29 April 2013

Warehouse 13

So, I know I've pretty much only used this blog to bitch about Game of Thrones,(an important work, in my humble opinion) but tonight we're gonna take a little detour. From HBO to SyFy, from Game of Thrones to Warehouse 13. Warehouse 13 is an excellent show, beginning the second half of its Fourth season. One of SyFy's original shows, which fits into the shared universe alongside of Alphas and Eureka. The show follows a team of US Government agents who track down dangerous "artifacts" released upon the world. The Warehouse has existed for generations, moving location to whatever nation is the world's most powerful. The  modern incarnation is the 13th version of the warehouse, located at an undisclosed location in the Dakotas. Previous locations have included Rome, Cairo, The Holy Roman Empire, and the Library of Alexandria. The American version claims to have been constructed by MC Escher, Thomas Edison, and Nikolai Tesla, who's technology is at the core of the gear agents use everyday. Key amongst these are the Tesla stun-gun and the Farnsworth, a steampunk video-phone. Many of the gadgets in the show have a steampunk-esque feel to them.
Every week, the agents are tasked with tracking down and collecting artifacts, each of which bears a specific power set, often used by its owner without prior knowledge of the artifacts effects. An artifact is created by a specific person or event, for example, Lewis Carrol's looking glass, or Edgar Allen Poe's pen. Every season, also features an overarching plot, similiar to shows like Buffy or the X-Files which mixed full-season plots with "monster of the week" episodes. Major villains have included former agents, evil priests, and H.G. Wells herself.

The cast of the show is excllent as well. Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, and Saul Rubinek headlined the cast initially, with Alison Scagliotti and Aaron Ashmore joining on later. CCH Pounder excels as Mrs. Frederick, the mysterious Caretaker of the Warehouse. I was lucky enough to meet Eddie at NY Comic Con last year. Hands down, the nicest celebrity I've ever met at a Con. The show has also featured an array of phenomenal guest stars. Mark Sheppard (Badger-Firefly/Romo Lampkin-BSG), Jeri Ryan(7 of 9-STVOY), Kate Mulgrew(Captain Janeway-STVOY), J August Richards(Charles Gunn-Angel), Michael Hogan(Colonel Saul Tigh-BSG), Amy Acker(Fred Burkle-Angel), Rene Auberjoinois(Constable Odo-STDS9), Sean Maher(Simon Tam-Firefly), Jewel Staite(Kaylee-Firefly) (Bonus for Firefly fans - they played a couple!), James Marsters(Spike-Buffy/Angel), and Brent Spiner(Data-STTNG) have all featured for one or more episodes.

The show took off in interesting directions after its beginning. Not what I anticipated when I first began, and has gotten better with each passing season. The artifacts themselves provide nearly as much entertainment as the interplay between the actors. Its a challenge to guess who's items cause what powers, and if anything in the Warehouse already can be used to defeat the rogue items.

I highly reccomend this show to anyone who enjoys sci-fi, fantasy, adventure type shows and movies. Early on, I heard the show described as Indiana Jones meets the X-Files, and thats not a terrible metaphor, though it leaves some of it out. The early seasons are available on netflix now. More importantly, the show is going into an unsure future as we begin this half-season, and has not yet been renewed by Syfy. Airing behind the new show Defiance might help numbers, so if you're watching that, tune in after to see what Pete, Myka and crew are up to. For Buffy fans, James Marsters will be featuring quite prominently this season,oddly enough as an immortal, ageless British-accented man. (Not a Vampire this time).

Give it a try. If you read this blog, odds are you'll enjoy the show.

Till next time
- The Penguin

28 April 2013

"Kissed by Fire" - Game of Thrones S03E05

Welcome back all. Sorry, no blog last week, I just wasnt' happy with the way it read. But we're back on track now. Tonight, we find out what the Wildlings mean when they say "Kissed by Fire". And, if my assumptions are correct, we might just learn about another type of kiss. For my non-reader friends, I'd like you to guess now, what a "Lord's Kiss" means. If you can. So go ahead and remember that guess for later. We'll come back to it. Lets take a look in at the recap, see what hints it gives us.
Politcal machinations in King's Landing, Melisandre's red magic, Karstark's are pissed at Catelyn and Robb, Jaime lost his hand, Locke is a deuche-nozzle, Robb's got a few hostages (because Edmure screwed up), Melisandre had Davos locked up, NED!!!! We're reminded Jorah once worked for Varys as a spy, Thoros and Berric are going to try the hound, and Dany took what she wanted with fire. Lots and lots of fire. Not a single shot of Jon and Ygritte, which could kill my theory about the title's meaning, but we shall see. In the books, kissed by fire is how the wildlings describe anyone with red hair. Such as Ygritte. But maybe we're going to see it as more an allusion to the red priest's powers, specifically something Thoros may do. WHOA! Change in the credits. Mereen is passed right over and Yunkai is revealed! 2/3rds of Slaver's bay now unlocked to us. And lets begin:

Thoros gets the first scene, praying to R'hllor before the trial by combat. Asking the Red God to stand judgement over the combat. Takes a little blood from Berric, and voila! Flaming sword. And not cheap ass wildfire either. For those that don't recall, the Hound HATES fire. Its the answer to the question "do you wanna know how I got these scars?" Fire and an asshat brother. This is a great fight. The Hound is stronger, no doubt, but Berric is faster. And has fire. Sandor's shield catches ablaze. And the Hound strikes true. Berric is down and out. Thoros prays over the dying, and the Hound takes a dig at Arya, and oh dear lord the dead man's talking. Good place to cut.

We move north to the Wildlings now. Good to know. Orell is one ugly man. Jon fitting right in, gathering wood with Ygritte, who, of course only wants his wood. Jon gives away a bit of info, but of course no more than Mance could have told them before. Tormund, much to everyones frustration, still has not said anything about his member. We have to deal with Pod the player, but not Tormund's member. But I digress. Jon reveals the terrible truth of the Nights Watch. 19 castles, only three manned. Each end and the center. Realistically, the Wildlings should know this for truth, but it appears Orell is testing Lord Snow. Tormund taking a strange backseat in this. Oh man, thats a great line. "What happens to your eagle after I kill you? Does it float way like a kite with it strings cut? Or does it just flop down to the ground?" And theres Tormund stepping up. And here we go. This should be fun. Wait...hold on a second. Jon would not say seven hells. He holds the old gods. Not the new. YES!!!!!!!!!! Now thats what I'm talking about! Jon's gonna have to break his vows here to hold what he was told to do. The things he has to do for the watch. BEST USE OF A LINE EVER! And there it is. The Lord's Kiss. Anyone get it right? I find it hard to believe that the water they just jumped into is warm enough to stay in and not freeze. Just say yes Jon. Life will be so much easier.

And back to the Brotherhood. The Hound learning the hard way what outlaw means. Arya is not pleased.
Well that was quick. Now we've got Locke and company arriving in Harrenhal. Time for some Roose action. Bolton is not likely to be pleased about Locke's hack job. Interesting way for Roose to tell Jaime about the Battle of Blackwater. Oooh, little more backstory on Qyburn. I like it. This guy fits my mental image pretty well. Oh man I am glad i haven't eaten recently.

