Post episode 5 Game of Thrones catch up

hodor-gra-o-tron-2Watching episode 5 (The Door) was a slightly agonizing: not because the episode was bad (it was actually quite good) but because some of my previous predictions (or at least the details of some of the predictions and not the outcomes) seemed to come off the rails a bit. Arya’s choice may be tied to a common actress rather than Jon (I updated my Arya prediction with this sidestep), although I would argue the actor troop’s portrayal of Arya’s family members Ned, Sansa and even Tyrion’s demeanor may have set her off on a path to correct public perception of people she still loves (regardless of whether she is trying to pretend she is not Arya Stark anymore).

I appear to be wrong about at least one other predictions details (possibly not the result) about Margaery. Was the secret of the High Sparrow about Margaery’s atonement or about Tyrell’s involvement in the assassination of King Joffrey? The next week trailer seems to show that it is the former, but I am still holding out that the really damning secret is still about the assassination. I’m leaning towards being probably wrong about this prediction now though because of the preview appearing to show an almost Atonement for Margaery directly before the troops come in (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ePO5JXVULM).

And Sansa Stark’s story? I unfortunately predicted that Sansa would be a bit irrational about Petyr when she saw him again, but I didn’t expect her to sever ties with him (though hopefully briefly, since Petyr is a good companion to have until Daenerys arrives in Westeros). She wants Winterfell, but she turns down what fans estimate is an army of 30k+, more than 10x the number she currently has through Jon, because she blames Petyr Baelish for Ramsey’s torture. The Knights of the Vale could have single-handedly ruined Ramsay’s force, but now she is forcing Jon to exclusively recruit from the other families in the North instead. Anyone who has played and been played by the game for this long should understand that you don’t look a gift horse like this in the mouth. He should have been forgiven for this play of his with Ramsay, no matter how irredeemable Littlefinger’s ambition might be as an objective thing, the game itself is only won through alliances. This emotional, instinctual repulsion of Petyr is typically rewarded in GoT with getting people you like killed. Then there is Sansa sending Brienne away, one of the only pure people that can and will protect her, and opening herself up to trouble. Why? Because she’s with Jon, a person she doesn’t trust enough to tell about her meeting with Petyr? I think Petyr will come to her aid anyway with his armies, but maybe not. Maybe his ambition takes him elsewhere for a bit. I worry Sansa is playing the game less wisely than she could be, and Jon will have a much tougher time at Winterfell because of it.

The new Fire priestess Kinvarra that talked with Tyrion and Varys? She’ll help fill in the power structure of Daenerys and probably provide more backstory about the gift of fire through the Dragons and maybe even the relationship it holds in fighting the White Walkers. However, I have a feeling Daenerys is going to come back and have immediate anger and mistrust issues with both the fire priestess and Varys, whom she still believes tried to spy on her and poison her as an enemy. Perhaps her recent emotional scene with Jora Mormont is enough to open herself to forgiving someone like Varys more easily. I expect she will forgive Varys, possibly after Tyrion vouches for him. I think she’s going to be less forgiving of Tyrion’s approach with the masters, and perhaps that will cause another Sons of the Harpy revolt which is likely to kill someone important (let’s hope not Greyworm or Missandei, but this may be the season for killing off the help, as seen with Hodor–though we know from the producers that Hodor’s fate was directly told to them by Martin).

Arya the Faceless Dropout, A GoT prediction

arya-pulls-needle-out-of-the-rock-official-hbo-810x539I just realized I haven’t really touched on the Arya story. I think Arya’s story is going to take a major turn in the next two episodes (starting with episode 6, as she faces a choice in the summary), and if you’ve been a bit bored with her Braavos storyline, expect her to head toward Westeros very soon (within 4 episodes, I think).

In short, I think she is going to be given a mission in Westeros, but the target is probably going to be someone who will divert her from the “no one” path and resume her identity as Arya Stark. I think the most appropriate target assigned to her will be Jon Snow because he has escaped “Death”, also known as the Stranger and the Many-Faced God by the Faceless Men. I think it would make sense for Jaqen to assign such a target to: 1) prove Arya is no longer Arya and 2) get vengeance for the death that was stolen from the Many-Faced God. I expect her to retrieve Needle from its nook in the wall and to come to Jon’s aid at Winterfell.

