Carolyn Reacts: Game of Thrones Grows Up (Season 7, episode 1)

The man who watches the show should write the post.

The man who watches the show should write the post.

In case you didn’t get it from the title and the picture, there are SO MANY SPOILERS in this post. You have been warned.

Oh good, you’re still here. Let’s do this thing! Just the “Previously On….” was enough to get me cheering and bouncing in my chair. Things are moving so fast now, and as much as I don’t want it to end, I am desperate to know how it ends. I’ve wanted to see the culmination of this story since 1999, and we are so close!

Oldtown has a model in the credits! Library hype! Even after 7 years, this opening sequence still makes my little nerd heart so happy.

Oldtown-credits

Libraries are so hot.

Right from the opening moments of the first scene, I had chills. Arya, so cold, so ruthless, so comfortable in Walder Frey’s skin. I’m terrified for her, the path she has chosen is dark and pitiless. As much I cheered to see our lost wolf avenge her mother and brother, I’m worried that she may become lost to the darkness forever. But that speech? That was perfection, and the first hint that Game of Thrones has stepped it up several notches already this season. Full of calm fury and naked contempt, the writing was truly next level. Not to mention the fact that David Bradley just absolutely knocked the delivery out of the park, and onto the street, and maybe right on over into the next town.

Y'all motherf*&%ckers need the Many Faced God.

Y’all motherf*&%ckers need the Many Faced God.

Cool kings of the undead don’t look at explosions. Or whatever it is that is behind them. I love how epic their slow march to the Wall feels. There’s no rush, just calm persistence and absolute belief in their inevitable victory. The Night’s King has been alive forever, he’s got all the time in the world to get where he is going.

And Hell followed with him.

And Hell followed with him.

Lyanna Mormont doesn’t knit. Because knitting is stupid. Knitting doesn’t win wars you idiotic, bleating fools. Any hand that can hold a sword needs to swing one now. I mean, did you see the zombie giants? There are zombie giants coming, your rules about who can and cannot fight are no longer even remotely relevant.

Yeah, I don't knit. Or crochet. Or not stab zombies in the face.

Yeah, I don’t knit. Or crochet. Or not stab zombies in the face.

Sansa is not interested in your nonsense [insert name of person speaking at her here]. Also? She looks FABULOUS.

Do you see this? This is my unimpressed face.

Do you see this? This is my unimpressed face. #TeamSansa

I’m loving this new, mature dynamic between her and Jon. Our little bird is a wolf after all. I think she and Jon are the perfect foils for each other now. Sansa ruthless, driven, focused. Jon forgiving, desperate, still idealistic after all these years. They need each other, and I can only hope they continue to listen to each other. They make one hell of a team, tempering each other’s more destructive tendencies and buffering each other’s formidable strengths.

Fire and Ice. Or is it Ice and Fire? Whatever.

Fire and Ice. Or is it Ice and Fire? Whatever.

Cersei looks fabulous. Crazy, but fabulous. I can’t decide if she’s moved beyond her grief into straight up ruthless queen mode, or if she’s just hiding her despair behind that amazing dress and impassive face. Either way, she’s gone round the bend and I don’t think she’s ever coming back. Whatever loose grip she once had on sanity is long gone, and all she has left is her belief that she either wins, or she dies.

Poor Jaime tries logic on his twin. Surprising precisely no one, logic fails. Gods bless him, he tried, but she’s Mad King Aerys come again and I already feel bad for him. One day soon, he’s going to have to do what he has to do and end this before she burns more than the sept to the ground.

I think she's been taking sartorial lessons from Claire Underwood.

I think she’s been taking sartorial lessons from Claire Underwood.

I could write a whole thing on Euron Greyjoy, but here’s the tl;dr: Game of Thrones: Now with 1000% more snark, guyliner and smirking. There’s no gift in the world that he could bring her to win her heart, except for maybe Tyrion’s head on a platter, but we all know that’s not happening. So good luck to you Euron.

Sam Goes to Monastery was hands down one of my favorite sequences the show has ever done. It justified the large time skip, it was hilarious and it showed Sam’s growing frustration and impatience with being unable to access the information he knows they need to win this war. Combine that with Professor Slughorn dropping some serious philosophy on him, and the delightful Harry Potter homage was complete. Also, as mentioned on Twitter, I need a video of that sequence cut with Pink Floyd’s Money playing underneath it, so if the internet could get on that for me, that would be great. EDIT: Oh look, someone did! Thanks @mpirnat, you win One Internet.

Sam is such a total Hermione.

Sam is such a total Hermione.

Petyr: If you’re lucky, Sansa will murder you in your sleep, with great mercy and no pain. You made a fatal mistake choosing her as your piece in the game. Because she learns, she adapts, and she will soon surpass even your skills. If she hasn’t already. Sansa wants to do more than play the game of thrones, she wants to change it. While I don’t think a crown is what she really wants, if Sansa keeps on like this, she could be the last one standing in the end. With the love she learned from her family, the skills Petyr gave her and just enough of Cersei’s laser focus, Sansa would be an excellent Queen. Assuming, of course, that the zombie giants don’t eat her.

Petyr: She'll love me one day. Sansa: I wonder what the inside of his skull looks like.

Petyr: She’ll love me one day. Sansa: I wonder what the inside of his skull looks like.

I haven’t done an exhaustive study, but I feel like Daenerys gets to button the episodes a lot. It doesn’t always work for me, but this time it really did. I loved seeing her so small, and so alone against the massive fortress of Dragonstone, putting her feet on the sand of her homeland for the very first time in her living memory. It was a powerfully understated scene, especially in comparison to some her other more overwrought moments.

And I didn’t even get into The Hound and how much I love his new arc, and, well, just everything about him. That’ll be a post for another day I suppose. But I’m looking forward to more of him in Season 7, and I especially hope he meets up with Arya again someday. Imagine what words they would have for each other. Over chicken.

And so it begins, the final chapters of this epic tale. If the tone, the text and the delivery shown in this episode continues, we are in for an amazing treat. Welcome to the new Game of Thrones, now with more nuance, depth and zombie giants.

I'm including this photo only because I adore it. Because look at them. They are delightful.

I’m including this photo only because I adore it. Because look at them. They are delightful.

Want to be part of our Game of Thrones experience? Follow us on Twitter, where we live tweet the episodes, share hilarious memes and are otherwise giant dorks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of SDCC 2016: Panels and Trailers and Nerds, Oh My!

SDCC-Banner-2016So, San Diego Comic Con was last week, and while once again we couldn’t be there in person, we watched and tweeted and laughed as amazing things from Con appeared on the internet in all their nerdy glory. Here are some of our top highlights from San Diego!

NerdHQ

NerdHQ killed it again in 2016, bringing top-notch talent to their offsite stage, with panels, one on one conversations and laughs. Oh, and by the way did we mention they made an absolute ton of money for Operation Smile? We suggest you go to the archives and watch them all, but if you can only pick a few, make sure you check out the Badass Women panel, Nathan Fillion’s solo panel and Stephen Amell and Friends.

