Friday, May 31, 2019

If Godzilla is King of the Monsters then Mothra is their Queen.

Out of all of the kaiju, Mothra is probably the one that is the prettiest and relates best with humans. My late mother adored Mothra of all the kaiju, and I think her opinion of the queen of the monsters kind of rubbed off on me, because I like Mothra the most as well. In Japan, the name "Mothra" is actually pronounced Mosura or "Moe sue rah," because their alphabet does not account for the sound made when pronouncing the word "the."

When Mothra was first introduced, she was given an origin that suggested she was of divine lineage. She also had worshipers and two immortal fairy priests called the Shobijin who could communicate with Mothra telepathically over great distances. When the priests were captured and exploited, Mothra rescued them by devastating the city in which they were being held. Since that time, she has been featured in many kaiju films and has almost as many appearances as Godzilla over the decades. Her powers are huge blasts of air that can strike like typhoons, sticky web-like silk that's almost impossible to break, scales that can make it hard to breathe or even suffocate or which can form a shield to deflect energy blasts, and a radiant light that can really be anything from a peaceful bioluminescence to outright energy attacks on her enemies. It all kind of depends on who is writing Mothra at the time and what powers are called for in a battle (isn't that how these things usually go?).

I think that Mothra could communicate with other kaiju as well (definitely Godzilla) and the priestesses (the Shobijin I mentioned earlier) have facilitated this by communicating Godzilla's intent through Mothra to them and directly to humans around the Shobijin. I guess that's one way of getting your message across that you'd like your city to be spared if at all possible. Mothra, in a way, is kind of like a phoenix. There have been countless times when she dies battling a kaiju. But never fear, an egg has been left behind for her to hatch from at some point in the future (and to carry on with whatever it is that Mothra finds important). It's not necessarily a rebirth from the ashes kind of thing, but very close. And I'm not sure if the memories of Mothra actually get passed from one incarnation to the next. It seems likely, given the powerful psychic abilities that this particular kaiju demonstrates (it's the most powerful psychically gifted creature in the Toho monsterverse).

Anyway, as I'm writing this post on Thursday night before going to see Godzilla: King of the Monsters, I am hoping that the Shobijin make an appearance. However, there may not be room for that given that Millie Bobbie Brown's character seems to take up a lot of the human interaction with Mothra in the trailer. Maybe her character has psychic abilities similar to the Shobijin? Or maybe Mothra chooses her character as a priestess of sorts? Who knows? No matter how it goes, I think I'll still have a great time. How can you go wrong with classic kaiju and devastation porn to kick off a weekend?

I'll leave you with the newly updated score for Mothra that appears on the soundtrack for King of the Monsters. It was scored by composer Bear McCreary (who also did the theme for The Walking Dead). 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Here are four thoughts on four big franchises that contribute heavily to the realm of science fiction entertainment.

I've got a few things on my mind regarding current events under the speculative fiction entertainment umbrella, so I wanted to talk about them all in one post.
Godzilla. Godzilla: King of the Monsters is getting rave reviews from kaiju...err...titan-loving people who were lucky enough to get an early screening. I'm going Thursday evening, and I'm seeing it in IMAX with some friends. My seats are perfect, right dead center, and I paid for a luxury recliner for myself and friend Geneva. Looking over the soundtrack by Bear McCreary, I noticed that there's a track called Mothra's song. I hope that we get to see the Shobijin...two tiny fairies that follow Mothra around and can communicate telepathically with Mothra.
Alien Universe. I realized this weekend in a random thought that Disney now owns Alien, because they purchased the rights to the franchise when they acquired Fox's portfolio of franchises, which included the X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four. That just seems so weird, and I know they are going to comb through the canon and throw out a bunch of stuff and reboot, which may also breathe some fresh life into a thing that I like very much. Additionally, there's now an Alien Universe tabletop RPG, which I think is amazing. I guess you can take on a role within the greater Alien Universe, and depending on your GM, you may actually never face off against the xenomorph itself. Just all of that Lovecraftian lore is out there, and those events either have happened or are going to happen depending on how your character is created and during what time period. This is how I understand it anyway. It sounds like a ton of fun.
The Expanse Universe. I got my friend Geneva to read the first book, Leviathan Wakes, and she read 450 pages in one afternoon. She told me, "I'm having difficulty putting this book down." I nodded in understanding. It's a super good read...all eight books...and the pacing stays consistent and never lets you go. Speaking of tabletop RPG's, the Expanse now has one from Green Ronin games, and I so want to play it with others.
Star Trek: Discovery. I recently finished Star Trek: Discovery's second season, and I was completely blown away by it. In the season finale (SPOILER ALERT), the Discovery launches permanently into the future by time traveling through a wormhole that places it 950 years later...or about 800 years or so beyond Janeway returning to Federation space with the Voyager crew. Literally, anything can happen. It's a new slate, and based on the writing of the series, season three is probably going to be incredible.

