Monthly Archives: June 2014

Lady Stoneheart – Pros and Cons

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING

The nerdosphere is aghast with fury at the news that Lady Stoneheart, a character in the Song of Ice and Firenovels will not be in the Game of Thrones TV series. As someone who has watched the series but not read the books, I’ll throw my two cents into the already chock full well of public opinion.

WHO IS LADY STONEHEART?

Novel readers will probably correct as I mangle this explanation, but here goes. After the Red Wedding, Catelyn’s body is dragged out of a river. The Brotherhood Without Banners brings her back to life as a zombie who can barely speak due to her throat having been cut. A shell of her former self, she basically becomes a new character – Lady Stoneheart. She travels the countryside on a quest for revenge, killing anyone whoever did the Stark family wrong.

Michelle Fairely, the actress who played Catelyn, recently announced that Lady Stonheart won’t be featured in the HBO series. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of that decision:

PROS – NO LADY STONEHEART IS GOOD

I’m not a book reader but I am a self-spoiler. Unable to wait to find out what happens next, I often check A Wiki of Ice and Fire. I’m like the dumb jock that doesn’t read the book but doesn’t want to fail so I read the cliff notes. Although, after self-spoiling the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, and Tyrion killing Tywin, I have pledged to not self-spoil anymore in the upcoming seasons.

When I self-spoiled the news that Cat becomes a zombie, I have to admit my first impression was, “Umm…really?” The Red Wedding was just such a powerful scene. George RR Martin weaves you into such a false sense of security. It really appears as though the Starks and Walder Frey have made up and are letting bygones be bygones. The wedding starts out as a joyous occasion, Robb’s uncle is happy to be marrying what appears to be Frey’s only attractive daughter (Sidebar had Frey let Robb know of her existence this whole mess could have been avoided). Then, out of nowhere, all Starks and Stark men in attendance are brutally executed. Quite an unexpected event. On the show, it was quite emotionally disturbing to see all hope drain out of Lady Catelyn’s face just before her throat is cut. That was some great acting on Fairely’s part.

So in some respects, I feel like it would be somewhat silly to say, “OK, Cat’s back as a zombie now!” Zombie Cat takes something away from that powerful Red Wedding scene. One of George RR’s ongoing themes in this story is that life is unfair – bad things often happen to good people, that you want the heroes to overcome but in real life, the heroes don’t always come out on top. So in some respects, Cat coming back to life takes away from the power of the Red Wedding scene.

Plus – overall, the HBO showrunners have done a great job so far so surely their judgment must be understood here. There must be some technical reason why they felt Lady Stoneheart would not play well on screen. As discussed in the nerdosphere, I don’t think it’s any kind of contract issue. I think they could get Fairely to come back and do it. If they couldn’t, well, the character is a zombie, so they could stick any old chump in zombie makeup.

I wonder if the issue is they just think that a Zombie Cat would just be too cheesey. They have this as-realistic-as-the-fantasy genre gets TV show and then all of a sudden they have this zombie version of one of their characters running around. Although I’ve never heard that explanation offered. Most of the explanations have been that they just could not fit her in because they want to do too much else and they only have 10 hours a year and can’t fit in every little detail…

CONS-NO LADY STONEHEART IS BAD

…but this isn’t a little detail! We want revenge for the Starks and without Lady Stoneheart, how does that happen? I agree that TV/Movies can’t always 100 percent mirror their book source material, but this is a big plot line to just overlook. Lady Stoneheart’s path of destruction causes a lot of ripples in the GoT world and it would seem like to not include her would be to have to constantly change the overall GoT storyline. Thus far, the showrunners have remained faithful to the books and that has yielded some powerful results in terms of viewership and show popularity. Admittedly, Lady Stoneheart seems like an unusual idea to me, but I haven’t read the books. I trust George RR’s judgment and writing abilities and I’m sure he took this unusual idea and ran with it in a powerful and amazing way that would be fantastic to watch unfold on screen.

In other words, my fear was Lady Stoneheart would be too much – “Grrr…argh..me zombie…me must kill Lannisters” but from what I hear, the character is much more moving and scary than that.

