Well, how about that. You know? THAT. I was kind of surprised by that thing near the end of Game of Thrones last night. As much as I love the book (LOTS), I've so far approved of the additions and re-jiggers that HBO has made. Last night, a certain non-character from the dead-tree version got transformed into someone who actually knows how the game is played.
Beneath the jump lurk spoilers!
Ned Stark was a good ruler, a good military leader, and a good man. He was not, however, good at politics. In Westeros, it’s abundantly clear that if you want to be good at the game of thrones, it helps to be kind of a prick. Season one was all about Ned losing the game by trying to do the right thing. In season two, it’s kind of a pleasure to see a bunch of conniving (but likable) jerks slither around each other in the dirty morass of fictional politics. Tyrion, Varys, Littlefinger, and Cersei all want to be effective, and they know that being nice isn't going to help them. One of the best things about the series is that it completely embraces the fact that being a good politician and doing what's morally satisfying are not at all the same thing.
Spoilers aplenty, after the jump.
Thanks for the heads up, I guess, to Blogtown commenter Graham—who, surprising no one, apparently spends his days trawling craigslist for super-creepy Game of Thrones crap. SOMEONE GET IT QUICK! And then burn it.
Local favorites Loch Lomond just wrapped up a European tour which was, by all accounts, a total blast and success, and they were toting a fine new five-song EP on the road with them. White Dresses was recorded relatively quickly for the band, and while it won't see a US release, it's available online—just like Viagra, or large sums of Nigerian money!—and they'll have a handful of physical copies at the merch table at their Sunday night show at Mississippi Studios. The songs from White Dresses are likely going to make up part of the next Loch Lomond full-length, but the European EP is a full statement in its own right.
We can't resist posting the EP's closing track, "Knuf Sirhc," which might seem like a mysterious song title until you read it backwards, revealing the name of a well-known Portland musician.
Loch Lomond - "Knuf Sirhc"
Loch Lomond plays Sunday at Mississippi Studios (3939 N Mississippi) along with Dinosaur Feathers—who are responsible for the best Game of Thrones song ever—and Lemolo.
Game of Thrones is a show about how betrayal is inevitable and honor is futile. It's a show about how life is hard, and brief, and devoid of meaning. It's a show about the foolishness of having ideals, the failures of optimism, and the entropy of society. It's about greed, murder, power, sex, family, and loss. To anyone paying attention, it's pretty obvious that Game of Thrones' sprawling, gripping story will not have a happy ending; like the George R.R. Martin books on which it's based, Game of Thrones is classified as fantasy, but when it comes to the people it follows and their desperate, hollow ways of trying to survive, it's brutally realistic.
It is, in other words, an incredible amount of fun to watch. And the best way to do so is on Blu-ray, which works out great, since the complete first season of Game of Thrones finally came out earlier this week.
URGENT GAME OF THRONES NEWS! No, it's not that I'll (finally) have my review of the season one Blu-rays up later today. It's that thanks to HBO and the Oregon Food Bank, you can see a screening of the premiere of season two, early and on the big screen (as long as you're willing to drive your ass out to Beaverton). You can maybe even win an iPad 2 if you have the best costume, which you won't, because my Daenerys gown is stunning. Full info after the jump, in the form of a lazily cut-and-pasted press release.
Tomorrow I'll have my review up for Game of Thrones' season one Blu-rays. In the meantime, though, there's a new trailer for season two, which I'm now going to watch several times in a row, thus throwing a wrench into the Mercury's stressful production schedule. Sorry, coworkers! But look!
In case you haven't already heard, pre-ordered the lipstick, and tried on the sweater, the new season of Mad Men debuts March 25, preceded by a barrage of corporate tie-ins urging you to mimic its characters' meticulously groomed and pressed looks. Yesterday morning, Banana Republic went so far as to interrupt the napping and reading of passengers on Virgin America Flight 407 with an inflight runway show at 35,000 feet to showcase the second season of their Mad Men collection for men and women (passengers were compensated with gift bags and bloody marys).
