say. Carl is consistently getting away from the group, because lets face it he is still a KID even in the apocalyptic world, yet Lori never seems to notice and remains obvious to the location of her child.

She says she is first and foremost a mother, yet she exceedingly fails in the role.

Captain America Through the Years: the Good, the Bad & the Awesome

The blockbuster success of 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger “ and 2012’s “The Avengers” have revitalized the 70-year-old Captain America character by making him accessible to a whole new generation. This newfound popularity is epitomized by the number of Captain America costumes being sported at Halloween parties and conventions like Comic-Con.

Although his look has changed significantly over the years, Captain America remains a great hero to young and old alike. And no matter how amazing, atrocious or downright cheesy the various Captain America movies have been, kids of all ages can go get their costume at buycostumes.com, Halloween costumes or, with some extra dedication, make their own. You’ll have to choose first, which Steve Rodgers you want to portray, as the onscreen outputs have proven a decidedly mixed bag.

What is it about this particular comic book superhero that makes him so difficult to bring to life on film? Perhaps, like his predecessor Superman, Captain America’s iconic, quintessentially American idealism only truly resonates with certain audiences during specific periods of time. Or perhaps his story has simply fallen into the hands of several filmmakers whose lack of adequate funding was matched only by their woeful lack of talent.

Whatever the case, Captain America’s movie career hasn’t always been met with the critical and commercial acclaim that it currently enjoys. Here’s a quick look back at the evolution of Captain America through his various onscreen appearances.

Captain America (1944)

This Saturday-matinee serial by “B-move” studio Republic Pictures marked the first time that a Marvel Comics character had been adapted into another medium. Dispensing with the comic book’s “Super-Soldier Serum” origin story, the film recasts Captain America’s alter ego as Grant Gardner, a District Attorney investigating a series of suspicious deaths linked to a villainous saboteur called “The Scarab.”

The series also makes significant changes to Captain America’s traditional weaponry, replacing his trademark shield with a common handgun. At the time of its 1944 release, “Captain America” actually received a fairly warm critical response due to its elaborate action sequences and textbook cliffhanger storytelling. Despite the missing shied and Republic’s obvious budgetary limits, the Captain America costume in this serialized film remains essentially faithful to its comic book predecessor.

Captain America and Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979)

Like the 1944 film, these two made-for-TV movies take significant liberties with Marvel’s source material. In this case, our hero is the son of the original Captain America and saves the day while zooming around on his custom street bike. Like so much pop culture from the 70’s these movies are outrageously campy by today’s standards. The pacing was bad, special effects were cheap and acting was wooden. That isn’t to say, however, that they aren’t fun! With his “futuristic” Plexiglas shield and his crudely painted motorcycle helmet, this Captain America is “far out” to say the least.

Captain America (1990)

The 1990 film version of “Captain America” was the first to keep Marvel’s original back story. Shot entirely in Yugoslavia and starring “Revenge of the Nerds” actor Matt Salinger in the title role, it was never officially released in the United States. This shot at telling the Captain America story may have been a misfire, but it did feature a modern yet authentic costume in brilliant red, white and blue.

The Amazing Spider-Man Reboot Is Surprisingly Fun – Review

The Amazing Spider-Man

Elena-

As a Spider-Man fan, you obviously think the world needs another manifestation of Spidey. True or False? Discuss.

Rachel-

Well…this is kind of a trick question for me. While I was OK with the first two Raimi Spidey flicks, the third one was so heinous that I’m all for throwing all of them out and pretending they never existed. IT WAS THE MOST HORRIBLE THING. THE MOST. Plus I was never really sold on Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker anyways, mainly because HE ISN’T FUNNY AT ALL.

So yea…I guess we did need a reboot of the Spiderman franchise if only to make something better. Do I think we needed ANOTHER origin story? Absolutely not. Everyone gets Spiderman. Nerd bit by a spider is now a super hero. LET’S MOVE ON. Let’s just make movies out of some of his better story arcs. Like THAT is a novel idea.

But that didn’t happen. We got another origin story.

Still. SPIDERMAN! Do you even like Spiderman? Or are you a DC person?

Elena-

Ha!  You can’t trick me with your false dilemma!

The truth is…NEITHER.

There. I said it. I admitted it in public after three and a half long years:  I am a nerd who doesn’t do comics.

Look, I have nothing against them. I just didn’t read them as a kid, and they have never grabbed me as an adult, and so I have no intimate knowledge of or attachment to any comic book heroes.  As a general rule of thumb, superheroes bore the shit out of me.  I think I just don’t like the amount of disbelief I have to suspend in order to accept the stories is too much to bear.

Spiderman is…um.  At least he’s not Superman?  At least he’s supposed to be nerdy and lame and kind of smart so at least he’s better than dumb jock whose only power or relevance is that he’s an alien?

Rachel-

This Spidey is British and his girlfriend is Emma Stone. Do you like this better than Tobey “SadSack” Maguire and Kirsten Dunst? <—- I almost typed Kristen Stewart…the horror.

Elena-

Shudders.  Oh, god, the horror indeed.  Heart of Darkness style, “the horror…the horror.”

Anyway, yes, I like this pairing better. I don’t know why Tobey didn’t do it for me, but I was never interested enough in him or KiKi to actually see any of their movies.

When I saw the studio was making another Spiderman movie, I just assumed Tobey wanted to get paid too much and they replaced him.  Instead it’s a complete reboot, which I guess I am actually the person they were after?  The one person on the continent who might have been caught by an origin reboot but would have ignored Spiderman 4: The Amazing Face-Lift? So, congrats, Sony, you reached me.

I quite like Emma Stone, and while I am skeptical of Andrew Garfield—I liked him in whatever movie was our introduction but found him a weak-ass in Never Let Me Go (or maybe that was just what the character was written to be and he played it brilliantly)—I figured if nothing else I’d have a laugh picturing the Bachelor contestant from a couple seasons back who looked exactly like him. Seriously.  She exists. Her name escapes me, but it was the season that happened right after NLMG came out, and that was all I could see every time she was on screen.

What did you think?  Did Andrew Garfield make a better nerd cum dark avenger than Toby McGuire? Did starring in Never Let Me Go give him more nerd cred coming in?

Rachel-

I didn’t think I would like Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker as much as I did. True, he was a little less nerd and more hipster guy, but whatever. He’s skinny, he gets tongue-tied around girls, he cracks really lame jokes. That’s the Spiderman I know and love! Rock on, Andrew. (It helps that he gave a pretty heartfelt speech at last year’s Comic Con in a poorly fitting Spiderman costume about how much Spiderman meant to him growing up.) So I think he’s worthy. I think he is definitely worthy. Plus… DUDE DOES HIS OWN STUNTS.

Go cry somewhere else, Tobey…no one likes you.

Elena-

With a franchise that has been rebooted as many times as this one, do you still hold out hope for something new?

Rachel-

I’m just grateful I don’t have to sit through another Green Goblin story. (yet) Here’s the thing – a lot of Spiderman’s classic enemies are FUCKING STUPID. The rhino guy? Sand man? Mysterio? (OK, Mysterio could be cool…) So they don’t have a lot to pick from when it comes to appealing to the douchey masses. And no, we can’t have Venom or Carnage in the first movie of a trilogy. That would never happen.

I thought it was smart to bring Gwen Stacey back. It distances the franchise from the Raimi films, and it gives the comic book fans a character we love. I also liked the way they handled the Uncle Ben and Peter dynamic. We got to know Uncle Ben and they modernized Peter by taking away the embarrassing early amateur wrestling story line while still keeping homage to it in the film. The bullshit with Peter’s parents is a retcon we’ve all seen before, and it’s just as boring now as it was then. JUST FLING WEBBING AND BAD GUYS AND BE SARCASTIC. It’s all we want from Spiderman. Everything else is just bullshit.

Spiderman is a uniquely city-dwelling super hero. His power basically STICKS on the fact that there are lots of tall buildings around so do you think Spiderman is an ALL AMERICAN hero? (This movie came out on the Fourth of July and so this is fucking relevant, no?)

Elena-

Um.  Uniquely American?  No.  Uniquely urban?  Yes.  But London has tall buildings.  L.A. Tokyo.  Hong Kong. Dubai. Uniquely Manhattan might be a better way to put it, since I am not sure any other city has the sheer length and breadth of skyscrapers crammed together that Manhattan offers a man of Spidey’s proclivities.

I do think since superheroes tend to be vigilante crime fighters they are all drawn to cities just because that is where the higher concentration of people are and thus where the higher concentration of crimes and/or potential targets for domestic terrorism are. I am guessing that Spidey flinging from pine tree to pine tree along the western Louisiana/eastern Texas meth corridor would be less interesting to watch for most people.

So tell me about your viewing experience. How many drinks did you need to get through it? Were you able to make up a new drinking game for this new franchise?

Rachel-

I was fairly entertained actually. I thought it was OK. I thought the middle was too long, the crane scene was embarrassing to watch and the soundtrack was HORRRRRRIIIIBBBLLLLEEE. Distractingly bad? Especially during the Lizard boss fight in the high school. Did you notice it? It knocked me COMPLETELY out of the film it was sooo bad.

Other things that were weird:

The film eventually gave up on a bunch of early storylines, like how Peter’s parents were basically super-secret genetic scientists who may or may not have genetically engineered their son to become a super hero if were ever bitten by one of their super special engineered spiders. Or something.

It also dropped the illegal experimentation on people story line (did that evil corporate douche ever make it off the bridge on his way to the veteran’s hospital?)

Lastly it dropped (but I think this time on purpose) the storyline involving Peter finding the man that murdered Uncle Ben. This was pretty smart, though, because it’s just more origin story shit, and I’m glad it went away. I didn’t want to watch Peter get all sad in the rain after he brought the killer to justice. I just wanted to see webslinging across the NYCscape. So bravo on that.

Everything else I assume was taken out because they realized in the editing room THAT IT WAS LAME.. Or they are planning on bringing it back for the sequel…which would suck.

E tu?

Elena-

I, too, found this movie surprisingly enjoyable.  I basically walked in with the resolution to leave after an hour if I was not engaged by then.  I wanted a popcorn flick; what I did not want was to feel like I’d have had a better night on my couch with Uncle Redenbocker and a True Blood catch-up marathon.

I…stayed till the very end and will probably see at least the first sequel.

Yeah.  It was pretty fun.  Not brilliant or original in any way, and I had to stop myself from thinking about it too much as I watched, because…oh my god, so many holes to poke about the world-building and medical tech.  I think my biggest issues were (1) Peter’s reluctance to go all civil libertarian on Gwen’s dad and make a crack about how the NY po-po was too busy harassing minorities about Mary Jane (see? There was a place for her in this film, after all!) to catch actual criminals versus victimless crime facilitators, and (2) the super-fast genetic changes, and (3) the super-fast lizard-limb growth.  Because, you know, lizards and starfish grow back their limbs spontaneously and not cell layer by cell layer over the course of months.  And resequencing someone’s DNA can happen in a matter of SECONDS.  You know, how viruses do it.  Except OH WAIT, NO.

What. The. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

I also felt the limits of the genre as I watched it.  Like, there were a lot of interesting places a movie like this could have gone but to go there would have meant it was not an action film.  When Uncle Ben died I almost walked out, because I just cannot deal with any more guilt-driven angst “Oh, no, if I had only stepped in and stopped that guy RIGHT THEN Uncle Ben would still be alive, ergo I must never refuse a call for help againnnnn!”  Luckily they did not use that tactic.  The whole “with great power comes great responsibility” bit was annoying but not as much.

See, Peter here reminded me of a guy I knew in college. I could use Simon Tamm’s speech about River making him look like an idiot-child for this guy. Everyone we were friends with would talk about how he needed to use his “gifts” for the world, like he owed the fucking world something just because he was born with this hyper-intelligence.  He just wanted to play music. And I have no issue with that. I don’t believe in the idea of obligations to society just because of what you were born (or in Peter’s case became by accident). I think it would be a more interesting story to me to have someone like him who just wants to be normal.  Like I kind of thought halfway through that Gwen’s being a researcher and super-smart herself would lead to him asking her to cure him.

I think he likes being special too much, though. I really appreciated that they touched on the angle of how much of an asshole Peter was to Spark (or whatever the Jock’s name was)…how easy it is for bullying to go both ways so there is no clear victim and no clear bully.

I…don’t want to talk about the lizard man.  That whole thing was awful.  I could understand why the scientist gave himself the therapy but the fact that he suddenly became a boring super-nanny villain was just the lamest thing ever. The voice-over thought process in the sewer…oh, god. That was just embarrassing.

Name what (if anything) this version did better than any of the other Spiderman movies (recent or otherwise)

Rachel-

Speaking of webslinging…I really liked the way they did it in this film. They restored the man-made webslingers and really took advantage of Garfield’s athleticism to recreate moves we see in the comic books. I wasn’t a fan of the first person webslinging. That felt pretty gimmicky, but the rest of it was great. I also felt like this film was actually set in New York whereas Raimi’s films always LOOKED like they were filmed on a lot somewhere, probably on purpose, knowing Raimi.

I also got really, really happy when Peter was studying in his room while sticking to the wall. It’s the little things.

Elena-

And tell me about what this version utterly failed to achieve.

Rachel-

They certainly didn’t reinvent anything. The Lizard design was pretty bad. I’ve said it before and I’ll always say it – he looked like a goomba from the Mario Brothers movie. A goomba in a lab coat. Same grin.

I don’t know how rewatchable this film is either. I’ve only seen it once, so I can’t say I won’t enjoy it again, but the middle felt so long that I left the theater doubting whether I’d ever really want to watch it again.

That’s probably a terrible thing to say about a movie that I didn’t think was all that bad, but it’s true.

Elena-

I think that’s a really fair assessment, actually.  It was enjoyable to watch at the time. Not something I will dwell on or watch multiple times.  Any sequels will be subject to the same test this one was: is it more entertaining than being on my couch, yes or no?