Plus, it’s not like the Red Wedding scene is taken away from that much. It’s not like she comes back and is all happy like “Hey, look at me, I’m Zombie Cat!” From what I hear, Lady Stoneheart is very sad and tortured – to the point where Cat would have been better off having been better off left dead.

FINAL RULING

How is this an extraneous character or plotline? It’s not like this is an issue where Tyrion wears blue shoes in the book but they make him wear red shoes in the TV. This is a major character in a major plotline. To take her away means the need to make many changes to the show to the point where it may become like True Blood where the show bears no resemblance to the source material whatsoever. While we can debate all day on source material deviations, I think we can all agree that in this case, remaining true to the source material has paid off for both HBO and the viewer.

With today’s make-up and CGI capabilities, I’m sure that an awesome looking Lady Stoneheart could be produced and surely a Zombie Cat on a revenge quest could make for riveting television. Ultimately, none of us run the show so this is like complaining into the wind, but I hope the HBO suits have not made a bad decision here.

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Previously on Bookshelf Battle… (June 2014 Wrap-Up)

In case you missed any of the booktastic goodness, here’s a rundown of what was produced from the Bookshelf Battle Command Center in June:

GAME OF THRONES

Obligatory Spoiler Warning

As the Red Woman might say, Sunday nights in June were dark and full of terrors. Literally. It was quite terrifying to see some of my favorite GoT characters kick the bucket. It’s a good thing that I didn’t bet on the fight between The Red Viper and The Mountain because I chose Oberyn and would have lost a lot of money, in addition to the lunch I lost when the Mountain took advantage of the Viper’s showboating. Don’t gloat, people. No one likes a sore winner…loser? Whatever.

My predictions for Tyrion’s future weren’t all that on point either, meaning when it comes to plotting strategy, I’m about as good as Cersei. (That’s not very good!)

While some lamented that the episode did nothing to move the story along, I for one enjoyed the Attack on Castle Black as it was amazing to me to see Summer Blockbuster special effects on a television show.

On the Season 4 Finale of Game of Thrones Brienne and the Hound went head to head on Westeros’ Ultimate Fighting Championships, Arya cashed in her coin for a trip to Bravos, no one expected the Stannis Inquisition, and Tywin had the Worst Father’s Day ever, although he did achieve his wish of ending up on…a throne. That joke never gets old.

BOOK REVIEWS

A Light Between Oceans - being guarded by Robocop

A Light Between Oceans – being guarded by Robocop

Oh right – this is a book review blog. Australian Author M.L. Stedman managed to crack my manly exterior and allow a tear or two to shake loose with her riveting yet heartbreaking page turner The Light Between Oceans. After a boat containing a dead man and a live baby washes up on their tiny island, a lighthouse keeping couple decides to toss the dead man in a ditch and raise the baby as their own. I applauded the author for her ability to display the mental gymnastics that people put themselves through in order to convince themselves what they are doing is right when in fact, it is very wrong. I feel like we can all agree that the moral of the story is – don’t trust your kids around lighthouse keepers. Or Australians.

Master Chief - standing guard over Redshirts

Master Chief – standing guard over Redshirts

After Stedman made me cry (it’s ok, it happens to the best of us now and then), I was ready to laugh so I cracked open Redshirts by Sci-Fi author John Scalzi. This Star Trek parody delivered laughs at warp speed. A group of new Redshirts – aka the intergalactic lackies who do the grunt work for a space ship’s main officers, quickly learn that their reason for existence is to take the beatings, lazer blasts, monster attacks, and other abuse so that the officers can remain unscathed.

VARIOUS AND SUNDRY RAMBLINGS

To round out the month,I asked why the heck are those vampires so popular? Seemed like a good discussion topic since this is the final season of the HBO series True Blood. The series is based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries Series by Charlaine Harris, and my post provides a reading list of her novels in order, in case anyone is interested in reading the books that formed the basis for the Sookie-Bill-Eric love triangle. Actually, if you add Alcide, it would be a quadrangle. Wait a minute! A quadrangle? Isn’t that just a square? OK so they form a love square.