I hope everyone's Memorial Day was relaxing. I'll chat with you all on Friday. It's hard to believe that June is almost here already.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Game of Thrones at its end was just the old bait and switch again.

What a con-job...the ultimate bait and switch. Why would anyone spend so much time creating fantastical backgrounds for characters (clearly designed to bait people into this narrative) only to have them go nowhere and be nothing? Who writes a story of Anastasia Romanov only to have her end up flipping burgers in a McDonalds in Kentucky and that's the end? This is what I don't get about people who are defending Game of Thrones. You all got conned! We got conned! Because make no mistake, this is exactly what happened. You were promised a seven course meal with all the trimmings, filet mignon, salmon, pies and cakes...and the list goes on and on. You (no, WE) were teased and tantalized for eight years! And then we got a frozen dinner from Stouffers. Why is anyone happy with this ending? Are you stupid? Are you used to being treated badly?


Amazing Writer Person or AWP walks up to me (who is incredibly busy because life as a single person is hard) and begins to talk.

AWP: "Heyyyy...what's up my homie? Would you like to hear a story? It's suuuper good yo! Seriously."

Me: (Busy with about ten tasks that need to be done simultaneously)... "Eh?" I pause, thinking about that old mantra...don't let life pass you by; take time out to smell the roses. "Okay," I say. "I'm always up for a good story. Here take some of my money and now tell it to me."

AWP: "Thanks for the cash, broseff. Now I gots this story of a woman. She's from an ancient family that fled from an ancient civilization that fell to its doom when the ground upheaved underneath them in cataclysmic quakes. Beaten down, raped, and having lost everything including all the family she has left in the world, this woman walks into a frickin' bonfire with three rocks...and she comes out with three dragons! These dragons grow and become fierce just like she does. This woman conquers her naysayers and defeats all the wrongdoers of the world! She learns multiple languages, defies assassins, and is a leader whom everyone looks up to!"

Me: "Holy crap! Wow! That's a great story! Please, Mr. Amazing Writer Person, please tell me what happens? I've got to know!"

AWP: (Cleans fingernails idly). "Oh that's it. She ded. Her boyfriend stabbed her in the heart, and well...she ded. Domestic violence is poison, yo!"

Me: "What the f*ck? That's it? What about all that stuff you told me about her?"

AWP: "None of it mattered. But hey I gots another story for you? Gimme some more money and time and I'll tell it. It's better than that dragon lady."

Me: "Uh...okay...but this next one better be good I guess."

AWP: (Clears throat). "There's this guy who's a bastard. His father, see, dallied with a woman while he was at war, and as a result he was born out of wedlock. But in secret, he's actually the heir to a throne of seven kingdoms. All that stuff was a lie made up to protect him."

Me: (Clearly interested). "You're saying he's an actual king?"

AWP: "Damn straight, homie. And this guy goes north of this 800 foot wall that stretches from one shore to another on a continent with his dire wolf companion named Ghost! While there, they come across all kinds of evil undead and he actually faces off against a King Ice Zombie with the powers of a god and who rides a frickin Ice dragon! That ice dragon is so frickin powerful, it destroys that wall, and it all caves into the ocean! I mean damn! And he gets murdered by his own men and resurrected by a God so he can come back and save all of mankind like Jesus!"

Me: (Mind blown with the imagery). "This story is incredible! What happens to that guy?"