Critical Role

Critical Role hit critical mass in San Diego this year, having not one, but two panels. One onsite at SDCC and then a second, Dating Game themed panel over at Conival, a joint collaboration between Nerdist and Geeky and Sundry. And boy howdy, did they deliver. All while managing to be more or less spoiler free for those viewers out there that may not be completely caught up. The cast was hysterical and irreverent as usual, and showed in both panels their love and respect for the nerd community. They’re not only putting dynamic and amazing entertainment out into the world every Thursday, they’re putting out a ton of love and joy. Which, just between us, the world sorely needs right now. Also, Travis sang C is for Cookie as Grog, so really, what more do you want?

All Things Wonder Woman

First off, let’s talk about that trailer. Oh, you haven’t seen it? Go, watch, we’ll wait. Are you back? Wasn’t it amazing? Yeah. There was also a short, but awesome panel with Patty Jenkins, Gal Gadot, Connie Nielsen and Chris Pine that we wished was 2 hours longer. Oh, and they did a Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary Retrospective panel too. Everyone keeps asking “Who won Comic Con?”. Our answer: Wonder Woman. Hands down. The first female superhero is finally, finally, finally getting her moment in the sun and it is glorious. Let’s watch the trailer again.

The Game of Thrones Panel

Game of Thrones always delivers at SDCC, and 2016 was no exception. They were funny, they were pithy and Sophie Turner got to shut down a fan who really, really, really wanted JonSan to happen. (Spoiler Alert: that’s not happening). Having the panel hosted by Rob McElhenney (Mac from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) continued one of my favorite SDCC trends as well; having famous fans host panels for things they nerd out over. It’s delightful, endearing and offers a unique view into how celebrities really are geeks just like the rest of us. We also got to cry over Hodor again and hear the cast predictions for who will sit the Iron Throne in the end. Good stuff.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Panel

It had showmanship. It had Chris Pratt generally being adorable. And Michael Rooker in full costume haranguing James Gunn in front of all of Hall H. What more do you want out of life? While it was short on scoop on the new movie, it was long on awesome. And also long on there being more awesome and ass-kicking ladies in Volume 2. And really, that’s what matters. The Guardians films are an important reminder that movies can, and should, be fun, silly and heartfelt. And that comic book movies area for everyone.

John Barrowman’s Cosplay

Holy nerdgasm, John Barrowman’s SDCC cosplay was next level. He did Harley Quinn, Squirrel Girl and Zapp Brannigan! Not to mention all that time he spent running about Con in heels just because he felt like it. John Barrowman is an international treasure who puts more positive, zany love out into the world every day than most of us can hope to in a lifetime. If you’re not following him on social media, you should be.

 

We know that the list of amazing, epic things that happened at SDCC 2016 is way longer than this. There was a ton of incredible cosplay and the annual Adam Incognito game. There were comics artists and authors and artists galore. There were pop-up parties and dance marathons. So tell us readers, what was your favorite moment from San Diego Comic Con? Tell us in the comments!

 

Diary of a Comic Con Veteran: Day 2

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Day 2, Saturday

5:10am Wide awake. Know I set alarm for 7. Why can’t I sleep in? WHYYYY?

5:17am Get up. Brush teeth. Sinus rinse. Shower. The usual.

5:38am Dress with care in Tee Turtle Rey and BB-8 shirt and brown pants.

6:12am Ramen for breakfast again.

6:28am Need smaller bag for today. Larger bag was too heavy after about hour 6 yesterday.

6:40am Finish parsing down bag items to fit in small purse. Check for passes. Select dark brown Birkenstocks for today’s proper con footwear.

6:42am Realize I still have an entire hour to kill.

6:48am Read Facebook “On This Day” in its entirety.

7:30am Check for passes.

7:45am Message friend in Ontario to see what she’s up to. The usual: eating poutine and riding moose like horses.

8:10am Head upstairs to wake up teenage boys.

8:12am So. Much. Muttering. And groaning. And grumbling.

8:25am Teenagers sit in kitchen enjoying breakfast of Snickers and Root Beer. Hope son’s friend does not report to his parents on what I feed children for breakfast in my house.

8:38am Check for passes. Get in car.

8:44am Driving to train station. Teenagers express wish that “Maybe we’ll see those girls from yesterday.” Maybe. Maybe we will.

8:56am Inexplicably long line at one of the train ticket kiosks. Glare and huff and skirt around these people to empty machine.

9:03am Catch the 9:03. Tell teenagers not to talk to any weirdos on the train this time. Son says, “What about you? Can we talk to you?” Feel I have walked right into this one.

9:28am Arrive at Convention Center. Bring teenagers with me to media entrance, bracing myself for third degree by security at door (I am permitted to bring my minor children inside with me regardless of their ticket type, but son is always perceived as being older than he is due to tallness and his HANDSOME FACE, so last year I was given a hard time by misinformed door people each day, and it kind of stresses me out). But I needn’t have worried: There is NO security at the media/volunteer/guest/exhibitor entrance this morning. Literally no one checking badges or monitoring the doors.

9:36am Really, anyone could just come in this way. And they are – regular pass holders flowing off elevators from parking garage.

9:38am They are at least guarding the doors to the convention floor with some degree of strictness.

9:45am Carolyn meets me. We have a hot date to see the Lena Headey panel first thing. Ask where Megan is. Carolyn hasn’t seen her yet. Suggests a hangover might be in play. They were out till all hours the night before carousing with writers. You know how writers are.

9:50am Watch people coming up escalators. See a guy in a combination Green Lantern- Captain America costume. Debate ensues: Is this inspired or weird? Also why are he and his cohort carrying four different shields in all different colors? Teenage boys come down on cool side. Carolyn and me come down on “What is the point?” side.

9:53am Oooh, someone’s made a lifelike Artoo robot!

9:54am Lifelike Artoo robot. Heh.

10:00am Doors open. We rush through. We are on a mission to beat the lines for the Main Event stage.

10:04am Are now 41 minutes early for panel.

10:06am Leave teenage boys to the regular pass holder line.

10:45am Room is filling in. Panel not starting. Is fine. We are chill. Totally chill.

No. We are not remotely chill.

No. We are not remotely chill.

10:58am Lena Headey! OMG you guys. I am 10 feet away from LENA. HEADEY. CERSEI LANNISTER. OMG.

11:00am Control my fangirl squeal and take my seat.

11:02am Guess what Lena Headey is wearing, you guys? BIRKENSTOCKS. Proper con footwear. Sparkly black and white Birkenstocks.

11:04am OMG she is adorable. And British. And sassy af.

11:06am Of COURSE Cersei is my favorite character on Game of Thrones. What other characters are there???

11:08am OMG.

11:10am Okay. Just breathe. It’s fine.

11:11am Someone asks Lena Headey what her favorite thing about playing Cersei is. “The long blonde hair, “ she says. “And… erm… I don’t know… so many things…” Questioner: “You can just say it: You like to be bad.” Lena Headey smirrrrrrks and says, “I like to be baaaad.” I turn around to see who has asked this question. Is my friend CJ. Yiiiisssssss. (Edit: CJ has informed me that I have this wrong and his question was actually at the end, and he asked “If you could play any other character, which one would it be?” and Lena’s answer was “Ramsay Bolton” and everyone died. Maybe next year I will take better notes.)

11:15am Lena Headey tells funny story about grabbing ass cheeks of Cary Elwes as he made his way into the convention center in front of her that morning.

11:18am I’m in love with Lena Headey, you guys. Whatever. It’s fine.

