Game of Thrones

So, as you may have noticed, I stopped updating the content I was posting about Game of Thrones. I’ve been making what I call my “Tongue-in-cheek” reviews since roughly Season 5, privately. I had friends that were not enjoying the show as much as I was, and I thought I’d give them the highlights done up to make them laugh. This was done because I had long ago accepted the books and the shows were different beasts, and I generally could just accept the changes and roll with them.

Plus, it was a fun exercise for me that my friends enjoyed, despite the time investment I was having to put forth.

Herein came the issue, this was supposed to be something fun for me to do, and when I kept thinking about writing my recap for Episode 4 – nothing about it seemed fun. It felt like a chore to sit down and write the recap. I rewatched the episode a few times, as I often do (as it was quite common for me to write the highpoints into a word doc as I was doing my first rewatch), but something about doing the recap felt empty, hollow.

I was traveling for my day job at the time, and I kept telling myself it was the fact that I was in a different city, living out of a hotel room, that was the root cause. Once I got home, got some good sleep, I’d be good to go to write both Episodes 4 and 5. Instead, as I watched Episode 5, I just lost any desire to continue the project. The rushed natures of the storyline this season were robbing me of the emotional investment that I knew I should have. Where I understood why characters could come to the places in the story, the execution lacked the time and finesse to sell it to me in a way that emotionally brought me with the characters.

Most of all, it ceased to be fun to take two hours of my free time to write the recaps. I have plenty of other projects (the three books that I’m writing at the very least), that I could devote that time to. I felt bad for not finishing for the friends that did enjoy these, but they knew that I was struggling to digest these episodes for myself, let alone to make a mockery recap of. I wasn’t sure (and still am) that I could write those from a place that wouldn’t just make me angrier about the project.

After all, anyone who knows me personally, they know that a certain major franchise’s latest installment has created a huge void of negativity that I have not been able to overcome at this time. I don’t want Game of Thrones to follow that path.

To all those that did enjoy my recaps, I am sorry that I let you down, but I hope you found something to appreciate in these final seasons. The finale was certainly divisive, but I like to believe that we can all find some beauty in this, even if it wasn’t what we expected.

Sincerely ~ Amber C. Carlyle

Game of Thrones: Season 8 Episode 3

I’m getting the most recent review/recap up a bit earlier than the last. Mostly because I had today off since I got out of Avenger’s Endgame just in time to come home and immediately watch a late start to The Battle For Winterfell. I’ve got some mixed feelings about it, and I feel a bit of a compulsion to do a more critical look at some of what they did, but that may be for a more serious time.

Instead, enjoy.

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Better hope you remembered where we left off, because the show gives no preamble to help you recall anything from the past 8 seasons. We immediately open to the credits where the blue tiles have advanced all the way to Winterfell, which has a few more fortifications outside, but that’s the entirety of it. Or maybe those mounds were to represent their forces? Who knows?

In Winterfell, Sam the Slayer is armed with two daggers. Because… Fuck if I know. Why is Sam the Slayer going to the front lines other than to prove his mettle? Tyrion has yet to retreat to the Crypts where Sam should probably be too, but he does make time to get what is most important… Wine. We see Theon with Alys Karstark (Why is she going there?) leading Bran to the Godswood, and then we start panning over the troops, with Davos, Arya and Sansa (Why is she not in the crypts????) And then the dragons fly overhead, but good news, it’s the dragons we want to see. Not Viserion, the undying.

In front of Winterfell, the troops all stand stoically awaiting their fates. Including the Dothraki, who one would think would be riding in circles out front, rallying their people in the ways that their people would fight, and not standing in formation. They’re supposed to be fucking savages, but no… they’re waiting like a true line of knightly cavalry, led by Ser Friendzone, who is flanked by Ghost. Was there an unspoken trade that I’m not aware of? Did Jon trade Ghost to Ser Friendzone for Longclaw and the Dragon Queen?

To be fair, it’s all very eerie as it starts as no words are being spoken, the music ominous and heavy with drums when it’s actually present. And then Davos wins the prize for best perception roll as he identifies the first lone rider approaching from a great distance, in the dark, to be Melisandre. Uh oh.. That can’t be good for her.

Then, she blesses the weapons of all the Dothraki with flaming swords! Yes, let’s use witchcraft on the most superstitious of people gathered. They may have seem Dany come out of a burning building alive, but these are people that spit on magic regularly. This really should have caused a panic amongst her troops. They don’t consort with magic. But hey, now that they have magic flaming swords, they’ll be unstoppable…

At least Davos is willing to let Melisandre inside when she calmly rides through the ranks, and then he promptly abandons his post just before the battle is to start because he really hates her. That’s far more important than watching to see what could possibly be about to start. To be honest, I’m shocked that he didn’t just stab her in the throat as soon as he met her on the ramparts . But apparently, she really needs to stare into the face of Arya before the battle begins.

Speaking of battles beginning, the Dothraki decide to charge the undead, led by Jorah wielding Heartsbane, in the dark, with their new weapon torches! This will be great… OH FUCK NO. GHOST! WHY THE HELL ARE YOU RUNNING WITH THE DOTHRAKI ON THIS?!?! GET YOUR ASS BACK TO WINTERFELL!!

Oooh, they’re launching catapults with flaming stones to the enemies. (And can I say that they look like comets streaking through the sky. The imagery here is really beautiful with the sea of light going into the night sky… OH MY GOD, THEY RAN INTO AN UNDEAD GIANT!  And the lights slowly extinguish one by one.

WHY THE FUCK DID THE DOTHRAKI CHARGE LIKE THAT? WHAT HAPPENED TO JORAH? WHAT HAPPENED TO GHOST? DON’T YOU DARE KILL THE LAST OF OUR DIREWOLVES IN THE DARK LIKE THAT? (Because let’s be real, Nymeria isn’t going to be returning this season.)