Now we're back to the capitol. Baelish gets a suprise visit from the Queen Regent. Cersei is not half as threatening as she thinks she is, especially since Petyr knows he's got one foot out of the city already. And now Tyrion is meeting with Lady Olenna. And Lady Olenna lays the verbal smackdown. Tyrion is out of his league here. She makes some excellent points here about the neccesary expenses for the wedding. Tyrion seems impressed by how badly he just got verbally beaten.

Now we've got Genndry and Arya. Genndry plans on staying with the Brotherhood. A smart choice. He wants to be a free man. A touching plea from Arya here. You could be family, if you married him. But theres that small matter of a Frey wedding promise that you don't know about. Though that does seem to be the Stark way.

Here are the two Lannister boys we saw last week. The sounds of battle outside, and here's Rickard. Lord Karstark seems to have decided to take matters into his own hands. And now we have two little dead Lannisters. Lady Talisa looks disgusted. This is going to throw a whole new pile of fuel on the fires of those who believe in the Lannister Honey trap theory. I've not written it off myself. Oh boy Robb looks pissed. This is a great scene. Robb has grown so much here. And oooh, nice right hook from the Blackfish.  Bold words from a man who just killed two children. Whoa. Talisa just agreed with Catelyn. Talisa now playing against the Honey Trap theorists. The Young Wolf knows what must be done. Even if it is the wrong move in the end. He learned that from his father. Too soon? Robb now is going to show off something else he learned from his father. The man who passes the sentance swings the sword. And off in one shot. Something Theon never did learn.

Arya back to her prayers now. And she sees right through Thoros' double speak. They really are the Merry Men of Westeros. One complaint I would like to file, they did not make Berric pretty enough. Berric will now explain his magic powers of resurrection. Much like the shadow magic, there is a limit. There is a price to magic, and it takes a piece of you every time. Out of all the Stark children, none has it rougher than Arya.

Who is this now? Could it be Selyse Baratheon? The Mannis returns to his Queen! This wasn't really well done in the last season. After all, Stannis only knows of the Lord of Light because of his Queen. Hmm, slightly diffferent pronunciation than I expected for her name. Out of curiousity, any chance we'll see Shireen this season? Whoa, so not only are we going all out with the relevation of Stannis banging Melisandre, but Selyse is ok with it? And WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT!?!?! Selyse has a fetus wall? Has she been hanging out with the Governor of Woodbury? What the.....Also, one of them is named Edric? Thats just not right. Not at all. Ah, so Shireen does exist. And apparently is hidden away....you guys know I was kidding about the Governor thing right. Oh thats creepy.....she's singing Patchfaces song. I know, I know, oh, oh oh. That poor girl. Greyscale is a hell of a disease. I do like the touch of her friendship with Davos. You don't believe that Stannis. Not even for a second. I can see it in your eyes. So no Patchface eh? We're just totally ignoring the fools in this world apparently.

Brienne the beauty bathing herself beneath Harrenhal. And oh lord I did not need to see the Kingslayer's ass. HBO goes equal opportunity at least. We got Ygritte, the women folk get him. I'll take that trade. If they play this scene out book accurate, this could be one of the best moments of the series. Low blow Jaime. Low blow. And there's Brienne's ass. Oh HBO, sexposition once more.The heel-face turn continues. And here we go. So, Ser Jaime, why did you kill the Mad King? Long story short, Aerys was a fire-loving shit head. I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy this. See you in a few moments. So, is everyone looking at the Kingslayer in a different light now? Ordered to kill his father and knowing that the city was about to be lit on fire, only then did he break his oath. If nothing else, everyone should be fully on board with just how much of a nut-job Aerys was. There it is again. Ned Stark was far too honorable for this world. Its a sad truth. But it is one that people have to come to grips with. He had few bigger fans than I. Rest in Peace Lord Eddard

Shireen sneaks down to the dungeons to see Ser Davos. And we're face with the realization that Ser Davos, up-jumped smuggler, cannot read. But oh boy, when he learns.... Haha. Nice touch. A-e-g sounds like Egg. Good little nod to the Dunc and Egg prequels.

Oooh. Nice fade. Barristan the Bold and Ser Jorah trading old war stories. Ah yes, the siege of the Iron Islands. Theres a hard truth from Ser Barristan. Robert was a good man, a great warrior, but a terrible King. Interesting show of camaraderie between the two old men here. Barristan the Bold longing for something powerful to believe in. Is that Danerys? Oooh, time to name an Unsullied. Dany has allowed the eunuchs to choose their own leader. And this one has the honor to be Grey Worm, commander of the Khaleesi's Unsullied. Major, major kudos to the language experts HBO hired for this show. And heres an interesting point. In the tv show, Barristan the Bold did NOT sit on the small council. But in the books he did. So he knew about the arrangement Ser Jorah had with the Spider. Jorah with a nervous moment there. Does Barristan know he was a paid informer? Or not. Little bit of a dick-measuring contest between the two knights. I hope Jorah knows how badly Barristan can whoop his ass.

Robb staring at a war table now. The Karstarks have left, as expected. So with the Freys out, which the show has largely ignored, Robbs pretty well screwed. Talisa petitioning her lord husband to return home and win back the north from the Greyjoys. Not a terrible idea at this point. And he gets battlefield inspiration from his own situation. Robb wants Casterly Rock. But for soldiers, he's going to need the Freys. But how to get them back? And how is that, I wonder?

Now we've got Margaery and Sansa having a little girly time while Ser Loras trains. Oh, and hey, in case you were wondering, Loras is still gay. Knight of Flowers indeed. Who is this strange new man? Wait whaaaattt? Baelish you sly dog. Man he is good. Well, that at least answers the question of how the Lannisters found out. Honey trap indeed. True friend and pedo-bear that is. Sansa needs one of those robots from Lost in Space. Danger Sansa Stark! Danger! Oh man Cersei's smile is not going to be a good thing for anyone else in this room. Sansa is the heir to Winterfell. Another great line. This is a plot, plots are not public knowledge. I would pay good money to play poker against Cersei. No hiding anything. And there's the bombshell. If you think Tyrion's reaction is bad, wait till you see Sansa's. Terse family moment. For those that don't remember, Tyrion's last marriage ended poorly. Major anger between the Lannister men here. Wait what? Cersei to Loras? Where the hell did that come from? Tywin Lannister is not getting himself any votes for father of the year here.

And we end with Shireen singing Patchface's song. Creepy as hell. For those tv only friends of mine, Patchface is the fool employed by King Stannis to entertain his daughter. However, he suffered an unfortunate drowning experience and was never quite the same. Some say he saw the face of the Drowned god, some that he just went nuts. But either way, he's always saying weird and creepy things about life under the sea. Its a big unsettling to me that Shireen has taken up that habit. Also on that note, as I said earlier, it seems that the fools and their ilk have been mostly left out of the tv adaptations. No moonboy entertaining at court. No jester singing "The Bear and the Maiden Fair" to cover the sounds of Sansa and Lady Olenna's convesation about Joffrey. In fact, barring the brief moment when Sansa saved Ser Dontos' life, we've not seen him at all. Oh well. Not a major point, just something worth discussing.