11:24am Carolyn goes all Hermione on me and flips out because I keep sneaking photos when we are not sure we’re really allowed to be taking photos (spoiler alert: We are allowed to take photos, just not block anyone’s view with taking of photos). I roll my eyes and tell her to simmer down. Just like a sister would.

11:45am Lena Headey leaves and my life is sadder now. But I feel really good knowing that she agrees with me about proper con footwear. Obviously we would be best friends if she got to know me.

11:52am Whoa. Terrible traffic jam of people trying to leave theatre. This seems like a bit of a crowd control fail.

Oh. Whoa. That's... people.

Oh. Whoa. That’s… people.

11:58am Walled in by people. Starting to panic.

12:00pm People start exiting the building instead of sticking out horrible line. We have bright idea to follow.

12:04pm Being outside with personal space feels good for three minutes. Realization that it is almost 100 degrees outside already hits quickly. This was maybe a terrible idea.

12:06pm So hot.

12:07pm So much cement.

12:13pm Ahhhh front doors. Hello, air conditioning.

 

12:15pm We decide it’s lunch time and then I will go get in line for Stan Lee panel, which is not till 1:30 but I assume it will be full.

12:20pm Purchase terribly mediocre turkey sandwiches and expensive drinks and commandeer a table in the café. Commence people watching. Text friends Russ and Julio to ascertain their whereabouts. They say they’re coming to find us.

12:35pm No sign of Russ and Julio. Whatever. Sitting is comfy.

Heroes gotta eat too!

Heroes gotta eat too!

12:45pm Still no sign of friends. Carolyn has an author interview to get to and I need to join media line for Stan Lee. We split up with plans to meet up for John Barrowman panel later.

1:00pm Oh. Whoa. Line for Stan Lee is out of control.

1:02pm They are not letting anyone through the line to get to ADA and Speed Pass waiting area, which is also designated media waiting area.

1:04pm Is fine. I met Stan Lee last night. Will go find friends instead.

1:09pm Have text from Russ: They are up in food court area. I head that direction, pausing to take lots of photos.

 

1:18pm Food court area is scene from apocalyptic nightmare. So many people. So much concrete. So few places for sitting. So humid.

1:22pm There is no way I am finding friends in this place. Tell them to meet me at Hayley Atwell panel and beat it on out of there. Horrifying.

1:30pm Cue frantic texting from teenage son. His friend’s parents want him home by 6:30pm. We have no plans to even leave con before 7:30pm, let alone be home that early. Do not wish to make complicated parenting decisions for other people’s children in midst of 80,000 people. Tell him to find out if friend’s parents are okay with us putting friend on train by himself (they are 15 years old) and picking him up at the station close to home when he gets there.

1:35pm Friend’s parents are no longer answering his calls or texts. I now have all kinds of thoughts about these people. Tell boys to keep trying.

1:39pm Since midday yesterday, we have noticed that we are not alone in the convention center – by which I mean there is another convention going on besides Denver Comic Con. Keep noticing stuffy-looking people in business attire. Pass by large group of them on my way down main concourse. They look confused. I smile to myself as I walk by. Then I decide to go ask them what they’re thinking – I’m wearing a media badge, after all, so they’ll assume I’m official in some way. Walk up to woman and man who seem to have the most open-minded expressions on their faces. Greet them by saying, “Hey, you all look super confused!” Funny conversation ensues in which they all insist that seeing cosplayers and con-goers is “cool” and “awesome”. One guy says, “I never knew something like this even existed.” I ask them what their conference is for. Awkward silence and sheepish looks. “You don’t want to know that,” a couple of them insist. Automatically I’m assuming they’re either contract killers or undertakers. But it turns out they are all in collections. I make sympathetic noises then take my leave with an awful joke about how I better hide now. Like they’ve never heard that one before.

1:42pm Seriously though. That must kill every party they ever go to. I would just lie and say I’m an undertaker or a contract killer.

1:53pm Reach theatre. Volunteer is sneaking a bunch of late arriving media people into the Stan Lee panel via the side entrance and asks if I want to go in too. I decline, because I do not feel that my media badge entitles me to special treatment.

1:54pm Find nice spot to sit and wait near ADA line. There is an air conditioning vent. I check in with teenagers and friends, and review my photos. It is silent here except for the occasional burst of cheering or laughing from inside the theatre. This is bliss. I love con but it’s hard for an introvert. I’m sure you understand.

2:15pm Stan Lee panel ends with him shouting, “EXCELSIOR!” to the crowd. People start spilling out doors. All are steered left. Bottleneck happens almost immediately.

2:18pm I get some good crowd photos though.

2:28pm Am allowed into theatre to sit down. Sitting down is one of my favorite parts of con.

2:35pm Get text from Russ and Julio that they are here too. Tell them to stay put when panel ends so that I can come up and find them.

2:38pm Son texts to let me know that his friend’s parents are fine with him riding train home alone and will pick him up at station at other end. I tell son to make sure he makes sure his friend gets on the right train.

2:45pm Hayley Atwell! Agent Peggy Carter! OMG! She is ten feet away from me! And she is just as adorable and lovely in real life!

Hayley Atwell, talking about the responsibility of being a role model. Or something cool like that.

Hayley Atwell, talking about the responsibility of being a role model. Or something cool like that.

2:55pm My favorite thing about this panel is all the young girls getting up to ask questions, mostly of the “What’s it like to be such a good role model for girls and young women?” variety, and how genuinely Hayley Atwell responds to them. Even a little boy gets up and asks what it was like to get to boss all the Army men around (referring to the first Captain America film), and she says it was “Quite fun, actually, and a bit empowering.”

3:10pm My least favorite part about this panel are the two fanboys sitting at the end of my row in the media section, muttering under their breath about how stupid “all this girl power crap” is, and scoffing every time another girl asks a feminist-themed question. For real, men of the world: If your manhood is so fragile that it’s somehow threatened by young girls finding power and meaning and representation in a movie character, you have some serious issues that need to be examined.

3:25pm They can’t ruin this for me though. Hayley Atwell says she is fully up for another season of Agent Carter if it somehow gets rescued by Netflix, and believes a series of Agent Carter films would be a fantastic idea too.

3:35pm I finally find Russ and Julio! They are cosplaying as Captain America and Ant-man. We spend some time bashing the jerky dudes who were sitting by me during the panel. Russ goes to find us some water. Julio and I are entrusted with his shield while he is gone.

Ant-Man and Cap... erm... Julio and Russ. I think.

Ant-Man and Cap… erm… Julio and Russ. I think.

3:45pm Russ comes back with water. I decide to hang out with them for the Cary Elwes panel. The theatre is getting packed. I didn’t realize Cary Elwes was so popular but Russ and Julio explain about The Princess Bride. Confession: I have only seen The Princess Bride in its entirety once. It is a phenomenon I don’t really get. I don’t connect with that movie at all. But I do enjoy Cary Elwes!

4:00pm Cary Elwes! The crowd goes wild.

4:10pm Damn, Cary Elwes is funny. He has spent the first ten minutes telling a story about this epic fart that Andre the Giant let rip while they were filming a scene for The Princess Bride, and no one in this room will ever watch that scene the same way again.

4:30pm Fan in the audience asks Cary how it felt to have his ass grabbed by Lena Headey. He just gives us all a devilish smile.