I urged readers to donate to Levar Burton/Geordi LaForge’s Kickstarter campaign to bring back Reading Rainbow. Please donate. He needs your support. Much has been said about his success as Reading Rainbow host, but people always forget that he was one of the finest engineers to ever serve Star Fleet. He rarely gave Capt. Picard any guff about fixing the star ship engines. He ran circles around Scotty. Capt. Kirk would always be like, “Scotty, we need warp speed in thirty seconds or the Klingons will kill us” and Scotty would be all like, “Damn’ it Cap’n the best I can do is get the wharp drive half-fixed by next Thursday!” Geordi, on the other hand, now there was a dude that got stuff done – even though he was blind! Well, he did have that special visor.

By the way, if you haven’t heard yet, Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame has pledged to match donations up to a million, so please get crack-a-lackin’ with the donations to this good cause. And as one of the three people who both saw AND enjoyed MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the Old West, I’d like to thank him.

Transformers 4 arrived at the box office Friday and I speculated as to whether Mark Wahlberg will reprise some of his past roles in this new blockbuster in a parody trailer script.

Last but not least, after hearing the song, “Wiggle Wiggle” for the millionth time on the radio, and being left unsure whether to be disturbed because they keep playing it, or relieved because they’re finally switching it up a little bit and playing a song other than “Let it Go” or “Because I’m Happy,” I asked the question as to why I bother slaving over my writing when America is easily pleased by lyrics about butts. You know what to do with those big fat words!

STUFF I NEVER GOT AROUND TO

With so many books engaged in fisticuffs over a coveted spot on my bookshelf, there where two things I forgot to mention:

  • 24-Live Another Day – I’m glad this show is back on the air. It’s nice to see William Devane has found something better to do than those damn daytime “Buy Gold” commercials. He’s really been stealing the show this season. Great to see Michelle Fairley back on TV as well.
  • No Lady Stoneheart – (Obligatory Spoiler Warning) – Actually, do I need to give a spoiler warning? Lady Stoneheart, a character from the Game of Thrones books, will not be in the Game of Thrones series. So, I guess if you never read the books and only watched the series, then this is not a spoiler for you since you were never going to see her on the show anyway. You can’t spoil something that won’t happen. Because if a tree was going to fall in the forest, but then it doesn’t, it doesn’t spoil. Alright, I’m going cross-eyed thinking about this. Anyway, there’s been a lot of chatter about this controversy. I do understand that TV shows can’t remain true to every little last detail in the book. Sometimes I’ll hear someone say something like, “This show stinks because on page 302 of chapter 40 book three Tyrion had on a pair of green shoes but on the show he wears blue shoes!” and I just want to yell, “Shut up, Nerd!” But I get why this makes people upset. I never read the books, but this seems like a big plot point to gloss over. A Zombie Catelyn running around Westeros exacting copious amounts of revenge? How does that not make for great television?

That does it for this month on http://www.bookshelfbattle.com – where the book reviews are always awesome, and yet, the book reviewer somehow manages to stay humble about it.

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On Writing – or “You Know What to do With Those Big Fat Words!”

Happy Friday, Bookshelf Battlers.

Bookshelf Battle Guy here, coming to you from you from the Bookshelf Battle Forward Operating Base.

No book review tonight. Rather, I have a tirade to go on.

As writers, and let’s face it, we’re all bloggers because we are aspiring writers, we all have a downfall – that one issue, that little personal hiccup that stands between us and putting pen to paper. For me, it’s self-criticism. I write, and write, and write some more. Then I read it and become my own personal critic, not just any critic, but Roger Ebert on Steroids (RIP).

“So unoriginal! So unbelievable! So unrealistic! Surely, you can do better! Crumple that up! Throw it away! Try it again!”

Defeated, I take a break, turn on the radio, and hear:

“YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THAT BIG FAT BUTT! WIGGLE WIGGLE!