Jon and Dany stand off to the side and watch all of this, and a thrumming sound of a heartbeat overtakes the scene. Dany decides she can’t just sit back and watch people get slaughtered, and a few Dothraki and Jorah return. (Although Tormund gives Jorah a vicious side-eye to make sure that he’s not part of the undead army.)

And then a sea of blackness with a cacophony of dissonant chords slam into the armies, and the chaos of battle ensues. The undead rush like any good zombie army, and begin to overwhelm, and OH NO, IT’S MY BRIENNE AND JAIME… THEY CAN’T GO OUT YET… THEY CAN’T…

The swell of Dany’s victory music begins as the dragons join the battle and begin alighting the undead. It’s pretty beautiful to watch the way both dragons and riders are strafing the battlefield. And relief settles back in. I can’t handle losing any of them yet. And what… the… everloving… fuck… is that wall of clouds? Apparently the Night King brought his hurricane of ice with him that is coming on like a sandstorm!

Arya sees this, and she rightly tells Sansa to get her ass down into the crypts. Even if it’s probably not as safe as everyone has been stating, it’s a sight safer than the battlements that Sansa was standing atop.

Meanwhile, chaos continues below with dizzying shots of all our favorites down in the thick of things. It’s really difficult to see the precise details, but I think that was intentional. After all, the speed of combat is faster than we could rightly perceive and it makes it difficult to watch the flow. It heightens the intensity, but man, we see some beautiful fightwork coming from a one-handed warrior who learned to fight anew with his offhand.

And… then our first casualty… Sam gets knocked to his ass and almost stabbed through the eye when Edd comes to his rescue. He forces Sam back to his feet (which hearkens back to early seasons  when Sam’s Night Watch buddies force him to keep moving when he wants to die after the Fist of the Firstmen was dismantled by the NK). Then Edd gets promptly killed for his help, and Sam flees the field.

Sansa makes a brief appearance in the crypts before we go back to the battle where retreat is being ordered. The Unsullied are covering the retreat, still led by Grey Worm, and the trenches are still not lit. Why the fuck did they not light those before the battle began? The archers are also helping to cover the retreat, as Lyanna Mormont stands inside the gates to help keep it defended during the retreat. Grey Worm than runs to behind the Unsullied troops, and behind the trenches….

He orders the trenches to be lighted, but no one can get Dany’s attention to light them due to the sudden storm. Grey Worm then closes off the retreat for what appears to be a good portion of the Unsullied before running inside and grabbing Melisandre. If she can light a bunch of Dothraki swords, she can sure as hell light the trenches. She then pimp walks forward to do just that.

Unfortunately, the fire has one bad effect. It sends Sandor running scared. WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS SHIT, CLEGANE! REACH DOWN INSIDE YOUR SCROTUM AND FIND YOUR BALLS ONCE MORE!

Down in the crypts, we get our pallet cleanser for the chaos with Sansa and the others. Varys has a few words, so it’s good to know he can still speak. Tyrion than starts talking, or perhaps better, whining, that he has to hide in the crypts. He feels that his mind would be better spent out in the chaos, that he could see something that the others can’t. So, they spend the few moments reassuring that this is the right call, and then Tyrion and Sansa reminiscence about their marriage. It’s all going well until Sansa mentions that the Dragon Queen would be a problem.

That upsets Missandei, who reminds them that without the Dragon Queen, they’d all be dead.

In the Godswood, we turn back to Bran and Theon. Where it’s mostly just Theon talking. Bran reassures Theon though that he is home at Winterfell, but he’s going to take a nap. So, peace out bitches!

He then assumes direct control of a bunch of ravens that decided to just hang out in the face of mortal peril. Because these ravens wouldn’t have the normal animal instinct to flee before the oncoming storm of ice and death. And we get our first look of the NK, who is actually at the battle. (I’ve ommitted discussing the scenes of Dany and Jon almost colliding trying to locate him about the battle because really… they’re just passing quick shots that have no purpose in the grand scheme.)

Meanwhile, the NK wastes no time in ordering his troops to form a corpse bridge over the fire to allow the rest of his troops to make it to the walls of Winterfell. It does create a few bottlenecks, but they already lost too many people on the front lines to make any use of that. As people are rushing to man the walls with melee troops, Jon spots the NK and decides to take action.

On the walls, we see Jaime taking charge of ordering troops around to better positions, along with ordering them for for launching their arrows. We see all our faves still in play again in positions of imminent danger as the waves of the undead scale the walls. Again, we are faced with people coming to the rescue of each other, Jaime and Brienne, and Jorah and Sam notably.

The odds are feeling pretty overwhelming, and we see still scaredy cat Clegane hiding before we really get to see Arya in true action. She’s going to ton on the undead better than some of hte seasons warriors, and Davos looks at her like… He’s not really sure what to make of her. She flees from the undead and takes a careening shot to the face as she is knocked into a wall. Beric finally convinces Sandor to find his courage when he points out Arya fleeing from the dead, and I guess Sandor really wants to fight for her still. (But not Sansa… who he had just as much of a reason to protect. Just Arya.)

On the ground, Little Lady Lyanna Mormont is facing an undead giant who opened the gates of Winterfell in the memory of Wun-Wun. He knocks the little girl aside like the tiny little human she is. But she’s a bear through and through and charges the Giant after she gets up. He picks her up like Kong would of a beautiful damsel and crushes her rib cage as he makes to eat her, but she drives a dragonglass dagger into his one good eye. Sadly, she’s dead by the time she hits the ground.

A beautiful shot of the dragons above the clouds are seen before the NK starts to rain blue fire upon Dany and Drogon. They dive into the clouds before running back above them to an eerily still and quiet moment above the clouds. It’s quite reminiscent of the eye of a hurricane, IMHO. Maybe that’s what the NK was doing with all his weird symbols. He’s been charting the course of his hurricane, and leaving the spiral imagery as an old school weather tracking system for people interested.