I didn’t see anything here that could be iconic…nothing that will inspire this generation of kids to love Spiderman above all other superheroes.

Rachel-

I also thought that they really jumped the gun on rebooting the Spiderman franchise NOW. I think if they had waited even a year or two they could have rebooted with Ultimate Comics Spiderman – Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker. This new (he first appeared last year!) Spiderman is a young kid from Brooklyn. A young black kid. He may not be an icon yet like Parker, but Miles is important, and a super hero film featuring a big time title character played by a minority actor would have been HUGE. Sony and Marvel missed the boat on that one, but I’ll bet it happens eventually.

Of course…maybe we’ll see a John Stewart Green Lantern or a Justice League movie first! If DC can EVER GET IT’S SHIT TOGETHER.

What will you do if Hollywood forces yet another superhero origin story down our throats next summer?

Elena-

What I always do: ignore it unless it proves itself more interesting to me than its genre.  Yeah.  That’s pretty much how I handle them, always.

Do you see any hope for the future of this version of the franchise?

Rachel-

A fangirl can dream that Sony will work out something with Marvel and we can at LEAST get a little Spidey cameo in the next Avengers film?

Pretty please?

 

10 Comic Book Characters Who Deserve Their Own Movie Adaptation

With the 2012 San-Diego Comic-Con here, I decided to make this week’s list honor that. There are hundreds and HUNDREDS of superheroes and super villains in the comic book world. Most are overlooked when it comes to movie time. We’ve got all the greats already made, Batman, Superman, Spiderman, X-Men, Fantastic Four, but I think it is time that some of these others characters get their own movie. A chance to shine either for the first time, or on their own as a major character rather than supporting (or just to show off how badass they are.)

So here are 10 comic book characters (and some honorable mentions) that deserve their own movie (but not in any particular order):

Secret

Young Justice

Not many people may know about (or remember) Secret. However, for me when I was first getting into reading comics at a tender and impressionable young age, Young Justice was my favorite and Secret was so enigmatic and innocent in the comics. Originally, in the series she was a young ghost-like young woman who couldn’t remember who she was, her past or how she had been imprisoned by Department of Extranormal Operation (D.E.O.) She was quite literally a lost soul.

She was born as Greta Hayes, living in fear of her older (adopted) brother Billy. When she was a teenager her fears of him were justified as she was murdered by him. Secret later joins Robin, Impulse, and Superboy as a member of the Young Justice League.  She initially goes by the name Suzie until her real identity is discovered.

I can just picture how amazing she would look live action in a movie, not to mention all the other superheroes and villains she comes contact with would set up several diverging movies if wanted. Her powers (well before she was restored) were very unique as well.

  • She is a gateway between the living and the dead.
  • She is able to take on a variety of appearances and shape appearing as even smoke.
  • She is intangible.
  • She was also known to teleport short distances.

There are also many many emotional moments within her storyline that are tear-worthy. Even though her story concludes (sorta) she would be perfect for one film that would bring attention to her life and what she does afterward.

Nightcrawler

X-Men

There is much that I love about this character. Whether it is his intense appearance, sexy accent, or that he totally kicks ass all the time, I would love to see more of him. Nightcrawler, aka Kurt Wagner, is the product of a love affair between two mutants, whose origins are never fully delved into. Through most of his life growing up he struggles to be accepted. His extreme appearance making it difficult for him to make friend for be allowed in normal society. (Something we all feel sometimes, amiright?) However, he is charming with a wicked sense of humor for a while, accepting his fate and life, before becoming more introspective later on such as in his time with Excaliber.

His mutant power is primarily teleportation. He has the ability to open a portal to another dimension and instantaneously travels through it. He also leaves a whiff of brimstone and a “bamf” sound when teleporting. While his teleportation is ranged to about 2 miles and he can only teleport to a place he has been before (or he risks teleporting into a wall or solid object), he can bring items with him as well. Although it has been mentioned before in other stroylines that he has travelled as far 300 miles before with a passenger.

Nightcrawler has a plethora of stories and series’ and general awesomeness surrounding him. Between his normal comic book series and his number of alternate realties, there is so much that can be made into a movie, or into a franchise of movies. Even an origin story for the big screen would be awesome. He was previously featured in the X-Men movie, but he was far from a main character, even with Alan Cummings nailing it (and minor changes made to his character.)

So, not only is there a ton of material for movies regarding his character, but who doesn’t want to see more Alan Cummings rocking it?

Impulse

Young Justice

No, I don’t mean Kid Flash or even THE Flash. As I mentioned before I started my comic book days reading YJ, and as thus will always have a soft spot for the series. I decided on Impulse – before he becomes Kid Flash, because that is when I liked his character the most. He had no ties (other than parentage) to the Flash family. He was simply himself, and with Robin and Superboy started the YJ.

Impulse, aka Bart Allen, is the son of Don Allen and Meloni Thawne. He was born with his grandfather’s (Barry Allen silver age Flash) speed however he was also born with hyper-accelerated metabolism that meant he was aging incredibly fast. Using short impulses of speed he was able to shock his metabolism back to normal. He would also often act without thinking, which lent itself to his naming.

His superpower is super-speed as well as the ability to lend and borrow speed from other people. He can also run across water and up vertical surfaces. At one point, he was able to create clones of himself however when they die it heavily affected Impulse to the point that he hasn’t used the power since. He also has extreme agility and reflexes due to his speed.

The character growth of Impulse, to becoming the Kid Flash, then officially THE flash would be a fantastic series of movies, as well as bringing forward some fan favorite characters along the way. Also, frankly, there are  so many adult themed superhero stories out there, that a film featuring a young superhero making his way while saving lives and growing is warranted.

Two-Face

Batman

I believe in Harvey Dent. Don’t you? One of my favorite villains, and definitely one of my favorite on-screen portrayals by Aaron Eckhart. I was incredibly disappointed when Two-Face died at the end of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise successfully killing any hope that he would return in another movie.

Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, was born and raised in Gotham. Even as a youngster he was suffering from various mental issues such as paranoia and bipolar disorder. However, he was able to be a star student and later became District Attorney of Gotham. Batman appeared in Gotham roughly 6 months after Dent took office and became one of the heroes first supporters. Whether from the Joker or from Sal Maroni throwing acid at Dent, either way, he became Two-Face. The dueling sides of his personality led to obsession and a decent in criminality.

Much like the other characters on this list, there are myriad story lines to create movies around for the character of Two-Face. Yeah he is evil most of the time, but his pre evil days are part of what makes his transformation so important. His descent from firm believer in justice to a criminal is both entertaining and intriguing. And he uses a coin toss to make decisions.

I also just want to see the sexy and talented Aaron Eckhart kicking ass again.


Arrowette

Young Justice

In our world today where young women are looking at Hunger Games survivor Katniss Everdeen for inspiration, having a new franchise around a bow wielding young female superhero seems like a natural next step. Arrowette was part of the Young Justice and had heroism in her blood. Her mother was Miss Arrowette and it is claimed her father was the Green Arrow.

Cissis, aka Arrowette, spent her life trying to he a a young vigilante hero. This young hero experienced a lot of pain and sadness in her life and was able to pull through to resume her career as Arrowette. However she is not immune to the emotions follies of being a human. She becomes blinded by rage and also retires hero costume to be a normal girl again.

While there is not much in her storyline to create a whole franchise around her, there is enough to tell a great story and to inspire young women with a superhero that is all their own. Oh and did I mention that she become an  Olympic-level archer and athlete?

Blink

X-Men

The mutants that appear in The X-Men series of comic books have some of the coolest abilities that only barely get touched on. Blink is one of these characters. She is a mutant with the power to teleport. Normally teleportion isn’t that special however, the story behind Blink is what makes her interesting.

Her origin story goes all the way back to the Victorian era and her ties to the immortal mutant Apocalypse. The descents of the powerful mutant called themselves Clan Akkaba. Clarice Ferguson, aka Blink, gained her teleportation power from her grandfather, Fredrick Slade, one of the only surviving members of Clan Akkaba.

Unlike Nightcrawler’s ability to teleport, Blink’s ability allows her to move large objects, groups of people in varying distances. She has been able to teleport all the way to the moon from earth. She also can use her ability to create spears of high accuracy that can teleport all or a portion of her enemy. She also makes a “blink” sound when teleporting.

I sincerely feel like there aren’t enough female superheroes that aren’t minor characters or supporting characters in films. I think a film focusing on Blink could open up new movie territory for the ever expanding X-Men saga as well as brink some little known mutants into light.

Deadpool

Marvel Series

This is one on the list that is actually closest to happening. The script is in development and the actor, Ryan Reynolds, is attached to reprise his role as the character he portrayed in the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. 

However, the project has been put off several times and might be a while before it actually gets made. But everyone wants to see a Deadpool exclusive movie right?

Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool,  is a former test subject of the Weapon X program, possessing a regenerative healing factor derived from the mutant Wolverine. A wild and unpredictable mercenary, Deadpool shared a bond with Cable and recently joined Wolverine’s X-Force. The “Merc with a Mouth” is infamous for breaking the fourth wall.

His abilities include:

  • He’s an expert in both close and ranged combat weaponry.
  • He has a limited immunity to telepathy due to his constantly fluctuating brain cells ( in Deadpool Team-Up #891 Mr. X can predict Deadpool’s moves disproving Deadpool being immune to telepaths).
  • Olympic-level strength, speed, stamina, and agility.
  • Deadpool is fluent in several languages, including English, French, Japanese, and Spanish
  • Deadpool also has had several personal transportation devices
  • Deadpool has an ability often referred to as “bottomless satchel”, where he can pull guns, explosives, food (usually Hic. brand beer cans) and ammunition, out of no where (usually by reaching into one of his pockets, often times pulling out something that was bigger then the pocket itself).
  • Deadpool has a very strong healing factor obtained from Wolverine, this healing factor healed him completely from cancer, and grants him the ability to heal any injury within seconds. he can even re-grow lost limbs. in addition his healing factor also grants him immunity against all kinds of gazes and poison.
  • He is one of the few people with enough skill to handle Captain America’s shield.
  • His unpredictable fighting style can be advantageous against the likes of Taskmaster, as Taskmaster learns the moves of others using his advanced memory and learns strengths and weaknesses based upon past experience.
  • He is said to know Peter Parker’s identity when he unmasked during ‘Civil War’ despite Mephisto erasing the event.
Let’s hope this film actually gets made because you can bet this will be an incredibly gory film that will also make you laugh. And it has been promised he will break the fourth wall in the upcoming project.

Venom

Spider-Man Series

This film is also in the works albeit in theory rather than actually moving forward. However, when it gets made, it will be so awesome. With the Spider-Man reboot fully fledged out now and its plans to be a trilogy, it seems ripe for Venom to make an appearance in his own world.

While the Venom we see interact with Spider-Man is very cool, he has other story lines that don’t interact with the already rebooted character. Venom has had several hosts, and several encounters that would lend itself to a pretty intriguing set of films.

He did previously appear in Spider-man 3 with the Eddie Brock character, however he is not the main character and is largely portrayed as a villain of the film.

It has been confirmed that Venom is planned to have his own movie, which will portray him as an anti-hero, rather than a villain. It is unconfirmed when it will be released, but it will be directed by Gary Ross an written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

Black Panther

Fantastic Four, X-Men

T’Challa, aka The Black Panter, is a genious warrior king. You don’t get more bad-ass than that. He is also one of the smartest men in the Marvel Universe and is Storm’s husband.

Seriously, he is the first mainstream black superhero and deserves his own freaking movie! Even though his title of Panther, and leader of Wakanda, he still had to earn it. While on right of passage to become leader he met the young teen who would later become Storm, and fell in love.

His early like and the trials alone of becoming the Black Panther warrant a movie. He had to defeat various champions of the other Wakandan tribes, be judged and found worthy by the Panther God, he had to ingest a poison herb that would kill him if he wasn’t worthy or a member of a royal line. All the trials gave him superhuman powers, though, such as enhanced speed, agility, strength, endurance, healing, memory and senses.

His various other story lines could warrant several movies and some amazing cameos from the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and The X-Men.

Now, there is a rumor that he will have his own movie is 2014, but this is not confirmed though we can all hope.

Polaris

X-Men

As I said before, so many awesome mutants in the X-Men, and Polaris is one of the oft overlooked. As her name suggests she commands magnetism. She is the daughter of Magneto and half sister to Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

Lorna Dane, aka Polaris, has the ability to manipulate magnetic, electrical, and gravitation fields. However it has been said her powers are changing and mutating. She has amazing green hair due to her x-gene.

Most people love Magneto and I would love to see his legacy continued with a movie regarding his daughter. Polaris’s origin story would see several fan favorite characters return while introducing many many new ones.  Following the X-Men’s Schism and Regenesis, Rachel, Alex and Lorna side with Wolverine. Wolverine then takes Lorna and Alex to rejoin their former team X-Factor.

I also think any movie has to include the Hulk just so we can see him confuse her for She-Hulk and get angry. Green hair is bitchin’ and we need more heroines with it.

Honorary Mentions: Archangel, Sun Spot, Kitty Pryde, The Flash, Donna Troy.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Fails To Impress – Review

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Directed by : Timur Bekmambetov

Starring: Benjamin Walker

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Seth Graham-Smith (novel/screenplay)

Why are you interested in this adaptation?

Elena-

I am interested in this movie primarily because all or at least significant parts of it were filmed in New Orleans. I spent a month last year running past a cordoned off section of grass in Audubon Park that was being grown out for use in this movie (seriously, it was labeled). It was enough to make me curious.

The premise…eh, the premise.  At least it was an original story, which is more than I can say for Seth Grahame Smith’s atrocious mangling of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I am still upset about not for messing with the canon of Austen but for doing it so fucking badly why did he call them underwear the whole book and oh my god why were there ninjas what the fuck that made no fucking sense and I need to take a deep breath or two and—

Okay. Yeah. So, at least an original story might be easier for him not to fuck up? And maybe there will be good costumes?