I know this episode lacked a big "dracarys" type moment, but I loved it. It felt truly longer than its one hour showtime, and not only because I kept rewinding certain parts. There was so much story packed in. I like the show better when it focuses on only a few story lines per episode. Which, incidentally, is something I was think about earlier. This show is going to be in a lot of trouble soon. Not next season, but the season after that when they move into the material from "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance With Dragons" These two books happen simultaenously, and there is ALOT of story in there, taking place over far more diverse locations than we're in now. Expect another blog outlining what I expect there soon. But back on topic, I loved this episode. Alot. We're halfway done with the season, and I expect only great things as we go forward. There are still two or three major events to happen this season, and plenty more for next season as well. Some weddings, some funerals, some battles, and a whole lot more. Till next time, may you feast in the halls of the Drowned god. What is dead may never truly die.
- The Penguin

22 April 2013

And now his watch has ended......

Welcome back all. We've reached Episode #4 of Season 3, and we near the halfway point. Should be all but done with the setup/establisment/etc by now, and into the non-stop action I predict (and hope) will dominate the rest of the season. Tonight, we say goodbye to one of my favorite minor characters from the books, a truly great man. But, as they say, And now his watch has ended.

Previously on Game of Thrones: 
Arya's in an interesting situation. Theon is in a world of pain. Littlefinger is creeping on Sansa. Littlefinger gets to marry crazy-Lysa. Jojen and Meera have found Brandon, too late. The Watch is back at Crasters. Totally not Ramsay Snow is nuts. Dany is going to pay for soldiers with Dragons, and the Kingslayer lost a hand. Just enough to flash memory us back into tonight's episode. I'm excited to see more of the Reeds. Bran's POV chapters became much more interesting after Jojen and Meera arrived in Winterfell. Also, it'll be good to see more of Jaime and Brienne, as the Kingslayer continues his slow-played Heel-face turn. I may not have commented on this previously, but apologies if I did. Its a very nice touch to show Winterfell still in the credits, and to make it a smoking ruin. 

And we're in, starting off with a hand hanging on a necklace. The Bolton's ribbing on the Lannister twincest. A nice touch. Ooooh, faceplant from the Kingslayer. But he only gets  7.3 from the Stark judge. They're trying hard to make these Bolton men more like the Bloody mummers, which begs the question of why not just use the Goat and his men themselves. Brienne trys to return the favor from last week, but to little effect. 

And now we've got Tyrion and Varys. We're contiuing the interplay between the eunuch and the dwarf that worked oh so well last season. Not sure what Varys is doing with that crate, but its awfully distratcting to the conversation. Ah, now we get to learn the story. The tv only viewers might now be able to start putting together some of the Blackfyre theories on Varys that book readers have had for some time. Nope, he doesn't want your junk for sex Varys. Just for magic power. See, if Varys was a Blackfyre, he potentially could have King's blood. Which as the man who cut him is a Red Priest, and their magic relies on King's blood. Wait...is he not going to refer to him as a Red Priest? Never mind then. Varys truly looks scared talking about this dream. Excellent acting. I'm not sure that the hating magic part is from the books. Oh, there he goes, back-handedly referencing that it was  R'hllor's priest whod id it. Tyrion quite impatient. Varys still doesnt have this frikkin crate open. Varys appears to be applying make up here. Not sure why. He makes an excellent point to Tyrion about revenge and patience..and WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?! Why does he have a soceror in a box? 

And now we've got the Night's watch at Crasters. They're mucking stables for some reason....we're a little late in establishing the discontent with Mormont, but guess we've got to rush. Sam still playing the love-sick idiot with Gilly here. They better not make him break his vows early. And she refuses to name the child, but doesn't say why, which seems weird. The wildlings, for my tv only friends, believe its bad luck to name a child before their 3rd name day. Gilly setting the stage for her story arc here, I can buy that. 

And now we jump to Bran. He's running, so Green Dream. And there's the Raven. Jojen apparently  in the dreams with Bran now. Interesting way of developing this interaction. I do wish they'd make the Raven talk in the dreams. And now Catelyn's here...aaannddd she throws Bran off the tree. 

Varys and Ros discussing Pod's prowess here. This is going to be an unneccesary plot point that goes on too long isnt it. I do like the use of Ros here to show more of Vary's knowing everything. Its the first use for her I've liked in this show. Varys prodding into Sansa here, which is good. They're going to spoil the game here. 

Joffrey gets creepier every time we see him. Cersei gets a few minutes with Lady Olenna here. EXCELLENT LINE from Margaery there. Nice bit of foreshadow. The Queen Regent is no match for the Queen of Thorns. She takes her digs at Mace, and is trying to gauge how much Cerseii is responsible for Joff's madness it seems. Lady Olenna pushing a girl power agenda, and Cerseii is not picking it up. The sept is beautifully designed. "Sometmes severity is the price you pay for greatness." Excellent line. Margaery is triyng to push Joff into going outside, doing something good, or perhaps hoping he'll bite it in a riot. (I know I am). And the crowd goes wild!!!! For Margaery that is. Ought to sit well with Cerseii. Haha. I jest, of course. But seriously, the Purple Wedding cannot come soon enough. (Realistically, I'll have to wait till next season, probably episode 2, which GRRM is writing himself)

Now we've got Theon and this mysterious stranger. Really selling the story here. Maybe a bit too much. If this is actually Deepwood Motte, Theon should actually recognize it. He had to have visited at least once with Lord Eddard. They're doing all they can to sell Theon as a sympathetic character. I still hate him. He should NOT be admitting this to anyone, Ramsay especially. That's dangerous. Whoa. Theon refers to Ned as "his real father". Quite touching. And from sympathy back to pain. It's back to the rack with you Greyjoy. Excellent facial expressions from Ramsay there. Now we're getting somewhere. Side note, I know he's been through alot, but how the fuck did Theon not know that was the same castle. Seriously.

Meanwhile, back to the Boltons. Brienne looking worse for the wear, though, obviously not as bad as Jaime. Kingslayer's going on a hunger strike here. As he said earlier on "Give me a good clean death anyday over being a cripple." Great line when Jaime identifies himself as "being his sword hand." His turn is a phenomenal story line, and if he can't admit what he was first, he won't develop into what he can be. You mean Brienne's not worth her weight in thappireth? Cause thats ALOT of thappireth. 

Lord Tywin writing a letter. Could this be the famous letter that wins the war? Cerseii pushing her father to rescue Jaime, as if eh wasnt' already. That HAS to be the letter we all think it is. Now she's going to push her usefulness as an heir to the great legacy of House Lannister. Insulting the man as you make these points is probably not going to help you. Charles Dance is amazing here, once again. Verbally lays the smack down and dismsses Cerseii and Joffrey in two simple words. I will

Lady Olenna can not get enough screen time. I think she just did a Ned stark impression when she said "winter is coming". Lord Varys coming to speak with her now. This should be good. And it delivers already. This back and forth is wonderful. Its like verbal chess. Varys spills the beans on Littlefingers plans. The show accentuates the hatred/rivalry between Varys and Baelish more directly, and I like it. "One of the most dangerous men in Westeros." Quite true. Certainly the most ambitious. Well, if Robb would go ahead and write his will, then we could remove Sansa from the inheritance equation. "He would see this country burn to be King of the Ashes." Great line. We all know where this is going, right? 