I would love to say she’ll kill Ramsay, but an assassination of Ramsay seems so cheap. I think he’ll have a more public death, almost certainly at the Battle of Winterfell. However, if he manages to escape Winterfell and hide with the Freys, for example, then this would be where Arya would come into the picture.

ARYA UPDATE: After seeing episode 5, the series creators have thrown unpredictability into the mix about why she will leave the Faceless Men. It seems just a reminder of her past and how the public viewed her father and sister may be enough to cast shade on her anonymous ambitions. Ultimately, it’s the people remaining on her list and her bonds to her family that will break her from this employment. What’s really ominous about episode 5 though, was Jaqen’s statement that “one way or another, a face will be added to the hall.” The organization is spread across the world, from what I understand, so she can’t just kill the Waif and Jaqen to get out of these obligations. They need to either allow her to peacefully exit or no matter what she does, they will eventually collect her face. Where is this going to go? I hope she is useful to the Stark plotline, but sometimes, the showrunners feel that a random death is useful to their storytelling. If the series allows her to escape Braavos, she could have a really interesting series of scenes in Westeros where she kills lots of people (similar to how Jaqen helped her escape from Tywin’s camp). However, given what the series creators did with Hodor, I feel they are just as likely to kill her cheaply to advance the inescapability of fanatics in GoT. END ARYA UPDATE

Cersei vs Tyrell, another GoT prediction

Game-Of-Thrones-Cersei-JaimeIn the recent episode of Game of Thrones, something weird happened. No, not Daenerys killing the Khals and everyone else in the command hut. No, not Theon backing his sister instead of his own claim. No, not Brienne all but threatening Melissandre and Davos. No, not Ramsey killing the wildling girl. No, not Jon Snow and Sansa Stark finally reuniting the Stark clan members for the first time in years. All of those were to be expected.

What was really strange was the behavior of Loras and the confession of Tommen about something that the High Sparrow told him. To me, there’s an impending chaos here that was hinted at and that I have predicted previously. The most obvious connection is that Cersei and Jaime managed to convince Lady Olenna Tyrell and Kevan Lannister to go along with their plan to bring in Tyrell troops to break Queen Margaery Tyrell out of the clink before her own supposed walk of atonement. If you think that the secret that the High Sparrow told Tommen is about Margaery’s atonement, there is literally nothing pointing to that being the case.

First, remember the circumstances around Cersei’s atonement. She confessed. She broke down to see her child. The atonement came only after her confession. Margaery, on the other hand, had absolutely no interest in bowing to the High Sparrow. Her reaction to Loras’s complete breakdown was a show of strength, to try to lift him up, but his reaction to that was more of a man who had been pushed over a threshold. To him, the damage had already been done. He had already fallen. He was irredeemable.

What could Loras possibly have done to push himself over a point of no return? What had he revealed to the High Sparrow, who had passed on the information to King Tommen.

It is my belief, and it seems others have posted about this online as well, that Loras spilled a dark secret about the Tyrells, one that the High Sparrow felt would help Tommen with healing and understanding why the Tyrells must stay imprisoned. What secret could that be? Well, Lady Olenna had worked with Petyr Baelish to murder Joffrey. You forgot about that? So did most of the other viewers, I think, and that makes sense. After all, every viewer was as happy about Joffrey dying as they are going to be about Ramsey dying after his clash with Jon Snow. For a TV viewer, Joffrey’s death was over and done with and not soon enough. Justice had been done. Except, Cersei would never see Joffrey’s death as justified. She did not relish in his death.Her children are sacrosanct, no matter how awful they might be. When she finds out who killed her boy, revenge will occupy her entire mind until it is done.

So, it is my belief that the High Sparrow told Tommen that as part of his ongoing confession, Loras had admitted that the death of Joffrey was at the hand of his grandmother Olenna and not Sansa Stark or Tyrion Lannister. I am unsure of whether or not Littlefinger will have been implicated by Loras. It depends on how loose Olenna’s tongue was with her family. However, Cersei is about to get her revenge. Here is how I expect it to go down.