Rachel –

I am interested in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter because I can read English. How can you NOT be interested in a movie that portrays the 16th President of the United States as an axe-swinging Buffy?

HOW CAN YOU NOT?!

Now granted, I have seen the director’s past works (Nightwatch, Wanted) so I know I’m not in for a Tarantinoesque, tongue-in-cheek homage to the genre (is “Vampire movie” a genre yet?). I am in for a bunch of CGI with a lot of slo-mo and hopefully Benjamin Walker’s naked body.

Elena-

Wait, wait, wait, Nightwatch director did this one? THAT is why I’m interested! Nightwatch was pretty badass, if I recall correctly.  I mean, I think it was. I saw it on the pre-theatrical release rough translation that didn’t make much sense subtitles. Or maybe the story just made no sense? But I liked how he handled the film and the vampires in it….

What would make it awesome?

Rachel-

If it WERE a Tarantino film. IT WOULD BE SO AWESOME. Alas, it is not. So I guess it will be awesome if it is funny. The book itself isn’t hilarious beyond its mash-up premise (much like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the other Seth Graham-Smith book you’ve heard of), but this is a film adaptation, and by god the premise is so silly they might as well go full comedy.

It’s going to be pretty hard to sit through 2 hours of actual Abe Lincoln grimly dispatching vampires if there isn’t any humor. Give us the Buffy quips!

On second thought – maybe this should have been a Joss Whedon film? I’ll be Enver Gjokaj could pull off Abe! (He can pull off anything…. Including my shirt *puts on sunglasses * YEEEAAAHHHHHH).

Elena-

Hm. I think for me what will make this movie awesome is if they can make me forget I’m watching a movie where Abe Lincoln hunted vampires. Either laughter or emotional investment work to take me to that magical place of unselfconscious suspension of disbelief.

What would make it suck?

Elena-

Ninjas.  Seriously, if there are any fucking ninjas in this movie I am walking out of the theater, review or no review.

Aside from that…if it is a Hollywood CG reach-around flick that proves this director only has a vision when he has no budget. That kind of backslide from a promising start always pisses me off.

Rachel-

This is a vampire movie, it’s supposed to suck.

WHY DO YOU ALL HATE PUNS?

This is designed to be a terrible film. So I think a better question would be – how could this film not be FUN? And if it takes its premise too seriously and tries to deliver a straight action film that just happens to star a creepy Lincoln face and a top hat…it will suck.

Thoughts on casting/production?

Rachel-

Well, I’m not going to lie. I’m not a big fan of Timur Bekmambetov. Even James McAvoy’s beautiful face didn’t allow me to see past the fact that he was curving bullets by…essentially…bending his arm. WHAT? DEAR TIMUR – PHYSICS.

But, seeing as this is a movie about how Abe Lincoln is a freaking vampire hunter – I think I’m going to be OK with suspending all rules of the universe.

As to the film’s star, Benjamin Walker. I have no idea who he is? I have a bunch of friends who are into the NYC theater/Broadway scene and they all know exactly who he is – a talented stage star. So awesome! I love it when hard working theater dorks get a fat paycheck. Maybe Ben Walker is the next Hugh Jackman? Is there dancing in this movie? (Thinks about the axe-ballet in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers) TWIRL BENNY, TWIRL!

Elena-

I…no.  I didn’t know this was a director whose work I’m familiar with, and I don’t recognize any of the actors, and all I know about the production was the local scuttlebutt about the filming possibly being the reason for half the flock of Bird Island abandoning the site, which if that’s true is inexpressibly upsetting to me from an ecological standpoint since the Audubon Park rookery is one of basically three sites in the entire state where waterbirds nest and breed.  Bird Island being abandoned would be like the Central Park red-tails leaving.  So…second what Rachel said?

Reaction to film:

Rachel-

I think maybe Benjamin Walker took my “twirl” wish to heart. BOY TWIRLED HIS DAMN ASS OFF!

 LOOK AT THOSE TWIRLY BASTARDS!

Full disclosure: I saw this movie with my friends on one of their birthdays. We got drunk on rum beforehand, and I made the birthday girl wear a top hat with a tiara affixed to the front and carry a toy axe. I spent approximately half of the movie laughing my highly sugared ass off.

But not because it was funny.

At one point, I shouted “WHAT IS THIS MOVIE ABOUT?” (Don’t worry. There were only four other people in the theater with us, and they were shouting too, I think.)

We all walked out of the film with shell-shocked looks on our faces. The plot is pretty thin on this one, guys, and it deviates a lot from the book. Abe Lincoln’s mom is eaten by a vampire, and he spends the rest of his life fighting vampires with the help of this vampire he meets, and the bad guy from A Knight’s Tale runs the Confederate army. It is mostly a slow-motion movie with CGI settings in which Ben Walker axe-twirls his way from one sunglass-wearing vamp to the next. Ramona Flowers and Wash from Firefly make a few appearances. Even though the movie covers 30 or so years, no one ages. Except Lincoln, who bizarrely goes from super handsome Ben Walker to creepy wax figure Lincoln. I saw it in 3D, and the slow motion and CGI effects are so cluttered that there are entire scenes where I kind of just sat back and thought about inkblots and sand drawings.

The main conceit of the movie is that evil sunblock-wearing vampires want America to have slaves because it makes it easier for them to have super boring parties in their shitty mansions with walking buffets. Or something. This made me feel squicky, not gonna lie. I’m not sure I’m at the point in my life where I can … write off slavery as something resulting from supernatural bullshit in an action movie. Lincoln even uses the Underground Railroad to transport silver to Gettysburg so they can kill the vampire army! I MEAN WHO WRITES THIS AND THINKS IT’S NOT OFFENSIVE?  Lincoln was basically Moses…an axe-twirling, horse-catching, train-crashing Moses. Only he was a white dude, and the Hebrew slaves were black. Squicky.

OH right…the HORSE TOSSING. Let’s talk about thaaaat.

So there is this ridiculous scene where Lincoln chases a bad vamp via a herd of horses that magically transport them from somewhere in Illinois to the Grand Canyon. This CGI herd of horses runs and runs while Lincoln and vampire ride and run and hop their way across them. The vampire picks up a horse…and CHUCKS it at Lincoln who CATCHES the horse, puts it down and swings up like Legolas to continue riding the horse.

WUT? WHAAAAT?!!!

I don’t even.

Elena-

No CG horses were harmed in the making of this film!

Not a joke, y’all.  There’s a scene where the herd is scuttling along the edge of the mysteriously grand canyon in the middle of Illinois, and the horses that start to fall off the edge all manage to regain their balance and not fall to their deaths.  Seriously, this movie was like Abe Lincoln of Mars with its regard for (by which I mean, complete and utter ignorance of) the actual laws of physics.

Rachel-

Meanwhile Lincoln has this superhot vampire friend who is remarkable only in his sunglasses collection who teaches him not to be a bigot against vampires (but we already know Lincoln isn’t a bigot because he’s also got black friends)…and also teaches him the way of Vampire fu. It makes you crazy strong even if you are NOT  vampire, and that is why Abe can catch horses and chop down trees in one fell swoop.

Elena-

Yeah, about that…how was that “one stroke” when he took like…10 swings?  And then the tree falls?  Um. Unless he was hitting a different tree each time I’m pretty sure there was a cumulative effect happening.  Just sayin’.

Rachel-

SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS MOVIE?

Abe Lincoln, who does nothing but lie to people in the film (hilarious?), was strangely uncompelling. The action scenes were monotonous; the blame slavery on evil vampires plot made me uncomfortable, and most importantly it wasn’t funny. I can’t imagine how torturous this film would have been if I had not been inebriated.

Elena-

Alas, for any of our readers who might have been interested in a sober analysis of the film, neither can I.  I, too, got rummy for this film (literally…by drinking RUM, because I live in New Orleans, which in the summertime is basically the Caribbean and used to be sugar cane capital of the continent, and rum is what we drink here).  I went straight college style, just before the movie I dumped a third of my Coke into the toilet and poured in the bottle. I was worried I might miss (“I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob”) the opening of the movie because of my liquor detour, but I took that time anyway because I saw this movie on Thursday after a full week to contemplate its 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, and…no.  Anyway, I didn’t miss a thing except a couple shitty previews for shitty movies I know I won’t be seeing.

Right. So, the movie.  The movie was…yes: the movie was.

Rachel covered the salient points of how there was not much of a plot and the various “characters” just kind of showed up and said lines and how the action on screen was frenetic and hard to follow.  And derivative.  There was nothing new in these action sequences, just 50 Shades of Neo.

Rachel hits the point that underscores much of my discomfort with urban fantasy as a genre: it reduces either or both human problems and human redemption to the mercy of non-human influences.  Both are insulting.  Reducing both the entire argument for secession to “we want slaves” and the entire concept of institutionalized slavery to being so vampires have an easy food supply is just…asinine. As a Southerner I am insulted by the implication that the only reason the South won some of the battles was because the Confederate Army was all vampires.  As an American I am saddened that the single most devastating war in our history was reduced to righteous humans versus evil, evil vampires. I guess that whole brother versus brother thing was just a lie.  Riiiiiight.

I actually think the idea of vampires fighting because they wanted a nation of their own to be quite compelling. If the film hadn’t been so set on blaming slavery on the vampires, there could actually have been a really compelling subplot about what the vampires wanted and how maybe their desire for freedom was perhaps legitimate.  But instead the vampire leaders were all caricatures of villains, and not nearly smart enough to have actually been around long enough to be certain they were immortal.  They couldn’t train rob as effectively as the crew of Serenity, and they lived in mansions that were old and run-down and shitty even though IN THE TIME THIS IS SET THE HOUSE WOULD HAVE BEEN NEW.  In the end I think my complaint is pretty much the same as it was with P&P&Z:  there was a lot of potential for a really great story, and all of it was squandered.

But at least the vampires were appropriately monstrous in their miens.  And none of them sparkled.  And they at least tried to show the progression of time via Ramona Lincoln’s dresses.

Still.  None of it was enough to make this movie good or even enjoyable.  All I can say is, it lived up to every bit of its 35%.

Playing The Game of Thrones With The Season 2 Finale – Review

Episode 10: Season 2 finale, “Valar Morghulis”

Elena: This episode was, I think, on the whole better for those who only watch the show. I don’t know if that has quite happened enough to be called a trend yet, but I think we are beginning to see points where the changes are chapping even the most calloused of book fans’ asses, and those of us who don’t know what was in the books or should have been on screen don’t question what happens or think less of it, because we have no basis for comparison. We only react to what did happen, not what we thought would happen or what we wanted to happen.  Well, the part about what we want may not be totally true—I imagine the internet would have rioted if Tyrion came up with a case of the deads, since we all wanted him to live.  So I guess that seems a good time to ask Rachel what she thought of how HBO handled Tyrion’s fall from grace?

 

Rachel: HBO continues to give Peter Dinklage all the good scenes! But it’s not all jokes. Dinklage is showing Tyrion is one of the more complicated characters in this story. It’s not so fun seeing Tyrion afraid, but waking up after The Blackwater is probably the scariest thing Tyrion’s ever experienced. Ending the season with the cocky Tyrion in a forgotten room, unsure about his health or his future is pretty pitch perfect.

Pycelle is back up, Tyrion is down, and I don’t think any of us know what to think of Shae. I loved that scene between Shae and Tyrion. Shae is the only person Tyrion ever confides his fears in, the person he shows any weakness to, and she in turn always tells him exactly what she thinks. Her dismissal of his “I’m a monster” statement is pretty much how I felt about his injury. POOR BABY. You got a booboo?

I knew they weren’t actually going to chop off his nose and force Dinklage to wear a terrible prosthetic for the rest of the series. I’m hoping they keep it extra juicy and infected looking otherwise, we’re in the same situation I felt when I saw The Phantom of the Opera, and Gerard Butler’s HIDEOUS FACE was really just a handsome dude with a  sunburn….

Not gonna lie, when Tyrion cried I definitely got choked up. What do you think Elena, do you trust Shae with Tyrion’s emotionally scarred heart?

Elena: This was the episode where you feel sorry for Tyrion because he was riding high and thinking he was the big man in King’s Landing only to get brought lower than ever when his dad strolls in and saves the day with the Knight of Fucking Flowers (literally….Loras fucks flowers. Peach blossoms, specifically. Like what I did there?), and suddenly it’s like Tyrion was never in King’s Landing and had nothing to do with saving it.  Joffrey gets to sit there and pretend like he didn’t piss himself on the battlements, Tywinning lets his horse shit all over the throne room, and Tyrion isn’t even allowed to watch the joy of Papa Lannister starting to put his dipshit grandson in his place (because you know if anyone can control King Fucktard the First, it is Tywinning).  Instead Tyrion is in a monk’s cell somewhere with Maester Pycelle cackling over getting revenge for the beard-trimming, while Tyrion is moping and being depressed over the fact that he is now “a monster as well as a dwarf.”  Um, I think that line made more sense in the books.  Having a pretty clean battle scar isn’t quite enough to make someone a monster, especially not in a land where the men in charge are, as The Hound likes to point out, killers and knights themselves.  Probably half the lords in Westeros have battle scars.  They just make a man look like…well, a man.  Welcome to the big boy club, Tyrion.

As to Shae, I am reluctantly impressed with her that she chose to stay with him.  I almost think she means it.  Maybe she still sees him as just the best thing that’s ever happened to her and a better prospect than anything else she could find, but she seemed genuine in her anger on his behalf.  Fuck this place and these people, they don’t respect you so let’s just leave.  Tyrion would be no one across the sea, even if he still had money, so she can’t just be with him because of his being a Lannister.  I might not “get” their relationship but it seems like it’s being built into a real one, maybe not Robb and Talisa style lusty and frantic love but the solid, trusting kind of love.  At this point I trust her not to run out on him…but I don’t trust her not to get herself killed off or imprisoned and then used against him later.