Lady Margaery getting a bit of girl talk in with Sansa. Well written sequence. Nice to see Sansa smiling. She's had so few chances for that. As much as I hate the character, there is definitely sympathy. Margaery already planning to abuse her power. And, now we've gotten to the theory that fans have been proposing for so long about why Loras has yet to take the White Cloak. They're writing out Willas, and going to tease Sansa with the Knight of Flowers. Has anyone told him about this plan yet? More importantly, has anyone told Sansa he's gay yet? 

And next up we've got a fire. Red priests? Nope, the Watch burning one of their dead. Its good they've learned their lesson. So, why aren't they leaving Craster's yet? Its not that far to the wall. Waiting for those who are too injured to travel is a terrible plan. They're not getting better without help, and they're not getting help here. And the anger at Craster is justified, but I just don't feel they've justified the anger and dissent at Mormont. Not enough for what's to come at least. Things about to get interesting here. Tensions running high. Who breaks first? Craster? Random Night's Watch asshole? Whelp, that answers that question. And Mormont gets it in the back. The Old Bear fights back! Don't go down without a fight Jeor. Sam showing some balls finally. I do hope he's going to get Grenn and Edd first. But apparently not. 

And we're back to the Brotherhood Without Banners. Maybe we finally get to see Lord Berric. Although I'm not happy about the actor change. Much like the Mountain, its a bad visual difference. The old actor, who I realize was just a minor, minor, part, really looked the part. Berric is supposed to be strong and handsome. And, yes, he's been through hell, but he shouldn't have gotten fatter..... Oh. well. I wonder if we'll see the duel tonight? Great speech from Lord Berric there. Its amazing that no one here can think of a murder that the Hound committed. Arya comes through. Well, the little girl is definitely the bravest one there. 

Cut out, and we're in Astapor. That is one gigantic army there. Its amazing that of all these people there, none of them can see what's coming. Not even Jorah or Barristan. Dany is about to pull the biggest coup in Essos history. YES! Dany with the reveal! She's been aware what they're saying the whole time. Just playing along. I love Jorah's reaction face there. And here she goes, the most important valyrian word she knows.  OH man. Drogon's flame has increased in size. Attention world, the Targaryen's are back.  The Unsullied seem unsure how to react to this news. Can't really blame them. Dany's gone from zero to epic badass in about five minutes of screen time. Great ending. I love the musical cues here. I've liked Emilia Clarke since the beginning, but tonight, for me, she truly became Danerys Stormborn, blood of the Dragon.  

Overall, I quite enjoyed this episode. Next week, we get Berric's duel, The Kingslayer at Harrenhal, more of Tywin's planning, a big suprise for Tyrion and Sansa, more bitching from Arnolf Karstark, Tormund and Jon, looks like Davos in jail, and Jon and Ygritte in the cave!! I'm quite excited for that. Action abounds next week, and not just in the combat sense, if you know what I mean. Hopefully, all the summer children who've never read the books will learn next week just exactly what a Lord's Kiss is. 
Till next time, may you continue to say "Not today" to the god of death.
- The Penguin

15 April 2013

Walk of Punishment - S03E03

And we're back. Once more for another week. Sorry its late, I was away from the computer for the weekend. It felt nice. Sadly, this meant I didnt have HBO, so I had to spend all of monday avoiding the internets for spoilers. I really didnt know what to do on my lunch break today since I had to avoid /r/ASOIAF and /r/Gameofthrones. But I digress.

Episode 3: Walk of Punishment. We left several key characters in new situations last week. Rob on his way to Riverrun for his grandfather's funeral, Bran in the hands of Little Grandfather, and Jamie and Brienne at the mercy of Bolton's men. I enjoyed episode 2, so lets hope for more of the same here.

Lets see, previously on we're reminded of Karstark's unhappiness, Dany's visit to the unsullied, Arya meeting Thoros, Theon getting his false hope, Barristan the Bold finding Dany, Orell's scouting, Mormont and the boys on the march, Clegane blowin Arya's cover, and of course, the fight. So that probably fits in scope with what we're expecting here. Should be a big moment for the Kingthlayer in this one, that should shock the shit out of TV only viewers, but in the grand scheme of things for readers, is kinda meh. TV viewers have never truly seen the awesomeness that is Jaime Lannister playing at swords. George RR Martin has said he would beat Aragorn, Son of Arathorn in a fight. I doubt this. However, its fairly certain there are fewer swordsmen in the realm of Westeros capable of besting Ser Jaime than 5. Which is also about how many..anywho. They're going to have to speed up the pace these things are built in the credits, because eventually they'llhave too many cities. Nice touch incluidng Riverrun today anyway. Title credits done, lets begin!

We open with the funeral. Rest in Peace Lord Hoster Tully. We quite literally hardly knew you. Ah, this must be the Blackfish. The Tullys really got shafted out of so much excellent story in the show. Nearly all of the action of Robb's camp in seasons 1 & 2 should have been taking place at Riverun. Jaime's cell was there, Robb was proclaimed King in the North there, he introduced his mother to his bride there, etc. And Blackfish was with Lady Catelyn since the incident in the Vale of Arryn, where he served as guard to Lady Lysa. Edmure should have had time to develop into a cocky shit, but oh well. They're not entirely essential, so I can forgive not adding them in. They're really emphasizing the House banners this season. I like it. That Tully banner is gorgeous. And here's Edmure. Robb doing a bad job of hiding his disgust on that shot. Second tmes even worse. This is bad luck for the Tullys. Its like Failing to break the champagne bottle on a ship's christening. Gotta love the Blackfish with the attitude there. WRONG Edmure! If you hadn't fucked up, Tywin would not have been in position to help at King's Landing. And Stannis would own the city. But that's not going to be emphasized here. Robb doing a great job being King over his Uncle here. Has to be a bit of an akward family dynamic. Robb is afterall, only about 16 in the books here.

And with that seque we cut to The Lion himself, Tywin of the Rock.Hositng what I'll assume is his small council. Varys, Check. Littlefinger, check. Tyrion, check. Pycelle, check. Fairly certain Littlefinger should be gone by now so Tyrion can become master of coin. And Cersei....awkward. Love them making her get her own chair. And Pycelle shoots daggers at Tyrion. This is the best silence I've ever heard on tv. Petyr getting his bride! Well done Tywin. And Tyrion gets his job. Pycelle is great there.

And now we're off to The Brotherhood without Banners, and they're singing...THE BEAR AND THE MAIDEN FAIR!!!!! Whoa, wait...these are Bolton's men singing. Weird in book context, but amazing foreshadowing for the show. Brienne lays the verbal beating on Jaime. He's showing her some actual compassion here. The change has begun. He really does a phenomenal heel-face turn over the next few chapters.

And now really at the Brotherhood. Gendry does a bit of work for Thoros. The Hound taunts Anguy. Arya going for the memories of Mycah, but the Hound has nothing of it. Hot Pie is being, well, Hot Pie. Farewell fat friend. Love the wolf bread. Maise Willaims turned 16 today by the way. Arya's not even 16 in the books. Very deep farewell from Gendry there. And we're down by 1.