In case you’ve been living under a rock, one of the top hit songs out nowadays is “Wiggle, Wiggle” by Jason Derulo. It’s an ode to derrieres, a modern day Baby Got Back if you will, though I hate to insult Sir Mix-a-Lot, because at least he brought some energy and enthusiasm to his infamous soliloquy.

Seriously, that’s pretty much how the song goes. “You know what to do with that big fat butt! Wiggle, wiggle!” Then he goes on to compare said posterior to two planets, a ham sandwich, a trunk, a basketball slam dunk, and so on. Then Snoop Dogg lays down some beats. Just as The Rock is the savior of failed action movie franchises (Fast and Furious, GI Joe, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Snoop Dogg is the rejuvenator of rap songs. Just ask Gangnam Style Psy.

I’m sorry, but it just bugs me. Here I am, as many of you are, slaving over a computer screen, trying to pour my heart and soul out into a coherent volume, to weave the ideas lurking in my mind into a readable text format, and the greatest song of our day is:

“YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THAT BIG FAT BUTT! WIGGLE WIGGLE!

Honestly, this is how the Roman Empire ended. It was once the world’s cultural center, till some minstrel started singing, “Thou knowest what to do with thine enormous posterior!”

And come on, you all know how the sales pitch meeting for this song went down:

RECORD EXECUTIVE: Jason, so good to see you. So what’s your new song about?

JASON: It’s about butts.

RECORD EXECUTIVE: Really? I’m intrigued! What about them?

JASON: How they’re big and how I like it when they wiggle.

RECORD EXECUTIVE: Someone brought their A game today! Tell me more.

JASON: See, there’s this chick. And she has a big butt. And I figure, instinctively, she knows what to do with her big butt.

RECORD EXECUTIVE: What does she do? Oh my God, I’m on the edge of my seat here.

JASON: Alright, check this out. She wiggles it.

RECORD EXECUTIVE: She wiggles it!

JASON: Wiggle, wiggle.

RECORD EXECUTIVE: Sold! Son, I want to be in the wiggly butt business!

Oh well, that’s all I had to complain about. I shall now retire to my nerd cave, to produce more crumpled pieces of writing that will apparently never live up to society’s very high “Wiggle your fat butt” standard.

The sad part is – it’s actually a catchy tune. “You know what to do with that…” Damn it. Great, now it’s stuck in my head.

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The Red Woman is Full of Crap

Season 4 of Game of Thrones was full of reveals and game changing moments aplenty.

One reveal lost in the shuffle was Lady Melisandre admitting that her “power” was pretty much a bunch of crap. In Episode 7 of Season 4, the Red Woman tells Stannis’ wife, Selyse Florent:

“Most of these potions and viles are lies. Deceptions to make men think they witnesses our lord’s power. Once they step into the light they will see the light for what it is – a trick that made them see the truth.” – Lady Melisandre

She then goes on to explain how her potions trick people – how she has a potion that can make fire jump into the air, that she has a potion that can drive men wild with lust, etc. In other words, she has now powers at all – she’s either drugging people or dazzling them with fancy pyrotechnics.

It’s understandable if you missed it. It was a small part of the show and her bare tucas was flapping in the breeze the entire time she was speaking.

Only confusing thing is she must have at least some power – after all, we all remember how she gave birth to that smoke monster in ridiculously unnecessary graphic detail.

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Book Review – Redshirts

BASIC BOOKTOMETRICS

TITLE: Redshirts

AUTHOR: John Scalzi

PUBLISHER: Tom Doherty Associates

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2012

FORMAT REVIEWED: Hardcover

GENRE: Sci-Fi; Comedy

NUMBER OF PAGES: 317

Beam me up, Bookshelf Battlers.

On the old Star Trek TV show, there was no worse fate than being – a redshirt. You see, back in the 1960’s, the writers wanted to add a dose of realism, or at least as much realism as possible to a show about a massive Star Ship exploring the universe and getting into altercations with a different alien species every week. When engaged in constant battle with alien marauders, it is a very real possibility that some crew members aboard a “real” Starship would kick the bucket. Sorry, but you can’t go up against that many alien bad guys without someone buying the intergalactic farm.