Rachel: The cut from the Tyrion/Shae scene to Robb and Talisa being married was hilarious. Those tricksy writers! Also hilarious? The entire wedding scene.

WUT? That was the cheesiest, stupidest thing I’ve ever seen! Let’s be real…if Talisa is from Volantis, girl doesn’t know any chants about the Seven! They were married under the Seven when Robb is supposed to be the King of the GOD DAMN NORTH?!

This show can be so uneven about details! Robb is also part Tulley, so fine. There’s your argument for the ceremony, and this all would have made perfect sense had he married Jeyne Westerling. But he didn’t. They changed her to Talisa and made up this hugely complicated reason for why she’s even on the continent in the first place, so it would only make sense they be married in the Northern tradition, and I realize this is nitpickery of the highest order but I’m just going to be that person right now.

Cut later to Cat trying to tell Robb what an ASSHOLE he has been to the Freys…too much is being made of how disrespectful Robb was to Cat (duh, he just defied her wishes and married some landless ho, and you think he’s going to apologize?) and not enough about how there is one angry Bridge-having family out there. Robb has mightily offended the Freys and as yet has no siblings to placate them with other marriages. He’s lost Winterfell to Theon.  He’s ignored every piece of advice Roose Bolton has given him.

Robb might be pretty, but he doesn’t even have the family duty that Ned had and so might win the award for Stupidest Main Character of Season 2. Elena, do you agree?

Elena: CONCURMENT ACHIEVED.

Normally I am pro following your heart.  And, Robb, I GET why you want to marry a woman you think is going to be a better queen for you and an inspiration to your people, someone hard and yet gentle, tough and yet compassionate, strong and brave and independent.  The thing is, you are being very un-Stark right now.  Is that your Tully side creeping out?  Are any of Ned’s children proper Starks?  Maybe Jon should count himself lucky he’s Ned’s bastard and not another Tully spawn, since that set of genes is starting to seem overpowering.

Because here’s the problems I have with Robb’s decision making.  First, it’s unnecessary.  Talisa is obviously willing to be kept on the side if you are where her heart is.  Maybe that doesn’t bear up once you’re actually married, but maybe it does.  She seemed like she understood.  Second, it wrecks an allegiance and will piss off your bannermen.  It makes you look kind of…well, not a man of your word.  The reason they are following you is because you were a Stark.  Being a not a man of your word is basically saying you’re a Stark only in name.  How can they trust you now?  Especially when you didn’t ride back to retake Winterfell?  You aren’t keeping your promises to your allies or your own kin…how can any man who rides with you expect you to keep a promise to him now?

The thing about building trust is, it means you keep promises even when it is really inconvenient or hard for you to do that.  You should have kept the bridge.  I hope you don’t regret burning it too much later.  I hope Talisa’s magical hoo-ha is enough to hold your throne.

Yeah.  Good luck with that.

So speaking of Winterfell…shall we swing North for a bit?

Rachel: God, the Winterfell scenes are where I went from a smiley, happy TV-watcher to an increasingly grimacing, pissed-off book person. WHAT IS HAPPENING, YOU GUYS? The majority of the changes make sense to me. They’ve streamlined Theon’s journey (gotten rid of Reek entirely?) and decided that it’s just easier for the Iron Born to hit Theon over the head, burn Winterfell down, and leave.

Right? At this point I kind of don’t know what the heck is happening. I have my theories about how to get to the next stage, but since this is a no-spoil discussion, you guys are just going to have to hit me up on Twitter for them.

Meanwhile Osha, Bran, Rickon, and Hodor emerge from the Winterfell crypts to a devastated and empty, largely bodiless Winterfell. (One can only assume the Iron Born took people with them). The only one left was the dying Maester Luwin. The scene in which he says good bye was rather powerful and drives home that the North is a place of Duty and Honor. Under the Heart Tree he bids Bran go North. We even got to hear Rickon speak like a human being instead of a feral child (I was genuinely shocked when he said something and sounded normal). Super sad. Bran is now on his own. His only adult ally is a wildling woman, plus he has a simpleton and the direwolves (YAY DIREWOLVES! DID YOU SEE THEM? I LUFF THEM). Rickon has mastered speech, which is a definite plus, but I don’t know how much fighting he can do? Give the kid a rock I guess.

Between the Iron Islands being in open revolt, Winterfell burned to the ground and its people killed or scattered, Jon far beyond the Wall, and Robb stuck somewhere in the Riverlands with decreasing options…looks like the Starks are in for a hell of a season 3.

Elena: Okay, am I the only one who had zero doubts about what happened at Winterfell?  Asha took her 500 knights and surrounded it, then went annoying-sister apeshit on her brother.  I figured the men on the inside with him recognized that horn and that’s how they knew to just bonk him on the head and go home.  Then Asha the expert pillager burned a stone keep down.  If anyone can do it without dragons, it’s her.  I mean, self-evident, right?

I heard from Rachel that this was not obvious if you had read the books because you were expecting something else to happen.

You guys: this is why I’m not reading the books until show’s done.  It’s just so much more enjoyable for me to watch, not only when I don’t know what’s coming but also when I don’t expect one thing and get something else.

Anyway, about Maester Luwin’s suggestion to Theon that he run to The Wall.  Luwin had an interesting comment, that he doesn’t serve the family—he serves the place.  I wasn’t sure he meant it until he said all that about the Night’s Watch.  He really did want to save Theon from himself.

Too late.  Theon was all ready to go down in a blaze of glory…only to have his sister take that away from him.  But the sequence just proves all over again that he’s not really getting the Iron Islander ethos.  I cannot imagine any pirate being willing or interested in a martyr’s death when there is a tunnel to escape via.  The fact that Theon was ready to choose death over being seen as a coward is very much a Winterfell thing.  Pirates don’t give a shit about how they are seen. They give a shit about staying alive and getting their plunder.  Why would they die for a shitty keep on a shitty steppe somewhere shitty and not by the sea?  That was Theon’s last gasp of hatred for the Starks.  Guess he really did hate them.  I can tell you why, Robb….

I look forward to seeing what happens to Theon now that he has been pwned by his sister once again.

Shall we speak of happier things?  Tell me what you liked best about this episode.

Rachel: The throne room was my favorite scene in the entire episode. A bunch of powerful liars in a room together being forced to pay homage to a megalomaniac douche. HA HA. It’s amazing. From Tywin refusing to walk anywhere on foot, to the farce of putting Sansa aside in favor of the vast wealth and men of the Tyrells. Hilarious. When Maergery made her speech about having a love for Joffrey take root deep inside her, the only person I felt bad for was Joffrey. He’s the only one in the room who doesn’t seem to understand that everyone is full of shit. A castle full of vipers ready to devour him; the only thing holding them back is tradition and his chaotic behavior.

IT’S GONNA BE GOOD.

Anyone else hear Sansa echo Cersei’s “Enjoy” when Maegaery stepped into the limelight? Stupid Littlefinger had to ruin it by creeping in like he always does with his “you’re not free, yet!” speech. Go creep on Harrenhal, Petyr! I hear it’s LOVELY there!

No, I love Littlefinger. They’ve made him inscrutable in the show by making him tell everyone his plans, all the plans being different. It’s just as effective as book Littlefinger, who mostly keeps everything to himself but the pointing and the laughing. The end result is “creepy fucker who knows too much and says too little of substance,” and that’s all we can really hope for.

Elena: I was laughing my ass off through this entire sequence. From that perfect plop of horse shit (seriously, I think they just made everyone wait while the camera rolled on that horse’s ass until it dropped a load) to Joffrey’s haplessness in the face of grown-ups to Sansa’s amazing acting skills…goodness.  I WANT MORE OF THIS, PLEASE.  Rachel and I talked on one of the podcasts about the lack of courtly flourishes and politicking in the show thus far.  This was the first scene where we really got to see it in full flower, the platitudes and false speaking and posturing and obeisance to the proper form.

I will admit, I was not actually sure Joffrey understood he was allowed to set Sansa aside.  I believed him when he told Margaery he could not break his vow…like I thought he actually meant that.  I thought that because of how confused he looked when Pycelle stepped forward again and said the gods didn’t require him to keep promises to traitors.

I hope he was the only one in the room not acting, because that underscores that the point Littlefinger made to Sansa is also true of Joffrey:  it’s a room full of liars, every one of them better than you.  Joffrey, for all that he has been invested with the powers of the kingship, is still a little boy who wants to be led except when he is throwing a tantrum.  He is weak, malleable, and dangerous only because he is marginally insane.  If he did not have that edge of psychosis…he would be an utter puppet.  Instead he will become a puppet through the manipulation of his weaknesses and ignorance and self-absorption.

I am sooooo interested to see Margaery square off against Cersei.  I think in her Cersei will find an apter pupil than she did in Sansa…and someone who will not overtly compete with her.  The longer I’ve had to think about this, the more convinced I am that Cersei wanted Sansa gone because Sansa threatened her—threatened to expose Cersei for what she is and be an example of what she should have been but isn’t. Sansa was too scared and ignorant to realize that every time she said the perfect thing or showed just that flash of ladylike courage, it made her more and more unacceptable to Cersei.  Sansa would have made a tragic but noble figure as Joffrey’s queen.  She could make someone like The Hound disobey his master for her sake.  She had the ability to inspire pity and pride and loyalty…and it would be loyalty to HER, not to the king.  And since she is the daughter of a man killed as a traitor for being too honest and too honorable, and the sister of a rebel king…a city of people more loyal to her than her husband must have made Cersei’s butthole pucker up with fear.

Margaery, on the other hand, will not overtly compete with Cersei because she will be playing the game of eager queen-to-be learning the game from her mother-in-law.  She understands that it is a game, and overt competition will be the quickest way to lose what she has within her grasp.

Littlefinger’s bit at the end was priceless.  The people at work thought he did it out of kindness, out of love for Cat. Hahahahahaha.  Oh, hell, no.  He might have a weakness for Catelyn Tully Stark in that he still has emotions about her…but I don’t believe for a second he still loves her.  I think he still wants revenge for that rejection.  I was shocked he didn’t offer to marry Sansa just to keep her safe from Joffrey…wouldn’t that be the ultimate in your FACE to his old love?  Marry the daughter who looks just like her but is ten times more submissive, so he not only upgrades to the younger model as an older man but also upgrades it to a personality he can completely control?  Personally, I think that is his goal.

Sansa best watch herself if she stays in King’s Landing.

GIRL, YOU SHOULD HAVE GONE WITH THE HOUND!

Rachel: Can we talk about Stannis now?

My favorite lobster king is having issues with being so thoroughly defeated, but then again who wouldn’t be having a hissy in their high tower table-map room if they just got Tywinned ten seconds before total victory?

I feel for you, Stannis. I feel. And I can understand why a godless man who yearns for greatness, such as yourself, would stare into the ambient lighting and see your inevitable greatness staring back at you. Clearly Stannis hasn’t given up.

Or they’re just crazy.

Even then, I would expect Stannis to talk about his missing, presumed dead, right hand man Ser Onion! NO TEARS FOR YOUR BESTIE? C’mon Stannis!

Look into the flames! Do you smell onions?

Elena: I don’t have much to say about this scene, since, obviously Stannis wasn’t going to give up the war just because he lost the battle, and just as obviously Melisandre is going to make sure she has a firmer hand on the second campaign.  But all I could think watching it was how much he looked like Eric in The Little Mermaid when that evil sea witch has him under her spell.  And then their relationship suddenly made perfect sense, and I felt really sorry for Stannis.

Even more sorry for Davos, who lost his son to that bitch’s shell spell!

Ugh.  Let’s go someplace where the bad guys don’t win!  Like…Jaime and Brienne!

Rachel: Ya know, strictly speaking, book-Brienne wouldn’t have vengefully castrated that guy to kill him. But I think it makes her more interesting when she is more overtly pissed off about how women are treated in Westeros. It’s nice. In a cast of characters that feature plenty of strong and interesting female characters, not many of them are outspoken about the role of women in their society. Cersei complains but acquiesces; Arya is still too young for her rejection of feminine roles to be a social statement. Asha is an interesting case, as she fills in for her father’s absent sons, but the contrast between her and Brienne is that Asha embraces traditionally masculine roles without any regret, while Brienne is far more sensitive. Forced into masculine roles in order to gain agency for herself while at the same time pushed away from feminine roles due to her size and appearance—at time it seems that Brienne had no choice. It was either take control of her life through violence or live life as an unloved,  mocked wife of whatever man offered her father the best deal. Something Asha doesn’t have to contend with – plenty of men find her appealing, and it seems the Greyjoys have no compunctions about women inheriting.

The relationship between perfect manly man/family honor Jaime and imperfect female/imperfect male family rejecting Brienne is, as I have said before, one of the best relationships in the entire series. They make each other more interesting simply by being in each others’ proximity! Not to mention the hilarity of no bullshit Brinne calling out Jaime’s every utterance.

The cast is only going to get bigger as we move into season 3, but I hope to see much more of The Jaime and Brienne Show!

Elena: This sequence.  Oh, my god, this sequence. I think it might have been my favorite moment of the show when Brienne kills those Stark men and we see Jaime’s face in the aftermath.  And he’s basically like, “I…might not be able to beat her.  Holy shit, this woman is FIERCE.”  Like…Brienne is such a badass that she turned Jaime Fucking Kingslayer into a lisping gay man for a couple seconds.  That was amazing.

So can I confess something?  I didn’t realize the bodies were women until they talked about them being she’s.  I thought Brienne was just that respectful at first, which seemed oddly naïve, but one thing I will say about Westeros…there has been a lot of abusing of women but not too much killing of them, at least so far.  So her reaction, even aside from any considerations of latent anger a lady knight might have about the way women are treated by men, made more sense. In fact, WAS it anger on behalf of women (vs men) so much as it was anger on behalf of INNOCENTS (vs ravagers and false knights)?