4:45pm Russ and Julio leave me and I go back down to media seats to wait for Carolyn and John Barrowman.  Is clear I have priorities: I will sit up in the cheap seats for people other than John Barrowman. But for John Barrowman, I am all about the media seating perk.

5:00pm There is some sort of drama happening involving the ASL interpreters who are working Denver Comic Con. Lots of huddling up and whispering and switching of places and stuff. Is oddly fascinating to watch in close proximity as it is difficult to imagine what sort of drama there could be.

5:02pm I would be remiss to not give a shout out to the ASL interpreters. They are AMAZING. Our media seating is directly behind the ADA rows and the grouping of seats reserved specifically for those in need of sign-language interpretation. The interpreters at this year’s Denver Comic Con are with Rose Interpreting, a Denver-based agency. I assume a lot of us think having sign-language interpreters present at public events is over the top, just a concession to political correctness, but as I’ve learned with this weekend’s panels, there are around 20 or so people in need of visible sign language interpretation in each of the larger event rooms. And what’s fantastic about these interpreters is that they aren’t up there just signing, but mimicking the entire tone of whatever’s happening onstage with their facial expressions and body language. It’s almost like acting! And that way, the hearing impaired fans at this con are right in on the jokes with everyone else. Anyway, I could go on for days about just this, but let’s leave it at Carolyn and I are super impressed. Kudos to Denver Comic Con for bringing on board such a great team of interpreters, and many kudos to Rose Interpreting for being so awesome.

5:15pm OMG it’s JOHN BARROWMAN! In a DRESS! And a WIG! He is dressed like Castiel from Supernatural!

5:16pm The crowd goes insane!

FAAABULOUS Castiel cosplay.

FAAABULOUS Castiel cosplay.

5:20pm I can’t even – it’s JOHN BARROWMAN. He’s HILARIOUS and awesome.

5:23pm John Barrowman teases the sign language interpreters a bit – they are not remotely phased — and asks for a show of hands from the crowd to indicate who all is need of the interpreting. Way more people than I would have expected. See?? He talks about one of his philanthropic projects in which he’s worked with deaf and hard of hearing people.

5:26pm Then he just gets silly. And takes questions from the crowd. And acts silly.

5:38pm John Barrowman climbs over the seats in the front to go take a question from someone sitting right behind us. I can see it in Carolyn’s eyes: Grab him? Don’t grab him? She goes with “don’t”, which is good because a little kid nearby is gripping his leg for dear life and for a second John Barrowman looks a bit panicked.

He needs to be close to his people.

He needs to be close to his people.

5:46pm John Barrowman tells funny story about his parents sharing Tim Tam biscuits with Lena Headey. Lapses into Scottish accent every time he addresses his parents directly.

6:00pm John Barrowman leaves us and now everyone’s life is sadder.

6:06pm Oh god with the crowd control issues.

6:08pm Still, it turns out this is better than walking outside.

6:15pm Consider going to a panel that starts at 6:20 since I have to wait for my son to finish his last panel, but having to visit the ladies room and then get a snack wins out over one last panel. Am worst reporter ever.

 

6:28pm It is a sad time in the convention center: They have run out of hot pretzels. I settle for peanut M&Ms and a diet soda, then look for a place to sit down. We figure we’ll just hit the floor again like yesterday but then I see my friend CJ manspreading on a comfy couch. He’ll totally let us snuggle up so I drag Carolyn over there instead.

6:35pm Aaahhhh couch life is the best. We can sit here and watch everyone walk by and talk about things and eat snacks.

6:40pm CJ is confused about Donald Trump cosplayer. I look where he is pointing. I laugh and laugh. Is not cosplayer. Is participant from that OTHER conference, with the bill collecting.

6:44pm Other friends come over to meet up with CJ. Kyre is dressed as Ariel and her brother Gib is cosplaying as a punk rock version of Uncle Iroh from Avatar: The Last Airbender. My friend Ashten shows me his Stan Lee photo and admits that he almost started to cry when he met him. He looks even more insane in his Stan Lee photo than my son and I look in ours, so I feel less alone now.

L-R: Punk rock Uncle Iroh, rabid Stan Lee fan, Ariel, rabid Lena Headey fan.

L-R: Punk rock Uncle Iroh, rabid Stan Lee fan, Ariel, rabid Lena Headey fan.

6:50pm Husband texts to see if we’ve eaten dinner yet. We haven’t even left con, let alone eaten dinner. He wants to go to Illegal Pete’s with us and decides he will drive downtown to pick us up. I assume he remembers that both PrideFest and Comic Con are happening and don’t try to talk him out of this plan.

7:02pm Megan shows up. She has been upstairs on the convention floor all day talking to artists and authors and taking cosplay photos. She looks exhausted. We make room on our couch for her.

7:22pm Teenage son shows up. He is all happy from being in the hyper-nerdy VERSUS! panel just now. It is his favorite thing from last year, in which fictional characters are put against other fictional characters in a hypothetical battle and the audience gets to argue for or against one of the characters winning or losing.

7:28pm As son tells us about some of the battle scenarios and their results, boys sitting next to us jump in to share their thoughts. It is the nerdiest conversation I’ve heard so far this weekend and I love it. This is the best part of con: Making friends with random geeky strangers.

7:35pm Megan and Carolyn finally call it a day. Son and I have to wait for husband. We watch the dudes running around in giant inflatable T-Rex costumes tease and chase people.

7:40pm I tell son to go provoke the T-Rex so I can get a chase scene on video. Said video is priceless. Here… go ahead and watch it:

 

8:00pm Husband picks us up. Attempts to drive through a route that is blocked off by PrideFest in Civic Center Park. I guess he didn’t remember after all.

8:15pm Illegal Pete’s on South Broadway. Taquitos, beer, and hipsters playing bocce. Son is all, “Why are grownups so chill?” In unison, husband and I say, “Legal marijuana, son. Legal marijuana.”

Aaaaand scene.

Stay tuned for Day 3, which I promise will not take me as long to post as Day 2!

Tin Foil is Syrios Business: A Theory For Sunday’s Game of Thrones Episode, “No One”

The Sisters in Geek love it when theories abound around our favorite things. One of our favorite things is Arya Stark. We had feelings about this past Sunday’s Game of Thrones episode, but have been soothed by internet theorizing about *ahem* what may actually be going on (because you know how in the Game, nothing is ever as it seems!). Our good friend Jesse Brake was one of the most coherent theorizers we’ve encountered this week, and he’s been kind enough to write us the following guest post, which we are thrilled about and know you will be too! Read on… 

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Warning: The following article is filled with spoilers throughout the entire run of HBO’s Game of Thrones and assumes you have seen S06E07 “The Broken Man.”

 

“I see a darkness in you- and in that darkness, eyes staring back at me. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes…eyes that you will shut forever. We will meet again.”  – Melisandre, to Arya Stark in Game of Thrones, S03E06, “The Climb”

With those words, the Red Priestess foreshadowed my hype for Arya Stark. She has already shut the brown eyes of Ser Meryn Trant back in S05E10 “Mother’s Mercy,” which leaves us with blue and green. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Last week’s episode, “The Broken Man”, left Arya fans in a state of shock following a vicious attack by stick enthusiast The Waif. We immediately went through 4 out of 5 stages of nerd grief, watching Arya stumble through the streets of Braavos after having experienced the literal manifestation of Napalm Death’s contribution to the Mortal Kombat soundtrack, “Twist The Knife Slowly.”