The problem? Certainly the main characters – Capt. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Lt. Uhura etc. could not be the ones to cosmically croak because then there would not be a show anymore. Obviously, George RR Martin wasn’t a consultant for this show.

Sorry, I didn't have any Star Trek toys.  Yes, as a grown man I think that's a perfectly normal thing to say.  Here's the Master Chief instead.  Yes nerds, I understand that one space character is not the same as another.  Take a chill pill.

Sorry, I didn’t have any Star Trek toys. Yes, as a grown man I think that’s a perfectly normal thing to say. Here’s the Master Chief instead. Yes nerds, I understand that one space character is not the same as another. Take a chill pill.

The solution to this conundrum? Enter the redshirts – the extras, the grunts aboard the Starship Enterprise who did the busy work – fetch the Captain’s coffee, stand at a cheesy 1960’s hunk of cardboard with Christmas lights on it attempting to pass as a computer and punch buttons in the background, etc. The writers used these space traveling lackeys as fodder to take the beatings, leaving the fan favorite heroes unscathed.

Watch an old episode of Star Trek. If there’s an away team being beamed down to a planet consisting of Capt. Kirk, Mr. Spock, Bones, and Fred the Extraneous Redshirt from the Enterprise Payroll Department being introduced to the audience for the first time, chances are that Fred would be the one chomped on by a monster, tossed into a volcano, blasted by a lazer, and so on.

In Redshirts, author John Scalzi hilariously lampoons the undesirable plight of the redshirt. Set in a Star Trek-esque universe of Scalzi’s creation, the book follows a group of freshly minted redshirts as they begin service aboard the Universal Union’s flagship, The Intrepid. The newbies quickly discover that strange shenanigans are afoot – namely, that there is a statistically and ridiculously high chance of a low ranking crew member being killed on an away mission, whereas senior officers appear to have almost absurd levels of luck as they avoid death even after being thrust into one dangerous situation after another.

I don’t want to spoil the ending or the various twists and turns but needlessly to say, this is the first book I’ve read in awhile that had me laughing and reading at the same time.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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Transformers Starring Mark Wahlberg – A Parody Trailer

NARRATOR: This Summer…coming to a theater near you…Transformers 4. We promise it will be better because we gave the kid that ruined Indiana Jones the boot and replaced him with Boston based actor Mark Wahlberg

WAHLBERG: Oh my friggin’ Gawd, dude! Did you see that? That friggin’ robot just turned into a friggin’ CAH! Johnny, Davey, Pete, Ed, all you guys get off yah bah stools, they got friggin robots turnin’ into cahs ova hea!

NARRATOR: See Mark Wahlberg in this special effects extravaganza.

WAHLBERG: Oh, hi there Optimus Prime. It’s nice to see you. Say hello to your mother for me.

NARRATOR: Transformers 4, starring Mark Wahlberg of the movie, Fear

WAHLBERG: I’ll tell the cops you hit me.

STARSCREAM: But I didn’t even touch you!

(WAHLBERG makes a crazy face and starts pounding himself over and over again in the chest.)

STARSCREAM: You’re crazy!

NARRATOR: Transformers 4, in theaters this Friday, starring Mark Wahlberg of the Oscar winning film, The Departed.

(MEGATRON opens the door to his apartment, a startled look on his face as he sees WAHLBERG waiting for him in a track suit with paper painters’ covers on his shoes, pointing a silenced pistol at him.)

MEGATRON: Can we talk about this?

(WAHLBERG shoots MEGATRON, who collapses and dies. WAHLBERG walks out. A robotic rat is seen scurrying along the window sill.)

NARRATOR: That’s Transformers 4 – starring Mark Wahlberg of Boogie Nights

WAHLBERG: I’m gonna be a star. A great big bright shining star.

OPTIMUS PRIME: Put that away!

NARRATOR: Transformers 4 – starring Mark Wahlberg. Because we need to break up the super intense special effects scenes with occasional scenes of uninteresting human dialogue to prevent you all from getting epilepsy. Coming soon!

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True Blood and Why Vampires Are So Popular in Media?