AWP: "Oh that's it. This guy just lives in a shack in the north now with his dog and drinks beer."

Me: "What the hell? That ending sucks. Why are you doing this?"

AWP. "Wwhhhat? You don't like my stories? You know...just because you go to Harvard and your last name is Kennedy, DOESN'T mean that you are going to be a senator or a judge! You can be a janitor and peak with a job at Taco Bell. That's what my story is about, you know! The extraordinary in all the ordinary!" Amazing Writer Person scoops up my money, having already taken all of my time, and says a parting, "F*ck you very much," and now he leaves.


And that pretty much sums up how I feel about Game of Thrones now. All 73 episodes of it. What a dumpster fire and a disappointment. Endings matter, people. 

After watching season 8, I feel like I got conned by a grifter. It’s like how I imagine really bad phone sex must be where someone gets you all worked up and then all of the sudden you get a dial tone or a busy signal. Somehow, you manage to reconnect with the person and you ask them, “Did we just get disconnected?” and they reply, “Oh no...that was the end. That was the finale. I hope you liked it.” I mean...what the hell? Who does this?

It just makes me angry. It’s like I was teased this fabulous dinner and told to invite all my friends over and then the person that teased me showed up with frozen burritos, tossed them on the porch, and drove off shouting, “Bye, Felicia,” out the window never to be seen again.

What a con-job.

I hope Bennioff and Weiss and anyone else responsible for this ending (Martin maybe?) gets teased with a fabulous vacation and when they go to actually do the vacation, it ends up a huge disappointment with them staying in a Motel 6. "Yes, sir," I hear the customer service person saying to a complaining D&D (David Bennioff and D.B. Weiss). "The pictures in the brochure DO NOT match the actual product. You should be familiar with that little trick. It's called bait and switch. Bye, Felicia."

Here's a clip from In Living Color, which explains by example everything I'm talking about. Start the video at the 3:00 mark (which it should automatically do). 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

This wallpaper I have for my computer shows a world completely at home with giant sharks and other monsters from the deep.

I'm not exactly sure who drew this wallpaper. I found it in a reddit subgroup for three screen wallpapers, and it's utterly fascinating. You really should click to embiggen the picture, because it's got a ton of details that set my mind to wondering what the heck is going on with all of these images.

The ship on the right panel looks like it has the enormous jaws of some megalodon mounted on its prow through which a canon is posited for use in naval combat. Just below that is some guy in a rowboat that is right next to a dorsal fin of a shark that (from scale) looks to be about a twenty-foot great white. The bay is also literally teaming with dorsal fins of other gigantic sharks (think anywhere from 16 to 20 feet). The mountains rising from the bay that are in the background sport these colossal steel barracuda heads, and there are numerous cranes on piers overlooking the shipyard, one of which is holding a fish that is probably the size of a blue whale. There is also another kind of dead gargantuan fish near the middle of the picture with its teeth pointed upward (maybe its on its back), and half its body is on a ramp and its middle looks to be tied to one of those cranes I mentioned earlier.

In the forefront of the picture there is what looks to be a pair of rats, only they have shark tails and heads. And all of the tie-off pilings are covered in sinister-looking steel fish decorations with wide open grinning mouths and teeth.

On the left side of the picture is what looks like some kind of bay-side workshop with a portcullis that can be raised or lowered to allow small boats to enter into a kind of sluice. In this workshop are all kinds of things, but what catches my eye is a skeleton of a huge fish near the ceiling and the most gigantic fishhook I've ever seen. And there's the hints here and there of old caribbean-style piracy, with gold doubloons, scimitars, and crates. The details in this painting are quite astounding, and as I stare at it, there are so many stories that seem to pop into my mind.

Anyway, I thought I'd share this with you, seeing as there's no more Game of Thrones for me to really rant about (I will probably talk about the disappointing series finale on Friday).

Monday, May 20, 2019

Was Darth Vader supposed to wield god-like power or did power creep just make him that way?

You will need to watch the below embedded short (it's about a minute long) first before you understand what I'm talking about in this post. It's quite entertaining, and kind of re-imagines a portion of the Battle of Hoth sequence in animated form.