Either way I’m glad they stopped.  I’m glad we got to see her in action one more time this season, I’m glad Jaime got to see it so maybe he’ll stop mouthing off every five minutes, and I’m glad we got to see the complicating factor of her not working for the Starks but only Catelyn.  That…is going to come back later, I sense.

Rachel:  And in things that just won’t stop coming back…Ros met Varys.

While I LOVE me some quality Varys time…this scene was bull. Like Varys would stroll into Petyr’s whore house in broad daylight to offer his top whore a spying position? HBO is really trying to make Ros happen for us. I won’t deny that she might know her share of juicy bits—isn’t that what Petyr uses her for? I think this scene was just an excuse for the writers to reiterate that while Petyr seems to desire legitimate and public power, the motivations of Varys are still pretty unknown. Sex doesn’t work on him, so Petyr is at a disadvantage when it comes to manipulating his rival (are they rivals?), but Petyr might be in better with the nobility – since HBO sent him on a tour of Westeros this season.

You never know with Varys. All you really know is that he’s a eunuch. HBO seems really fixated on telling us that repeatedly. And we know that whatever Ros decides, no one wants to be stuck between Littlefinger and the Spider.

Elena: This scene just made no sense to me.  I expect Varys is right and Littlefinger is criminally underusing her.  But do we really think Littlefinger doesn’t have a line onto every man (or woman) who walks into his brothel?  Come on.  He’s not going to let his Commader Ros Riker of the whoreship Cunterprize become a spy for his greatest enemy.  Please.

If HBO takes that route and she survives more than two episodes of it, I call bullshit.  Maybe they just wanted a scheme to kill her off?

Oh, and speaking of characters killed off:  Goodbye, Jaqen H’ghar!

Rachel: It’s time for terrible poetry.

 

Goodbye Jaqen H’ghar

we have watched you from afar

kill every man the wolf desired

and part your hair so ’twas two colored.

 

Elena is going to ask me if you ever come back

I will distract her with Syrio flack

a beauteous man if there ever was

a deadly genie, a faceless one.

 

Elena: RIP, Hot Jaqen!  Your new face did NOT amuse me.  But I know why you did it: you didn’t want Arya to regret her choice.  I would not regret that choice after seeing your new mug, so well done.

Also…where the fuck are all these different magical people coming from?  None of them are from the Seven Kingdoms.  What is up with that?  No indigenous magic on the entire fucking continent?  Rachel likes to call the Stark kids wargs and snarl about the fact that HBO is cutting their connection to their wolves and Bran’s prophecy-dreaming, so what else is indigenous to this part of the world that we aren’t learning about?  I mean, across the sea we have the witches like Melisandre, the Faceless Men, the sorcerers of Qarth, the Targaryens and their fire-magic…what happened here?  Why didn’t they have all this shit?  No wonder they were so fucking defenseless when the Targaryens showed up with their dragons.  And if the Targaryens were all that was keeping it off the continent…no wonder all of these new beings are adventuring across the sea now!

Anyway, on the Arya plot front…we now have the Continuing Adventurs of Arya and Hot Pie and Gendry.  Arya wants to find Robb or rescue Sansa.  I love that she finally remembers her sister.  Has Sansa thought about her at all?  She would never have brought Arya up, of course, since that is obviously a subject you just don’t talk about in front of…well, anyone in King’s Landing since they all have egg on their face for Arya escaping without a trace.  But I wonder if she thinks about her.  Surely?  But Arya was the one whom Ned reminded that blood is blood, and when winter comes family will matter more than anything.

Interestingly, given that Starks at least start as the focal point of the series, the action across two seasons so far has been to put as much distance as possible between all of the Stark children.  They are all separated from their family right now.  They all have to make new families…Arya with her boys, Robb with Talisa and his men, Jon with his brother crows and now the Wildlings, Bran and Rickon with Osha.  Sansa…Sansa is the only one truly alone.  Poor little bird.

Dany and the House of the Undying (are all her dothraki back from the dead?):

Rachel: I would probably have made it through the episode in enjoyment despite the Winterfell confusion if not for everything that happens with Dany and Jon (who I will get to in a second).

Ugh… I feel like such a chump! Getting all “Elena, TAKE NOTES WHEN PEOPLE TALK TO DANY IN THE HOUSE OF THE UNDYING”. Um…yea, about that….

WHAT IS FRAGGITY FRACK SHIT HUH?

Can I just say that not ONE of the “visions” Dany saw in that episode occurred in the book? Do I treat them as canon? IN which case – did HBO just spoil the hell out of us by showing us the Iron Throne covered in ash, the ceiling burned away by what we assume would be Dany’s dragon fire?

DID THAT JUST HAPPEN?

And the Drogo thing – I guess it was nice that we got a cameo, but, damn, that fake beard was gross looking! EWWW DON’T TOUCH IT.

So yea, I was hoping for at LEAST the “Three” prophecy since Dany uses it to examine and govern her decisions from here on out. It’s so disappointing to see one of the most important moments in a favorite character’s storyline get completely and utterly cut. Sigh. I’m also going to assume that the dragons succeeded in burning down the house of the Undying? I get it – the fire budget was all used up in “The Blackwater.”

Just…go, Dany. Go buy a ship. Go somewhere. LEAVE QARTH. Leave weirdly and for no reason at all heterosexual Xaro. Leave him and that dumb ho, Doreah, locked up in that empty vault. TAKE the golden peacock! (BTW – raise your hand if you were all, “Where did all of Dany’s Dothraki come from? Weren’t they all dead?)

March onward to your incredibly boring Feast and Dance storylines! ONWARD, I SAY! And this time you don’t even have an idea of what direction to go in because you never heard Quaithe’s “you must go East to go West” prophecy, either!

So…just…go. Go be aimless. Have some temper tantrums. Lose your dragons repeatedly. I don’t even care anymore.

Elena: I was underwhelmed by the House of the Undying itself.  It seemed…well, honestly, here’s what it seemed.  It seemed like that could have been an entire episode by itself—I mean, Labyrinth made a feature film out of the exact same premise—and because it could not be its own episode, the true threat or power of the place was diminished.  I felt like there should have been traps there, or more obvious prophetic type visions…something besides a couple random flashes of other places and a quick jaunt from The Wall to the Nightlands (or wherever Drogo was supposed to be).

That being said…the ending of her sequence, both endings really, was fucking awesome.  When she looked at those chains and then at her dragons and was like…fuck this.  Dragons, take my fury and make it burn. MAKE IT ALL BURN…I think I squealed like a school girl.  That was the best.  And I was just thinking…um, sorcerer?  I know your powers just came back and you’re feeling your oats and everything, but…what part of DRAGONFIRE do you not quite get?

The ending with the empty vault was also fabulous.  I half-jokingly wrote “watch it be empty” in my live blog and then got to feel uber-smart when it turned out to be true.  What a clever man he was!  All he had to do to be the richest man in Qarth was TELL everyone he was the richest man in Qarth so many times they eventually stopped asking for proof! Amazing!  I actually wonder how many of the so-called richest men in Qarth were actually rich at all, or if they all just put their actual wealth into their world-at-hand and kept nothing in reserve but pretended they had ten times more where that came from?  Was Qarth basically the double-mortgaged American gated community of Westeros?  Where everyone drives a Lexus but lives in an unfurnished house and eats nothing but beans and rice because they have no money left to spend?

So Dany has enough for a small ship, and now her dragons have found their fire.  I still don’t think it’s enough for her to go “home” yet.

This is something Rachel mentioned to me in our drunkcast, that Dany sees things in the House of the Undying that shape her decisions from here on.  The fact that she didn’t makes me wonder if she is going to continue to have her agency as an individual undermined by plot events that force her path to turn, versus her choosing to turn onto a different path?  Like will she get shipwrecked instead of choosing to wait to cross the sea until she can do it on the back of a dragon because she saw a vision of herself flying into the Seven Kingdoms for the first time?  That sort of putting her at the mercy of tangential forces rather than making her the centrifuge of her own momentum.  I much prefer characters who both have agency but are forced to react to the world around them.  Even when they make poor choices (cough *Robb* cough), I still prefer the ones who are able to be actors and not simply reactors.

Rachel: Speaking of visions left out of The House of the Undying scene was one which, coupled with a memory/dream of Ned’s that the writers left out of Season 1, is the basis for a theory on Jon’s parentage. But that seems to have been erased from the show, so please GOD don’t bother Googling any algebra equations that solve for J. (Really, don’t. You’ll be spoiled IMMEDIATELY about events because the internet assumes if you are Googling book theories that you have read the books).

And that isn’t even the stuff that had me all mad and yelling in the street (actual. I was yelling in the street). No, see…I’m pissed off about Jon vs. The Halfhand. Because they spent all damn season stretching the storyline beyond the Wall. Spending multiple episodes at Craster’s Keep and digging latrines and chasing girls through the snow, and they didn’t have TEN SECONDS for Qhorin to tell Jon that one pivotal line, “When the time comes, you do what they ask of you.” Because Jon kills the Halfhand UNDER ORDERS. Not because Qhorin spends a bunch of time pushing him and calling his mother a whore – but because Qhorin knows that if the wildlings have captured him they will kill him slowly, OR his death can be used by Jon to gain acceptance into their group as a deserter. Couple that with Jon playing it like he killed the Halfhand because he can and wants to fuck Ygritte – that’s what this scene should have been. Instead it’s a stupid scene. A STUPID SCENE. Is it clear that Jon did not want to kill one of his heroes? Is it clear that Jon is doing this to gain information about the army that Mance Rayder is massing beyond the wall because it is a threat to the realm?

Is Jon just too much of a traditional fantasy hero with a special destiny to make it in the big bad world of HBO dramas? It’s like, “Oh, ya know, Jon is too good. Let’s make him a fucking dick. We can call him stupid for an entire season and then have him kill the old guy at the end for being disrespectful.” Was that a round table discussion or is this a result of over editing?

Ughhhhhh. UGHHHHHHHHHH!!! I’M SO MAD ABOUT IT AHHHHH!

And then there’s the scene at the very end, at what I am assuming is the Fist of the Firstmen? Sam and co (YAY DOLOROUS ED) have been digging latrines for approximately 12 episodes, and they hear the three horn blasts that mean Walkers. So everyone runs back to camp except for Sam, who hides behind a rock and watches the Others come by on their undead horses directing the movement of a whole mess of White Walkers. Remember the Walkers we saw last season when Jon injured his hand? Remember how they were fast and strong and scary as hell?

Now look at these Walkers.

Do they not seem a little…Shaun of the Dead to you?

Whatever. At this point I’m just over here mumbling about the honor of Jon Stark and how Qhorin Halfhald is a HERO!

Elena:  Rachel’s reaction is what happens when HBO tries to be subtle.  The elements of this being a hugely pivotal (except not at all because he was only faking!) role in Jon’s life are there.  We have heard the boys whispering about how that’s Qhorin Halfhand, and I think it was explained to Sam who he is.  We had Qhorin’s comment to Jon LAST episode we saw them, “I hope you can do what needs to be done when the time comes.”

But the way this was staged…weak.  It made Jon look like a little Lord of Winterfell who is lost North of The Wall, not a man of the Night’s Watch who is consciously rejecting that life.

Maybe the show writers wanted to slow down Jon’s growth from an angry youth to a full man, and thought that showing him make that kind of momentous decision less than a year after leaving home was too soon.  Maybe they thought we thought the Wildlings would see more potential in a malleable youth than a man of strong convictions.  Or maybe they really are doing what Rachel suggested and trying to diminish the most admirable sides of the characters it’s easiest to like in the books because HBO doesn’t like its viewers to have easy heroes.

I don’t know what their decision process was.  But I know this:  I was confused about why Qhorin was talking about Jon’s parents.  That Jon could be goaded to kill a man for calling his mother a whore has exactly dick to do with his willingness to join the Wildlings.  Jon has been captured.  It’s not like he’s getting back to The Wall ever anyway, most likely…so it’s not like he could have been thinking (er…if it wasn’t planned that he kill the Halfhand) afterward that “oh, shit, killing the Halfhand means I can’t go back.  Oops, guess I’ll just join the Wildlings then.”  And from the Wildlings point of view, the fact that he killed Qhorin Halfhand in a fit of rage for insulting his mother would just make him look more dangerous a prisoner, but not a more likely prospect for conversion to their cause.  Jon wasn’t fighting for his freedom in their eyes, but from hot emotion.  The fact that he won would have made him look like a badass, sure, but they would have watched that battle, shrugged at the outcome, bound him tighter, and walked on.  They would not have looked at him and said “now you are one of us.”  It. Made. No. Sense.

If Jon and Qhorin had been arguing about loyalty to the Night’s Watch, and not betraying secrets and their brothers, and Jon was like “Fuck the Night’s Watch, I didn’t want to go but I had nowhere else, I’m 17 years old and I’ve never really kissed a girl and the Night’s Watch wants me to die an old man—or a young one—who has never really kissed a girl, so fuck that, and fuck you if you don’t like it.”  HAD THAT BEEN THEIR ARGUMENT THE “HE’S ONE OF US! HUZZAH!” REACTION MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

But, y’all, that was not Jon and Qhorin’s argument.

This is not to mention…there was no retaliation from the Wildlings for him killing their most valuable prisoner?  COME THE FUCK ON.  If they know enough about who Qhorin is to be impressed that Jon killed him, then why on earth would they have let him be killed?  They all just formed up a sparring ring and let them have blades, really?  Because it’s not like King North of The Wall Mance Fucking Raider would have wanted to debrief Qhorin Halfhand or anything.  Not at all.  No chance of that!  The Wildlings reaction was just…unbelievable, when I sat down later and thought it through.