Inside Winterfell, Arya has left the battle to enter Resident Evil as she has to stealth by undead that have decided that they’re just going to meander and chill inside. Like they’ve been there for weeks. Thankfully, the undead are pretty dumb and fall for the easy “Go for the noise” trap so arya can get out of the library. She has one close call before she closes the door behind her… and oh wait… there’s the actual horde of undead that she should have encountered first. She then does the only sane thing… RUN AWAY!

Back down in the Crypts, a man bangs and bangs and bangs on the door. He really wants to be let in, but the people just stare at each other as his voice slowly dies away. It was definitely the right call, but man, that will haunt their dreams if they survive.

Cutting right back to the some of the action, we get Sandor and Beric searching high and low for Arya. She comes bursting through a door with an undead on top of her, and they run to save her. Beric begins to take several wounds as they search for a safe passage away. And every time Arya tries to help, Sandor stops and drags her away from the fight. Sandor is a good man, and they do manage to still get Beric to a safe place where he can die in piece. Apparently, the Lord of Light brought him back nineteen times so he could save Arya Stark.

And if you missed that Melisandre is there to make sure that we know that exactly. And then we get a repeat of a prophecy from an earlier season when Melisandre tells Arya that she’ll snuff out the eyes of brown, green and blue forever. Then she echoes the words of Syrio Forel, “What do we say to the God of Death?”

NOT TODAY!

And then Arya runs, like she did in Season 1. (I really liked that imagery and callback personally.)

In the Godswood, the undead have begun to arrive, and the archers are making their final stand to protect Bran. At the same time, the Night King begins to unleash dragon fire on the walls of Winterfell, and a bunch of people just died, but we didn’t see any faves melting, so it’s just more of the usual. Jon than goes into a dragon fight with the Night King, and during their struggle, the Night King falls. Jon and Rhaegal come to the ground, and Rhaegal seems to flop down, but we don’t see anything significant that he’s dead…. So I’m just going to say that he’s okay for now. Like Ghost.

THEY’RE BOTH ALIVE, OKAY?!

Dany then finds the Night King on the battlefield on foot, and she sets his ass on fire with dragon fire. YEAH TAKE THAT YOU STUPID BITCH! And then apparently, she didn’t hear his herald at the start of the battle, which also had the title Unburnt. He got that achievement too, and was just keeping it on the downlow.

That’s okay, Jon is on foot and he’s going to charge the Night King just like he charged Ramsay. What could fucking go wrong with that… OH SHIT, THAT’S RIGHT. The Night King reminds everyone that he finished his chain link for necromancy years ago (eat your heart out Qyburn) and raises all the dead around Winterfell. And Jon… just stops to watch it happen. Because why should he keep rushing forward while the Night King does his magic and try to stab him through the heart.

Also, that spell has some reach, as all the dead come back, including Edd and Lyanna Mormont. And the crypts. As if there was much doubt that wouldn’t happen.

Now with his renewed ranks of undead, the NK summons forth his lieutenants. Because he didn’t want to risk them before victory was surely in sight. They’re really just part of his entourage anyways.

The odds begin to swarm everyone once more, and Dany flies to Jon’s rescue as he’s about to join the swarm. She lands her dragon for some reason, and then gets swarmed herself. WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU LAND THE DRAGON?!? WHY??!!?!?

She tumbles from Drogon’s back, and our beloved wyvern posing as a dragon manages to barely fly away shaking dozens of undead from his back as he screams in agony. Then the undead realizes he’s still on the battlefield, and OOOH, DRAGON QUEEN IS ON THE MENU!

Except, Ser Friendzone to the rescue. Which is fitting since Jorah is all that is truly left of her Queensguard, so he makes his way to her.

Jon is rushing to get to Bran in the meantime, but it’s a mad house of chaos still, the keep falling around him. And he’s seeing lots of brave and noble people getting to the point where they may lose, including Sam. But Jon has learned that he has to keep his priority for getting to Bran. Which is where Theon is, with no more arrows, trying to protect the cripple to his last breath.

In the crypts, Sansa and Tyrion hide away as they listen to the cries of people being torn asunder, and then they finally pluck up the courage to either stab themselves based on the looks, or protect the people. For a heartbeat, it seemed like they would plunge the dagger in each of their hands in the hearts of the other, but they go to join the battle in the crypts. (Not before sharing a beautiful moment. I almost hope if they survive that they find a way to make things work out.)

We start getting a montage of futility, as our faves who haven’t died yet are trying to survive, most notably we see Jorah take several mortal wounds protecting his Queen. The odds are overwhelming in each instance though, none more so than Jon who is being blocked by Viserion. It feels very Dark Souls as Jon gets blocked by dragon’s fire every time he tries to get to the Godswood. Which is where the Night King and his posse have arrived, where Theon is the lone man standing in protection of Bran.

Bran tells Theon that he’s a good man, and Theon charges the Night King to put an end to him. Except the Night King grabs the spear, breaks it in half and impales Theon on it. Theon falls to the ground, and I yell at my tv. WHAT IS DEAD MAY NEVER DIE! And I keep expecting Theon to get up with his last breath and at least do something, but no. OF COURSE FUCKING NOT. Why should the man who is both a Stark and a Greyjoy, not die as both. Proving as a Greyjoy that he had one last killshot in him before he died protecting the Starks.

It seems like all hope is now lost. Victory is in the hands of the Night King. Ser Friendzone is hanging in there by his sheer will to protect his Queen. The others are moments away from just not being able to hold people back, Jon just screams in the face of an undead dragon, daring it ot burn him alive. All while the Night King pimps strolls forward to claim Bran as the trophy of the evening. I didn’t realize that this was just an elaborate game of capture the flag, with Bran as the flag.

