Tag Archives: game of thrones

doctor who recapping: the snowmen

Previously on Doctor Who: The Angels Take Manhattan

If it’s not spider aliens below the Thames or kamikaze cruise ships careening past the stars, then it has to be biting snowmen in 19th century London. Christmas and the Doctor collide once again, and the result is just as chilling, charming, and wondrously campy as the best Moffat and co. have offered in a while.

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Plot

  • The Doctor mourns the loss of the Ponds in his own way; i.e., by sulking around 19th century London and parking his TARDIS in a seemingly permanent cloud bank.
  • Enter Clara. Clara is a clever and very familiar looking barmaid/governess who becomes instantly intrigued with the Doctor.
  • Clara and the Doctor accidentally discover the iceberg tip of evil Doctor Simeon’s plans to take over the world with parasite snow, a sentient snowglobe, and the hybrid forms of a couple frozen corpses. (It’s best to just accept the feasibility of this plan without a fight.)
  • Unfortunately, the Doctor is out of the whole “world saving business” and he just wants to leave the Earth alone (albeit from a couple hundred feet above its surface).
  • Clara is not a girl you can easily say no to though — even if you’re a Time Lord.
  • Together with old friends like lizard alien Vastra, Vastra’s wife Jenny, and Sontaran Strax, the Doctor and Clara take on a dead ice woman (Clara’s predecessor at her current governing gig).
  • Things seem to be going along fairly smoothly: fun outsmartings of the frozen governess, flirty back-and-forths between Clara and the Doctor, and comic relief from our alien friends…and then it all falls apart.
  • Immediately after the Doctor offers Clara a key to the TARDIS — a physical representation of his willingness to move forward and enjoy life once again with a new companion — the ice woman emerges from the cloud bank to throw Clara hundreds of feet to the icy ground below.
  • While mostly dead Clara is left to Strax’s medical ministrations, the Doctor and Vastra confront Doctor Simeon and the evil alien parasite that eventually is revealed to control him.
  • All hope seems lost, but then the snow minions are defeated by a magical salty rain brought about by an entire family crying on Christmas (specifically, the family Clara serves as a governess for — again, just accept it.)
  • The Doctor returns in time to hear Clara’s last words: “Run, you clever boy, run. And remember.”
  • What? The Doctor is no idiot. He realizes an impossible connection must exist between Oswin Oswald, the girl turned Dalek turned dead from his adventures in The Asylum of the Daleks, and Clara.
  • As he happily flies away in the TARDIS in search of his twice-dead girl, viewers are treated to a modern Clara doppelganger in the middle of an overgrown cemetery, blissfully reading, of course, the tombstone for one Clara Oswin Oswald.

BTalking Points

Clara Oswin Oswald…Who?
Are we all caught up? Actress Jenna Louise Coleman has mysteriously already played two characters in her short time with the show. First off was souffle-baking Oswin Oswald in the season’s premiere. She turned out to be a Dalek right before dying. Now we meet Clara. Clara gets to actually talk to the Doctor face to face, and their flirty and feisty repartee lays easy groundwork for a whole season’s worth of entertaining chemistry. Of course, that Clara died as well, but presumably the next Clara will hit it off with the Doctor as well as the first two. My theories are all half baked (besides the one where Clara is a cat alien with nine lives), so I’m resigned to wait with the rest of the Whovian world.

Fun
It’s no secret Moffat likes to have a little fun with his scripts, and why shouldn’t he? From no less than four “Doctor who?” jokes to potato-inspired jabs at Strax, this special seemed made for Doctor Who fans who love the show as much as Moffat does. Could some tighter editing have been employed? Sure, but all has to be forgiven in the face of the Doctor masquerading as Sherlock Holmes while music reminiscent of Moffat’s other hit show Sherlock plays in the background. Meta-magnificence! Add in a fantastically sinister performance from Sir Ian McKellen as the voice of the parasite, and I was sold.