I am also upset over the future interplay between Jon and Ygritte now that the fight was about his whore mother (or was she?) and not his desire to be his own man and have his life back.  Because if he had said “I’m taking my life back” then he would have had to put a move on her.  This way, he can still be all emo and reluctant to bed her until he realizes it’s part of his disguise and mopes about it for an episode first.  I would much rather see him take a positive action to embrace his own sexuality rather than having to be seduced.  Sigh.  As much as I am all in favor of ladies doing it—Talisa style—that doesn’t mean I want MEN to be the ones getting seduced against their will and understanding and moral code.

Actually…looking back at the sex we’ve seen this season…the bulk of it by far has been women seducing men against their better judgment and very much being the sexual aggressors.  And I am quite sad to realize that perhaps the most sexually equitable relationship IN THE ENTIRE FUCKING SHOW so far has been Cersei and Jaime.  You guys, there is something seriously fucked up when the people with the healthiest sexual relationship are the twins doing each other.

I’m actually quite serious about this.  Talisa pulled a romance novel hero on Robb where she was like, “I’m going to seduce you even though morally you are reluctant because you will enjoy it, so just like back (or stand back, whatever) and let me do the rest.”  Fine, so they are probably healthy up after he makes his choice about it, but still, putting your boobs in a man’s face and expecting him to make a morally responsible decision at that moment is…questionable at best.  Cersei is using her power as Queen and Head Bitch Lannister in Charge to use Lancel at her whims.  Margaery is more than a match for poor Renly…or would have been, had he lived.  Melisandre and Stannis?  What black magic did she use to overcome his normally prosaic and plodding moral compass?  Osha having to do nothing to slit Theon’s throat in his sleep (had she so chosen) except drop her robe.

And then in the more traditional roles of men using women we have Craster with his daughters, all the whores who got fucked and abandoned or abused along the season, and Shae, whom Tyrion might love but who is still paid for her work and that puts her in a position of subservience at least until she can make him so in love with her he’ll do anything to keep her (at which point she moves to unhealthy column #1).  Regardless of what is worked out after the wedding, any woman married off for political reasons is, as Cersei put it so elegantly, being “sold like a horse so he could ride me whenever he wanted.”  So…yeah.  Where’s the healthy couple with no power dynamic or discrepancy at play?  The most fucked up relationship of them all.

I had not really thought about this until now.  Just wow.  Possibly most fascinating is that in aggregate this season has had a lot of exploration of female sexuality as a weapon.  Back to Cersei, who seems to just be speaking all the truths, telling Sansa to learn how to use it.  So much for women being helpless…but Margaery Tyrell already proved that being more feminine than most can be much more powerful than Sansa made it seem.

Overall Thoughts on Season 2

Rachel: All in all I found Season 2 to be much more uneven than Season 1. It had some absolutely fantastic episodes and moments, but it also seems to be slipping dangerously close to re-imagining. Season 1 was so true to the novels, and with all the events and characters we’ll see from the Storm of Swords storyline – this show could easily go the way of HBO’s other fantasy series and look upon the books as mere inspiration for the show itself rather than a guide to the storyline.

Maybe that won’t happen. Maybe they’re stretching some revelations in order to up the drama of the Season 3 premiere. Here’s hoping, because as much as I love Tyrion Lannister and all the other baddies of Westeros, it’s the heroes that keep me coming back, and so far HBO seems to be ignoring them.

Elena: I enjoyed Season 2 much more than Season 1, and I think that had to do with my having read the first book (or, mostly).  I do hope Rachel is wrong and the show maintains a decent amount of integrity toward the source material, that they have a plan for all the sideplots they are lopping off or shortening or shifting about.

For Season 3 I am hoping for more of the courtly politics and intrigue, and some more characters to meet up the way Jaime and Brienne have.  For example I think Sam and Bran would become BFF’s if they met.

In the meantime, everyone is in a safe (enough) harbor, and I am content to gestate my anticipation for a full nine months before shadowbabying forward to Season 3.

 

Playing the Game of Thrones With Season 2 Episode 9 “Blackwater” – A Review

“Blackwater”

Rachel: What did you think of the episode overall?

Elena: I loved what HBO did with “The Blackwater.”  I thought it was totally ballsy for them to drop more than half their storylines for an entire episode to focus completely on this siege.  I also felt it was a risk for their production team to get into this level of nitty-gritty detail with the logistics of a battle.

Could they balance the moments of dramatic tension with the action sequences their budget allowed for well enough to keep everything on point and engaging?  Did they have enough of a budget to make a satisfying attack on King’s Landing at all?  Both of which questions they managed to answer with a resounding “yes.”

The attack on King’s Landing had character moments, it had one huge sequence with the wildfire burning half the fleet, it had plot advancement, and it had some pretty nice scenes of battle action.  Even though we didn’t really get a macro shot of the attack on Mud Gate itself, that was fine—the close-up on certain characters’ experiences mirrors how this entire story is told.  Game of Thrones becomes epic via a vast pastiche of minor moments, not because it is heavy on epic moments.  That was how the battle was structured, and it worked for me.

Elena: Stannis just wants to be sure we all know he is a badass, and possibly touched by R’hllor. That’s why he has no helmet.

Rachel: Maybe they didn’t put a helmet on Stannis because they are overly concerned the audience will not recognize a main character. HBO does think the audience is comprised entirely of people who only watch GoT while walking back and forth between the couch and the fridge, who can’t spell their own names let alone read the books and remember who is on which side of whatever battle….

Maybe they just didn’t have any money left in the budget for helmets because they BLEW UP ALL THE MONEY.

Ugh…the bitterness. It flows through me. Excuse me, I have to go be Zen for a moment.

So…we were talking about how Stannis is SO INCREDIBLY BADASS that he doesn’t even need a helmet, because he doesn’t fear death! Stannis knows he is meant to be king and no random peasant is going to lob a rock on HIS destined head, NO SIR!

Maybe Stannis is too busy remembering what it was like to have hair, and standing in the prow of a row boat while cruising along towards his new, way more awesome castle is JUST the place to feel the wind caress his forehead. To feel it lick his temples and noodle in his ears…

I’m getting off track.

But it DOES suck that Stannis came SOOOO CLOSE to winning it all right then and there. Such is your lot, Stannis! Born second. Classic middle child.

Rachel: Varys proves that he hates witches, and that he gives a shit about Westeros: agree, or disagree?

Elena: Agree!  Verily I agree.

I really enjoyed the Varys scenes this episode.  For the first time I actually felt anything for him, or from him, as a character.  He is mildly distasteful in that you know he’s scheming and can’t be trusted (nor can he be trusted to betray you every time! That’s what makes him frustrating to deal with), but I just haven’t known what to make of him up till now.  I still don’t know what his game is, but I finally saw a moment of truth from him when he was talking about the witches like Melisandre.  He hates them and fears them, and he does not want to see them gaining any power in Westeros.  He gives a shit about what happens in Westeros.  I felt like the tears in his eyes when he spoke about that were genuine.

When we were discussing this episode, Rachel pointed out to me that Cersei had a moment of tears with Cat, and perhaps these were equally fake (or maybe-fake), but I think they were real.  Tears can be a weapon, sure, as they speak to an apparent truthfulness, but what was Varys trying to accomplish if he were faking the emotion?  He was talking to Tyrion, and the two of them have obviously allied in some ways.  If Varys wants to protect King’s Landing from Stannis and his red woman, and he believes Tyrion is the only one who can help, then maybe he manipulates him that way…except that Varys has to know Tyrion is already as committed as he could ever be to defending the city.  Tyrion will be shown no mercy by Stannis.  Tyrion is also the sort of person who does what needs to be done no matter what; Varys knows this.  So there is nothing his words will encourage or inspire Tyrion to do that Tyrion wasn’t already going to do, ergo he does not need to use that weapon at that time.

So I think Varys was for one brief scene dropping his masks.  I still don’t understand him, but I am more intrigued by him for the glimpse of humanity.  It was a well-placed moment, as he’s a character who has been a cipher for most of the series so far.  Also, because he is so inscrutable most of the time, his feelings towards the witches are more powerful.  It makes me wonder if Stannis really knows what he’s doing, meddling with a power like that.  It makes me glad Davos was there to talk him into leaving Melisandre behind and taking the city on his own.

…except, with his failure to take the city, will he come back a second time, with her?

Oh my god, y’all, maybe another Shadowbaby will kill Joffrey!  That would be amazing. I would be Team Shadowbaby forevah!

Elena: I say this because (SPOILER ALERT) Joffrey fails at everything except pleasing the viewers by dying ignobly.

Rachel: First Rule of Reading AsoIaF – GRRM wants you to suffer.

Plus he seems to be excelling quite well at being a doucheweasel!

Elena: Talk to me about how much you loved Tyrion in this episode. Was it as much as I did?

Rachel: Of course I loved Tyrion. Everyone loves Tyrion. He’s the only normal person in the entire series. He’s craftier, sadder, more tortured, and more insecure in the novels, but since he’s their Emmy winner – HBO is going to make him mostly funny.

So I’m really happy they allowed Peter to do a little frustration, anger and uncertainty in “The Blackwater.” Mixed with bravado and smartassery – VOILA. Show Tyrion. Loved by all! Who am I kidding, when he casually lopped off that one guy’s leg at the knee…I LOLed.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard for me to ever be truly WORRIED about Tyrion – since he is obviously a stand-in for the audience, and GRRM himself.  Even more so in the show. Not that I really expected HBO to hack Dinklage’s face off…that was never going to happen. Production, makeup, acting. But kudos for pulling an almost Tarantino with that face slash. It made the inside of my face tingly.

Speaking of faces…seems like those of us living in the States can also fear for our facial symmetry.

No. Let’s move on.

Picking up the slack. Being the only USEFUL Lannister. It’s got to be hard for him seeing as he’s daddy’s least favorite child. Cersei is planning on killing herself and Tommen (leaving Myrcella to what, exactly? THINK IT THROUGH, CERSEI). Joffrey is a little baby – himself a product of some whacky parenting in which his “I should have been born a man, I want to fight” mother apparently never thought her eldest son should receive any martial training at all?

Jaime is off being besties with Brienne, which is actually fine. Otherwise he’d be in King’s Landing, swaggering around, his mere presence forcing Tyrion to leave everything to the elder brother. I like take charge Tyrion. The peasants like him too? Maybe they’ll stop calling him a Demon Monkey?

Rachel: But sadly, best in show goes to Bronn, not Tyrion. Bronn is an expert archer, skilled in hand to hand combat, singing Lannister drinking songs (raise your hand if The National’s cover of “The Rains of Castamere” sent you into barely controlled hysterics), and trading quips with the Hound.

Elena: Holy shit, yes, Bronn has proven to be quite the Renaissance man about Westeros!  I actually wondered if he is a Jon Snow of Lannister country (Bronn Stone or whatever they’re called there) who was raised with certain…pretensions.  He knows the Lannister song.  He can sing in perfect pitch even drunk.  He can read.  He knows obscure military tacticians.  He might be a sell-sword, but…where did he learn swordplay?  That’s not how the peasants fight—that’s how lords fight.  Knights and landholders.  Hm.  I have never questioned Bronn’s lowness because mercenaries are so reviled, but now I begin to wonder.

Rachel: Speaking of things we wondered about…WTF was that with Shae at the end?

Elena: Um…. (crickets chirp)

Shae’s last scene befuddled me.  I…don’t know what she meant about saying goodbye.  Either the city doesn’t fall, and life goes on as it has been, and she stays with Tyrion (even if she can’t stay with Sansa now that Cersei has noticed her), or Stannis takes the city and Tyrion dies.  There is no saying goodbye either way.  That line just made no sense. It made no sense if she meant it, and it made no sense for her to give a shit about what Sansa thought or did if she was about to run for a tunnel.

I am confused.  Curious to see if we ever see Shae again, but only mildly.  I never really have gotten into her and Tyrion as a couple.  I know he likes low women, but I have the snobbery of a very well-read woman and think he ought to be with someone who can keep up with him intellectually, not someone who is sweet and just feisty enough to challenge his Lannister pride.  So I’m kind of meh on their whole relationship.  If Cersei succeeded in hurting her, would it hurt him because he really loved her or because he hates to see anyone weaker than himself hurt, especially because of him?  The fact that I ask that question tells me I don’t think he really loves her, not the way I understand the word.  He just considers her his, and he takes care of his own.

Rachel: Can we talk about Cersei now? Can we?

Elena: Cersei.  Cersei, Cersei, Cersei.  Why did you have to be such a raging cunt so many times before this?  I almost like you after this episode.  Sitting there getting drunk, and then getting drunk on telling the truth so you just keep speaking it, because once you say the first uncomfortable truth you realize how good it feels to stop pretending.

I was uncomfortable about how much I related to her in these scenes.  The last place I’d want to be is amidst the crying women (although I wouldn’t want to be swinging a sword…I’d rather be alone, getting drunk by myself, at a time like that).   And I have a knack for polarizing people into those who love me and those who hate me because I am not very good at not speaking truths.  I popped that cork a long time ago.  So I got where she was coming from.

Rachel was spot-on in our Skype to say that she kind of falls apart under pressure, though—she’s not being the strong queen the ladies can be inspired by, even though she knows it’s what they want, what the story they tell themselves is supposed to have.  She does not deal well with the waiting, with the not knowing, with the inaction.  She also does not deal well with what she perceives as an inevitable defeat.

I might actually give her the benefit of the doubt here and suggest that if she were allowed to hold a sword and fight, that she would do it, and bravely, and with no cringing or second thoughts.  I think her problem is that she has a masculine personality in a woman’s body and a woman’s role in life.  Men are generally not good in that kind of situation.  They are fine with the fighting, but the waiting and wondering are hell for them.  They are great in short-term crises but not long-term ones, so good at killing enemies one by one and not so good at sickbeds…or behind walls awaiting an outcome.