But oh wait, we’re not done yet!

Out of nowhere, Arya slices through the night to leap at the Night King! He grabs her by the throat, and it seems like she’s about a moment away from having her throat crushed when she drops her dagger to her  other hand and stabs the Night King. And the dead just all crumble and die as the Night King shatters. Including Viserion. (RIP undead dragon. I loved you despite the abomination you became).

I’m not sure how much a victory it will be when they go South, as Winterfell is in shambles, almost all of the armies have been destroyed, and my guess is that people should be sufficiently shellshocked for years with their PTSD.

Ser Friendzone steals a page from Jaime’s book, and chooses to finally die in the arms of the woman he loves. Drogon returns to let us know he’s safe and now protect his mother in her grief. It’s rather sad to watch Ser Jorah Mormont pass away, as he was the last of the Mormonts (that we know anyways).

Melisandre still lives, but she just walks out towards the rising sun, removes her glamor necklace to turn back into her crone form, and falls over dead.

And that’s all we get for this episode. So, happy trails to next week.

Game of Thrones: Season 8 Episode 2

This is my continuing series of spoiler recaps/reviews.

And be warned, I fangirl hard this one.

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Season 8 Episode 2

 

I feel like I’m stuck in this weird place where time both crawls and flies, as I wait for each new installment. But, at least we are now one third of the way through the season, and I am going to find it hard to not just gush over this episode. Because, my brain is stuck in this was so damn amazing!

Anyways, I shall do my best to focus and bring the charm!

So, back in the saddle, we watch the glorious new intro as the White Walkers carve their path towards Winterfell. Which, oh look, there were fortifications now around it! Man, I wish they’d done more stuff like this throughout the whole show, but I will take the extra bit for the final season.

The opening credits immediately cut to Ser Jaime, on trial, for the murder of King Aerys. Which despite my actual elation that they are addressing that here, it doesn’t make a ton of sense for them to consider killing Jaime when the dead are coming. Come on! Dany looks quit the stern Queen as she glowers at Jaime, and Sansa decides to pile it on when she reminds him of the fact that he started a street brawl that killed Jory and wounded Ned. And I get the grievances, I do. I’m not that much of a Jaime apologist that I don’t concede that he has done wrong.

But, there’s a time and place, and this ain’t it people. Which for half a moment, I suspect that Bran is about to pile on too! However, it seems that he just watched the previously on during his visions. Jaime tells everyone that he has no intention to apologize because by what right does the wolf judge the lion?! He’s not in Winterfell to beg their forgiveness; he’s there despite loyalty to fight for the living.

AND HIS BRAVE KNIGHT AND BELOVED BRIENNE SPEAKS UP FOR HIM!

As if there were any doubt! But, yes, Brienne strides forward to protect her fair damsel Jaime from the perils of the dragon’s maw. Her words move Sansa, and Sansa agrees to withdraw her complaint. Dany looks desperately to Jon, and he’s all like “We need the body. He lives.”

Dany is very disappointed, more so when he council of Northern Advisors dip without another word. It’s like her lover boy Jon has something more pressing on his mind than catering to her ghoulish desires to kill someone.

Anyways, we follow Dany into Winterfell where she strips down Tyrion, metaphorically, for being either a traitor or a fool. Look, Dany, you’re not making many friends in the North, maybe you should rethink how you’re handling your advisors. If looks could kill, Tyrion would be dead. So would Jaime. And at least Sansa. I guess Dany never learned the old adage that it takes respect to earn respect. Perhaps if she were more respectful to others, but no, she’s just crying about not having her throne. WHERE’S MY THRONE!?

Not missing a beat, we find ourselves in the Godswood, where Bran is probably trying to download the next episode to see if there’s anything he can share to the others. However, Jaime interrupts him and wants to know why he didn’t tell them that Jaime defenestrated Bran, but Bran’s all like… Nah… I need you alive to fight for this battle. Besides, I’m not Bran anymore. Jaime takes that as well as to be expected, but he looks to Weirdo Bran like maybe he should have prayed more for the kid to die from being thrown out a window.

Elsewhere in Winterfell, Arya is creeping on Gendry. It’s mostly cute, but thankfully, Gendry doesn’t seem to mind her eyeballing him from the shadows. He calls her out, and she’s all like… “Where’s my weapon?” Too bad he’s too much a gentleman to tell her where she can find it. He gets all chivalrous for a moment and tries to convince her to take refuge with the other women and children in the crypts, and she’s more interested in knowing what he knows about fighting the Walkers. When he gets serious and tells her it’s like death, she turns it into a weird little flirting game before flouncing off.

Gendry really doesn’t seem to mind though.

We find ourselves back with Tyrion, who is looking like a man on a mission. Fortunately for us, that mission is Jaime, and the brothers are fully reunited. They both lament over the follies of dealing with their sister, and Tyrion points out the ugly truth that Jaime always knew what their sister was like. Also, he makes an offhand comment about how the North remembers the last time the Targaryens brought dragons to the North… and like really? That was when Torrhen Stark knelt 300 years ago. I don’t think they really remember that. It’s more that they just distrust the woman who let her dragons terrorize the skies to intimidate them just the episode before. The brothers do continue to talk about their possible impending death until Jaime gets distracted by the wondrous beauty of his Brienne.

Which is right where Jaime runs off to! Yes, Jaime, yes. Run to your love. Embrace the truth of your feelings!

The beloved duo’s talk is very terse at first, as neither quite knows what to say, and then for half a moment, they begin to bicker like times of old, but without any of the true barbs. Then Jaime looks to Brienne and asks to fight beneath her. It feels almost like a double entendre about other places beneath her he’d like to be.