Beautiful scenery shot from Riverrun there. Oh, Brynden wasn't there? Where was he? Not at the Moon Gate, thats for sure. Well, in the books you were Catelyn. For the tv only viewers, Blackfish was a name Brynden Tully adopted because he was the Black sheep so to speak of the family, but as the Tully sigil is a Trout, it worked. He created his own adaptation of the house banner. Cat dealing with her sons deaths a little late. Except, oh wait, she doesn't know their actually dead. Only missing. Uncle Brynden is such an important part of Catelyn's development, I'm amazed he didn't come sooner.

Talisa healing up some younger Lannisters here. She's playing up the wolf bit for some fun. This scene will do alot for the Lannister Honeypot theorists on reddit.

Mance has arrived on the Fist of the First men. Now we see the result of the battle we didnt' see. Always the artists? Whoa....The White Walkers made a horse-spiral. I don't remember that. He's sending Tormund over the wall. We saw that coming. Sad that we'll pretty much be done with Mance for the season now.

And here's whats left of the Nights Watch, limping back to Craster's Keep. Ghost still inexplicably following Sam. I know he doesnt cross the Wall with Jon, but he should be with him still. Craster recognizes how badly beaten the Crows are here. He's got the option to put them out. He'll regret that decision. We'll assume thats Gilly up there giving birth. Sam's interest piqued. Great back and forth with Craster and Mormont. Craster acknowledging that he's worshipping the Others as his gods essentially there. Oh Sam. Don't be a dumbass. Congratulations my dear. Its a boy. And we all know what that means. Though I'm not sure that what's in store for the boy is any worse than being raised only to be bedded by Craster.

Theon still stuck on the rack. Lets see if his "friend" can get him out. Yikes that foot looks bad. But at least its not flayed yet.

Now we're on Dragonstone and Melisandre is leaving Stannis? Why is she leaving? Stannis getting a little handsy and creepy here with Mel. Whoa. Not at all the way Stannis the Mannis is in the books. She calls him the son of fire. Why not just say Azor Azai? So looks like the speculation was right. She's going for Gendry.

Now we've got Dany and her Knights. They really seem to name episode titles after her small part. Good back and forth between Selmy and Jorah here. They're building up to their little split. Jorah makes an excellent point about the Unsullied there. But Barristan with an excellent counter. YES! Jorah's best line of the entire series. And Rhaegar died.
Dany negotiating here. At what point will they reveal her ruse? I think from her facial expressions here she already knows. Missandei is excellent here. The shoe drops here. She's going to give up a dragon. And finally Jorah and Barristan agree on something. Special effects missed a bit there. Jorah sighs and you can see how cold it is from his breath..except they're supposed to be in a hot, arid city. Good play for Missandei there. And now Dany is fixing her plot perfectly. Missandei is such a great character going forward.

Littlefinger's been keeping the city's books in his brothel. A strange place. Pod falling victim to Ros' charms. I wonder what they're going to show of Littlefinger in the coming times. He disappears for a bit in the books, working off the pages, behind the scenes, etc. Bronn perfectly phrases what Littlefinger's greatest secret could be. Wow..what a reward for Pod here. The Iron Bank gets a mention here. Which is good becaue Braavos has been largely unmentioned and its going to be important later. Especially that funding my enemies bit. Wait...did Pod not do it? Or did the whores really not take his money. This is wonderful. "Were going to need details. Copious details."

Now we've got a rider alone in the north. Seems to be one Theon Greyjoy. And now the Bolton's are in pursuit. Poor Reek. I still don't feel bad for Theon. Not after what he did in Winterfell. What a knockdown! He's gonna feel that. And many other injuries. Boy did I not need to see that side of Alfie Allen. Oh what the shit. Did Ramsay just kill three of his own men to fuck with Theon? Well, you little bastard certainly sells it for me.

Cut to Jaime and Brienne. Here comes the rape attempt. Will Jaime mention the sapphires? Seem's hes going to play the hero here. I like it. Jaime finally shows compassion for someone that isnt' Cersei. An excellent change. Might be pushing his luck with this speech here. You know, Locke has a bit of a lisp. Will he say thappireth? Jaime doesn't see the trap coming here. Not even a little. Fool. HOLY SHIT! I did not think they'd show that. Epic.

And now we're getting some kind of rock version of the Bear. Fuck that. I'd rather have the version the men were singing earlier. I like this as a song alone, but not to be played in the credits here. Had we gotten that as a bonus thing, or some band in a bar played it, I'd love it. But they should have done a faithful version.

Next time: Dracarys. That is the one word you need to know. YES!! More Lady Olenna. Also, we'll have a sad parting with one of my favorite characters next week, for now his watch has ended. Might even get to see Sam the Slayer. And of course, not-ramsay will continue his mind-fuck games with Theon.

All said and done, I enjoyed this episode very much. Long overdue to see the Tully's in detail. Edmure's brashness, Blackfish's awesomeness. Sir Jaime has lost his sword-hand, Brienne is un-raped, and King's Landing is progressing into turmoil. Its gonna be fun. Till next time, may R'hllor shine his light upon you.

- The Penguin

12 April 2013

The NFL in Westeros

George RR Martin, author of the fantasy epic "A Song of Ice and Fire" is a huge football fan. It is known. But what I and many others may not have previously noticed is a little tribute he inserted into his most recent book, A Dance With Dragons, where a Giant defeats and kills a night in armor described as quite similiar to the uniform of the Dallas Cowboys. When asked about it, Martin reveals that it was the result of a bet with a friend.

Here's the relevant part. Full article link after:
SAGAL: Isn't it true that there's a character in your latest book that's there because you lost a bet about a football game?
MARTIN: Yes, in a way, yes, it is. That's true.
SAGAL: Well what happened?
MARTIN: Well there's this guy named Patrick St. Denis, who runs a fantasy website called Pat's Fantasy Hotlist. And Pat is a big Dallas Cowboys fan. So we would have a standing bet for a number of years about whether the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Giants would do better.
And I won the bet the first two years. But finally, in the third year the Cowboys finished ahead of the Giants. And what I had to do if he won the bet was to kill him horribly within the books.
MARTIN: So I invented a character called Ser Patrek of King's Mountain and described his heraldry as looking somewhat like the heraldry of the Dallas Cowboys with the silver star on a white field. And then I had him ripped apart by a giant.
SAGAL: Which he found very enjoyable.
MARTIN: Yeah, he seemed to get a kick out of that.