That's cool and all, but it's simply less important than the impending season two debut of GAME OF THRONES, which begins airing on April 1, and for which nobody has tried to sell me a goddamn thing. Dude I can go to a thrift store and find everything I need to play '60s-era hot secretary, but you know what I can't find? A direwolf fur collar, a raggy, midriff-baring triangle top worthy of a khaleesi's heart-eating party, and a quilted Nightwatch tunic for my man! Plus can you imaging the promotional stunts? A model for the Banana Republic Game of Thrones clothing line would have ridden right onto that plane on a black stallion, promptly decapitated it in the middle of the aisle, and given business class a "bloody" experience they would really never forget!
HBO's second season of Game of Thrones is based on the second book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series—and maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but I recall that second book feeling like a bit of water-treading compared to the all-around awesomeness of the first book and the jaw-dropping holyfuckingshitwhattheFUCK-ness that goes down in the third book. But no, I have to be remembering wrong, because this preview for Game of Thrones' second season looks just... yes. Awesome. This. Now. I am childish and impatient and sick of waiting and want to see shit beyond the Wall and Dany's dragons and this is what I want to be watching tonight please, thanks.
haha, eff you stannis, you have no friends
Because god knows the only thing I truly love is TV. And especially Game of Thrones and Community.
The standard thinking when it comes to television is that the audience should like a show's characters; that way, they'll be more inclined to tune in every week to spend time with those characters. So maybe one of the reasons I like Game of Thrones so much is because holy shit, so many of its characters are repugnant. Granted—and, so far, more in the books than the TV show—those pulling the stories' strings generally do a pretty good job of making you come around to characters you initially hated, and vice versa, but still: Game of Thrones is filled with hate-worthy (and fine, love-worthy) characters.
In fact, looking through io9's batch of new images from the show's second season, I found myself sticking all the characters pictured into, with a few exceptions, two categories: "HATE" and "LOVE." (Fun party trick: Ask any of my ex-girlfriends how "emotionally mature" I am!) So join me, won't you, on a journey to Westeros... and a journey into HATE and LOVE.
Here is what it is like to read or watch Game of Thrones: Something comes out, be it a book or TV show, and you get really, really into it, and then it ends, and then you have to wait 40,000 years for the next part to come out.
But rather than doing the decent thing and letting everyone forget about it for a while until the next part is ready, the people behind game of thrones—George R.R. Martin on the book side, HBO on the TV side—constantly and infuriatingly remind everyone throughout the course of those 40,000 years that the next part is right around the corner. Martin will post a chapter from the next book, or HBO will make a dozen little behind-the-scenes YouTube videos, and everyone will get all excited again, and forget they still have 39,000 years to wait.
ANYWAY here is the latest ad for Game of Thrones' second season, and yes it looks good, and April 1 is still a ways off, goddammit.
Wait, didn't we already have one of these things yesterday? Yes, yes we did, and yet Atlus is like a wildly capitalist Santa Claus, dropping presents to all the good lil' boys and girls huddled around the completely anachronistic Yule Log, hoping against hope for another glimpse of the upcoming Game Of Thrones videogame.
And what do we see when we pry this latest morsel from the depths of our metaphorical stocking? A full two-plus minutes of snow and some vaguely British dudes acting totally ominous! Just like in the books!
I submit that the game still needs more Dinklage — and an incest-themed first-person shooter section wouldn't be totally out of place — but otherwise this thing looks a fair bit like what I would imagine a Game Of Thrones roleplaying game to be. Whaddaya think book geeks?
Sorry to get your hopes up, but this clip has nothing to do with HBO's TV series. Instead it's for the upcoming epic roleplaying videogame of the same name, based on the same series of novels and sharing a few key actors.
(Y'know, actually now that I think of it, this clip has a whole lot to do with HBO's TV series.)
Barring delays, the game should appear on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC platforms sometime in the early half of 2012. You can find more info at the newly-launched official website.
So geeks? What say you? "Needs more Dinklage," perhaps?