From a Generation X-er and a Baby Boomer standpoint, nostalgia can be a trippy drug, especially when it comes to Star Wars and bad guys like Darth Vader and the Emperor. For example, take Darth Vader. The tone of the original trilogy (if you try and control your nostalgic feelings of "this is totally how I see him through the lens of history") is that he was perfectly content to let the stormtroopers do the dirty work for him. This mildly suggests that if Vader were capable of spectacular displays of the Force (like blasting open a hangar door in the below short clip), Luke would never have escaped the Death Star the first time just because a measly door closed while Vader leisurely strolled over too late to get through safely.

Needless to say, if he could blow open giant metal doors, he ought to be able to just blow up smaller nearby ships with the Force too. But we never saw this happen. However, if we see Vader again in future movies, we just might see this happen because of Force and "power" creep.

To explain further, I bring all of this up because in the newest movies, the Force is portrayed as much more powerful. And it's getting more and more grandiose all of the time. What Daisy Ridley's character did in The Last Jedi by casually levitating tons of rocks might not have been a thing that even Yoda could have done in earlier movies because not enough time had passed for people to really simmer on these ideas they have regarding the power levels of characters. Simply put: as the decades roll on and on, the Force gets more and more powerful. A Yoda featured in another Star Wars movie filmed say, in 2020 or beyond, would easily be able to do what Daisy Ridley's character did in The Last Jedi, and maybe even more cool stuff.

This phenomenon of power creep is not new to fiction. It's happened to Superman too. The Superman of the 1930's could leap tall buildings. The Superman of today has all the powers of a god and is nigh unstoppable unless you have one of his very specific weaknesses: kryptonite and/or magic. It's all "power creep," and I see it happening in the Star Wars movies with each new release, animated short, and progression of stories through CGI-based animated series like The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels.

But don't get me wrong, it's all fun. It's just something I've noticed, and I attribute a lot of the power creep to feelings of nostalgia and fondness over characters and what they could possibly do to fit any given situation.

Friday, May 17, 2019

My brain refuses to acknowledge that Robert Pattinson has now been cast as The Batman.

Uh...Robert Pattinson has now been cast as The Batman. Uhm...I can't even. I-I don't like this. Say it's a nightmare or an April Fool's joke that's a month too late. Did no one at Warner Brothers even see him perform as Edward in Twilight? Did no one care? I miss the days of Christian Bale playing Batman so bad. We had it so good and never really appreciated it.

If anyone needs me, I'm going to be sailing on the River Denial.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Despite Daenerys burning King's Landing to the ground I maintain that anger and hatred are not mental illness.

This is a remarkable screenshot of Daenerys and actress Amelia Clarke who is showcasing extreme anger.
The aftermath of this anger is some of the most grotesque genocide humans are capable of inflicting.
So Game of Thrones went the way of every other fantasy series that has ever been written: the only one fit to rule or save the day is in fact a straight white male. I suppose that my disappointment at the final reveal is a culmination of feelings around the concept of "I thought this story was going to be different." It seemed different. It masqueraded itself differently. But at the end of the day it was just Dynasty or Falcon Crest but with dragons. It had its female villains like Alexis Carrington, but ultimately (and at the end of the day) these women do such horrible things that the audience has no choice but to beg for a straight white man to ultimately put these "mad" women in their place.

Sigh...I've seen this story before soooo many times. I'm tired of it...exhausted even. I guess I'm too well read for this crap anymore. People who haven't read the number of books that I have will find this story refreshing. Say a person who has read maybe five books in their life. That person is going to be so surprised by "White man is the best man for the job." I'm so disappointed in myself. I've been in denial if I ever thought that Game of Thrones showcased any diversity at all, and most of this was driven by the allure of such strong female heroic figures. But in George R.R. Martin's world, there is no such thing as heroes. Daenerys, however, came really close until "The Bells" happened. Boy did I get suckered in. I got P.T. Barnumed (famous for saying "A sucker is born every minute."). Yup, that's me.