Alas, that’s not our next scene…

Instead we get Ser Friendzone with Dany, and I have to admit. I am really enjoying Ser Friendzone much more this season. He’s composed, he’s almost elegant and regal looking in every scene. He seems to be at peace, and that’s probably a bad sign for him. He gives her some great advice about how important Tyrion really as an advisor, and she needs his mind. Also, she should go make nice with someone else too.

Which cuts to us seeing Dany dropping in on Sansa. It all feels so sugary sweet and forced from Dany for the first part, like she doesn’t enjoy this particular piece of pigeon pie. Sansa seems to thaw a bit, appearing gracious and following Dany’s lead, which I think is really important. That she’s letting Dany set the tone, but Sansa is not being manipulated by her. It’s all about perception for Dany, and I think Sansa is just toying with Dany like Cersei would. Which becomes apparent when Sansa wants to know if Dany will free the North when all of this is done.

Dany don’t look so happy about that. I think she knows she just got played. But we don’t have time for that because someone else has arrived.

Theon is back, and he kneels to Dany and lets her know his sister’s plan. And when Dany questions him on why he came alone, he turns to Sansa. And oh, man, Dany is really and truly seeing how far out of her depth she is. Theon asks to pledge himself directly to Winterfell, and Sansa embraces him fiercely. Dany really doesn’t like seeing that she’s not beloved in this new land – like she sees for Sansa. Jealousy does not become the Queen.

Out in the courtyard, Davos is peddling soup with maybe some onions. He feels a bit out of place in the scene, but he’s at least directing people to where they need to go when this place really becomes Winterhell (Thank you, Hot Pie!). Davos does see a little girl that reminds him of his beloved Shireen, and Gilly helps him convince her to go down to the Crypts. Because it’s safe there.

And I want to believe that it’s just misdirection in the writing that the Crypts will actually be safe despite the great huge warning signs we now have. I guess we’ll see next week. (But let’s be real, no one is going to be shocked if the dead rise in the crypts and start slaughtering people.)

More people arrive to Winterfell, and we get our first sighting of Ed, Beric, and Tormund, after their flight from Last Hearth. They fortunately managed to evade the huge army of the dead to get to Winterfell first, somehow. And okay, that seems a bit much, but bromance abounds, so it’s all worth it. They do bring bad tidings that the army should be there before dawn.

Oops.

Smartly, they bring this news to their very broad military survival panel with a pretty good map. It’s not Cersei’s floor map, but it serves its purpose well. It’s really great to listen to them actually discuss the plan of what they will try to do and actually try to work together. Bran bravely decides to be bait, or as brave as his emotionless self can be. Theon volunteers to protect Bran as he’s bait, and they put in place for the dragons to back them up.

There’s this odd talk about Bran being the memory of the world, and that if he were to die, it would be erased. And it makes me feel like it’s somehow more probable as it has always felt like Sam would write the history when all of this was over.

We get a brief look with Greyworm and Missandei after they are exposed to more xenophobic glares from the North. It seems like if and when they survive this, they’re going to head back to her homeland of butterflies and fevers, the Isle of Naath.

Clearly, it feels like filler, as does this next scene, which does bring some fun moments of levity. Sam and Jon are atop the battlements staring out into the nightness, just like it had been back on the Wall. Ghost is chilling with them, and Edd joins them. We get some amazing dialogue between them, where they pick mercilessly on Sam who actually tries to stand up for himself. And, I absolutely adored that moment between them. It was a moment that Jon probably needed more than anyone, but it was great to see his brothers-in-arms.

Inside Winterfell, Jaime and Tyrion are drinking in front of a fire. It feels like Jaime is a central theme to this whole episode, and I sure as hell am not complaining. They’re commiserating over how their father would feel about the two of them about to die at Winterfell, and that turns into how the both of them have changed. And as if to emphasize Jaime’s change, we get Brienne entering the room, and Jaime jumps to his feet and sees to his Knight in Shining Armor. Tyrion hands Pod an overflowing cup of wine, and he seems super proud to be contributing to Pod’s delinquency.

And then we shove more people into the room. Like, come on, can Jaime and Brienne not get two moments alone? Instead, we get Davos, who seems to have picked up a new tag-a-long named Tormund. Who makes a nuisance of himself, immediately. Like, no, don’t stand in her face and act like Brienne she be spending this time with you Tormund. This is about Brienne and her fair maiden Jaime. Tyrion does try to play a good host, and he offers all a cup of wine. But no worries, Tormund brought his own horn of ale. Tormund does bluntly demand to know if Jaime is the man known as King Killer, and Jaime, however awkwardly, he says that some may call him that.

And then we get the telling of how Tormund slayed a giant and was nursed at the breast of a female giant at the age of ten, which made him grow up big and strong. And then he sloppily drinks from his horn, and the disgust is apparent everywhere.

Why couldn’t Jaime and Brienne be alone here again?

Anyways, we happily cut away to the Hound and Arya. We get a wonderful moment of almost silence before the Hound gets bothered by her quiet nature. She then finally questions him on why he was there, since he doesn’t fight for anyone, and he very straightly tells her that he did fight for her. And she doesn’t have a retort. And THANK YOU SANDOR FOR SAYING THAT! NOW GO SWEAR FEALTY TO SANSA LIKE YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD! Beric breaks up what could be a much more compelling scene, and after the Hound addresses Beric in the way only Sandor could, Arya peaces out. She’s not going to spend her last night like this.

Instead, she’s going to shoot her bow by herself until the dead show up.

But actually Gendry took a page from Arya and is creeping in the background. He then approaches her, hands her the weapon of her heart’s desire (or has he?), and they start getting into some details that were missing from their last parting. Like what the Red Woman wanted with him. That he’s actually a Baratheon bastard, and that he apparently had a few relations with some other girls. Which is really want Arya was fishing for at this point, as she would like to see what other weapons Gendry brought with him. He’s happy to oblige, and we’ll just cut to black here.