In defense of a grindcore reference, vocalist Barney (middle) looks like Sam hit the gym after getting his Maester’s chain.

In defense of a grindcore reference, vocalist Barney (middle) looks like Sam hit the gym after getting his Maester’s chain.

 

Denial: “Arya did NOT let The Waif sneak up on her like that!”

Anger: “Why did Arya forget all her Faceless Man training?”

Bargaining: “OK, maybe this is a trap set by Arya — a stupid, stabby Haversack Ruse.”

Depression: “Oh God, the writers have completely forgotten how to write Arya.”

Well, Sisters in Geek have asked me to write this guest spot to explain why Arya might have actually retained her level in badass, how previous events have foreshadowed why she will come out on top, and — most importantly — why she probably isn’t the person who was stabbed.

WHY THE VICTIM IN “THE BROKEN MAN” ISN’T ARYA

Strike #1: Arya is without Needle.

When we last saw Arya in S06E06, she was retrieving the aptly-named rapier Needle from its hiding spot to presumably hunker down and prepare for retribution from The Faceless Men for refusing to kill Lady Crane.

Homesick, sick of the stick schtick and prick clique, Arya picks up her toothpick double quick: five times fast now.

Homesick, sick of the stick schtick and prick clique, Arya picks up her toothpick double quick: five times fast now.

Why is it then in the very next episode, Arya does not have Needle? Are we to believe she sold something of such sentimental value for the gold to pay for passage back home? That’s extremely doubtful, given her character’s sentimental nature and her reinvigorated sense of self after witnessing the play performed by Lady Crane and crew the last two episodes. Selling her sword at this point would be like if Dany decided to clip her dragon’s wings, or if Dorne started being interesting.

Strike #2: Arya Stark is left handed in the TV show and novel, yet does everything with her right hand in “The Broken Man”

It has been a sticking point (sorry not sorry) since season one that Arya Stark is left handed. It’s pointed out in her training with Syrio, her practicing in front of The Hound, her choice of lead hand with her stick when blind, and even touched on in a number of interviews by Maisie “Destroyer of Sexist Headlines” Williams herself. We’d link the interview, but oh man the ads are obnoxious on the page.

“Guess how many fingers I’m holding up behind my back OpenX? I’ll give you a hint: f*ck you.”

“Guess how many fingers I’m holding up behind my back OpenX? I’ll give you a hint: f*ck you.”

Yet in “The Broken Man,” Arya tosses and retrieves the sack of gold to and from the ship’s captain with her right hand and applies pressure to her stab wound with her right as well. Given the fact Maisie is naturally right handed and has spent the last 5 years learning how to do everything left handed for this role, I reckon she’d point out this continuity error. I’d hope the writers would notice too, but hey, Gendry has been rowing for four years so what do I know?

Strike #3: The rest of her mannerisms are all wrong.

Alright, let’s just believe for a second the writers and Maisie both forgot about the whole left hand dominance thing. Did they also suddenly forget everything else about Arya Stark?

Arya throws a sack of gold at the ship’s captain requesting a cabin… but in S04E10 “The Children,” after leaving The Hound for dead, Arya informs the ship’s captain providing her passage to Braavos that, quote, “I wouldn’t need a cabin.”

Arya immediately regretted the decision after discovering the menu featured white beans and bacon for dinner.

Arya immediately regretted the decision after discovering the menu featured white beans and bacon for dinner.

Why the insistence on a cabin now?

Also, let’s talk about something a little less subtle: her walk in “The Broken Man.”

In S06E01, “The Red Woman,” Varys comments about Tyrion’s walking style, how it betrays the fact he comes from wealth. It’s a mindset, Varys explains, and it’s driven home by the fact Bran walks exactly the same when he’s just imagining himself walking — as demonstrated in this gif.

Arya is a Stark as well, but has always abjured the aspects of status for nobility, lest we forget her friendship with Mycah AKA the butcher’s boy.

What do you mean, “one-episode contract?”

What do you mean, “one-episode contract?”

The writers have been about as subtle as a GRRM nipple description when it comes to the Gait of Thrones©, so it’s worth mentioning it could also be foreshadowing one of the most tinfoil theories out there (read below).

IF IT ISN’T ARYA, WHO IS IT?

I’m going to skip over some of the ridiculous theories (i.e. It is Bianca wearing a Faceless Mask of Arya trying to escape Braavos after it’s revealed she tried to have Lady Crane poisoned) because I refuse to think the writers have screwed up their own continuity so badly that they forget Jaqen’s warning that to someone, “…faces are as good as poison.” (S05E10 “Mother’s Mercy”)

Instead, we’re focusing on the one I think is the most plausible: Arya in S06E08 is in fact Jaqen H’ghar.

Jaqen has two main reasons to be out and about in Braavos acting all not-Arya and getting murdered:

  • Arya never unnamed Jaqen back in S02E08, “The Prince of Winterfell”

Let’s have a back in the day buffet with Sexy Jesus H’ghar. When Arya gives him his own name for refusing to help her and her friends escape, Jaqen throws her a degree of shade normally reserved for a jump cut in Rupaul’s Drag Race. According to the homicidal Faceless Men scout’s honor, a name given is a life that must be taken.

Despite escaping from Harrenhal, Jaqen is never unnamed officially on screen. Jaqen also never asks to be unnamed for reasons that I will speculate based on the character’s motivations:

  • Jaqen is near fanatical in his devotion to The Many-Faced God. Jaqen is awaiting Arya after their escape, presumably to be unnamed. Upon seeing Jaqen, she immediately questions how was he able to find her again and kill so easily. Jaqen’s response is, “Of all the things you have seen, this is your question?” At first viewing, I thought this was an attempt at humor by the character. After multiple viewings though, it seems the humor was meant for the fourth wall and his question was genuine curiosity. This noble girl wasn’t dismissing Jaqen as a servant or tool, which many highborn would do. Jaqen also knew of her list, making her a potential servant of The Many-Faced God (“You could offer up all of their names, one by one.”) Jaqen has experience with pissed off women as well, since The Waif said during the Game of Faces (S05E03 “High Sparrow”) that she is a former noble from Westeros.
“Jaqen is dead… say it again.”

“Jaqen is dead… say it again.”

With this is mind, Jaqen is prepared to one day give his life to The Many Faced God, provided it furthers their cause (as a trained Arya Stark would do). Arya’s list is filled with people who are causing suffering to others, all of whom Jaqen says deserve the “gift” of death.

Devil’s advocate compels me to remind you Jaqen said The Faceless Men are supposed to be detached from their targets, which Arya is obviously not. I would say one thing to this: given the character arcs of religious folk in GoT — namely The High Sparrow, Melisandre, Thoros of Myr, and especially the same-episode portrayal of Septum Ray by Ian McShane — Jaqen is more concerned with devotion to the physical entity of The Many-Faced God than to the organization of The Faceless Men.