Quick Gripe
As much as I enjoyed The Snowmen, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have at least one silly complaint. What’s up with the “winter is coming” line? I get that it’s a seemingly generic and pithy way of announcing the arrival of the next season, but come on…That was literally the promo line for Game of Thrones’ first season. References are fun (see above), but the mention here — twice! — does absolutely nothing for Game of Thrones or Doctor Who. For the former, it’s the noble words of everyone’s favorite honorable family; for the latter, it’s just the power-crazed rambling of a parasitic snowflake. If there’s an insightful connection there, I refuse to see it.

CQuotes

The Doctor: I’m the clever one. You’re the potato one.

Clara: It’s smaller on the outside.

The Doctor: I never know how. I only know who.
Clara: Who’s this?
The Doctor: Me. Giving in.

Strax: Madame Vastra wondered if you were needing any grenades.
The Doctor: Grenades?
Strax: She might have said help.

Vastra: Good evening. I am a lizard woman from the dawn of time, and this is my wife.

Clara: Run, you clever boy, run. And remember.

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: valar morghulis

Previously on Game of Thrones: Blackwater

It’s here! Forbidden love! Betrayal! Jaw-dropping twists!  The season finale rides the mighty wake of last episode’s epic showdown to every corner of Westeros’ Seven Kingdoms and beyond. Seriously. Practically every character you’ve ever met was featured, however briefly.

The narrative was positively dripping with romance compared to the rest of the season. Robb, against his mother’s wishes, marries Talisa in a very hush-hush ceremony. He promised Walder Frey that he would marry one of the disagreeable man’s many daughters, but Robb is just so smitten with this nurse that he chooses love over honor. Awww… Actually, what moved me more than those two lovebirds was Shae’s surprising declaration of devotion to Tyrion. The former “camp follower” doesn’t seem to care that her brave lion has a scar stretching from temple to jaw, and Tyrion’s heartfelt reaction to this is rather touching.

Yet while Tyrion may have gotten to appreciate the love of a good(ish) woman, he also was one of the characters epically betrayed. His sister indirectly tried to kill him, his father took his job, and his best bud Bronn got fired as head of the goldcloaks. Tyrion’s brief and very witty reign over King’s Landing seems to have ended as quick as it began. Over at Winterfell, Theon is betrayed by his own ironborn in a scene that actually played out quite comically. While trying to prepare his men to fight with a stirring speech, Theon is knocked unconscious by one of his advisors. Apparently, the ironborn want to go home now and stop fighting Theon’s battles. Up further north, Qorin purposefully provokes Jon to fight, and Jon ends up killing him. It’s a form of welcomed betrayal to the wildlings, who now choose to accept Jon as one of their own, but viewers know (and possibly Ygritte as well) that Qorin wanted Jon to kill him specifically so that the Night’s Watch could have an “inside man” within the wildling ranks.

There are also some new alliances that are worthy of note because they will no doubt feature prominently in next season’s arc. Joffrey releases Sansa from the pleasure of marrying him so that he can marry Margaery Tyrell instead. This is done partly to solidify the new Lannister and Tyrell power alliance and partly because Margaery looks a lot more alluring to Joffrey than Sansa, who mainly mopes around all of the time (I wonder why). Also, Varys and I-forgot-her-name, the friendly and frequently appearing prostitute, form an understanding. I think the understanding is that I-forgot-her-name will report back on the men she sleeps with, which sounds…helpful, I guess.

And now onward to the literally jaw-dropping segments of last night’s finale! Jaqen, Arya’s friend who likes to talk about himself in third person and preach Red God rhetoric, is a Faceless Man! What is that? I’m not sure, but it involves a creepy magic trick in which Jaqen looks away, and when he turns around he has a different face (Get it? He literally dropped his jaw! Ahaha…) Over at Qorth, Dany goes through some trippy rooms of the House of the Undying, finds her dragons, and then gets the little monsters to burn alive the bald man who wanted to keep them all there. And Dany, she who does not possess a gentle spirit, isn’t done. She realizes her friends Xaro Xhoan Daxos and Doreah, the former prostitute, were in cahoots, and she leaves them to die in a sealed vault. Remember: don’t mess with the Mother of Dragons.