So, we head back to where Jaime and Brienne are staring longingly at each other with a crowd all around. Tyrion has gotten quite drunk, and they’re now lamenting their claims to fame. Jaime is the fable loser of the Whispering Wood, and Ser Brienne… *record scratch* Oh wait, Lady Brienne beat the Hound in single combat. Tormund seems aghast that she’s not a knight, not that he knows what a knight really is about. Much like Hot Pie, it’s all about the armor. He then tries to woo Brienne in front of Jaime, by saying if he were a King that he’d knight her ten times over.

Jaime wasn’t having any of this though.

He interjects that the only thing that’s needed is another knight. And he proceeds to an empty part of the room and calls forth Brienne. And quite honestly I gasped, and squealed, and had to hold my breath to keep from sobbing as I teared up. Because JAIME KNIGHTS BRIENNE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS? HOW IMPORTANT THAT IT IS?

And really, I struggled with this review because I literally am still sitting on my couch staring in awe at my television as this moment unfolds before me. BECAUSE IT ONLY PROVES HOW MUCH THESE TWO WERE MEANT TO BE!!

The only thing that would have made that scene any more epic was if Jaime helped Brienne to her feet and then kissed her right then and there. And yes, there were other people cheering her on as she cried and smiled. But that moment was so intimate and personal for the two of them that it was just the two of them, and it was all that mattered.

And I hope and pray that I get more of these two, but I will love this scene if it is the last happy moment between the two.

Okay, I will try to calm down, and we will cut to Sam the Slayer bringing Ser Friendzone a gift, as Ser Friendzone is meeting up with his cousin the Little Lady Lyanna Mormont. It seems very appropriate that she refused to cow to his whims and desires regardless of the wisdom of his words. As she leaves, Sam presents Ser Friendzone with Heartsbane. And can I just say that I did love Jorah again? He vows to Sam to use the sword and wield it with honor for the family that Jorah’s queen killed. I wish this had been the Jorah we had gotten for more seasons.

Then we go back briefly to the gathering with our newly sworn Knight, and Pod breaks out into a song. AND WHAT THE HELL… THEY’RE SINGING JENNY’S SONG? I’M GETTING JENNY OF OLD STONES IN THIS EPISODE??!?!! AND I’M REMINDED OF THE GHOST OF HIGH HEART AND HOW SHE DROWNED ON HER GRIEF THE EPISODE BEFORE ONE OF THE LARGEST BATTLES IN THE SHOW?

I just can’t even any more.

And to make it worse, we get a montage of people that we all want to see be happy: Sam, Gilly and Little Sam, Sansa and Theon, Aryan and Gendry, Missandei and Grey Worm, Jorah, and then Jon and Dany. It doesn’t feel like things are going to go so well for these people, and that they may be dancing with their ghosts by the end.

The song ends as Jon stands in the crypts again, and Dany joins him. She’s trying to be nice since he seems to be bothered and has spent the whole episode avoiding her. He’s standing in front of Lyanna’s statue, clearly wrestling with something, and she starts asking for a family history lesson. Well, Jon is happy to oblige as he says, “Oh that’s Lyanna.”

It turns out that Dany knew that name though, and she’s all like, I heard all these good things about my brother, but I’m sorry that he raped your aunt. Jon’s like, yeah about that… it seems that they were in love. They got married, and they had a baby boy right after Rhaegar died. Oh, and that’s me. So, yeah, surprise!

Dany doesn’t take the surprise well though. She’s all indignant about her throne. It’s all about the throne. It’s hers, hers, hers. WHERE IS HER THRONE?!?

Thankfully, or maybe not so thankfully, the horns signalling the arrival of the dead sound before any resolution happens, and now we must wait until next week to find out what happens.

Oh god, I don’t know if I can wait.

Pray for my husband, he may not survive the wait.

Game of Thrones – The Final Season

I’ve got a few housekeeping things that I need to do, and I will be doing them soon.

However, in light of the final season of Game of Thrones, I thought I’d share the spoilerific reviews that I typically write for friends and family and share on FB.

So, without further adieu, and keep in mind that this post is dark and full of spoilers, read on at your peril:

 

 

 

Has it come?

Has the time finally passed?

Is the end upon us?

The final season has begun, and we are treated to our first ever true revamp of the introduction, and it is magnificent, heart wrenching, and perhaps just a bit terrifying as it shows a close up look of where the Night King plans on taking his new touring band.  And for good measure, we get some breathtaking visuals of what looks like Dany’s dragons coming to life and the Red Wedding.

We then cut straight to the North where Dany and her armies are making their way towards Winterfell, passing through the quaint village of Winter Town. Arya is spying on everyone in plain sight, and she’s happy to see Jon, but sad he doesn’t recognize her. Then she’s angry to see the Hound, despite having removed him from her list, and then happy to see Gendry.

Eunuch jokes abound a moment before we get to witness the cool welcome of the North, which is coming really close to being racially charged without ever actually stating it. Jon says it’s just because the North doesn’t trust outsiders, but come on… they were more welcoming to the Wildlings and those were known raiders. That’s okay, the dragon-poser wyverns do a flyby to scare the yokels, and Dany gets a strange look of sadistic pleasure as she listens to the screams of the Northerners. (Seriously, she looks way too pleased with the terror that is being caused.)

Jon and Dany enter Winterfell and greet the other Starks (minus Arya), and just as Dany and Sansa are about to have an epic showdown, Bran intervenes. He drops the bombshell that, oh by the by, the Night King raised your dragon as his own, so we kind of need to worry about that instead of the pissing contest you girls are about to get into.

Well, that’s one way to force a segue… and oh hey… we’re now in the Great Hall.