  • And number two: Jaqen is actually testing The Waif, not Arya. In S05E03, Jaqen has a Jonestown Tea Time discussion of how The Faceless Men believe that death is merciful end to suffering. The Waif however, has no mercy, no detachment from her abuse of Arya. She hates her for reasons left to the viewer’s armchair psychiatry evaluation. Based on their beliefs, Jaqen wants for The Waif to make Arya’s — or his own — death quick and painless. Of course, we know this doesn’t occur.
Find out how to apply for low-income medical assistance at www.texaswomenshealth.org

Find out how to apply for low-income medical assistance at www.texaswomenshealth.org 

In fact, in the previous episode S0606 “Blood of My Blood,” when The Waif reports Arya’s failure to kill Lady Crane, she says, “As I expected…you promised me.”

Something tells me that possessive pronouns are not supposed to be part of the vocabulary of “no one.” Jaqen then remarks, “Shame. A girl had many gifts.” As a viewer, it would seem Jaqen is referring to Arya, but since he stated this after The Waif said ‘I’ and ‘me,’ I am speculating he is actually talking about The Waif.

If this is the case, The Waif has failed horribly. The brutal murder of Jaqen sounds like a perfect motivation for Arya to take the fight to her, which Melisandre has already foreshadowed given The Waif’s stark blue eyes:

“D&D: Can you give her the Charlize Theron ala Monster?” “Makeup: Say no more fam.”

“D&D: Can you give her the Charlize Theron a la Monster?” “Makeup: Say no more fam.”

 

ALL RIGHT BUT WHAT ABOUT THIS ARTICLE’S TITLE?

Here is where we bust out the Reynolds Wrap. It’s not a new theory that Jaqen is possibly fan favorite and GoT’s Boba Fett, Syrio Forel, the first sword of Braavos. We never saw Syrio die, Syrio is from Braavos, and Syrio states there is only one god: the god of death AKA The Many-faced God. Jaqen goes on about how a girl is no one, only an agent of death, while Syrio states, “Boy…girl…you are a sword, that is all.” (S01E03 “Lord Snow”). Finally, we know Syrio is a master Water Dancer (GoT’s version of fencers), and we’ve never actually seen Jaqen physically kill someone before, so we don’t know if he fights in the same style.

Since we never saw Benjen Stark die and now he is back as Coldhands, it’s no longer too farfetched. However, it would be a little lazy for the same totally-not-dead surprise to occur again next episode.

Coldhands... Cool Hand... Close enough.

Coldhands… Cool Hand… Close enough.

 So why bring up this damn near decade old theory now? It’s because of a single teaser image for this Sunday’s episode, “No One.”

Check it out:

Syrio

Credit to Reddit user /u/MegaBreath

Credit to Reddit user /u/MegaBreath

Honestly, yes, Syrio coming back seems like fan service from D&D for the HBO crowd, rather than some secret from the books revealed by GRRM like ‘hold the door!’ On top of what is sure to be a precursor for Cleganebowl (as we see both Sandor and Zombie Mountain going to Murdertown, population: growing, in the sneak peek), then the Bolton/Stark war, we got ourselves two action packed episodes coming up before the season finale.

In closing, I believe we will see the “death” of Jaqen H’Ghar this Sunday. However, the question of whether or not this is Syrio, and if so, was Jaqen always Syrio or is it Syrio just showing up out of the blue is one… I’m not sure on. Maybe The Waif is Arya’s Tyler Durden (don’t front, that would be hot fire). Anything is possible in a world with dragons, resurrection, ice zombies, and television writers willing to give us nipple armor.

Never forget.

Never forget. 

Personally, I love the idea of Syrio being Jaqen because it means we can finally put a face (pun intended) to Arya’s plot armor. Once he presumably dies in this forthcoming episode, it might mean the plot armor is finally removed for one of the major characters in the GoT universe.

Well, at least until that third set of eyes are shut… green, like the Lannisters are known for.

A special thanks to Reddit user /u/rolldownthewindow for gathering a majority of the episode numbers for this theory.

 

Jesse is a former trivia writer and current owner of Breaking BINGO. He has a wife and two dogs that occupy all of his time outside work, gaming, and TV. We adore him for many reasons but mostly because we asked for “something sort of coherent and it doesn’t have to be fancy at all” and he gave us this instead. Thanks, Jesse! 

Game of Thrones: Why Hodor has the Best Death Scene

Hodor_death_collage

We can all agree that the exit from the magic tree that resulted in Hodor’s death was an epic sequence. Meera’s panic, Summer’s last stand, the running dead chasing them, death death death, then that horrible moment when Hodor is forced to hold the door. It wasn’t just that Hodor’s death scene alone was epic — it was also the series of reveals that I personally will be thinking about for a while to come.

Usually killing off characters is about raising the stakes, but Hodor’s death scene was part of a big collage of death. All the Keebler elves were killed off, and Summer too (yet another dead direwolf), leading up to Hodor’s death. They pre-raised the stakes for us. They let us know it was going to be a Red Wedding type of episode, and you should pause and grab tissues and possibly some straight alcohol.

This wasn’t just one death scene for Hodor either. We also witnessed the brain trauma of young Hodor. To escape, Bran destroyed past and future Hodor. This was a death scene that reached back in time to transform young Hodor. It also solved a big mystery for us: Why does Hodor only ever say Hodor? Well, it is because the language portion of his brain has only been able to think “Hold the door” for most of his life. Hodor’s death scene went back and explained his life.

Then there is the additional mind-bending when you start to think through how Bran had to warg into Hodor because Hodor is useless in a fight as an adult. Then you think about how he’s useless in a fight as an adult, because Bran warged into him from the past, destroying him for the future. But Bran had to warg into him… but in doing so caused the reason that he had to warg into him. It is a crazy time-travel circular logic.

During this massacre, we also finally learned more about the magic Bran uses. Warging and visions have their own dangers and far reaching powers. Bran changed the past. What else is Bran going to go back in time and change? Or more importantly, what has he already gone back in time to change in his future that is done now, but we don’t know he did? Other characters can sometimes see and hear him when he travels back in time. Perhaps at some point he alerts people to an assassin! Was Bran the voice in the Mad King’s head, as so many people have theorized?

The toughest part for me is knowing the cost of this death. Hodor has only ever been a helpful giant. Even as a boy, he was sweet. In order to keep Hodor from curling up in fear, Bran had to continue to control him. Otherwise Hodor would’ve gone into scared Hodor mode. Bran had to force Hodor to stay. Force him to die holding the door against the army of the dead. This death was not a hero’s last stand as the children of the forest and Summer’s death was. This was murder. The cost to Bran and Meera will be very high. They both loved Hodor, Hodor trusted them, and they killed him.

This murder not only falls on Bran who was controlling him, and Meera who was shouting to hold the door. It also falls on the Three-Eyed-Raven. Why can’t old men in trees tell their trainees specifics about why going into the past is dangerous? Why do they have to be so damn mysterious? Telling someone, Hey, if you aren’t careful, everyone will die, seems like a good, simple heads up. Or how about letting Bran know that lingering too long and allowing people and/or evil Night’s Kings to touch you is bad, and they can leave marks to track you? Your cryptic warnings are useless. Young apprentices never listen to cryptic warnings. These sages in trees need to start giving relevant worldly advice!