The last scene of the finale is bone-chilling. After hearing three blasts of the Night’s Watch horn (one blast signals rangers returning, two wildings, and three the mysterious others), Sam falls behind his other brothers and is left alone as the first zombie-like creatures lurk across the icy plains. I can’t really “recap” this scene very well. It’s better to just watch it.

Thoughts

Season 3 of Game of Thrones will (probably) return Spring 2013! Customarily, I feel like this would be a good time for me to make my predictions for next season, but since I already read the books, that might be a bit strange. So instead, I’ll plug the books! The first five books of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series (upon which the Game of Thrones show is based) are all available! I cannot stress how phenomenal a job the show producers have done in adapting it for television, but there really is nothing like actually reading the stories, especially from the characters’ point of view.

Or, you know, you could just wait for Season 3 — which unfortunately is a long, long way away.

Valor morghulis—All men must die.
Valor why-does-Game-of-Thrones-only-have-10-episodes-per-season-and-only-air-once-a-year—All men must wait.

Or something like that. Till next season!

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Missing in action: Yara

Body count: 5 -> Maester Luwin, Qorin Halfhand, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, Doreah, Creepy Bald Man

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************

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Quotes

Petyr: “Look around. We’re all liars here, and every one of them is better than you.”

Tyrion: “I’m a monster as well as a dwarf. You should charge me double.”

Theon: “Send more ravens.”
Maester Luwin: “You killed all the ravens.”

Theon: “Do you know what it’s like to be told how lucky you are to be someone’s prisoner?”

 

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: blackwater

Previously on Game of Thrones: Prince of Winterfell

Ready or not, here comes Stannis! The inhabitants of King’s Landing know Stannis and his fleet are mere hours away, and they all choose to deal with the imminent attack in radically different ways. Cersei has all but given up as she contemplates suicidal death via essence of nightshade or Ser Illyn Payne’s sword. The soldiers of the city predictably turn to alcohol and prostitutes. Only Tyrion seems to care about actually planning a defensive strategy. And Joffrey? Let’s just say he’s being as helpful, noble, and king-like as usual.

Meanwhile, the men of Stannis’s fleet are reasonably confident that their attack on King’s Landing will be successful. Their ships outnumber their enemy’s 10 to 1, and their men 5 to 1. If battles were all about numbers, then this should be a metaphorical walk in the park for Stannis and his Red Priestess. Davos, the gruff onion knight, is not so sure. He shares some history about how King’s Landing has never been breached.

Stannis’s fleet materializes eerily out of the dark fog. Only one ship sails across Blackwater Bay to meet them. This infuriates Joffrey, but the unusual strategy is clearly Tyrion’s own. As Stannis’s men suspiciously watch the single ship, Davos spots green liquid pouring from its hull. Uh-oh! Remember all that wild fire talk from a few episodes ago? The ship explodes in an impressive plume of green smoke and fire, quickly incinerating the ships closest to it.

Even with a big chunk of his fleet taken out by wild fire, Stannis still has enough men to land his ships and attack the shore. Joffrey predictably bails on the action, leaving Tyrion to heroically muster the troops. To cries of “Halfman! Halfman!”, Tyrion and the men of King’s Landing successfully throw off Stannis’s soldiers from the Mud Gate. Unfortunately, Tyrion barely has time to celebrate. He’s suddenly slashed across his face by Ser Meryn (friendly — very deliberate — fire). All seems lost for both Tyrion and King’s Landing as a fresh wave of Stannis’s men storm the shores. But surprise! Here comes a new mysterious group of riders who slash and stab their way through Stannis’s men. Tywin Lannister has come to save the day!