Tiny Lord Umber is ordered to go North towards the breach in the Wall and bring his people to Winterfell. I mean, yes, that’s a good idea, but doesn’t it seem a bit late to bring people that far away down to them before an army that doesn’t need to sleep descends upon the keep? I mean, I’m just a lowly outsider watching, but logistics…

After that tiny Lord leaves, the next Tiny Lord appears, this time it’s actually a tiny Lady Lyanna Mormont who is challenging Jon about bending the knee. Except, he actually deftly deflect this back to the fact that he’s trying to save everyone, and that the only way to do so was to find a way to bring everyone together. Hello, we’re all going to die if we don’t stop the undead? Is that difficult for the rest of you to get through your head?

When the meeting is over, Tyrion finds Sansa watching over the Courtyard of Winterfell, and at first it seems like it could be a touching meeting. Except, Sansa took one too many courses at Cersei University, and she just uses the moment to prove how much smarter she is than Tyrion now. Which, okay, she has no reason to trust any of the Lannisters, but if she’s as smart as she wants to believe she is, shouldn’t she realize that she could use her power to help unite these disparate parties and actually solidify her own power base in the process?

Instead, she pimps away, and we then cut to Jon and Arya’s reunion. It’s been eight season in the making, and the pure bliss of both actors can be seen. That is heartwarming, but both Jon and Arya aren’t the same people they were as kids. It’s bittersweet at best, as they’ve lost something of themselves along the way.

We take a break from the North by heading back down to King’s Landing and the seas surrounding it. Euron has returned from Essos with the Golden Company, and his favorite plaything – Yara – in his captain’s quarters. Except, she looks a sight better than the Most Beautiful Woman in the World from Dorne is, and Ellaria Sand probably does. So, there’s that.

Euron than treats with Cersei in the Throne Room with Harry Strickland, Captain of the Golden Company. She’s very upset to learn that there will be no Elephants. It feels like she’s the voice of the book fans as she is very hung up on the lack of the elephants, but she graciously welcomes the Golden Company before allowing Euron to sleaze his way into her bed.

While she’s off doing the filthy dead with him, Qyburn visits Ser Bronn of the Blackwater. He brings tidings that Cersei wants him to go kill Jaime and Tyrion with the crossbow that Tyrion used to kill Tywin. Hopefully Bronn prefers his bros before the Queen.

Back with Cersei, she and Euron have just finished with their private talk, and she’s still bemoaning that there are no elephants. Euron doesn’t care about that. He just wants to know he was a better lover than both Robert and Jaime. And Cersei seems to be enjoying his obnoxious display well enough that she almost seems to invite him to return.

While Euron is trying to find out if his penis is as good as Cersei’s other lovers, Theon steals onto his ship and frees his sister. As the Greyjoy siblings flee, Yara wishes to return back to the Iron Islands to hopefully secure a place for Dany to retreat to if necessary (which feels like some foreshadowing), but she allows Theon to return to Winterfell to help his foster family.

Back in Winterfell, the Karstarks have returned to Winterfell with their people, but there is still in sign of the Umbers. Huh. Anyways, Davos proposes a proposal to help Dany earn the trust of the kingdoms by marrying Jon. It seems that despite the imposing threat Bran shouted down at them when they first arrived, there is still time for love.

During the love fest of Dany and Jon, Dany learns that her dragons aren’t eating enough, so she goes with Jon to check on them. Which leads to their special Aladdin moment, but instead of a magic carpet ride, we get a hold on for dear life dragon ride where Jon mounts Rhaegal. I personally think that should have come after he learns of his heritage, but hey, it’s all good.

And they’re super selling the words of Bran by fucking off with the dragons instead of preparing for the imminent war. I mean, yes, Jon learning to ride a dragon could be useful, but finding a secluded waterfall and making out with Dany while her dragons leer at them… not so much.

Back in Winterfell, Gendry is a super popular man. First the Hound picks up his dragon glass axe, and while he is there, Arya shows up. And it’s more reunions with Princess Stabbity. First she stares down the Hound instead of hugging him like we all know she wanted to. Then she has some awkward conversation with Gendry where I’m not sure if they are intentionally flirting, or if he’s flirting and she’s just confused. Of course, she tells Gendry the true key to her heart… make her the perfect murder weapon.

I’ll admit it. I ship them.

In other parts of the Castle, Jon comes to see Sansa and learns that Deepwood Motte won’t be joining them at Winterfell. Apparently, Jon bending the knee upsets all the other Northern Lords. Which, okay, yes that’s a problem, but hello, undead army? Do they think Jon was just stark raving mad when he said that and they still voted for him to be their King?

Of course, Sansa is astute trying to find out if it was duty or affection that bent the knee, and we don’t get to see Jon’s answer.

Instead, we find Dany seeking out Sam so she can thank Sam for saving Jorah’s life. (Which, why didn’t we get a Jorah and Lyanna scene since they’re related!!?!?) And Sam asks Dany for a pardon for borrowing books as his thanks, and for stealing his family sword, and name drops his house name. And oh, the look on her face… when she realizes that Sam is of the same Tarly name of the people she roasted last year…

And my heart broke for Sam. No matter how much of a vile bastard his father was, he was devastated to learn that his family suffered a terrible fate. I’ll give Dany credit for owning up to her actions to him, and not trying to downplay it, but man, that was some harsh reality slapping Sam in the face.

As he rushes from the main Keep, he runs across Bran just creeping in the Courtyard, waiting for an old friend. He tells Sam that he needs to go tell Jon that he’s been boning his aunt, and his whole life is lie. So, Sam does, despite not being in the best of head spaces.

And he finds Jon standing in the Crypts, and I really enjoyed their reunion, as they have remained fast brothers despite everything. And Sam wants to know one thing from Jon first, if he knew, and he of course didn’t. And all the truth comes tumbling out as soon as Sam starts questioning if Jon would have done the same.