The Fall of the Tyrells

The Tyrell troops will enter the city and put the Sparrows to the sword. I still think Margaery will die, and I have a feeling that Lady Olenna will die at the hands of Zombie Mountain, while Cersei watches. I can’t imagine Cersei letting Lady Olenna die in some more dignified way. Margaery, as I’ve said before, is likely to die in the oncoming melee. Whether it is Zombie Mountain or the Sparrows, the effect on Olenna Tyrell will be devastating, as Cersei expects, but I don’t think she quite understands the effect it will have on Tommen.

The New Impotence of the Lannisters

Cersei has no foresight and believes she is a lion that can stand alone against the rest of the kingdom. The loss of the Tyrells is going to hit the Lannisters much harder than Cersei realizes. House Lannister no longer has its gold mines and is in major debt. Her father struck the deal with the Tyrells out of necessity, and with the Tyrell bond forever severed, House Lannister will lose all of its monetary and troop support from the Tyrells. Cersei will almost certainly lose Tommen (due to Margaery’s likely death), and I still think it’s going to be by his own hand after he finds out about Margaery. Loras will die a miserable death.

Ramsay

Ramsay is going to be sandwiched in between the armies of Jon Snow, the Umbers, and Littlefinger’s army from the Vale. Other men will join Jon Snow once they hear of a Stark marching on Winterfell. But Ramsay is likely to take out several main characters, and not just the wildling girl Osha whom he killed in “Book of the Stranger.” Whether Rickon lives or dies is completely up to the producers. I don’t feel he has any major part, and killing him may just serve as additional reminders that Ramsay must go (not that any viewer doubts it at this point). Ramsay must be dealt with before Jon can deal with the White Walkers. He is almost certainly going to die during the Battle of Winterfell in Episode 9.

Littlefinger

Petyr Baelish is probably going to have an inglorious death. It’s unlikely to be Varys’s doing (certainly not directly). Littlefinger is playing too dangerous a game and is far too obvious in his ploys now. He is above his station, and his most obvious weakness would be if Robin Arryn suddenly reverses in his reverence to Littlefinger. Petyr no longer has his main sources of income from brothels in King’s Landing due to the Sparrows, and he is over-reliant on his power from the Vale. Sansa is going to be wroth with him, and Brienne is likely to speak poorly of him. He’ll overplay his hand soon, and he will probably die a commoner’s death (e.g., being tossed through the moon door in the Vale).

 

Well, that’s enough speculative predictions for now!

 

Azor Ahai, a Game of Thrones Prediction

jon-snow

It’s been several months since I did a Game of Thrones post, and we’re two episodes into the new season. I’ve been pretty close in my predictions and tonight, we got the big reveal–the lynch pin of my predictions so far–that Melissandre resurrects Jon Snow.

Old predictions

So, what’s left in my predictions? Well, Ramsay still needs to attack the Night’s Watch, and that was setup perfectly in the episode with Ramsay offing his dad, his potential sibling, and his stepmother. This will setup poorly for Ramsay with the Freys as Ramsay’s stepmother was one of Walder’s granddaughters. Ramsay has no idea that an entire Wildling army will now be answering to Jon Snow. This will get bad for Ramsay very quickly.

As I suspected, Brienne and Sansa have joined forces in the first episode, and she is on her way to meet with the Azor Ahai as well. Theon is heading back to his islands and may actually join them in time for the King’s Moot (something he was unable to do in the books). This was unexpected. I honestly am unsure where Theon’s story might be going.

New predictions

Jon Snow is going to take some time to realize his new powers. I’m pretty sure he’s destined to ride one of the three dragons, and my guess is Drogon, the largest one. He’s going to command the Wildling army and eventually the army of man that stands between the white walkers and the rest of the world.

The Mountain is going to kill a lot of people. He may be unstoppable. We’re not sure of his full powers and the type of magic that binds him to a master. However, he may not stop until the maester and at least Cersei are dead. He’s a freaking super zombie.