To summate, we not only had an epic death scene. We had past brain trauma, learning that the past trauma was caused by warging, and that Hodor was murdered by his friends as he was forced to hold the door for them. Really, this is why we shouldn’t force anyone to hold the door. Holding the door should always be a choice.

Hodor’s death scene was an epic few minutes of pure action, filled with all the information we thought we wanted, but really didn’t because George R.R. Martin. We’ll be unpacking that scene for the rest of the season.

The Ladies of Game of Thrones Have Taken a Level in Badass

Be Advised: This post contains spoilers.

Be Advised: This post contains spoilers.

It seems to me that the women of Westeros (and Essos, keeping it technical) spent their off-season leveling up. So far in Season 6, these ladies are badass. They are having none of it, they are claiming power, they are kicking ass and they are 100% taking names. And? It. Is. Glorious. It bears repeating that Season 5 was a bit of a hot mess with respect to female representation and that fans weren’t happy about it. I’m genuinely pleased as both a fan and a feminist to see that HBO, the producers, and the writers seem (so far) to have received the memo and have given the amazing women of Westeros agency and hope and complex plans.

Obviously this being Game of Thrones, and Westeros, I fully expect it to all fall apart and end in death, destruction and sadness. And I’m fine with that. I love darkness, and bittersweet endings and victories that are all wrapped up in tragedy. If I didn’t, my bookshelf would probably have fewer post-apocalyptic novels, and I almost certainly wouldn’t watch Game of Thrones. The point is the momentary joy of seeing fully realized, layered women make bold choices. Seeing them stand up, take power and push back. Seeing them framed as potential killers, potential rulers, instead of always just potential victims. Oh, and they are moving the plot forward. Thank all the gods, old and new, for that. Daenerys may have lit the literal fire this week, but everyone is contributing in their own way. Here are some examples of my favorite ass kicking ladies of this season of Game of Thrones.

Margaery Tyrell

Would you please stop talking?I can’t tell which one of us is more bored of listening to the High Sparrow and his self-righteous blathering: me or the Queen. If she confesses, it will probably be just to get him to shut up for one freaking minute. Watching her go toe to toe with Mr. High and Mighty, quoting scripture and offering zero apologies for who she is, gave me faith. Faith that she is getting out of there, hair and dignity intact. The look on her face when she saw what they have done to her beloved brother Loras was perfection. Rage, fear, anger and love all in one. Your reckoning is coming High Sparrow, and her name is Margaery Tyrell.

Cersei LannisterI'm sorry, did you think I was asking?

It’s interesting to me that Queen Margaery may end up getting help from the most unexpected of places. Cersei has no love for Margaery herself, of course. But she won’t stand to see her son miserable, nor will she stand to see the nobility dragged through any more mud by the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant. Never mind that it’s a bed entirely of her own making. Cersei lives in the moment, and this moment calls for new alliances. And you will make them with her and her brother. She doesn’t care if you like it. I loved the way she walked into the Small Council and just spoke all of these things as facts. No equivocation, no negotiation. Just the plan.

Brienne of Tarth

Oh, Stannis? I executed him.Brienne killed your king, Davos. And she’d do it again. Stannis was a kinslayer and she swore an oath. Not that any of that matters in the least now. There’s still the real war to be won and her blade is pledged to Sansa Stark. Brienne has always been strong, and has always been confident in the righteousness of her cause, and it’s just delightful to see that combined with the goal of putting a true Stark back in Winterfell. Also, Tormund? I think she mostly finds you confusing and strange. Perhaps try talking to her instead of eating a chicken leg at her. I think Brienne will still turn you down in the end, as all true paladins do. But it will be fun to watch, and it’s lovely to see a man admiring, and even desiring, Brienne for all the things that have always made her an outsider.

Daenerys TargaryenDany-BotS

Dany has had enough of your nonsense, dude Khals. She’s not impressed, and she certainly has no intention of sitting around in a tent offering sage advice until she dies (not that there is anything wrong with that life choice). Also, she lit you on fire and swayed the entire Dothraki people to her side. I think the Great Masters of Yunkai and Astapor have bigger problems than figuring out how to end the slave trade in seven years.

Sansa StarkSansa-BotS

And finally, Sansa. Sansa has been honing a steely edge underneath her lady’s courtesy for a long while now. No more hiding. She is taking back her home, she is overjoyed to be reunited with Jon and she is ready to confront Littlefinger. I hope she stabs him right in his smug face. I’ve been a staunch Sansa supporter since Day One, and I am so proud of her right now.

I hope this trend continues and I hope that season 6 of Game of Thrones ends in glorious chaos after these ladies break all the rules. Tune in the next week for what trouble the lads have been getting up to!

Tell us in the comments if we missed anyone or what we got wrong!

I’m Getting Back Together with Game of Thrones

GOT Season 6

Be Warned: This post is full of spoilers.

Last year, right around the time I wrote this post, I started falling out of love with Game of Thrones. I was angry with a lot of the creative choices the show had made, frustrated by the seemingly pointless plot in Dorne, and frankly, I had started to get bored with just how much it felt like the main story was treading water. The internet tells me that I’m not at all alone in this and I’m sure I’m not the only one who spent the off-season contemplating coming back to Game of Thrones at all. But, I’ve been a Song of Ice and Fire fangirl since the late 1990s, I’ve read every book a thousand times (OK, so I’ve only read A Dance With Dragons 3 times, but still), and I love the world of Westeros so much that I realized I couldn’t just walk away. So, I set my DVR this Sunday and on Tuesday morning, I pressed play. I felt cautious and vaguely unenthusiastic, but even still, the instant that music started, I felt myself pulled right back in to the wonderful world of Westeros. And guys, let me tell you, it’s won me back. I had my doubts, and in all fairness, I still have a few, but there were four major things the premiere accomplished that convinced me that Game of Thrones is still the show I love and that in the end, Season 5 might just be the one we all look back on and say “yeah, that season was weird”, clink our wine glasses and move on. Here’s what Game of Thrones showed me that has me bouncing up and down in excitement for the rest of Season 6.

1. Plot movement! Look, I get it. A lot of last season was, and had to be, about maneuvering pieces on the board, setting up the game for the coming big battles in the War for the Dawn. But, there’s only so much I can take of watching characters travel from one place to the next, getting into position. Even if that character is Tyrion, and he is bitter and drunk and hilarious. Now the pieces are in place and the whole premiere had the feel of someone setting a match to a carefully built pyre. This season looks like it might just be about all of that going up in flames. Or dragonfire.

2. Less pointless abuse! It looks like maybe HBO and their team really took the feedback and backlash about torturing the Westerosi women for titillation and shock value to heart. It’s only been one episode, and obviously things could change, but the premiere was entirely lacking in the sort of gratuitous, gendered violence that turned me (and thousands more) off. There was plenty of gore (hello Sand Snakes and your murdery rampage that seems to have accomplished nothing) and I’m sure there is plenty of sex still to come. And I’m all for both! I have no problem with a good spear through the head, and a great sex scene can drive the plot, build character and open totally not at all awkward conversations between parents and their teenage children that they allow to watch this show with them. Everyone wins! But this episode showed the badass ladies of Westeros taking power, and I for one am really looking forward to seeing what they can do with it.