But Cersei was apparently never quite brave enough to do what, say, Brienne of Tarth has done and reject basically her family and the life she knows to become what she wants, even if that is a role traditionally reserved for men, and so instead she has been warped and twisted by the constraints of her life.  She is ill-suited for behaving in the ways women are supposed to behave, but she has never taken control of her life to live it the way she wants.  She instead makes petty rebellions, like drinking too much instead of actually inspiring her flock of ladies, or bringing Joffrey in instead of letting him become a king who can inspire his men by leading them in battle.

I found this an interesting contrast to Sansa’s reaction.  Sansa was the one who stepped into the role and tried to be a rock for the other women.  I have no doubt she would have stayed there indefinitely except for Shae’s quite rational point that Stannis Baratheon would show her mercy where Ser Ilyn would not, and that she should not be in the room with him when the city fell and he decided to kill the women so Stannis could not use them against their families. Now, I know not much has been made of Sansa’s storytelling in the show; from book Sansa I know she would do this via the method of acting like a brave queen in an old ballad, but even with that sort of layering of reality with her fantasy role-playing…she is still standing there and not breaking down.  It’s really not that different from the sort of prop all of us use to get through hard times.

Now, the other big Sansa moment was at the end.  Our San-San ship crashing into the hard rocks of reality shoals.  Personally, I don’t know why the girl didn’t run when she had the chance.  Being the Hound’s sex slave for a weeks-long hike to Winterfell (or life) is way better than being married to Joffrey.  I think the problem was that Sansa thought Stannis was going to win.  Cersei inspired the wrong conviction in her breast!  So she was assuming that she would get sent back to Robb or at worst would still be a hostage but at least not one facing imminent marriage to a sociopath.  Win-win.  The Hound’s offer must have seemed like the pimply geek asking her to prom when she was dating the quarterback.

Unfortunately for Sansa, Stannis will not be liberating her any time soon.

I do wonder if Margaery Tyrell might be up for some liberating Sansa, though, since she is determined to be The Queen and Joffrey is really her only viable path at this point.  I bet between Littlefinger and Tywin and Margaery they can find a way around marrying Joffrey to Sansa.  I just hope it doesn’t involve killing the girl.  She has grown on me enough that I don’t want to see the little bird die.

Rachel: Hmmmmm, astute of you. This may or may not be important when it becomes common knowledge that Robb has lost Winterfell to the Greyjoys. Sansa’s worth as a key to the North might come into question at that point, or she might be an excuse to invade the North on behalf of the South. Either way, I’m glad Sansa didn’t take the Hound up on his offer…. could you imagine what would happen to Sansa at her homecoming? Shudder.

Elena: Speaking of dying…. Wildfire! And sad onion knight Ser Davos.

Rachel: Davos is ALWAYS sad. Okay, so this time his son got blowed up and Stannis lost the war and Tywinning handed them their asses…but he’ll always have the night the lights went out in that cave with Melisandre? (Oh yeah…remember Reba? I’m having a moment here…). Oh wait, no, he doesn’t want to remember that ever again. (Me neither.) (But Tremors is amazing.)

Let’s talk about the fuuucking wildfire. THEY BLEW IT UP. THEY FINALLY DID IT! The Hound was all scared, soldiers were on fire, the Maester was giddy with joy. The only thing I missed was the great chain that Tyrion had them secretly build and string across the water to block the ships from escaping the port, so that he could really make sure they ALL burned. Obviously this point was a victim of more streamlining. That’s fine. I think most of Stannis’ ships burned. I guess. I might be on Team Wild Fire.

Let’s talk about those battle scenes:

They were definitely great. For television especially. Not as gruesome as your average episode of True Blood (waves at the dude who got his head all splatted), but I’m okay with that because the more gore, the less serious the situation becomes for the audience. There was certainly reliance on cut shots rather than epic panning because, duh. Shit is expensive. They gave us that one long shot when the boat blew. Beauteous as it was.

I was a little miffed that there were no horses. It makes everything seem a whole lot smaller than it should have felt? Like when Lancel is running back and forth between the battle and Cersei, it’s almost like he is just ducking through the portcullis and running into the throne room and …well, obviously, there’s an entire fucking CITY in between. The same goes for Tyrion skulking through the sewers to come around behind Stannis’ men (also…where did those backup troops of Stannis’ even COME from? Around the corner?!)

Then suddenly Tywinning barges in and we’re expected to instantly recognize Renly’s armor as distinct from Tywin’s (which even I did not immediately notice or comprehend until I saw Loras take the helmet off after, and then I was all…ohhhh Loras wearing Renly’s armor moment). (And yet Stannis didn’t have a helmet? I DON’T UNDERSTAND SOMETIMES.)

Zen.

Anyways what I mean is Loras is the only person in Westeros with a damn horse, and it just happens to be the same horse Tywin has been riding all season?

Get some horses HBO. JUST GET SOME.

Elena: Wait, wasn’t Tywin going for Robb? And how did the Tyrells get involved? Was that where Littlefinger went and what he did? OMG what scheme did he and Tywin concoct for him to offer to the Tyrells!?  How sad is Stannis tonight? What will he do next?

Rachel: Ha haaa…you were fooled! Arya was fooled! Tywin went for King’s Landing instead of Robb. A totally different direction!

Now why would the Tyrells be involved? It’s quite simple. The Tyrells supported Renly. Renly was killed by (no one knows), but they suspect Stannis’ involvement. So they can’t turn around and support Stannis’ claim. But they CAN support the next Baratheon claimant, which would be Joffrey. Catelyn ran off with Brienne, herself a suspect in Renly’s death, so that pretty much killed the Tyrell’s allying with Robb in a Northern/Southern pincher attack. Of course, Margaery wouldn’t be interested in that anyways, since Robb is promised to a bridge and that doesn’t leave many avenues towards Queenhood, other than allying with another House to claim the Iron Throne, since Robb doesn’t want it. That just brings us back to the original Baratheon conflict, and the Tyrells are left with Joffrey again. Mostly because Loras wants himself some vengeance against Stannis for killing Renly. Mostly.

Littlefinger is obviously playing a huge role in this – don’t forget he exists! He has teleportation powers that he has lent to Tywin, in the land of Westeros where distances have no meaning in the narrative. (ZEN).

Anyways, it’s incredibly important because although the Lannisters are not without some serious army, the Tyrells are just as rich as the Lannisters, and they’ve got TONS of men in their army. This is definitely a great move for the Lannisters since Dorne has never loved them, and the Tyrells provide a perfect buffer and protection against the southernmost house that the TV viewers haven’t met yet.

And Robb…well, does Robb even have a bridge anymore? We know he doesn’t have a home. His mother is on the run. He’s lost his Lannister captive and gained a foreign girlfriend.

So…yea. This is going to get interesting.

3 Great Book Couples Who Faltered On Screen

I can’t help but love a good love story. Even if it is in the middle of a bad-ass sci-fi thriller or violent horror film I can’t help but root for love to win out. It may not be my main focus for watching something, but if it is there, I support it. I do this especially when it comes to novels. I don’t know if it is because it takes so long for a resolution when reading (say a few days to finish the book rather than 2 hours to finish a movie) but when reading, I become incredibly emotionally invested in the lives and loves of the characters.

That is why I hate when a character I have loved and invested in is ruined when brought to the big screen. Lovers, couples, burgeoning crushes, and heartfelt lifetimes together mean nothing if the actors playing those characters suck (or even the writing sucks in some cases.)

So here are three book couples that were ruined when brought to the silver screen.

Emma and Dexter – One Day

“Do you want to awkward almost kiss for this whole movie?” “Yes!”

I’ve written on here before about how much I hated the movie adaptation of the novel One Day by David Nicholls. In my mind it was terrible, losing all of the charm and wit on the novel. However, one of the big reasons I disliked it were the lead actors. Normally I love Anna Hathaway, she is incredibly talented and gorgeous. Same with Jim Sturgess, I mean he was FANTASTIC in Across the Universe. But the two of them together? NO CHEMISTRY.

The lives of Emma and Dexter were twisty and complicated with missed opportunities and sexual tension that was interlaced with comedic moments/ heartbreak and clever conversation. The Emma and Dexter of the film were awkward, clunky, and full of uncomfortable moments where I wished it would hurry to the conclusion.

“No one is ever going to believe we are a couple…”

I blame part of this unfortunate casting choice on the director who was easily bribed into hiring Hathaway who is not british and who’s accent was unwieldy and cumbersome. The director initially wanted a british actress to play the british character but Hathaway insisted on the part despite his reservations going so far as sending him a mix tape on why she should get it. Clearly she wouldn’t give up and he gave in. It seems this forced casting might have been a mistake.

Overall, the lack of chemistry between these actors have pushed this fictional couple from cute to unpleasant.

If only Dexter and Emma’s robotic love was as cute as this.

Clare and Henry – The Time Traveler’s Wife

“What year is this? Are you old enough to bone yet?”

I want to get this straight right off the bat. This is one of my favorite books ever written. I have probably read it 12 times. But the movie version? AWFUL. I have seen it once and probably never will again.

Honestly, this book is long, with ever changing point of views, years, and settings. I never thought it would become a movie because of its complex nature, and when it did, I wasn’t surprised by how many people felt it was convoluted and illogical. It really does not translate well to the big screen and because of that neither does the romantic nature of Clare and Henry.

This one has nothing to do with the actors, unlike the top entry. This has to do with the nature of the storyline. Clare knows Henry since she is 6 years old, but he only meets her when he is 28 and she is 20 – that alone would be difficult to transfer to a visual medium but also take note that the book is several hundred pages long, and constantly switches between her point of view at various ages, and his at various ages. To get depth and inherently loveliness and heartache of their relationship, nothing should be glossed over. Unfortunately not everything could be added into the movie, and to compensate several scenes were added into the film making it even worse.

As a fan I felt like the characters I loved and rooted for were nonexistent in the film and replaced with standard characters in an a standard romantic drama. And maybe I actually hated Eric Bana as Henry.

“I’m so torn on marrying you because I just saw you as a 6 year old and I naked… awkward.”

Katniss and Peeta – The Hunger Games Trilogy

“Ugh is he still staring at me?”

Everyone who has seen the film adaptation of The Hunger Games after reading the novel knows they left A LOT out. They also could probably tell that Katniss went from a resourceful smart heroin to merely a lucky survivor with emotionally cold tendencies.

The whole time I read the trilogy I was all about some Peeta and Katniss. I loved them together and I wanted so badly for them to be happy together. Through out the first book, we know Katniss is confused about her feelings, we know she feels something for Peeta that she can’t define or refuses to define yet (which honestly does continue till the end of the series). Yet the film made her seem cold and manipulative. We don’t see her struggling over Peeta and Gale internally but we do see her playing up her feelings for the camera.

I mean yes, in the book she also plays up her feelings for sponsors and help, but there are several instances where she acts because she wants to and because she cares, not just because the cameras are watching. And much of it has to do with the writing. I know that it is difficult to adapt a first person narrative in to a third person film. However, much of the underlying psychological issues of Katniss are lost in the film version making her seems superficial and selfish when book Katniss is not.

“Do you think he bought it?”

It is hard to be “Team Peeta” based on the movie when the film lacks any allusion to her having even the tiniest bit of real feelings toward him. However, we have two/three more movies to go, lets hope for the best. And lets face it I’ll always be Team Peeta… who’s arms smell of bread…

Playing The Game of Thrones with Season 2 Ep: 8 “The Prince of Winterfell”

Elena: You were ambivalent about the Jaime scenes last week. What did you think of them this time?

Rachel: It may have been a bad call for Cat to release Jaime, and it certainly makes things extremely difficult for Robb – who will need as many people not mad at him as possible – but it has facilitated one of my very favorite side plots in all of Westeros: The Brienne and Jaime Show!

We only got a quick taste of it this episode, but I can ASSURE you that it is awesome. Jaime plays the lovable rogue, and Brienne is his ever-suffering straight man. He quips, she grimaces. He’s so very charming, and she is just…not.  Brinne is touchy about her honor while Jaime is merely stretching his newly freed douche muscles. I’m not sure how smart it is to abandon your horse and get in a canoe with no provisions…but I’m sure SOMETHING will happen. * innocent face *

I’m also glad to just plain see more Brienne and Jaime at all. Jaime has been sadly AWOL for most of the season (it’s not very interesting sitting around in the mud), and Brienne has been relegated to the few scenes it makes sense to put Cat in, and even then she’s just glowering in the background. Brienne is such a fan favorite, I hope that the show-only fans can begin to appreciate the Maid of Tarth.

But with Brienne off escorting Jaime, Cat is alone and clearly no one likes her anymore. I wonder how much clout Cat will have when she finds out Robb is dallying with Talisa? (I think we just need to stop hoping for some more convoluted plot line and admit to ourselves that Jeyne is actually Talisa of Volantis the Noble Nurse Lady…sigh – I actually like the nurse angle I just don’t UNDERSTAND why she is from Volantis.) I’m sure Cat will remind Robb that he made a promise and despite his youthful infatuation…honor should win out. But Robb is mad at mommy right now. THE DRAMZ. It’s why we watch, my friends, it’s why we watch. Cherish your plot movement while it’s happening.

Rachel: Do you concede defeat in the Battle of Lady Talisa’s Heritage as well?

Elena: Sadly, yes, I, too, felt forced to admit that Lady Talisa is, in fact, foreign.  Either that or she is Arya-level of too smart for her own good when it comes to making up stories. Which would just add a whole new layer of kinkiness to Robb’s attraction to her, if she is essentially his sister aged up a decade.  Then again that IS Martin’s romantic-pairing MO….

Anyway, on behalf of all the ladies in the North I am offended that he had to import some foreign flower to entice his peen away from its honorable conquest of The Beautiful Bridge, but aside from that I guess I liked her story. It felt like a realistic reaction without having to be over the top crazy (like, say, Jon Snow’s backstory is…I mean, imagine how that’s going to go when he has to tell Ygritte everything), and while it doesn’t really explain why she’s wandering around random battlefields or where she lives or gets the money to buy supplies and shit, at least she has a reason for what she does.