Cersei, Jaime, and Tommen will finally form a strong team again, and the High Sparrow will die within a few episodes. It is likely that a large army will be mobilized within the capitol, and it is very possible that the Queen Margaery will die in the melee (possibly killed by the High Sparrow or the Lannister cousin). I’m guessing Tommen will kill himself over this, and Cersei will be depressed. The valonqar (little brother) from Cersei’s prophecy is likely to be Tyrion who kills her, instead of Tommen (who is also the little brother and sole survivor of Cersei’s three children). The only way Tommen would be the volanqar is if the maester raises him from the dead, like The Mountain, and he kills Cersei immediately. My money is on Tyrion. He will arrive with Daenerys, they will find Cersei beside herself in depression, and he will end her.

What will happen to Jaime? My guess is an ignoble death, likely a sword through his back and probably from a very minor character. Brienne will be visibly shaken by the news, and it will worsen Cersei’s depression. She will be alone with no other Lannisters to support her. She will wither and await the valonqar.

What about the dragons? Now that Tyrion has set them free, my guess is that they will search out Daenerys before she is forced to sad widow island and kill a bunch of Dothraki who are trying to force her to obey their ancient customs. The Dothraki army will join her. Lots of people are going to join her once they see the three dragons as grown adults.

Ramsay will likely die at the hands of Jon Snow, after Sansa tells him what Ramsay did to her after their marriage. Brandon Stark will join Jon Snow before the battle with the White Walkers. Brienne? She’s a wild card. She could kill Ramsay at the order of Jon Snow.

The Grey Joys are going to end up being led by Theon and his sister Asha. Asha is going to kill their uncle Victarion after he wins the King’s Moot to succeed his brother, whom he killed. Theon may play some part in their uncle’s death. It was going to be highly unlikely such a thing could have happened in the books, but by putting Theon enroute to the Iron Islands, this seems to be the setup for the HBO series.

Obviously, this is all just speculation. That’s part of the fun of predicting the future in a series sort of designed to be less predictable. What do you think is going to happen? Feel free to comment!

Shadows of Our Fathers drafting completed

I recently went on a trip to Italy for some invited talks and posters, and while I was there, I did a lot of writing. I’m happy to say that Shadows of Our Fathers is through the first draft at just under 100,000 words. The number of words are more likely to go up than down, so this concluding chapter of the first Primal Patterns trilogy should be the longest book, and probably by ~10k words over The Goblin Rebellion when it’s finished.

Anyway, there is a pretty funny story about how this book was finished. There was a seven hour flight from Frankfurt to Newark, and I had decided to push through the final three chapters. Nearly 10,000 words were written on this flight (that’s a lot for me in a single stretch). The 10,000 words were effortless, in that I knew what I was going to say. I’ve known exactly what was supposed to happen in these final chapters since before I finished the first draft of Lucifer’s Odyssey, nearly 6 years ago. So, there was no writer’s block. However, that doesn’t mean the drafting was continuous. There were frequent breaks.

What for, you might ask?

Crying like a little girl.

So, imagine a middle-aged white man, sitting in the exit row, next to the bathrooms where basically every person on the flight ends up at some point during this long flight. You’re waiting in line to relieve yourself, and you’re probably irritable. You’re cursing under your breath at the people in front of you, just because they’re there and you’d like to pee. Beside you, in the exit row, there’s this guy with a laptop. He keeps wiping at his eyes, staring into space for a while, and blowing his nose.

I’m frequently laughing because I realize how ridiculous this looks and is. The guy next to me, we never said a word to each other. I didn’t even want to know what he thought about what was going on. I have no idea if he was ever looking at my bright laptop screen and reading along. I’m sure he would have appreciated his flight more though if the guy next to him wasn’t tearing up and crying for at least 2.5 hours of the 7 hour flight.

Anyway, I still have to find a cover artist for all three books (Lucifer’s Odyssey, The Goblin Rebellion, and Shadows of Our Fathers) since mine completely flaked out. I also have to reread this book along with all of the others to check for any continuity problems. Then the book will be shipped to an editor. So, I’m still sticking to my original estimate of October for this to be released.