However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention things about episode 5 of season 8 that got me thinking. For one, I'm interested in the mental gymnastics of how people go about justifying Daenerys's heel turn (thanks for letting me know what this term meant Pat). It reminds me of how people can take any passage from the Bible to validate just about anything they desire. "She crucified the masters." "She said she would take what is mine in fire and blood." Yes, she did do these things. But anger is a valid emotion...any of you seen the Pixar movie, Inside Out? Anger is not madness. And being angry and hating people who have wronged you or deeply wronged you is decidedly human. It is not mentally ill. It is not crazy or "mad" as in the "Mad Hatter" which is how people referred to the condition of "crazy" before the invention of the DSM.

It bugs me deeply that people use the terms "Mad" and "Crazy" and "Mental Illness" to describe someone who cannot reasonably deal with their anger or hatred. Hate is not a mental illness. It's a response to being insulted, wronged, or being violated. Hate can arise from being disenfranchised. It can come from places we least expect it to arise, but to wrap it up in a diagnosis of "mental illness" makes it easier to ignore. It becomes someone else's problem and allows a person to wash responsibility from their hands because "that other person is just crazy."

Daenerys is now the "Mad Queen." makes me want to throw up in my mouth just a little bit. From my point of view she is a mass murderer and definitely no longer a hero because she has murdered tons of innocent people. However, she is not "cray cray." This isn't hip hop. "Bitches be crazy, ya know?" "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." "Women are so histrionic." "Women are so emotional." And so on and so forth. All of these one-liners going back hundreds of years are all rooted in misogyny, and it didn't need to be written that way unless the intent was to make Jon legitimate by shit-writing Daenerys. Make no mistake, folks. This is what happened here. She was a complete soaring hero up through the end of season 8 episode 3 that ended with the Night King's death. So in two episodes time, she's become a foaming at the mouth, carpet-chewing, burn them all "Mad Queen."

There are people who loved episode 5 called "The Bells." I have a red-pill friend who loves it, because, "with all of her betrayals, Cersei murdering her best friend as a big f*ck you at the gates, Cersei lying about sending troops, Cersei killing one of her dragons, the betrayal of Varys, and on top of that...getting rejected by Jon Snow [yes, I guess this is a legitimate reason for a woman to commit genocide...because...penis is so good, ya know?]...I don't think anyone, man OR woman, would have stopped or shown mercy...." I guess saying "No" really does have its consequences. Sigh.

I know incels who love it too. It fits their worldview of women, and what women do to men. I know people who are filled with bitterness and self loathing and have carried it so long it has morphed into diagnosable depression because that anger and hatred they have has no outlet. These people LOVED Daenerys burning King's Landing to the ground. "The Mad Queen!" they scream in delight.

I shake my head at the whole thing. Daenerys Targaryen was just extremely angry and packing a lot of hatred, and it just so happened that she was also packing a lot of firepower too and people paid the price. Answer me this: if the killers at Columbine high school had access to a dragon like Drogon and not assault weapons/guns, what do you think would have happened? What about the killer at Sandy Hook? What would he have done with his "dragon?" My guess is probably say "Dracarys" and burn a school to the ground and then start on the city. But what do I know?

So yeah...I'm grossly disappointed in Game of Thrones. But I also don't like how people use "Mad" and "Crazy" to describe anger and hatred. Hatred is not a mental illness, which is why mental health professionals will do nothing to stem the tide of mass shootings in our country. Hate and anger can't be dismissed, but addressing these emotions and the causes of them are probably too complex for people to want to take on unless there is no other choice.

I did love the special effects though, and I am going to finish this series by watching the last episode. I've come to far to quit now. I'm just glad it's finally over.

Monday, May 13, 2019

If I had known Game of Thrones was going to finish with such a depressing ending I wouldn't have watched the series.

Spoiler Alert and rant warning....

All my predictions have run out, and many of them proved to be not true. To say I'm disappointed in Game of Thrones's last season is an understatement. I feel like I don't even know these characters, that they have turned one-hundred eighty degrees from how I knew them to be for seven and a half seasons. I guess Daenerys is the only one strong enough to take the throne, and she is proving to be undeserving of that honor. Jon Snow is worthy of the throne, but he's not strong enough to take it, and he's completely uninterested in it. The Starks just want to be left alone. The North wants to be left alone. This whole thing just feels like a colossal waste of time.