Here is the original article: http://www.npr.org/2012/09/15/161142894/thrones-author-george-r-r-martin-plays-not-my-job

Its also worth noting that the name of the victorious Giant is "Wun Wun", which is considered to be a tribute by Martin to one his favorite (football) Giants of all time, who wore uniform number 11, or "one one"

Just a nice little easter egg stuck in. Now, enough football watching George. Your last two books aren't going to write themselves!
- The Penguin

08 April 2013

R+L=J, leads us to J+D

The list of fan theories surrounding George R.R. Martin's epic "A Song of Ice and Fire" series are far too numerous to be listed in any one spot. Unless that spot is an oddly specific subreddit, of course. But as we led to to season 3 of the HBO tv adaptation, Entertainment Weekly did a photo shoot to accompany their article on the upcoming season. Their subjects for this were Kit Harrington and Emilia Clarke, who portray Jon Snow and Danerys Stormborn, arguably the two most popular tv characters, and two of my favorite book characters. (Oddly enough, the stupid changes in season 2 made them my least favorite tv characters, but thats a rant for another time). The photo shoot seems to play along with one of the most prevelant fan theories, being that Jon is part Targaryean, and therefore is perfectly suited to marry Dany when she comes into her throne on Westeros. Obviously, there are alot of assumptions there. First that the R+:L=J fan theory is correct, second that Dany eventually claims the Iron Throne, third that Jon is willing to forsake his vows (as they were made under the false pretense that he was a bastard), fourth that Dany will choose her (presumed) nephew over her other (again, presumed) nephew Aegon (4a that Aegon is actually Aegon and not, as I think, a Blackfyre pretender) and of course, fifth and finally, that Jon Snow is still alive.(And if he's not, I won't have to wait for GRRM to finish the books, because I'll be done reading them anyway). So, all that led to some creative work on the internet, specifically by buzzfeed, and well, this is the end result:

Just a little laugh for those who agree with my theories. Enjoy!
- The Penguin

07 April 2013

Dark Wings, Dark Words

These words, often spoken by Starks and others about the Westerosi postal service, the Ravens, provide the title for tonights episode. Season 3's first episode was panned as being a slow introduction, which is neccesary in a way, but fans will want to see more direct action I feel. "Valar Dohaerys" was watched by millions, and it has already become the most pirated show ever, according to several tracking sites. HBO's on, the laptops charged, here we go.  You know the drill with spoilers. Ye've been warned. 

Side note before we get started, these commercials for other HBO shows do NOT make me want to watch any of them. VEEP looks retarded, Girls looks like the most obnoxious shit on tv, and newsroom looks like pretensious shit. Commercials over, here's the preview, and away we go! 

"I want to fight for the side that fights for the living." Great line. The more I think about it, the more I like the change in the convo between Jon and Mance. Still not sure why Ghost is at the fist of the first men either. If Varamyr isn't cast (I'm not sure he is) then its less important, but if he is, then that would be our chance for them to truly start mentioning the word Warg, which will become more important. Perhaps if we see the Reeds tonight we'll get it through Bran. Also, if we dont get Orell, that will deny us the very real show of Melisandre's powers when she shoots down his eagle later on, but more on that when we get there. 

And we open with Bran in a green dream. I don't remember the emphasis on the bow & arrow in the books, but not a big deal. And here's his friend the 3 eyed crow. And now he's hearing Robb and Jon. Nice touch, bringing Lord Eddards voice. And who's this? Jojen Reed maybe? Damn those wolves have gotten bigger. Hodor hodor hodor. Natalie Tena, I will be sad to see you go. But sadder still if you don't because that would be a very unneccesary change. 

Flash to Robb now. Talisa, it was brought to my attention this week, very clearly missing the accent that every single other character from across the sea has. And here's Roose. Well, he obviously knows about the marriage. I was wondering. Ah, and Robbs going to Riverrun. That'll get him out of Harrenhal. And here's Catelyn getting the news. Should've been long ago, because it would have made her release of Jamie Lannister make much more sense. But good she knows now.

FLAYING TIME!!!!! Theon is in for some shit here. Squeamish folk, look away. 

And here we are with Westeros' favorite buddy cop team. Brienne the Beauty and the Kingslayer. Boy did I not need to see Jamie pissing. Nikkolai Coster-Waldeau is phenomenal. And even after Renly's dead they'll pile on the gay bashing. LOL. "You're far too much man for him." This sequence is one of my favorite parts of the book. Oh god, I'll never get the image of an Iron Throne of cocks out of my mind. It burnnnnsss! Well that was a random encounter. Are they rolling on a table for this? Jamie playing the devil on the shoulder.

Joffrey getting a fashion lesson now. Cersei revealing her insecurities to Joffrey. I feel bad for Jack Gleeson. No matter what he does after next year, he will always be in peoples minds for playing this sick little bastard (and playing him so well). Man, put a crown on Joffrey's head and he doesn't give a shit about what mommy says. Good for him. That bitch is nuts. Whoa. You're calling her a harlot? Just because the show left out you fucking seven different guys, doesnt make you not a whore. Joffery with the verbal bitch slap on mommy! Excellent! 

No no Sansa, listen to Shae! Listen to Shae! Odd that we're seeing her more with Sansa then we are with Tyrion. And Loras is still not wearing his white cloak. A little odd. The Knight of Flowers is laying it on a bit thick here. We all know he wasn't looking at you Sasna. Renly was sitting behind you. Olenna Tyrell time! I'm so excited for this. The Queen of Thorns is an excellent player. I love that line! This woman is one of the best characters in the books. Excellent portrayal! Sophie Turner is taller than Natalie Dormer I think. But oh what a pair. And here's the kicker. Dish on Joffrey. Spill it all Sansa. Olenna knows instantly she can't let Margaery marry this little asshole. There are few better players in the Game of Thrones. I cannot emphasize this enough. 

Grey Wind getting a little bit of screen time. Lord Karstark is playing his part quite well. And theres the truth of it. Robb needs the Freys. Lady Stark and Talisa with the frosty encounter. Catelyn has every reason to be, with the way this was presented in the show. In the books, obviously, she had to be more contrite since her fuck-up was covered only by Robbs equal fuck up. Odd choice of story here for Cat to tell. Well, she failed on that. She was never a mother to Jon. I don't see how this war is because of that. 

Mance and Jon now. I'd like to see the musical side of Mance here, but I don't think we will. Excellent motivational tactics from Mance there. Ah, excellent, here's our warg. Orell. Creepy eye effect. Technically, no, Rose, he hasn't. He is one, but he doesn't know it yet. And his siblings only took that ability on after he left them. 

Sam getting some shit from one of the assholes of the watch. Good set up for the revolt against JoMormont. Oh for fucks sake Sam, get up. Dolorous Edd has been great. Good setup for the Sam the Slayer storyline. "I forbid you to die." Excellent. I love the Old Bear. Its a shame his son was such a disapointment. Looks like a nice day in Iceland, err..I mean, beyond the wall. Nice in that its not snowing at least. 

Meanwhile, back to Bran. Oh boy is Summer gonna rip this guys throat out if he's not Jojen Reed. That is one angry wolf. Oh, what a good doggy. Worlds worst guard wolf though. Bran looks a little nervous. He should recognize the name Reed. Ned always spoke well of Howland. 

And here we have Arya, Hot Pie, and Genndry. And here we have the Brotherhood without Banners! Anguy the Archer making his presence known. The producers are going to be in trouble with Maisie Williams I think. She'll be far too pretty for how Arya's described. Thats Thoros? Not how I remember his description. Hah! Excellent shot. 