Vampires – undead bloodsucking fiends who look at humans like walking Happy Meals. Occasionally, some of them have even been known to shout, “Bleah!”

For years now, even decades, it seems like every week there’s a new vampire book, movie or TV show. I’m not really sure where it all began, but personally, I feel as though I have not seen an end to the vampire craze since the early 1990’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer film, not to be confused with the much better Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show.

Anne Rice made vampires emotional with such books as Interview with the Vampire (or other works featuring her perennial returning vampire, L’estat de Lioncourt. Buffy made vampires funny. Stephanie Meyer made vampires wusses with her Twilight series of novels, though hey, it’s hard to knock her. With the level of success she has had, she must of done something right.

And now, True Blood has made vampires – well, dirty. So depraved actually that the only place you can see these vampires is pay cable.

Game of Thrones has ended, much like the Night’s Watch come sunrise. In my opinion, True Blood lags behind GoT but I suppose that argument is like comparing apples and oranges – or, maybe, dwarves and werewolves?

Bookshelf Battle HBO Viewing Schedule

If it’s Winter, I’m watching…True Detective

If it’s Spring, I’m watching…Game of Thrones

If it’s Summer, I’m watching…True Blood though
apparently not for much longer.

If it’s Fall, I’m watching…Boardwalk Empire

Bless you, HBO, for removing the crappyness for televison

For those new to the True Blood universe, “Truebie Newbies” if you will, The show is based on the The Southern Vampire Mysteries aka the Sookie Stackhouse Series of novels by author Charlaine Harris. Honestly, I’ve never read them, which probably is not a good admission for a book blogger, but oh well, if YOU are interested in reading them and want to let me know how they were, here is the reading order:

Reading Order for The Southern Vampire Mysteries Series by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark 2001

Living Dead in Dallas 2002

Club Dead 2003

Dead to the World 2004

Dead as a Doornail 2005

Definitely Dead 2006

All Together Dead 2007

From Dead to Worse 2008

Dead and Gone 2009

Dead in the Family 2010

Dead Reckoning 2011

Deadlocked 2012

Dead Ever After 2013

You have to hand it to Charlaine. She has been steadily churning out one of these vampire novels every year since the early 2000’s. I’ll probably never read them because, well, I’m a dude and I get the impression that with all of the vampire/human/werewolf/other assorted beasts lovers’ quarrels going on, I’ll get bored and fall asleep, leaving my neck prime real estate for some evil fanged creature to nosh on like I’m some kind of discount nacho plate sold at 7-11.

But like Stephanie, Charlaine must be doing something right, so by all means, read them and tell me what you think. Oddly enough, while the novels have not interested, I have been hooked on the show for quite some time now. Is it the exceptionally (and often ridiculously) gratuitous scenes of in flagrante delicto? Is it the exceptionally (and again, often ridiculously) gratuitous scenes of gore?

Nah. I like to think of myself as more evolved than that. For me, it’s the storyline. A good TV show grabs the viewer, makes him care about the characters and want to know what happens next for them so much that he has no choice but to tune in next week. That’s why I watch Game of Thrones and that’s why I watch True Blood.

If you’re coming into the show late, what are some things you’ll want to know? Well, for starters, the show takes place in a world where vampires have essentially come out of the closet. Since the beginning of time, they lived in the shadows, feeding off humans but not revealing their existence for fear of human retaliation. The vampires answer to a behind the scenes vampire government that punishes vampires for disobeying various rules deemed necessary for their safety. When a synthetic blood substitute called “True Blood” is invented that satisfies all of a growing vampire’s nutritional needs, the vampire government ends the years of secrecy and makes the presence of vampires known to the world.

The hope is that vampires and humans will get along and prosper together but the results are disastrous. Many vampires disagree with the decision to end their secret. They think True Blood tastes gross and prefer to eat humans for breakfast.

If I have one complaint about the show, it’s that the concept starts out similar to Alien Nation i.e. the human world suddenly learns that mythical creatures actually do exist and now everyone has to find a way to live together in harmony. However, what happens instead is that practically every episodes, the vampires kill, dismember, torture, eat or otherwise attack humans and then complain about why humans hold them in such contempt.

People hold a genuine displeasure towards beings that try to turn them into lunch. Go figure.

Overall, it’s a show worth watching though I think I’ll skip the novels. It has “jumped the shark” in recent years with plotlines and scenes that have become exceptionally silly as well as some scenes that, well, let’s just say push the limits of even pay cable.

Back to our original question – why have vampires become such a big part of pop culture? My two cents – it has something to do with the changes over the years in how vampires have changed. It started out with Dracula and Nosferatu – evil, hideous, damned creatures. Then you have Buffy, Twilight, and True Blood who live forever, go on various adventures, amass great wealth from having lived so long – heck, some of them even swear off eating humans and learn to live on fake blood and become not half-bad undead beings to hang around with.

Though the market is vampire saturated, I would say the interest must come from the fact that vampires are basically immortal and impervious, with a few exceptions (stake through the heart, fire, garlic, holy water, etc.) As humans, we have to watch what we eat, get lots of sleep, workout at the gym, take vitamins and the fear that we’ll all eventually sooner or later (hopefully a lot later for all of us) meet our maker makes the idea of getting lost in fantasy worlds where characters get to live forever appealing.

In conclusion, when you walked in the air went out.

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Butterfly in the Sky…I Can Fly Twice as High…

…it’s in a book…take a look…a reading rainbow.

I loved this show when I was a kid, and now Geordi LaForge has used his special Star Trek powers to travel back in time and bring back the show through a kickstarter campaign. Please support his efforts by clicking below:

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Finale

Let’s face it, folks.

More often than not, many TV shows become stale after a few seasons – the same old plot lines are recycled, the characters get boring and stale, you just eventually give up and eventually the network does too.

Not the case with Game of Thrones, which just keeps getting better and better. In a show where main characters die early and often, usually in tragically unexpected ways, last night’s season finale was satisfying and showed us that just once in awhile, George RR Martin allows bad guys to get their comeuppance and good guys to get their victories.

WARNING – THERE BE DRAGONS, AND SPOILERS, AHEAD. MOSTLY SPOILERS. NOT MANY DRAGONS.

Among last night’s highlights:

Last Minute Save of Castle Black – For once, Stannis finally does something that makes him worthy of the title of King.

Bran Completes His Vision Quest – I’ve never really understood what this whole side plot with Bran, Hodor and the brother and sister wandering around in the frozen wilderness was all about but oh well, at least it’s over.

Brienne vs. The Hound – Heroes of Westeros, for the love of “all the old gods and the new” please finish the job before you start making speeches.

Worst Father’s Day Ever – Tyrion gets his revenge. Tywin finally ends up on…the throne.

These seasons go by so quickly. I wish there were more episodes, but I imagine HBO can’t make too many as the production of each episode is the equivalent of developing a summer blockbuster film. Now all I have to look forward to is True Blood, which pretty much jumped the shark awhile ago.

Attack on Castle Black

Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones was, in a word – AWESOME.

Aside from a little bit of dialogue, almost the entirety of the episode was devoted to the wildlings’ attack on Castle Black.  I’ve heard some criticize this, claiming all the action did nothing to move the plot along, but really, what’s wrong with that once in awhile?  I was impressed with this episode as it had special effects normally only seen in a summer movie blockbuster.  Too bad there’s nowhere that shows this show on the big screen.  Movie theaters could clean up by having Sunday night GOT night.

SPOILER ALERT

At the end of the episode, Castle Black was still standing and still in control of the Night’s Watch.  However, the battle for the Wall continues and pits about 100 members of the Night’s Watch (probably less after the battle) vs. thousands of Wildlings, aided by Giants and mammoths (ok, this post might be getting too nerdy).

There were many points in this episode where I thought that George RR Martin was going to be his usual character devouring self – he builds you into thinking a hero will win, then dashes your hopes unexpectedly.  In fact, given the outcome of the battle between the Viper and the Mountain, it would not have surprised me to have seen the entire Night’s Watch obliterated.  (And who knows, that could still happen).