I'm disappointed in all of the character arcs and the various plot armors that found their way onto certain characters just so that we could have ridiculous showdowns like "The Clegane Bowl."

Brienne deserved better. Jaime Lannister really went back to Cersei after all that? Blah.

George R.R. Martin spun some very interesting characters out of the ether. But if his one lesson told through the lens of a fantasy world is to say that it takes tyrants to unite kingdoms and that there are no happy endings and no true heroes, I guess I'm wondering what the point of it all is? Isn't fantasy a place where you are supposed to indulge things that don't exist in the real world? Since when did fantasy become a place to tell (and air) such depressing stories.

Ugh. The Iron Throne indeed.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Disney should redo the Battle of the Heroes in A New Hope by hiring ILM to follow FXitinPost's video as a guideline.

So, I've never been a real fan of George Lucas messing around with the original trilogy of 1) A New Hope, 2) The Empire Strikes Back, and 3) The Return of the Jedi. But after seeing this "battle of the heroes" redone online by a huge fan of the series who goes by the name FXitinPost, I now wish that Lucas had done this (or that Disney does this) to make it mesh better with the way Obi-Wan and Vader (and everyone else) fights in the prequels and sequels. The way Obi-Wan and Vader move in the original battle filmed in the seventies makes me think that they are both dealing with an enlarged prostate, which is just not how I see either of them. Please take the time to play the embedded video and let me know if you are as impressed as I was. Keep in mind that this is just some fan playing around. It'd be so much better if Industrial Light and Magic did it, using this guy's video as a starter. The whole thing is about six minutes long.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

There's one surprise that could be left in Game of Thrones and that would be making Jon Snow a benevolent Night King.

I want you to know that I didn't just "arrive" at this conclusion. I've thought about this for days, and I have evidence of foreshadowing that this "could" happen. I'm not sure as to exactly how it would go down though? I do know that Bran has seen how the first Night King was created, i.e., that a shard of Dragon Glass was thrust into his heart by the Children of the Forest.

So about that foreshadowing, which I thought was particularly heavy-handed within the confines of the script. First off there's Tormund who says to Jon before he leaves, "The North is in you, it's in your blood," or something very close to that as it may not be an exact quote. I've been thinking about that quote and wondering exactly what it means within the context of the show. Well, my conclusion is that Jon belongs North of the wall up there with his friends kinda like Uncle Benjen was doomed to stay up North.

Second, Ghost is in the North because "direwolves don't belong in the South." What kind of man abandons his dog/wolf? I know it sounds like I'm reaching, but I think that he and Ghost are going to be reunited. What better legend than the Night King and his faithful dire wolf wandering the wilderness of the North in the Lands of Always Winter?

Third, Sansa says, "Stark men get killed in the South." Well this seems like a lot of foreshadowing too. I think Jon Snow dies to become the Night King. I also think it foreshadows his eventual return to the Northern wilderness.

Fourth, the introduction of the last episode, "The Last of the Starks," didn't change. It showed the White Walker path going all the way up to Winterfell, which makes me think that maybe it's a hint that the "Night King may not be completely done."

Fifth, there are lots of moments where the Night King stares off with Jon Snow. It's like they are reflections of each other. Plus I don't think the Night King really had his heart in killing Jon Snow. I think he certainly could have chucked a spear at him or done some other thing countless times.

Sixth, Euron looks really surprised in the preview for this Sunday's episode. What could surprise him? A dead dragon with blue fire that is immune to their weapons, and a Night King on its back.

So now onto the "What is the motive for Jon Snow to become the Night King."

Well, first off, he doesn't want to live in the South and he doesn't want to be King of the Seven Kingdoms. That's rather obvious.

Second, I don't think that Daenerys can win this thing. The scorpion ballistas will not allow her living dragon to get close enough to King's Landing to make much of a difference, and I think we are going to see the Golden Company be super effective at decimating what's left of Daenerys's army. Dany is going to be on the brink of losing when Jon Snow becomes the Night King. He then raises all the dead on the field to fight and directs them to fight an Dany's behalf. He also raises Rhaegal (the dead dragon) which will probably be washed up on shore someplace at some point or maybe the harbor around Dragonstone isn't too deep. Jon as the Night King rides ice dragon Rhaegal, takes out Euron's entire fleet and then helps Dany to take the Iron Throne.