Tyrion gets his first appearance for tonight. Shae waiting for him in bed, that'll disturb him. Oh good. She's going to spill the beans on Baelish to Tyrion. Yes, thats how he knows her. That, and he fucked her in Winterfell. Shae with a little whore envy here. Tyrion getting himself in trouble here. This is a nice foreshadowing for how Shae is going to (in the tv show at least) feel when Tyrion gets betrothed. Joff does love his crossbow. The King is getting a little testy with Lady Margaery. This will not score points with Olenna. Margaery, btw, learned at her grandmother's side, there is no doubt there. The princess of flowers will certainly be an excellent player. Yes, everyone, she's talking about anal. Take note all, the Lannisters do NOT support marriage equality. God damn she's good. Damn. Nice shot Joff. Interesting exchange there. 

Oh boy, this is not good for Theon. I'm gonna assume this guy is Ramsay. Maybe HBO should get them some name tags. At least Theon's still got all his skin. Nope. Good misdirection. This will be Ramsay. Posing as Reek. No way Asha (Yes, Asha is her real name. Not Yara) sent him. Reek, Reek, it rhymes with sneak.
Warg has turned out to be important here. Almost like someone predicted that earlier. Good to see the education of Bran by Jojen. Not sure entirely why Asha and Rickon are still with them. Whats it going to take for them to realize the split is important. Dear Lord, I want to meet Howland Reed. That man has all the answers. 

Back to the Brotherhood. Thoros is drunk, apparently.... He's supposed to be sobered up now that he's found religion. Work on that grip little one. Your dancing master would be most displeased. They've got Sandor! God can I not wait for this fight. And way to spoil the suprise Hound. 

I love me some Jamie and Brienne. YES!! Fight time! Jamie looking a little jedi-esque with those rags. God he's good. Shackled, weakened, beaten, under-fed, and still holding his own. Even if Brienne is holding back a little. I'm quite upset that these are Bolton's men finding them, not Vargo Hoat. No lisp. And now we won't ever hear anyone say thappireth. Or Kingthlayer.

And that's all folks. Much better pacing than last week. Could have done without the whole Catelyn hates Jon Snow thing, another few minutes with the Reeds or over in Essos would have been preferred instead, or even the novel idea of getting to Riverrun tonight. I've been very much looking forward to seeing the castle that rules the Riverlands, and the Blackfish, and cocky Sir Edmure. Though he should be less cocky since in the tv show world, he never got his "defeat" over Tywin. 

Lots of good things teased in the trailer. Dany with the unsullied, Stannis the Mannis, Jon getting his orders from Mance, the show-down at Craster's, Arya gets away from the brotherhood, and Theon makes his first escape attempt from the guy who's totally not Ramsay Snow (WINK WINK). Till then, I'd recommend all of you who haven't already go buy the books and read them. You'll be doing yourself a big favor. I'm planning on re-reading myself when I have the time. So basically never. Till next week all, may the old gods and the new keep you all. 

- The Penguin

02 April 2013

Wish Fulfillment

CollegeHumor.com gives us an interesting look at how things could have gone veerry differenty in Game of Thrones. As a side note, if anyone knows where I can get my hands on a Wildfire Gun, please let me know asap!

- The Penguin

01 April 2013

Game of Thrones - Season 3 - Episode 1

***WARNING***Here thar be spoilers. The books been out since 2000 people. No excuses*****

Game of Thrones has returned to HBO for Season 3, this time taking on the first half (approximately) "A Storm of Swords", Book 3 of George R.R. Martin's epic "A Song of Ice and Fire". I love these books. Alot. If George dies before he finishes I'll be there (with my legions of angry nerds) to resurrect his ass until he's done writing. However, the tv show is a different matter. I enjoyed Season 1, accepted the need for all the changes. Season 2, however, I did not enjoy. Major changes were made for no apparent reason, especially in the arcs of my favorite characters, Jon Snow and Danerys Targaryen. Where are my dragons? How about, "Where is the plot of this amazing novel?" Because you lost it HBO. And now its gone, gone, gone.... But I digress. Season 3 premiered last night, with a chance to put everything back on track, and correct some glaring issues and missing characters (Paging Jojen and Meera Reed. Jojen and Meera Reed to Winterfell please!) I've got Episode 3:01 ready to go on the DVR, so lets see how it goes: 

HBO's Game of Thrones: Season 3 - Episode 1 "Valar Dohaeris" - The Penguin's Live Blog:

Ok, not off to a good start here season 3. Not entirely your fault, but season 2 handled the visual look of the "Fist of the First Men" so terribly, it just continues on. Its supposed to be a small hill surrounded by heavily wooded slopes. Not a giant rock cliff on an Icelandic Glacier. Samwell Tarly the first character we see, not showing any bravery yet, but thats to be exepcted. Here's something nobody seems to have thought of, Jon Snow never found the Dragonglass (obsidian) in the woods around the Fist (Both because in this there are no woods and because Jon was on the Fist for all of three minutes), so how the hell is Sam going to discover that weakness of the Others? Now Sam's attacked by a White Walker, and OH

WHAT THE HELL is Ghost doing there? He's supposed to be with Jon when he fights Quoran Halfhand, which is pretty much simultaenous with this. And here's Mormont, and Sam's being chastised for not sending the Ravens, which isnt really his fault, because in the book he did. The Old Bear should blame HBO's writers. And roll opening credits. God that theme song is awesome.

Still cool visuals here in the theme song. I dont remember if Dragonstone is new or not, I think so, but Astapor definitely is. Nice touch there. And we're moving on to Jon Snow with Rattleshirt, AKA the Lord of Bones and Ygritte the hotty. Err, I mean Wildling. Much like Tyrion, she gets the HBO treatment for tv, way prettier than the character should be. Thank god they didn't do that for Brienne of Tarth. And oh my god thats a giant. Big boy. Nice visual effect. Cool shots of the "Free Folk" camps. Can't wait to see Mance. Jon is one of my three favorite book characters, so my approval of this show going forward will be largely based upon whether they correct the damage they did to him last season. Which as far as I'm concerned was on par with having Han shoot second. Rose Leslie's accent is hypnotizing. Great costume for Rattleshirt btw.
And here we have Tormund Giant's Bane, Jon's mistaking him for the "King Beyond the Wall", laughter ensues, and enter Mance Rayder. One of the biggest additions to the cast this season, the so-called "King Beyond the Wall" is played by Ciaran Hinds

. Some changes in method of Snow's recruitment here. No mention of Mance sneaking over the wall to Winterfell and having seen Jon Before, which means we don't get the iconic "Did you see where they put the bastard" line. A shame, but not terrible. No sign of Val and the ladies, which is weird also.

Meanwhile, in King's landing, newly knighted Sir Bronn is getting sexed up, which is a nice change since he's mostly just watched while Tyrion did. And flash to Tyrion, who's scar isn't nearly as horrific as it should be (HBO treatment again), and his nose is intact. Cersei mentions the nose that's supposed to be missing,  very nice touch. Good back and forth between the siblings, continuing from last season. These two actors work great together.
And here comes Bronn, for the showdown with Ser Merryn. LOL. "Sir who's it of who cares?" Excellent. Bronn rubbing his new knighthood in Merryn's face. Jerome Flynn is awesome as Bronn. One of the best castings in the show. Bronn extorts Tyrion for more money to continue fighting his battles. Knights after all, do cost more. And scene change....