Thoughts

  • You know what? I completely think this episode lives up to the expectation and hype of an entire season’s worth of build-up. Great writing, great acting, great fighting (actually more violent than I expected), and great CGI explosions. This episode legitimately made me happy. I don’t know what that says about me, but I know what I like, and I liked this.
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  • So having said that, was it just or me or was this episode weirdly reminiscent of the Helm’s Deep siege in The Two Towers? Not only do both feature a siege of a heavily outnumbered army, but a weak gate is targeted, a crazy explosive substance is used, and just as the battle seems at an end, a mysterious third party arrives on horseback to turn the tide. I’m not saying I’m complaining necessarily—just pointing it out, I guess.
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  • Kudos to the writers for restricting the scope of this episode to just King’s Landing. As much as I love the show’s rich cast of characters, the Battle of Blackwater would have only suffered from being interspersed with scenes of Dany shouting or Theon whining. (See painfully slow scenes of Ents talking right in the middle of the most exciting Helm’s Deep scenes—my last Lord of the Rings reference…probably.)
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  • Cersei is both creepy and brilliant in this episode. She’s been more or less unraveling all season, but her obsessive and bitter grip on reality is noticeably slipping here. This is the first time I realized how similar Cersei once must have been to Sansa. You know, before her incestuous relationship with her brother, abusive marriage, and devil-spawn of a son.
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  • Poor Hound. I hope everyone remembers that his face looks like an ugly uglier version of Two Face because he got burned as a kid. He’s not a coward for abandoning the battle so early. It’s hard enough to fight for a brat like Joffrey without the entire battlefield reminding you of your childhood trauma.
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  • Sansa finally is getting interesting. My least favorite Stark actually got some of the best lines this episode. Who knows? I might have to switch her out with Rickon on my list of favorite Starks. Sorry, Rickon. It’s nothing personal. You just don’t really do anything.
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  • Fun fact: George R. R. Martin wrote this episode.
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  • Season finale is NEXT Sunday!!!
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Missing in action: Theon, Bran, Rickon, Yara, Catelyn, Robb, Jon, Ygritte, Dany, Arya, Melisandre

Body count: Thousands

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Quotes

Varys: “I’ve always hated the bells. They ring for horror: a dead king, a city under siege.
Tyrion: “A wedding.”
Varys: “Exactly.”

Shae: “Some of those boys will never come back.”
Sansa: “Joffrey will. The worst ones always live.”

Cersei: “The gods have no mercy. That’s why they’re gods.”

Tyrion: “Those are brave men knocking at our door! Let’s go kill them!”

 

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: prince of winterfell

Previously on Game of Thrones: A Man Without Honor

Jon is reunited with Quorin Halfhand – as fellow wildling captives. Instead of coming up with an escape plan, Quorin decides it is best to infiltrate Jon into the wildling ranks because “one man on the inside is worth a thousand rangers.” Quorin stages a fight with Jon to convince the wildlings that Jon is ripe for defection, but Ygritte obviously sees through the ruse. She doesn’t say anything, though. Probably because it would suit her just fine to have Jon join the wildlings.

Over at King’s Landing, the men who are actually running the city (i.e. not Joffrey) worry about the imminent arrival of Stannis and his fleet of Red God-worshiping warriors. Tyrion and Varys muse over possibilities — all of which seem hopeless — as they plan a tentative plan of defense. Meanwhile, Cersei tries to blackmail Tyrion into keeping Joffrey out of harm’s way by threatening the safety of his girlfriend. Unfortunately for Cersei, the girl she found is a prostitute Tyrion just slept with once, not the prostitute that he is currently in love with. Whoops.

In an utterly surprising turn of events, Robb and Talisa, the pretty battlefield nurse, hook up. Robb is engaged to someone else, thanks to a tricky alliance with Walder Frey, but as this show has already demonstrated, kings get to do whatever they want. Even self-proclaimed kings of just the north. And who knows, maybe the relationship will help him cope. Robb was forced to arrest Catelyn, his own mother, after she confessed to releasing Jaime. Don’t ask why she let loose Robb’s ace in the hole. I’ll rant about that later.

Theon, the eponymous Prince of Winterfell, gets a visit from his big sister, Yara. Expecting congratulations and even a little bit of envy, he is dismayed to discover that Yara stopped by only to chastise him. Winterfell is too far from the sea (the source of the ironborn’s strength), and now that Theon has stupidly killed the Stark boys, the full fury of the north will be after him. Meanwhile, Maester Luwin senses something is fishy with Theon, and he discovers Osha hiding Bran and Rickon in Winterfell’s crypts. The boys that Theon burned and hanged last episode were just somelocal kids. Hooray for the deaths of nameless bystanders rather than our glorious main characters!