Then Jon bids farewell to Daenerys and returns to the North with his army of the dead. He's a Targaryen which means "Fire and Blood." He's the Night King, which means "Ice." So he is the Song of Ice and Fire.

A grateful and changed Daenerys becomes a benevolent queen to rule the seven kingdoms, and Drogon is the last of the living dragons.

Anyway, that's how I see it ending. I guess we'll see this week.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Everyone in the seven kingdoms is suddenly a mastermind except Dany's crew who are all morons now.

Ahead...there are spoilers...valar morghulis.

Sigh. Oh Game of Thrones, why must you end this way? I never thought I'd say this, but I'm really glad that this series is almost over. I'm invested to the end, and I think they've accomplished some great things in the epic fantasy genre. George R.R. Martin should pat himself on the back, because he's changed how everything works in entertainment from killing off beloved characters to inspiring others to follow his footsteps. However, my small criticisms of the show need to be aired out or my head will explode.

1) Why is it that Euron's fleet can just appear out of nowhere and apparently surprise anyone, even those flying in the air?

2) Why does it never occur to Daenerys to fly at Euron's ships from behind?

3) How did half the people in the north apparently survive the Battle of Winterfell?

4) Those balistas are super effective. Are balista bolts really that effective as medieval weaponry?

5) All the people went into the ocean and Missandei gets plucked out by Euron's forces? Of course she does.

6) Why is Bran not helping Daenerys by supplying her with sorely need information?

7) Sansa is terrible at keeping secrets, because...of course she is.

8) I'm still upset that the Night King is just gone. It feels like as if Harry Potter had killed Voldemort in the sixth book, and the seventh book was all about trying to take down Dolores Umbrage.

Anyway, criticisms aside, the third to the last episode ended up being pretty good. I'm kind of wondering what Jaime Lannister thinks he can do in King's Landing other than get killed by Cersei. And I'm kind of wondering why Cersei didn't just kill Tyrion. She had her chance. She paid Bronn to do it, but it was right there. What was stopping her? Maybe Jaime thinks he can kill Cersei, but I'm betting Arya gets her because she needs another name to cross off the list. I just hope it doesn't happen like it did with the Night King. In other words, Cersei is just about to triumph when Arya appears like a deus ex machina and kills her out of the blue. I don't think I'd be satisfied with that.

I guess we only have two more episodes to wait in order to find out. From here, writing this blog post, it feels like a long wait.

Friday, May 3, 2019

I'm a day late and a dollar short for the Insecure Writer's Support Group post but here it is anyway

CLICK HERE to go to the sign-up link for this monthly blog fest.

As Alex Cavanaugh pointed out on Wednesday, I could have talked about lazy writing. But I was coming off a big nerd weekend where I had a lot of things on my mind. You know...Avengers: Endgame followed by "The Long Night" episode of Game of Thrones. Alex, you were 100% correct that I could have used that as an IWSG post. But, I forgot. So I'm answering the May 1st question on May 3rd.

Here it is: What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I think I learned that language had power when I was 13 years old and visiting Japan with my mom. I was picking up on the language, but I didn't know how to speak it very well. I realized that communicating with others is a real challenge, and that you really are at the mercy of those who can communicate and then translate things to you. So there you have it.

Have a great weekend everyone, and if you are writing, don't make it lazy.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Game of Thrones will finish its historic run with three episodes of lazy writing by killing off the pregnant queen and the pirate and then end with a wedding between Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen.

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT for Game of Thrones.

The long anticipated battle of Winterfell took place in the unusually lengthy episode entitled "The Long Night," which aired Sunday. I guess an estimated 18 million people watched it live and this probably followed by hundreds of millions of people who will eventually see it through some incarnation or another. Game of Thrones is a modern phenomenon peeps, kinda like the Avengers, but in a similar vein I was left just a smidge disappointed in the third episode of season 8.