Over at GQ, occasional Mercury contributor Lindy West has a solid interview with Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, and it's well worth a read, HOWEVER: It pales in comparison to the above image, which is one of two amazing photographs by Robert Maxwell that accompany said interview, and which is now my desktop wallpaper.
I'm halfway convinced that Game of Thrones is less an epic fantasy and more a mean-spirited attempt by George R.R. Martin and his goddamn cronies to teach the virtue of patience to a world that's grown to have none.
So while we spend the next decade grumpily waiting for book six, and while we wait until April for the forever-in-production season two, well... at least HBO knows how to market their shit. Here's a two-minute, behind-the-scenes ad for the show's second season, and it looks like it's gonna be great. Also, Arya, as always, is totally badass even though she's only in this for like two seconds, and even though she has boy hair now. VERY CLEVER, ARYA, THAT WILL TOTALLY FOOL EVERYONE
That's right: It's a handy guide for Portland's North and Northeast quadrants, with tons of listings, places to eat, shops, and more—and it's specially tailored just for wizards.
Talented Mercury intern/cartoonist Suzette Smith did countless hours of unpaid, thankless research—the best kind of research!—to find out what makes wizards tick: where they prefer to shop, where they like to dine, what sort of pointy hats fit the best. (We suspect she's part wizard herself.) We also got our dear friend Ross the Wizard—who, full disclosure, has been on the Mercury payroll for quite some time; how do you think we get those thousands of papers all over town in a single night?—to model for the guide. Our director of circulation also makes a cameo.
Plus! Lovely, wizardy maps from Paul Windle! Enchanting photography by Brenton Salo! Just the sort of inane cheekiness you expect from the Mercury, in a slightly smaller format. It's our Wizard's Guide to Northside, and yes, it's slightly puzzling.
...And because some of you internet grumblers are too lazy to drag yourself away from the computer for five seconds to score yourself a copy—we made an online version just for you.
Seriously? That's it? Thanks for nothing. Jerks.
Game of Thrones starts back up in April of 2012, which is four million years from now.
Neil Marshall directed Dog Soldiers and The Descent and Doomsday, one of the most gleefully batshit action flicks I've ever seen. It's a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie that prominently features the Fine Young Cannibals' "Good Thing," for chrissakes, a fact that I believe speaks for itself, but just in case—
—and now comes word he'll be directing an episode of Game of Thrones—specifically, "Blackwater," which, as anyone who's read the books can attest, should be a hell of a thing. Via George R.R. Martin:
The Battle of the Blackwater.
I still don't how the hell we can possibly afford to do half of what I put into that script, but if anyone can pull off my budget-busting battle, it's Marshall.
It's not in the books, but considering how fitting it is for the forthcoming seasons of Game of Thrones, I kind of want Bob Hoskins' line from the Doomsday trailer—"It's pretty grim, and it's gonna get a whole lot worse"—to get thrown into the "Blackwater" episode. Also, Jorah Mormont singing "She Drives Me Crazy"—about Daenerys, maybe to her, maybe with some Dothraki backup dancers—could make for a pretty slick musical number. Just saying.
Generally speaking, College Humor is the electronic equivalent of a popped collar and collecting beer bottles above your bed. It speaks to a certain audience, but that audience ate a pop tart and bong resin for breakfast and has Chem 101 in twenty minutes, so it's not like they're discussing Tolstoy in a French salon.
That said, I give propers where propers are due, and this faux 16-bit RPG take on Game of Thrones is pretty solid. I mean, they obviously used Final Fantasy III as a template, but instead of that game's stirring writing or interesting characters, they included a ton of blunt references to debauched, borderline disturbing sex acts! That's hilarious!
If they had included a few fart jokes and a picture of John Boehner, I might have wet myself.
Dinosaur Feathers is clearly no Arkngthand, but I'd still really, really like HBO to find a way to include this little number in the next season of Game of Thrones. Or maybe George R.R. Martin can walk out to it when he gets onstage for next week's Game of Thrones panel at Comic-Con. Or maybe someone should make a YouTube of this song paired with a .gif of (Emmy-nominated!) Peter Dinklage dancing. I don't know. Just Make it happen, internet.