In other news…

  • Sam and some of the other Night’s Watch brothers discover a hidden cache of dragonglass, buried beneath the snow.
  • Dany is heading into the House of the Undying to find her children a.k.a. the trio of kitten-sized dragons.
  • Arya gives Jaqen the name of her third and final target to kill, and to his surprise, she says his own name. Jaqen agrees to help Arya and her friends escape Harrenhal if she un-names him.
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Thoughts

  • As much as I like the grumpy Halfhand, I’m not sure if I agree with his plan of espionage. How would one double agent really affect the wildling hoard? Hollywood has taught me that spies thrive by secretly extracting intel from computers (usually with cleverly designed flash drives) and relaying it to their real superiors. Since computers don’t exist and I doubt anyone is going to let Jon near a raven, I see no real way he can help – let alone prove his worth is more valuable than a thousand rangers.
  • I’m a little confused about the red-haired woman who has been more or less a recurring character since she came to King’s Landing to hit it big as a prostitute. While it’s unfortunate that Cersei identified her as Tyrion’s girl, why would she stay quiet? She only slept with Tyrion once, and if I were her, I’d be quick to clear up the misunderstanding with Cersei.
  • I’m not sure why I don’t like Robb and Talisa together, but I don’t. Maybe it’s because their romance is nonexistent in the books, or maybe it’s because I see more chemistry between Tyrion and Bronn. (Check out their bromance!)
  • Oh, Catelyn…I don’t even know what to say. Jaime Lannister was Robb’s only real leveraging tool. Everyone knows that Cersei would do anything to get her brother back. So Catelyn lets him go, with only Brienne as a guard, in the vague hope that King’s Landing will honorably return her daughters to her? Why should they? I’d like to think I’d play the game of thrones with a reasonable dash of morality, but even I’d be the first to admit that you don’t trust on mutual goodwill during a war.
  • There are only two episodes left!!! I could use my words to describe my excitement (and more groupings of superfluous punctuation marks), or I could just post the trailer. It’s a bit of a recap of the entire season, but the end reveals some shots of the Battle of the Blackwater! Who’s excited?? As Varys whispers creepily at the end, “No one can hide” – from the epic awesomeness, I presume. Check out the trailer here!
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Missing in action: Margaery, Loras, Petyr, Melisandre, Sansa

Body count: 0 – what?

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Quotes

Tywin: “He’s a boy and he’s never lost a battle. He’ll risk anything at any time because he doesn’t know enough to be afraid.”

Bronn: “We could throw books at his men.”
Varys: “We don’t have that many books.”
Bronn: “We don’t have that many men, either.”

Arya: “A man can go kill himself.”

 

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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game of thrones recapping: a man without honor

Previously on Game of Thrones: The Old Gods and the New

Will they or won’t they Jon and Ygritte continue to traipse around the snow-capped mountains of the north. Since Jon is clearly lost, Ygritte entertains herself by making fun of her captor and poking holes in his Night’s Watch philosophy. And the more she talks, the more she makes sense. Why should wildlings be forced to live on the less hospitable side of the Wall? Why do the brothers of the Night’s Watch have to take a vow of celibacy? However, no argument seems to convince Jon, but maybe a dramatic turning of the tables will. At the end of the episode, Jon walks them right into a wildling ambush.

Over at King’s Landing, Cersei gives a compelling argument against engaging in incestuous relationships—if you have a kid with your sibling, they may turn out like Joffrey, i.e. a demented, power-hungry lunatic. She’s scared of Joffrey, but like any good mother, she can’t help but love him anyway. Cersei shares some of this with Sansa, who struggles with facing the fact that she is now capable of having Joffrey’s children. So the former queen is not entirely heartless or without a moral compass, but her habit of monologue-ing her doubts rather than actually doing anything isn’t helping anybody.