First off, it was a really dark and stormy night. Cliché aside, the writers could have staged this battle during anytime of the day. The writers set the pace for when the army of the dead actually shows up. They chose nightfall to make it more epic (and probably to save some on the special effects budget...let's just get real for a moment). Dany spent most of her time lost in winter storm clouds with Jon, they clumsily collided with each other when the odds of that happening seems pretty low to me, and they could see just about as much as I could see (which was, again, not much). Below is a screenshot of how dark the episode was about 50% of the time:
You are actually (as a viewing audience) supposed to be able to see this. I'm not kidding. The cinematographer of this episode came out defending his choices by saying, "You don't have your TV tuned right, and you are not watching it in optimal conditions." Okay, fair enough. But you could have told all of us via email to make sure our TV's had the right setting, whatever that may be. There could have been some kind of public service message posted on Facebook. Something. I think (personally) that HBO dropped the ball big time with this.

Second, I guess winter lasted some 82 minutes or something like that. We've been told that the Night King and the White Walkers were the big bad that threatened all of human civilization for seven and a half seasons. This is the epitome of over-hyping something. Don't get me wrong...I saw the dire dire circumstances of Winterfell, and I honestly thought, "How are they going to get out of this?" But I  never saw coming that it would just be all over in an instant because Arya stabbed the Night King out of nowhere with her Valyrian steel dagger. I didn't think it would end like that. I thought he would make it south and strike real fear in Cersei and her armies. But nope. He dead. Time to turn the page on this one.

I remember once that author Pat Dilloway gave me some feedback on an as yet unpublished novel that I killed off my big bad too easily...that it was over too fast. I'll get around to publishing that book someday and probably re-writing that scene to make it not be as fast. Pat was not wrong. However, if Game of Thrones does this, why can't I? I's like that Raiders of the Lost Ark scene where Indiana Jones is in the Egyptian market of Cairo and the crowd splits to reveal a huge man swinging a sword and doing all of these badass moves that you know is going to be an epic fight. Indiana Jones just shrugs, pulls his gun out, and shoots the guy. That fight is over; bad man is dead. Maybe all of us out here who want our bad guys to last longer are out of touch. Maybe people like the big bad to die just like that. It left me feeling unsatisfied, but I know a lot of people who thought it was great. Fair enough.

Third, the Dothraki are all dead in like five seconds. I don't understand this. We spent seven and a half years with these people, learning of their culture, seeing how fierce they were, and now they are all dead. I'm not quite sure I will ever understand the decision of doing this to such a huge part of the storyline. It feels very much like a colossal waste of time on my part, being invested in that whole storyline so that they could just all get swamped by a wave of undead during a charge in which none of their tactics mattered one bit.

All these years of theory crafting have been fun. I was right when I decided that Jon Snow was a Targaryen years before it was revealed and boy was that satisfying to see. I was right when I predicted that Valyrian steel could kill White Walkers and then we saw it happen in the episode called Hardhome. But with the Long Night, I think that this show is telling us that it is done hiding secrets from us. The Night King was exactly where Bran said he was going to be. He came for Bran in the Godswood on foot rather than rain blue fire down on that entire grove from a safe distance and just be rid of the cripple in the chair. So here's what's going to happen in the last three episodes.

Jon and Dany in love get married after they take the throne. He gives up his claim to her and she becomes Queen. Cersei is killed. The Mountain is killed by his brother the Hound. Tyrion and Jaime are killed by Bronn, because he accepted a bunch of gold to do the deed. Everyone hates Bronn for doing that, so he gets killed because people liked Tyrion and Jaime. It's lazy writing, and I think that's what we can expect from now on is lazy writing. It's like in those football games when there are just a few seconds left on the clock and the losing team just wants it all to end and just kinda pushes softly against the other team to allow the clock to run down.

And that's it. Night King dead. Pregnant woman and pirate holding the kingdom hostage are killed. House Lannister dies off, and Targaryens once again sit on the Iron Throne. It all seems easy and straight forward with no deviations or surprises. And I think that's how HBO wants to end all this. I'll still watch it, but I am disappointed considering the prior seasons were just packed full of theories that paid of in spades.

But, even with all this disappointment, it still is a great series, and it will be some time before it is ever upped by anything on television.