The Witch Movie Review

maxresdefault

The Witch is a new, low budget suspense/drama that has many unique elements going in its favor. It is a period piece that is apparently historically accurate in clothing, dialogue/accents and feel. The cinematography is unique and beautiful. What it is not is a horror film, and that has resulted in a very torn critic to audience score on review aggregator sites like Rotten Tomatoes, since the movie is being pitched as a horror film, which I would argue it is not.

There are genuinely creepy elements, but some of those scenes, which should set the tone for the audience, missed their mark. My wife, for instance, did not quite understand the implications of the abduction scene and what followed. I’m not going to spoil the scene or the movie, but I had read something about the scene before I saw the movie (in fact, the review I had read about the scene is a key reason why I was intrigued), and so I believe I understood the visual implications because I was prepared for them. However, I can understand why an audience member might completely miss the significance and the impact of the scene.

There were other scenes like Caleb’s return that were just bizarre. Not really creepy, not really powerful or impactful, just bizarre. The twins could have been extremely creepy but the ramifications for their behavior did not really reach a climax, in fact they sort of disappeared from the movie. There were audience members who were genuinely disappointed as some of the scenes unfolded in our theater and they were vocal about their feelings (especially the last ten minutes). More than one person sighed audibly or even muttered an expletive around me (the film is mostly silent so audience mutterings were more legible than some of the movie).

The ending was a bit unfortunate, honestly. I think it marred the overall impact the movie might have had with me. There is so much potential with this context, and the slow-build of the movie should have had a payoff that either pushed the story into horror or really tugged at the heartstrings of the audience with the plight of the protagonist, but it simply did neither. It went into fairy tale land and unapologetically so, according to the closing credits.

So, here I am trying to sum up a recommendation on the film. My wife probably put it best to me, “it was ok.” I think I would add to that sentiment the statement “I don’t think I will ever watch it again.” My overall impression of the movie is that the director loved the source material and I enjoyed the slow build of the movie. My main problem with the movie is that the payoff was underwhelming, that I had less attachment to the main characters than I wanted to, and consequently, the results of the movie were less powerful than they should have been. If you need a star count, I would say 3 out of 5. It was better than most films, and as a history buff, I found much of the movie interesting and thought-provoking. As a movie goer and story enthusiast, I was less happy with the product of the overall storytelling, especially the ending. I think if it had ended almost any other reasonable way, I would have enjoyed the story much more (and I don’t mean what happened to the parents, I mean what happened to the main character).

New fanfiction available

ghieruf

Alan Tudyk (Firefly/Serenity, 28 days, A Knight’s Tale, Death at a Funeral) has offered to read the winning story for the Con Man contest on Inkitt. If you’re unfamiliar with Alan, he’s an actor who usually plays an eccentric character in whatever movie is graced with his presence.

In Death at a Funeral, he played a nervous suitor of one of the protagonists who takes the wrong drugs before meeting her parents, and he ends up stripping naked at a funeral. In 28 days, he plays a humorous homosexual drug addict who has one of my favorite lines in cinema “Oh my God! Look at my package!” In a Knight’s Tale, he plays a man of few words, but of which most of those words hilariously threaten Geoffrey Chaucer. In Firely, one of my favorite TV series of all time, he plays pilot Hoban Washburne, a brilliant character who comes to a very untimely death in the movie Serenity.

For those familiar with Firely, you know that the series was poorly pitched by Fox and doomed to failure, despite the fact that it should have been a surefire winner. His new series Conman appears to be a parody of his life and those of the cast after finding fame in the ComicCon circuits. Anyway, as a promotion for the series, he has agreed to voice a short story for Firefly or Conman, and I really couldn’t pass up taking a shot at some Firefly fanfiction. You can read my entry here:

Serenity: The Dream that Never Was

If you like it, please vote for it. Regardless, definitely check out more of Alan Tudyk’s performances. Whichever author ends up winning this competition, you can rest assured that the reading of the winning story will be a lot of fun.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: