Monthly Archives: June 2014

Castle Black Still Stands

I love this show. Tonight’s episode was pretty much entirely devoted to the Wildlings’ attack on Castle Black. I’ve never seen a TV show before where each week’s episode is the equivalent of a summer blockbuster movie.

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Top Ten Predictions for Tyrion Lannister’s Future

He’s our favorite imp – funny, prone to debauchery, and has an uncanny ability to overcome obstacles tossed at him with his wit and cunning.

So what’s next for Tyrion, played by the incomparable Peter Dinklage on HBO’s Game of Thrones.

As you might recall, my prediction for Tyrion’s champion’s success was less than accurate:

https://bookshelfbattle.com/2014/06/01/the-red-viper-vs-the-mountain-the-thrilla-in-manila-for-nerds/

Here’s hoping that one of my more positive predictions will be in store for Tyrion:

10.) Tyrion lives. He’s a main character, and after all, main characters always survive, right?

9.) WRONG! This is the George RR Martinverse! This man eats main characters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even fan favorite Tyrion is not safe.

8.) Martin does a bait and switch – i.e. something like, Tywin has a change of heart, offers Tyrion a full pardon, and then on the way to pick up his pardon, Tyrion is unexpectedly trampled to death by a pack of runaway horses.

By the way, at this point, knowing what we know of Martin’s predilection towards unexpected main charactericide, should we stop rooting for our favorites altogether? At this point, isn’t it almost inevitable that Dany will be on the verge of conquering Westeros only to eat a piece of bad cheese and die from food poisoning out of left field?)

7.) A tie in a trial by combat means Tyrion is off the hook. No wait, the Mountain did breathe for a second or two before he, well you saw it, before he did what he did to Oberyn, so I suppose that does make him the victor.

6.) Tyrion bribes some corrupt Westerosian to free him.

5.) Jamie frees Tyrion but casts himself out of the family by going against Tywin’s wishes.

4.) Tyrion demands a second trial by combat. Advises second champion – “Stab first, ask questions later.”

3.) Tyrion pleads with the court, “Eh, come on, it was only Joffrey, right?” Jury thinks about it, then starts nodding in agreement and orders the imp to be released.

2.) The Lannisters go to family counseling.

1.) Tyrion racks up a ton of debt. Points out to Tywin he can’t be killed because Lannisters always pay their debts.

Book Review – The Light Between Oceans

BASIC BOOKTOMETRICS:

TITLE: The Light Between Oceans

AUTHOR: M.L. Stedman

YEAR PUBLISHED: 2012

PUBLISHER: Scribner

FORMAT REVIEWED: Hardcover

NUMBER OF PAGES: 343

Move over, dingoes. There’s a new danger Australian babies – lighthouse keeping couples.

The premise – in the 1920’s, Tom, depressed and bitter over the WWI baggage he is carrying finds a new lease on life when he meets happy-go-lucky Isabel. Tom is a lighthouse keeper and moves his new wife to the small, secluded island where he tends to a giant beacon of light that prevents ships from going astray. It’s a lonely life, far removed from the comforts of civilization. Isabel wants to be a mother but begins to believe her dream will never come true after she suffers one miscarriage after another. Tom only wants to make her happy.

One day, a rowboat carrying a dead man and a live baby mysteriously washes up on shore.

Pop quiz, what do you think the couple does?

A) Contact the authorities. Surely the baby has living relatives somewhere that miss her.
B) Signal a boat to come to the dock to carry the baby back to civilization and to the nearest police station so the whole mess can be sorted out.
C) Locate the dead man’s family so he may have a proper Christian burial.
D) Toss the dead man’s carcass in a ditch. Take advantage of the fact that you’re the only two people on the island to raise the child as your own. Return to shore later and tell the world Isabel gave birth to the baby while on the island.

Stay out of trouble...report babies immediately when they wash up on shore

Stay out of trouble…report babies immediately when they wash up on shore


If you selected A-C, you’re good people. If you selected D, you’re probably Tom or Isabel.

All joking aside, author M.L. Stedman does a fantastic job at displaying the mental gymnastics that people put themselves through in order to convince themselves that they are doing something right when in fact, what they are doing is so clearly wrong. Isabel grasps onto an assumption that the baby’s mother must have died in some kind of high seas tragedy and the only right thing to do is to take the child in. Tom wants to report the baby to the authorities but wants so badly for his wife to be happy that he can’t bring himself to do it.

Of course, when they return to shore, they discover who the mother is, how the baby came to be washed up on shore, and all manner of gut wrenching sadness goes on display as they debate whether or not to tell the baby’s true mother what they’ve done. With more mental gymnastics to convince herself that what she wants and what is morally right are the same thing – she argues that the baby, now a young child, has grown attached to her and Tom, recognizes them as her parents, and it would upend her world to turn that around. Tom, on the other hand, can get over the fact that the baby’s mother, Hannah, has become a sad, depressed, shell of a woman, in a constant state of sadness over her lost husband and child, clinging to hope that one day her baby will somehow magically return.

Well, it would be too spoilery to reveal all of the twists and turns, but overall, the book is a real tearjerker and the author has a knack for leaving the reader wanting to know how this truly messed up situation will work its way out.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy

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Viper vs. Mountain Post Game Wrap Up

Well, it’s hard to talk about without sharing any spoilers, but I think we can all agree there was a lesson to be learned here:

DON’T BE A GLOATER!

Darn you, George R.R. Martin you old baitandswitcher, you.

The Red Viper vs. The Mountain = The Thrilla in Manila for Nerds #nerdthrillainmanila

Ladies and Gentleman…let’s get ready to….bookshelf battle! (Sorry Michael Buffer but I can’t afford to pay you to use your catchphrase).

In this corner, weighing in at, well who really knows because he’s just a fantasy character that exists only in the mind of an old man who likes to wear a fisherman’s cap wherever he goes, but I can’t imagine he weighs that much…Prince Oberyn “The Red Viper” Martell of Dorne!!!!

And in that corner, weighing in at a bazillion pounds is Sir Gregor Clegane aka The Mountain because let’s face it folks, he’s the size of one!

In 1975, boxing history was made when Muhammad Ali fought Smokin’ Joe Frazier in Manila, Phllippines. Tonight at 9 P.M. EST on HBO (at least I think so but they could push it to next Sunday depending on how they lay the story out over the next two episodes) Nerd History will be made as The Red Viper squares off against the Mountain.

Call it the Nerd Thrilla in Manila. No really, please do so it takes off on Twitter and brings more eyes to this dismal blog. (Bookshelf battle has started the #nerdthrillainmanila twitter hashtag though tonight’s bout is already being heavily discussed in #theredvipervsthemountain and so on.

Four Seasons in and I've yet to read page one of the first book...even though, hey look at that!  It was 20% of at Target!

Four Seasons in and I’ve yet to read page one of the first book…even though, hey look at that! It was 20% of at Target!

What are the Vegas Oddsmakers saying about this? Probably nothing, because they don’t watch pay cable shows based on fantasy fiction novels. But if they did, here’s how these two fighters compare:

The Mountain Clearly it’s his fight to lose. He’s the heavyweight in more ways than one contender who makes everyone shake in their boots. As illustrated in the last episode, his enormous size and brute strength allows him to cut through peasants like butter. (And for some strange reason, Westerosi Law apparently allows him to do so because peasants were just being handed over to him to be chopped up like nobody’s business).

In addition to his many physical attributes, he also has the backing of Tywin and Cersei Lannister (he’s fighting as Cersei’s Champion because, according to another odd Westerosi Law, it is entirely possible to throw facts and justice out the window and demand that a calm and rational legal inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing be replaced by a duel in which two murderers of the accuser and accused’s choosing fight to the death). Tywin and Cersei are not known for playing fair. Just ask Robb Stark. Oh wait, you can’t because he along with his mother, wife, and unborn child, were slaughtered by Lannister agents at a Wedding reception. In other words, the Lannisters don’t play fair and it would not be a surprise if they were to engage in chicanery that provides The Mountain with even more of an unfair advantage.

The Red Viper A wealthy playboy and hedonist whose debauchery is only matched by the imp he is championing (is that a word?) for, Prince Oberyn is a skilled fighter and moreover, he has a vengeance fueled rage surging within him. The Mountain killed his sister and her children so that anger will no doubt provide the Viper with some additional strength. Oberyn is Champion for Tyrion Lannister, wrongfully accused person of small stature, who has a history of finding ingenious ways to get himself out of sticky situations so it is not unthinkable to suggest he might have something up his sleeve that will level the playing field for his new Dornish friend.

So who will win? Who will lose? Place your bets and make a guess as to who will be the victor and who will be the vanquished. (Except for a) all you holier than though “Oh look at me, I already know who wins because I read the book, I’m better and smarter than you because I didn’t need a pay cable series to discover that George R.R. Martin is the American Tolkien!” and b) all you people like me who are too lazy to read the book to find out what happens next but find out anyway because they look up what happens on “A Wiki of Ice and Fire.”

The only thing fiercer than Batman is Batman with a Longclaw Sword.  Actually, it's a letter opener but don't tell him that.

The only thing fiercer than Batman is Batman with a Longclaw Sword. Actually, it’s a letter opener but don’t tell him that.

BOOKSHELF BATTLE PREDICTION Come on, the Red Viper has to win, right? It would be a huge upset that would leave a lot of egg on Tywin and Cersei’s faces. To lose a trial they rigged to a tiny imp all because of a Westerosi legal loophole? Plus, if Oberyn is defeated, Tyrion will be executed (Your Champion’s defeat means you’re guilty. Stupid Westerosi Law) and that means the loss of a main character.

Although, we all know George R.R. Martin eats main characters for breakfast.

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