3. Magic! Speaking of power, the show is really flexing its magical muscles now. The build up has been fun and slow, but I’m ready to see Melisandre and Bran and the dragons start to Bring It. The final scene of the premiere was just stunning. It showed us the depth of Melisandre’s power, but it also set up the potential for her to have even more skills and knowledge than we thought. The Red God is real and I cannot wait to see what he can do with the opportunity that’s laying on the table in Davos’ room. And Bran. Hey Bran! We’ve missed you. I hope, and assume, that Bran spent his year off-screen learning some amazing forest magic from the three eyed raven and is ready to warg into Summer and kick some major White Walker ass. And the dragons speak for themselves. I don’t think I have to explain why dragons are awesome and there should always be more of them, right? Though I will jump up and down and squeal REALLY LOUDLY when Tyrion gets up close and personal with them. Tyrion the Dragon Tamer? Yes please!

4. Everyone is ready to fight back! Last but not least, the producers appear to have taken a page from the master of ripping our hearts out, Joss Whedon, and made it clear that some of the characters don’t want to give up and die! Jaime looks ready for a fight with, whoever really. Brienne has found Sansa and almost certainly her true life’s purpose: protecting and serving the true Warden of the North. Tyrion and Varys are scheming, Dany is taking absolutely none of that ridiculous Khal’s nonsense and Arya is going to take a page out of Daredevil’s book because fighting while being able to see is just totally overrated. Of course, this being Westeros, Bad Things are definitely coming and they are coming for your favorite characters, so I have no intention of getting comfortable. But still, it’s nice to see something other than total despair on everyone’s faces all the time.

I still have concerns. About what the heck is going on in Dorne, because that plot is just awful. About whether the (presumed) resurrection of Jon Snow will be cheesy. About how in the name of all the gods, old and new, Margaery is going to get out of that tower and start being the Snarky Queen we all know she is. Cersei needs her as an adversary and I need her fabulous wardrobe. So, I hope Season 6 doesn’t lose its momentum by drowning in side plots and Sand Snakes. I hope Melisandre wakes up in the morning and shows everyone at the Wall what real power looks like. I hope Bran uncovers family secrets and finally learns to fly. I hope Dany goes to the crones of Vaes Dothrak and learns what a true leader is. The point is, I have hope. You won me back Game of Thrones. Now don’t screw it up.

Things We Can Assume from Season 6 Game of Thrones’ Photos

GOTS60  1.Sansa didn’t break her legs jumping off Winterfell.

GOTS601  2. Arya is trying out a new look.

GOTS6_bra  3.Missandei invents the bra!

GOTS67  4. Someone is about to get CUT!

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Margaery  5. Margaery, the door’s open! You can make it!

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Tyrion  6. Tyrion looks disturbingly sober. We don’t think he’s been drinking enough.

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Bran  7. Bran is going to play basketball, and beat the White Walkers in the big game.

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Lannisters  8. TWINSIES!

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-pyke  9. *shiver*

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Ramsay  10. Lots of horse’s ass in season 6.

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-death  11. Sometimes women kissing is bad.

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Daenerys  12. The Mother of Dragons needs to take some time for herself and just have a salon day.

Game-of-Thrones-Season-6-Sansa  13. IS SANSA PREGNANT??????????

For more Season 6 photos visit the HBO website here.  Game of Thrones returns on April 24th.

Drink Your Way Through the Game of Thrones Finale

The Game of Thrones finale is tomorrow! We’ve already coached you on what food will help you survive the episode, but you’ll also need wine! Watching all those characters drink and die will give you a terrible thirst. And if you’re gathering for the finale, then what’s a Game of Thrones themed party without appropriately labeled booze? Cover your boring wine labels with these hilarious ones!

Print this page as landscape, cut out your wine labels and attach to your wine bottles! If you’d like to adjust the image size yourself, click on the image to get the full size version, download it, and size it as you like. 3×5 inches works great on wider bottles. Slightly smaller width for skinny bottles.

 

Stab-You-in-the-Back-Red          Cersei-Just-Pour2

 

 

Brienne's-Big-Bold-White2          jaime's-hand2

 

For skinny wine bottles:

 

Stab-You-in-the-Back-Red                    Cersei-Just-Pour2

 

 

Brienne's-Big-Bold-White2                    jaime's-hand2

Eat Your Way Through the Game of Thrones Finale

This has been an…intense season of Game of Thrones. So much violence, so much backstabbing, so many twists and turns. Sunday is the finale, and all the characters are at risk. Our advice to you: Throw a season finale party! Break out the nice wine, the tissues, and make a medieval-ish pie! Beef pie with a bacon lattice top, or a mushroom hobbit pie. Print some fun Game of Thrones themed wine labels and put them on your wine bottles! All this will make you feel better when your favorite character dies horribly.

Beef-Pie-with-Bacon-Lattice-Top

Beef Pie with a Bacon Lattice Top

4 strips bacon

2-3 onions

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup flour (or only enough to coat the meat with)

3-4 pounds stew meat or beef chuck

2 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes

3 red potatoes

1 bag baby carrots

2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper

1-2 bottles Guinness extra stout, or use beef stock

1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped.

Cook bacon, cool, crumble and transfer to slow cooker. Cook onions and garlic in bacon fat with paprika and chipotle pepper until the onions are soft. Transfer to slow cooker. Salt and pepper stew meat, and coat in flour. Sear outside of stew meat in very hot pan, and transfer to slow cooker. Add the rest of the ingredients to slow cooker. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours.

Pie Crust

2 ½ cups flour

1 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. sugar

8 tbsp. shortening

12 tbsp. unsalted butter

6-8 tbsp. orange juice

This is enough crust to make a top and a bottom crust. If you use the bacon lattice top, you can either halve this, or make pie crust cookies by cutting the remaining pie crust into cookie size pieces, coating lightly with sugar and cinnamon and cooking at 350 for 10-15 minutes until they are crisp. Here is a gluten free crust if you need it.

To make Crust:

Add flour salt and sugar to the bowl or food processor. Mix. Cut shortening and butter into small chunks. Add and use food processor or pastry cutter to combine with flour mixture until it looks like pebbles. Add orange juice slowly until barely holds together. Divide in 2, wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 30 min. or longer to cool.

Bacon Lattice Top

Preheat oven to 350. Use all the bacon from a one pound package of thin or regular size bacon. On a cookie sheet weave the bacon together until it is a square, and all the bacon is used. Cook for 20-30 until it shrinks and is barely cooked.

Assemble the pie by rolling out one of the pie crusts. Put into a greased pie tin letting the edges lay over the sides. Add beef stew to pie crust. Add fresh rosemary and thyme if you have it. Put bacon lattice on top and fold the pie crust edges over the bacon lattice around the perimeter. Let cook in a 350 oven for 30 min. or until crust is done.

Pair this savory, bacon pie with a big, bold red wine or a fine stout if you’re more of a beer person. Some of our favorites are Predator Old Vine Zinfandel, Infinite Monkey Theorem Malbec. For a stout, we love Great Divide Yeti.

As an alternative make a mushroom hobbit pie without meat and with lots of cheese. For the Mushroom Hobbit pie, pair with a dry white dinner wine like Foxglove Chardonnay.

Need some more medieval food for your Don’t-Kill-My-Favorite-Character party? Check out The Inn at the Crossroads where we found the idea of making a bacon lattice top. Here is another fun medieval recipe site.

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