Less than 10 hours ago, a good-sized crowd was lined up outside Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing for the midnight release of A Dance with Dragons, the long-awaited fifth book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. (Here's a picture of the line when I got there; it eventually got to be about twice as long.) I love midnight book openings—it's rare and awesome to see people who're so excited about books they're willing to forgo sleep in order to get/read one—and moreover, A Dance with Dragons feels like a real book, big and heavy and with maps on the endpapers and snazzy foil embossing on the cover. I might've spent some time just looking at it before I passed out last night.
BUT ANYWAY. That was early this morning, and already there's news about the rest of A Song of Ice and Fire—namely, that Martin thinks his epic series might stretch to eight books instead of its projected seven. He tells The Atlantic:
Do you still think you'll be able to wrap everything up in the remaining two books?
I certainly hope so! That's my plan, that's my intent, that's what I'm going to try to do. But at this point I know better than to promise anything and write it out in blood.
I think some fans are hoping we'll end up with eight books.
Well, it's grown in the past—I'm not going to say those fans are wrong. When I started out, it was a trilogy. Back in 1994 when I sold this, it was going to be A Game of Thrones, A Dance with Dragons, The Winds of Winter—three books. But that scheme went out the window before I'd even finished the first book. I think it was Tolkien who said when he was writing The Lord of the Rings, "The tale grew in the telling."
Some who follow your work have voiced the idea that you've written yourself into a corner—that you've started so many narrative threads, and created so many hundreds of characters that it's become overwhelming to reconcile. You've even hinted as much on your blog . If that's the case, will you let certain story lines ebb, or do you feel obligated to see them all through?
There's no doubt that I've wrestled with this book and the complexity and size of the series, and that may be one reason why my writing has slowed down. But my intent right from the beginning was to do something huge and epic, with a cast of thousands and many different settings....
Maybe I did make it too big two books ago. But I've thrown the balls in the air and I feel obligated to keep on juggling them as best I can. You can't just forget about some of the balls, you have to deal with the plot threads that you've introduced. If I can pull it all off the way I want hopefully it will be great. And if I don't, I'm sure the world will let me know.
I'm really hoping book eight is called A Juggling of Thrones or A Panic of Dragons or A War of Winterfell. Or Sansa Dies.
You kids and your goddamn fireworks.
I know it's funny to shoot each other with Roman candles and do handstands over fountains with names like "Golden Shower" (at least that was what was happening at the BBQ I attended), but it gets less funny when the roof is burned off your place of business.
A two-alarm fire on Monday night (it was caught on video here) caused an estimated $100,000 worth of damage to the building at 1725 NE Alberta, and several the businesses—Aviary and Urban Pilates among them—are having to close down until further notice. Barista's Billy Wilson has been tweeting updates and photos, and says that Stumptown is bringing them a cart so they can keep business going until repairs are finished.
IDEA: Someone ought to throw a series of 4th-of-July-themed farm dinner with Aviary's trio of chefs manning the grill, and their wait staff providing service. Who knows what the insurance companies will take care of, but service industry folks have a tough time of it when they're not making tips.
Oh, thank christ—I was hoping someone would do this.
If you, like me, are giddily awaiting A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin's long-awaited fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (which everyone just refers to by the significantly less embarrassing title A Game of Thrones), you no doubt know that it's finally coming out next week. Also if you are like me, it's been forever since you read the fourth book, and your memory's for shit, and also you thought the fourth book was kind of boring and only about the lame characters, so you didn't bother remembering a lot of the boring stuff that happened to all the lame people in it.
So let's thank Tor.com for doing this:
It’s been over five years since we’ve visited Westeros and the lands beyond, and longer still since we’ve checked in with other characters that promise an appearance in A Dance With Dragons. One would need to reread the series just to remember what all the characters are up to!
For some, there’s not enough time to accomplish that, so we’ve put together a handy refresher as to where all the major characters are as of the end of A Feast For Crows!
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