Meanwhile, Cersei’s brother/lover Jaime is getting tired of being Robb’s prisoner. After an almost touching heart-to-heart with his cousin and fellow cellmate Alton, Jaime unleashes his plan of escape: 1) kill Alton (cousins are like pawns, right?), 2) kill the guard that idiotically comes in to investigate, 3) get away. Steps 1 and 2 go off without a hitch, but somehow Jaime messes up Step 3 and gets re-captured. Now the Karstarks, the family of the guard from Step 2 want to kill Jaime. Catelyn and Brienne pay Jaime a visit, but we’ll have to wait till next episode to see how that ends.

One large ocean away, Dany is not happy (as usual). Her dragons are gone, a lot of her people are dead or missing, and Jorah is getting too familiar. A bizarre turn of events may compel the winds of fate to blow in her favor though. Xaro Xhoan Daxos and a seriously creepy guy I’ve named Baldy stage a coup and slit the throats of most of the members of Qarth’s ruling thirteen. Dany runs away, but all paths most likely lead to the House of the Undying since Baldy admitted he took her dragons there.

The action at Winterfell takes a grim turn. Theon the embarrassed conqueror struggles to maintain composure after learning that Bran and Rickon have escaped. Theon immediately deploys his men to hunt them down, and despite protestations from a desperate Maester Luwin, he makes it clear that mercy will be the last thing the Stark boys can expect. The last scene of the episode is horrifying. Theon gathers the inhabitants of Winterfell together to reveal that his hunting party has not returned empty-handed: the burnt and broken forms of two small bodies, hung from their necks, dangle over the castle walls like perverse trophies to Theon’s twisted reign.

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Thoughts

  • I like it when titles match up or even enhance the actual content of their episodes. Last week’s “The Old Gods and the New” did neither for me, but this week’s selection restored my faith in whoever has the cool job of slapping titles on these things. In a semi-related thought, how do I make that job my job?
  • There are an awful lot of males to root for in Westeros right now — my favorites include the ever popular Tyrion, the brooding Jon Snow, and Jaime the Kingslayer (don’t judge me—he really does grow on you) — but the majority of the females are a little under-whelming this season. Dany has spent more time whining than anything else, and Arya, while as loveable as ever, doesn’t have a lot to do as Tywin’s cupbearer. That’s why I’m so thankful for Ygritte. She combines Arya’s fight and Dany’s fire without the burden of the former’s young age or the latter’s sense of entitlement.
  • Fun fact: did you know that in the books Jon, Robb, and Dany are all supposed to be fourteen? I know the show producers have made a deliberate effort to make all the children a bit older, but it’s still fun to think about. The Night’s Watch bastard, the warring King of the North, and the Mother of Dragons would all be high school freshmen if they had been born into our noticeably less awesome world.
  • (Not as fun) fact: my recaps have been getting longer and longer even though the episode lengths have remained constant. Oops (?)

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Missing in action: Stannis, Melisandre, Davos, Joffrey, Margaery, Loras, Yara, Renly

Body count: (roughly) 16. Alton Lannister + 1 Karstark guard + 2 charred Stark boys + 11 Qarth VIPs + 1 Baldy.

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Quotes

Theon: “How goes hunting?”
Maester Luwin: “So far hunting seems a lot like riding”

Theon: “Don’t look so grim. It’s all just a game.”

Sansa: “Does it give you joy to scare people?”
Sandor Clegane: “It gives me joy to kill people.”

Cersei: “Half the Targaryens went mad, didn’t they? What’s the saying? Every time a Targaryen is born the gods flip a coin.”

Jaime: “So many vows. Defend the king. Obey the king. Obey your father. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. But what if your father despises the king? What if the king massacres the innocent? No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vow or another.”

Tyrion: “It’s hard to put a leash on a dog once you’ve put a crown on its head.”

Ygritte: “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

 

Hayley has other interests besides just nerdy TV shows. She also is a big fan of thinking. She ponders the great mysteries of life, like how more of her time can be devoted to watching those nerdy TV shows.

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