Robb…I’m not so sure he’s putting too much reason into what he’s doing.  What I found most  interesting was that he’s basically living out Jon Snow’s fantasy of what his parents were—Lord of Winterfell and the noble lady he truly loved but could not marry because of honor and duty.  Robb is creating a Jon Snow for his own son to grow up with, and his Faceless Frey bride to hate forever!  She can take lessons from Cat, who is going to need something to do now that Robb has caught onto the fact that she is worse than useless when it comes to making solid leadership decisions and is keeping her under lock and key.

Rachel: Did I hear you say…Jon Snow?

Elena: Yes! Like Rumplestiltskin he just appears, whenever you say his name.

Oh, man, this was another hilarious episode above The Wall.  I mean, I know there were serious moments and we learn that Jon Snow’s team went after him and two of them died trying to save him, and that’s totally sad, and Coryn Half-hand is basically telling Jon to pull a Snape Kills Dumbledore move on him later to gain the trust of the wildlings so that he can betray them to the Night’s Watch again later, and we should all feel Really Sad And Pensive About These Developments, but…come on.  The whole time you have Ygritte prancing around in the background like “I’m a free woman, who’s the prisoner now?” while eye-fucking Jon Snow, and the sexual tension between them is just…steaming.  Like, one of her arguments for keeping him alive was that she didn’t get to have sex with him yet.  Only Jon Snow can stay emo in the face of that provocation.

Or, as Rachel put it when we were talking about this episode, only a Jon Snow determined to live up to the standard set by his father and brother would be able to stay virginal and self-righteous (and emo).

What was also great was how she basically told him (or at least us) that she had a crush on him, too…basically, “hey, you know that whole ‘all the girls would claw each other’s eyes out over you’ bit?  Yeah, that was totally about me. I would claw a bitch’s eyes out if she came near you.”  I mean, she could have stood there and not cared that the Lord of Bones wanted to kill him.  Instead she saved him, even if she did promise to kill him if he tried to escape.  I am not sure she could do it.  The odds are higher that she could kill Jon Snow than vice versa, but I am not sure she’s actually that hard.  Maybe she is.  The fact that we’re not sure makes her more interesting.  She’s not just dangerous to his worldview; she might be dangerous, period.  That’s exciting.

Elena: “Exciting” was actually kind of a lightning rod buzzword around this episode. What was all this I heard about the interwebs being bored by this one?

Rachel: I’m still defending this episode as awesome. I quite enjoy when characters sit around talking at each other. I LIKE “setup.” It’s not worthless! It’s what makes all the STUFF happen! It’s character development and witty lines and people arching eyebrows (Lena wins at that, btw… she WINS).

Elena: It’s the name. I, too, am quite the master of Imperious Eyebrow Raising.

Rachel:  In my continuing quest to be zen about Game of Thrones the TV show, I have to ask those who said “The Prince of Winterfell” was a throwaway episode…what the fuck do you WANT to happen? The episodes can’t be an endless string of battles (that’s what boring ass history books are for) that reduces the show to American Gladiators. Without careful setup we don’t get beautiful moments like Arya fucking over Jaqen. We don’t get Jaime calling Brienne ugly or Ygritte saying penis a hundred times.  (Beautiful moments, all!)

In a bit I talk about how the upcoming House of the Undying visit will be one of the most important scenes of the series, but we’ve already seen an extremely important scene in THIS episode! Sam finding the dragonglass!

I’m sorry, did finding a cache of magical objects in the mountains BORE YOU?

“That was stupid, who gives a shit about old shit in the shitty fucking shit ground shit?!”

WHO, INDEED!

And yes, purists…the scene was changed from the original. ALL THE SCENES HAVE BEEN CHANGED. It’s part of the Zen thing I was talking about. Just breathe in and remind yourself, it is just a television show adaptation. As one of my friends pointed out, the show does not erase the books. It does not negate them! The book version of events still exist! I have said that the show could eclipse the books canonically by outpacing the novel publishing “schedule,” but that doesn’t mean the book scenes are not valid. No adaptation can or should be exactly like the source material. Different mediums, different goals, different receptions. That doesn’t make the show immune from criticisms, but I think we should just take a step back from immediately disliking something because it didn’t happen that way in the novels. If we’re going to complain about something like that it needs to be legitimate.

It’s the Zen of show watching. Let it go and just enjoy. Get mad about the things that bother you, but give yourself the courtesy of getting mad over more compelling reasons than the majority of the bullshit I see on Twitter and the message boards. The Game of Thrones fandom is too smart to give in to Comic Book Guy-itis.

Which brings me BACK to my point, excuse me while I push my glasses up and gesture excitedly at the pile of dragonglass weapons that Sam found.

LOOK! IT’S GOING TO BE SO IMPORTANT FOR REASONS I CAN NOT DIVULGE! Also, IS THAT A HORN I SAW IN THAT PILE? HOLY CRAAAAAAPPPPPP.

Rachel: Tell me I’m not alone in this!

Elena: I, too, really loved this episode.  I don’t need or want every episode to be packed with action or WTFery. Variety is the spice of life.  I didn’t see how anyone could have had issues with the episode until I got to work Monday.  My coworkers (hi, guys! *waves*) were split as to whether it was awesome or meh.  One of them wanted…more.  An indefinable more he couldn’t articulate any better except to say the episode felt anti-climactic after what had been happening every week.  (And here I was just grateful to be able to draw a full breath!)  But one of the others decided after seeing this ep that he wouldn’t be waiting until later in the week to watch any of the remaining episodes, even if it meant taking his iPad into the bathroom for an hour on Sunday nights.  Which lends an entirely new twist on the specific game of thrones being played, but I digress.  Anyway.  Set up is good.  It is called “creating narrative tension.”

For example…if Jon Snow and Ygritte ever bone, it’s going to be so much more fun to see because it got built up for so long first.  That’s just good storytelling.

Maybe the thing that made people say nothing happened was the ending, which was not really a shock but a kind of somber piece of character development.  I mean, I don’t know about y’all, but the second Osha said Bran can’t know, I knew he was hearing the conversation.  That’s just the way TV works.  But that being the end moment kind of underscored the theme of the episode in terms of character—how do you deal with the deaths that happen because of your actions?  Jon Snow got two of his new brothers killed because he couldn’t kill Ygritte or admit to his superior officer that he couldn’t do it.  Arya caused the deaths of, what, four or five nameless guards who were above and beyond the even exchange of three she owed Jaqen’s “red god” and who had done nothing to her whatsoever except get in her way.  And Bran is facing the reality that his quest to put himself beyond Theon’s power cost two of his tenants and playmates their lives.

Those are important moments, or at least they can be.  The same way Talisa’s defining moment was being shoved aside by the slave who saved her brother, Bran could become defined by the horror of what was done because of him.  Jon will fight Ygritte extra-hard because two men died because he thought she was too pretty to kill.  I liked that we were left to sort of contemplate that…not guilt, exactly, but something uncomfortably close to it, with Bran.  The scene had a quiet power to it, at least for me.

Elena: And in scenes that didn’t have much power…am I the only one who wondered why we didn’t just skip Dany the way we skipped Sansa this week?

Rachel: Remember when I made that bitter joke about plot movement? That’s my segue to talking about Jorah and Dany. Deal with it.

I think I agree with the viewers that have criticized Jorah and Dany’s appearance in this episode. This scene was not needed. The writers/editors don’t want the viewers to forget about Dany in all this excitement about the upcoming battle of awesome, so I understand why the scene was inserted. But it’s just more of the SAME. I thought that adding in this subplot of the dragons being stolen would make Dany’s storyline more interesting, but I think all it’s done is killed the actually interesting (if few) things that actually DO happen to Dany in the novels. They can’t use any of it anymore, because those actions don’t make sense if her dragons were stolen. This alternate universe Dany has to focus entirely on the search for her children. (And come ON, Jorah…she actually DID nurse those dragons. Dany is mom enough.)  So she isn’t forging political connections, she isn’t gaining confidence in her desire to reconquer Westeros. There are no witty but cautious word fights with the elite of Qarth. Instead she has been reduced to stomping around the city demanding people support her cause and now just demanding to get her stuff back. She’s coming off as a totally crazy Targaryen, and the POINT of her is that she is proud but not stupid.

I’m trying to refrain from overly critiquing the Dany storyline until I see what happens in the House of the Undying. It is one of the most important scenes in Clash of Kings, let alone the series as a whole. I want to scream, PAY ATTENTION whenever anyone mentions the place. JUST GO THERE, DANY. BECOME RELEVANT AGAIN!

Is that harsh? Maybe. I feel like HBO was trying to trick me by giving me a little Dany/Jorah tenderness as if in my squeeing I would forget that Dany has nothing to do. Go on your own adventure, Princess, don’t order people to have one for you!

That being said – everything in Essos LOOKS fanfuckingTASTIC. Have I mentioned that before?

Rachel: So do you still love Jaqen H’ghar as much as you did last week? Are you still shipping Jaqen/Arya?

Elena: I love him that much and more!!!

Jaqen is the best!  I also love how game Arya is with this whole killing people/master manipulator thing.  Arya doesn’t give a fuck.  She’s the Honey Badger of Westeros.  She takes what she wants; she just really doesn’t give a shit.

That moment… “The girl has given the man his own name” was fucking priceless.  What made it brilliant was how Jaqen sits there and argues with her with child-logic.  Arya is the one Stark (besides Bam-bam) who is still truly childlike.  Yes, she’s seen horrible things, and she’s even done horrible things, but she’s still got the sort of insouciant stubbornness of a child.  She can understand when she’s in immediate danger, but she doesn’t think enough about the world around her to be truly afraid just in general the way Sansa is.  So she stands there and argues with a serial killer about whether he’ll be killing himself or enough other people to help her escape, and he…lets her.  He lets her manipulate him.  Maybe his god has a child’s simple view of the world as well, so maybe it’s natural.  It was just awesome hearing them bicker like that.  “Unname me.”  “No!”  “Please?”  “Well…only if you kill enough motherfuckers I can escape…” “But that is more than one life.”  “I NAME JAQEN H’GHAR!” “Okay, fine, fine, I’ll kill them.  Now unname me.”  “I unname you…as long as you do what I want!”

And Arya did free the genie like a smart little protagonist.  The genie of death.  I hope we see him again.  But if we don’t, I will picture him from time to time and smile, and hope that Arya gets reports of random murder sprees so that she knows he’s still alive somewhere….

Rachel:  On the subject of staying alive…predictions for how much longer Theon will last?

Elena: Um…probably two episodes into season 3. That’s about the right amount of time for his douche-bagginess to hit the implosion point.  Also long enough to wrap up the major arcs of this season and give Robb some room to find catharsis somewhere other than between Lady Talisa’s thighs.

The scene with Asha was about how I expected her to react, with some bonus emotional blackmail I didn’t really expect from her.  She just rides in and says “Theon, what the fuck are you doing?”  But instead of stopping there she actually takes the time to remind him—or perhaps explain in the first place—the ethos of the Iron Islands, which is they take what they NEED, not what they want.  And they don’t need a castle in the middle of BFE, hundreds of miles from the sea.  The story she told about when he was a baby kind of goes to the point of why we can’t totally mind what Theon did, in going back to his family…blood is thicker than water, and there are certain bonds that you share with siblings that, no matter how far you may drift from them, you will simply never feel for anyone else in the world.  I am sad for Theon that he feels like he needs to prove himself, that he’s going to stick to holding Winterfell just to prove that he isn’t a mess his sister had to come clean up…and he’s going to die for it.

Her plea was so stark, so elegant—“Don’t die so far from the sea.”  It accepts that death is likely in their line of work, that death comes for all men in time, so all you can do is die where you belong, with the people who are your own.

Asha’s words were almost enough to make me care about Theon.  But he’s been such a giant dick lately I just can’t.  I think what I’m empathizing is Asha’s feelings for his inevitable execution.

So far from the sea….

Elena: Tyrion proves yet again to be Martin’s avatar as the show drifts highly meta with a fantasy-name pronunciation roundtable between Bronn, Tyrion, and Varys. Discuss.

Rachel: This episode totally broke out its Tyrion guns. He had a whole bunch of scenes and they were all fantastic. Tyrion, Bronn and Varys bullshitting how to say that old dead guy’s name is the perfect nod to the difficulties of reading fantasy novels. Remember when LOTR came out and we all found out we were saying half of it incorrectly? Or how I felt when I finally read the pronunciation guide for Cherryh’s Foreigner novels… the devastation! Don’t even get me started on Wheel of Time. Invariably while discussing a fantasy novel with a fellow reader there’s always a “how do you say it?” conversation just to see how close we are.

For the record, Bronn wins that round for committing to the pronunciation. Just pretend you know what you’re doing. Varys does. He has NO CLUE…that dude isn’t even FROM Westeros, you think he has the lock down on how to pronounce the names? Hell, no. He is exhibiting Bronn Tactic. We’re on to his game!

Tyrion is also doing well at playing the players! I’m not so sure Cersei is a worthy opponent, but he’s got his shit down. Playing off the whole Ros thing. Well done, sir! Tyrion and Varys are definitely a power couple to watch. But poor Ros….

The episode may be a set up for the upcoming Battle of the Blackwater, but it’s an entertaining and informative set up. Just picturing Joffrey kitted up for war and learning what it is that Jaime and King Robert loved so much is just filling me with glee. Remember when Joff was disarmed by a tiny little girl? Joffrey may be cruel, but he is no fighter. Finally we’re getting a scene in which tons of main characters plot lines come together! And some people complain about set up…what do you think even CAUSES excitement?

I’m down. I’m ready. Bring on episode 9!