DAVOS LIVES! Holy shit he looks terrible. Sallador Saahn to the rescue. Sallador sowing the seeds of disconent concerning Melisandre. Good, good. Sallador gets in some good one liners also.

And we cut to the the Young Wolf and the increasingly creepy Roose Bolton (Great closeup of his sigil) at what appears to be Harrenhal. Yup, Harrenhal. Which is abandoned now? Last we saw Black Harren's Folly, Arya was escaping with Jaquen. And apparently Lady Stark is traveling with the army. OOoh, very good back and forth with Bolton and Karstark, foreshadowing some spoilers. Oh right, HBO remembered the Tully's are a house. About time they were mentioned. Rumors are we're going to see Edwin this season finally. And who's this survivor? Qyburn! The Mad Maester. Remember that name, non-book readers. But why is he with the Starks? Thats not right.

Aaakkward family reunion as we shift back to King's Landing. Tywin Lannister is Hand of the King once more. Same cranky old man, different crazy king. Tyrion's got some great points here. Being a dwarf really gets him the short end of the stick. Though Tywin's views aren't fully wrong either. And thats what it all comes down to. Tyrion gets the blame for killing his mother, who died in childbirth. Tywin was never the same after he lost Joanna. Does Tyrion love his whores, whine, and shady company? Absolutely. But he's still one of the smartest people in the realm.

And here we have Sansa, sitting on the dock talking to...Shae? Interesting. Fantasizing about the ships in the harbor. Sophie Turner seems to have gotten taller. She'll tower over Tyrion now. And she's also still 17. So maybe not done. Here comes Littlefinger. Aiden Gillen, possibly the best casting in the entire show. And wonderful, he ruins this moment by mentioning the BS from last season where he saw Catelyn Stark at Renly's camp. Which should NOT have happened. And mentions Arya, even though noone knows if she's actually alive, even though she was right next to him last season, also in some made up BS. Baelish not even hiding his interest in getting Sansa out, which I don't mind, though I'd like to see some more of Ser Dontos. And we have Ros the whore, maybe thats who Ser Bronn was fucking before. She's apparently Littlefinger's right hand woman now. Still not sure why they added that character to the show at all, but so far no harm. Interesting foreshadowing on the Littlefinger/Sansa relationship there. Ros warns Shae about Baelish.  

And finally, the moment you've all been waiting for. The reason this show has such a high CGI budget. Black screen, and you just hear that scream alone. And we've got DRAGONS!!!!!! Excellent shots of the Dragons hunting on the ship that Dany mysteriously obtained. They've gotten quite large suddenly. They got on the ship somehow by skipping over the addition of Barristan the Bold and Strong Belwas to her little party. Hopefully soon. Ser Jorah doesn't look so good, he's aged poorly. Haha, Dothraki getting seasick everywhere. Silly horselords.

And that tease ends, bringing us back to Dragonstone. Stannis rocking a 'stache. He looks weary, beaten. Perfect. Is Melisandre pregnant again? Or just poorly dressed? She looks heavier. Stannis almost looks like a different actor. Great portrayal. And Davos descends into madness quickly. Weeks on a rock will do that. Pulls a knife on the Red Lady, and its off to the brig for the Hand of the King.

Back to King's Landing. Joffrey traveling by hand carried sedan. Game of Thrones literally just showed a dick in a box. (Cue Drumroll) Lady Margaery walking out amongst the people. A nice touch. And also, how gorgeous is she? Natalie Dormer can be my queen any day. She's talking up Joffrey to this crowd, and distributing food, man she's good. Excellent hearts and minds operation from the House of the Roses. Oh Joffrey that joke was terrible. Did Cersei just chastise Margaery for not wearing enough? Hello pot, its kettle, you're black. Loras and Margaery are an excellent brother/sister team. If Loras wasn't so openly gay, I'd be worried about a bit of a Cersei/Jamie relationship with them. Great back and forth with Joffrey and Cersei. Cersei now begins to realize that she'll be phased out of the picture in this wedding. There can only be one beautiful, charismatic queen, and Lady Margaery is the younger, prettier, much more loved woman.

And welcome to Astapor. Our first look at the Unsullied, the greatest army money can buy. Emilia Clarke looks great in that dress. Excellent use/non-use of subtitles to portray Missandei working for/against Kraznys mo Nakloz  and Danerys Stormborn. I hope they bring Missandei's story along as it should in the book. Especially since Danerys lost two handmaidens for no fucking reason last season. OUCH! Oh man, not the nipple. Poor Grey Worm. Wonder if they're going to mention the puppy bit. Guess not. Looks like their masks were inspired by Shredder. Also looks like our Khaleesi's got a new necklace there, a Dragon talon of sorts. One of her children shed it perhaps. Ok, we're entering a market now. This should be Barristan the Bold's return entrance. Better late than never. And here's a mysterious hooded man. Looks like Obi-Wan, which is appropriate. But what about Strong Belwas? OOOH, BASILISK! That kid just had nightshade lips. Even though Dany's left Quarth the warlocks are still after her. She did burn down their tower. And enter Selmy! WOOOO! Barristan's still got it.  Guess we're leaving Strong Belwas out of this version. Thats a shame. I liked him. Guess in the hornet scene to come we'll just kill off another Dothraki. They're like the fucking redshirts at this point anyway. Yes Jorah, he commanded Robert's Kingsguard. But he also commanded Aerys II's Kingsguard. Just happened to be away from the city when Jaime pulled his treason.

And cut. Way too soon for me to say anything really about whether this gets us back on track. I didnt hate it, didn't love it. They seemed to jump around more than usual, but I'll assume thats due to the fact that its a season premiere. I love that a season is half a book now, but hate that a season is only 10 episodes. I know the show is expensive, but seriously, HBO can't afford 12 or 14? Next week should be just as busy, seeing as we've got alot of things to still cover. No Arya or Bran in this episode, or Theon. I was looking forward to meeting Jojen and Meera who were mysteriously left out last season. Also, with the split of the brothers to come, it's likely next week will be Natalie Tena's last episode, which is a shame, because I like her alot. Although, after last season, I can never look at Nymphadora Tonks the same again. Interesting question to ponder. Since they changed everything about Robb Stark's breaking of his betrayal, will they kill of Talisa on the Red Wedding day? Or will Robb be smart enough to leave her behind? And what the hell happens to her then? Will Robb have an heir running around? Should have some more fun with the Tyrell's next week as well. No indication of meeting Mace, which is odd. Maybe Loras will take up his white cloak next week. Should be starting to see the Kettleblacks soon also, since they've been ignored thus far. And looks like we’ll get the Brotherhood without Banners making its first appearance. Hopefully still the same actor playing The Lightning Lord.

Overall, much happier with this than I was with last years premier. Some good one-liners, great shots of the Dragons, and Barristan the Bold returns. Not sure why it was called Valar Dohaeris. I know Valar Morghulis was the last episode, but as that arc was based on Arya and Jaquen and since we didnt see my favorite one of Ned’s children today(I'll explain more at another time, but I do not believe that Jon Snow is a product of Ned's loins), I’m a bit confused. Till next week, may the old gods and the new keep you.

- The Penguin