It’s a painful way for Jon to learn, but it was a wonderfully brutal way to force the truth out there. And Jon is spun as he learns that Ned lied to him, but Sam is amazing in telling him exactly how it was. Ned had to lie to save Jon’s life, and that was the reason he never spoke of the truth, no matter how much Ned may have wanted.

We then spirit ourselves away to Last Hearth to find out why haven’t the Umbers shown up yet. To lead us along the way, we are rejoined with Beric and Tormund who have climbed down the ruined remains of the Wall to find what looks to be a bloody yet empty keep. They decide to do the only prudent thing, explore the seemingly abandoned keep! And just as they feel that they’re about to find some of those pesky undead wights, they stumble across Edd and some of the Night’s watch!

And then they go into the Great Hall of the keep to find Tiny Lord Umber nailed to the wall with a sick display of arms and flesh spiraling out behind him. It’s morbid, and creepy, and then the Tiny Undead Lord squeals as he almost stabs Tormund! They decide it’s better to set him on fire, and then they watch all the flesh burn! It almost looks like they wanted some marshmallows, but they cut away before we could find out.

Back in WInterfell, we see a lonely rider arriving on a black horse. He drops his hood and we find it’s JAIME! JAIME MADE IT TO WINTERFELL! JAIME AND BRIENNE WILL BE REUNITED SOO…

OH SHIT, BRAN WAS WAITING ALL NIGHT IN THE COLD FOR THIS OLD FRIEND!

And now we’ll have to tune in next week to find out what will happen next!

Art and the Between the Veil series

I have been very blessed to have some amazing friends and fans contribute artwork for my novel series. I’ll be showcasing their art here, with their permission, because I am still in awe of how amazing it is.

This artwork is created by Meonlyred. Here, she has depicted Yumi as she is called to check out an apartment in New Orleans.

I met Red through our mutual love of the Mass Effect franchise, and she has been one of my supporters in my writing endeavors for many years. Please go check out some of her other work.

The Hunted

Private investigator Yumi Matthews finds herself in need of examining her own life. The realization comes after someone, or something, breaks into her apartment, torching her investigation into her brother’s disappearance and leaving a cryptic message in a mirror. She has no idea what it means, but it shakes her companion Ash in a way she never thought possible. When he abruptly leaves her side, she navigates through New Orleans looking for any clues that could help bring the culprit to light and answer those burning questions, all the while trying to keep herself from falling apart.

Is she getting too close to finding out what happened to her brother? Does this have anything to do with the recent murder of Abigail Kensington? What is it about this message that spooked Ash? Will delving down this path open more doors to this supernatural realm that she’s discovered?

For sale now at Amazon & Smashwords.

Other versions coming soon.

~AC

Happy October!

Hello again, my lovelies!

It’s October. Fall weather is upon us, if you happen to live in an area that recognizes fall as a season. (It’s been nearly 90 degrees for me, so I wouldn’t know that feeling!) Halloween is just around the corner, and that means ’tis the season for fright!

In celebration of that, I am happy to preview the cover for The Hunted, Book 3 of the Between the Veil Series.

Cover art was done by the amazing and talented Sherrie Spencer.

Check back soon for the release date of The Hunted.

~AC

It’s November?!?

For the first time in a few years, I’m not actively participating in NaNoWriMo, for a few reasons. Mostly, my brain is still trying to comprehend how it is November already, as October was that insane for me.
  1. My husband had surgery at the very beginning of the month. (He’s fine.)
  2. Hurricane Matthew rolled through/past my home. (We’re mostly fine.)
  3. My sweet Tommy cat passed away from complications due to his diabetes. (We’re not fine.)
  4. I’ve been doing my best impression of Supergirl at my day job for the past 6 weeks, which finally was no longer required as of Halloween. (I’ll be fine eventually.)

That makes for a very distracted and, at times, unproductive writer. However, I’ve had lots of brainstorming sessions and help from both my husband and my primary beta reader. I’m entering the third act of the novel, and I’ve got a very clear path of where things need to go. It’s a bit terrifying on some levels, for what I have in store, so the only way for me to push through the fear is to just get all the words on paper and finish this ever important first draft.

Once this draft is completed, I can share the very exciting news that I have in store.

After Titan

 

Geek & Sundry is offering a contest for new hard science fiction novels. While I’ve been primarily focused on the urban fantasy world that Yumi Matthews is a part of, I’ve been working on a first contact/space/science fiction novel as well.

What better way to see if there is interest, and to push me as a writer, than to try my hand at the contest. If you like what you see here, let me know by selecting a pre-order. There’s a chance to get accepted as a geek & sundry author.

Mini Update

Hey shiny happy people!

Not much to tell you at the moment. I’m still plugging away at the third book of the series. I’ve had some ups and downs as I’ve gone, but there is progress – just maybe not as much as I would personally like.

There have also been exciting distractions in the form of trailers this week from both Game of Thrones (a series that I’m in the midst of re-reading again) for Season 6, and that amazing trailer for the next Captain America movie. I’ll be honest that I’ve geeked out quite a bit over both of these things.  Plus, before I get to see either of these, the newest Star Wars will be out on DVD/Blu-Ray. This is going to be quite the year for my fangirl-y heart.

If you’re in search for an exciting new science fiction show, I recommend USA’s Colony. (It really should be no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m watching this show, given that Josh Holloway is the lead on it.) It’s nearing the end of its first season, and it’s a gripping drama that has had me more than once yelling at my television. (That’s a good thing, by the way.)

I do have some surprises in store soon for my book series. The most I can say is that the preview images that I’ve received have been beyond my wildest imagination, and I cannot wait to share the finished products with you.

Stay awesome, readers.